How To Improve As Holy Priest — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 10, 2018 at 16:15 by Niphyr 30 comments

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Holy Priest in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.

1. Common Holy Priest Mistakes

While Holy Priest has tools to fit nearly every situation, the obvious choice may not always be the optimal one.

Please note that Mana costs in dungeon content are less of a problem because of the ability to drink between pulls, so any mentions below regarding Mana issues are mostly focused on raids.

1.1. Mana: Casting Renew Too Much

Casting Renew Icon Renew frequently is likely the number one cause of Mana issues. While Renew on the surface looks like it would be a good spell to keep on people who are regularly taking damage, such as tanks or debuff targets, it is in fact quite inefficient compared to some of our other options. Even in periods of heavy movement, if the healing requirements during it are not high, you are often better conserving your mana for later usage on Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing and the AoE healing talents, like Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing or Halo Icon Halo.

1.2. Performance: Not Planning For Movement

Movement in encounters is unavoidable. Thankfully though most encounters are scripted in a reasonably predictable manner, allowing you to not only plan your positioning to minimise movement when required, but sometimes with smart positioning, eliminate movement entirely. This is important for Holy Priest as a large portion of our healing toolkit requires standing still while casting. Planning ahead and maximising the amount of time you can stand still, particularly during periods that have a heavy healing requirement, can be the difference between being an average or a great healer.

1.3. Mana: Not Running Out Of Mana Early

One of the most difficult and most important aspects of playing any healer is proper mana management. Being able to pace your spell usage throughout an encounter, so you have mana when you need it, can be difficult and varies from boss to boss. A good general rule of thumb while you are learning a new encounter and trying to figure out when to burst and when to conserve, is to try and keep your mana pool roughly equal to the bosses hitpoints. It is important you use a mana potion and cast Symbol of Hope Icon Symbol of Hope each encounter as well.

Holy Priest gameplay involves trying to use the efficient cooldown based abilities as often as possible, such as spells or talents like Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify, Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity, Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing and Divine Star Icon Divine Star. When these abilities are off cooldown, we use what are often referred to as filler spells to continue healing our allies. Which filler spell is used and when can greatly impact your mana consumption and conservation.

  • Flash Heal Icon Flash Heal - Single target quick but inefficient healing.
  • Prayer of Healing Icon Prayer of Healing - AoE burst but inefficient healing.
  • Renew Icon Renew - Single target, heavy movement sustained healing.
  • Heal Icon Heal - Single target efficient healing.
  • Binding Heal Icon Binding Heal (talent) - Multi target efficient healing.
  • Smite Icon Smite - Zero mana cost for periods with no healing required.

More detailed descriptions of these spells can be found on the spells page.

1.4. Mana: Casting During Raid Cooldowns

Typically in a raid environment, the raid cooldowns used primarily by healers to keep the group alive are cast during periods of heavy or life threatening damage. Because these cooldowns do so much healing and often apply that healing over a short period of time, casting high healing or inefficient spells of your own during these can be a waste of your mana. Where possible during raid cooldown usage, try to limit your spellcasting to triage of people that are in danger, and allow the raid cooldowns to do their work on the rest of your group.

Your priority as a healer and a healing team should be to collectively keep everyone alive for the length of the encounter, not focused on individual healing throughput and healing meters.

1.5. Performance: Not Effectively Using Cooldowns

Raid healing cooldowns can have a huge impact on your group, if used at the correct time. Typically your raid leader or healing lead will assign specific mechanics during an encounter to cast these. Unfortunately, our primary raid cooldown, Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn, requires standing still, so you may need to work with others in your group to find the most suitable time to cast it that keeps your group alive through dangerous mechanics, but also allows you to get the most out of the channelled cast.

Holy Priest also has an array of other abilities with cooldowns which should be cast as regularly as possible. Common mistakes are not casting these spells often enough and casting them without ensuring they will do effective healing. It can be a difficult balance to strike, but so long as you are not taking too many healers to your raid, it should be fairly easy to use them regularly. These spells are all core parts of our toolkit and should be used as regularly as they will do effective healing.

  • Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending - Use on cooldown where possible regardless of incoming damage.
  • Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity - Time this spell is not on cooldown is wasted cooldown reduction from your filler spells.
  • Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify - Time this spell is not on cooldown is wasted cooldown reduction from your filler spells
  • Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing (talent) - Short cooldown, use as regularly as it will do effective healing.
  • Divine Star Icon Divine Star (talent) - Short cooldown, use as regularly as it will do effective healing.
  • Halo Icon Halo (talent) - Use as regularly as it will do effective healing.

2. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Added common mistakes page.
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