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Thread: The priest.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 2005
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    Default The priest.

    Well, I kinda' ended up spending ... ahem. Hold on tight:
    23 days
    ... playing a dwarven priest to and beyond level 60 on allience PvE.

    First the summary:
    It was a blast and I'm going to do it all over again in retail!

    Then the whole thing:
    "Priests can't solo" is something I've heard a lot. I have a feeling that the people who say it either haven't played a priest or just gave up at level 10 *shrug*
    Even with holy/disc specs I've been able to take on 2~3 even-level opponents well enough, and manage mobs up to 4 levels above me. There are loads of different tools to use, and thus several different ways to deal with any given situation. Once you get the hang of picking the right skills/spells for the job, you can do quite fine.
    Some examples:
    Melee + pain + renew makes for a slow but very stable way of taking down mobs. You deal consistent damage for little mana while being healed for little mana AND while getting as much mana regen as possible. If you're alone against a mob ~3 levels higher, this tends to be the way to do it. It's slow, but it gets the job done - and leaves you with a good deal of mana to fall back on if something bad happens.

    Shield + mb + smite (+ focused casting) is sort of the straight opposite. Dish out damage as fast as possible and hope to kill the mob before your mana is out. Against mobs with high damage output but low health (such as nuker-casters), this is often the best way to go.
    Also, if I'm using the slow technique mentioned above, but get an add mightfight ... I tend to go in "burnout-mode" like this to get rid of the first mob as quick as possible (so there's only 1 mob hitting me instead of 2).

    Fear-kiting (i.e. using psychic scream to scare the mobs away, then blast 'em to shreds while they're running around) is another way to do it. It can be VERY dangerous to do since mobs that run away feared tend to return with a few mates. But if the area is pretty clear, it's a good way to get some damage done while the mob ain't hurting you.

    While speaking of psychic scream, here's a typical situation where it's good:
    You're fighting a mob and nearly done killing it, but your mana and health is getting sort of low. Another mob aggros and joins the fight. You can see that there's no way you're beating them both, but you'd like to get the credit for your work on the first mob. Time to cast fear to scare them both off, then nuke the low-health mob dead, then run like hell from the other one (and be ready to shield/renew yourself while you're at it). That same approach can sometimes let you loot a quest item from a mob or something similar.

    Mind control seems to be regarded as useless by many priests, which I really don't understand. Just look at this:
    You need quest item X from the middle of a camp. There's 5 mobs in the camp, standing so close to each other that you can't aggro one without getting them all. Each of them are so tough that you can't handle more than one or two at the same time. What to do?
    Mind control one! the second you do that, the others will attack your MCd mob, and kill it off pretty quick. After that, they aggro on you ... which is the point where you turn around and run like hell 'till they give up and go back to their camp.
    No xp or loot for the dead guy, but the camp now only has 4 mobs in it. Time to MC the next one and reduce the number to 3

    I could go on ... about how shackle makes fighting in areas full of undead so much more fun, about how mind soothe can save you from adds during a fight, about how scream+shield+renew makes you able to run away from really FUBAR situations ... but it'd get pretty long
    My point: as long as you get all your skills, pop 'em on a hotbar and use them creatively, you'll have no troubles soloing as a priest. You might be killing a bit slower than some of the other classes, but you'll be able to pull some stunts and survive some things that faster killing classes can't handle.

    And do note that's me talking about a priest with the talents that are "gimped for solo play". If you spec shadow ... well omg solo pwnage


    About group play ... well, do I even have to type it?
    Lesser/normal/greater heal is a slow-casting, mana efficient heal.
    Renew is a very mana efficient, instant cast heal over time.
    Flash heal is a fast-casting, inefficient emergency heal.
    Power word:shield is an instant cast shield that adds a considerable amount of hit points to the target (thus giving time for a proper heal), and gives the target non-slowed casting while it's up. Horrible on the mana, though.
    Prayer of healing is a slow casting, group heal that becomes more efficient than any other spell you have when just 3 people need the full amount ... and is just plain stupid not to use when 5 people and a pet or two need it

    People like getting healed, and the priest has got an impressive list of spells to do just that with. Not to mention cure/dispel, mind control, shackle etc.
    And, should the priest be shadow-specced, he can double as a quite good damage dealer as well - maybe not rivalling the mage, but not generating nearly as much aggro (per point of damage) either.

    When it comes to grouping, a priest is one of the most sought for classes, and definitely one that'll never have trouble getting into groups.

    I won't speak much of PvP ... I've been in several raids on horde towns (or well rather the usual ping-pong between southshore and tarren mill), but it's been laggy zergfests, and nothing organized. Thought I must say putting on renew + PW:shield, then running straight into a big group of enemies and hitting the psychic scream buttom is endlessly entertaining =)

    I've done some duelling, but not while actually having a good talent spec for it.

    Finally, some comments about other classes and how I like grouping with them

    Warriors. For healers, these guys (the ones that play them well, anyways) are the unsung heroes of WoW. It's pretty simple: healing draws a load of aggro, and a dead healer is not very useful to his group.
    Wether duo or in a full instance group, I really like the whole tank/healer thing. The tank has to trust me to keep him healed while I have to trust him to keep my arse clear.
    I know a lot percieve the paladin as being the "better warrior", but in all seriousness : I haven't seen a single paladin that could grab and hold aggro nearly as well as a good warrior.
    An example: was in a BRD group not long ago with two paladins tanking. If we ran into a group of 4 elite + 2 non elite mobs, they'd both grab 2 elites and try to tank them while the non-elites run free (for the DDers to nuke away quick). The second I cast a Gheal on one of those paladins one of the mobs on him would aggro on me and start running straight towards me ... fade would solve it the first time, but the second time (while fade cooldown was still on) I'd be in trouble.
    Same instance, just with Gromagrim as the only tank in the group. Run into the same bunch of mobs - Grom grabs all 4 elites and keeps them on him for the duration of the fight, even though I have to chaincast Gheal on him to keep him alive.
    Conclusion: I still haven't seen a paladin that I'd trust to main tank for me through a tough instance.

    On to the paladin:
    These guys are great to duo with, and despite what I said above I do prefer having one in my instance group . Preferably as the secondary tank (and backup healer) next to the warrior.
    They can take a lot of damage, tank ok, heal ok, have some great buffs and have some great panic stuff.

    The rogue:
    Sap! DAMAGE! Loads of stuns!
    The only thing I don't like about them is that they're all so focused on their damage output that they tend to draw aggro off the tank at really bad times (which force me to spend an annoying lot of mana on healing their leather-covered arses).

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The priest.

    (ooops posted too early, more to come!)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The priest.

    Mages:
    Duo. Mage nukes like a maniac while I shield + flash heal him and chip in damage whenever he doesn't need healing. After the quick blast of a fight, we use his free conjured water to get back up to full mana, then go all out burnout on the next mob. Not exactly the safe approach, but certainly fast and very good fun =)
    In groups a really good mage is a great thing while a poorly played one can be proper annoying.
    Good stuff:
    1) Polymorph = pwn.
    2) Area of effect + my PW:shield = pwn versus big groups of weak mobs.
    3) DAMAGE!
    Bad stuff:
    Some mages tend to go overboard on the damage early in the fight, thus pulling aggro off the tank ... which costs me a lot of mana and the tank a lot of trouble. Sometimes I decide to -not- heal these guys since ...
    - they're pretty much out of mana and thus can't contribute much to the rest of the fight anyways
    - keeping them alive is going to cost me a LOT of mana that can be put to much better use on the tank

    Warlocks:
    These guys have most of the damage of mages and so many nifty utility things ... great stuff
    Actually haven't had the chance to duo properly with one

    Druids:
    I really like having a good druid in the group, especially if it's a feral-specced one ... mainly because I like having tanks in front of me and a feral druid does that well, while being able to shift back to humanoid form and do some backup healing.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The priest.

    I'm looking forward to playing with you Niko I'll let you duo with my warlock and I'll show you the power of the dark side... (this could pushed beyond the limit of what's really fun, so I'll stop it here)

    You just made me consider playing a priest as my alt char afterall... thx

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