Dear Mr. Street (Ghostcrawler), My Class is Awesome
I've actually always been a fan of Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler. I do not possess the kind of personality that enables me to go out on forums and allow people to rip me apart - but he does it every day.

So I was really sad when yet another forum thread turned into "let's rip GC apart and talk about what a failjob he does" and this time, GC seemed to actually get frustrated enough about it to want to back off. I could link you all the relevant WoW Forums posts, but instead, just check out the article at

When did offering suggestions and creative ideas to developers morph into constant QQing? Why all the negativity? I've made my own posts before giving my own thoughts about where I think the developers have it wrong, but in spite of all that, I never took it down to the level where I declared that Greg Street should be fired, he does a terrible job, blah blah blah. So instead of all the negative mumbo jumbo so prevalent in the WoW community, let's try something different.

The Opposite of QQ: Dear Ghostcrawler, Priests are Awesome.

  • Remember back when you guys nerfed Circle of Healing and gave us a cooldown? We grumbled, but we all knew that it was necessary, because CoH was just too awesome. And it's STILL uber-awesome. I'll even forgive you for the Prayer of Healing nerf - because it was OP as well.
  • What other class gets two significantly different healing specs?
  • I'm sure it's happened before, but aside from a few VoA runs where you really want to diversify your raid mix of classes due to gear drops, I've never been turned down from joining a raid simply due to my class. Everyone wants a priest.
  • When I tell people of other guilds I have a level 80 raiding priest, they drool, and try to recruit me. 
  • I know everyone whines about the priest leveling process. Yes, it's rough. But after leveling several priests, I've figured out that the first 10-20 levels are a nightmare - and 20-40 is a blast.
  • Lightwell IS awesome. Developers keep making it awesomer. It's not their fault everyone else sucks.
  • We are the original healer, the ultimate in healing. We are well-rounded, with a little bit of everything. Is there room for improvement in certain details? Of course - we could all use tweaks. But don't ever misunderstand me. My class is absolutely awesome.
  • I realize I can't really speak to Shadow Priest viability in a raid... maybe all the complaints are well warranted. But from my experiences, everyone is happy to have a Shadow Priest (or several!) in the raid as well.
Balancing a Class

It can't be easy. Personally, when I look at class balance, I think of a few particular things:
  • Option for strong solo DPS
  • Good Raiding balance (DPS or Heals)
  • PvP Viability (DPS or Heals)
Shadow is actually pretty weak for solo DPS before level 40 - IMO, Holy is stronger. Back in BC, a strong Holy/Disc mix would actually net you much stronger single player DPS than Shadow - Shadow didn't actually do that much damage - it was more of a support role.

This brings us to raiding balance. For healing, we have two very different, very solid options. Disc still needs considerable tweaking, but that is not a surprise - Disc is very different from any other type of healing offered by healing classes in this game, so it's bound to have different kinds of difficulties in development. Holy is FINE. Of course I'd love little changes here in there, but overall? Holy is well rounded and solid. So what about Shadow? QQ we don't do enough damage, wanh.

Now, I will put in the disclaimer that I am certainly no expert on s-priesting, so feel free to take all of this with a grain of salt. But Shadow does a helluva lot more damage than it did back in BC. There was a tradeoff involved there - Shadow Priests had to sacrifice a lot of their support role strength (i.e. mana battery ftw) in order to gain those increases in DPS. But even with those changes, Shadow Priests are STILL strong support roles. We need the Replenishment. We can be a lot more flexible with our allotment of raid healers if we have a couple of shadow priests and their Vampiric Embrace. Misery makes sure everyone really IS hit capped. With all those bonuses that make you a fantastic addition to any raid, you cannot expect to top the damage meter. That is the meaning of BALANCE.

I'll completely avoid the whole PvP discussion, because I'm a noob at PvP, but I just want to say that the other day, on my Forsaken priest, I MCed someone off of a cliff in Arathi Basin for the first time ever. And DAMN it felt good.

The point of all this is to QQ about the QQers. You cannot have everything in one spec. Ideally, you would have a little bit of everything in one class, mixed up between various specs, but even that is not always an option. LoLSmite priests actually do a TON of damage, for the record - raiding included. But they aren't tweaked for raiding viability (such as hit rating, etc), and it's something that I hope Blizz puts some more thought into for the future.

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Annoying Do-Gooder
Sometimes, I like to run around Goldshire with a mountain of linen and coarse thread, simple wood and lesser magic essences, and whisper every low level priest I see after inspecting them, and make them new gear and wands.

I see too many low level priests without a wand.

I'm doing my part for a better priesting community.

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The Lore is Changing...
One of the reasons I wanted to start working on my Loremaster achievement was to spend more time out in the Old World before everything got turned upside down. When you are running around desperately seeking every quest possible, you also notice things you never bothered to before. And you pick up on some new things.

If you're Alliance, you may or may not have noticed a new arrival in Darnassus. His name is Archmage Mordent Evenshade of The Highborne. Actually, if you go near the city portals in Dalaran, there is a Highborne Nelf there offering a short quest that leads you to the Archmage (which counts for loremaster of Kalimdor! Wahoo!). Stick around and listen to the entire conversation the Archmage has with a Sentinel. It's not especially enlightening, but if you're wondering how on Azeroth Blizzard intends to justify Night Elf Mages, this appears to be the start of that lore revolution.

If you're Horde, head on over to Thunder Bluff, and stand in the giant tent over on Elder Ride, and listen to the discussion about Mu'Sha between Aponi Brightmane and Tahu Sagewind. A crisis of faith is on the horizon, potentially opening up new avenues of Light for the Tauren. Priests and Paladins incoming!

Blizzard has mentioned in the past that they don't want players to think they just threw in a bunch of new classes with no lore behind them, and I imagine these are some of their attempts to give a sense of foreshadowing for Cataclysm. The truth is, they are at the point now where story-line-wise, they HAVE to add some new lore is we want to see any new content. Okay, fair enough, I can accept that.

It's a great time to be working on Loremaster - new sources of lore popping up all over the place! I'm keeping my eyes and ears out for any other new NPCs.

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The Lone Healer
After a week of completely purposeful and productive priest posting, I fully expect this week to be lazy posting days. First off, I am sick with my annual change-of-season flu, which means that I'm likely to be sleeping even MORE than normal (which is already a lot - I sleep when I get bored. I get bored a lot). Also, I'm really hoping that at some point this week, my bosses will decide to actually give me some work to do... at work. Crazy, right? Yeah I thought so.

I have actually been spending most of the past few weeks of wow time leveling up Kateranna, my forsaken priest, and pretty much ignoring Jessabelle, only logging on to raid. The truth is, I was suffering from major burn out. If you're a healer, and you have a lot of in-game friends, you may know what I'm talking about (might be similar for tanks too!). Everytime I'm logged in, I get requests to heal something - about every 5-10 minutes, depending on the time of day. From heroics to run throughs to raids... and while I used to make sure to use every raid lockout per week, I just don't feel like doing that anymore.

I've been wanting to work on my Loremaster/Seeker achievement for months, but especially since BobTurkey's post about his accomplishment of such a feat. But everytime I've logged in on Jbelle for the past month or two, I've been inundated with tells. To be fair, half of those tells are just friendly hellos - I'm a social kid. And it's not that I'm annoyed by people inviting me to join them on their raiding fun. It's actually that I feel BAD saying no, and I'm always saying no.

See, I have a laptop, and a desktop. Most of the time, I play on my laptop - it is a mac, and I do not use a usb mouse. I trackpad all the way baby - who needs a right click? The only time I use my desktop is for raiding. I prefer playing on my laptop when I'm not raiding because I can sit on the living room couch with the windows open, comfy. Can't do that down in the basement with the desktop.

So when people invite me to heal, most of the time I just don't want to have to get off one computer and get onto another - and I cannot heal very well on my laptop.

I have quite a few healing friends who have experienced similar burnout. See, it's not necessarily that we don't WANT to heal - it's more that we get asked so much, and we have other things we want to do with our in-game time in addition to healing - and we just start to feel guilty all the time.

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Update to Holy Priest Leveling Guide
If you are looking for my leveling guide, you may find that it has moved - please update your bookmarks!

I consolidated all of the level ranges into one monstrous post, complete with bookmark links within the page so make it easier to navigate.

I have also finally added Level 40-50 to the guide.

This is just one more piece of my on-going attempt to better organize the various guides I have on this blog, in order to make them easier to access and read. I realize they are very long, and I do that intentionally in order to be as inclusive as possible. Hopefully the bookmarks and table of contents will make it easier for users to get past all the TLDR stuff and get to the details they seek.

In the future, for those of you using the leveling guide, I do intend to add sections on how to heal instances at various levels, since I realize many of you are interested in that. Whenever I make any large changes or updates to any of my guides, I will make a new post about it.

If you find that any links on any of these guides do not work properly, PLEASE leave a comment informing me so that I can fix it.

Happy weekend!

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Holy Priest PvE Starter Healing Guide : 3.3
I have long wanted to write this guide, and I've been working on it for a very long time. Why has it taken so long? The beauty of the Holy Priest is also what makes it difficult to learn to play WELL - Versatility. Therefore, I have spent the entire week leading up to this post trying to explain some of the versatility in talents, playstyles, and spells.

If you have come here specifically for this guide, I highly encourage you to check out several of the relevant posts I've made regarding Holy Priesting (which I have linked all over the place ad nauseam), because there is no simple cut and dry method of explaining how to play this spec well. Unlike Discipline priests, Holy Priests heal in a more reactive way, which means that the healing choices you make depend a lot more on the fight, and are less likely to fall under a set "rotation", despite Blizzard's development efforts to change this.

Here is a quickie table of contents of the subjects covered in this guide:

Discussion/Suggestions for Gems can be found in a separate post until guide is updated. Enchant info at a later date, stay tuned.


Your spec will vary depending on playstyle and the makeup of the group with which you currently run, so please read the full guide for more clarification.


While I have given some basic suggestions for specs depending on your chosen scenario, you should read about the individual talents to get a better feel for what talents are best for your playstyle. This section will explain why I've chosen what I have, and give you some information about what to switch around in your spec, with some consideration given to the debates surrounding different talents and spells. Note that not all talents are listed here - just the ones about which I have some comments.

We are versatile healers, this is true, but you should consider the other healers in your group in order to not waste your points on talents that you won't get much use out of due to other Pallies or Disc Priests or Trees. See my posts about the following talents/spells to get some background on a few of the talent debates.
Now, on to the individual talent discussions.

From the Disc Tree:
  • Twin Disciplines: The alternative to this tier 1 talents is very fight specific in PvE - Unbreakable Will is more of a PvP talent. For the Holy Priest, Twin Disciplines affects primarily Renew, Power Word: Shield, Circle of Healing, and Prayer of Mending. Those last two instant casts are among our most commonly used spells.
  • Improved Inner Fire: The added charges are not what make this a strong talent - it's the added 45% effect. Note that at level 71, Inner Fire rank 8 and all following ranks not only increase your armor, but also your spellpower.
  • Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Stamina = extra health. Everyone wants that. Nearly all priests take this talent, so it is unlikely you will run into a PvE priest without it.
  • Meditation: This is the primary reason you spec into Disc at all. Again, every priest, PvE or PvP usually specs into Meditation. This is particularly important for Holy Priests who are notorious for having mana problems. Also, note that you may find a lot of information on teh interwebs about the notorious 5 second rule. Please see elitistjerks for more information and history about why Meditation means that we are no longer nearly as concerned about 5SR.
  • Inner Focus: You will note this is none of the specs I have linked. This is a very good spell if you train yourself to use it properly, but of all the Priest specs, Holy arguably gets the least benefit from it. This is mostly because we have so many strong talents deep in the Holy tree that this 1 talent point that no longer helps build us up tier wise to better talents is better spent elsewhere, IMO. It is not a bad idea to take this talent if you prefer however - coupled with Divine Hymn, it is incredibly powerful.
From the Holy Tree:
  • Holy Specialization - Always put your first 5 points into this talent. Many good Holy procs are based on crit - some give us added throughput, some give us mana regen. Don't skip it.
  • Inspiration - You might as well pick up Inspiration, though personally I find its use somewhat debatable. As the folks over at elitistjerks pointed out though, at some point you will get some heals on the tank, they can always use the boost in armor, and since there really aren’t any options that are much better, it’s "selfish" not to take this talent.
  • Backtracking to - Improved Renew vs Divine Fury vs Spell Warding vs Improved Healing -
    The first third of the Holy Tree is full of a lot of crap relating to spells that after a certain level are no longer used or are Disc spells (Lesser Heal, Heal, Penance). This is where you will find several differences between my 5 man healing spec and my raiding spec. The
    biggest debate that pops up is whether or not talents that only really benefit Greater Heal at level 80 are worth it. See my discussion on the relevance of Greater Heal, in addition to the discussion about Renew before deciding which talents to choose.
  • Spirit of Redemption - It's our failpriest! When you die, everyone will know, which is pretty annoying. However, when you die, you have unlimited mana for 15 seconds, allowing you to possibly spare the group a wipe. If you find yourself "enjoying" this somewhat bittersweet talent quite a bit, you should consider picking up the relevant glyph. Also note the added 5% spirit. Again, mana is a problem for Holy Priests, so that extra 5% is helpful - it also combines well with the next important talent...
  • Spiritual Guidance - This is the talent that generally make spirit our preference for mana regen stats over Mp5 (and all blue sockets). Particularly as you are first gearing up, stacking spirit can be very helpful because in addition to increasing your mana regen, it also gives you a bit of a boost to spellpower. Before I found myself with near unlimited mana, I enchanted everything with spirit when it was a viable option - even preferring it over spellpower.
  • Surge of Light - One of the talents that increase the value of crit for Holy Priests. A free, instant Flash Heal is pretty nice, even if that Flash Heal can't crit. Note that it also can be used for a free Smite - so if there's no one to heal, you can always smite something, right? Those free Flash Heals proc quite a bit from Prayer of Healing and Circle of Healing, and they DO count towards Serendipity stacks (explained later).
  • Holy Concentration - Important mana regen talent that increase the value of crit. Definitely pick this up.
  • Lightwell - Take it or leave it, this is completely up to you and the group you heal. See my post about this talent/spell.
  • Serendipity - Gotta have it. This is the closest thing we have to a "rotation". If you are healing five mans, it's great for a super fast big bomb Greater Heal. If you are raiding and focusing on raid heals, this makes Prayer of Healing pretty awesome. Note that as mentioned previously, those Surge of Light Flash Heals DO count towards building Serendipity stacks. One thing to consider - just because you have three stacks of Serendipity does not necessarily mean you should blow a Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing - both of these spells are expensive mana wise, and you will find yourself running through your mana very quickly if you are too liberal with Serendipity usage.
  • Body and Soul - potentially a very good spell, but dependent on your raiding group - see my post about it for more information.
  • Empowered Healing - This is a very debatable talent, due to most of its benefit going to Greater Heal (read about that debate here). Therefore, if you don't use Greater Heal much, it is probably better to spec into Blessed Resilience and/or Spiritual Healing. If you're healing 5 mans, you're more likely to use Greater Heal than in a raid, which is why you will see a different between my 5 man spec and my raiding spec. Read the Greater Heal debate here.
  • Circle of Healing - Staple Holy Priest spell. You absolutely must have this, whether you heal 5 mans or raid. This is arguably the strongest Holy Priest spell, due to the fact that, to my knowledge, no other healing class has an AoE Instant Smart Heal, especially not on such a short cooldown. The key here is that this heal is SMART - it will heal the people who need the heals most.
  • Empowered Renew - Awesome if you use Renew a lot. See my post regarding usage of our one Priest HoT to decide whether you should pick this up or not.
  • Guardian Spirit - The best Oh Snap (In Ghostcrawler's words) in the Holy Priest arsenal. Coupled with the relevant Glyph, you do not need to reserve its use for Main Tanks only.


As your gear improves, you will find yourself stacking different stats. The two main exceptions are Spell Haste and Crit. You can choose to emphasize one over the other, dependent on your playstyle, or try to strike a balance between the two.

  • Hit Rating - If you are entirely new to healing, please note that healers need absolutely no hit rating. Heals always hit, never miss.
  • Stamina - Of course, added health is always a good thing for survivability. However, you should never waste your gems or enchants on stacking stamina. Stamina comes naturally with higher level gear, and with Improved Power Word: Fortitude, you get a little extra Stamina anyway.
  • Spirit - Due to Spiritual Guidance, spirit is a better choice than Mp5 for mana regen stats. If you have a choice between Mp5 or Spirit for an enchant, pick spirit. Same goes for gems - If you absolutely must use a blue socket gem, pick Spirit over the alternatives.
  • Mp5 - Good regen of course, but even with the recent buff, Spirit is still probably better.
  • Intellect - This is actually my preferred mana stat. Note that the following spells/procs/abilities are based on the size of your mana pool, and therefore are directly affected by Intellect (which also increases your crit rating, don't forget!) - Replenishment, Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope.
Mana Regeneration Formula at Level 80 (Check WoWWiki for more information):
 MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + sqrt(Int) * Spirit * 0.005575) * 0.60 <i>rounded u</i>p
If you are raiding, and therefore more likely to benefit from the procs and abilities of multiple other players, Intellect is the best "regen" stat to stack. For five mans, however, you won't get quite as much use out of Intellect (though it is still very important) so you can focus a bit more of your attention on Spirit, or Mp5 where Spirit is not an option.

When you first start gearing up, it is my opinion that Regen stats are the most important to stack, even over spellpower. Spellpower is useless if you have no mana. It won't take long, however, before you find that you are no longer running out of mana during fights, particularly if you excel at mana conservation. Once you find yourself at this point, you can focus more on replacing your enchants and gems with other stats that reflect more personal healing style.
  • Spellpower - This is another stat that naturally builds with higher level gear. Almost all healing and caster gear will have Spellpower on it. That having been said, it is never a bad idea to gem or enchant for spellpower, and when in doubt, it is always a solid choice.
  • Critical Strike Rating - There are several talents that benefit from higher crit rating, in particular Surge of Light and Holy Concentration. If you are trying to decide between Crit Rating and Haste Rating, there are plenty of discussions all over the internet (including my own) and loads of theory crafting to help you with your decision. Regardless, it usually comes down to personal choice, at least up to a certain amount. Always remember to consider what buffs will be provided by other group members as well, such as a Boomkin.
  • Haste Rating - Always good. Nothing feels better to me than peeling off a save-your-ass heal just in the nick of time. If you find yourself at the end of a fight with plenty of mana but lots of dead folks, you may need to stack more haste or at least more spellpower.
If you are looking for the theorycrafting numbers and math relevant to those last two stats, I recommend WoWWiki: Spell Haste and WoWWiki: Spell Critical Strike , and of course, elitistjerks.


There are actually a plethora of really good Holy glyphs. I suspect this is partially due to the innate versatility of the spec – there are so many different ways you can heal as a Holy Priest, and therefore the glyphs reflect that. I have selected all the Major Glyphs that are good options for a PvE Holy Priest, and I’ll explain how to decide if it’s the right glyph for you. As a side note, the first three listed are the ones I usually use.

  • Circle of Healing - This is absolutely useless if you do not raid, and only do 5 man dungeons – because you don’t have a 6th recipient. For a raiding priest, this is arguably the best glyph, and essentially required, because you should almost always be using Circle of Healing, since it’s awesome. This glyph increases its awesomeness by 20%.
  • Guardian Spirit - I like this because it allows me to be more liberal with my Guardian Spirit usage. I’m one of those people who is very nervous about using spells with a long cooldown, so I end up not using them at all. With this glyph, I know that if my Guardian Spirit does NOT save the target’s life, I haven’t completely wasted the cooldown – I’ll have it back for my usage fairly soon.
  • Flash Heal - If you use Flash Heal a lot and ever find yourself with mana problems, pick this up. However, if you no longer ever have any OOM moments, then you might pick up something else, since there are a lot of good options.
  • Lightwell - See my post on the use of Lightwell and decide for yourself how much you think you will use it before you pick up this glyph. This is actually a very powerful glyph – but ONLY if you KNOW that everyone in your group will properly make use of your Lightwell.
  • Holy Nova - This is not very good for raiding, because you will undoubtedly prefer Circle of Healing, but if you focus on 5 man dungeons, a lot of times you might use Holy Nova (since it will heal everyone within range in your group anyway). This is a very good boost to the spell, and I highly recommend it for leveling priests and for those who focus on 5 mans.
  • Hymn of Hope - another good glyph if you are still at that stage where you are having mana problems. Keep in mind that Hymn of Hope is more of a group/raid mana replenishment tool, not necessarily the best individual replenishment choice (a la Shadowfiend) so this is pretty pointless in 5 man groups if there aren’t multiple other mana users.
  • Power Word: Shield - Great glyph for 5 man healing. Fairly nice for raiding. Nice for soloing too. Almost useless if you raid with a disc priest – you shouldn’t be wasting your time bubbling, when theirs are better.
  • Prayer of Healing - This glyph provides us with one more HoT. Therefore, it's not really a great choice if you run with a Healing Druid. However, with the recent nerf to Prayer of Healing, I have found myself often needing to cast PoH twice to top people off after massive raid damage - with this glyph, it's no longer necessary.
  • Renew - If you use Renew a lot, and don't run with any healing druids, this is potentially a nice choice, because it essentially takes your HoT and turns it into a HoLT - Heal over Less Time. Same amount of healing, just done in a shorter period of time. Usually though, you might as well just use a direct heal instead.
  • Spirit of Redemption - Nice glyph for PvP. This is also a good glyph if you are progressing through content, and find yourself face down on the floor a lot. You can save a lot of wipes with Spirit of Redemption, particularly if there are no battle razzes available.
Our minor glyph options aren't so great. Glyph of Levitate is always the best choice, Glyph of Shadowfiend is one of the better choices as well. I have a preference for Glyph of Shadow Protection, but Glyph of Shackle Undead is probably a good option for 5 man healers.


Welcome to your arsenal of spells. There is no getting around it, this section is long - this is because we just have such a large and versatile selection of healing spells from which to choose. I'm skipping the main buffs, and focusing on spells you will most likely use whilst healing.

Discipline Spells:
  • Fear Ward - V. nice in fights like Auriaya from Ulduar. Cooldown on it sucks, but there is a Glyph for that.
  • Power Word: Shield - Bubble Bubble toil and trouble... unless there's a disc priest in your group. Please don't be that annoying Holy Priest all Disc Priests hate. When in doubt, ask the other priest in the raid if they are holy or disc. If they are Disc, ask if they would like you to refrain from bubbling certain folks, or anyone for that matter.
  • Shackle Undead - Decent crowd control, but only when there are undeadies around.
  • Mass Dispel - In most scenarios, don't bother. Let a Disc Priest handle it.
Holy Spells:
  • Binding Heal - If you take damage, you might as well heal someone else who has taken damage along with yourself. This is low threat, and also builds Serendipity stacks. Hotkey it, use it, love it.
  • Circle of Healing (talents) - Arguably the number 1 awesome Holy Priest spell.
  • Divine Hymn - Incredibly powerful, very expensive, channeled AoE spell. Long cooldown means this will probably be the kind of spell you only use once per boss fight, so choose your timing carefully, and utilize it in a raid/group wide damage scenario, when you are potentially near a wipe. Best for raiding, not as useful for 5 mans.
  • Flash Heal - Our default heal, really. When you can't find a good reason to use any of your other awesome healing spells, always default to this. It's your staple heal, it's your basic, procs anything, crits, etc etc.
  • Greater Heal - Our default healbomb. Read about whether or not to use this spell.
  • Guardian Spirit (Talents) - Oh Snap The Tank is Gonna Die spell. This will save someone's life if they aren't being stupid.
  • Heal - Useless after level 40, when you get Greater Heal.
  • Holy Nova - As a holy priest, this is vastly inferior to Circle of Healing for raiding, because this is NOT a smart heal. It will only heal members of your group who are in range. However, in a 5 man scenario, this is a good choice - it generates no threat, and does damage as well which is great for AoE scenarios. If you primarily heal 5 mans, pick up Glyph of Holy Nova to make this even better. Don't forget these heals can crit, and proc Surge of Light and Holy Concentration.
  • Hymn of Hope - One of our Regen spells. Read the tooltip carefully - it is more for the benefit of your raid or group when people are running low on mana than for yourself - although, if you couple this with Shadowfiend, you will get more bang for your buck. Don't bother with it in a 5 man if you are the only one using mana, or other mana users have plenty of mana, unless you are desperate.
  • Lesser Heal - Useless after level 20 when you pick up Flash Heal.
  • Lightwell (talents) - Potentially very good if used properly. Again, see my post about this spell.
  • Prayer of Healing - Powerful AoE heal. Long cast, but can be shortened by Serendipity. Unlike Circle of Healing, this is not a smart cast, but it has no cooldown aside from GCD, and it IS targettable - that means that it will heal all the people in the same group as the person you cast it on. Great for healing after massive raidwide damage. Couple it with Glyph of Prayer of Healing for an even better effect if you are lacking tree druids.
  • Prayer of Mending - Fantastic spell for reactive healing - it's semi smart and does a lot of the job for you. Bounces around, healing people who need it, like your own little healing midget friend. It's powerful, it's smart, it's instant, it can crit (and proc Surge of Light). Note that the threat it generates goes back to you, so while it's a good idea to toss this on the tank before the pull, use with caution if your tank isn't very good at holding threat yet. Keep it bouncing at all times. Tip: If it settles on you and stops bouncing around, use Shadow Word: Death on a proper mob (focus off the tank please!) to get it bouncing around again.
  • Renew - It's our sole HoT (unless you pick up Glyph of Prayer of Healing) - and it's surprisingly good. Great for topping folks off when you have other things to do, because it is instant cast. If there are no tree druids around, throw it on the tanks to help the main tank healers out a bit. As with any HoT, this is a great spell to use when someone has some DoT effect on them that cannot be abolished or dispelled. If someone gets bombed or some other wonky fight mechanic, toss a renew on them, and in many cases, that will be sufficient.
  • Resurrection - our basic rezzing spell. Cannot be used while in combat. Duh.
Shadow Spells:
  • Fade - This is a temporary threat dump spell. The cooldown on it is longer than I would like, but it is very handy. If mobs start running towards you, just Fade and continue to heal. If the tanks are decent, they will pick them up then. You don't have to run to the tank - just fade. This is also awesome when mobs spawn, and you start out at the top of their threat meter (I'm thinking of you, Archavon)
  • Psychic Scream - Please don't use this. Like, ever. This is not a crowd control spell - this is more like a crowd uncontrolled spell. If you are wearing mobs, Fade. If Fade is on cooldown, just bubble, run towards the tank, scream and cry. If you use Psychic Scream in any situation aside from very rare exceptions, you will find that your tank will probably just start letting you die all the time. It's a PitA to try and pick up Feared mobs, and it generates a lot of threat.
  • Shadowfiend - This is our mana regen tool. The cooldown is actually fairly low, but use it BEFORE you run out of mana so that you can use it again later. You don't really need to do anything to control this little beast - just pop it and ignore it, or couple it with Replenishment or Hymn of Hope, as it returns mana to you based on your mana pool.

Rotations, Tips, and Strategies

There are very few situations in which Holy Priesting lends itself to a "rotation" per se. Really, the only time you are going to see this much is in a 5 man scenario, if then. I will address a couple of different scenarios for the Holy Priest who wants to heal, as they encourage different playstyles.

Single-Target Healing:

This is not the strength of a Holy Priest. Really, if you want to single-target heal, switch to Disc, and check out how to do disc. However, you may find yourself in lots of situations in which you will be temporarily required to heal a single-target. In such cases as these, when you only have to worry about one person, and perhaps your self, you can do this relatively well, though other healing classes are better at it. The main reason why Holy Priests are not the optimal choice for MT healing is not because they can't do big bursty heals (they can) or use HoTs and shields for buffering/mitigating damage (they can), but mostly because they will often struggle with mana if forced to focus on spam healing one target for an entire fight. Therefore, if you find yourself as the MT healer for whatever reason, equip trinkets that will maximize your mana regen, and be particularly conscientious of your mana return cooldowns.
5 Man Healing:

Healing a 5 man instance is pretty fun because you are the only healer, and get to use a much bigger mix of all your tools. It's also harder to tell someone what to do when, and which spells to use, because it depends very much on the scenario and the fight. 5 manning involves a combination of single-target healing as mentioned above, and group healing as mentioned below, so you get to use everything.
  • Before any pulls, bubble the tank and start a Prayer of Mending on them. Once the tank starts taking damage, throw a renew on him or her, and keep it rolling as needed to buffer some incoming damage.
  • Ensure that Prayer of Mending is always on cooldown - keep it bouncing. When bored, it's not a bad idea to just throw renews around to make your job easier.
  • Put a bubble on that damn mage. Srsly.
  • If you get aggro and take damage, fade if necessary, then Binding Heal to someone else who has taken damage (preferably the tank).
  • You have three real options for healing your entire group simultaneously - Holy Nova, Circle of Healing, and Prayer of Healing. Those are in order from cheapest mana wise and lowest amount of healing, to most expensive mana wise and most amount of healing (based on tooltip alone - this does not reflect talents, glyphs, or Spellpower coefficients). All three of these can proc Surge of Light. Holy Nova will only work well if everyone is within a very short range of one another - keep in mind it also does damage (so beware around CC'd mobs, etc). Circle of Healing is often your optimal choice. If it is on cooldown, Holy Nova will usually suffice, but use Prayer of Healing sparingly, probably only with 3 stacks of serendipity, only when Circle of Healing is on cooldown, and only when there has been a lot of group-wide damage.
  • Holy Priests are very mobile healers. If it is necessary for you to move around a lot while healing, focus your efforts on Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Mending, Renew, Circle of Healing, and Holy Nova, as these are all instant cast spells, and all but the first can proc Surge of Light (bubble can proc this if glyphed, btw) if specced properly, which will potentially give you yet another instant heal.
  • Read up on your full arsenal of spells - there are very few of them that are NOT useful in a 5 man environment.
Raid Healing

In a raid, you will most likely always be assigned to AoE Healing. Always take careful note of the other healers in your healing group, and adjust your style and the spells you use dependent on the other classes available. For instance, if there are Disc Priests in the raid, avoid bubbling. If there are Trees, Renew is likely unnecessary. If you have Pallies, don't even bother with Greater Heal.
  • Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing, Circle of Healing. Don't bother with Holy Nova.
  • Flash Heal when Circle of Healing is on cooldown, Binding Heal to someone else when you take damage, and use Prayer of Healing with three stacks of Serendipity when there is massive raid wide damage.
  • If there are Pallies healing the MT, but no druids, throw a shield + renew combo on the MT, as well as Prayer of Mending.
  • If there are no Disc Priests, Shield those who get bombed, fisted, slagged, tanked, overdue the aggro, or just in general are idiots or squishy.
  • Sometimes locks like to drive us mad. If you see their health dip drastically while their mana simultaneously increase, just throw a renew on them and a glare.
  • Always keep a Prayer of Mending bouncing.
  • Use your mana regen spells BEFORE you run out of mana. In boss fights that you know are long and will strain your mana reserves, use them early so that you can potentially use them again (i.e. Shadowfiend) during the same fight.
*pant*pant*... And there you go - hopefully a fairly inclusive guide to help you get started. If you feel there is something I should add here to make it even MORE tldr, please comment and let me know.

ETA: 10/06/09 - Added link to gems post and to enchants post.
ETA: 1/27/10 - Updated the title, since this guide will also work for patch 3.3. Added a little more info for single target healing and in various other spots because it simply wasn't TLDR enough.

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Avert Your Eyes
Short note to warn people: Tomorrow I am posting my Starter Guide for Holy Priest PvE Healing.

It is currently 8 pages long in Word, single spaced - and I still have 2 more sections to write, and then I need to go back through and add all the WoWhead and blog links. I actually took the day off of work (I assure you, that is no big sacrifice) and have been working on it for 4 hours - and I'm nowhere near done.

If this were a normal website, and not a blog, it wouldn't be a big deal, but since it IS a blog, and therefore formatting is a PitA, I am giving you a little forewarning. This is way bigger than the Discipline Guide, due to the nature of Holy Healing.

Oh TLDR, you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet!
Oh, Lightwell, You Are So Misunderstood
At level 40 under the Holy Tree, for precisely 1 talent point, you can pick up a really nifty spell: Lightwell.

Also known as LOLwell.

ETA: Save the Lightwell! has, perhaps unsurprisingly, made an excellent post about the value of lightwell, discussing all the arguments against it and defeating those very same arguments! Check it out - it's most likely much better than my own post hehe.

Why do so many people scoff at this awesome spell? The HPS is amazing. It does a lot of the healer's job for them in a way. You can precast it before a fight, and lay it out ahead of time. It has a wealth of charges and it can heal a large number of people simultaneously. Why wouldn't you want such a great spell?

Because its benefit is dependent on non-healers having the awareness to, and taking responsibility for, healing themselves. And, quite often, you cannot depend on others to do that - it's not really in their job. In order to get the benefit of the healing provided by Lightwell, the DPS or tank needing the heal must:
  • figure out where the Lightwell is.
  • reposition themselves (and potentially the mob) over to it
  • click on the Lightwell, thereby deselecting their current target.
  • If there are multiple mob targets, they then have to retarget the proper mob.
  • If they use a rotation, it potentially screws up their "system"
I could be like all the healers who complain about lazy DPS and tanks who won't make the effort to save their own virtual arses, but to be honest, I don't actually think that's fair. I, and a vast portion of raiding healers, use an addon that enables me to heal others without requiring me to actually target individuals. When I do try to DPS, I struggle with targeting properly - I'm completely out of practice. Screwing up one's rotation is a bona fide PitA too, and depending on the class of DPS or Tank, it may simply not be worth the loss in damage or threat to get that heal, when in all likelihood, the healer is just going to heal them anyway. And let's not forget that business of finding the damn well and running over to it in the first place.

That last problem at least can be helped by thoughtful placement of the Lightwell, and I could offer many suggestions for how to improve usage of a Lightwell, not to mention to the spell itself (seriously, did Blizz but that Lightwell in ToC just to PISS US OFF?), but those issues are for another post, and actually Matticus already wrote a pretty good article about how to make the best of this spell. My point here is to recognize the valid debates within the Holy Priest community regarding the value of this particular talent.

If you can figure out the best way and situations in which to use it properly, and if you can "train" the other members of your group to use it, then here's what I say - it's ONE damn talent point for a potentially awesome spell. Hell, skip Desperate Prayer, pick up Lightwell, and just park it near yourself. (Yes, yes, I say this partially in jest, because I know the alternatives to Desperate Prayer, talent wise, are pretty crappy)

My own personal verdict? Spec it.

As an ending note, here are Ghostcrawler's comments on Lightwell from the Priest Q&A.

Q: Do you have any plans to improve [Lightwell's] functionality?
Ghostcrawler: [...] The basic root of the problem is that most dps classes seem unwilling to have to take the time or spatial awareness to make use of the Lightwell, even if it provides great healing. [...] We don’t like that dps characters focus on dps at the exclusion of even their own survival and just assume that’s the healer’s job [...]. Lightwell heals for a lot. The problem is just getting players to use it. Encounters currently are very fast-paced, in terms of both dps and healing required so you have trouble finding room to use it. "

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Pew Pew Renew
Okay, I was actually going to talk about Lightwell today, but I guess I'll do that tomorrow, because my Disc Priest readers demanded discussion of Renew. Or something like that. Shh. I shall open this discussion with a quote from Ghostcrawler that simply has to be repeated from the Priest Q&A:
"Furthermore, the priest has strong heal-over-time spells (HoTs), direct heals, and area-of-effect (AoE) heals."
I reiterate what I said back then - one good solid HoT does not "strong HoTs" make.

Anyway. That having been said, Renew is quite awesome. If we're only going to have one real HoT, then ours is pretty damn solid, and I cannot complain about it. There are also lots of talents that modify it, giving us quite a bit of versatility with that one HoT.

The "problem" with HoTs in general is two-fold.
  • Healers are not patient. If you have a HoT on someone, most healers have a very bad habit of not waiting for that HoT to heal the target up, but instead using a direct heal to fill up the health bar, thereby wasting the HoT. HoTs can therefore be difficult to manage amongst a variety of healers.
  • While yes, Priests are very versatile, all you need is one healing Druid in the raid to render even our one strong HoT pretty inferior. If you have more than one Druid, the value of Renew is greatly reduced. There is such a thing as too many HoTs. Balance is key, IMO, to a good healing group in a 25 man raid especially.
For Disc Priests, however, you are usually assigned to a single target. And usually, you won't need to worry about too many others focusing on your target. Personally, I think renew is great for Disc Priests. The Disc talents Twin Disciplines and Mental Agility, coupled with the first tier Holy talent, Improved Renew, make it pretty easy to buff up your Renew - and one strong HoT on a tank while you're Bubbling and PoMing and Penancing and Flashing (wow that sounds dirty) is a great inclusion into your rotation. The buffer of a HoT fits well with the mitigation of a Disc Bubble. In fact, the Disc Priests who read this blog were so in favor of using Renew that I might add a bit about it to my Disc guide, hmm.

What about Holy Priests? In addition to the tier 1 Disc talent Twin Disciplines (which Holy Priests should pick up anyway on their way to Meditation) and the tier 1 Holy talent Improved Renew, there are a couple of deep Holy talents that affect Renew.
  • Empowered Renew - This is the best talent for improving Renew for Holy Priests. There are lots of neat talent options that deep in the Holy Tree, but this is a solid choice. In addition to making Renew more powerful, it also turns it into a mini instant heal. The benefit of even a mini instant heal cannot be understated. In addition, at least the first 15% healing portion can crit - which can also proc a Surge of Light. Two instant heals is such a superbly wonderful thing. If specced into the next talent, it ALSO procs...
  • Holy Concentration - Any good Holy Priest picks up this talent anyway, but I wanted to mention it here because of how often it procs from Renew when you are specced into Empowered Renew.
The point of this little analysis for you Holy Priests is to determine whether or not you should spec into Empowered Renew. My verdict? An overwhelming yes. But I bring it up because there are a lot of people who choose not to spec into it, and instead pick up another deep holy talent, such as Body and Soul, or others. I've already dicussed when you should and should not spec into Body and Soul, and I will make a similar assessment for Empwered Renew - a lot of it depends on whether or not you raid, and the healer makeup of your raiding group.
  • Do you primarily heal five man dungeons or solo? SPEC IT
  • Do you raid with multiple healing druids? (possibly) SKIP IT
  • Do you raid with multiple Trees but no Disc Priests? SKIP IT (and pick up Body and Soul instead)
  • Do you have a high crit rating? SPEC IT
  • Do you have a low haste rating? SPEC IT
I'm sad that Disc Priests don't have such an awesome talent for Renew, but at least you guys get a nice mana reduction talent for it!

ETA: Updated my Disc Healing Guide (and the talent spec I used as my template) to reflect my new-found appreciation for Renew.

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Greater Heal - Is it worth it?
This is a continuation of my analysis of certain talents - all the different debates I want to get out there before I release my PvE Holy Priest Guide. More to come in the following days, btw.

I've often mused that the debate regarding whether or not to use Greater Heal has a lot in common with a similar debate for Holy Pallies, Flash of Light vs Holy Light. Greater Heal is this big powerful heal with a long cast time, and at least in a raiding environment, you rarely get a chance to peel off that Greater Heal before another healer as thrown in a stopgap. It usually ends up being a total waste when you're raid healing.

For Disc Priests, if you're on MT duty, or anyone who takes a large amount of steady damage, I suppose it could be more useful, but truth be told, I think it would still be better just to use Flash Heal. However, I would be really interested in hearing from the Disc Priests that read this - do you find yourself using Greater Heal much at all?

For Holy Priests, you can get more use out of it due to Serendipity. With three stacks of Serendipity up, the cast time for Greater Heal is only slightly longer than Flash Heal (but don't forget, for mana conservation purposes - it's STILL the same mana cost!). But even then, there are rarely situations in which Greater Heal won't be a waste, and generally if you're on raid heals it makes more sense to cast a hasted Prayer of Healing - or just ignore the stack completely.

There are a couple of fights where I use Greater Heal a lot - Patchwerk, obviously. Predictable damage, and all healers are focusing on the tanks. Then there's the pull on Auriaya. Generally all three of our tanks are taking massive amounts of damage and no one else is, so all the healers are unloading on them with everything they've got (for the record, I reeeally hate that pull). I build up my stacks of serendipity and unload a Gheal, and it's one of the few situations in which it's not often wasted.

All that having been said, it's up to individual choice. I know I focus a lot on raiding here, but if you prefer sticking to five mans where you are the only healer, I think Greater Heal can get a lot more use. Use of Greater Heal is one of those significant indicators of individual healing style - some people use it quite a bit, others not at all. If you can control the healing coming in on your target, i.e. in a 5 man where you are the only healer or when you are solo-healing a target, it is a lot more useful. Therefore, even if you are in raids, if you are assigned strictly enough to the point where no one else is ever healing your targets, again it makes more sense.

The Greater Heal centered Talents

Where am I going with this? Well let's take a look at some Holy talents that name Greater Heal specifically.

  • Divine Fury - You don't use Heal after a certain level, when you get Greater Heal. Since you are on healing duty, there is almost never a reason to be using Smite or Holy Fire in a raid, and to a lesser degree, in a 5 man. Therefore, the only healing spell that you will use affected by this talent is Greater Heal. So, if you don't use Greater Heal, should you even bother with this talent?
  • Improved Healing - Again, you won't be using Heal or Lesser Heal at 80. If you are holy, you don't have Penance (weep). Therefore, only Greater Heal and Divine Hymn are benefitted by this talent. Divine Hymn, with its 10 minute cooldown, will likely be used only once a boss fight (if that), so again, Greater Heal is the biggest target of this talent's benefit.
  • Empowered Healing - This talent is a bit different because it also gives a bonus to Flash Heal and Binding Heal, both of which are highly used spell (if you aren't in the habit of using Binding Heal - get with it!). Fully specced, this gives you an extra 40% of your bonus healing for Greater Heal, and 20% for Flash Heal and Binding Heal. That sounds pretty awesome but there is a really good argument for saying that Greater Heal doesn't NEED to be any bigger - it doesn't get used enough as it is because it's too powerful and gets wasted. The bonuses to Flash Heal and Binding Heal are awesome, but you can pick similar bonuses up from other talents if you choose.
So, with these talents (and for the record, I'm currently specced into some of them, which I'm beginning to reconsider), is it worth investing the points when the greatest beneficiary is a spell that you may or may not ever really use? For some of the talents, there may be no better alternative - but for others, there just might - and I will get into that in days to come.

ETA: Forgot to add this, but in case you've forgotten about the Class Q&A with Ghostcrawler, here are some of the comments he had regarding Greater Heal:

"Flash Heal is big, so Greater Heal is just overkill. Combine this with the fact that there are other spells that are doing a lot of the healing that Greater Heal used to do -- Penance for example. I don’t think many players look at Greater Heal as being too expensive from a mana-per-healing standpoint. They often aren’t in danger of running out of mana. It’s also worth pointing out that max rank Greater Heal has always healed too much. The difference is that priests used to be able to cast down-ranked Greater Heals. We have considered offering say Lesser Heal as a literal 50% mana, 50% healing version of Greater Heal [...] In a raid in which healers don’t coordinate well it’s easy for other healers to stomp on your big, slow heals. While you are casting, someone heals your target for you."

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Battle of the Bubbles
Oh, poor poor Discipline priests.

First, you have to fight the meter battle with various metermaids who link recount after every fight, and raid leaders who frown upon your low numbers.

Second, you have the raid leaders who lawl at the idea of having a Disc Priest in the raid at all, because, srsly, we already have Holies for our buffs - anything you can do, they can do better, right?

But a few patches ago, Blizzard introduced a new Holy talent that makes the whole bubbling battle even more frustrating.

I bring you: Body and Soul.

It's actually been around for awhile now, and for the record, I have tried it out a few times. Yes, it is teh awesome. It was brought back to my attention while I was trying desperately to write a Holy Priest PvE Healing guide to go along with my Disc healing guide, which seems to have grown pretty popular over the interwebs. (Just so you know, it is in the works - it's just a lot more complicated to write up than the Disc guide).

If you were to check out my Holy Spec right now on Jessabelle, you would see that I am not specced into this wondrous talent, and for very good reasons, mind you. Yes it is useful - even in raiding. But I chose other options because I don't want to piss off my precious Disc Priest in my raid. I really do try not to piss off Disc Priests - I sympathize with their struggles. Plus, I do not want to get on Amber's bad side. She's way snarkier than me. /cower

So when should you spec into Body and Soul, and when should you skip it if you focus primarily on raiding?

  • Are there no other priests in your raid? SPEC IT
  • Are the other priests in your raid all holy or shadow? SPEC IT
  • Is there a Disc Priest in your raid who is dedicated for main tank heals? SPEC IT
  • Is there more than one Disc Priest in your raid? SKIP IT
  • Is there only one Disc Priest in your raid, but they are NOT dedicated to main tank heals? SKIP IT
My situation falls into the last category. But Miss Medicina! you may cry, Why on earth would you NOT have your Disc Priest assigned to Main Tank heals? ZOMG L2PLAY.

Disc Priesting is actually kinda new and novel in the raiding world since Wrath. Back in the BC days, Disc was pretty much our PvP spec. I never even gave it much of a second glace except to pick up Divine Spirit before it became a baseline spell. Then all of a sudden Disc Healing became viable in a raid, and not only that... it became pretty freaking awesome - and way fun to play.

Even now, there is this misconception that if you have a Disc Priest in a 25 man raid, they should always be on Main Tank heals, due to their strength in single target healing. Tosh, say I. TOSH. Single target healing =/= Main Tank healing. We have a Disc Priest in our raid who is moderately new to the style, and he and I have been whispering back and forth in obvious geekjoy, playing around with different things he can do, because we usually have far too many pallies. So, I usually assign him to wonky boss fight mechanics - Why yes, my friend, you are on Slagpot duty, and throw a Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending when needed, kthx.

And off he goes, into a happy bubbly oblivion.

What bursts that bubbly besottedness is some Holy Priest's damn Weakened Soul debuff on the Disc Priest's target. I'm one of those healing leaders that announces to the whole raid when we have both Disc and Holy priests - because I've listened to too many Disc priests complaining about Holy priest's bubbling their targets and screwing up the Disc rotation, not to mention wasting their abilities. And when Holy Priests have Body and Soul... they want to USE it. Because it's awesome. And it's handy. And if I didn't have my Disc Priest bubbling bombed, fisted, and slagpotted folks, that Body and Soul would come in handy - get a quick runaway you gravity bombed druid!

But unfortunately for you, B&S Specced priest, I do have someone taking care of that already. And even with your flashy Body and Soul buffed bubble that you want to use every chance you get, Disc Priest's bubbles are still superior. Sorry. Get over it, and go Circle of Healing something, mmk?

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Forsaken do NOT giggle.
I just wanted to say... the Brewfest antics do not belong within the ruins of Lordaeron. I have not seen so many gaily dressed and giggly undead since I watched Twilight.

Just sayin'.

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For the Love of Leveling
I have a friend who started playing on my server at my request, though she'd been playing elsewhere a long time. She has been leveling toons now on my server for about a year - none are at max level. Seriously, this girl just loves to level toons.

But what I find interesting, is that she seems to have some sort of personal system to it. For instance, I'm pretty sure she won't even bother unless she has a blue bar - which has led her to create several alts to level while another builds up blue bar.

Another aspect of her leveling system, is that she just loves getting runs through dungeons. I'm not actually sure how often she does dungeons WITHOUT a high level running her through. This always makes me feel awkward, because I don't want to tell her no (since she has been my friend since high school), but I actually don't like running ANYONE through low level dungeons.

The Dungeon Run

In one run I gave her through stockades, she actually had a group of four people when I joined the party. All were of relevant level, and the reactions when my level 80 priest joined the group were all across the board. It became apparent to me that this group had no idea my friend would be bringing in a level 80. This did not matter to most of the low levels, with the exception of one.

I was accustomed to running my friend through these dungeons, so I just barelled through everything. Near the end of our run, the low level priest in the group announced politely that he was dropping group, since he was obviously not needed. My friend lawled at him, asking why he was complaining - he was getting a free run! I, however, completely understood, and I sent him a tell afterwards with an apology, telling him I didn't realize that the rest of the group did not know I would be joining them.

My Own Personal Standards

I really do believe a lot of people would not understand why this scenario upset the pugged low level priest - but I do. Here's the thing - a lot of us actually play the game because we find it fun. We enjoy the process, the difficulties, the wipes, the learning. We don't WANT someone higher level to come through and make everything easy for us. The priest in question had likely been very excited about getting a chance to heal possibly his very first dungeon. It wasn't about the in-game XP for him as much as the player experience.

On my alts, I don't run dungeons for XP. I run them to try out my skills at my class and role. I run them to see a new dungeon, to experience it for myself. I don't WANT someone to churn through it all for me - I want to do it the "right" way.

In similar fashion, I hate running low levels through dungeons. It's a chore for me, it's boring, unfun, and since it was never something I wanted when I was a low level, I feel no "debt to the community" to do it for others. I actually enjoy professions, quests, and achievements a lot more than dungeons and raids anyway.

This used to annoy the hell out of my fiance when we were leveling together. All of our other friends were higher level, and eager for us to catch up back in the BC days. They often offered to help out by running us through dungeons, or quests, or things like that. As much as I knew they were just trying to be helpful, I didn't want the help - I wanted to do it properly, with other players at my level. My fiance didn't agree, and our two clothie toons ended up going their separate ways as soon as we hit the outlands.

When WotLK came out, and all of our guildies were leveling, many of them wanted to level via dungeon, and I was so not interested. I wanted to do all the quests! I'm one of those people who actually reads them.

When I level a new toon, I try out new zones that I bypassed on my previous toons whenever possible. This was another reason I wanted to start a Horde character - I had no experience with most of the Hordie lore and quests, and really wanted to get at least a taste of them before Cataclysm hits.

Has Cataclysm changed your view of the old world? Are you taking any steps to get in any old-world old-school goodness before it all gets esploded?

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The "Right To Know" Clause
If someone in a guild does something wrong to another person, doesn't every guild member have a right to know? Shouldn't it be made public?

The short answer, in my opinion, is Yes. I am a firm believer that each individual not only has the right, but also the responsibility, to be well informed and make decisions for themselves about what to do for their own protection.

The long answer? It's complicated.

Let's go back to That Guy in trade, whose entire justification for shouting NINJA in all caps is to warn others. Looking at it from this perspective, it absolutely makes sense. Yes, they absolutely have a right to know. And the best person to tell them is the officers, because that enables the leadership to control the way the information is released, in an (ideally) unbiased way.

In the security world, classified documents are only to be released and discussed on a need-to-know basis. If I took a similar approach to discretion amongst officer decisions, it brings me to the debate over the difference between right-to-know information, and need-to-know information.

The problem lies in knowing where to draw the line. As officers, we encourage others to come to us privately if they have any complaints or things they want to discuss. We want to foster open communication between officers and non-officers. In order to preserve this communication, it requires a lot of discretion on our part. The unfortunate part of this required discretion is that we are often perceived as some power-hungry clique of officers, sheltering secrets.

If WaltTheWarrior comes to me and complains that he doesn't like the way HarryHunter bosses people around in vent, it is my responsibility to take care of the problem (assuming it really is one) without telling HarryHunter specifically who all has complained. Harry doesn't need to know this information that might make him bitter - if the complaint is a legitimate problem, it is our job to take care of it. We have to be confrontational for all the non-confrontational people. It's really not fun.

When players have a problem with one another, they do not HAVE to come to us. If they so choose, they can communicate directly to the person who offends them. That is their right, and if they choose to do this, we can only hope they do it with maturity. But, that having been said, it's none of our business if two players decide to hate one another, as long as they act properly whilst in a raid. We aren't your life counselors. If players who cannot get along choose to use the guild/raid/alliance chat or forum to air their grievances, it now becomes our business - this isn't the place for it, children, fight elsewhere.

Once you bring the officers into the problem, you have to expect that we are going to treat it with the same discretion we treat every other problem we encounter. If an officer cannot treat these scenarios with discretion, they should not be an officer.

When you agree to join a community and follow their rules, once you bring a problem to an officer and expect them to handle it, you no longer have control over how that problem is handled. We're supposed to be unbiased (and most of the arguments amongst officers are based around trying to achieve that lofty goal) and that means that what YOU think should happen is no longer all that relevant.

If you don't like the way your guild is run, you are absolutely free to start your own. This is not a "piss off" or "take it or leave it" statement. It's simply logical fact. We can't make everyone happy. If you want things to be a certain way, then take responsibility for it yourself, and DO it yourself by starting your own. Hell, I've considered doing this myself quite often.

Reputations are very important in the WoW Raiding scene - and this can be tricky to handle amidst the ever anonymous internet. Serious accusations, taken too far, can ruin someone's raiding career. What if it really WAS just an accident? I'm all about letting the voice of the people speak for themselves, but I get very concerned when emotions run high and the mob mentality begins to surface.

The thing is, do you announce an issue if it turns out that it is a NON issue? Do you tell all the members "hey someone was accused of Ninjaing, but after a week spent researching the issue, we have decided that is not really the case." That is going to turn into "shouldn't all guild members be allowed to make the decision about whether or not that is the case? Like a jury of your peers or something?"

Well, that is an incredibly valid suggestion, and this is why I have been so on the fence about how to handle these situations. I have come to the decision that discretion is the better part of valor. Do I expect all the guild or alliance members to faithfully trust my judgment and simply agree to do what I say? Absolutely not. I do, however, hope they understand that I, as an individual, do my very best to represent them and make decisions that will benefit them as a whole.

Author's Note: I actually wrote this Monday, and am only posting it now. Yesterday, there was a very interesting post by Elnia over at the Pink Pigtail Inn on a very similar topic to the things I have been writing about this week. It's really entertaining when several people in the Blogosphere seem to have the same ideas at once!

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