Happy Holy Healing, Hallelujah!

The time has come, the Bear Priest said, to speak of many things. Of buffs and wipes and long cooldowns, of loot rolls and of bling. Of why the Spine is such a pain, and how to heal through things.

If you know where that came from, you may feel a sense of foreboding.


The word I bring you is mostly positive, much as our species is ‘mostly’ harmless.

I, that is me, the player sitting here in this chair, is in a raid team.

Ho no? Ho yas!

And even weirder… I’m raiding as a healing Holy Priest.

Yeah, I may have to give some of you a few minutes. That’s cool, I’ve got chips, I’ll go take a break, be back in a bit.



Okay, *munch munch*, we all set to continue?

All right, damnit, how do you eat chips and not get cheese crap on the keyboard? Fine, I guess I am destined to live my WoW playing life bereft of cheese-flavored snacks.

What? Oh right, healing as a Priest in a raid.

Yeah, Penumbria has done a little raiding. Only a little. If you really cared, you could even Armory her to look at progression, if only to see that I’ve only raided a few times.

I have a few observations to make, inspired by Allison Roberts’ latest WoW Insider post.

I ran LFR as a Healer from start to finish, several times, and I have healed Dragon Soul 10 person normal a few times.

Point the First: I am here to tell you, without reservation, that it is more challenging to heal LFR than Normal.

When I started with my Priest as a healer in heroics and LFR, it was challenging. But, by the grace of God and the teachings of Tyben, I made it through. I struggled, I actually used my cooldowns and learned what did what for whom, and felt I was doing well.

How is that for a blog name, btw? The Teachings of Tyben. I know I’d read it.

And then came the day I filled in as a healer for Team Snuffleaupagus, and it was, comparatively, easy.


First, in a real raid the people all stood in the right places, clicked the little buttons at the right times, and used THEIR cooldowns.

That, all by itself, was a game changer.

Before I ran in Normal, I never knew that if everyone that gets a red beam on the crystal on Morchak STANDS ON THE CRYSTAL, the crystal gets much smaller.

I’d never seen it shrink before. Huh.

Also, did you know that it’s not normal for half the raid to be below half their hit points after every Hour of Twilight? I know, right? In an actual raid, where people actually clicky their buttons, they don’t almost die every time for me to frantically spam heals!

This is a new concept for me.

And, oh wow, did you know that in normal raids, when the tank has the hideous amalgamation, he actually holds the thing without ANY stacks until it’s at about 12%, and only THEN drags it through all the pools of blood?

OMIGOD, right? What kind of lame raid is it where you don’t have an amalgamation doing blasting AoE damage to the entire group at 6 or 7 stacks for the whole fight?

And don’t even get me started on the gunship and Twilight Onslaught.

It really does come down to this one, simple thing – healers in LFR are expected to heal other people through being rock-bottom lazy, inconsiderate, stupid motherfuckers that stand in place and shoot, and to heck with the rest of the raid.

I am not surprised that in LFR queue, healers have about a 3 second wait time. No surprise whatsoever.

Point the Second: If people don’t almost die, they get sloppy. 

I have been running all sorts of heroics and even a normal Stonecore, and I’ve seen one common theme in all of them.

Someone will be a little boneheaded, almost every time. Pushing the ‘pull for the tank’ boundaries and taking some hits to the face to spike the DPS charts, ignore the puddles on the ground, don’t run out of Fel Flame, etc.

If you let them drop to almost dead and then heal some but not all of the way back up, they get careful. They manage their shit.

If you just heal them up with uber lightning-fast reflexes… they get sloppier and sloppier until they don’t get out of anything, ever, and you’ve got an extra wanna-be tank.

They slack off on being careful or playing properly… and you get punished more for doing your best.

Point the Third: If you get raid gear, it gets MUCH, MUCH better.

Once you get some actual gear, the comfort curve goes through the roof.

I am not a good healer. Okay, maybe I’m good by LFR standards, but I’m not good by good raid team healer standards.

But I now have decent raid level gear, and I am now finding that I’m careless as hell of mana management, because my regen and tools are great, and my HPS are high enough to keep me from having to cast as many heals for the same effectiveness.

I have begun, in heroics, to be able to heal people through the stupid. And to still have more than 100,000 mana afterwards.

If you got a ton of Valor gear, you could do this too. I am not special. I cannot stress it enough, a Holy Priest in 397 Valor gear is a force to be reckoned with in heroics and LFR. Oh yes, and LFR. Powerful AoE healing? Yes, I think so.

What is it I’m doing, anyway?

This next bit, you can really just stop reading unless you’re actually interested in what I’ve got configured for playing a Holy Priest. Really. No more of the funny. Bah-bye.

There is no secret to what I’m doing. I’m actually still working on adding more tools in, but the basics are my Vuh’Do settings, and a mouse with left, right, middle, and two side buttons.

The mouse button configuration I use as a right-handed player is:

I never said I was an artist. THIS is why I don’t create my own fancy icons, lol.

The point is, these are my fast-response time clicks on a nameplate in Vuh’Do. The only spell I used that isn’t on here is my Holy Word: Sanctuary, which I simply hot key and place.

My spellbar is spread out so that my long cooldown spells AND spells that have 10 second or other multi-second cooldowns are clearly visible, so, for example, I can easily see what the cooldown is until the next time I use Prayer of Mending. Maybe there is an addon like Bad Kitty that shows you when the cooldown wears off on your spells, but I’m okay this way for right now. I don’t lose even a second on my PoM. Or my Circle of Healing, for that matter.

It’s been a lot of fun. Really.

My only gripe is, if I’m in Chakra: heal a single target, then having to Shift-Right Click to do Holy Word doesn’t really flow smoothly. I can nail every single other spell fast and smooth, but that one is apparently outside my ‘panic mode’. In a clutch, I Flash Heal or Greater Heal instead, wasting the power of Holy Word. I’m thinking I could swap with PW: Shield, but the fact is, I don’t use any of the Shift level buttons as much as I could. I can Ctrl-click with the best of them, but my pinkie apparently isn’t as bendy as it should be.

But that’s okay. Realistically, in ‘lazy healer’ LFR mode, I can go into Sanctuary, use PoM on the tank, spread Renew around, CoH and spammed PoH on the raid to top them up, Holy Word glowies on the ground for the bad moments of stacking, and Flash Heal and Greater Heal for the serious business, and do just fine. JUST fine.

And when in doubt and it’s all going to shit?

Divine Hymn is your friend, your best buddy, your long lost lover you meet over a cup of coffee after a few years apart and catch up with. It’s got a short cooldown compared to the stuff other healers get, too, so use it.

If I have a moral to this story, it would be this.

If you tried to heal in LFR, saw how bad it was and thought, “Hell with this, if it’s this bad here raiding must suck”, don’t give up hope just yet. With solid gear, good LFR and heroic stuff, and omigod the Valor stuff is OP, you will be a powerhouse.

Second, you will come to enjoy those 3 second queue times. No, really. I run heroics JUST to get past the Valor cap so I can get extra Justice Points to convert into Honor Points to buy heirloom PvP gear for mogging. And come on, you know me and pugs. If I’m willing to queue as a healer in a Stonecore pug just to get some Therazane rep from the killing Ozruk quest, you know it gets pretty damn overpowered.

Really, that’s the main point. If you tried it or are afraid of the learning curve getting in, don’t stress too much. You can always go as Shadow, rack up some Valor, buy healing gear and get healing drops, and step in as a first time healer already in OP gear. If you use the single-target optimized Chakra in 5 person heroics… you will not have to struggle very much, if at all., to learn as you go.

Just remember, especially on Mannoroth… Fade is your very bestest friend. Right after Divine Hymn.

There. I promised Tyben I was gonna write about Holy Priests. That is about all I can say about them, besides how healing as a Holy Priest gives me an ever-increasing opportunity to see people at their very worst, and learn to love the new reporting tools.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Once you get powerful enough to heal ’em through the stupid, ah the Skinner games you can play.

19 thoughts on “Happy Holy Healing, Hallelujah!

  1. Nice article.

    Vuh’Do with a Razer Naga mouse (12 buttons on the thumb) works nicely. Takes some dex learning to do it well, but it’s nice to drop alt/shift/ctrl. Best regards.


  2. Priest healing is a lot of fun. It’s good to hear holy is doing well again. I went Disc in Firelands due to regen issues.

    Vuhdo is a really nice add on. I used to be a healer that prided herself on not using an add on to heal with. It was actually a post you made a while back that made me try out Vuhdo, and I have loved it ever since.


  3. Vuhdo is awesome! You are a bold bear to forego Heal as a bound ability 🙂

    I will say, I recently hit 85 with a priest, was really gungho about holy, was excited to hit ilvl 353, and then tried out the HoTs, and was unpleasantly surprised by how anaemic holy felt. 😦

    For all the good it seemed to do me, I may as well have been bandaging people instead of casting PoH. The only spells worth their salt seemed to me to be PoM and Circle. And my mana was diving fast. The first boss in WoE in particular was a nightmare.

    But Lordy do I ever not want to go back to regular heroic purgatory. 😦 Pointers would be appreciated! Also, some indication of what ilvl things will start feeling better at. Otherwise, I may just go back to pally heals – got an upandcomer at level 55 who will be waiting in the wings, presently.


  4. I know what you mean by the Ctrl+button bindings not always being the fastest. Particularly, I’ve had some problems getting Shift/Ctrl mixed up, so I switched to using Shift/Alt instead. But mostly only Shift.

    The secret is to using the 2 extra mouse buttons you’re woefully ignoring, Mr. Bear. 🙂 WheelUp and WheelDown are just waiting to become your new bestest friends. Along with Shift+WheelUp and Shift+WheelDown, those are 4 very quick and very spam-friendly binds you could have been using!

    If you’re used to zooming the camera with your wheel it may take a couple days getting used to (I bind it something else (like Ctrl+Shift+Wheel), but believe me, it’s REALLY worth it.


  5. lol
    “The time has come, the Bear Priest said, to speak of many things. Of buffs and wipes and long cooldowns, of loot rolls and of bling. Of why the Spine is such a pain, and how to heal through things.”

    love it.


  6. How important is it for priests at 85 to use add-ons? I use threatplates and DMB only on all my toons, including my resto-druid. I tried Healbot and Clique but didn’t like either one. I’m contemplating using Vud’hu, but with resto at least, I’ve never had any issue that simple macros haven’t solved (lifebloom on the MT, Innervate for myself (thanks blizz for making that useless with more than one druid in the raid). etc.)

    Priests have a lot more options, but it still seems to come down to just a few spells used primarily and a few more used occasionally and a lot of them being circumstantial.


    • Honestly, what Vuh’Do does for me s allow me to effectively “cast on mouseover”, where what I’m mousing over is the name of the party member, without having to actually click on the nameplate first. I used to click a nameplate to select the target, then press a number for the macro or spell on the bar to cast, then click a different nameplate. I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference…


      • I use grid with mouseover macros to solve this. I tried Vuh’Do a couple of times, but I’m used to my grid configuration and didn’t need to learn a new system – and I also prefer to click my keys to cast than click mouse buttons. Basically the only really advantage over the default ui is that you can customize what is showing and what isn’t showing a lot more – in terms of buff and debuffs – or one of the most helpful – showing who has aggro. Admittedly I haven’t played with the new raid ui apart from a few times so perhaps these things are there now, but I remember the debuff/buff choices were a lot more of ‘you can dispel it or you can’t’ where-as I have it showing the things I can dispel plus important boss mechanics so that you know who is going to take damage.

        I also use the same grid configuration when tanking to know when I need to taunt off the other tank etc.

        But thanks for the post BBB – came at a time I was contemplating doing some more healing on my pally (yes in LFR and heroics) after being invigorated by joining a guild run (with a large contingent of ex-members from my guild) for normal Spine and Madness last week (as kitty dps, but I want to have all the roles covered if needed). And this has tipped me over to the ‘must actually do that’ category… after I help guildies out with School of Hard Knocks…


  7. Thank you for this! My priest was raised holy (yep, I leveled holy…didn’t know any better, and only later learned I should have leveled her shadow…lol!), and was a fairly decent healer (no one died, even to Stupid) until Naxx Revisited, when my guild wanted me to switch mains to my druid because we had a truly awesome disc priest. When Cata came, I dualled into Shadow to level the priest, and haven’t healed since. Been trying to get up the nerve and the set up (mostly have used Healbot, but hearing such wonderful things from those using Vuhdo, Grid+Clique, etc.) to start healing with her again.

    Hearing about your experiences might just be the inspiration I needed. 🙂


  8. Been leveling my priest – went from 42 to 53 this weekend; started out pvping as shadow, then some dungeons, but after reading BBB’s holy love, respec’d into holy and healing dungeons. Been messing with the chakra and different healing types. Been having a blast. Seriously considering taking him all the way to 85 and make him my first 90 in MoP. Hard to say… really love my resto druid (in fact, I play the priest much the same way, only using PW:S instead of lifebloom, but using renew as the primary healing spell – I’m terrible 😉

    I’m quite keen on the rest of the priest higher level abilities… been fun. Thanks for breathing new life into him BBB.


  9. Very nice write up on easing people into using Vuhdo and Holy Priests in general.

    I heal on my disc priest, not so much lately, but one thing that helped me a lot was keeping Prayer of Mending going always. Not having played holy (I am disc/shadow) I don’t know how important PoM is for Holy priests but for me as disc in weak gear, it was important to keep it up as much as possible. The problem is, if you stick it on someone who doesn’t take damage frequently, it often gets wasted.

    I got around it by making a macro to cast it on my focus and bound it to shift-2. For me that is an easy keybind to hit and coupled with “Inline Aura” (an addon almost as useful for healing and dpsing as tidyplates is for tanking) I was able to increase uptime greatly. Inline Aura lets me see right on the button how much time is left on PoM and its CD and I can cast it right away when its available. Being able to see CDs and buff times on the button themselves is so awesome I think it should be part of the default UI.

    At any rate, give Inline Aura a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how well informed it keeps you (in an unobtrusive way) about your cooldowns and buffs.


  10. And this is why, after so many weeks, I look at my poor neglected tank, Luperci, who has not stepped one hoof in LFR, because every one, every single person, blames the tank(s) for any misdeed. It is executive-office level of power when the congress is on vacation. Sigh.

    Since I’ve run it so many times on my priest, perhaps I will seek out a raiding guild after all on “her.” You may it sound so easy.


    • The queue times for tanks are longer and true, you’re the focus of attention because everyone can see how you’re positioning mobs and how well or poorly you’re doing. LFR is a cesspit for a new tank and you’d be well advised to NOT debut tanking in DS via LFR.

      The best thing for you to do would be to queue with an experienced co-tank who can coach you over vent while stuff is going on, and ideally a healer or two in group with you to give you some extra cover. Done that way, it can be fun and you can be insulated from much of the unpleasantness.

      There are lots of little tips an experienced tank can give you beyond basic fight mechanics. For example save your damage reducing short cooldowns for when stomp is coming up (barkskin) on Morchok. The optimal order to kill the oozes on Yorsahj (Purple (first always), Red / Blue…). Never let anyone stand next to the tank or Mor’chok (Psychic Drain is bad news) and on Mor’chok’s trash get both tanks on the big claw because the claw will throw one tank and if no one else is in melee range, it will do massive aoe damage to a lot of people). On Hagara watch the timers for focused assault like a hawk and start moving right before it goes off (strafe or back away) because if you just stand and eat it on anything other than a DK you’ll likely die.

      On Ultraxion the other tank can help you by reminding you when you need to taunt off him and when you need to stay out and use a cooldown. On Warmaster, the other tank can tell you which mobs you need to pick up and when you need to move them to specific spots and finally when to taunt the boss. On Spine, you’ll get tips on what you should be doing (round up the bloods in a nice neat pile and kill them, the other tank then drags the hideos amalgamation through them once its low enough so that the raid eats massive aoe for as short a time as possible) and finally on Madness, you get tips on when to taunt the corruption and when to use your CDs etc.

      I’d be happy to queue as a tank or healer with anyone who wants to go. I’m horde though so if you’re playing alliance then I can’t be of much help beyond moral support!

      Sorry BBB, I should spend more time writing posts on my blog instead of rambling comments hogging yours.


  11. Oh man, that configuration piece took me back! I remember back in late December 2010 when I dinged 85on my Holy Priest and realised that I had 25 (count ’em!) tools in the box.

    1. ST Main Heals – Heal
    2. ST Main Heals – Greater Heal
    3. Group Heals – Prayer of Healing
    4. Group Heals – Circle of Healing
    5. Group Heals – Holy Nova
    6. Group Heals – Divine Hymn
    7. MT Pre-emptive – Prayer of Mending
    8. MT Pre-emptive – Renew
    9. MT Pre-emptive – PW:Shield
    10. ST Fast Heals – Flash Heal
    11. ST Fast Heals – Chastise
    12. Self Heals – Binding Heal
    13. Self Heals – Desperate Prayer
    14. Dispels – Dispel Magic
    15. Dispels – Cure Disease
    16. Dispels – Mass Dispel
    17. Mana – Shadowfiend
    18. Mana – Hymn of Hope
    19. Utility – Chakra
    20. Utility – Fade
    21. Utility – Shackle Undead
    22. Utility – Lightwell
    23. Utility – Fear Ward
    24. Utility – Leap of Faith
    25. Oh Shit Button – Guardian Spirit

    I eventually got a set up with everything on it but it took some time to work out. I did try out Disc for a bit but kept coming back to the flexibility of Holy. With that many tools in the box there’s not much you can’t heal!


    • Oops, realised I forgot a couple 😎

      26. Levitate – Always useful for the slime pools in Naxx
      27. Mind Control – Naxx again
      28. Resurrection – How did I forget this one?
      29. PW: Fortitude
      30. Shadow Protection
      31. Inner Will/Fire
      32. Mana pot


  12. Would rather run Stonecore a thousand times than LFR once, even as dps. Just too many asshats to deal with at once. At least in LFD there’s only 4.

    Been considering a holy priest as a next character… have a paladin who doesn’t get played anymore and the shaman that’s taken over from my kitteh being main again…. I’ve got both of the Steelseries WoW mouses, although I’m using the cataclysm one at the moment. Seems a higher quality build. 15 buttons; five under the thumb, left mouse button with one little one on the far front left, middle button/wheel flanked by two and trailed by one, right mouse button with one little one on the front right, and another button under my left ring finger. If I actually talked in Vent, I’d probably use that as my go button.

    I use a combination of Clique and Grid to heal, just what I’m used to. Healbot was really clumsy and obtrusive to me, and I never got around to trying Vuh’do. Use the same sort of thing you do, although with a few extra buttons; I don’t use all 15 of the ones on this mouse (or all 17 of the ones on the original wow mouse) by a long shot. Shift click is the fast heal, shift right click is whatever ‘keep this on the tank’ I have (Paladin has beacon of light, shaman has earth shield)… shift-wheel is chain healing (forget what it was on the paladin, don’t think I’ve ever set hers up…) and the wheel by itself is chain heal… front-left little button is instant heal, left-center is the ‘unleash the elements’ the shaman uses/ And now you probably know more than you wanted to know about my setup too. 😛


  13. You forgot one very important thing about being a holy priest: Lightwell.

    Live it. Learn it. Love it.

    Your priest looks good! Like better than some mains I know, which is really frightening.

    Now if only we could convince you to give up this pesky druid business. Although “Big Priest Butt” doesn’t have quite the same appeal.



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