|Prophet Velen, an eredar priest.|
- For the Warcraft III unit, see Priest (Warcraft III).
The priest is the master of healing and preservation, restoring his wounded allies, shielding them in battle and even resurrecting his fallen comrades from death. While he has a variety of protective and enhancement spells to bolster his allies, the priest can also wreak terrible vengeance on his enemies, using the grand powers of the Holy Light to smite and purge them or the devastating powers of the shadow to decimate their minds. The priest is a diverse and powerful class, highly desirable in any group and capable of fulfilling multiple roles.
Discipline and Holy priests are powerful and versatile healers with a range of tools for supporting their allies, while Shadow priests use dark and sinister magic to deal crippling damage to their foes. Priests' ability to heal and buff allies, avoid aggro, dispel buffs on enemies, dispel debuffs on their allies, and resurrect fallen comrades makes them an important member of any group, whether it's PvP or PvE.
Priests are devoted to the spiritual, and express their unwavering faith by serving the people. For millennia they have left behind the confines of their temples and the comfort of their shrines so they can support their allies in war-torn lands. In the midst of terrible conflict, no hero questions the value of the priestly orders. These masters of the healing arts keep their companions fighting far beyond their normal capacities with an array of restorative powers and blessings. The divine forces at the priest’s command can also be turned against foes, smiting them with holy fury.
As light cannot exist without darkness, and darkness without light, some priests tap into shadow to better understand their own abilities, as well as the abilities of those who threaten them.
Priests practice a complex, organized form of spirituality built around moral philosophy, the worship of a particular deity (such as Elune) in some cases, and/or idol worship, rather than around the reverence of the elements that shamans practice, or the close divine connection with animals and the wilderness that druids maintain. Priests serve not only as influential religious figures in their respective societies, but also as powerful practitioners of divine magic, which they use to heal and protect, or harm and weaken.
Devotion to the faiths of Azeroth leads many priests to the paths of courage and heroism. In dark times, priests carry the Light of faith with them as a reminder of the powerful forces at work beyond the comprehension of the peoples who walk the land. Powerful healers with an intimate connection to the divine, priests are empowered with abilities that aid them in times of dire need.
Priests comprise quite a varied group in Azeroth. A female priest is called a "priestess". Many are followers, in some manner, of the Holy Light. Some priests choose to be pyremasters or High Priest, while some of the most experienced become epic priests. There are also racial restrictions to some titles, such as witch doctor for trolls and Priestess of the Moon for night elf females.
The Clerics of Northshire were human priests who served the kingdom of Stormwind during the First War. The clerics served as healers on the battlefield, but were ill-prepared for the hazards of combat, and thus suffered heavy casualties. This order was largely destroyed, and the Second War saw fragile priests replaced on the battlefield by armored paladins, the Knights of the Silver Hand — established by the clerics' leader Archbishop Alonsus Faol and his apprentice Uther the Lightbringer.
- Main article: Church of Light
While the draenei were the first known physical race to be associated with the forces of "The Light", humans were the first to discover The Holy Light on Azeroth, and were responsible for passing on the religion to other races, most notably the high elves and dwarves. Humans build mighty churches and cathedrals as places of worship and teaching of the Light. The religion teaches its followers to be virtuous in life, and while the religion is more philosophical than theistic, its practitioners do believe their devotion connects them to a greater and mysterious force in the universe. There is mention in older lore that divine beings known as "hope" guide The Light's worshipers with an unseen hand. Humans have produced great priests who have healed their allies or have used the powers of the Light to purge their enemies.
Forsaken who once followed the tenets of the Holy Light altered their philosophy upon their transformation. Forsaken have abandoned religion, just as they believe it abandoned them. Lost and hurt, these priests founded a new religion based on a self-centered version of their former faith. Dubbed the Forgotten Shadow, this philosophy centers around self-empowerment and a desire to balance life with death. While they can no longer use the Holy Light, and have since learned how to use the shadow; the priests teach that there must be a balance between light and shadow, and members must learn the Light as well, but never forget they were born from the shadow.
The troll priesthoods are, much like the shamans and the witch doctors of the various troll tribes, spiritual advisers and caretakers. With trolls being naturally superstitious and spiritual, it allows the various troll priests to manipulate the spiritual energy of the world in order to either heal or harm their targets. The various energies that the troll priests draw can come from various sources, be it Loa spirits, voodoo magic or the target itself. Drawing upon these energies, the troll priests either mend or harm, depending on which blessing the spiritual entity bestows. Arguably, in World of Warcraft, troll priests can be considered witch doctors in a cultural perspective, in equal terms with the shamans.
With the arrival of Cataclysm priests are now a playable class for the tauren. These priests are known as "seers" and use the power of An'she, the sun, in their spells just as tauren paladins, named the Sunwalkers, do. This is similar to how night elven priests use the power of the moon through their goddess, Elune, instead of through the Holy Light. There have been tauren seers before the arrival of the Cataclysm, but their path has now either been enhanced with new magic or revitalised by new blood. Tahu Sagewind has become the leading tauren priest.
The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
Notably, following the examples prior to Cataclysm, gnome priests seem to focus heavily on the divine's ability of healing, though more with the intention of practicing medicine rather than sorcery. Their usage of it is actually very similar to first aid, and gnome priests refer to themselves as doctors, medics, and surgeons. As a result, although not confirmed, it is likely that they pay less attention to a priest's capability to control darker powers.
- Main article: List of priests
|Anduin Wrynn||Prince of Stormwind||Alive||Stormwind Keep,Stormwind City|
|Archbishop Alonsus Faol||Former Leader of the Church of Light||Deceased||Faol's Rest, Tirisfal Glades|
|Archbishop Benedictus||Former Leader of the Church of Light||Deceased||Dragon Soul|
|Iridi||Priestess||Deceased||Buried in Outland|
|High Priestess Ishanah||Leader of the Aldor||Alive||Shrine of Unending Light, Shattrath City|
|Sen'jin||Former leader of the Darkspear tribe||Deceased||Unknown|
|Velen||Prophet of the Draenei||Alive||Vault of Lights, The Exodar|
|Tyrande Whisperwind||High priestess of Elune, Co-ruler of the Night Elves||Alive||Temple of the Moon, Darnassus|
- For a full list of priest abilities, see Priest abilities.
Priests bring a wide range of abilities to any party. Depending on their spec, priests may specialize in healing and protecting their allies, or dealing powerful shadow damage to their enemies. However, a priest's capabilities extend far beyond these roles. Priests can buff their allies' stamina, ward against fear, restore mana to their party and even dispel magical debuffs and diseases from their allies. They can terrify, silence and horrify enemies, and remove some of their most powerful buffs and immunities. They can defer aggro, grant substantial speed buffs to their allies and even pull heedless teammates out of the fire. Priests' innate power in manipulating others can allow them to see through the eyes of a distant target, or even dominate an opponent's mind, turning a foe into a friend, or sending them to their death at the bottom of a precipice.
Priests have a range of healing abilities. Discipline and Holy priests are natural masters of healing and protection, and have additional capabilities in these areas, with spells ranging from direct heals and heal over time effects to AoE abilities and on-damage procs. also allows Discipline priests to heal through dealing damage, with the added bonus of generating stacks for use with . While Shadow priests excel at wreaking havoc, they can still provide significant healing should the need arise, with providing a loophole from their shadowy division from the Light, and can contribute passive healing to their group through .
As well as an array of healing options, priests can choose to shield their allies from damage. This pre-emptive approach to damage prevention allows for rapid and lifesaving intervention, but can require skill to correctly anticipate incoming damage. is the priest's signature shield, absorbing attacks directed at the target and preventing pushback. While all priests are capable of shielding themselves and their allies, Discipline priests are the masters of damage absorption, gaining mana and haste from shielding through and . Discipline priests can also protect their allies with and , as well as effortlessly generating shields through . Each spec also has a powerful damage-reduction cooldown, from the direct avoidance of and to the self-sacrifing grace of . and also offer limited mitigation for the priest.
Priests have access to two schools of magic - Holy and Shadow - and can deal substantial amounts of damage from either. Priests have a number of direct damage options, as well as a few DoTs and specialties. Shadow priests are without doubt the most damage-oriented of priests, but Discipline priests with come a respectable second. Even healing priests can contribute some damage by summoning their temporary pet - the or - to attack enemies. Priests with can also use to reflect damage back upon their attackers.
As well as their obvious capabilities in healing and dealing damage, priests also have access to a range of utility spells, many of which are unique to the priest class. Abilities such as , and can make the priest class fun to play, but are also capable of providing game-changing advantages if used correctly. Priests can also restore mana to their allies with and evade aggro with , as well as buffing their allies with and providing limited fear protection with . Priests can also cast to pull other players to the priest and possibly save them from death.
Priests are significantly capable dispellers. They can strip magical buffs and even immunities from their enemies with and , while Discipline and Holy priests can also their allies of magic and disease effects. Discipline and Holy priests can generally consider dispelling to be their most important duty after healing, while Shadow priests are also capable of contributing if necessary.
Crowd control and mobility
Priests have a range of abilities to aid in escaping and incapacitating their attackers. , and provide speed boosts for the priest or their allies, while and provide excellent fear effects. and Shadow priests' can be used to slip out of roots and snares, while allows for a different type of evasion, and can keep opponents distracted for long enough for the priest to slip away or finish the job.
Shadow priests have the most crowd control abilities, with and being particularly useful against casters and melee types, respectively, providing a 50% snare, and offering an on-crit root effect. Priests can also offer sustainable crowd control on undead targets with , while Holy priests can disorientate and interrupt opponents with . Priests can also take control of other players or creatures temporarily by using .
Stats, weapons, and armor
- The most important stats for a priest are (depending on specialization): intellect, spirit, spell haste, mastery, spell crit and stamina.
- The priest can wield staffs, one-handed maces, wands, and daggers.
- The priest can only wear cloth armor. For details on set items that are useful for priests, see priest sets.
- Main article: Priest races
All races except Orcs can play as priests. Priests start with the following attributes:
- For a full list of specialization abilities, see Priest abilities
There are three priest specializations: Discipline, Holy and Shadow. Discipline and Holy priests are powerful healers, with the former specializing in damage mitigation (with a side-line in healing through damage-dealing), and the latter excelling in sheer healing power, as well as a versatile range of healing options. Shadow priests are ranged DPS that assault their opponents' minds with shadowy magic, specializing in sinister damage over time effects and crowd control. While all priests can use and the potent , Discipline and Holy priests are especially capable dispellers, with allowing them to instantly cleanse an ally of all diseases and magical afflictions.
Uses magic to shield allies from taking damage as well as heal their wounds.
Discipline priests are powerful healers, choosing to focus on absorbing damage with , and - improved by the Discipline mastery - as well as mitigating damage with and . As well as preventing and reversing damage, Discipline priests can also heal through dealing damage, thanks to . Discipline also have some useful utilities such as , and . The signature Discipline ability is , launching a volley of Holy Light to heal an ally, damage an enemy, or both (with Atonement).
The combination of strong cooldowns and a focus on preemptive healing tends to make Discipline priests the preferred healing option for PvP. Their is improved in multiple ways, becoming an efficient and powerful protection option, with effects like also making it available more often. Discipline priests anticipating incoming damage can stack protection with effects such as , and , allowing them to protect their allies even when incapacitated, while offers highly efficient healing, and can be useful when healing is not too critical, conserving mana and contributing to damage-dealing. Discipline priests are capable of healing multiple targets, but excel at keeping single targets alive through the most brutal of onslaughts.
A versatile healer who can reverse damage on individuals or groups and even heal from beyond the grave.
Holy priests are some of the most versatile healers, with a variety of tools to sustain their group. In comparison to the Discipline priest, the Holy priest focuses primarily on reactive healing rather than damage prevention, with their mastery granting healed targets a heal over time effect based on the initial heal. Key to Holy priests' versatility is their use of different Chakras to focus on the demands of the current situation: favours single-target healing, while benefits multiple target and AoE healing, and is very useful for dealing damage. Each Chakra state also grants the priest a new ability: is a powerful instant heal, an AoE heal over time effect, and is useful for dealing damage and disorienting targets.
Holy priests also have some of the most interesting and unusual healing options in the game. offers players a powerful self-service healing option, which can be converted with to dispense itself. is an instant multi-target smart-heal. is an extremely powerful buff capable of saving a target from certain death. Holy priests can even heal from beyond the grave with - for a limited time. In comparison to Discipline priests, Holy priests tend to focus more on direct healing, as well as healing over time with , and multiple improvements to .
Uses sinister Shadow magic, especially damage-over-time spells, to eradicate enemies.
Shadow priests are born damage-dealers. The signature increases Shadow priests' damage and increases survivability, while increasing the spell haste of their whole party. Shadow priests tend to focus on afflicting targets with the damage over time effects and , the latter also serving to regenerate the priest's mana. The usual Shadow priest rotation involves a mixture of DoTs and direct damage using the potent , filling the gaps with their signature "face-melter" , contributing additional damage and snaring their victims. Shadow priests gain the secondary resource , and once generated can use these to unleash a upon their enemies - dealing damage and healing the priest - or shock their minds with a , horrifying and disarming them. Shadow Orbs can be generated through and , which Shadow priests are able to use more often than their less shadowy brethren.
Shadow priests also excel at crowd control. While all priests are capable of inspiring fear and terror in their enemies through and , Shadow priests can also horrify targets with and silence casters with , with the former being especially useful against melee types, and the latter against casters. In the hands of a skilled Shadow priest, these abilities can be combined to provide windows of opportunity that can prove fatal to even the most battle-hardened healer. Shadow priests also have a powerful survival and mana regeneration ability in , and can convert their damage into healing through .
Shadow priests tend to focus on damage over time, improved by the Shadow mastery . This approach allows them to deal damage simultaneously to multiple targets, and to continue dealing damage even while the priest is incapacitated or hidden out of line of sight. However, in situations where there isn't sufficient time to build a full array of DoTs, Shadow priests can use and to quickly burn targets down. While dedicated damage dealers, when need be Shadow priests are also capable off-healers, with the unexpected healing or shielding of an attentive Shadow priest potentially saving the day. While direct healing requires priests to drop out of , can allow them to contribute healing both for themselves and others.
- Official Crash Course: Level 90 Priest (Shadow)
- Shadow Priest: Overview of changes with Mists of Pandaria
- Discipline and Holy Priests: Overview of changes with Mists of Pandaria
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28):
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): All priest racial abilities have been removed from the game except , and , which have been changed into non-racial abilities.
- Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22): Entering now gives a new action bar (like stealth).