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WoW Classic Priest Starter Build and Leveling Guide

WoW Classic Priest Starter Build and Leveling Guide

The best Starter build for the Priest class in WoW Classic and in-depth leveling guide

If you are planning on joining the World of Warcraft Classic adventure make sure to check out our other related Guides below:

And Starter builds/Leveling Guides for all other character classes:

DruidDruid HunterHunter
PaladinPaladin WarriorWarrior
RogueRogue ShamanShaman
WarlockWarlock MageMage

 

Priest Leveling Guide

Priest

 

 

Priest Class Overview

A lot of people may think that "Priest is a healing class, so leveling him up solo must be a nightmare because he certainly lacks offensive capabilities of other Classes". These people couldn't be farther away from reality. In fact, Priest is a strong Classic Leveler and he may not be the fastest, but leveling up to 60 is more of a marathon (for 99% of the player base, at least), and Priest is definitely a great long-distance runner. If we were to choose a word that describes Him the best, it would be "Efficient". Thanks to an unprecedented combination of very strong leveling Talents and great offensive, defensive, and utility spells, Priest can go through levels with incredible efficiency and close to zero downtime.

To see how strong of a leveler the Priest is, all you have to do is look at the first row of his Discipline and Shadow Talent Trees. What you will see there are two amazing tools - Wand Specialization and Spirit Tap. These two alone allow Priest to preserve and regenerate mana like no other Class in the game while leveling. When we add Power Word: Shield, Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Blast, Renew, Psychic Scream, and even the humble Smite to the equation, we come up with a steady and almost unstoppable leveling machine. The only things that hold Priest back are his rather slow mob kill times and lack of strong multi-target abilities that would allow him to deal with multiple mobs at once without the efficiency loss.

This guide will aid you and your Priest on your journey to level 60; it will help you choose a Race, present you with an optimal leveling Talent build, point you towards Dungeons and Quests that award worthwhile Wands, provide some tips & tricks, and more.

Priest's Strengths and Weaknesses

 Pros  Cons
 Great self-sustain and close to 0 downtime  Low Mobility
 Great group Utility spells  Limited Crowd Control options
 Additional Race-based spells, so-called "Priest Racials"  Susceptible to Ganks at lower levels (below 40)
 Very versatile class; can DPS and Heal group content while leveling  High Gear-Dependance for a Spell-Caster (Priest relies on his Wand when it comes to DPS while leveling)
 Very strong as a duo-leveler (Warrior-Priest and Warlock-Priest are great leveling combinations)  Debuff limit on bosses hurts Shadow Priest's DPS in the end game Raid content
 Regarded as the best End-Game Healer  If you roll as a Healer in the End-Game, you might have problems grinding Gold (because of Classic's itemization*)
 Shadow Priest is very strong in the Eng-Game PvP (SPriests are widely known as "Face Melters" in PvP and for a good reason)  You will, most likely, be requested to respec into a Healing Spec if you want to Raid, even if you are a die-hard SPriest player

*Healing Power stat present in Healing Gear does not affect the power of offensive abilities, which makes End-Game mob grinding quite difficult for Healers if they don't have a spare DPS set.


Statistics Priority

  1. Spirit - This is Priest's most important statistic by far. Spirit increases Mana and Health regeneration in and out of Combat. It synergizes with the Spirit Tap Talent that doubles the Spirit for 15s after Priest deals a killing blow, which allows him to regenerate Mana quickly without ever stopping for a Drink.
  1. Intellect - Increases total mana pool and raises Spell Critical Hit chance. It also increases the rate at which a character learns Weapon Skills. Very important stat for a Priest, as stacking it increases maximum mana, which further improves his leveling efficiency.
  1. Stamina - Improves your survivability by increasing your total Health pool. This is an important statistic, but it shouldn't be prioritized over Intellect and Spirit. Stamina loses some of its value for a Priest because of his ability to Shield and Heal himself very efficiently.
  1. Agility -  Increases Armor, provides additional Dodge chance and a Weapon Critical Strike chance. Agility will improve your defenses by a little bit, which means that it is not as useless as Strength, but it should be avoided if possible, nevertheless.
  1. Strength - Increases Melee Attack Power and the amount of Damage that a Shield can block (a Physical Off-Hand Shield wielded by Tanks, not Priest's Spell - yes, everyone knows that but it is still better to clarify, it is the Internet, after all). Priests can't use Off-Hand Shields and they do not rely on bashing mob's heads with their Staves and Maces, so this statistic is literally useless to them.

Leveling stat priority:

Spirit ⇒ Intellect ⇒ Stamina ⇒ ⇒ Agility ⇒ ⇒ Strength

Note:  Items with "Of the Owl" Suffix are ideal for Priests, as they provide both Spirit and Intellect. "Of the Whale" (Stamina and Spirit) and "Of the Eagle" (Stamina and Intellect) are strong second choices and you should Need on those, while in a group, as well.

 

The Best Priest Races for Both Factions

Each Race has unique traits and abilities, some of which greatly benefit a Priest, other - not so much. The Race choice is even more important for a Priest, as he gets two bonus Race-specific Abilities. More competitive Players might even want to choose their Faction based on Racial traits of one of its member Races. We will take a closer look at all Races that can choose the path of a Priest and determine which are the best for PvP and PvE.

Note: Please remember that a good Player will make all races work well, and a bad player will not get any better thanks to a Race choice. In other words - pick your Race and your Faction as you please, because after all, Fun is the most important aspect of the Game.


Alliance Races
PvP

For both PvP Healing and DPS Dwarf comes out on top quite easily, thanks to his Fear Ward and Stoneform abilities. Human's Spirit Racial is also quite good, but it can't really compare, Perception comes in handy against Rogues, but it is less useful than Stoneform and both Dwarf and Human get the Desperate Prayer, so it is not a real factor here. Night Elf falls quite far behind when it comes to PvP, sadly.

Recommended choice: Dwarf

Second choice: Human

PvE

If you are a PvE Player and want to choose the best PvE race, you have to decide if you want to Heal or to DPS (Shadow Priests are not too popular among Raid leaders, so you will have a much easier time finding a Raiding Guild if you roll as a Healer). The reasoning here is exactly the same as it was for the PvP part. Fear Ward's utility carries Dwarf to the front. Human follows suit with his Spirit increasing Racial, and Night Elf lags behind with his rather underwhelming Elune's Grace and Star Shards.

Recommended choice for Healing: Dwarf

Second choice for Healing: Human

Recommended choice for DPS: Dwarf

Second choice for DPS: Human


Horde Races
PvP

Undead is the best race for a PvP Shadow Priest, thanks to his Devouring Plague and Will of The Forsaken, however, Troll's Hex of Weakness shines in PvP as well, and Berserking is great if you decide to PvP as a Healer. Moreover, Troll's Shadowguard, while rather lackluster, can be hilarious when combined with the Blackout Talent, giving you a shield that can randomly Stun attackers for 3 seconds. All in all, Undead is a better Shadow Priest and Troll is a better Healer.

Recommended choice for PvP Healing: Troll

Second choice for PvP Healing: Undead

Recommended choice for PvP DPS: Undead

Second choice for PvP DPS: Troll

PvE

If you are a PvE Player and want to choose the best PvE race, you have to decide if you want to Heal or to DPS (Shadow Priests are not too popular among Raid leaders, so you will have a much easier time finding a Raiding Guild if you roll as a Healer). Horde Priest's Racials do not have too much of an impact on the PvE Healer gameplay (we assume that every Raid has a Warrior who uses Mortal Strike, so Troll's Hex of Weakness is not that useful), so "standard" racials will be the deciding factor here. Troll's Berserking allows him to lower his Cast times, which might be Raid-saving in close call situations, while Undead's Will of the Forsaken is irreplaceable in some encounters (like Onyxia, for example). Both of these Racials are very strong in their own ways and the best choice greatly depends on the encounter type, so there is no clear winner here. When it comes to DPS, Troll comes out on Top with his Berserking. Undead's Devouring Plague is powerful, but it is a 3-minute Cooldown, and the Debuff Limit is a thing.

Recommended choice for Healing: Troll or Undead

Recommended choice for DPS: Troll

Second choice for DPS: Undead

Talent Build and Talent Allocation Order

Optimal Talent allocation is essential for smooth leveling. Here, we will describe the most optimal leveling spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level.

Talent allocation for Early Levels (10-39)
Early Game Disc/Shadow Spec

  1. Levels 10-14 ⇒ 5/5 Wand Specialization - Alternatively, you can start with 5/5 Spirit Tap if you don't want to get Ench+Tailo and are not planning on getting a Wand below level 15 for some reason.
  2. Levels 15-19 ⇒ 5/5 Spirit Tap - This Talent will solve all your Mana problems; if you obey the 5-second rule, that is.
  3. Levels 20-21 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Shadow Word: Pain.
  4. Levels 22-24 ⇒ 3/5 Shadow Focus - This gives you Shadow Spell Hit Cap against enemies 2 levels higher than you.
  5. Levels 25-27 ⇒ 3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield.
  6. Levels 28-29 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude.
  7. Level 30 ⇒ 1/1 Inner Focus - great mana-preservation and emergency tool.
  8. Levels 31-33 ⇒ 3/3 Meditation.
  9. Level 34 ⇒ 1/2 Martyrdom.
  10. Levels 35-39 ⇒ 5/5 Mental Agility.
After reaching Level 40, you should visit a Class Trainer and reset your Talent Points.

Talent allocation for Levels 40-59
Leveling Shadow Spec

  1. You will have 31 Talent points after resetting, you should allocate all of them into the Shadow Tree:
    • 5/5 Spirit Tap.
    • 2/5 Blackout.
    • 2/2 Improved Shadow Word: Pain.
    • 3/5 Shadow Focus.
    • 2/2 Improved Psychic Scream.
    • 1/1 Mind Flay - channeled Offensive Spell that also slows the Target, good for both PvP and PvE.
    • 3/3 Shadow Reach.
    • 5/5 Shadow Weaving.
    • 1/1 Silence - very strong PvP spell, definitely worth getting.
    • 1/1 Vampiric Embrace - a solid tool that allows you to Heal while in the Shadowform.
    • 5/5 Darkness.
    • 1/1 Shadowform - this increases your Shadow Damage by 15% and reduces your Damage Taken by 15%, but prevents you from casting Holy Spells.
  2. Levels 41-45 ⇒ 5/5 Wand Specialization. 
  3. Levels 46-48 ⇒ 3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield.
  4. Levels 49-50 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude.
  5. Level 51 ⇒ ⇒ 3/5 Shadow Focus.
  6. Levels 52-54 ⇒ 3/3 Meditation.
  7. Level 55 - 1/2 Martyrdom.
  8. Levels 56-59 - 4/5 Mental Agility.

Note: At this point, you pretty much are done leveling; you can do some mount Gold farming at this point, or switch into Raiding spec immediately (if you are going for an Eng-Game Healer build, we advise you to farm in your old spec, as it will be more efficient).

After reaching Level 60, you should visit a Class Trainer, reset your Talent Points and spec into an End-Game Build.

Wand Progression

Thanks to the Wand Specialization Talent, Priest deals significant amounts of Damage essentially for free, as long as he keeps his Wand up to date.

It goes without saying that you should aim to upgrade your Wand as often as possible because it will speed up your leveling process and make experience grinds much more enjoyable (at least for the next few levels after getting an upgrade). Below, we present you a short list of Wands that you should try and get during your leveling journey. 

Note1: Listed Wands are not organized in a strict order and you don't have to go for every single one of them. The list is meant to be a raw guideline for Priest's Wand progression.

Note2: There are a lot more Wands than those described. We have mentioned just the easy-to-get and quite essential upgrades. BoE Wands were excluded from the list, as there is a lot of RNG involved in getting them.

Horde Alliance
Horde and Alliance Wand Progression
Lesser Magic Wand
Lesser Magic Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Enchanting (Requires Skill-Level 10 to create). 
  • Level Required: 5
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.50, 12-22 Damage, 11.3 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Spark of the People's Militia
Spark of the People's Militia
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "The People's Militia" Quest available from level 9 from NPC Gryan Stoutmantle, Sentinel Hill, Westfall.
  • Level Required: It is a level 17 Quest reward that can be acquired earlier easily, when in a group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 16-30 Damage, 12.8 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Greater Magic Wand
Greater Magic Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Enchanting (Requires Skill-Level 70 to create). 
  • Level Required: 13
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 22-41 Damage, 17.5 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Smoldering Wand
Smoldering Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 15.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.60, 15-28 Damage, 13.4 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Sizzle Stick
Sizzle Stick
  • Factions: Horde
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "Deviate Eradication", Wailing Caverns. NPC Ebru, Above the Wailing Caverns entrance. 
  • Level Required: This is a reward from Level 21 Dungeon Quest that can be completed around Level 18.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.70, 21-39 Damage, 17.6 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Dusk Wand
Dusk Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 20.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.70, 21-39 Damage, 17.6 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow. 
Excavation Rod
Excavation Rod
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "Omer's Revenge" Quest available from level 22 from NPC Omer Ironbraid, above the Whelgar's Excavation Site, Wetlands.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 29 Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 25, or earlier when in a group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.90, 32-60 Damage, 24.2 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Gravestone Scepter
Gravestone Scepter
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "Blackfathom Villainy", Wailing Caverns. NPC Argent Guard Thaelrid, near the Blackfathom Deeps entrance. 
  • Level Required: It is a level 27 Dungeon Quest reward that can be acquired around level 23.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.50, 30-57 Damage, 29.0 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow.
Blackbone Wand
Blackbone Wand
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Wand Vendors in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 41.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.60, 39-74 Damage, 35.3 DPS
  • Damage Type: Shadow. 
Cairnstone Sliver
Cairnstone Silver

 
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "The Morrow Stone" Quest available from level 42 from NPC Equinex Monolith, located in the north-western part of Feralas.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 50 Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily around level 46.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.80, 52-97 Damage, 41.4 DPS
  • Damage Type: Arcane. 
Nature's Breath
Nature's Breath
  • Factions: Horde
  • Source: "Dark Vessels"  Group Quest available from level 46 from NPC Primal Torntusk, located in the south-eastern part of the Hinterlands - Revantusk Village.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 50 Group Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily at level 46 when in a strong group.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.40, 40-75 Damage, 41.1 DPS
  • Damage Type: Nature. 
Smokey's Fireshooter
Smokey's Fireshooter
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: "When Smokey Sings, I Get Violent" Group Quest available from level 54 from NPC Smokey LaRue, Light's Hope Chapel, Eastern Plaguelands.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 58 Group Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 55 with the help of a group. It is also soloable around level 58 by a Priest with clever use of the Shackle Undead ability.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.90, 70-132 Damage, 53.2 DPS
  • Damage Type: Fire. 
Rod of Corrosion
Rod of Corrosion
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Shade of Eranikus Boss in the Sunken Temple. Entrance: Lake in the middle of Swamp of Sorrows. Drop Chance: ~31%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 51 to wield and the Boss is a level 55 Elite.
  • Wand Stats: Speed 1.30, 50-93 Damage, 55.0 DPS
  • Damage Type: Nature. 

Rotations

Your rotation will greatly depend on your level and will get gradually more complex as you progress through content and get access to more tools. Moreover, your Wand will be an inherent part of your rotation throughout the whole leveling journey.

Let us look at basic DPS rotations for different level ranges:

Very Early Levels

At the beginning of your journey, your rotation will change rapidly as you will gain access to new abilities very quickly. You should try to implement every new ability to your rotation:

  • At first, you will have Smite, Power Word: Fortitude and a Lesser Heal. You should maintain the Power Word: Fortitude, spam Smite, use your melee Weapon when low on Mana and cast Lesser Heal when needed.
  • At level 4 you get Shadow Word: Pain. From now on you should start all fights with the following sequence: Smite ⇒ Shadow Word: Pain ⇒ Smite.
  • At level 6 you get Power Word: Shield; pre-cast it before each combat to avoid taking too much Damage.
  • At level 8 you get Renew; use it before Combat to top yourself out on Health.
Levels 10 - 39

At this point, you should already have your Wand. You will use it to finish off mobs in order to maximize resource gain from the Spirit Tap Talent.

Before Combat Starts:

Make sure, you have all buffs active (Inner Fire especially, as it has only 20 charges), and pre-cast Power Word: Shield and Renew (if needed).

Single Target Rotation:

Smite/Holy Fire (chose the one that currently deals more Damage) Shadow Word: Pain ⇒ Mind Blast Wand Attack until a mob is dead

Multi-Target Rotation:

Smite/Holy Fire/Mind Blast (chose the one that currently deals more Damage; skip this part if you didn't have a chance to hard-cast a spell before combat) Shadow Word: Pain  on all Targets ⇒ Appropriate Rank of the Psychic Scream Wand Attack

Note: It is very important that you do not cast any spells after the initial sequence unless you really have to. This is because of the 5-second rule ⇒ your Mana will only regenerate 5 seconds after your last spell-cast. Obeying this rule will allow you to chain-kill mobs without any Downtime.

Levels 40 - 60

After your level 40 re-spec, you will have access to the Shadowform ability that will increase your Shadow Damage dealt but prevent you from using Holy spells so, from now on, you will rely on your Power Word: Shield, to keep you healthy, almost exclusively. You will also get the Mind Flay and the Vampiric Embrace that will provide you with some additional Healing without the need to leave Shadowform.

Before Combat Starts:

Make sure, you have all buffs active (Inner Fire especially, as it has only 20 charges), and pre-cast Power Word: Shield.

Single Target Rotation:

Mind Blast ⇒ Vampiric Embrace (if needed) Shadow Word: Pain ⇒ Mind Flay ⇒ Mind Flay ⇒ Wand Attack until a mob is dead

Multi-Target Rotation:

Mind Blast ⇒ Vampiric Embrace (if needed) ⇒ Shadow Word: Pain on all targets ⇒ Appropriate Rank of the Psychic Scream Wand Attack

Note: Weave in additional Power Word: Shield Cast to your rotation if you are taking heavy Damage (Weakened Soul Debuff should not be a problem if you pre-cast PW: S before the start of each combat).

Professions

Tailoring  +  Enchanting
Tailoring + Enchanting
We recommend this professions combination for one simple reason - Wands. Tailoring will enable you to get some Uncommon Items for Disenchanting, and Enchanting will provide you with your first Wand at level 10 Enchanting skill (Lesser Magic Wand). Save all dropped Linen Cloths and craft some Brown/White Linen Robes out of them and then Disenchant. There is a 20% chance for a Lesser Cosmic Essence, so ~5 robes should be enough to get you mats for your first Wand (Essence can also be bought from a Vendor, but it is in limited supply, so don't count on it). Craft it, use it, and try to level Enchanting up to 70 to get your Greater Magic Wand. After that point, feel free to respec into your desired professions or stick to this combination for some future Cloth Armor/Wand/Enchanting-related benefits.

If you want to know more about all professions available in WoW Classic, please check out our WoW Classic Professions Guide.

 

Tips and Tricks for Priest leveling

  1. Take advantage of your Spirit Tap Talent and obey the 5-second rule (Mana starts to regenerate 5 seconds after your last Spellcast). Always try to finish mobs off with your Wand (do not cast any spells when doing that) to maximize your in and out of combat Mana Regeneration.
  1. Spirit is your most important stat by far - STACK IT. This is the key to smooth leveling and quick mana regeneration.
  1. Preserve your Gold. Ideally, you should be able to progress through levels without any Auction House purchases (if you spot a great Wand upgrade, do not hesitate if it is cheap, however). When it comes to Skills - you should learn just the essentials from Class Trainers.
  1. Maintain your buffs. Don't forget about your Inner Fire and Power Word: Fortitude, these spells make your character much more resilient and allow you to save mana that would be otherwise used on Heals.
  1. Downrank your Spells. If you don't need a full heal, do not use the most powerful Healing Ability you currently have, as it is an overkill and it costs too much mana (keep lower rank abilities on your action bars, they come in handy). Moreover, always use the appropriate level of your Psychic Scream - 2 mobs ⇒ Rank 1, 3 mobs ⇒ Rank 2, and so on.
  1. Keep your Wand up to Date. Try to follow the Wand Progression route and remember that a lot of your Damage comes directly from your Wand (better Wand = faster kill times = faster leveling).

 

END NOTE

Leveling process in the Classic World of Warcraft is different from leveling in the current game versions. This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla Experience and allow you to progress through levels efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this Guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.