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Holy Priest DPS

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This article is a ‘How to’ and Tips in playing Holy Priest DPS spec for World of Warcraft: Legion 7.1.5 patch.
Last update: 7th January 2017 || Version 3.0.0

Background

Due to modifications to the class since the last expansion Warlords of Draenor, Holy Priest DPS is no longer a viable DPS spec, especially in a raiding environment. The Discipline and Shadow spells and abilities have been removed for the Holy specification, making the DPS output significantly lower than previous expansions.

This guide is for players who want to know how to quest/leveling as a Holy Priest DPS in World of Warcraft: Legion expansion, mainly between levels 100 and 110. When you begin questing in the Broken Isles (the levelling area in the Legion expansion), the DPS output will be extremely low when compared to other DPS classes within the game. Your DPS maybe low, but your HPS is very high, giving you the ability to keep yourself alive when you are attacking or be attacked by most NPCs, albeit, it might take a while to defeat them.

Stats priority

The Holy Priest DPS only has four primary statistics to concentrate on:

Intellect > Haste (until Smite is around 1.2 seconds cast > Critical Strike > Versatility

Intellect translates directly into damage. The more intellect your Priest has, the more damage (and more healing if you are playing as an off-healer) they will achieve: you can’t have enough of it. More is better. Gain as much Intellect as quickly as possible in early game by taking any gear that has a higher Intellect value.

Critical Strike rating is the probable chance of scoring double damage on a target.

Haste is for reducing the cast time of your spells. Try and collect enough haste rating so when you cast Smite, it’s around the 1.2 seconds mark.

Versatility provides a percentage increase to your damage and healing spells, while also reducing the damage taken for a percentage amount.

Mastery only affects your healing spells (Mastery: Echo of Light). Mastery is a dead secondary stat as this is for healing only. Concentrate on getting gear that has Critical Strike and Haste as secondary stats.

With regards to Trinkets, always take trinkets that have Intellect as the primary stat regardless of the secondary stat or ability.

Talents

There are no talents available that give your priest a direct DPS increase. None. There are however four talents which can help with the DPS rotation as well as help you which you may consider taking:

Level 30: Perseverance – When you cast a Renew upon yourself, it reduces damage taken by 10%. Can be useful when stacking with Focused Will, give you a 40% total damage reduction. 

Level 45: CensureHoly Word: Chastise stuns the target for five seconds. Can be very useful when fighting higher level/higher health targets or PvP as this stops them from attacking you. Be warned, doesn’t work on every NPC target.

Level 90: Divine Star – Launches an energy bolt directly in front of your Priest causing healing to friendly targets and damage to enemies. After 30 yards, the energy bolt returns to you, healing allies and damaging enemies on its return path. This talent can be very useful, especially when fighting multiple enemies, but the problem is, all the enemies must be in front of you, rather than surrounding you. To achieve this, simply walk backwards (if you can) before launching Divine Star. Unfortunately, this talent has a 15 second cooldown. Because of the long cooldown, the DPS is minimal at best.

Level 100: Apotheosis – When activated, Apotheosis reduces the cooldown of your Holy Word spells when you cast the corresponding spell. In other words, you can cast Holy Word: Chastise again after you’ve cast Smite two or three times instead of six or seven; depending on your Haste rating. Very useful when you are attacking a Rare Elite, World Boss or another PvP player.

Artifact Weapon, Artifact Power and Artifact Relics

Artifact weapons, Artifact Power (AP) and Artifact Relics are new to Legion. When you reach level 98, you will be presented with a quest to obtain your artifact weapon, T’uure, Beacon of the Naaru. This will be your main weapon for the rest of the expansion and you’ll be spending most of the expansion upgrading it.

To upgrade your artifact weapon you need to acquire artifact power and relics. Artifact power is acquired from drops, quests, world quests, Follower missions, treasure chests, dungeon and raid rewards.

Relics (2) are acquired from quests, world quests, dungeons and raids.

Spending AP on your artifact weapon obtains traits (3). Each trait gives your Priest additional spells or abilities or upgrades an existing spell or ability. Unfortunately, there are no DPS traits on T’uure, Beacon of the Naaru. The only useful trait for DPS is Focus in the Light which slows down the target by 30% if you cast Holy Fire or Holy Word: Chastise only when the Focused Will buff is active.  The quickest route to obtain this trait is Level 8.

Each trait you obtain increases the weapon’s total rank (1). Each rank obtained increases damage dealt by 1%. The weapon caps at rank 34, so maxing out the rank can increase your damage dealt by 34%. Obtaining AP to get to rank 34 is a time-consuming process as the AP required to get to the next rank goes up exponentially.

To obtain the AP necessary, you need to research Artifact Research notes from Juvess the Duskwhisperer in your Class Hall, but this process can only begin when you reach Level 110. Each Artifact Research note costs 500 Order Resources to research and each note increases your Artifact Knowledge which in turn boosts your AP percentage gain. Artifact Knowledge is capped at level 25 and it can take some time to complete.

There are no DPS Relics to obtain, so you can use any as you see fit. The only rule is to socket the highest item level relics you can; the higher the item level, the higher the item level of your artifact weapon which equals higher level of Intellect.

Get a Champion

A new feature of the Legion expansion is Class Halls. These are exclusive areas within the game where only your class can enter and it is here whereby you upgrade and modify your artifact weapons, research Artifact Knowledge, research class hall upgrades, recruit champions (called Followers in game), send champions on quests, obtain quests from your Class Hall leaders and various other tasks. Think of Class Halls like Garrisons from Warlords of Draenor, but instead of being exclusive to you, it is shared with other players of your class.

Upon doing the Class Hall quest chain, you will eventually complete quests where you will recruit champions, similar to Warloads of Draenor. Some of these champions can be assigned to you as your bodyguard, which can help you with quests and world quests on the Broken Isles. Two champions are worth assigning as your champion as a DPS increase: Zabra Hexx or Sol. Pick either one depending on your playing style, but you will obtain Zabra Hexx first.

Once you have recruited these champions, level them up to 850 as fast as you can. The higher their level, the higher their DPS. You level the champions by collecting Champion Armaments, which are obtained from Class Hall missions or from Lilith, your Armament Supplier, whom becomes available after you’ve research Tier 3 of the Class Hall research.  

Your Spells

Your Holy Priest has four core damage spells and one talent damage spell. These are:

  • Holy Word: Chastise – a big direct damage spell with a default one minute cooldown. Casting Smite reduces the cooldown by 10 seconds
    • If you select the talent Censure (Level 45), the target is also stunned for five seconds
    • If you select the talent Apotheosis (Level 100) and is active, casting Smite reduces the cooldown by 2o seconds
  • Holy Fire – a direct and Damage over Time (DoT) spell with a 10 second cooldown; the DoT effect is only seven seconds. Casting Smite or Holy Nova whilst the target has the Holy Fire DoT debuff, gives a chance to reset the cooldown of the Holy Fire spell. You can then either cast Holy Fire again on the same target so the Holy Fire DoT debuff stacks to 2, doing more damage over time, or you can apply a fresh Holy Fire DoT debuff on a new target.
  • Smite – your main ‘filler’ damage spell
  • Holy Nova – an Area of Effect (AoE) spell. Is very weak in early game, but can be extremely powerful in later game
  • Divine Star – a level 90 talent spell that launches an energy bolt directly in front of your Priest causing healing to friendly targets and damage to enemies. After 30 yards, the energy bolt returns to you, healing allies and damaging enemies on its return path.

Rotation

Single target:

  1. Holy Word: Chastise
  2. Holy Fire
  3. Divine Star (if you have the talent and if you want to use it)
  4. Smite
  5. Reapply Holy Fire and cast Divine Star when the cooldowns have reset or expired.

Multiple targets:
If you are being attacked by two or more NPCs, different strategies are needed depending on your Level, Gear Level score and Artifact Weapon trait level.

If you are of low level, the best strategy is to concentrate your attack on one NPC at a time. Only advisable to take on a maximum of three same level NPCs.

If you are of high level, the best strategy is to cast your instant damage spells on one target and instead of using Smite, use Holy Nova and Divine Star instead. Can attack multiple NPCs at once.

Experience will teach you what and how many NPCs you can attack at any one time.

Gems, Enchants, Flasks and Pots

Gems
Deadly Eye of Prophecy – increases critical strike by 150
Deadly Deep Amber – increases critical strike by 100
Quick Dawnlight – increases haste by 150
Quick Azsunite – increases haste by 100
Saber’s Eye of Intellect – increases intellect by 200. Only one can be equipped

Enchants

SlotEnchant
NeckMark of the Claw - sometimes increase critical strike and haste by 1000 for six seconds
Mark of the Hidden Satyr - sometimes summons a satyr that will fire a nightmare bolt at your enemy, dealing damage
CloakBinding of Intellect - increases intellect by 200
Word of Intellect - increases intellect by 150
RingBinding of Critical Strike - increase critical strike by 200
Word of Critical Strike - increase critical strike by 150
Binding of Haste - increase haste by 200
Word of Haste - increase haste by 150

Flasks
Flask of the Whispered Pact – Increases Intellect by 1300 for one hour

Pots
Potion of Prolonged Power – increases all stats by 2500 for one minute, one minute cooldown.

Top Tips when attacking NPCs

  • Although your DPS is much lower than Shadow Priests and other DPS classes, you have the luxury of healing yourself during the fight
  • I highly recommend you take Level 75 talent Surge of Light, which gives you up to two instant charges of Flash Heal, which can be used in your rotation to top off your health
  • If you suffer big loss of health, you can cast Holy Word: Serenity on yourself. Holy Word: Serenity is the big single heal spell, which can heal you for more than 50% of your health instantly
  • Your DPS maybe low but you can attack most NPCs as you can instantly heal yourself to full health using Holy Word: Serenity and 2 x Flash Heals from Surge of Light. All it means is, it takes longer to kill a NPC, the slow burn
  • Have plenty of Potion of Prolonged Power, these can get you out of trouble. 

Change log

Version 3.0.o – 7th January 2017 – Legion Patch 7.1.5 release

Version 2 – WoD 6.2 Guide
Version 1 – MoP 5.4 Guide

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