I'm a Priest Again!

A common piece of advice given to new bloggers is to not make the name and theme of their blog too specific, because interests change over time and you'll want to be able to seamlessly expand the focus of your writing as required, without having anything feel out of place. I've always discarded the part about not being too narrow with your theme, because I've been happy to just make new blogs with different themes anyway... but there's something to the name thing I suppose.

I've never exactly regretted naming this blog "Priest with a Cause", but even aside from Google's initial confusion about whether my writings had anything to do with clergymen, it's sometimes felt a bit awkward as time went on. Back when I started this blog, it seemed impossible to fathom that I'd ever want to main anything other than a priest - my mains on both sides of the faction divide had been priests for years, after all. However, after I first quit the game in Cataclysm, things got weird:

In other words, it's actually been a full decade since this blog really lived up to its name, and that has sometimes bothered me at least a little. I tried my hand at playing priest here and there during my private server years, and I did eventually make a dwarf priest in Classic too, but she never really got levelled very much or quickly.

Until recently, that is. As I said in my last post, with all my previous max-level characters at 70, it was time for a new alt to rise up from the ranks, and my most progressed was actually my priest, so I kept working on her here and there. Soon my levelling buddy expressed interest in having her team up with his warrior once she got high enough for Outland. Warrior/priest, the original OTP... who could say no to that?

Originally I thought she was going to be shadow spec, like I was for most of original Burning Crusade. Back in the day shadow priests were the new hotness and everyone wanted one or more in their raid. I remember I was pretty much recruited specifically to be part of one of my guild's Kara teams because they "needed" a shadow priest for crowd control and other utility. And in the 25-mans we ideally always wanted to run with three shadow priests, one for the two ranged dps groups and one for the healers. I remember that people absolutely loved shadow priests, and I loved being popular.

In Classic BC though... things feel very different. Shadow priests still have their role to play, and nobody dislikes them, but it's much, much more low key than it used to be. People hardly cared about CC in Karazhan even at the start of Classic, and in 25-mans you apparently want exactly one shadow priest to power your arcane mages and that's it. Nobody minds if you want to bring a shadow priest to a dungeon or Kara, but if you're in the process of building a group and thinking about what classes you'd like to bring, you're likely to think of almost every other ranged dps before a shadow priest. That's just how it is, and I'm not entirely sure why.

I guess Classic's increased min-max culture has brought it into starker relief that shadow priests do less damage per second than other classes (back in original BC, with so many of us being bad, the waters remained muddy about these things for much longer), plus average dps is so much higher, leading to fights being over much more quickly, so that "running out of mana" (the main thing a shadow priest in the group helps to prevent) just isn't as much of a concern as it used to be.

I still levelled my little dwarf as shadow of course, because anything else would have seemed masochistic. She spent most of her time questing on her own after all, and when I did get into a dungeon group on occasion I could still both dps or heal as shadow spec. But as I approached Outland, I got thoughtful. My levelling buddy was going to go for a hybrid spec to be able to both tank or dps in levelling dungeons, but healing as shadow was likely going to get rough after level 60 in a group of levellers with average gear.

So when the time eventually came to start adventuring in Hellfire Peninsula, and step into Ramparts in specific, I hearthed to Ironforge, respecced to holy, and then asked for a summon back. And I didn't really mind. My night elf priest back in the day did something very similar, respeccing from shadow to holy in early Outland to focus on being the group healer, and it was fine. And even my troll priest, who was shadow throughout most of BC, ended up going holy when we suffered a healer shortage towards the end of the expansion.

What surprised me though, was that it wasn't just fine: I absolutely loved it. I've enjoyed healing on my paladin, but she only has two healing spells: big heal and small heal, and while that comes with its own challenges, especially in AoE situations, it's not exactly very mentally stimulating to decide which of the two to press next in any given situation.

But even though it's been so many years now since I played a priest at anything but lowbie level, it somehow still felt like coming home. So many different heals to keybind, and oh the fun of deciding which one to choose moment to moment. My brain and fingers even seemed to long to return to keybinds from a decade ago that I couldn't possibly remember on a conscious level, but I could still sense my fingers twitching towards certain combinations if that makes sense. I also instantly found myself missing Prayer of Mending and Binding Heal, abilities I won't get until later down the line but which I kind of automatically wanted to slot into my rotation already. It was honestly kind of surreal how familiar and comfortable it felt.

We blasted from level 60 to 62 within two days by mostly running Ramparts and Blood Furnace, and it just made me so happy it's silly. I'm not saying anything about wanting to change mains or anything at this point, but boy, do I really want to play this character more.

Priest can be rough to play solo because while the class can be specced and equipped to play "okay" on its own, it will still always pale in comparison to the power of a dedicated dps class, and if you've ever had a taste of the latter, it will always feel like a downgrade. But a priest's power to keep a group of friends alive (and in interesting ways!) is perhaps unmatched... it's just that the only way to really enjoy this is to have multiple friends that are reliably playing with you, ideally both a tank and dps to actually kill stuff. I went for a long time without having this sort of group setup... but I'm thinking I might finally be back in a place that makes it worth it.


  1. I have seen a Priest solo heal Kara --with some minimal help from me on Moroes and Nightbane-- so yeah, Priests can dominate the heals. Glad to see you're doing well!

  2. This is pretty much where I'm at in Retail (Classic is even worse). The last time we as a guild did much of anything together was Cata. Since then we see a rush of lookie-loos that quickly die out after the first month. I'm just keeping the pilot lamp going now. The last of the fraking Mohecans.

    Guess I'll just keep on representing.