Priest Primer: Macros & Useful Information

These are the macros that we’ll suggest for the level 24 Gnome Clone Priest. There are four sections here, one for each of the three talent specs and the fourth to cover Priests in general.

If you’re interested only in looking at the macros for your spec, you can click on one of the following links to jump to that section:

General Priest Macros
Discipline Priest
Holy Priest
Shadow Priest

Priests are a pretty straight forward class. You know they mostly heal but they do have some damage capabilities. They are the only class in the game with multiple healing specs, one of which prefers to prevent damage from happening in the first place while the other focuses more on direct heals. Their DPS spec, Shadow, is known for its highly annoying crowd control as well as a fair combination of DoT damage and direct damage.

The most common misplay I see from Priests in lower brackets is incorrect spell use, primarily the application of Shadow Word: Pain. SW:Pain is one of the most mana-intensive spells that Priests ever have access to, and unless you’re Shadow the damage on it really isn’t all that impressive. That doesn’t mean that Disc/Holy shouldn’t use it, but that does mean they shouldn’t just slap it on every opponent they see. For non-Shadow Priests SW:Pain has two primary uses: keeping Rogues/Ferals out of stealth, and preventing flag captures in Arathi Basin. If you’re not in one of those two situations then the only time you should cast SW:Pain is when you’re in the process of bringing down an EFC and/or his healers. Otherwise you’re just wasting mana because in this bracket someone who’s not actively engaged in combat has enough natural regeneration to counter SW:Pain’s damage coming from Disc and especially Holy.

That being said, don’t forget that regardless of your spec, in this bracket you have free access to every spell in your spellbook. Shadow doesn’t have to worry about casting heals or holy spells because they don’t have Shadowform yet. Disc and Holy might not get bonus damage to Shadow spells, but Mind Blast still does fantastic damage for non-Shadow Priests and it has a short cast time. All specs can bubble and heal, and they all have access to the five-target AoE fear, Psychic Scream. The point here is that you should never limit your spell selection when there’s no reason to. Use the tools that you’re given.

For general Priest macros, the only thing I really have to add is a set of focus macros that I use for healing. As I’ve mentioned before, I use HealBot as my actual healing addon, but when I’m not in a group healing environment the only people I care about healing are myself and my flag carrier. For that I like to use the following style of macro to make it easy for me to heal myself or the flag carrier at any time.

/cast [mod:alt,@Psynister] Flash Heal
/cast [@focus] Flash Heal
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast [mod:alt,@Psynister] Heal
/cast [@focus] Heal
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast [mod:alt,@Psynister] Renew
/cast [@focus] Renew
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

These macros are a little bit different than the ones I’ve shown you before, so let me explain how they work.

/cast [mod:alt,@Psynister] Flash Heal This like casts the Flash Heal spell, but only if certain conditions are met because it’s modified. The modification, or “mod” that I’m using, is that I only want it to do this if I’m holding the ALT key down when I activate the macro. I’m also forcing it onto a specific person with the “@Psynister” portion of it, so no matter who I have selected as my target or if I have no target at all, activating this macro will cast Flash Heal on a character named Psynister when I’m holding the Alt key (assuming the character is in range and within line of sight). To modify these macros, you’ll want to replace Psynister with the name of your own character (Lilliloki or Lillivanilli in my case).

/cast [@focus] Flash Heal works similar to the line above except that there’s no modifier key applied to it. So any time I activate this macro without the Alt key pressed, it casts Flash Heal. This portion has it forced to cast on my focus though, using @Focus.

Now, Flash Heal does trigger the global cooldown (GCD) like most other spells. This means that I can’t cast Flash Heal twice at the same time with only a single activation of the macro. So when it’s activated the macro does the first thing that it’s capable of doing based on the modifiers that we’ve given it. First it looks to see if Alt is pressed, and if so it attempts to cast the heal on Psynister (which is me). If Alt isn’t being pressed then it does the next thing on the list which is casting Flash Heal on the person I have set as my focus (which is either my flag carrier or myself). If neither of those conditions are met, then it moves on to the next line of code which in this case there isn’t one.

You could modify this macro to cast Flash Heal on whoever your target is if it fails to cast both on yourself and on your focus, but I use this style of macro specifically to heal either one or the other of my primary targets, so if I can’t heal either myself or my focus I know something’s wrong and I don’t want to accidentally heal the wrong person in those situations so I don’t put any additional functionality into them.

Beyond that, I don’t have any other recommendations for general Priest macros beyond those that I already covered in the Macro Primer.

Suggested Discipline Specs:
222/0002 throughput focus
203/2100 mana focus
230/0030 survival focus

The first spec I have listed here is the one that I suggest for our Disc Priests. This spec strengthens your bubbles, reduces their cooldown so that you can “spam” them onto multiple people faster/easier, and reduces their mana cost as well. You lose a little bit of strength (2%) in your damage/healing by only putting 2 points into Twin Disciplines, and you’re saving 7% mana instead of 10% with only 2 points in Mental Agility, but you’re able to combine the strengths of both talents which should pay off more in the end. When I’m building solo twinks I tend to ignore Mental Agility all together since I’m only interested in healing myself and my flag carrier most of the time, but since we’re going to be using premade gnome groups it’s better to think long term and more group focused.

The second spec is all about conserving mana without loosing too much of your healing power. You lose 6% of your damage and healing power in exchange for 12% mana savings your instant cast spells (Power Word: Shield, Renew, Shadow Word: Pain, and your buffs), and it backs up those mana savings with Archangel as well. If you decide to use this spec, be sure to use your Penance whenever you have a chance, don’t conserve it if there’s not an immediate threat you need to save it for. Evang/Arch work best when you’re actually using the spells that trigger them, so be sure to make use of them.

The last spec focuses on healing, with an extra focus on keeping yourself alive by trading Evang/Arch for Inner Sanctum to reduce the spell damage you take by 6%. This doesn’t help you at all versus melee opponents, but it will help you survive against the casters. Alternatively, you could drop a point or two from Inner Sanctum and put them into Soul Warding to be able to spam your bubbles on other members faster.

I don’t have any Disc-specific macros for you beyond what was covered in the Macro Primer, so you should be good to go once you’ve decided on your spec.

In terms of game play, Disc has better damage capabilities than Holy because they have talents that increase their spell damage, so keep that in mind. If you’re using Evangelism and Archangel you also want to be sure you’re using Penance as often as you can. If you aren’t aware of any immediate threats to targets you’re healing and you don’t have any reason to suspect a stealthed attack, then use Penance offensively every chance you get so that you’re taking full advantage of those talents.

One other important note in regards to Penance. Channeled spells like Penance are not effected by Line of Sight so long as LoS was established at the time it was cast. If you want to cast Penance, whether offensively or as a heal, and your target is about break LoS by going behind a wall or something, try to fire off Penance before they actually leave LoS. Doing this will allow your Penance to continue casting even if LoS is completely broken. I’ve killed hundreds of people in WSG flag rooms using channeled spells that they thought they could hide from only to find I could still shoot them through the walls.

Suggested Holy Specs:
230/120 throughput focus
033/020 heal spammer
230/021 flag defender

Holy’s signature spell is Holy Word: Chastise which in this bracket is simply an instant cast spell that does decent damage and has a short Disorient effect. Disorient is basically a stun, and I believe it shares diminishing returns with stuns as well. The two primary uses of this spell are interrupting casters and stopping your opponents from either chasing you or getting away from you. As far as macros are concerned, just use the default attack macro format that I listed in the Macro Primer.

The first spec in that list is my favorite spec for a twink Priest. It focuses on big heals, and lots of them. The first tier adds 10% healing to Renew which is especially good against the F2P twinks that don’t know how to gear their toons as it will often heal for more damage than they can possibly deal. We also get 15% stronger Flash Heal and Heal casts from the first tier, giving us the single strongest healing spell in the bracket of all classes. The second tier gives us a free, instant 30% heal for ourselves which is fantastic since we’re typically focus fired as healers and as twinks we tend to have a lot of hit points. We also get one of the most useful healing talents of any healer in the 24 bracket, which gives us a 6% chance any time we Smite, Heal, or Flash Heal to get a free, instant cast Flash Heal.

The second spec focuses more on being able to spam heals for combating constant damage. You give up the 10% bonus to Renew in exchange for 0.5 seconds shaved off of the cast time of Heal (Smite and Holy Fire too for your DPS situations), and though we do lose the 30% instant-self heal talent the more frequent casting of Heal should theoretically provide more procs from Surge of Light which is what gives us the free, instant Flash Heals. Basically, you’re trading a little bit of personal survivability for better group healing overall, and potentially better healing of flag carriers if you don’t have people focusing on you instead of them.

The third spec is almost identical to the first, except that you’re trading your 30% self heal for a 5% damage reduction on any target that you get a critical heal on. For 15 seconds after your heals crit on the target (Heal and Flash Heal) they get 5% damage reduction against physical attacks. It doesn’t help you at all against casters, but the biggest damage dealers in this bracket deal primarily physical damage.

Holy has the strongest heals available in the 24 bracket, partly because they get such large bonuses to their healing spells from their talent tree and also because they can get free Flash Heal casts from their other healing spells. When you combine their strong heals with their AoE Fear and Holy Word: Chastise you can see how they have advantages to their healing that other healers do not. Of the three Priest specs you have the lowest damage potential which counters your higher healing potential. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your offensive spells, it just means you don’t hit as hard with them as the other two specs will. Don’t be afraid to be offensive, just remember your strengths and keep them in mind. You might not be able to one-shot a Mage, but chances are high you can add enough healing to the mix that you can kill him before he can kill you, even if it does take 3 minutes to do it.

Suggested Shadow Specs:
320/0102 damage focus
320/0300 burst focus
320/2001 control focus

The first Shadow spec here focuses on damage. In this bracket Fade only serves to get enemy Pets off of you if you’ve built no threat against them yet, but even that doesn’t work very well, so every Shadow Priest should have the same tier 1 talents which give 3% Haste and 6% damage to SW:Pain. The second tier is where your damage focus comes in with 2% increased Shadow damage, 100% Spirit conversion to Hit Rating, and 0.5 seconds shaved off of Mind Blast’s cooldown.

The second spec trades the Hit and 2% Shadow damage of Twisted Faith to max Improved Mind Blast for -2 seconds from Mind Blast’s cooldown. Mind Blast is your fastest cast and your hardest hitting spell, so you’re doing everything you can to cast it more frequently.

The third spec focuses more on control, which is this cast is reducing the cooldown on your Psychic Scream by 4 seconds. Those 4 seconds might not seem like that big of a deal, but it’s one of the strongest AoE crowd control spells in the game and it’s one of only four that exist in this bracket (Mages have all the rest). You also get 1% Shadow damage and 50% of your Spirit converts to Hit Rating. You can trade 1 point in Improved Psychic Scream for the second point in Twisted Faith for for 2% damage and 100% Spirit > Hit Rating if you’d like.

Shadow’s signature spell is Mind Flay which is a channeled spell that deals damage every second for three seconds and slows the target’s movement speed by 50%. I do have one quick macro I’d like to mention for this one:

/cast [mod:alt] Mind Flay
/cast !Mind Flay
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

The first thing I want to point out about this macro is that it makes use of the exclamation mark (!). I’ve talked about this in the other primers here, but I’ll explain it again just in case you haven’t read them. Using this mark in front of a spell allows you to spam the macro without cancelling or recasting the spell that you put it in front of. Without that mark if you were to press this macro and then one second later press it again, you would cast Mind Flay on the target twice while dealing damage with it only once which essentially wastes the first cast.

In the case of Mind Flay, sometimes you want to be able to cast it a second time before its effect is actually finished, especially in cases where you’re trying to slow as many people as possible in order to give your flag carrier time to capture the flag. In cases like that you can take advantage of the other special line in this macro: /cast [mod:alt] Mind Flay. Since this line comes before the one with the exclamation mark, if you’re holding Alt when you activate the macro it will override and ignore the second line, allowing you to do rapid casts on one target after the other. Just be aware that the slowing effect only happens while you’re channeling it, so don’t be too quick to jump from one target to another or you may accomplish little more than wasting your mana.

While Shadow is the DPS spec for Priests, PvP victories often come down to who had the most effective use of crowd control and who had the most effective healers. As Shadow you have all of those tools available to you, so don’t get tunnel visioned into killing people when you have so much more to offer. A Flash Heal, Mind Flay, or Psychic Scream at the right time can be the difference between GG and QQ.


4 thoughts on “Priest Primer: Macros & Useful Information

  1. Yey Priests! I’m going to copy down that first Disc spec; as I was putting points in I was leaning towards something similar, though I messed it up (just will have to respec sooner or later!)

    And if I ever get tired of tossing around bubbles I could always try one of these other specs. Thanks for writing this guide! :3

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’m going to be a badass disc priest šŸ˜€

    One question though: as far as I know, Penance doesn’t count for Evangelism stacks, so how does using it on CD help with that? (And if it should count for those stacks, there’s something I missed, since mine definitely doesn’t work that way.) I was thinking that Arch spec isn’t viable because spamming Smite/Holy Fire is, well, slow as hell and in a BG you don’t exactly get 2 secs of standing still so often.

    • I mention casting Penance because it gets buffed by your Evangelism stacks, so you’re not spending all your time spamming Smite with it’s long cast time. Holy Fire’s cast time isn’t too horrible, but the 10 second cooldown on it sucks. Because of those two things, if you’re going to build up Evangelism stacks your best damage option is going to be Penance and you should use it as such rather than trying to save it for a heal unless you know that there’s a need for you to save it.

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