- Author: Caperfin
- Date: August 30, 2019
- Updated: February 17, 2021
- Expansion: WoW Classic
Hi, my name is Caperfin and welcome to my guide! When you think of a priest dealing damage in raids, a shadow priest is assumed as the staple and path to follow. However, a lot has changed over the years and the most peculiar way to deal damage has sprung up. It offers an increase in damage in comparison to a shadow priest in the later portions of the game.
It will come as a shock to many players but a priest affiliating with the Discipline and Holy specialisation will be the avenue that yields the best results for a damage dealing priest. But there are standards and guidelines to follow that this guide will try its best to illustrate to help you on your journey.
Before continuing, its important to remember you are not only going a certain route but also playing a class that demands a great deal of effort for players to recognize in a raid. We have the capability to not only provide a decent amount of personal damage but also the capability of supporting other teammates. Although, people will be amazed at the amount of damage you deal, they will chastise you if you fail to aid an ally that translates to the death of a raid party. Speaking of damage the most casted spell in our toolkit will be Smite which is where we get our name: “Smite Priest” a spell that causes Holy damage. The appealing part about Smite is all bosses in World of Warcraft do not have a resistance to Holy damage, therefore, our holy friend can deal damage without any burden.
Races play a big part as we are grasping for any amount of extra efficiency possible. I suggest Priest on the Alliance faction because they have access to the exclusive Paladin class and their talent ability: Sanctity Aura and Improved Seal of the Crusader and its related spell: Seal of the Crusader. Next, let’s see the most beneficial race within the Alliance. We are gifted with three possible races, that each offer different kind of advantages: Human, Dwarf and Night Elf. Although, I don’t suggest a Horde race, I will still highlight the best race within the Horde. Lets breakdown each race to see their potential.
Gun Specialization: Guns skill increased by 5.
Frost Resistance: Frost Resistance increased by 10.
Find Treasure: Allows the dwarf to sense nearby treasure, making it appear on the minimap.
Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals the caster for 1324 to 1563.
Stoneform: While active, grants immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects. In addition, Armor…
Fear Ward: Wards the friendly target against Fear. The next Fear effect used against the target will fail…
What does this mean? Dwarf can be advantageous to get into a guild or raid quickly because of Fear Ward. This translates into getting more gold and gear quicker whether it be healing gear or damage dealing gear, this is a great way to get your foot in the door for you eventual transition into a full time damage dealer later on.
Diplomacy: Reputation gains increased by 10%.
The Human Spirit: Increases spirit by 5%.
Mace Specialization: Skill with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 5.
Sword Specialization: Skill with Swords and Two-Handed Swords increased by 5.
Perception: Dramatically increases stealth detection for 20 seconds. 3 min cooldown.
Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals the caster for 1324 to 1563.
Feedback: Any successful spell cast against the priest will burn 105 of the attacker’s Mana, causing 1 Shadow…
What does this mean? In a raiding environment, Human will out-damage other races but in a unique scenario that will rarely be performed by most people. (addressed in the Talent section)
Throwing/Bow Specialization: Skill with Throwing/Bow Weapons increased by 5.
Regeneration: Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
Beast Slaying: Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
Hex of Weakness: Weakens the target enemy, reducing damage caused by 20 and reducing…
Shadowguard: When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for 116 Shadow damage…
Berserking: Increases your casting and attack speed by 10% to 25%. At full health the speed increase is 10% with…
What does this mean? Going Troll is the optimal race within the Horde for dealing as much damage as possible on a target, they especially excel on bosses categorized as beasts. If you never plan on raiding and want to remain in 5/10mans, Undead is the way to go.
If you are dead set on going another race or faction. This isn’t to say you should be forced to play a certain race, rather that you should be aware of the differences and make the according decision that aligns with your preferences.
During the harsh and lengthy process of leveling, select Herbalism and Alchemy. A valid case can be made for also having a lvl 5 alt stationed permanently in a major city to disenchant unwanted items through mail and store items at a bank for later use. Back to the subject at hand, herbalism contributes convenient reagents for alchemy and a strong source of revenue for our eventual endgame professions. It also prevents players from spending an exorbitant portion of time pestering strangers in Orgrimmar to craft potions. The objective is straightforward, gather a substantial supply of gold and a bank chock-full of fruitful potions the raid might need.
Down below are a few notable potions:
Next, I advise dropping Herbalism once the quantity of gold in one’s bags is overflowing and adopt the late game profession: engineering to scoop up a few useful tools, such as:
Finally, for secondary professions, I urge grabbing all of them as they all provide valuable assets. In terms of fishing, you can farm those elusive Stonescale Eels that are highly contested after for Flask of the Titans. First aid grants bandages for healing that don’t require any mana to use.
As you probably know a character can have a theoretical cap of 32 beneficial buffs. The limit may differ from server to server or what is acknowledged as a buff. Also, some buffs are unobtainable due to certain patch restrictions or unable to stack with others. On a side note, I suggest installing NirkBuffRemover/NBR and Buffalo to help with overall buff management and ease of mind. Down below is a table of relevant buffs, separated into sub groups to better highlight their usefulness. Although, there is no strict order, you should still prioritize getting world buffs before obtaining other buffs.
Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian: +2% Spell Crit to all party members within 30 yards. (Does not stack with Moonkin Aura)
Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer: +10% Spell Crit.
Slip’kik’s Savvy: +3% Spell Crit.
Moonkin Form: +3% Spell Crit.
Flask of Distilled Wisdom: +2000 mana for 2 hr. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time.
Limited Invulnerability Potion: Immune to physical attacks for 6 sec. (Also, prevent any threat generation for its duration)
Warchief’s Blessing: +10 mana regen every 5 seconds…
Mana Spring Totem: +10 mana every 2 sec.
Mageblood Potion: +12 mana per 5 sec.
Brilliant Mana Oil: +12 mana per 5 seconds. (Although, an enchant, it appears in the temporary weapon buff slot.)
Innervate: Increases Mana regen by 400% for 20 sec.
Sayge’s Dark Fortune of Damage: +10% damage.
Flask of Supreme Power: +150 damage done by magical spells & effects for 2 hr. Only 1 flask effect can be active at a time.
Greater Arcane Elixir: +20 damage dealt from spells & abilities.
Traces of Silithyst: +5% damage to melee, range and spell damage dealt.
Power Infusion: +20% spell damage & healing on the target for 15 sec.
Songflower Serenade: Increases a melee, ranged, or spell to crit by 5%, +15 all stats.
Mark of the Chosen: 2% chance when struck in combat of increasing all stats by 25 for 1 min.
Spirit of Zandalar: +15 all stats, +10 move speed.
Mark of the Wild: +162 all attributes, +384 armor, +270 all resistance.
Sanctity Aura: Increases Holy damage done by party members within 30 yards by 10%.
Mind Control Buffs
I wouldn’t be thorough if I didn’t mention the wonderful world of Mind Control buffing. Refer to my video to learn more about Mind Control Buffing:
(also Dark Whispers Increases the Shadow damage dealt by an ally by 35 for 10 min from Vile Tutor in the Eastern Plague Lands)
Special Event Buffs
On an ending note for buffs, we can also get buffs from special events/holidays:
In conclusion, let’s compile all of the buffs we have seen.
Here is a screenshot of the best buffs, we can get for our means: https://i.ibb.co/nkLqvMH/plplp.png
Here is a screenshot of realistic buffs, we can get for our means: https://i.ibb.co/1QsZL7P/io.png
Having as many debuffs on the boss as possible is of paramount importance to dealing damage. Therefore, our interests are heavily tied to the release of patch 1.7, due to its extra 8 debuff slots introduction totaling to 16 debuffs. All debuffs on the list below benefit us in damage and are assumed to be at their maximum rank/talent improvement.
Improved Shadow Bolt (Warlock): Shadow Bolt critical strikes increase Shadow damage dealt to the target by 20% until 4 non…
Curse of Shadow: Reduces Shadow & Arcane resistances by 75 & increasing Shadow and Arcane damage taken by 10%.
Shadow Weaving (Priest): Shadow damage spells have a 100% chance to cause your target to be vulnerable to Shadow damage. This vulnerability increases the Shadow damage dealt to your target by 3% and lasts 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
Gift of Arthas: If an enemy strikes the imbiber, the attacker has a 30% chance of being inflicted with disease that increases dmg taken by 8 for 3 min. Lasts 30 min.
Nightfall: Spell damage taken by target increased by 15% for 5 sec.
Seal of the Crusader: Judge an enemy for 10 sec, increasing Holy damage taken by up to 140.
When Smite Priests are talked about, they are often associated with going out of mana quickly. However, this is an outdated notion involving a lack of information or commitment from players to rectify. This isn’t to say they never run out of mana, but rather that it is greatly exaggerated. Of course, the shorter a boss fight the better. Below is a list of mana regenerative items, you should look to acquire.
In order of granted mana:
Major Mana Potion grants a good chunk of mana and drops throughout the world quite often.
Major Rejuvenation Potion quite expansive but also grants health.
Demonic Rune converts health into mana.
Lily Root is created from a neck item and saves on time, money, etc… (the single root will disappear after 1hr.)
Night Dragon’s Breath takes care of mana & health. Very easy to acquire so get a large amount and place them in the bank.
As you familiarize yourself with a fight and the limits of your raiding partners, it will come intuitively what is the best to use. Its worth mentioning some items don’t share a cooldown, thus can follow each other in quick succession.
Here are the two different cooldown categories:
My personal recommendation is to have a diverse pool of the items featured in this section to cater to any situation that might arise. Not only are there items that can help with mana but also Buffs that we previously looked at. If you are looking to maximise mana regeneration also consider equipping an MP5 gear set in between mob pulls, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0-17Sp62eI to learn more. You can also take it a step higher and equip Circle of Flame.
Unfortunately, the gear we desire is also desired by other casters. Therefore, I suggest acquiring this type of gear while assuming the role of a healing priest in the raid. However, I will still provide a comprehensive gear list for all phases. The interesting part about gearing is that 4 pieces of our BIS gear can be acquired within Phase 2 of Classic World of Warcraft. Down below is a url to a spreadsheet with a plethora of options for proper gearing.
Enchants similar to gear need to be tailored for our purposes.
For the sake of generality and simplicity these talents setups assume a server between patch 1.9 – 1.12 and taking part in a serious guild who are confidently clearing raids.
The typical talent setup for a Smite Priest. If were looking to do the most damage possible it is technically possible to withdraw a point from Power Infusion and place it in Spiritual Guidance which deals more damage but would require other priests to cast Power Infusion on you (this is unrealistic but possible) for the duration of the boss fights. In this RARE situation being a Human yields more damage because of their bonus in Spirit.
The improved version of the talent setup displayed above that helps further with mana but requires some coordination and may not be for everyone. The following actions are purely a showcase of the highest dps possible. Basically, before the boss is pulled, Hearthstone to a major city sign yourself up for a Battleground, find an enemy player to kill and trigger Spirit Tap immediately ask for a summon near the raid entrance, enter the instance, get summoned once again to the raid’s location and immediately have the boss pulled.
The following rotation will assume a simple tank-spank raid boss with very minimal movement allowing our holy friend to freely cause havoc unhindered. The following rotation is split into several sections to better highlight the course of action. Naturally, if you are unable to accomplish certain aspects of the rotation, simply weed out what you can.
Pre-Pull: Equip Hand of Edward the Odd and attack an Unconscious Dig Rat, until the weapon’s “chance on hit” triggers. If you are unaware of the rat item, refer to the Dig rat video and Doomguard video on how to take advantage of these weird items. The moment the effect is triggered the tank should be pulling the boss.
Pulling: Optimally, we would want to cast Shadow Word: Pain but it will depend on the Raid Leader decision. Activate Limited Invulnerability Potion, cast Smite constantly until Curse of Shadow and other similar debuffs are on the boss. The moment all debuffs are on the boss, activate your spell damage trinket, cast Inner Focus, cast Power Infusion on yourself and cast Mind Blast each time its off cooldown. (BUT if Seal of the Crusader is on the boss cast non-stop Smite instead.) Continue through the boss fight by casting Smite and Mind Blast when it’s off cooldown.
- Try and keep Inner Focus for low mana situations, if mana is not an issue and Seal of the Crusader is not active save it for a MB.
- If moving is required in a boss fight, use Goblin Sapper Charge while moving & Crystal Charge once again if moving is needed later on. Also, if mana permits it cast Power Word: Shield or Renew on teammates who will foreseeably take damage.
- In a similar vein, If you mismanage your mana, use Goblin Sapper Charge/Crystal Charge and Magic Candle and start wanding the target.
- I also suggest to keep on you Faintly Glowing Skull which scales with spell damage, shadow related buff, debuffs, potions, etc… if you are aiming to make other people in your raid jealous.
Thanks for reading!