WoW Priest Talent Trees

Posted on April 29, 2008 by Stephen

Understanding the Priest talents and what they are meant to do. With three different trees of unique orientation, it can be difficult to decide what you want. Each tree has a very specific idea and is used primarily to that end.
Shadow - Considered the damage tree, it has the highest damage output of any Tree available to the Priest. It also has many utilitarian spells like Improved Fade and Shadow Weaving, Silence, and Vampiric Embrace. These abilities both benefit you individually and your party. A common assumption is that Shadow Priests don't make good healers. This isn't true, the player makes the healer. A build is only a means to an end. That being said, investing in the Shadow tree will give you a lot of options when you're playing, but you will not be the best healer you could be.

Discipline - The mana tree, this tree is primarily about mana efficiency and endurance. The tree focuses on keeping yourself high in mana with an increased mana pool, mana regeneration during combat, and an increased Spirit buff. It also has a few utility spells in the form of improved Power Word: Shield, Improved Power Word: Fortitude, Silent Resolve and Unbreakable will. This tree is more about being able to heal through the entire battle than being the biggest, most powerful healer.

Holy - The healing tree, this tree is purely about being that impressive healing Priest. Putting up the big numbers and being able to heal better than others is what this tree is about. With Talents dedicated to +healing and cheaper heals, if you want to be the best healer possible, this is the way to go.

Now for a breakdown of the talents within each tree.

All tiers except for Tier 1 require a prerequisite number of talent points spent in the tree which will be noted next to the Tier number.
All talents have a specific number of ranks and benefits associated with each Rank. Improvements will be designated by slashes.
For example a talent with 5 ranks would be represented as 1/2/3/4/5 where the first number would be for the first point spent in the talent, the second number for the second, etc.
Some talents have prerequisite talents which will be noted next to the talent name.

The Discipline Tree:

Tier 1

Unbreakable Will (5 Ranks) - Increases your chance to resist Stun, Fear, and Silence effects by an additional 3%/6%/9%/12%/15%.

This is a potent talent to have and a great way to break into the Discipline tree as all of these effects prevent you from healing in some way or another.

Wand Specialization (5 Ranks) – Increases your damage with Wands by 5%/10%/15%/20%/25%.

This is a useful talent for soloing, once you get into the group aspect of the Priest class you will find this talent fairly useless. It is not much of a talent for a healer.

- Tier 2 (Prerequisites: 5 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 Discipline talents)

Silent Resolve (5 Ranks) – Reduces the threat generated by your spells by 4%/8%/12%/16%/20%.

The threat reduction this provides means that NPC's will be less likely to attack you and has tremendous implications in PvE. Having less aggro than other members of your party is very important as your job is to keep everyone alive and if you're dead, you can't do that. This is a very valuable talent though not absolutely necessary if you are good at managing aggro/hate.

Improved Power Word: Fortitude (2 Ranks) – Increases the effect of your Power Word: Fortitude and Prayer of Fortitude spells by 15%/30%.

This is a great talent to have. It's not necessary because in many cases at level 60 you can simply ask someone who has this talent to buff your group, but if you have points and don't know where to spend them, this is the place to do it. If you think you'll be doing a lot of instances as the lone Priest this is a must have.

Improved Power Word: Shield (3 Ranks) – Increase the damage absorbed by your Power Word: Shield by 5%/10%/15%.

This talent is questionably useful. For heavy users of the Power Word: Shield spell, I would say this is nice to have. For players who don't find Power Word: Shield to be particularly useful, there are better places to spend your points.

Martyrdom (2 Ranks) – Gives you a 50%/100% chance to gain the Focused Casting effect that lasts for 6 sec after being the victim of a melee or ranged critical strike. The Focused Casting effect prevents you from losing casting time when taking damage and increases resistance to interrupt effects by 10%/20%.

An odd talent now that one of the Holy tree talents makes casting interruption much less likely, it isn't particularly useful due to the fact that you must suffer a critical hit for it to become active. Usually if you are suffering a critical hit, you're near death as a Priest.

- Tier 3 (Prerequisites: 10 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 & 2 Discipline talents.)

Inner Focus (1 Rank) – (Spell: Instant Cast) When activated, reduces the Mana cost of your next spell by 100% and increases its critical effect chance by 25% if it is capable of a critical effect.

A staple talent for players going full Discipline, this is especially useful as the casting of the spell does not interrupt mana regeneration so you can use this talent to either cast a last additional spell once you're out of mana or to cast a spell when you want to continue regenerating mana. A worthwhile talent to have if you have an extra talent point to spend, but the 3 minute cooldown means that it's not as great as it could be.

Meditation (3 Ranks) – Allows 5%/10%/15% of your Mana regeneration to continue while casting.

This is THE reason to be a discipline Priest. The talent extends your mana pool and is a must have for almost every Priest. As it only takes 3 points, there is almost no reason to not get this talent if you spec Discipline.

- Tier 4 (Prerequisites: 15 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, & 3 Discipline talents.)

Improved Inner Fire (3 Ranks) – Increases the beneficial effects of your Inner Fire spell by 10%/20%/30%.

This talent is decent for soloing and nice to prevent you from being killed quickly in PvE, but putting points into it is not particularly useful for a healing or even Shadow Priest as they can be better spent elsewhere.

Mental Agility (5 Ranks) – Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

A very nice talent to have, it is great for Priests that find themselves heavily using instant cast spells. A Holy Priest can most likely get away without it but as mana efficiency is always good if you have extra points to spend, this isn't a bad place.

Improved Mana Burn (2 Ranks) – Reduces the casting time of your Mana Burn spell by 0.25 sec/0.5 sec.

Mana Burn is mainly an anti-caster PvP spell so if you want to have a strong PvP spell without going full blown Shadow, this isn't a bad choice. It's relatively worthless to healers however.

- Tier 5 (Prerequisites: 20 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1, 2, 3, & 4 Discipline talents.)

Mental Strength (5 Ranks) – Increases your maximum Mana by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

Another big reason to go Discipline, this talent means more mana at the start of the battle which is always a good thing. While not an absolute necessity as mana regeneration tends to be more important than more mana, this is a nice talent to max out if you plan on going full Discipline.

Divine Spirit (1 Rank, Prerequisites: 3/3 Meditation) – (Spell: Instant Cast) Holy power infuses the target, increasing their Spirit by 17 for 30 min.

This is a great talent as Spirit in general is extremely useful for healers. It improves your mana regeneration and it's a buff. Any buff that benefits your party is a good thing. With a 30 minute duration, it is very powerful. Another great thing about this talent is that the Spirit it grants increases as you level up, at level 60 the total Spirit granted is 40.

- Tier 6 (Prerequisites: 25 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Disciple talents.)

Force of Will (5 Ranks) – Increases your spell damage by 1%/2%/3%/4%/5% and the critical strike chance of your offensive spells by 1%/2%/3%/4%/5%.

An odd talent to be high in the Discipline tree, this talent only applies to damage spells so it is not a healing talent. It's height in the tree also means that you can't get it and Shadowform or various other high end talents in the other two trees. If you want to go Discipline and still have a little bit of firepower this isn't a bad spell to pick up. If you're a pure healer though, this is a weak talent choice.

- Tier 7 (Prerequisites: 30 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 Discipline talents.)

Power Infusion (1 Rank, Prerequisites: 5/5 Mental Strength) – (Spell: Instant Cast) Infuses the target with power, increasing their spell damage and healing by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.

An interesting talent, this is a nice utility to have as it allows you to boost someone’s damage output or increase a healers healing output.

The Holy Tree:

- Tier 1

Healing Focus (2 Ranks) – Gives you a 35%/70% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting any healing spell.

By far the most amazing talent provided to Priests, this is a must have for any Priest that wants to consider themselves to have the absolute best build possible for healing. Many Priests will say that this skill is relatively useless in high end raid instances due to the fact that you should rarely be getting interrupted, they would rather spend the two talent points elsewhere. I on the other hand say take this and don’t think twice about it.

Improved Renew (3 Ranks) – Increases the amount healed by your Renew spell by 5%/10%/15%.

A somewhat useful talent, this is nice for players who find themselves heavily using it. However, if you don't find yourself using Renew, it's a waste of 3 talent points.

Holy Specialization (5 Ranks) – Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells by 1%/2%/3%/4%/5%.

Criticals are a sketchy thing to rely on but when they happen, they give a nice breather. If you have extra points to spend and don't know where to put them, this is quite the viable option.

- Tier 2 (Prerequisites: 5 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 Holy talents)

Spell Warding (5 Ranks) – Reduces all spell damage taken by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

This is a great talent to have as survivability is the name of the game and this increases yours by a significant amount. Not a must have, but definitely a valuable talent.

Divine Fury (5 Ranks) – Reduces the casting time of your Smite, Holy Fire, Heal and Greater Heal spells by 0.1 sec/0.2 sec/0.3 sec/0.4 sec/0.5 sec.

Shorter casting time is always a good thing as it increases your health per second output as well as gives you more room to play with. If you’re not waiting for a spell to finish casting you’re starting a new one or have room to breathe.

- Tier 3 (Prerequisites: 10 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 & 2 Holy talents.)

Holy Nova (1 Rank) – (Spell: Instant Cast) Causes an explosion of holy light around the caster, causing 28 to 32 Holy damage to all enemy targets within 10 yards and healing all party members within 10 yards for 52 to 60. These effects cause no threat.

An interesting talent, it's more a toy than an actual healing oriented spell. It is a fun spell to use, but from a healing perspective, it's not particularly useful. It also increases in strength as you increase in level, so don’t be deterred by the seemingly low damage and healing if you do plan on getting it.

Blessed Recovery (3 Ranks) – After being struck by a melee or ranged critical hit, heal 8%/16%/25% of the damage taken over 6 sec.

This talent sounds nice, but in practice is fairly useless. When you suffer a critical hit, it usually means you're very close to death and recovering a portion of the damage taken in HP tends to be insignificant.

Inspiration (3 Ranks) – Increases your target's armor by 8%/16%/25% for 15 sec after getting a critical effect from your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing spell.

Again, talents that rely upon criticals are sketchy at best. That being said, this is another great breather talent as now when you do critically heal, your target will most likely be taking significantly reduced damage for a period of time. Not a talent to get for the heck of it, but it does have its uses.

- Tier 4 (Prerequisites: 15 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, & 3 Holy talents.)

Holy Reach (2 Ranks) – Increases the range of your Smite and Holy Fire spells and the radius of your Prayer of Healing and Holy Nova spells by 10%/20%.

This is a nice utility to have and gives you a little bit of room for error in guessing whether or not a party member is in range of your healing. Not a must have, but if you have talent points to spend and don't know where to spend them, this isn't a bad place.

Improved Healing (3 Ranks) – Reduces the Mana cost of your Lesser Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal spells by 5%/10%/15%.

Mana efficiency is the name of the game here and if you find yourself using these spells a decent amount of the time, this skill is a must have. If you don't feel you use these spells often, spend the points elsewhere.

Searing Light (2 Ranks, Prerequisites: 5/5 Divine Fury) – Increases the damage of your Smite and Holy Fire spells by 5%/10%.

This isn't a healer talent and is really just for DPS'ing. If you want to have the best healing build possible, don't be tempted to put points here.

- Tier 5 (Prerequisites: 20 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1, 2, 3, & 4 Holy talents.)

Improved Prayer of Healing (2 Ranks) – Reduces the Mana cost of your Prayer of Healing spell by 10%/20%.

Another mana efficiency talent, this one aimed at Prayer of Healing. This is a great talent to have if you find yourself using Prayer of Healing a lot. I recommend this to all healing Priests.

Spirit of Redemption (1 Rank) – Upon death, the priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 10 sec. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form, the priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the priest dies.

"You have become more powerful than anyone could ever imagine." At least that’s what the buff says when this talent activates. The only downside to being more powerful than you ever imagined is the fact that you’re dead, you only have 10 seconds to heal, and you can't move, but hey, that's the price of power. A great talent for saving your party, it’s not particularly useful unfortunately. The key here is that you're dead, and dead Priests are a bad thing most of the time.

Spiritual Guidance (5 Ranks) – Increases spell damage and healing by up to 5%/10%/15%/20%/25% of your total Spirit.

This is a great talent to have as it improves your healing based on a stat that you should already have a lot of. This is a must have for anyone who wants to have the best healing build possible.

- Tier 6 (Prerequisites: 25 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Holy talents.)

Spiritual Healing (5 Ranks) – Increases the amount healed by your healing spells by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

This talent is a must have for healing Priests. It really is that simple.

- Tier 7 (Prerequisites: 30 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 Holy talents.)

Lifewell (1 Rank) – (Spell: 3 second cast) Creates a holy Lightwell near the priest. Friendly targets can click the Lightwell to restore 800 health over 10 sec. Being attacked cancels the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 min or 5 charges.

This talent is effectively a substitute for bandages. The talent has an interesting premise, but with a cooldown of 10 minutes, its usefulness is limited to boss fights. It, like Divine Spirit and Holy Nova, increases in strength as you increase in level and the max rank of the spell heals for 1600 hp.

The Shadow Tree:

- Tier 1

Spirit Tap (5 Ranks) – Gives you a 20%/40%/60%/80%/100% chance to gain a 100% bonus to your Spirit after killing a target that yields experience. For the duration, your Mana will regenerate at a 50% rate while casting. Lasts 15 sec.

Mainly a soloing talent, this allows you to have less downtime. It is less useful in instances as you must land the killing blow, which becomes increasingly difficult as you level up.

Blackout (5 Ranks) – Gives your Shadow damage spells a 2%/4%/6%/8%/10% chance to stun the target for 3 sec.

This is a neat talent to have as it can give you some breathing room when it procs. It’s also good for chasing down others as you can repeatedly cast Rank 1 Shadow Word: Pain, causing it to proc.

- Tier 2 (Prerequisites: 5 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 Shadow talents)

Shadow Affinity (3 Ranks) – Reduces the threat generated by your Shadow spells by 8%/16%/25%.

A must have for PvE Shadow builds as this allows you to not have to worry as much about pulling aggro while doing damage.

Improved Shadow Word: Pain (2 Ranks) – Increases the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain spell by 3 sec/6 sec.

This talent adds ticks of damage to your Shadow Word: Pain, effectively increasing its total damage and mana efficiency. A must have for Shadow Priests.

Shadow Focus (5 Ranks) – Reduces your target's chance to resist your Shadow spells by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

A great talent to have, not absolutely necessary though, it will increase your mana efficiency but the points are usually considered wasteful as you can get talents with more utility.

- Tier 3 (Prerequisites: 10 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1 & 2 Shadow talents.)

Improved Psychic Scream (2 Ranks) – Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Scream spell by 2 sec/4 sec.

A handy thing to have and it leads to Silence, this is a great skill for Shadow Priests. For PvP, this is a must have talent.

Improved Mind Blast (5 Ranks) – Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 0.5 sec/1 sec/1.5 sec/2 sec/2.5 sec.

As this is the primary source of damage, besides Mind Flay, of a Shadow Priest, this is a good talent to have. You need to be careful though as Mind Blast generates a lot of hate and using it too much in PvE can be very bad.

Mind Flay (1 Rank) – (Spell: 3 second channel) Assault the target's mind with Shadow energy, causing 75 damage over 3 sec and slowing the target to 50% of their movement speed.

This is a staple Shadow Priest talent. It gives you another source of damage besides Mind Blast that allows your DPS and aggro to be consistent. The slow effect is also very utilitarian. Like many other 1 Talent Point talents, this talent has multiple spell ranks and will increase in strength as you level.

- Tier 4 (Prerequisites: 15 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, & 3 Shadow talents.)

Improved Fade (2 Ranks) – Decreases the cooldown of your Fade ability by 3 sec/6 sec.

Though having the ability to Fade more often would at first seem helpful, it means you can Fade once more over a period of two minutes than you would normally be able to. It is a fairly useless talent in the end.

Shadow Reach (3 Ranks) – Increases the range of your Shadow damage spells by 6%/13%/20%.

In PvP this means staying farther away from the melee classes that tend to kill Priests very quickly, in PvE the same can be true depending on the circumstances.

Shadow Weaving (5 Ranks) – Your Shadow damage spells have a 20%/40%/60%/80%.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.

A great talent to have, this increases the damage of ALL shadow damage dealt to the target. A must have for Shadow Priests. Spells like Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay and Mind Blast will now cast a debuff on the enemy that increases all incoming Shadow damage by 3%. This ability stacks up to 5 times meaning when fully debuffed you can be doing 15% more damage with all of your Shadow spells. This talent is great for PvP and also very beneficial when with Warlocks and sometimes even other Priests. The 15% damage applies to all players so this means that all Warlocks and Priests that target a player with this debuff will be doing more Shadow damage, which can be particularly devastating. The only downside to this talent is that the debuff lasts only 15 seconds after the last Shadow damage spell you cast on your target. This means that if you want to keep up the debuff while doing other things, like healing, you will need to concentrate on it.

- Tier 5 (Prerequisites: 20 total Talent Points spent in Tier 1, 2, 3, & 4 Shadow talents.)

Silence (1 Rank, Prerequisites: Improved Psychic Scream) – (Spell: Instant Cast) Silences the target, preventing them from casting spells for 5 sec.

Silence is a great spell both in PvE and PvP, this is almost a must have.

Vampiric Embrace (1 Rank) – Afflicts your target with Shadow energy that causes all party members to be healed for 20% of any Shadow damage you deal for 1 min.

A nice talent to allow you to both heal and DPS at the same time. It has an issue of generating aggro both from the healing and the damage so it can be difficult to use in some circumstances. A great talent to have, I highly recommend this if you plan on being a DPS Priest.

Improved Vampiric Embrace (2 Ranks, Prerequisites: Vampiric Embrace) – Increases the percentage healed by Vampiric Embrace by an additional 5%.

If you like Vampiric Embrace, this is the way to improve it.

- Tier 6 (Prerequisites: 25 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Shadow talents.)

Darkness (5 Ranks) – Increases your Shadow spell damage by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

A must have for Shadow Priests. Doing more damage is never a bad thing.

- Tier 7 (Prerequisites: 30 total Talent Points in Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 Shadow talents.)

Shadowform (1 Rank, Prerequisites: Vampiric Embrace) – (Spell: Instant Cast) Assume a Shadowform, increasing your Shadow damage by 15% and reducing Physical damage done to you by 15%. However, you may not cast Holy spells while in this form.

This is a great way to improve your DPS but has the downside of making you completely unable to cast any Holy spells. This means your only means of healing are Vampiric Embrace and Power Word: Shield. A must have for Shadow Priests, just remember that it means you won't be healing while in Shadowform.
Builds

Talent builds are the most important thing for your Priest. Deciding what you want to do and choosing a build that fits it will make you the best Priest you can possibly be. That being said, there are main stays in each tree that you should concentrate on. Builds should focus around the talents you feel will best compliment your abilities.

The mainstay talents of the Holy tree:

* Healing Focus
* Spiritual Guidance
* Spiritual Healing

The mainstay talents of the Discipline tree:

* Improved Power Word: Fortitude
* Inner Focus
* Meditation
* Mental Agility
* Mental Strength
* Divine Spirit

The mainstay talents of the Shadow tree:

* Spirit Tap
* Shadow Affinity
* Improved Shadow Word: Pain
* Improved Psychic Scream
* Mind Flay
* Shadow Weaving
* Silence
* Vampiric Embrace
* Darkness
* Shadowform

A healing build optimized for high healing output concentrated completely on the Holy and Discipline trees for maximum healing and moderate mana efficiency

Discipline Tree:
5/5 Unbreakable Will
2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude
3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
3/3 Meditation

Holy Tree:
2/2 Healing Focus
3/3 Improved Renew
5/5 Holy Specialization
1/5 Spell Warding
5/5 Divine Fury
1/1 Holy Nova
3/3 Inspiration
3/3 Improved Healing
2/2 Improved Prayer of Healing
1/1 Spirit of Redemption
5/5 Spiritual Guidance
5/5 Spiritual Healing
1/1 Lightwell

A Discipline build that is built around Power Infusion and healing:

Discipline Tree:
5/5 Unbreakable Will
5/5 Silent Resolve
2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude
3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
1/1 Inner Focus
3/3 Meditation
5/5 Mental Agility
5/5 Mental Strength
1/1 Divine Spirit
1/1 Power Infusion

Holy Tree:
2/2 Healing Focus
3/3 Improved Renew
5/5 Holy Specialization
1/5 Spell Warding
5/5 Divine Fury
1/1 Holy Nova
3/3 Improved Healing

A Shadow build based off damage output in PvE and PvP:

Shadow Tree
5/5 Spirit Tap
3/3 Shadow Affinity
2/2 Improved Shadow Word: Pain
2/2 Improved Psychic Scream
5/5 Improved Mind Blast
1/1 Mind Flay
5/5 Shadow Weaving
1/1 Silence
1/1 Vampiric Embrace
2/2 Improved Vampiric Embrace
5/5 Darkness
1/1 Shadowform

Discipline Tree:
5/5 Unbreakable Will
5/5 Silent Resolve
2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude
1/1 Inner Focus
3/3 Meditation

A mix of all three:

Shadow Tree:
5/5 Spirit Tap
1/5 Blackout
3/3 Shadow Affinity
5/5 Shadow Focus
5/5 Shadow Weaving

Holy Tree:
2/2 Healing Focus
3/3 Improved Renew
5/5 Holy Specialization
5/5 Divine Fury
3/3 Improved Healing

Discipline Tree:
5/5 Unbreakable Will
2/2 Improved Power Word: Fortitude
3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
3/3 Meditation
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