**Note the date of this post and stat priorities have changed as the expansion has progressed, talents have changed, and encounters developed**
Gearing your priest for Holy will be daunting at first and you’ll need to prioritize the stats you want to get. Generally speaking, if you have just hit 85 and are fighting your way through 5 Man Normals and Heroics, you’ll want to gear for regen. This means Spirit. Lots and lots of Spirit. (Remember you can reforge those dual stat items from Crit/Haste to include Spirit!). Once you have gotten to a point where you are comfortable with your regen and you are keeping your raid alive, you can start seeking out other stats. In starter Heroics, I started to feel comfortable in the 1800-2000 Spirit range. However, if you are going through your first dungeons: any upgrade is likely an upgrade. Of course, more Spirit is better… regen will be a huge part of our gearing strategy, however it is not the “end all be all”” stat. You also need to keep your other throughput stats at the appropriate levels… but at the appropriate times.
What do I mean when I say “at the appropriate times”? Well, when gearing you need to prioritize the order in which you get your stats. So if you are chasing Spirit, Haste, Mastery, and Crit all at the same time… you’ll be below what you need on all of these stats, when with some simple reforging you’d be at the necessary levels for perhaps one or two.
As a General Rule, the stat priority order is:
In Wrath, haste was an important statistic for us. Not only because it helped us reduce the GCD on Renew, POM, and COH, but also because it allowed us to cast our spells with cast times quicker. In Cataclysm, the GCD cap is less important for a couple of reasons:
1. Renew is easily talented to be GCD capped with Rapid Renewal.
2. We are not forced to have every GCD being used by an instant cast, and are casting a lot more spells with cast times in Cataclysm. (i.e. Heal, Prayer of Healing, Greater Heal)
Don’t get me wrong, Haste is very important to priests, but it will have a certain amount of diminishing returns as you get more and more of it. he first magic number you’ll need to keep in mind is: 12.5% Haste. At 12.5% Haste (assuming raidbuffs) you will get an additional tick out of your Renews, due to the new ability for HoTs to scale with Haste. After this 12.5%, additional Haste is fine, but not ideal as those stat points are better elsewhere– and any extra Haste falls behind Mastery in your stat priority. Alternatively you could continue to gear for Haste for an additional 1, 2, or 3% and free up some Talent Points by pulling out of Darkness (if you had specced into it) once you start getting enough gear to naturally put you over the edge.
Mastery is a bit tricky to value, but at its core it’s a pure throughput stat. I find it easiest to explain when I liken it to the Glyph of Prayer of Healing. Both Echo of Light and the Glyph provide a lingering heal over time, that is a percentage of the amount healed. See? Very easy to grasp and understand… and who doesn’t want a “free” HoT on a target?
Now, you might ask yourself: “How much of that HoT is overheal?”. I’ve found that Echo of Light has provided a substantial increase to my output (especially when raid healing), mainly due to the fact that is has been a fairly low overheal spell. So much of the raid is sitting under 100% HP, the lingering HoT is great. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing another post with more math, analysis, and World of Logs data regarding Mastery/EoL.
But Derevka! Doesn’t Crit increase the amount that I’ve healed that target as well?
Yes, it does… BUT remember you’ll be picking up Intellect to increase your mana pool, spellpower, and Crit. 649 (actually 648.93) intellect will provide an additional 1% Crit. So chasing it really won’t be necessary, as you’ll naturally be increasing your Crit chance as you gear up and get more intellect. Additionally, the only time you might “need” to Critically heal is when you are tank healing and are trying to keep up Inspiration. However, if you are Holy Tank Healing, you’ll be in Chakra: Serenity and will be applying the the 25% Crit chance buff every time you heal the tank with Holy Word: Serenity and easily keeping Inspiration on your Tank.
Gearing up from a hard gear reset can be very daunting– especially since our mana regen took a heavy hit in the process. Keep at it, run those dungeons and raids, reforge those items, enchant and gem your gear and you’ll be comfortably healing your raid in no time.
If you are looking for a solid spreadsheet, the Elitist Jerks Holy Compendium has a link to a spreadsheet that can prove to be helpful if you want to breakdown your regen stats a bit more. Further the Compendium was just recently updated, and has a few gems of insight that I am sure most priests will find valuable!