So, you understand how to play a DPriest and you’ve got your talent build sorted out. Now, how do you go about gearing?
What I’m not going to do here is meticulously analyse lots of pieces of gear and tell you what gear is best-in-slot for what at what stage, et cetera! I’m simply going to break down the important stats and then give you a step-by-step guide to gearing up.
Let’s start with what you need to be thinking about!
Spellpower: Spellpower is really, really important. Important with a capital I. Without enough spellpower, you won’t be able to heal the tank fast enough – and your shields won’t be top notch, either!
To be honest, you won’t normally have to worry about whether to get a piece of gear with either spellpower OR crit/haste/whatever, because almost all heroic/raid healer drops have spellpower on them. Just remember how important it is!
Intellect: Short and sweet – this is your main stat for longevity. Running out of mana in boss fights? Chances are you’re either lacking intellect, or an Insightful Earthsiege Diamond (more on that later).
Haste Rating: This is important up to a point. Haste speeds up the general cooldown (gcd, the 1.5 seconds between spells) but something useful that you may or may not know is there’s a haste “cap” on the gcd. At 1 second, the gcd can’t go any lower, and this means that beyond a certain point, we can’t roll shields on the raid any faster and so the haste becomes less effective! I’ll touch on this more later.
Crit Chance: Crit is useful for proccing Divine Aegis (DA). Think of DA as a flat increase on your healing-per-second (HPS), plus a little compensation for overhealing. That might sound a little confusing – to keep it simple, crit chance doesn’t affect DA’s chance to proc, which would be 100%, or make DA any more powerful. All DA does is make our crits more powerful by adding part of the heal as absorption. All crit chance does is make us more likely to crit.
It’s like Death Knights doing 200% damage with crits – we do 195% (150*1.3), with some benefit retained if we crit and overheal thanks to the extra healing being counted as absorption.
mp5/Spirit: Well, it’s not exactly a bad thing to have mp5 and spirit on gear. It’s nice to have a decent level of mp5/spirit on gear, but it’s not really essential – most of your regen will come from intellect. Still, don’t completely discount it. I’m hitting about 700 spirit at the moment self-buffed, and that’s with the +18 spirit enchant on my boots. This should be an afterthought though, really.
Stamina: Don’t forget stamina! There’s a lot of encounters that require large health pools to survive a given special ability, and a dead Priest is a useless Priest! Most heroic/raid gear will also have stamina on it though, so don’t worry too much.
The Step-by-Step Guide
Step 0.5: When you’re levelling and getting towards heroics, your first concern should be spellpower. Stack spellpower. I cannot emphasise that enough! The difference in throughput is what forms most of the barrier between normal instances and heroics. Everything else can wait.
Step 1: Hit 80 and wanting to start “optimising”? First thing you should do is make sure you’ve got enough of a mana pool to last through any encounter you’re going to be working on. 20k mana unbuffed has got me through 9 bosses in Ulduar 10 and, if I remember those halcyon days rightly, 16-17k unbuffed saw me through Naxx 10 comfortably.
Step 2: Next is to reach the haste “soft cap”. This all depends on what raid buffs you have, and for this, we will need the power of MATHS! I’ll be gentle and hold your hand through it, don’t worry. Maths is your friend, it’s really not just for WoW geeks. 🙂
Let’s start with our 1.5 second gcd. We want to get this to 1 second, including Borrowed Time. Now haste stacks “multiplicatively”. This is quite difficult for me to explain in simple terms for this particular example, so what I’ll say instead is that it merely requires us to treat each raid buff/Discipline buff seperately.
So, Borrowed Time increases our haste by 25% after a shield cast. Let’s effectively “divide” that 1.5 second figure by 25%;
1.5 seconds / 1.25 = 1.2 seconds
Now let’s deal with the other buffs, which would be Enlightenment, (the Disc talent, 6%,) Moonkin Aura (3%) and the Wrath of Air totem (5%).
1.2 seconds / 1.06 = ~1.13 seconds
~1.13 seconds / 1.05 = ~1.08 seconds
~1.08 seconds / 1.03 = 1.0467 seconds
So 1.0467 = 4.67% haste required, fully raid-buffed, to hit that haste cap. That’s not a lot! Without Wrath of Air it would be roughly 10%, and without Moonkin Aura it would be roughly 8%. Without both, it’d be about 13% – but really, unless (like me) you know you’re going to be raiding without one of these two then just get 4.7% and stick with it. For example, I raid without Moonkin Aura currently and so I aim for 8%.
Step 3: Wow, step 2 was a beast. Step 3 is more simple, I promise. Spellpower will be on all your gear, but it’ll normally have another couple of attributes on it (eg. haste/spirit, crit/spirit, crit/mp5). All the rest of your gear should prioritise crit as this “other attribute”.
Gems and Enchants
First up, gems! Your metagem in your helm, as soon as you get one with a meta slot, should be an Insightful Earthsiege Diamond. This will solve your mana problems, basically. It’s got a chance on spellcast to restore 600 mana – 2% chance doesn’t sound like a lot, and it does have a 15 second internal cooldown, but this thing adds ~75 mp5 at the last count. That’s a lot.
Now, other gems. You’ll need one yellow and one blue gem to fulfil the requirements for the metagem – try and co-ordinate those with a spellpower, crit or intellect socket bonus. All the rest of your gems should really be +19 spellpower, and to hell with the socket bonuses. Yes, I have all the socket bonuses on my gear. It’s an annoying little habit of mine, I can’t bring myself to optimise my gear that much. Maybe one day. 🙂
As for enchants, they should all be spellpower related, unless there are no SP enchants for that piece of gear! Here’s the list! And don’t feel pressured to spend hundreds of gold on a very slight upgrade. I sure as hell don’t, I’m a cheapskate.
Helm: Kirin Tor revered arcanum (30 SP, 20 crit)
Shoulders: Sons of Hodir exalted enchant (24 SP, 15 crit). If, like me, you can’t be arsed to farm it, you can get 23 SP/15 resilience from the WG vendor.
Cloak: +15 haste
Chest: +8/+10 all stats (8 mp5 is also an option)
Bracers: +30 spellpower. Why I don’t have this on my current bracers, I don’t know – probably extortionate auction house prices. +16 intellect is also possible if you don’t want to pay a fortune! 🙂
Gloves: +28 spellpower
Legs: +50 spellpower (or the +30 variants) with +30 stamina. If you’re really struggling for mana, go for the spirit one.
Boots: There’s three options here – +18 spirit is taken by a lot of Priests, but if you’re not having many mana problems then Icewalker (+12 hit/+12 crit) is a good option. Also, Tuskarr’s Vitality, (+stamina/movespeed,) whilst often overlooked, can be great for those fights where you’re moving around lots – so that would be the whole of Ulduar!
These things do cost you money, but they really are worth it and can add up to 200 spellpower if you’ve got a fair few sockets to fill.
So… there we have it! Sorry, that turned out a lot longer than I intended. Oh well. Spells and glyphs up in the next part! As normal, if you’ve got any questions, just ask.