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Spiritual Guidance: Secondary stats and what to stack

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Some requests were made recently to help newer Priests figure out what secondary stats are important and what to aim for. Matticus shall help!

I know when I started playing World of Warcraft, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to secondary stats. To be fair, stats like Hit didn't exist back in the day. This post is meant for newer Priests who aren't quite sure what these secondary stats do or what they mean. Just to be clear, primary stats are base attributes like stamina and intellect. Secondary stats are things like haste and critical strike rating.

I know when I started playing World of Warcraft, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to secondary stats. To be fair, stats like Hit didn't exist back in the day. This post is meant for newer Priests who aren't quite sure what these secondary stats do or what they mean.

Bonus damage and healing: Fairly straightforward. Your spells get boosted with more spellpower. Stronger spells means your heals pack more punch (or your damage).

Hit rating: For the most part, a healing Priest will not need hit rating. If you intend to do damage in your spare time (as Shadow or otherwise), know that the hit cap is ~237 after every possible raid buff (including having a Draenei in your party).

Crit rating: This stat is important for all types of Priests.

  • Discipline: Have Divine Aegis? Higher crit chance means extra protective shields around targets that you crit.
  • Holy: Crit's an important stat for both Surge of Light and Improved Holy Concentration procs. The more you have, the higher chance these talents will activate. It's not uncommon for Holy Priests to tap Circle of Healing to roll the dice and see if Surge of Light and Holy Concentration will activate.
  • Shadow: More damage, in a nutshell.

Haste rating: All Priests will benefit from haste. The sooner your spells go off, the more spells you can cast in the long term. The launch of Wrath consolidated spell haste into just haste rating. According to WoW Wiki, 32.79 haste rating translates to a 1% gain in speed. Other than Borrowed Time and Improved Holy Concentration, there aren't any other healing talents that influence haste.

Mana regen: This is your lifeblood. The more mana regen you have, the more you gain over time and the longer you can last in fights.

However, at this point in the game, I think there's a "ceiling" to the amount of mana regen you need. With the majority of current encounters lasting 5 – 6 minutes due to hard enrage timers, we won't be seeing any 15+ minute encounters like in the Burning Crusade until later patches. Fully raid buffed and with consumables, I hit about 1100 mana regen. Unless I'm solo healing a Heroic Heigan dance with 21 players dead, I'm not going to need over 1300 or so.

This thought recently occurred to me after I was able to kill Sarth with 3 Drakes up. At the end of the fight, I found I still had over 20000 mana left in the tank. Granted, I'm Discipline which means the more I heal (and Shield), the more mana I gain back.

Resistances: This helps you resist certain types of attacks, spells and abilities. For example, having a high frost resist lets your mitigate the amount of frost damage you take. Guilds looking to tackle Sapphiron for the first time may wish to stack frost resistance to increase survivability. Mother Shahraz in Black Temple used to require players wearing shadow resist gear to even have a chance of taking her down.

Resilience: Reduces your chance to be crit by a certain percentage. For the attacks where you do get crit, it reduces the amount of damage you take.

So what stats should a Priest start stacking up?

For Discipline Priests

When starting out (and I mean a mixture of blues and heroic epics), you're going to want to aim straight for spellpower and mana regen. This means boosting up Intellect as a primary stat (but don't entirely discount Spirit). The reason you want more Intellect is because of talents like Rapture. You can gain a maximum of 2.5% of your maximum mana every time you heal with Greater Heal, Flash Heal, or Penance (and any damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield). This offers really good scaling effects since you can set how much mana you get back by increasing your intellect (which contributes to your mana pool).

Let me make this clear. The primary reason Spirit is important for Holy Priests is due to the Spiritual Healing talent. 25% of your Spirit gets converted into healing spellpower which is really good for them. Because of this, I loaded up more Intellect than Spirit.

For a Discipline Priest, it's not as important. Spirit just contributes to your mana and health regeneration rates respectively and has no way of boosting other stats.

After you reach a level of mana regen and Intellect that you're comfortable with (for me, it's around 1000 mana regen and 1100 Intellect), the secondary stats you'll want to look at are crit and haste. I think this is a matter of style personally. There's something to be said for hitting 5000+ crit on each bolt of Penance. I like gemming for increased crit. I know some players prefer haste. Did I mention a Resto Shaman in my guild has 20% haste? There's no way I can keep up with chain casting 1.2 second chain heals! That's just mind blowing.

For Holy Priests

Now for the Holy Priest, try to maintain a rough 1:1 stat distribution between Intellect and Spirit. You don't have to be exacting or amazingly precise. Just try to keep it in the ballpark range to maintain that level regeneration.

Keep gunning for more spellpower. You can never have enough spellpower.

Like I mentioned earlier, having crit allows the random activation of a few Holy talents. As a Holy Priest, I leaned towards haste to speed up the global cooldown of spells. There isn't a magic number that's consider "optimum". But just because people like numbers, I have 22% without buffs. That's the number both Discipline and Holy Priests should be looking at as they approach the end of the first set of raids that Wrath has to offer us.

Got any ideas, question, comments or suggestions for (or Raid Rx)? Send a Direct Message or reply on Twitter to @wowinsider.


Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!

Filed under: Priest, Tips, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

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