Shadowflight: Dragonlands Pre-patch.
Patch 10.0.0 is the introduction of the Dragonflight expansion, and with it an overhaul of the baseline spells & talents available.
This page is intended to be a bit of a quick reference to help answer some of the easier questions for this patch, as well as point you in the right direction for some of the common questions. As always, if you have any Holy Priest-related questions please visit us in #holy on the Warcraft Priests Discord and we'll be more than happy to help you out!
As many of the new systems and tuning changes were unavailable to completely test on PTR, some of the below information may be different to what goes live. As usual, I will do my best to keep the article updated as things change, but if you notice something you think is incorrect or should be added/removed please let me know ASAP via the Warcraft Priests Discord (
Niphyr#3419) or on Twitter @MechPriest. Thanks!
As usual, pre-patch is the wild west of content updates. Expect much of what we thought to work, to suddenly not work. Expect weird bugs with shadowlands interactions to be present and don't be surprised if the predicted "best" anything, ends up being totally different. While we do update the guides, most of the time and effort is going into making sure the Dragonflight launch updates are ready to go, not pre-patch.
- The talent system has been completely redone, as a tree. Take it or leaf it.
- Tier Set Bonus from Sepulcher is no longer active.
- Shadowlands legendaries and covenant stuff no longer works outside of Shadowlands content.
- A big client UI overhaul gives you more customisation options without needing addons.
- Priest is now available as any race.
- No Evoker yet, that's November 15.
- Our playstyle with Flash Concentration remains largely the same as before.
Speaking of playstyle, the major change is the new talent system. We now have 2 talent trees. The left-hand one is the Priest class tree shared between all 3 specs, and the right-hand one is our Holy Priest tree with Holy specific talents. These new talents can change our playstyle. Thankfully the playstyle changes for Holy Priest when changing up your talents are rather obvious but we'll talk about that more in a bit.
There has been some change to the tuning of our spells but nothing dramatic or really worth worrying about.
- Prayer of Healing slight mana cost reduction
- Renew slight healing decrease
- Proc rate & value of some talents adjusted to fit the new talent system (like Benediction, Renewed Faith)
Dragonflight Talent Trees
This is the main feature coming in the pre-patch and is the most daunting for those of you who haven't been playing along at home and are only just now looking at it. Feeling overwhelmed? Well, there's some good news and some bad news.
- The Good News: The talent trees really don't have that much choice in them and are rather linear once you settle on a focus for your build.
- The Bad News: The talent trees really don't have that much choice in them and are rather linear once you settle on a focus for your build.
Some talent tree basics:
- As you level up, you unlock points in each tree.
- The Priest Tree has 31 points to spend at level 70 (26 at level 60).
- The Holy Tree has 30 points to spend at level 70 (25 at level 60).
- The Priest Tree automatically grants you Renew and Prayer of Mending just for being Holy.
- Each tree is divided into 3 sections.
- Top (Rows 1-4): You must spend 8 points here before you can path into the middle
- Middle (Rows 5-7): You must spend a total of 20 points in the Top+Middle before you can path to the bottom
- Bottom (Rows 8-10): As you've already spent 20 points to get here, you only have 11 (Priest) and 10 (Holy) points to spend here maximum.
The Priest Class Tree
We won't go over every talent but instead, talk more broadly about the tree. We'll be going over it with a healing focus, and way at the bottom of this section is a short section about Damage in the tree if you're interested in that.
Below is a view of the Priest Class tree with the types of spells grouped together. You can also view these annotations in the Wowhead talent viewer here if that's easier.
The theme of each group:
As we primarily have a healing focus, you can see most of the Healing and Healing/Damage nodes are all on the left & center of the tree, and fairly easy to path through. You can pick them all up with a myriad of points to spare. The most important healing nodes are Unwavering Will and Twist of Fate as they contribute to pretty much all of the healing (and even damage) builds. The Divine Star/Halo is another talent that should feature in every build. The other healing-focused talents have their moments, but you may choose to skip past them if you find you're not using that related spell in whatever content you're doing. A quick summary of some of the others:
- Focused Mending becomes a small increase in any content you're pressing Prayer of Mending a lot.
- Improved Flash Heal is nothing special but we'll be pathing through it for Protective Light.
- Twins of the Sun Priestess makes giving away Power Infusion to everyone else not feel quite so bad.
- Inspiration is worth taking in Mythic+ if you have a spare point.
- Surge of Light is the mana-saving talent we're all used to using.
- Power Word: Life can be fantastic, once you get used to the health threshold. Much easier to use in Mythic+ where you have more control over the health of your group and don't have another healer around to snipe your casts.
After reserving points for the healing talents, you then focus on what's important for whatever content you're doing. for Utility, there is a lot of room to move. Abilities like Dispel Magic for a purge, Improved Purify for the disease dispel and Mass Dispel are relatively niche. If you're raiding and know you won't need Mass, or there are no diseases - you can spend these points elsewhere and pick up some more Damage or Survival options. Likewise for dungeons if you really want to min/max, and you know a dungeon has no diseases you'll have to dispel you can save yourself a point.
When it comes to Survival, we actually have a few options.
- Spell Warding is only a small benefit but is an always-on passive.
- Angel's Mercy when you can make use of the cooldown reduction, has great potential. Especially paired with Light's Inspiration it becomes a really big cooldown.
- Binding Heals itself is quite minor, but at the time of writing, it also triggers Protective Light from row 3, making it a solid choice for most builds.
- Translucent Image is back in a reduced form but can have fairly high uptime if you have the points to take Improved Fade as well.
Finally, adding some extra Damage. You pick up a bit of passive damage through Shadowfiend in row 1 (a good pick as you also get some mana back), and the Divine Star / Halo choice node. You can grab Shadow Word: Death in Mythic+, but you will probably want to path through Death and Madness then Tithe Evasion to reduce the incoming damage you take from SW:D. Finally, Mindgames is some nice extra Healing/Damage but it is a fairly point-intensive talent to take, especially at level 60 where we don't have as many points as we will have at level 70 in Dragonflight. The points needed to path to it, then picking up the talents after it all eat into our fairly limited talent point allocation quite quickly. Especially annoying as you will want Mindgames in Mythic+ more than any other content, but that's also where Power Word: Life excels, and the points available at 60 don't let you take all the Mindgames talents if you want both.
So, as you can see, once you start to break up the talents available and make a note of where they'll be useful, the overwhelming number of options starts to reduce drastically. Especially so once you realise there are a bunch of "dead" talents in the centre right of the tree around Vampiric Embrace (which is useless to us), and the other talents further to the right are "just" extra damage.
The Holy Priest Tree
Again, we won't go over every talent but instead talk more broadly about the tree. We'll be going over it with a healing focus, and way at the bottom of this section is a short section about Damage in the tree if you're interested in that.
Below is a view of the Holy Spec tree with the types of spells grouped together. You can also view these annotations in the Wowhead talent viewer here if that's easier.
The theme of each group (different colour codes to the Priest tree, sorry!):
- Good for most builds
- Good for most builds & increase damage
- Prayer of Healing / Circle of Healing themed talents
- Renew / Prayer of Mending themed talents
- Heal / Flash Heal themed talents
- Smite / Holy Fire themed talents
Thanks to the brilliant Paint effort, you can see that most of the talents are loosely grouped into a theme. The center of the tree has talents that provide abilities and buffs that work with most builds. Whether you're after single target healing, AoE healing or some extra damage.
The upper left of the tree primarily consists of Prayer of Healing / Circle of Healing themed talents. There is a bit of Renew scattered throughout it with Revitalizing Prayers and Healing Chorus, but it's primarily aimed at juicing up your Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing casts. There is a particularly strong synergy between Sanctified Prayers and Prayer Circle which when combined, greatly increase the strength of Prayer of Healing.
The bottom left of the tree is the part you'll use the most during pre-patch. This area contains Heal / Flash Heal themed talents which work really well with the builds we have been using all of Shadowlands, leaning heavily into Flash Concentration with conduits like Resonant Words.
The right-hand section of the tree contains a lot of Renew / Prayer of Mending themed talents. Most importantly though it has Benediction. A large part of what makes the other Renew-based talents strong, and in turn improves your Prayer of Mending casts, are the random procs from Benediction.
Finally, the Smite / Holy Fire themed talents provide a nice damage increase. In particular, Empyreal Blaze](https://www.wowhead.com/beta/spell=372616/empyreal-blaze) is a fun ability to use.
Given we tend to lean fairly heavily into our desired filler spell (Prayer of Healing, Heal, Flash Heal), it makes deciding what talents to take relatively straight forward. Doing lots of Single Target healing in Mythic+? Prioritise the single target themed talents. Warmed up your Prayer of Healing bind? Grab the AoE themed talents.
New Holy Priest Talents
Now that we've covered the layout, let's over some of the new (and returning) abilities. Most of these are "capstones", at the bottom of the Holy Priest tree.
- Lightweaver is a strong replacement for Flash Concentration heading into Dragonflight. It supplements your single target healing by weaving back and forth between Heal and Flash Heal. Simple to use and no worrying about a maintenance buff like we have all of Shadowlands with Flash Concentration.
- Lightwell is back, but it needs some love. While it's nice to see this iconic spell return, without having much interaction with the rest of our toolkit it's a bit sad. The healing threshold of 50% and the inability to move it, combined with the long 3-minute cooldown make it feel awkward to use. Hopefully, in a future patch, it gets some attention and it can be a viable option going forward.
- Divine Word is a really interesting way to bring back the old Chakra stances from eons ago. It's a long tooltip, but fairly straightforward - granting you a benefit themed around the Holy Word you cast after it. It's a fun talent to use as you can adjust which Divine Word you trigger depending on your situation. More damage? More healing? It's got you covered.
- Divine Image returns yet again. Unfortunately, it still has a lot of the same issues from Legion and Shadowlands that made it undesirable. The randomness of how often it triggers can be frustrating, but it can also be exciting to get a number of glowing windchimes triggered back-to-back and blast out their holy light around you. Big fan of the talent, but wish it would get an update.
- Miracle Worker despite being in an awkward spot in the talent tree is one of the talents I'm most excited about. Holy Priest healing encourages you to press your Holy Words as often as possible, and sometimes this is at the cost of some overhealing. This talent allows you to sit on your Holy Words for another cast or two at times you know there is a better Holy Word cast just around the corner. This is a huge quality of life improvement and I dearly wish it were more accessible further up the tree. Either way, happy to see this part of our kit and include both Holy Word: Serenity and Holy Word: Sanctify.
- Restitution aka Xanshi. This is another talent that is good to see in the tree but is a bit inaccessible and in a weird spot, with a heavy talent point cost for most builds to path to it. It's the same old Xanshi we had in Legion and Shadowlands and now comes with a cool synergy with Afterlife which allows you to resurrect someone.
- Empyreal Blaze isn't a capstone, it's much higher up the tree. Still, it deserves a mention. It's a satisfying button and is quite simple to use.
Talent Tree Summary
As you can see, despite there being lots of nodes, most of the pathing and builds "just make sense" once you start playing around and spending your points. There is a lot of freedom in the Priest Class tree to pick up the survival and utility that suits you the most while grabbing your Healing and Damage talents. There is also the ability to emphasise the style of healing you are prioritising when choosing your talents in the Holy Tree.
For the 4 weeks of pre-patch Shadowlands legendaries, covenants and soulbinds will work alongside the new tree. You will have noticed that the majority of our Shadowlands legendaries have become talents. There are also a number of conduits that have become talents too. These all only work in Shadowlands content (zones, dungeons, raids).
Tier set bonuses have been marked as legacy and are now disabled.
In situations where you could have both powers active (Talent & Shadowlands system), the Talent will take priority. Some misc notes about these interactions:
- Lightweaver talent is not a copy of Flash Concentration and both stack together.
- The following talents should override their Shadowlands counterparts:
- Focused Mending is better than the conduit.
- Twins of the Sun Priestess is the same as the legendary.
- Light's Inspiration is better than the conduit.
- Translucent Image is better than the conduit.
- Mindgames will override the covenant ability.
- Resonant Words is worse than the conduit.
- Harmonious Apparatus is worse than the legendary.
- Restitution is the same as the legendary.
Weakauras and Macros
With regards to Macros, the old
[talent:] modifiers don't seem to be working. For talents like the Divine Star / Halo choice node, putting one on your bar will change to the other when you change talents.
For weakauras, most people have started updating their packs. Some functional Holy Priest HUD-style packs:
Priest As Any Race
As of 10.0.0, race restrictions for priests are gone. All races have seen the light! if you're considering a race change I would suggest looking through all of the races to see which one you like the look of most, but some common reasons people choose a specific race as a priest:
- Blood Elf for the AoE purge ability Arcane Torrent
- Dark Iron Dwarf for debuff removal with Fireblood
- Dwarf for debuff removal with Stoneform
- Goblin for increased movement with Rocket Jump
- Highmountain Tauren for the AoE knockdown Bull Rush
- Human for stun removal through Will to Survive
- Night Elf using Shadowmeld to avoid abilities/drop combat to drink in dungeons
- Tauren for the AoE stun War Stomp
- Undead for corpse munching with Cannibalize
Patch 10.0.0 Sources
- Pre-patch announcement - (source)