Regional FlagPriest Healing for Beginners.Source
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#0 - 2008/06/02 10:22:18 AM
As a follow up to my levelling as Holy guide, I figured I'd write a small guide to healing as a holy priest, to help those of you out there who are new to this whole priest thing.
Now as I always say, I don't claim to be an expert at priesting, in fact, I prefer not to be considered as one, but I want to share my own experiences with you to help you towards becoming a better healer.

The keyword in this is "Beginners", meaning that this guide is not directed towards those of you with tons of healing experience and lots of knowledge, but rather towards those that has just recently started healing and/or raiding, and wants a few tips on how to do it.

I have also written a guide to Healbot, which is my choice of Healing addon, which I will post after this guide.

I don't know anything about PVP healing or Shadow Priests, so I'll leave that up to people who actually do that kind of stuff. :)

1. Overhealing

First of all, overhealing is a waste of mana, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Some overhealing is impossible to avoid, but in general, you should try to keep your numbers as low as possible.
Using Recount as a tracker, you can see both how much total overhealing you have done, how many % of all overhealing done that comes from you, and most importantly, how much of your total healing that is overhealing.

Of course, for safety reasons, you would rather risk overhealing someone, in a case where they are taking constant damage, instead of risking their death by a crushing blow, crit etc..
If you combine the knowledge about overhealing, with a good healing addon and knowledge about your spells, you should be able to keep your overhealing to a minimum.

For a priest, I consider typical acceptable overhealing, to be between 15 and 25% +/-.
That means that 15-25% of your total heals in one measured period, is overhealing, which in turn means that only 15-25% of the mana you spent, was wasted.

A lot of my overhealing comes from Renew, and this can't be avoided, and counts for about 10% of all my overhealing, when measured over a whole raid. I don't count the mana spent casting renew as wasted, seeing as renew is such a helpful spell.

2. HpM (Heal per Mana)/HpS (Heal per Second)

Next to overhealing, this is an equally important point of thought, as this counts towards your total mana consumption. The more Healing you can do per point of mana, the better.
The "Heal per Second" part is almost as important, but is only something that's important to think about in emergencies, as your aim is to heal as long as possible, not keep everyone topped up all the time.

For a priest, your most mana efficient spell is Greater Heal, This because it heals for a lot, even though it costs quite a lot and has very long casting time.
Next to Greater Heal, your two most mana efficient spells, are Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing, but with conditions.
Circle of Healing is ONLY mana efficient if you can heal 3 out of 5 targets, without overhealing them
Prayer of Mending is ONLY mana efficient if it jumps more than 3 times, but causes no real threat towards you, so it is very helpful anyway.

After that comes Renew, which is also extremely mana efficient, but as it is a HoT, I don't use it like I do a direct healing spell, and as such, mana efficiency doesn't come into account that much.
In addition to use it to top people off that are not taking any more damage, I also use Renew as a damage mitigation spell. What this means, is that if I have renew up on the main tank at all times, he will be healed a little by the renew spell every time it ticks, allowing me time to cast larger healing spells with less risk to the tank.

3. Knowing your spells

Knowing your spells, what they do and how they work, is incredibly important when you want to heal in general, but with the amount of spells and options you have as a priest, you need some extra attention to this.

Points to think about are HpM/HpS, Casting time, what amount of healing will be done, and what amount of damage the "heal'ee" will take in the near future.

For example, when healing main tank, I will keep renew on him all the time. Not for the amount of healing it does, but for the amount of damage it reduces.
As Renew is a HoT spell, it can be used to reduce the amount of damage the tank takes by X pr 5 seconds, allowing you more time to cast larger spells.
To conserve as much mana as possible, I would try to cast Greater Heal as often as I can, and by using renew as damage mitigation, I give myself time to do that.

Another example would be when I'm on raid healing, and more than one person takes damage at the same time. Now I have to think about CoH is a viable option, or if I should use renews and flash heals (Baaad spell) instead.
The way I do this, Is to see how many people in the same party that have taken damage, how much damage they have taken, and consider the risk of them taking even more similar damage.

If more than 3 people in the same party have taken damage, I can use CoH to instantly heal them for about 1k, and then top them up by using renew, but if there's a risk of more damage of the same kind, I would be more likely to use Flash Heal and top it off with renew.

4. Downranking

Downranking of spells is also an important point to look at, as it helps you conserve mana for later. If you have lots of +healing, it's even more beneficial.

The way you use it, is if your addon shows you in numbers how much health your target has lost (Like healbot does), you can choose a spell that costs less mana (downranked spell) to heal your target to full, without overhealing too much.
Example: Your off tank has taken 3k damage, and is not taking any more at the moment. You don't need to cast a max rank greater heal, because it heals for 5k. Instead you use a downranked greater heal that heals for 3-3.5k. This results in your offtank being healed to full health, and you save 400 mana from choosing a lower rank. This 400 mana can then be used to cast on another target, letting you go on for longer.

Personally I use only 2 healing spells downranked, which are Greater Heal and Flash Heal.

When choosing what rank to use, try out the different ranks to see how much they heal for on average, and choose the one that suits your purpose.
For Flash Heal, I use a rank that heals for about 2k on average, and for Greater Heal, I choose one that heals for about 3-3.5k.
As this depends on how much +healing you have, I can't really tell you which one to use, but try it out for yourself.

5. The 5 Second Rule

This section is short, and is all about mana regeneration. When you look at your mana regenerations, on the spell tab of your character screen, you can see that there's 2 different types of mana regeneration.
While casting, and while not casting.

What the 5 second rule means, is that from the moment you finish casting a spell that costs mana, it takes 5 seconds before you are considered not casting, and regenerate mana at the higher rate.
As mentioned in one of the later posts, if you have triggered clearcasting, or if you use inner focus, you can still cast spells and still be within the 5 second rule for the duration of those spells, because the spells you cast will cost no mana.
This is something I assume is correct, but I have not tried it myself.

The way I use this while I play, is to start wanding towards the main target, as soon as I can see that there's no imminent danger of people taking damage. Using your wand is not considered casting, and allows the 5 second rule to come into effect. (keywords: "no imminent danger" )
As some people have commented throughout this thread, wanding is a bit dangerous, as it triggers your global cooldown, making you not be able to cast instantly, but having to wait for up to 1.5 seconds.
To practice using the 5 second rule, I recommend that you just simply stop casting and wait at first, before you move on to the next level, wanding.
Spend the "waiting" time on observing what happens to the raid during the fights, allowing yourself to predict when and when not to wand the next time you do the same encounter.

I have used this successfully throughout karazhan, and all the way up to MH, without as far as I know risking anyone's life.

Next post: Addons.

Edit: Added the 5 second rule
Edit2: Did some updates based on the discussion that follows my post.

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#80 - 2008/06/10 03:20:57 PM
Nicely written :-) This thread should be appearing in the Forum Watch on our front page. Also, I’ve added it to the “useful thread” sticky post, here in the Priest forum.