In Cataclysm, the role of the priest remains essentially unchanged. The priest is a strong healing class at its core, with the ability to focus on healing, shadow damage, or absorption and preventative damage. The Cataclysm approach to healing differs significantly from the Wrath of the Lich King model: larger health pools, lower mana regeneration, and more expensive spell costs ultimately means a slower, more tactical approach to healing. Mana management is back; Players Will be forced to choose the correct spell for any given situation or risk draining their resources too early in the fight.
Gnome, Goblin, Tauren, Worgen
NEW PRIEST SPELLS
Heal: Once considered a low-level precursor to Greater Heal, this spell has been revamped for Cataclysm. This spell heals for a modest amount, and has a medium cast time compared to Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Its very mana-efficient and considered a “standard” heal for most situations.
Mind Spike: A powerful nuke that deals Shadowfrost damage and increases the critical strike chance of your next Mind Blast by 30%. Stacks up to three times. This ability is spammable, causes a high amount of threat, and deals damage equivalent to casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
Inner Will: A new buff that reduces the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increases movement speed by 10%. This buff doesn’t stack with Inner Fire, so players will have to choose between increased armor and spellpower and increased mobility and efficiency.
Leap of Faith: An instant-cast spell with a 40-yard range that pulls an ally directly in front of the caster. This spell functions similarly to the death knight’s Death Grip ability, but targets friendly players rather than hostile players.
Discipline priests uses magic to shield allies from taking damage as well as heal their wounds. Players have the option of favoring a Power Word: Shield/Heal rotation, reducing the Weakened Soul timer, or playing more offensively with the new Smite talents. Penance is back as the tree-defining skill, and can be cast more frequently when used between Smites.
Shadow priests use sinister Shadow magic, especially damage-over-time spells, to eradicate enemies. Priests have a new Shadow Orbs mechanic, gaining orbs by casting Shadow Word: Pain and Mind Flay. and these orbs increase the damage done by Mind Blast and Mind Spike. Notable additions include the Paralysis and Shadowy Apparition talents, which encourage kiting.
A versatile healer, the Holy priest can, reverse damage on individuals or groups and even heal from beyond the grave. The Chakra ability allows priests to focus on a particular spell – Heal, Renew, Prayer of Healing, or Smite – allowing them to boost the performance of one ability. Power Word: Chastise is a new Holy ability; it functions as a three-second daze but is transformed into a powerful healing spell depending on your Chakra state.
The priest still has the ability to function as a healer or a DPS class, depending on its spec. Holy remains a raid healing specialization, while Discipline now has two possible roles. They can function as either a tank healer, or a Smite-based hybrid that offers moderate DPS and healing.