Last updated: 05/14/08, patch 2.4.2.
Sample talent builds for level 70 characters:
14/0/47 – Shadow Instancing/Raiding
- This is the standard build for shadow priests. It gives you the full amount of the +hit and threat reduction talents for shadow spells while maximizing your shadow damage. Work your way up to 41 points in the shadow tree to get Vampiric Touch, then fill out the discipline tree, then put the final points in shadow. The points in Martyrdom and Spirit Tap make for easy grinding/questing.
- Variants: The points in Imp. PW:S, Martyrdom, Unbreakable Will, Spirit Tap, Imp. Psychic Scream, and Silence are all optional to this build. Smart places to move some of these points would be Blackout, Imp. Mind Blast, or Shadow Power.
17/0/44 – Shadow PvP
- Pretty good for battlegrounds or arena play. The Imp. Mana Burn, Silence, and Blackout talents will make you a formidable opponent.
- Variants: Points can be moved out of Imp. Mind Blast and added to Healing focus (if you think you will have to change form to heal a lot), added to Silent Resolve (keep those DoTs from being dispelled!), or Imp. PW:Shield.
0/18/43 – True Hybrid
- For shadow priests who just can’t live without an AoE, or for those who want the quicker heals. The loss of Meditation from the Discipline Tree will, in general, make you much less mana efficient both in healing or DPSing at length.
- Variants: Holy Nova is entirely optional or the points in Holy above 11 for Holy Nova, depending on your ultimate objective for this build. You can add more Discipline tree talents, depending on your needs.
23/38/0 – Cookie-Cutter Holy/Disc “Hybrid” Healer
- This “holy/disc hybrid” build is common amongst high level priests for instances and raiding. The 23 points in the discipline tree are necessary to get the Imp. Divine Spirit buff. The 38 points in the Holy tree give some of the best healing-increasing talents.
- Variants: Talent points may be shuffled between Holy Specialization, Inspiration, Holy Nova, Healing Prayers, and Holy Concentration as needed.
19/42/0 – Deep Holy Healer
- This build gives you some of the biggest heals in the game. Typically, this build is taken by healers who can count on having another priest around who can buff Imp. Divine Spirit. This spec is good for fulfilling the main healer role in “end game” raiding.
- Variants: If you are are going beyond Karazhan (to 25 person raids), then Circle of Healing is key, otherwise the point from it can be used to fill out Mental Agility.
20/41/0 – PvE/PvP Healing Hybrid
- This holy build has some of the key talents for both raid healing and for PvP healing. Healing Focus, Imp. Healing, Empowered Healing, and Spiritual Healing talents ensure the priest is able to heal well. Blessed Resilience is key to PvP survivability in this build, supplemented by Martydom and Blessed Recovery.
- Variants: Upper points in the Holy tree (in Circle of Healing and Enlightenment) can be moved into the Disc tree for Imp. DS. Circle of Healing and Holy Reach can be dropped to tailor your needs as well.
28/33/0 – Arena Healer
- Tough to take down, and able to handle being focus-fired by the opposite team. Good healing, good survival, and able to do well in a mana burn war or a dispel race. It does well in small circuit PvP play (low bracket arenas, etc.).
- Variants: Points can be shuffled between Imp: PW:S, Meditation, Divine Spirit, and Holy Nova as needed. Feel free to try adding some points to Silent Resolve, Mental Agility, or Holy Specialization as desired.
41/20/0 – Deep Disc PvP
- This build is chock full of tricks for PvP: Silent Resolve to help prevent your spells from being dispelled, Pain Suppression to reduce damage on you (or a teammate), Power Infusion is great for any caster, fast Mass Dispel, fast Mana Burn, and Focused Will to help keep you alive. If also has points in Divine Spirit and Blessed Recovery for dispel protection. This build does well in large-scale PvP play (5v5 arenas, etc.) where you are likely to be focused-fired.
- Variants: There is lots of room to tailor this build. If you find yourself using your shield a lot, you make want to move some talent points into Imp. PW:S. If you are light on stats, you may want to move points into Enlightenment. The points in Imp. Healing aren’t going to be useful if you do not live long enough to get a heal off. If that is the case, consider moving those to the Disc tree. Holy Nova is completely optional.
43/18/0 – Discipline Healbot
- For priests of another flavor, Discipline-heavy raid healing builds are seeing some viability, especially as a complement to a deep holy priest. It’s all about the buffs and the longevity. Buff-wise, there is Imp. Fort, Imp. Divine Spirit, Pain Supression, Reflective Shield, and Power Infusion to bring to the raid. Talents like Meditation, Enlightenment, Mental Agility, and Mental Strength will increase the lasting power of your mana pool significantly.
- Variants: The points in Reflective Shield and Imp. PW:S can be moved to more DPS-based talents, like Force of Will and Searing Light for ease of solo play, or to more PvP-based talents like Focused Will, Imp. Mana Burn, and Focused Power for a PvP/raid hybrid.
34/27/0 – Holy Damage
- This build is sometimes called “lolsmite”, due to the inherent awkwardness of holy DPS. I call it the “two-minute smiter”. On its own, you can’t last much more than two minutes of straight DPS before that mana pool is empty, making this build a poor one for raiding or questing/farming. This build is much less mana-efficient than typical shadow DPS builds and has a greater reliance on other classes to perform its primary purpose: damage. However, if you put a priest with this build in the same group as a ret. paladin, a moonkin druid, an elemental shaman, and a shadow priest (or two), it becomes much more viable. It has interesting utility in terms of being able to switch between DPS and healing without having to change form, and having both Imp. Fort and Imp. Divine Spirit. If you have the gear to back this up (raid buffed: +1000 spell damage, 30% crit, 11k mana), and your guild happens to run a “off-spec” raid night, this would be an interesting choice.
- Variants: More points can be moved into Force of Will. The points in Power Infusion and Holy Nova are purely optional. For a more heal-focused hybrid, put points in Imp. Healing.
I do not recommend any tri-specs (with the exclusion of possibly a holy/disc build that also has spirit tap, or a shadow/disc build that has healing focus or holy nova inclusions). Spreading your talent points too much across the three trees will make you a poor DPSer and a mediocre healer.