Talents, Explained

Last updated 03/25/08, patch 2.4.

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Here are short summaries of the priest class talents, what you might want, and what you don’t. Take some time and look at a priest class talent point calculator while thinking about talents and reading the information below. The visual aide is helpful, and it can assist you in planning your talent point selection as well.

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Discipline

  • Unbreakable Will – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Increases your chance to resist fear, silence, and stun effects by 3% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is fantastic for PvP. It is a solid choice for endgame instances and raiding as well.
      For soloing and leveling, you will likely be using your wand a lot to finish off mobs, so Wand Specialization may actually be a better choice for you, provided you do not PvP at all.

  • Wand Specialization – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Increases your damage done by wand by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      When soloing and leveling, you will be using your wand a lot, mainly to finish off mobs (less than 1/3 health). This doesn’t have much use in instances/raids, or PvP.

  • Silent Resolve – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases the threat done by your holy and discipline tree spells by 4% per rank. Also reduces the chance that your spells will be dispelled by 4% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This isn’t as much a talent for soloing or leveling as it is for healing in instances/raids and PvP. The threat reduction aspect of the talent is very helpful for holy/discipline priests when grouping (shadow priests see little benefit from the holy/discipline spell threat reduction). Silent Resolve is handy in PvP for all priests, regardless of spec, so if you can spare some points in your PvP talent selection, put them here. It can keep your offense damage-over-time (DoT) spells from being dispelled from your opponents, as well your as beneficial healing and buff spells that you have cast on yourself and your allies (such as Renew, Prayer of Mending, Power Word: Fortitude, Power Word: Shield, Pain Suppression, etc.).

  • Improved Power Word: Fortitude – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the benefit of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 15% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      If you are ever going to play in a group, especially for instances or raiding, you should pick this talent up. Stamina is a stat useful to everyone. For PvP, some priests find this talent beneficial, and others feel that they get a better benefit out of other talents from this tier of the Discipline Tree; it is a matter of play style.

  • Improved Power Word: Shield – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the benefit of your Power Word: Shield spell by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This talent isn’t terribly useful outside of PvP. An increase of 5% per rank, or 15% at max rank isn’t that significant for the number of talent points invested. For soloing, leveling, or doing instances/raids, this just isn’t worth it. Don’t put talent points here unless you need a filler to get to the next tier. For PvP, this isn’t that bad a talent, as you will find yourself using Power Word: Shield a lot.

  • Martyrdom – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Gives you a 50% chance per rank of gaining a “Focused Casting” state upon receiving a melee or ranged critical strike. The state lasts for 6 seconds, and will prevent you from losing casting time when casting spells. It will also give you an extra 10% chance per rank to resist spell interruption effects.

    • Why do you want it?
      This talent is fantastic for PvP. If you have resilience on your gear, this talent will have a chance of triggering off of normal attacks as well. Being able to cast spells for a period of time without interruption can really be life or death at times. Outside of PvP, this has some small use as well, mostly while soloing or leveling. It doesn’t have much use in raids or instances.

  • Absolution – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the mana cost of your Dispel, Mass Dispel, Abolish Disease, and Cure Disease spell by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This talent shines in PvP, as priests will typically find themselves dispelling a lot. Mass Dispel is one of our greater assets in PvP, but has a very high mana cost. This talent really helps in that regard. Raid healers may see some benefit from this talent choice as well if they find themselves dispelling or curing disease a lot. This talent isn’t that useful for leveling or soloing.

  • Inner Focus – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Inner Focus is an instant cast spell (that does not trigger the global cooldown) that will reduce the mana cost of your next spell by 100%. It will also increase the chance of spell critical effect by 25% (if capable of a critical). 3 min cooldown.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a solid, all-around talent. It is useful as a free spell cast every three minutes, an emergency “oh no, I ran out of mana!” solution, a way to save the mana from your high mana cost spells (like Devouring Plague), or a good chance of getting a large heal or large damage spell when needed due to the increased chance of spell critical that it gives.

  • Meditation – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Allows 10% of your out-of-combat mana regeneration to continue while casting, per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is another solid, all-around talent. In many ways, our mana pool is our lifeline. We can’t do much without it. For leveling or soloing, this talent will cut down the amount of downtime between kills. This talent is fantastic in for raiding and doing instances as sometimes battles are quite long and we need our mana pool to last in order to remain useful. For PvP, this isn’t a bad choice, either, provided you are able to stay alive long enough to use a lot of mana.

  • Improved Inner Fire – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the armor bonus of your Inner Fire spell by 10% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This provides a small defensive boost to priests in PvP. However, the gain is typically considered not worth the talent points. There is even less of a benefit from this talent outside of PvP. You likely don’t want this talent.

  • Mental Agility – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Priests tend to spend a lot of mana on instant cast spells in PvP and instances/raids, as some of them have high mana costs. This talent is excellent, as it can really save us a large amount of mana over time.

  • Improved Mana Burn – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases the casting time of Mana Burn by 0.5 seconds per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Mana Burn is one of our better tools in PvP. Being able to cast it in 2 seconds instead of 3 is a great defense when encountering other casters. Being able to incapacitate them faster helps to ensure our survival. A healer without mana can’t heal; a mage without mana can do little damage; a druid without mana cannot shapeshift. Mana Burn isn’t typically used outside of PvP, so there is little benefit from this talent for those who do not partake in it.

  • Mental Strength – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your mana pool by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a filler talent. If you want to pick up Power Infusion, then you will have to put 5 points in this talent. Otherwise, only put points here if you have no where else useful to put them.
      If you are strongly considering putting points in Mental Strength for a better mana pool, then you may want to give consideration to Mental Agility instead. A 10% reduction in casting cost of your instant cast spells will likely save you more mana over a fight than the mana you would gain from Mental Strength.

  • Divine Spirit – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Allows you to buff other players with the Divine Spirit spell, which will increase their spirit (by 23 at the lowest level of the spell, 50 at the highest). Lasts 30 minutes.

    • Why do you want it?
      This spell is a nice buff for priests. The spirit increase is helpful in most all aspects of our play. In PvP, this buff is also sometimes used as dispel protection (meaning: cast on other allies in hopes that it will be dispelled instead of something more useful). The Improved Divine Spirit talent makes this a great buff for any magic damage dealer or healer, and it is usually taken alongside this talent (see below).

  • Improved Divine Spirit – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Discipline Tree, Divine Spirit

    • What does it do?
      Your Divine Spirit spell will now also increase the target’s spell damage and healing by 5% (per rank) of their total spirit.

    • Why do you want it?
      Most raids will want at least one priest with this buff. It helps the damage of the magic damage dealers, and the healing ability of the healers.

  • Focused Power – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the chance that your Mind Blast, Smite, and Mass Dispel spells hit by 2% per rank. Decreases the casting time of Mass Dispel by 0.5 seconds per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This talent’s primary use is in PvP, where it is fantastic. Two points in this talent decrease sthe casting time of Mass Dispel, one of the priest class’s greatest assets in PvP, to half a second. Increasing the hit chance of Mind Blast and Smite is just icing on the already delicious cake. Priests focused in doing holy damage, while leveling, soloing, or otherwise, will see a benefit from this talent as well; a 4% increase to hit chance of their primary nuke, Smite, is significant.

  • Force of Will – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your spell damage by 1% per rank, and the critical hit chance of your offensive spells by 1% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a nice talent for holy damage builds. It can also be used as a bit of a filler talent in a PvP build if trying to get to a higher tier in the Discipline Tree.

  • Focused Will – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      After taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, which reduces all damage taken by 2%/3%/4% (depending on rank) and increases healing effects on you by 4%/7%/10% (depending on rank). It will stacks up to 3 times, and lasts 8 seconds.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is an excellent talent for PvP, though not much elsewhere. Priests deep in the Discipline Tree for PvP have great survivability, but typically a lower heal output than priests deep in the Holy Tree. This talent helps make up for that fact. It should be noted that priests with resilience on gear will have a chance of this triggering off of normal hits against them as well.

  • Power Infusion – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Discipline Tree, Mental Strength

    • What does it do?
      The Power Infusion spell can be cast on any ally, and will reduce their spell casting times by 20% spell haste for 15 seconds. It will also reduce the mana cost of their spells by 20% for the duration. The spell has a 3 minute cooldown.

    • Why do you want it?
      While not a commonly seen buff, it can be helpful in places where quick damage or healing is needed (certain raid encounters, PvP) or as a mana saver. It comes at a cost: the five points that you have to spend in Mental Strength to get this are likely best spent in other places. If you can get this, it is a fun toy to have, however.

  • Reflective Shield – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      10% (per rank) of the damage absorbed by your Power Word: Shield spell is reflected back at the attacker. This damage causes no threat.

    • Why do you want it?
      It’s terrific in PvP! The reflected damage is holy damage, so other will not have resistances to it. AoE spells (like Blizzard) can be reflected, as can DoTs (like Corruption). The reflected damage can crit, too. Outside of PvP, this talent is only mildly useful. It can be helpful to priests who like to shield themselves while soloing or leveling.

  • Enlightenment – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      35 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your stamina, intellect, and spirit by 1% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is another one of those filler talents. While higher stats are always nice, this talent doesn’t make the tools in your toolbox any better, nor give you any new ones … if you follow the analogy. The stamina and intellect increases are always welcome for PvP, as are the spirit and intellect increases for healing in instances/raids. You’ll likely only be putting talent points here if you are trying to go deeper in the Discipline Tree to get Pain Suppression.

  • Pain Suppresion – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      40 points in the Discipline Tree

    • What does it do?
      Pain Suppression is a buff spell that can be cast on any friendly target. It decreases the target’s threat by 5%. It also, while active, will decrease the damage they are taking from all sources by 40% and will increase their resistance to being dispelled by 60%. It has a two minute cooldown.

    • Why do you want it?
      Pain Suppression interestingly has its uses in both raids/instances and in PvP. In an instance or raid, a priest can toss this on a damage-dealer that is riding too high on threat, or has pulled threat from the tank. Or, the priest can cast this on a tank if healers cannot keep up with the damage being done. A priest healer will have to sacrifice some very useful talents in the Holy Tree in order to go this deep in the Discipline Tree, which will likely limit their healing power to a significantly (but at the cost of longevity). For PvP, the cooldown of the spell is the only limiting factor, however it still remains a popular choice in priest PvP builds.

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Holy

  • Healing Focus – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Gives you a 70% (35% per rank) chance to avoid interruption when casting a healing spell.

    • Why do you want it?
      It’s a good talent for when healing in lower-level instances (when mobs can easily run loose from the tank) or in higher-end instances/raids where you might be taking environmental damage. It is an essential talent for healing in PvP.

  • Improved Renew – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Increases the healing done by your Renew spell by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      If your focus is healing, then you know that Renew is one of your staple spells. Being able to increase its effectiveness by 15% is tremendous. This is a great talent for those who feel that they will be healing often (both in instances/raiding and PvP).

  • Holy Specialization – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Increases the critical strike chance of your holy spells by 1% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      If you are looking to increase your holy spell damage, then this would be a good place to put some talents. Otherwise, this is really just a filler to get to higher tiers of the talent tree.

  • Spell Warding – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases spell damage taken by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Not bad for PvP. There are better choices for leveling. Certain raid encounters may see a benefit from this, but its value is situational.

  • Divine Fury – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the casting time of Holy Fire, Smite, Heal, and Greater Heal by 0.1 second per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a staple talent in any healing build (PvP or PvE) or for doing holy damage.

  • Holy Nova – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Holy Nova is an instant cast holy damage AoE spell that also provides AoE healing.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a priest’s only chance to get an AoE damage spell. It is a holy spell (so not usable in shadowform) and comes with a high mana cost. However, on the plus side, the damage and healing from this spell cause no threat. Do you want it? It’s up to you. Give it a try and see if it is your thing. It’s one of those love-it-or-leave-it talents. Most priests do not have a large use for this besides casting a low rank of it in PvP to detect stealthed players.

  • Blessed Recovery – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      After being critically hit, heals 25% (with 3 ranks) of the damage taken over 3 seconds.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is mainly a PvP talent. It’s not quite a must-have for PvP, as we have much better defensive talents. It does have a chance of triggering off of normal (non-critical) attacks against you, too, if you have resilience gear (meaning, having gear with resilience on it will not negate the benefit of this talent). The major issue with it is that if this triggers back-to-back, it won’t stack. The second trigger can just overwrite the first. Some arena priests will just put one talent point in this as it gives them one more effect that could possibly be dispelled (instead of a more useful buff).

  • Inspiration – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Will increase the armor value from items by 25% (with 3 ranks) on targets you critically heal. Lasts 15 seconds.

    • Why do you want it?
      This isn’t a useful soloing or leveling talent. However, if you will ever have to heal a tank, then this is fantastic. It really shines in raiding. More armor value on a tank means higher damage mitigation, and less healing that has to be done. It synergizes with the spell crit stat, which is a little tricky to find for priests on gear without sacrificing a more useful stat, but is readily available as the Holy Specialization talent. In PvP, this isn’t as useful as other talent choices, but it is something that will trigger off of a crit of Prayer of Mending (a key PvP healing talent), or other AoE heals, for that matter.

  • Holy Reach – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the range of your Holy Fire and Smite spells and the radius of your Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing, and Holy Nova spells by 10% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      If you are leveling with a holy damage build, then this can be handy. For healing, this isn’t terribly useful unless you have Circle of Healing (in which case this is pretty helpful).

  • Improved Healing – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the cost of Lesser Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a staple in any healing build for instances/raids. It’s fairly useful for PvP healing builds as well.

  • Searing Light – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Holy Tree, Divine Fury

    • What does it do?
      Increases the damage done by Holy Fire and Smite by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is extremely useful for holy damage builds. It is very helpful if you are leveling or soloing with a non-shadow build.

  • Healing Prayers – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the mana cost of Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing by 10% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is an excellent talent choice for PvP where you are casting Prayer of Mending all the time. It is great for PvE as well if you find yourself using Prayer of Mending or Prayer of Healing a fair amount. Not very useful for leveling or soloing.

  • Spirit of Redemption – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your spirit by 5%. Upon death, you gain a holy “form” where you can cast healing spells mana-free for 15 seconds (but cannot move or do any other action).

    • Why do you want it?
      The 5% bonus to your spirit for one talent point makes this an excellent choice for leveling, soloing, or for healing. The on-death ability is fantastic for arena healing, and situationally useful otherwise (small raids, groups, battleground PvP), though it should be noted that spell interruption effects will carry over from death into this form (if you are Counterspelled or Kicked you will still have to wait before you can start casting, however you are immune to further effects while in this form).

  • Spiritual Guidance – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your damage and healing by 5% of your spirit per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Holy damage builds, soloing, leveling with a non-shadow build, and group/raid healers see the best benefit of this talent as it is a passive, flat increase to their spell damage and their healing. This isn’t very useful for PvP as you’ll want better defensive talents, and PvP gear doesn’t have a lot of spirit on it anyways.

  • Surge of Light – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Gives you a 25% chance per rank on spell critical hit of having your next Smite spell be instant cast, mana-free, but incapable of critical hit. It can trigger off of healing spells.

    • Why do you want it?
      This looks like a good talent at a glance, but if you think about it isn’t that great; it only give you a 50% chance, the resulting smite cannot crit, and due to the global cooldown it is only effectively knocking 1 second of the casting time of your smite. If you are making a holy damage build, or want to use this for PvP, then sure it can be useful for you. As a leveling talent, grab this if you cannot find anything else, though there are better options for you in the Discipline Tree. Priests wanting to heal in raids/groups have much better options for talent choices and shouldn’t waste points here.

  • Spiritual Healing – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the amount of healing your healing spells do by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      If you are healing, you want this. It’s fantastic. This talent provides the best increase to your healing ability.

  • Holy Concentration – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Gives you a 2% chance per rank of entering a clearcasting state after casting a Flash Heal or Greater Heal. The clearcasting state makes the next Flash Heal or Greater Heal cast within 15 seconds mana-free.

    • Why do you want it?
      This shines in raid healing as you can use this to fire off your largest rank greater heal, and then spend a few seconds regenning mana. This doesn’t put you into the five second rule, as the spell is mana-free. It isn’t very useful for PvP (there are better options) or outside of group play.

  • Lightwell – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Holy Tree, Spirit of Redemption

    • What does it do?
      This lets you cast a glowing pillar that group members can right click on to receive a heal over 6 seconds. It lasts 3 min and has 5 charges. The healing stops if the target takes damage.

    • Why do you want it?
      This can be situationally useful in raids. It costs about what a Flash Heal does, and has the potential to do a lot more healing than it, but group members will not always move to it to trigger its ability (due to positioning or laziness). It breaks on damage taken, so it isn’t good for places where damage is being done across the raid or for PvP.

  • Blessed Resilience – 3 ranks

    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Critical hits against you have a 60% chance of preventing you from being critically hit for 6 seconds.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is very strong in PvP. It can prevent a large amount of damage from being done to you. It still has a chance of triggering off of normal (non-critical) hits against you, so this isn’t negated or made trivial by having resilience on gear. However, for PvP, you may consider picking up Focused Will in the Discipline Tree instead. This isn’t useful in groups or raids, as you are likely dead anyways if you are taking critical hits.

  • Empowered Healing – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      35 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Your Greater Heal spell gains an additional 4% benefit from your bonus healing effects per rank. Your Flash Heal gains an additional 2% of your bonus healing per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This gives you stronger heals and it scales very well with gear. Healers who intend to partake in high level instances or raiding will see a great benefit from this talent. For soloing, leveling, and PvP this doesn’t provide a strong benefit.

  • Circle of Healing – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      40 points in the Holy Tree

    • What does it do?
      Circle of Healing is an instant cast spell that will heal a target and the target’s party members (within a 15 yard radius).

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a great spell if you are doing high level raids, especially if you have to heal a melee group. It can be handy for PvP, especially arenas, as it is instant cast, so you can cast it while running. It’s healing is better than Holy Nova, it doesn’t have nearly the mana cost, and you don’t have to run into the thick of battle to heal allies with this. For leveling and soloing this talent doesn’t have much benefit.
      Most priests who want to spec for healing will not take this talent, however, as they cannot have both this and the Improved Divine Spirit talent from the Discipline Tree. But if you can guarantee that another priest in the raid can buff Improved Divine Spirit, this is a great talent to pick up.

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Shadow

  • Spirit Tap – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Increases your spirit and mana regeneration for 15 sec. after getting a killing blow on an enemy.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is the single best talent for solo leveling. It significantly decreases your down time while killing mobs.

  • Blackout – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      None.

    • What does it do?
      Your shadow tree spells have a 2% chance (per point spent) of stunning your target for 3 seconds when cast.

    • Why do you want it?
      Excellent for PvP if you are a shadow priest. It isn’t bad for shadow priests who are at max. level, either.

  • Shadow Affinity– 3 ranks
    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Shadow Tree.

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the threat of your shadow spells by 8%/16%/25% (depending on rank).

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a must-have if you are going to be DPSing in instances or raids.

  • Improved Shadow Word: Pain– 2 ranks
    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Shadow Tree.

    • What does it do?
      Increases the length of SW:Pain by 3 sec./6 sec. This causes the spell to do up to 33% more damage, if it lasts for its full duration.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is very good for when you are fighting multiple mobs, elites, or doing instances/raids.

  • Shadow Focus – 5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      5 points in the Shadow Tree.

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the chance that your shadow spells gets resisted by mobs by 2% per point.

    • Why do you want it?
      Given that some of your shadow spells have cooldowns, resists can be quite annoying. Three points are enough for leveling and PvP, but if you are going to be doing a lot of raiding or instancing, especially at level 70, you should get as many points as needed to reach the hit cap.
      If you are level 70, you want a 76 spell hit rating from gear plus this talent to minimize you “misses” on bosses. You need 101 from gear before you can go to 4/5 in this talent, 126 before you can go to 3/5, 152 before you can go to 2/5, 177 before you can go to 1/5 Shadow Focus, and 202 spell hit before you can skip this talent altogether (not counting the draenei racial ability).

  • Improved Psychic Scream – 2 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Scream by 3 sec. per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Not bad for PvP. It is required to get Silence. Situationally useful.

  • Improved Mind Blast – 5 ranks

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast by 0.5 sec. per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      Good for PvP. In terms of PvE, for your standard casting priority as a shadow priest, you will want to be casting this whenever it is up and you are not already casting Mind Flay (or having to put up DoTs). Mind Flay is a 3 sec spell.
      The normal cooldown of Mind Blast is 8 sec., so 4 points in this talent will ensure that the cooldown will be up after casting two Mind Flays. One point will ensure that it will be up after casting two Mind Flays and something else (SW:D, SW:P, or VT). Since no one has perfect latency, this can vary. It’s one of those “try it and see what works best for you” things.

  • Mind Flay – 1 rank

    • Requirements:
      10 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      This spell is a channeled, three second cast that does shadow damage in three “ticks”. It reduces movement speed of the target by 50% as well.

    • Why do you want it?
      Besides the awesomeness of shooting a blue laser beam from your hands (melting faces, pew pew), this spell is the bread and butter of any shadow build. It truly is a must-have for any shadow build. It is the only shadow tree damage spell that isn’t a DoT or have a cooldown.

  • Improved Fade – 2 ranks
    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases the cooldown of Fade by 3 sec. per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      You don’t. Fade isn’t a permanent threat dump, and if you are in a situation where you need to be hitting Fade every time the cooldown is up, than you probably have some larger problems with your group that needs to be addressed. There are so many better places to put talent points.

  • Shadow Reach – 2 ranks
    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the range of your offensive shadow spells by 20%.

    • Why do you want it?
      For PvP and solo play, the farther away you can be from what you are attacking, generally the better. It theoretically gives you more time to cast uninterrupted at a melee mob/player before it is upon you. For instancing and raiding, there are some encounters that require movement, so the farther away you are, the less you may have to run around.

  • Shadow Weaving – 5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      15 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Your shadow damage spells have a 20% chance per rank of causing your target to take 2% more damage from shadow spells (and can stack up to 5 times).

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a great buff to your damage, and to the shadow damage done by others in your group. It increases shadow damage done by all sources (including shadow damage wands, your shadowfiend, warlocks, etc.).

  • Silence – 5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Shadow Tree, Imp. Psychic Scream

    • What does it do?
      Silence your target for 5 seconds, preventing it from casting any spells.

    • Why do you want it?
      This spell is fantastic in PvP. It is useful in solo and group play as well, as it can prevent mobs from annoyingly healing. It also is good for bringing caster type mobs closer to you. The cooldown is a bit high, though (45 sec.).

  • Vampiric Embrace – 1 rank
    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      This is a magic debuff that you can place on an enemy that will heal all your party members for 15% of the shadow spell damage that you do to that enemy. This lasts a minute on the enemy. The spell has cooldown of 8 seconds before it can be cast again.

    • Why do you want it?
      Besides the fact that this is a requirement for shadowform, it is a great utility spell. It can be situational in its use at times in group play, depending on how threat sensitive fights are. Excellent for solo play.

  • Improved Vampiric Embrace – 2 ranks
    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Shadow Tree, Vampiric Embrace

    • What does it do?
      Increases the amount of healing done by 5% per rank (for a total of 25% of your shadow spell damage healing your party).

    • Why do you want it?
      Good for PvP and solo play. It can be situational in group play.

  • Focused Mind – 3 ranks
    • Requirements:
      20 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Decreases the mana cost of Mind Flay, Mind Blast, and Mind Control by 5% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      The increase to mana efficiency that this gives is great in solo play, PvP, and instances/raids. It’s hard to think of a situation where you would not want this talent (if you are this far down the shadow tree).

  • Shadow Resilience – 2 ranks
    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Reduces the chance that you will be critically hit by spells by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      You likely don’t. For soloing or instancing, these are two talent points that can be much better spent. For PvP, you are better off just getting some gear with resilience on it instead, as that will reduce the chance you are crit by both spells and physical attacks, and will reduce the damage of crits against you.

  • Darkness -5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      25 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases your shadow spell damage by 2% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is a direct multiplier to your damage done after gear, other talents, etc. are all taken into account. Simply put, 5 talent points in darkness will increase your shadow damage by 10%. Soloing, leveling, raiding, instancing, PvPing: you want this talent!

  • Shadowform – 1 rank
    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Shadow Tree, Vampiric Embrace

    • What does it do?
      It lets you change into a different casting “form” that lets you do 15% more shadow damage and decreases physical damage done to you by 15%. You cannot cast any spells from the “Holy” tab of your spellbook while in this form (or Gift of the Naaru).

    • Why do you want it?
      This is another key talent in any shadow priest build. Besides how cool you look in your new glowing purple form, the increased damage is an asset to any situation. You are instantly able to shift out of shadowform if you need to cast a holy tree spell; these spells are not ever lost to you if you take this talent. Leveling becomes a breeze with shadowform.

  • Shadow Power – 5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      30 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      Increases the crit chance of Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death by 3% per rank.

    • Why do you want it?
      This talent is a bit of a filler. It is a solid choice to put points in, once you have all the other essential talents.

  • Misery – 5 ranks
    • Requirements:
      35 points in the Shadow Tree

    • What does it do?
      The use of SW:Pain, VT, or Mind Flay on an enemy will cause it to take an additional 1% damage from spells, per rank. The Misery debuff leaves the mob if it isn’t being affected by SW:Pain, Vampiric Touch, or Mind Flay (but immediately becomes active when one of them is).

    • Why do you want it?
      Not only does this talent effectively increase your spell damage done to the target by 5% (since you should typically be able to keep your DoTs up on an enemy all the time you are doing damage to it), but it also increases the spell damage done by other magic-users in your party/raid by 5%. This is excellent for both solo and group play. A solid choice for PvP as well.

  • Vampiric Touch – 1 rank
    • Requirements:
      40 points in the Shadow Tree, Shadowform

    • What does it do?
      You and your party members all gain mana equal to 5% of the shadow spell damage that you do while this DoT is active on an enemy. It also deals damage over time.

    • Why do you want it?
      This is one of the main reasons that shadowpriests get brought to raids/instances as damage dealers. The benefit to the party is significant. Good for solo play and PvP, too, as having another damage spell can be helpful.

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2 Responses

  1. Very useful, thanks

  2. […] I first started rooting around in the WoW-blogosphere, I came upon a post over at Dwarfpriest that laid out each talent and what it did – and it helped me understand so much […]

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