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I just rolled a priest and have all of the cloth + staff heirloom. The problem is, the heirloom is all sta/int gear, there is none with spirit on it for cloth wearers. I rolled a priest primarily so I can heal, and queue into instances as a healer. It seems the heirloom is best suited for a shadow priest though.

What's the ideal thing to do in a position like this? Will I be able to heal in holy spec while wearing heirloom, or will my HPS not cut it?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The heirlooms are super effective items. They are equivalent to some of the best dungeon drops you can get(or better) and they keep up every time you level.

Spirit only matters in long fights (five minutes or more) such as raid bosses. It shouldn't matter for dungeon instance running. You should manage your in combat/out of combat time so you can drink if your tank is chain pulling. Sometimes it's worth it to allow the tank get out of range so you can finish your drink.

Resist the temptation to heal stupid. If the tank pulls before you're ready, he deserves swift death. If the dps pull before the tank is ready, they deserve swift death. You don't have to kill bad party members, but you don't have to save them either. If you try to save everyone from their mistakes, you will run out of mana.


I put together the efficiency statistics for my 68 holy priest that has a couple of heirlooms and no WoTLK gear (this research ignores crits, and considers chakra:serenity and Inner Fire). You might be able to use this information to choose more efficient heals and better keep up with the group.

Cast Time Heals
Heal         144 mana  2.45 cast  6792 heal    47.1 h/m   58 m/s  2772 h/s
Greater Heal 448 mana  2.45 cast 14504 heal    32.3 h/m  182 m/s  5920 h/s
Flash Heal   448 mana  1.47 cast 10878 heal    24.2 h/m  304 m/s  7400 h/s

Heal is super efficient and should be a go-to choice. Low heals per cast time is the downside.

Flash Heal is super inefficient and should be a last resort (except when it's free).

Instant Spells
PW Shield    464 mana  1.47 gcd   10781 absorb       23.2 a/m  315 m/s  7334 a/s
Renew        198 mana  0.97 gcd   1185 + 1974x4 heal 45.8 h/m  204 m/s  9361 h/s
HW Serenity  152 mana  1.47 gcd   8583 heal          56.4 h/m  103 m/s  5838 h/s

Power Word: Shield is super inefficient - last resort. Holy Word: Serenity is the go-to rescue spell. Renew should be kept up on tank, as it can be extended free by any direct heal via Chakra: Serenity.

Multitarget Heals
Binding Heal       410 mana, 1.47 cast  7880x2 heal  38.4 h/m  278 m/s
Prayer of Healing  342 mana, 2.45 cast  3861x5 heal  56.4 h/m  139 m/s
Circle of Healing  243 mana, 1.47 gcd   2687x5 heal  55.2 h/m  165 m/s
Prayer of Mending  266 mana, 1.47 gcd   3285x5 heal  61.7 h/m  180 m/s

These spells would be mana efficient if everyone took damage at the same rate as the tank. These are group rescue spells. Their efficiency is comparable, so use the one that fits your time and aoe shape (you+1 vs all). Slight nod to Prayer of Healing for low mana per second.

Other stats:
Int: 454, Mana: 7600
Spirit: 239, non-casting mana regen: 421 mana / 5 seconds.
Informally observed mana regen rate: ~170 mana per second when not casting.
Tanks at this level typically have ~12k hp.
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I don't think answers should be offering 5 man etiquette, its subjective. –  Jared Jun 21 '12 at 3:38
    
The question directly states that he intends to level in 5 mans. The main "problem" from too low spirit is running out of mana over time. My 5man advice is intended to tell how to keep mana up for when it is required. I could have made that more clear and may edit in that regard. –  David B Jun 21 '12 at 10:43
    
I was referring to your comment "If the tank pulls before you're ready, he deserves swift death." I play both healer and tank and feel quite opinionated about how both roles should behave. However I totally disagree with letting your tank die because you can't keep up, sure if your asking your tank to wait that's a different story, hence where etiquette becomes subjective. Rest of your answer was great though. –  Jared Jun 21 '12 at 21:38
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Intellect directly affects your HPS (through increased spell power) whilst spirit affects your mana regen. For the purposes of levelling though I would recommend going discipline. You will be able to keep people alive at low levels pretty much just using Penance and Power Word: Shield, once you level up far enough to unlock the 'Atonement' and 'Archangel' abilities you will be able to heal the rest of the way to level 80 simply by spamming Smite and Holy Fire in conjunction with Power Word: Shield and Penance.

The added bonus with going discipline is that at higher level you will gain the 'Rapture' ability, which directly scales with intellect to return mana when your Power Word: Shield is completely used up on a target.

The only time you should need to begin thinking about itemising Spirit is after level 80 - once you enter the Cataclysm instances you will be required to do a significant amount more healing and the mana cost your healing abilities will scale upwards exponentially. By this time though, most of your heirlooms would have been replaced (as they only work up to level 80, with exception of the cloak and helm).

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