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Thread: Priest vs. Shaman - Which to play

  1. #1
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    Priest vs. Shaman - Which to play

    With WotlK coming up I want to have an healer to play, mostly because my brother's paladin is 62 and he wants to be a tank, or he already is (rocking Ramparts!).

    I have 2 chars that are in reach for me to be able to level them to 70 before WotlK hits those are:

    60 - Draenei Shaman
    and
    53 - Human Priest

    Now I already had a priest at 70 and I was raiding with him but he was shadow and he was Horde, so I know the class a bit but I don't have too much idea of healing / holy specs.

    My question is which healer is not just more fun in PvE but also the better choice for my brother. It's sort of PW:F vs. Totems.

    Any help on my decision would be greatly appreciated.

    -edgar

  2. #2
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    I have a priest, whom I enjoy. But there are a few things to realize:
    - The grinding experience isn't nearly as fun on the priest as a shaman. Like a resto druid, it's clear you're heal-spec'd and dot/bubble/smitesmitesmite.
    - Squishy. You'd think that inner fire + fort = no worries in an instance run, but in most heroics I've been quite envious of the extra armor/shield of the shaman. If you pull two mobs off of a bad tank with a gheal too early and fade isn't enough, you're dead. However, the shaman might be able to heal themselves through it. As we all know, an extra 5k armor (mail + shield) really bumps EH.
    - If you spec "heal heavy CoH" (deep holy) you give up a lot on your your PvP survivability (deep disc). You're not talking about switching around 10-15 points like on a druid/shaman - you're switching around 35 points. Maybe dual specs will make it better.

    On the other hand, I've never met people who complain about their class as much as shamans, so take my negative priest experiences with a grain of salt. That many totem twisters can't be wrong :-)

  3. #3
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    Shamans, IMO, are one of the most complex classes in the game.

    Go shaman, you'll be much happier healing as a shammy than as a priest. Totems are a blast, the shock spells are GREAT, and with riptide now you have a decent HoT, your mana regen in a simular sense of a spriest, and chain heal RULES.

    As a tank? Shammys are my favorite 5 man healers, if only they had a buff ^_^. Not to mention shammys are getting hex, and worse comes to worse, you can always nuke something now due to spellpower changes!

    Shaman all the way bro.
    November 23, 2004 8:27:03 AM - Glomgore 10+ Years of tanking? Priceless

  4. #4
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    I'm not too experienced with shamans, but I've been healing for most of my wow-career.

    If we start out with the "PvE fun" it would highly depend on what your personal style is.
    A shaman's role is to buff those in his group, and that of course requires a tad more when it comes to a heavy mobolised fights.
    Besides that, they have some advantages that your pala-friend would find most helpful, when it comes to hard groups, for instance the ability to interrupt casters. This is especially helpful when you're PuG'ing with someone who doesn't know the meaning of a Line of Sight-pull - thus gaining aggro through concecration, which I know is one of the most frustrating parts for a pala.
    Their weakness is that they're good at group-healing, but a bit weaker on single-target healing.

    The priest does on the other hand not have the wide buff-variety as shamans.
    Their appeal to you, as a healer, is their flexibility. If you look at their talent-tree, you can pick talents, which let you do AoE-healing more sufficient, a bigger range etc.
    You can also choose to go single-target heals (for instance the improved Greater Heals).

    (this example dictates that you spec mainly for single-target healing)
    Now the reason for you to take the priest, would be, that once you find yourself being in a battle where the damage-income is fairly easy to manage - you can start filling up the paladin's manabar with heals, while he's fighting - lessening the down-time for the next pull, or giving him enough mana to throw a consecration / taunt / w.e.
    In case you should pull aggro (which isn't likely with the aggro-reducement from the disc. tree - and bigger aggro-gain) there's the Shield + Fade, which peels of 1500 - 2k threat.

    note: They gain mana equal to 10% of the heal (including overheal).

  5. #5
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    Shamans give more offensive buffs then a priest with their totems benefitting every group they're in.

    Looking at pure healing they're a little less versatile then a priest but very able to do the job. They now have a new hot with talents and can remove curses also with a talent.

    If you're leveling together, spec one of the dps trees. You'll still be able to heal decent and can cause some serious dps, and as enhancement some really serious burst.

  6. #6
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    What sort of runs are you doing? Are you raiding? If so 10s or 25s? Please give us some detail as to what level of content you are looking to do.
    Tanks: We like it rough.

  7. #7
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    Serious raiding will be reserved for my warrior. I guess it will be the casual heroic, maybe some Naxx and the casual pug in some other raid.

  8. #8
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    I've been lucky enough recently to play with a Shammie, and I have to say overall I find them to be the most versatile. Their totems offer a wide range of offensive boosts, and things like Tremor totems can be life savers going against mobs that fear and Earth Shield rocks. Granted, alot of that depends on the rest of your party make up. But you put an enchant Shammie and Holy Priest together in a group and that's a win-win. Priests are certainly going to give you more on the healing end, but Shammies do a very respectable job as well.

    I'd say go with the Shaman for versatility and PvE leveling.

  9. #9
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    I am re-rolling from a shaman with the expansion, if that means anything to you. But, I do play an alliance shaman and this should be taken into account because it means it isn't the first time I am re-rolling.

    I find a lot of people don't understand resto-shamans and think that they are a lot better than they actually are. A priest can do more damage while healing than a shaman can easily because shamans are based heavily on cast times while priests have a lot more instants that are safer to use. While totems provide great buffs, they become part of your class and aren't that exciting when you have them all the time. They also inhibit your mobility, which sucks because your mobility is already limited by cast times. Finally totems will be destroyed with pet killing macro's should you decide to pvp.

    That said, shamans have a lot of good points. Their shocks, grounding totem, and tremor totem can give you the smug satisfaction of countering something. They also level incredibly fast in leveling specs, faster than shadow priests. Finally they have fewer classes stealing their gear and they are the least played class so you can gear multiple specs without really trying.

    In conclusion:
    Priests:
    -Greater mobility
    -Greater dps while healing
    -Less frustrating in pvp

    Shamans:
    -More active counters
    -Level/grind faster as offspec
    -Lots of cheap gear
    Last edited by quinten; 10-28-2008 at 09:10 AM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
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    I've healed 5, 10 and 25mans throughout TBC on my shaman and really enjoyed it. Like the person above said, you also have more options as a shaman, should you decide to not heal. I remember one day grinding as ele (respecced for the week for dailies and such), and I got called into SSC as ele. My gear was almost entirely crafted/offspec loots.

    WHile priests easily have the most versatile healing repriotoire, Shamans are probably #2 (wild growth may change that). Both as a tank myself and a as a healer for 10 mans, I love shaman. If there's only 2 healers I can take, I want one to be a shaman because they can do a wide variety of things effectively.

    On a side note, I just like being a shaman being hard to kill, and the way it plays (strong direct heals). An instant heal helps mobility, it now has more clickity clicks, and its a strong healer.

    Oh, and 11k armor + a shield has saved my life a ton of times with bad tanks. You don't know how many times I've said "man I'm glad I'm not a priest"

  11. #11
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    I dont know much about the way shamen's were changed, so YMMV.

    but im going to go against the grain here and say priest. I love healing with my priest and wouldnt ever think of healing with a different class.

    - Mine is spec'd for Circle of Healing, yet he is still a great single target healer.
    - we have a HoT
    - CoH is currently better then Chain Heal in every way but maybe mana efficiency.
    - PW:shield, renew, POM, and COH being instant cast makes us VERY mobile.
    - No matter the situation, we have a heal for it. I can remember paladins, and some druid having trouble in Heroic Magisters at kael because of the gravity lapse. There are other fights that certain classes have trouble healing. (please dont give me examples of "but im leet and healed it" I know it can be done by all classes) Im just saying that priests have a heal in thier arsenal for all situations which make that situation easier.
    - by gearing correctly, mana doesnt really become an issue for priests.

  12. #12
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    On helping your bro, the answer is that Shaman will ALWAYS be the better buffer. For example your priest offers 2 major buffs when running an instance:

    PW:F - Effective health increase
    PW:S - A much more hated effective health increase. PW:S isn't going to be as bad for tanks as it was, but unless your deep-disc, It's by no means going to be a strong spell

    VS.
    Totems: Stoneskin (allowing him to use Retribution aura for more threat).
    or Streng : more block & dodge for survivability
    Flametonge: SD = threat
    mana stream/tide : great for paladins. Less pull downtime, help with mana starvation.
    WF: 20% haste never hurt anyone
    Earthshield: reflective heal that's better than prayer of mending and probably PW:S.

    In addition, if you levelhealing spec, LB + new Spellpower/crit gear will do decent damage (by no means dps spec level, but it won't suck) and lavaburst (75) is the best hybrid nuke in the game (insta crit gibs ya!).

    Oh, and hex will be a great o crap/always usable cc.

  13. #13
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    I have been playing WoW for about four years now. My first character was a holy priest, I have only ever played my priest as holy. I love playing her. I've tried other healing classes, tried other dps classes but love the versatility of a priest.

    I have not played a shaman so I cannot compare the two classes, all I can give you are my experiences as a holy priest. We are squishy...very squishy, but with a good tank {and I have numerous in my guild...shameless suck up to them} I very rarely experience death from healing aggro. From standing in the fire because I'm watching bars....well...we won't talk about that. ;-)

    The number of tools we have in our toolbox means that we have a spell for every situation. Which is a huge PLUS!

    The largest complaint that I have is that Meditation, in the Disc. tree, is a MUST. Without it I sit at 69 mana per five while casting, with it....239 mana per five while casting. It is in tier three or four of the Disc tree which means that unlike other specs and classes we cannot access our 61 point talent at level 70. And Serenity rocks...especially when you see those HUGE heals for a measley little amount needed.

    I'm biased...go for the priest.

  14. #14
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    Disclaimer: I do not have a shaman.

    I've always thought they felt kind of weak as a healer, but that's because of my perspective as a tank. They're not really good single target healers, and I've died a lot more with a shaman healer than anything else. 10 and 25s? Hard to argue with their buffing and group healing capability there. But as a solo healer for 5s... not so much.

    I do, however, have a priest. And I like it. It's also not specced for Circle of Healing. Penance in Discipline is pretty much the ultimate in single target healing, and it's not a terrible offensive spell either. Power Word: Shield is your "someone just ran off without the healer again, oh god, oh god, I'm spamming the button, would you please get in range" spell. And yes, if you take the points in Borrowed Time, it will absorb a lot of damage.

    As for the leveling aspect, I will say two things:
    1) Shadow sucks. I don't care what anyone says about it. You can out-dps it with a disc/holy or disc setup. You will also just PW:S and Mind Flay the whole time, pretty much, which brings me to my next point.
    2) Pick your poison. You're going to be doing the same thing every fight no matter how you setup your character. If it's Holy, it's PW: S, Holy Fire, Smite forever. Disc, PW: S, Holy Fire, Penance, Smite forever. We've been over Shadow.

    If you want versatility in the sense of being able to beat things to death ... take a Shaman. If you want versatility in the sense of being able to be a strong single target healer as well as a group healer, take a Priest.

    One other thing to think about ... With the consolidation of damage and healing into spellpower, you're always going to be up against other clothies. Pretty obvious who's going to be getting the mail with the spellpower on it.

  15. #15
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    Chain Heal wins. Period.

    Pretty obvious who's going to be getting the mail with the spellpower on it.
    Totally right, it's going to the Huntard........

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev13 View Post
    Totally right, it's going to the Huntard........
    I was hoping to set someone up for an elemental shaman there.

  17. #17
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    I play a 62 Resto shammy... and I love it! In the odd instance where I pull aggro off the tank, I don't get one-shot (or even 2-shot), and I find that once you get the proper gear, CH combined with ES effectively keeps the tank up while the rest of the group gets the jumps.

    Having said that, I've only lvled a preist to 30, so I can't really compare.

  18. #18
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    I tank end game content as a Feral druid and in 5 man heroics i prefer a Shaman healer to a priest healer any day of the week. Having Earth Shield on me at all times makes it easy for me to stay up, easy for the shaman to keep their mana up and easy for the shaman to keep me and everyone else in the group alive. Totems for the rest of the group helps and the self rez ability never hurts. Shaman also excel in groups that include more melee dps member becuase they have chain heal. chain heal hits the tank and then shoots over and heals any melee member that happens to take any cleave or AoE dmg. Priests have Mending which is good but not comprable.
    Shaman healers also wear plate and carry sheilds which mean they can ussually take a hit if they manage to pull aggro where as priests ussually get one shot.
    just my 2 cents.

  19. #19
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    Here is my experience with Priests and Shamans in terms of healing. I play a priest as a raider, so I of course am somewhat biased.

    Shaman:
    If you want to play causally, I'd say Shaman. Good soloing ability, good small group utility, and decent healing make for a nice all-a-round character. Also lets you decide your play style on the fly--want to hit stuff? Enhance. want to pew stuff? Ele. want to heal? Resto. Great for just having fun, and lots of perks. 15 min hearth, travel form, gearing ease, etc.

    Priest:
    Want to raid? Go priest. With totems being raid wide, the nerf to bloodlust, and a boring healing style (CH forever anyone?), Shammies got hit hard. There is no longer any reason to have more than 2, 3 max. Priests, assuming 80 is anything like 70, are simply overpowered at the moment. CoH beats the crap out of every other raid healing ability, by so much it is silly. A guildy priest just single healed a ZA timed run with CoH... In SWP no other healers can even hope for top healing. With the glyph to add 6 targets and the smart heal buff, CoH is just crazy. 1000+ on 5 or 6 ppl every 1.5 seconds is unreal. Additionally, Priests can tank heal, something I hate doing on my shammy.

    So if your actually interested in healing, Go Priest. If your just interested in 5 mans, soloing, and small grouping, Go Shammy.

  20. #20
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    It really depends, I haven't played a Priest, but that doesn't mean I don't know the class Previous healing on my Shaman was CH spam, now after the patch, is much more vertasile. I mainly use CH, but Riptide is getting used a lot, and after a CH you can (with a bit of haste) cast a 1.5sec Healing Wave so that's great for a person that has diped low.

    As a Shaman you actually have a choise to make rather than finding a good target to heal with CH.

    All in all I think Ott summed it up pretty well - but I still prefer my shammy because I like it (and remember, if Priests are OP, I'm pretty sure we're gonna see a nerf sooner or later following Blizzards "bring the player, not the class" philosophy)

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