I decided to do my end of The Burning Crusade healing roundup in order of armor class, so my first post is thus about Priests.
While I do not play a Priest myself (I usually want to gouge my eyes out with a spork at around level 10) I do try to keep up with all the classes, so I hope this is informative. If you see any errors, please let me know in the comments. Also, keep in mind that this is written with purely PvE in mind. So now, without further ado…
End of The Burning Crusade Healing Roundup: The Priest,
Or: Jack of all Trades, Master of Circle of Healing
The term, jack of all trades, master of none, is often thrown about when discussing Priests, and there is a good deal of validity to it. Priests have about a bazillion varieties of healing spells, and a each Priest can drawn on his or her arsenal of big slow heals, small fast heals, efficient heals, inefficient heals, hots, AoE heals, heals that bounce around, or even spells that will get you laughed out of the raid (I’m looking at you Lightwell).
Are Priests really masters of nothing, however? Sure, they don’t have as many hots as a Resto Druid; maybe their on reactive heal Prayer of Mending doesn’t stick to the tank like Earth Shield; and Priests may not have the single target healing or longevity of a Holy Paladin (debatable).
Priests, however, do have Circle of Healing. CoH is a powerful multitarget heal that can be invaluable in fights with a large amount of raid damage. I know that I, as a Paladin, am certainly jealous of a Priest’s ability to heal up to five targets in one cast while I’m stuck Flash of Lighting everyone up to full health for five to ten seconds.
Arsenal of healing/utility spells:
Circle of Healing - Deep Holy only
Power Word: Shield
Prayer of Healing
Power Infusion - Deep Discipline only
Pain Suppression - Deep Discipline only
Versatile: Priests are versatile and can bring a huge arsenal of heals that fit almost any situation.
Mobility: Priests have a number of instant cast heals that can be cast on the go.
Buffs: Priests bring a great Stamina buff and an OK Spirit buff to the raid.
AOE healing: Priests are the only class with an AOE heal besides a Druid's Tranquility (ten minute cooldown), which is very valuable in certain fights.
Longevity: With enough Spirit and good use of the FSR, a Priest can go on healing for a very long time.
Squishy: Priests, in their cloth armor and low health, are vulnerable to physical damage.
That’s really the only weakness I can see with Priests at the moment. In fact, it is their lack of weaknesses and their ability to be slotted into any healing assignment that may be their greatest strength. Circle of Healing, though, will always shine brightly due to its power in fights with lots of raid damage.
While I don’t want to go into too much detail regarding Wrath of the Lich King spells and talents because they are all subject to constant changes and adjustments, there appears to be a split coming in the way Priests will be healing. While every healing Priest will have access to a very similar assortment of heals, it appears that the Holy tree will remain similar to what Priest healing is now, capped off with Circle of Healing, while the Discipline tree seems to be shaping up around Power Word: Shield, single target healing via Grace, and longevity via Rapture.
Edit: Thank's HolyWarrior, I forgot about Tranquility, the Druid AoE spell. However, this spell has a ten minute cooldown, making it more of an "oh shit" button than a regular heal.
Part 2: The Druid
Part 3: The Shaman
Part 4: The Paladin