Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Leveling a holy priest in Legion

Once upon a time I was a hardcore raider in World of Warcraft. That turned into casual raiding, then casual dungeoneering, until at some point I lost interest in group content. I tried different classes and roles, but it turned out that I was at best mediocre as a tank or damage dealer, while I had a knack for raid / dungeon healing. So while my warrior was the first character I created on the European servers, my priest was for the longest time my "main". And I hated it when a new expansion came out, because I hated leveling him. In many expansions leveling as holy simply wasn't feasible, so I always leveled in shadow spec until the level cap, and then switched to holy for the raid content. And I don't like shadow spec very much.

In Legion at the start I didn't even try to level my priest. I hadn't done much group content in the previous couple of expansions, so I didn't really see the need for a healer. But while I leveled my warrior and mage to 110, I reluctantly did some dungeon content for quests, and found that the dungeons in Legion are fun. So I started to consider the priest as third character to level up. Now as I said before, I don't consider Legion to be very alt-friendly. Every character goes through the same four zones while leveling up, and while you can choose the order, you still need to do every zone until you gain friendly reputation in order to unlock world quests.

And then of course I still didn't like shadow spec very much. And because in Legion you early on need to decide your spec for your artifact weapon, and it takes some time before you get an artifact weapon for a second spec, I didn't want to choose shadow and then be unable to do holy for several levels. So I was wondering whether it was feasible to level in Legion with holy spec, mostly doing dungeons. And it turns out that works better than expected. One big plus was the quest you have to do to gain your first artifact weapon (and you can't do Legion dungeons without doing that): For the holy spec the scenario in which you get your artifact is very much based around you healing a group of NPCs. At some points you need to deal damage yourself, but mostly it is about healing, and that is a nice change from the artifact weapon scenarios I did up to now.

Then I started to join dungeon groups using the looking for group dungeon finder. One thing hasn't changed in WoW: There are too many DPS and too few healers. So the dungeon finder in which my DPS characters had to wait up to half an hour to get a group provided a group for my healer within a couple of minutes every time. At level 100 the dungeon loot is iLevel 700, which isn't great. But half a dozen dungeons later I was level 101, at which point your order hall really starts working and you can get better gear by various ways, including crafting.

Now for crafting I had to do some quests in the Legion zones and couldn't just stay in dungeons. And that turned out to be a big surprise: Provided you take Censure and Surge of Light as talents, leveling a holy priest in Legion through quests is also perfectly viable. I'd even say that the holy priest is performing much better than my frost mage. The frost mage is more fun, with more buttons to press, and more movement. But the holy priest is the epitome of the principle that if you don't lose, you'll eventually win. Between Renew and the occasional instant Flash of Light provided by Surge of Light, the priest is basically unkillable. I even fought gold border elites with barely a scratch, it just takes forever. Even tactics that really, really shouldn't work, like running through a murloc village spamming Holy Nova, work perfectly well for the holy priest. In spite of wearing the same cloth armor as the mage, the priest feels much less like a glass cannon, and much more like the plate-armored warrior. The disadvantage is only that the priest mostly spams three button, Smite, Holy Fire, and Chastise, and that there is very little interactivity in that. Works great, just sometimes feels a bit grindy.

Nevertheless I still think I'll stick to my original idea and level the priest mostly by doing dungeon content. The obvious downside of that strategy is that he'll end up being level 110 one day with no reputation with the various factions, and thus far away from being able to do world quests. But I do think there could be some advantage to putting him on ice for some time at that point, patiently collecting artifact knowledge for several weeks, before going out with him doing quests for reputation. And I can probably gear him up using heroic dungeons, unless those turn out to be populated with unpleasant "go, go, go" types that stand in the fire and then blame the healer.

The "Friendly with all reps" requirement for World Quests has been removed for alts in the 7.1 patch that just landed.

As long as you have unlocked World Quests on one character, all you need to do on any others is just hit level 110.

So you should be fine to level in dungeons now.
That change, as described by Carson 63000, is enough in itself to make me move Legion from my "might get one day" list to my "would quite like to get sometime fairly soon" list - which is just as well because I have an intimation that I might be getting it for my birthday :P
Legion HC dungeons at ilvl 810 (when you can rdm queue for them) deal less damage to the tank than WoD HCs at 610, you should have no problems to heal through them. Also, a LOT of raid geared players run HCs just for the easy AM but they are also your gogogo crowd. Put a symbol on your tank, keep up with his pace and you're golden.

The satchels contain about 2500 gold if you sell the augment runes. But it seems there is some hidden cooldown, can't chainrun satchels on my tanks.

As for leveling via dungeons... they give not enough exp in my eyes. I ended up leveling my tanks by questing.

A general alt tipps:
- don't waste resources on order missions other than required for the campaign
- you can put shoulder enchants on heirloom shoulders
- find lv 110 cloth player(s) to run normal dungeons with you. They don't have to wait and can give you all their loot. Which will still be ilvl 800+ usable at 110 after trading so you'll have some things immediately at 110

The dungeon difficulties have changed. "Normal" is roughly some new LFR level faceroll easy difficulty, where you don't even learn the mechanics because none of the bad stuff matters. Heroic is the old Normal, Mythic is the old Heroic, and Mythic+ is varying levels harder than that. I have yet to do any dungeon as hard as the old Burning Crusade Heroics because of the timer on Mythic+ dungeons required to upgrade your keystone. If you can't speed run Mythic 5, they won't even let you try Mythic 6.
- don't waste resources on order missions other than required for the campaign

I actually disagree with this now, bryksom. I've been spamming the +150 AP ones on low level (101-103) alts that are sitting there and its great having multiple level 6-7 weapons on characters so low that I am not actively working on. The big change to make this not a waste is that the order hall resources trade in from bloods are BoA. My alchemist main had so many goddamn bloods that I basically now have unlimited order hall resources.
@Samus my experience was that, rather than "faceroll easy", Normal difficulty (with a group made up of people queueing for Normal) was actually harder than Heroic (with a group made up of people queueing for Heroic).

I did all the dungeons in Normal before Heroic, and almost all of them were more painful on Normal.
I'm a RTFM guy, I actually read the Patch notes, but for some reason I didn't read the "Friendly with all reps" requirement for World Quests has been removed for alts in the 7.1
How is that possible? I don't see it in patch notes even is not in "Patch 7.1 Undocumented Changes" (patch-71-undocumented-changes) I finally found it deep in wowhead (7-1-october-5th-hotfixes) Weird.
The healer is the deficit role right now (at least in our battlegroup). I very rarely see satchels offered for tanks, so I assume they go to the healers almost full time.

Levelling as a healer is one of the best things to do to prepare for max-level group content. Holy priests in particular have many healing skills, and you can add a few by talents, so some practice is needed to learn how to use them.

However, Legion professions require you to do quests in the world, and it is unavoidable.
You should give discipline a try. Discipline is very strong in solo content with a good Disc priest being able to chain pull like a tank. Not sure if the DPS is the same or better then Holy though. I can't say I've seen Disc priests healing anything at max level so I don't know if they are just under powered or just under represented.
The problem with your plan is dungeon xp in Legion is incredibly low. You will take many times longer to level via dungeons than just questing.
It isn't slow as long as you have rested XP. I make 20% of a level in one normal dungeon run, 5 runs for one level. I haven't timed it, and maybe it is the added excitement of the dungeon, but to me at least it seems faster than questing.

My experience is the same as Carson63000. If you do "normal dungeons" at level, with people at level, they are quite difficult. My guild still wipes on heroic dungeons.

Heroic dungeons are not "easy" until you load the group with iLevel 850 people looking for fast runs.

The problem is the availability of high iLevel gear and it's effect on skewing the average iLevel. A lot of people just grind dungeons and yell at those of us that don't "because it's so easy." So now we have a game that's too hard for the average person in anything close to "appropriate gear" and too easy for the "Top gear or die." crowd.

hotfix 03.11.16:
Experience rewarded from queuing for "Random Legion Dungeon" (Normal difficulty) has been increased by 150%

Get healin'
My first karazgan pug run was healed by a disc priest. We cleared the place in 3 hours and with a handful of wipes. Average itmlvl of the group was 855.
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