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1/ Have you specced both since 4.0 came out?
2/ Did you try a Chakra build for your priest?
3/ Have you healed with both ?
4/ Which did you prefer?
Enjoying what you're doing, and doing it well because you get it, should be your goal. Not to min max between your shaman and priest.
Go with the one you like most and learn to play as well as you can and the rest will follow.
I have specced them both, and played around with both of them. My question is more for those who may have been in the beta and have a better idea of what to expect at 85. I know mana is going to become a major issue. Is it less of a problem for the Shammy? And the new spells that we will be getting, I know nothing about.
I have played each of the healing classes endgame, but have no experience in beta or what we are all about to log into later tonight.
WoTLK turned shamans into Chain Heal bots but with the changes this is no longer viable. I love tank healing now on my shaman. With the nerf to beacon, I feel on par with paladins in this sense. Shamans are getting Healing Rain which I can't wait to play with. It recieved a lot of buffs towards the end of beta. Like pretty much all healers at this point, shamans can fill any role. Since buffs have been homogonized(even hunters have heroism now), your totems aren't the unique little extras they used to be. This is O.K. because you still bring a lot of utility with Mana Tide(rumor has it this scales realllly well at 85 with the spirit changes) and Ancestral Fortitude.
Holy priest has gotten some of the worst reviews coming from beta forums. What does this mean at this point? Nothing. Most of the logs people point to are well over a month old and are irrelevant at this point. Developers have always stated that the version they are working on is usually at least two releases ahead of whatever is on the beta/test servers, so lets see what numbers get spat out with the first series of live raids. I play my priest mostly as disc but thats because the mana constraints of holy combined with the overall changes to the healing desiegn have scared me away. I'm not that great with mana in the first place. Both priest specs bring some of the most powerful external tank cooldowns in the game, holy having Guardian Spirit. I would't want to ever tank heal with a holy spec, but I've definately always preferred the Circle of Healing mechanic over Chain heal.
Sooo..this has probley been no help at all other than to help me kill a few minutes before class. If you are a progression raider, then its too early to tell who is going to end up being the more overpowered of the classes. If you are more casual than maybe you should consider the possibilities each class has in terms of the offspecs they offer and as well as what color you want your hands to be when you cast spells.
EDIT -- to try and answer some of your direct questions.
Shamans getting healing rain with be absolutely game changing for them. It will completely change Shaman healing distribution from what it has been up till the change tonight.
Priest getting Life Grip means little to nothing. It should be a fun little utility spell, but more for flavor than HPS.
Edited by Waffletime on 12/6/2010 8:50 AM PST
I found in the beta that healing with a shaman in the new dungeons was so much harder than healing with a preist both were premade with the highest beta lvl of gear and each was specced as I was told by someone who had healed with both classes. I can tell u that mana wasn't much of an issue with the shamam but it wasn't good bc u could never stop casting or the tank would die. It was difficult and fun but I enjoyed the preist better as I could stop for a secend and sheild a dps or myself and the tank wouldn't die. In each case thougy it is ur choice and I think u should look at the future spells and see which lvl 8l to 85 spells u will like better when lvling.
Hmmm...interesting. This was very helpful. I feel like I enjoy the healing style of the Shaman more, but through the WotLK content it seemed like it was easier to keep everyone up with the Priest. I still don't know what I'm going to do, but at least I have a bit more information to base my decision on.
I have been playing since vanilla open beta and primarily on my priest as a healer. I've enjoyed healing as holy mainly because there is so much diversity in the holy spec.; however, now that I have a resto shaman and I'm experiencing the changes made to holy priests, I will definitely level my shaman for Cata.
I am so disappointed in the holy priest changes that I feel like I'm healing in a straight jacket some times. (Chakra is a cute idea, but really, why can't we just get rid of the healing gimmicks that bug half of the time and don't proc, with the very strange cooldown timers. - - I'm staring at my cooldown bars so intently half the time, so I don't miss that last AoE heal proc, when I should be looking at health bars.)
Also with the holy priest getting "Life Grip", Really? Is that the best Blizzard could come up with for a holy priest? Really?
I am really enjoying the Shaman's diversity as a MT healer and raid healer...I feel it's what holy priests use to be but now I get to wear more armor!
I'd say if you have an 80 Shaman go for Shaman to heal because it is great in PvE and PvP. If you want to test this yourself, go to a BG find a healing priest purge spam them until they have no buffs and ask some DPS to kill it meanwhile you Wind Shear.
Now go to a BG on your 80 Priest and you will find mobility to be a problem, mana regeneration may be a problem, all your heals to be dispellable except Direct and pretty much little to help unless you go Holy. The new Chastise disorient is great for PvP.
Now if you are only a PvE person then I believe Priest has a much more varied toolbox to heal and as the game states or stated before they are the BEST healers in the game... After all they do have 2 healing specs to choose from right?
Good luck and don't ever worry about which one heals better, just which one feels better to you. To me Priest no questions asked for PvP and PvE because in the hands of a good player or one enjoying one any class is great.
Really, the decision is up to you. I played on beta with all 4 healing classes, and my favorite one by far was the Resto Shaman. Maybe I'm a little biased because this character was changed to my main (from my priest) ever since I leveled it and I've loved it ever since, but that's my opinion.
The Cataclysm healing model was based around Resto Shamans -- a versatile healing style able to switch roles easily with one spec -- and so we didn't get ground-breaking changes, but what did change was for the better. And other healers had a lot of changes in order to achieve the healing style they were aiming for.
Anyway, on to addressing your post.
At 85, Holy Priests are great tank healers -- Chakra and the Holy Word spells do wonders. Renew is refreshed on your tank every time you cast a direct heal, you have an instant-cast heal that heals for about 10-12k on a short CD (like Riptide/Holy Shock) and provides a crit buff for your other heals, you have Prayer of Mending, Serendipity, etc. It really does add up to a good tank healing repertoire. And, of course, raid healing is still doing great. With the changes to Prayer of Healing and the addition of Chakra and the Holy Word AoE heal, AoE healing is not a problem -- and not as mana-constraining. And it's really fun to do.
Even though you didn't mention Disc, I'd like to mention that it's really fun now, too. Disc doesn't feel to me like a bubble-bot anymore, and I really enjoyed healing with it. As with Holy, you can tank or raid heal without feeling like you're not doing it as well as other healers anymore.
At 85, Shamans are still versatile healers. We're great at tank healing -- and we now have Unleash Weapon: Life and Focused Insight to really buff up our heals (that adds a 50% increase if you use both of them) as well as our mastery. Chain Heal doesn't heal for nearly as much, but it doesn't cost as much mana as other AoE heals, and now we do have Healing Rain. The problem with Healing Rain, however, is that it probably won't be used much. At least in beta, it cost way too much mana for the amount of healing that it did. Hopefully that's changed by now -- we'll see. Mana Tide scales really well at 85 with the amount of spirit on your gear, and it's on a 3-minute cooldown now. So it's really nice to have.
In my opinion, Shamans are the funnest to play. I love the faster cast times with Tidal Waves, the mobility with instant Ghost Wolf, the synergy of the spells, everything. Priests are a close second, though.
I recommend choosing whatever is most comfortable for you to play, not what other people have said. Play with both of them, test them out, and decide from there. I hope my post gave you a little bit of insight, though. Both classes are going to be doing great come -- well, tomorrow. Hehe.
Edited by Ephylia on 12/6/2010 12:35 PM PST
To be honest, I found that Resto Shaman have a more dynamic and synergistic healing sequence; their spells work together the best out of any healer, and they're a lot of fun to play. Numbers are still a bit low for Shaman, though, and they lack any defensive tank cooldowns (NS is the only one, and it's not really gonna save a tank like Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit, Tree of Life, or whatever Paladins have).
Priests are a lot of fun, and numbers are pretty well adjusted. I really enjoy both Disc and Holy (though in my opinion, Evangelism/Archangel Disc is unusable, it's better to spec without those talents), and they heal well.
As far as mana goes, in my experience, shaman can last longer without having to pop any active mana regen, but with only one mana cooldown, once you're out of mana, you're out of mana. Priest passive regen isn't nearly as good, so we're popping cooldowns a lot more often, but then again, we have a lot of mana cooldowns that can keep us lasting for a bit.
In short, both are great healers, but as far as I know, priests have a slight edge in throughput over shaman.
Shaman is the fastest paced healing style of the two. The priest however has far more tools in it's toolbox. Basically it's a stylistic difference. Guess you know which one I prefer...
Like the poster above said, shaman healing is synergy/combo oriented, also reactive and reflex-heavy since your damage prevention/hots are nearly nonexistant. I find it thoughtful and exciting at the same time.
Know what procs tidal waves, what's affected by it and how, and what each of your 4-5 spells do, and combo them. For example, Earth Shield-Riptide-HS-HW spam is super mana efficient tank maintentenace that also guaruntess to 10% dmg reduction because riptide procs tidal waves which almost guaruntees HS crits. Weaving CH into a tank rotation does the same thing, but also tops off melee DPS. A CH/HS combo works well for AOE heals, because it's fast casting and HS is buffed after using CH, so you can lay out some great AOE heals and a few quick spot heals on the really hurt raiders very fast. Look for combos and situations like that.
Shamans are fun.
Although I am still a tad uneasy about Priests I would say they are an absolutly viable option to pick. Myself being a disc/holy priest really enjoy the toolbox and my ability to switch between healing specs as I see fit. I really don't know to much about shamans, but in the end its all about what you like. You'll do at lest 10% better with a class you enjoy regardless of their effiency. With so little time before Cata the best you cn do is do some reaserch into each class and weight what you like, and what you dont like about each class, trust me you'll enjoy the game alot more!
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