Monday, April 09, 2007

Shadow Priest Talent Tree

I respecced an alt priest of mine to Shadow today, and was struck at how well designed the priest Shadow tree is. It's a model of efficiency, with hardly any wasted space. There are three different paths in the tree, a levelling build, a pvp build, and an instance build. Each path is different enough from the others, and the point distribution works beautifully when creating each build. I think that the Shadow tree is probably the best designed talent tree in the game.

As well, take a look at the single-point talents (11, 21, 31, 41pts). I think that these talents are often critical to the sucess or failure of a tree. Shadow has Mind Flay, Vampiric Embrace, Shadowform, and Vampiric Touch. These talents are all great, and form the heart of the shadow tree, the core of what it means to be shadow. A Shadow Priest makes full use of all these talents. Having all four single-point talents being awesome is very rare.

In many ways the Priest Holy tree suffers from the exact opposite. Holy Nova, Spirit of Redemption, Lightwell, and Circle of Healing are all "gimmicks", rather than being core parts of the Holy Priest.

For paladin trees, Holy's talents are decent, but not really all that exciting. They aren't as crucial to the Holy tree in the same manner as VE or Shadowform. They are also very independent of each other. Protection has outstanding talents in Holy Shield and Avenger's Shield, but Blessing of Kings and Blessing of Sanctuary contradict each other. You can't use both at the same time. Retribution comes the closest to the Shadow ideal with Seal of Command, Sanctity Aura, and Crusader Strike. However, Repentance falls more into the gimmick spell mode.

None of the paladin trees are as well designed as Shadow though. In particular, they are missing the multiple paths through the tree for the different options. You can't really differentiate between a PvP build and a levelling build, in my opinion. Oddly enough, Retribution probably comes closest to a proper design. Its problem is that the base paladin is too far slanted in the other directions.


  1. I would have to agree with you on this post. I leveled my priest from 0-55 using the shadow tree and nothing else. All of the shadow talents are viable IMO, and it is sad that once I hit 55 and respec'd holy I was left with a class that quite frankly sucks.

    The holy tree is terrible and needs to be revamped more than any other tree. When my holy priest can't find a group because they already have a pali, there is a problem.

    Lightwell is useless and even when people use it properly there always seems to be that one idiot who clicks on it over and over until it is dry when they never really needed it to begin with. Not to mention that anyone who clicks on the lightwell needs to be out of combat in order to even use it which is crap considering the tank needs it the most and they are NEVER out of combat.

    Spirit of redemption is a slap in the face considering the fact that I am usually the last one dead anyway and even if I go down quickly, it is always right after the tank so I get to flash heal mages/rogues once or twice before they go down. /yippy

    Priests should be the superior healers. period. The holy tree affects PVP very little so why Blizzard made the priest class flash heal/greater heal spammers is beyond me.

  2. woo ok. as a 70 priest i must say, WRONG. the holy tree is great! spirit of redemption is great. you shouldnt be the last to go down unless you're not healing everyone else first. i mean come on... if you die, you just get into spirit of redemption form, keep on healing to the end of the battle (or till you run out. its kinda short) then you run back, get res'd by a friendly pally, or use a ss.

    as for the light well. i've used it in sethekk halls on that last boss helps IMMENSELY. you dont have to be out of combat. if you get hit you dont get the full effect, but it's like 1000 in one hit, which is enough to satisfy your clothies, and keep your tank ok for long enough to pop a greater heal. and if you get a crit, your heal is free! flash heal... sucks. use binding heal now. same cast time and it heals you too.

    i leveled my priest to 70 and was shadow for 3 hrs. 3. most of that time was spent grumbling in darnassus about how i missed holy spells.