Best Races for Priests in Cataclysm

Cataclysm is here, and we’re asking the same questions: what new alt should I roll?

If you’re rolling a new disc priest and need to know how racial bonuses will benefit you, look no further!

(Racial Traits from Wowpedia.org; thanks as always, guys!)

HORDE

  • Blood Elf
    • Racial Traits
      • Arcane Affinity : 10 point skill bonus to Enchanting (note, this also raises the cap by 10 at each level of enchanting).
      • Magic Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Excellent. Arcane Torrent serves as an additional mana return ability, to be used in rotation with Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, and mana potions. to me, that’s a game-changing racial, and the best in the game for disc priests. Enchanting is a great choice of profession for priests as well, so go us.
  • Forsaken (aka Undead)
    • Racial Traits
      • Will of the Forsaken : Removes any CharmFear and Sleep effect. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Cannibalize : When activated, regenerates 7% of total health and mana every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect. (Mana aspect added in Cataclysm)
      • Underwater Breathing : Underwater breath lasts 233% longer than normal.
      • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%
    • Assessment
      • Good. Mana regen through Cannibalize is nice, but requires an actual humanoid corpse, which will be awkward in high-level instances. Will of the Forsaken is great if you’re going to PvP with your Disc Priest, but isn’t as important for the raider/leveler.
  • Goblin
    • Racial Traits
      • Rocket Jump : Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 minute cooldown, shared with Rocket Barrage.
      • Rocket Barrage : Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing X-Y fire damage. (24-30 at level 1; 1654-2020 at level 80). 2 min. cooldown shared with Rocket Jump.
      • Time is Money : Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
      • Best Deals Anywhere : Always receive the best discount regardless of faction standing.
      • Pack Hobgoblin : Calls in your friend, Gobber, allowing you bank access for 1 min. 30 minute cooldown.
      • Better Living Through Chemistry : Alchemy skill increased by 15.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. Time Is Money is a decent haste bonus, and Best Deals Anywhere is nice for everyone! The bonus to Alchemy is solid, but only if you’re taking the Alchemy/Herbalist route for professions (a solid priest choice). Overall the bonus to haste is not that big of a game-changer, and the other talents are too non-priest-specific to make it our recommendation pro-goblin. On the other hand, a goblin priest would look fantastic in Tier 10 gear and their hair choices are fabulous.
  • Tauren
    • Racial Traits
      • War Stomp : Activate to stun opponents – Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Endurance : Base health increased by 5%.
      • Cultivation : Adds a 15 point skill bonus to Herbalism as well as increases the speed you can gather herbs. (Note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of herbalism). Faster gathering speed added in Cataclysm.
      • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Poor. The only marginally useful trait would be the Herbalism bonus for an Alchemy/Herbalism-trained priest; the rest are not useful to priests in the least.
  • Troll
    • Racial Traits
      • Berserking : Activate to increase attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Regeneration : Increase health regeneration bonus by 10%. Also allows 10% of normal health regen during combat.
      • Da Voodoo Shuffle : Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%. Trolls be flippin’ out mon!
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. In theory, you won’t need health regeneration as you’ll be protected from direct hits by your friendly local tank, but if mana management is as restrictive as promised, a small personal health regen bonus may be welcome. Berserking offers haste increase similar to goblins’ Time Is Money, but the other bonuses are not priest-specific.

ALLIANCE

  • Draenei
    • Racial Traits
      • Gift of the Naaru : Heals the target of X damage over 15sec. The amount healed is increased based on the caster’s Spell Power or Attack Power, whichever is higher. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Heroic Presence : Increases chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1%. No longer affects nearby allies as of Cataclysm.
      • Gemcutting : 10 point skill bonus to Jewelcrafting (note, this also raises the cap by 10 at each level of jewelcrafting).
      • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Poor. Gift of the Naaru is a decent self-healing spell when the mana chips are down, but really- Binding Heal would be even better. Heroic Presence doesn’t help you, as healing spells on friendly targets always hit. But you already knew that, right? And you don’t have any hit on your gear, RIGHT?
  • Dwarf
    • Racial Trait
      • Stoneform : Activate to remove poison, disease, and bleed effects; +10% Armor; Lasts 8 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Gun Specialization : increases chance to critically hit with Guns by 1%.
      • Mace Specialization : Increases expertise with maces and two-handed maces by 3.
      • Frost Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%.
      • Explorer : You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists. Cataclysm
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. None of these are useful to disc priests. But dwarf priests! Will wonders never cease? Hard lobbying by the pro-dwarf community made me rethink my original ‘Poor’ rating of dwarves; the high mana cost of Remove Disease and other cleansing abilities in Cataclysm renders their Stoneform pretty valuable (even if they can’t cast it on others). I think that’s worth a bump up to the next level. Now stop biting my kneecaps.
  • Gnome
    • Racial Traits
      • Escape Artist : Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. Instant cast. 1.45 min cooldown.
      • Expansive Mind : Increase mana pool by 5%. Change to mana pool from Intellect occurred with Cataclysm.
      • Arcane Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%.
      • Engineering Specialist : 15 point skill bonus to Engineering (note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of Engineering).
      • Shortblade Specialization : Expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords increased by 3. Cataclysm
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. The only thing we care about here is the mana pool increase by 5%. It’s a nice little bonus, and- while not being the best in the game- is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
  • Human
    • Racial Traits
      • Every Man for Himself : Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character. This effect shares a cooldown with other similar effects, 3 minute cooldown.
      • Diplomacy : Reputation gains increased by 10%.
      • The Human Spirit : Increase spirit by 3%.
    • Assessment
      • Good. The Human Spirit is the only real bonus we get here, but the extreme emphasis on mana regen in Cataclysm bumps the human race from Mediocre to Good in my book.
  • Night Elf
    • Racial Traits
      • Shadowmeld : Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threatis restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect, 2 minute cooldown.
      • Quickness : Reduces the chance that melee and ranged attackers will hit you by 2%.
      • Wisp Spirit : Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 75%.
      • Elusivesness: Reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Shadowmelded and increases your speed while stealthed by 5%. Faster stealthed speed added in Cataclysm
      • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. I play a nelf priest myself, despite the lack of decent racials. The one bonus of nelf priestness is the excellent Shadowmeld, with which you can (with luck) hide in the shadows during a group wipe and rez everyone without the run.
  • Worgen
    • Racial Traits
      • Darkflight : Activates your true form, increasing movement speed by 40% for 10 sec. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Viciousness : Increases critical strike chance by 1%.
      • Aberration : Increases your resistance to harmful Nature and Shadow effects by 1.
      • Flayer : Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin 0.5 seconds faster.
      • Two Forms : Turn into your currently inactive form. 1.5 sec cooldown.
      • Running Wild : Drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal. Serves as the worgen “mount”.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. The only thing that salvages worgen from poor priest racials is the small increase in Critical Strike… Bbut you know that’s not going to stop us from rolling the baddest priest on the shape-shifting block.
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27 thoughts on “Best Races for Priests in Cataclysm

  1. Ebu says:

    If it wasn’t for the fact I recently faction-changed to accomodate a certain Alliance guild, I would have race-changed into Goblin come December 7th.

    Your argument ‘On the other hand, a goblin priest would look fantastic in Tier 10 gear and their hair choices are fabulous.‘ negates all others.

    Alternatively I’ve chosen to race change to Gnome now. Simply because they’re made out of pure (little pieces of) win. (And I hate the human model – yeah I said it!)

    • I like to think I’m VRY SRS BZNS when it comes to important matters, such as looking like a walking laundry basket. And yes, I’m so looking forward to rolling a Goblin priest I’m practically swooning! (And I also hate the Human model. QQ. QQ!). Ultimately I think we all play the ones we like best, regardless of the traits, but it’s nice when your choices actually match up with racial bonuses! :D

  2. deana331 says:

    Ttrinity, my Disc Priest, is BE and I am glad. I am addicted to arcane torrent! :) My second priest I am leveling disc all the way up (ttrinity was shadow first) and went undead. She will be used for pvp most likely. She is going engineer…goblin bombs! Thanks for your site, I really like visiting and learning more about priests here.

    • I like the visual of a quiet little priest throwing GOBLIN BOMBS! One of my alternate priests is a belf as well, and I really can (sadly) tell the difference when I play her. And thanks! :D I’m so glad it’s been of use to you!

  3. deana331 says:

    oh, but the way, my second disc priest’s name is ‘dammitjimima’ (hail all classic Star Trek ;)

  4. Tarinae says:

    I am personally in love with my gnome priest and blood elf priest :) I was so excited to make the little ball of shadow fury hehe

    The way it is worded on the assessment for Gift of The Naaru is a little confusing. It isn’t just a self healing spell and I haven’t had a high level anything for alliance (read: Draeni) but I always assumed it would be a powerful use-on-every-CD HoT for raid healing?

  5. Falkon says:

    Draenei, not Dranei.

  6. Jasyla says:

    Very helpful post. I think I may race change to BE once I hit 80, but for now I love my Forsaken’s Cannibalize – I never have to bring water to dungeons!

  7. Annabee says:

    Was considering race changing to belf at 85… You just confirmed my plans ^.^ Can’t give up Cannibalize for leveling…

  8. Zab says:

    I have an alt disc priest I enjoy a lot. I have a question. Since disc changed to more dmg=heals don’t you want hit now? At least that was my understanding.

  9. Very good analysis of racials. :D I always wondered if Cerylia should have been a priest (since I love priest so much!), but I’m very satisfied with how my priest(s) turned out (plus I’m really happy with hunter with 4.0 anyway). Undead and human, both so very pretty and fun to play. (They’re supposed to be the same person, just for different factions. x3)

    I kinda wanted a tauren priest, but that would make 4 tauren alts, which is somewhat excessive. Plus my two priests now would feel threatened by another one showing up. xD

  10. Achloryn says:

    I have to disagree with you on one point… You strongly undervalue Stoneform’s ability to remove diseases, bleeds, and poisons. Cleansing is supposed to cost a LOT more mana at 85, and if you have a way to clear things off of yourself mana-free then that could ONLY be good. I think dwarves deserve a mediocre at least. Otherwise, great breakdown :D Well done.

    • Ooo, dorflove! I like it! And I can certainly see it becoming a Thing, but I’m holding my cards in reserve until I see my new discodorf in action (he’s too little to get invited to the sorts of parties where people get decursed).

    • Actually, based on what I saw in the beta, I think you’re right (not that anything was written in stone back then, but…). I think they *do* get a mediocre bump for free cleansings. Changed!

  11. Rades says:

    Power and glory to the Forsaken! Back when my priest was in his 40s, I contemplated race changing or re-rolling him as a belf for the benefits you listed. But then I figured FOPPISH ELVES and stayed with my wonderful undead, pissed off priest who grumbles while shielding and cackles when he gets to smite and sprout wings. ;)

  12. Endyme says:

    Nice post to come across when I have just decided to race change my draenei priest to a night elf. I just….really like the nelf casting animations. Yes, I’m shallow. What? I don’t use Gift of the Naruu a crap ton, because, well, I have a metric ass ton of heals as it is, so once more is one too many. Though I’m waiting to make the change til after Cata comes out, since I read that race changes wipe your quest log clean and I’m hoarding dailies and other quests to turn in once we can get XP again.

  13. Syl says:

    I really miss my human racials atm, they’re indeed by far the best. and that’s not just because of spirit imo, “every man for himself” is actually a huge help both in PVE and PVP too – if you remember that you got it, it can save you from a nasty stun or break a fear at times when heals are really needed on the MT (for ex. i would use this in heroic UP frequently start of wotlk). diplomacy is negligible but still pretty handy to have too.

    I really wish they would homogenize racials sometime, it’s sad that one combo stands out so much before all others.

  14. Tam says:

    Bwahaha, the next time someone mocks me for being a belf in a sissy robe I’ll claim to be min/maxing.

    I do find arcane torrent invaluable though – missed it something sick when I was a dorf.

  15. Morituri says:

    I play a Space-Goat myself. Used to be nice with the 1% hit to the party, it was one more thing I could bring to the raid. Now we suck, we have nothing of use. I will be race changing to human (10% rep, 3% spirit) as soon as I bring myself to part with more money than I am already giving blizzard a month :S

  16. (I know I’m late to the game, but-)

    I’m a little surprised that you’ve valued undead so highly (granted, you say earlier in the comments that you have a pro-undead bias) and draenei so poorly.

    Cannibalize – as you rightly point out – is only usable on certain corpses, and when it is usable, it’s not as time-efficient as eating and drinking (then again, I’m spoiled, because I stock up on Festival Dumplings at the Lunar Festival). (If you’re using Cannibalize in combat – shouldn’t you be healing? :x) Meanwhile Will of the Forsaken is only situationally useful in raids and dungeons, although it does really shine in PVP.

    Meanwhile, Gift of the Naaru is a mana-free targetable heal, which – in a game where, frankly, we’re mana-starved – can’t really be discounted. (Your summary in the post itself lead me to believe that you believe that it’s a self-heal, which isn’t the case.) As for Heroic Presence – as you say yourself, we’re not looking for +hit on gear, and so when we want to use a Smite spec or when we’re PVPing, that +1% hit chance actually helps quite a bit.

    The bottom line: I think you’re doing draenei a disservice by valuing them so poorly when the undead – a faction with arguably poorer racials for healers – are valued so highly.

    • Robert Park says:

      Actually Smite spec you will not need any hit gear at all because of the Glyph of Divine Accuracy. It makes gives you 18% hit to Smite and Holy Fire, the two spell that heals with the talent, Atonement I think.

      As for Human in PVP having an extra slot for trinkets can be a huge boon. You can have a Battlemaster Trinket which will boost your HP and either a DPS or Healing Trinket as well or go Double DPS. With the extra burst you can bring down your target a bit faster or keep your team mate alive with the extra burst of healing.

      As for The Human Spirit it it is amazing in any of the spec. It is Obvious for Holy and Disc. But it is great with Shadow too with the Talent Twisted Faith you can focus more on on other Stats like haste and/or crit, Don’t remember the color combo of the Gems atm, when you are gemming. Also this is a great boon to those who are have a Healing and Shadow Dps spec doing both jobs in Raids.

      Not to mention the Extra rep which will make you get rep faster and gear up faster.

      Because of these points i think Human should be bumped up to excellent. Sure Blood elves get free mana back but I believe that with the Human Racial “Every man for Himself” and “The Human The Human Spirit” usefulness should boost it to Excellent.

  17. hazzard the dwarf says:

    Hey I’m starting my first char and its a. Priest! I want to roll dwarf is it a good choice

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