Comparison of Healing Spells by Class

As I’ve been leveling my priest I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by the amount of healing spells I have. On my druid, I seem to have the perfect number of healing spells to fill up all my click-bindings but on my priest, I’ve run out – and I’m not even 80 yet. Out of curiosity I dug through wowhead to compare how many spells each of the healing classes has and how they differ in function. If you’re thinking of starting a new healer or just want to better understand the capabilities of the rest of your healing team, continue reading:

Basic Heals

Each healing class a slow, cheap, small heal; a fast, expensive, small heal; and a slow, expensive, large heal.

Spell Function Druid Paladin Discipline Priest Holy Priest Shaman
Slow, cheap heal Nourish Holy Light Heal Heal Healing Wave
Fast, expensive heal Regrowth Flash of Light Flash Heal Flash Heal Healing Surge
Large, expensive heal Healing Touch Divine Light Greater Heal Greater Heal Greater Healing Wave

In each case, paladins get the biggest heal in the category, followed by priests. The druid direct heals are the smallest, but both Nourish and Regrowth get other benefits. Shaman heals are also boosted by other abilities.

AoE and Multi-target Heals

Spell Function Druid Paladin Discipline Priest Holy Priest Shaman
No cooldown Light of Dawn

Prayer of Healing

Holy Nova

Prayer of Healing

Holy Nova

Chain Heal

Healing Stream Totem

Short cooldown

Wild Growth

Efflor-escence*

Circle of Healing Healing Rain
Medium cooldown Holy Radiance Holy Word: Sanctuary
Long cooldown Tranquility Divine Hymn Divine Hymn

Druids multi-target spells are HoT-based. Efflorescence isn’t technically a spell, it is a area-based healing ability that procs from casting Swiftmend. Tranquility is a good emergency heal when a number of people are low on health.

Paladins bring something new to the game with their AoE. For these spells, the paladin’s position and facing are very important in order to make the most of the heals.

Disc priests get one substantial group-based heal, a small area-based heal and a big emergency heal.

Holy priests get the widest variety of multi-target heals. They get all the spells a disc priest has plus a smart-heal and an area-based healing effect.

Shaman get a targetted smart heal that jumps to four players, a totem that provides passive healing to their party, and an area-based heal.

Other Spells

Spell Function Druid Paladin Discipline Priest Holy Priest Shaman
HoTs

Rejuvenation

Lifebloom

Renew Renew Riptide
Direct heals Swiftmend

Holy Shock

Word of Glory

Binding Heal

Penance

Smite*

Binding Heal

Desperate Prayer

Holy Word: Serenity

(Riptide)

Unleash Elements

Absorbs Power Word: Shield Power Word: Shield
Other Beacon of Light Prayer of Mending

Prayer of Mending

Lightwell

Earth Shield

Totems

Debuff Removal Remove Corruption Cleanse

Cure Disease

Dispel Magic

Mass Dispel

Cure Disease

Dispel Magic

Mass Dispel

Cleanse Spirit

Druids get two extra HoTs to supplement their basic and AoE heals. They also get a medium-sized instant heal that is dependant on a rejuv or regrowth being up on the target. They have the ability to remove poisons, curses and magic.

Paladins have two instant heals and Beacon of Light, which heals the selected raid member for 50% of the healing the paladin does on anyone else. Through Beacon and Protector of the Innocent (talent), paladins are always healing three people at once. Paladins can remove poison, disease and magic.

Priests get a little bit of everything: a HoT, a shield, a spell that heals themselves and one other person, and a spell that jumps from person to person as they take damage. Disc priests get Penance, a channeled spell that heals a single target 3 times in rapid succession, and can also heal with Smite if specced into Atonement. Holy priests get two instant heals; one they can use on anyone and one they can only use on themselves. They also get Lightwell, which is placed on the field and lets others heal themselves. Priests can get rid of diseases and magic.

Shaman get a combination instant heal/HoT in Riptide, which also acts as a boost to most of their other spells because of Tidal Waves, and another instant heal which buffs their next spell. They also get Earth Shield, which has multiple charges and will heal the target it is placed on whenever they take damage. Totems are also a big part of being a shaman and they can provide all kinds of different buffs, party healing or damage mitigation. Shamans can get rid of curses and magic.

Cooldowns

Spell Function Druid Paladin Discipline Priest Holy Priest Shaman
Output boosts Tree of Life

Avenging Wrath


Divine Favour

Archangel*

Inner Focus

Power Infusion

Chakra
Emergency Nature’s Swiftness Lay on Hands Guardian Spirit Nature’s Swiftness
Damage mitigation

Hand of Protection

Hand of Sacrifice

Aura Mastery

Pain Suppression

Power Word: Barrier

Mana return Innervate Divine Plea

Hymn of Hope

Shadowfiend

Hymn of Hope

Shadowfiend

Mana Tide Totem

Lightning Bolt*

Other Leap of Faith Leap of Faith Spiritwalker’s Grace

Druids are a little light on cooldown abilities – they have one cooldown that increases their healing and modifies some of their spells to make them stronger. They also have an emergency heal that can be used to make another healing spell instant. For mana regen, they have Innervate which can be cast on themselves, or given to someone else.

Paladins have a variety of cooldowns. Two output cooldowns increase healing, haste and crit. They also have a huge emergency heal with a long cooldown and three different cooldowns that mitigate damage on the raid. Divine Plea gives mana return at the cost of healing output.

Disc priests have a spell that makes their next heal free and more likely to crit, a spell that decreases spell cast times and mana cost and, if specced into it, also have a spell to increase their healing output that is based around using smite. They have two damage mitigation spells, one for a single player, and one for a group that is area-based. Hymn of Hope returns mana to the people in raid who need it most and Shadowfind restores mana to the priest. Leap of Faith is a ‘get out of stupid’ card that can be used on another player.

Holy Priests get an output bonus with Chakra, which modifies and strengthens some of their other spells. Guardian Spirit will increase the healing on one raid member and prevent them from dying. Like disc priests, holy priests also get Hymn, Shadowfiend and Leap of Faith.

Shaman, like druids, are also a little light on cooldowns. Their emergency spell makes a heal instant. They also have a spell that lets them continue casting spells while moving. For mana regen they have Mana Tide, which increases the spirit their party (which increase mana regen for healers), and if they are specced into Teluric Currents, Lightning Bolt provides mana return for the shaman.

33 Responses to Comparison of Healing Spells by Class

  1. I enjoyed reading your summary article…raiding on a druid, priest, and shammy makes me recall a new chart every time…it’s like pulling one down from the archives, “Ok, I have my chart loaded, now I know what I can use today…” :-)
    Natalie recently posted..Llani the Kingslayer

    • It starts getting hard to track, especially in regards to bindings. I’ve done okay remembering both druid and shaman at once, but now I’ve started playing a priest too and it’s getting more complicated. Then I think of learning Holy in addition to Disc and my head feels like it’s going to explode. I think I’m going to have to start putting spell icon stickers on my keyboard.

      • for a LONG time I had all my infrequently used spells listed (with keybinds) on various sticky notes on the edges of my monitor. My mom when she came to visit must have thought I was a freak (Guardian spirit f6? Divine Hymn alt-left?)
        Zelmaru recently posted..Parliamentary Papers

  2. Omg I have been thinking of these equivalencies for a while but it felt overwhelming to try to put it to paper (er post)… Kudos!

    One addition – Holy Priest’s guardian spirit. As far as I can tell, nothing else is missing. (put under “Emergency”?)
    Zelmaru recently posted..Chakra and Chastise for Dummies Take 2 403a

    • I knew I’d miss something, thanks for pointing GS out. I’m scared to count the total number of spells for priests. I think I’m going to need a bigger mouse…

  3. Oops, your cure disease links go to dispel magic tooltip.
    Zelmaru recently posted..Chakra and Chastise for Dummies Take 2 403a

  4. Hey great post! I just wanted to chime in about the paladin’s AOE heals.

    1) Light of Dawn, our 31 point talent, is no longer on a 20-30 second cooldown. It’s now reliant upon Holy Power, so you could theoretically let Light of Dawn go off with 1 Holy Power, then hit Holy Shock to generate 1 HP and then hit LoD again. It’s not as effective as with 3 stacks of HP, mind you, but there’s basically no cooldown on it, per se.

    2) Holy Radiance is a base skill for all paladins, but holy paladins talented into 3/3 Speed of Light (which we all SHOULD be — if you see a holy paladin without 3/3 SoL, run away) get the 1m cooldown reduced to 30 seconds at all times.

    3) Just a note about Mana Tide — it no longer returns mana. :/ It now increases spirit by 350% for 12s.

    Great post, some really nice breakdowns for the various classes. :)
    Kurn recently posted..Blessing of Frost – Episode 2

    • Thanks for the clarification Kurn, paladins are the healing class I am least familiar with. I have moved Light of Dawn into the ‘no cooldown’ category. Holy Radiance I still consider a medium cooldown along with Power Word: Sanc (40 sec, I think can be reduced by 30% with talents).

      Mana Tide…I knew that, I promise. I’ve changed the wording to indicate that it increases mana regen for healers rather than returns mana.

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  6. Wow, nice detailed post. You might add a chart comparing the Mastery bonuses and how they affect things. I feel like I use all my druid spells; most of my paladin spells; and a set of spells as Disc but not nearly all of them. I also feel more competent on the druid than anyone else.
    Analogue recently posted..Priorities

    • That’s a good idea, but maybe I’ll add masteries as a 2nd part to this post (everytime I edit this one all my formatting gets stripped out – I’m really hoping I didn’t miss anything else).

      I also use all my druid spells but am still learning exactly which spells are most needed on my priest. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever used Greater Heal in an instance, and Binding Heal looks great in some situations, but mostly useless in others.

  7. I really like this format. I play all 4 classes/5 specs and it helps to have it organized this way when thinking about it and explaining it to others in our guild who are taking up healing.

    Thanks!
    Deana recently posted..Gallywix Pleasure Palace- WoW’s Hotel California

  8. Don’t forget that Holy Priests get an extra Holy Word spell based on what Chakra they use. So, you know, that’s an extra HoT if they Chakra->Renew, or an extra AoE if they Chakra->Prayer of Healing, or an extra instant heal if they Chakra->Heal (but who uses Heal?).

    ‘Cause, you know, we don’t have enough spells already. :)

    Naturally, mouseover macros and addons like Clique & Vuhdo completely die when trying to cast the different Holy Words, so you have to use them manually.. :(

    • I have the extra spells: Holy Word: Serenity and Sanctuary.

      There’s a workaround for macros here: http://murlocparliament.com/2010/11/17/a-messy-workaround-for-broken-holy-word-chastise-mouseover-macros/

      • i was thinking of Holy Word: Aspire that was missing — which I just noticed today has been removed from the game despite not being in the patch notes. That was the most useful Chakra. :(

        They’ve also changed the cost and cooldown to Chakra, so now it’s just kind of… silly. No GCD, no mana cost, instant cast, lasts 30 seconds with a 30 second cooldown. And there’s a 2-point talent now that increases it’s duration for what purpose exactly?

        The removal of Aspire is going to make it a very one-dimensional spell now. Sanctuary is so situational, and low healing anyways, that there’s really little reason to ever trigger anything but Serenity. So it’s basically just a free flash heal every 15 seconds. Not very interesting anymore. :(

  9. Amazing summary–major, major kudos on putting this all together.

    A couple of minor things to note:
    – Power Infusion seems to be absent from the disc CDs. I’m not sure if this is intentional, since DPS normally claim this boost for their own, but technically the Disc could *GASP* use it on themselves.
    – In terms of Shaman, you’ll maybe want to include Earthliving as a (passive) hot, Healing Stream Totem as a (passive, group-only) hot, Unleash Elements (Earthliving) as a (direct) other heal and Ancestral Awakening as a (passive) other heal. Watershield might fit under Mana Return (although it is passive regen).
    – Also, both Shaman and Priests can apply Inspiration/Ancestral Fortitude, the 15% damage reduction buff to critically-healed targets. (Not sure where this fits in the chart, but it might be worth noting since technically, it is mitigation).
    Vixsin recently posted..Off-topic of the Year- The Lines of Blogging

    • Thanks Vixsin :)

      I went back and forth over whether to add Power Infusion to this list. As you say, it’s normally used on DPS rather than the priest – although if mana’s going to be a major factor for healers, I can see priests starting to save this for themselves. Hmm…

      I completely missed Unleash Elements, thanks for pointing that one out. I will add healing stream as well. As for the others, I’ve tried to constrain the list to actual spells you will cast during combat. The only exception is Efflorescence which I thought deserved a place because it requires you to change the way Swiftmend is used for proper placement. I left out things like Living Seed which happen as a result of normal healing.

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  12. Fantastic post thank, you so much for this. I too have a druid and a shaman, and have been thinking about starting a priest. But so many priest spells! Sheesh.

    • You’re welcome, I’m glad you found it useful. The amount of priest spells is overwhelming. I shudder to think of how many there might be in the next expansion.

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  14. I think your placement of Chakra under “cooldown”, while that technically is what it is, that is not a totally accurate description of how it should be used. Because it is theoretically available 100% of the time, unlike say, Tree Form or Avenging Wrath, Chakra would be better placed under a “Self-buff” category, that might include things like Inner Fire, Inner Will, Paladin Auras and Shaman Totems. You’ll also see this when you watch videos of raiding Holy Priests in beta -they keep either one or the other version of Chakra up 100% of the time.

    I think a category for “ground based AE” such as HW Sanctuary or Healing Rain should be separate from “general AE” spells such as Chain Heal and Circle of Healing. Ground AE heals are less useful on movement fights and it would be nice to compare those.

    • That’s a good point about Chakra, but I’m not sure where else it would really fit.

      I’ve divided out how the AoE spells work in the written descriptions.

  15. I think you may have missed Power Word: Barrier? I’m not sure whether it would belong under Other: Absorbs or in the same row with Healing Rains/Efflorescence, since it’s basically the Disco ground AoE heal.

  16. This a great comparison and it’s really helped me get a better grip on shammy healing.

    On keybinding problems: After focusing on leveling my holy priest for a bit, I found myself hitting my clickbind for Circle of Healing when I wanted to use Wild Growth while raiding on my druid. I thought about it and redid my clickbinds in functional sets similar to your charts.

    Wild Growth and Circle of Healing, Regrowth and Flash Heal, Lifebloom and Prayer of Mending… they all fit in a similar niche and I look to cast them in similar situations. It’s helped me with my alts a lot!

    • Glad it was helpful.

      That’s a good idea on the keybinds. I’ve sort of tried to make the spell functions match for mine, but I think I could do a better job. I noticed yesterday that my binds for Nourish and Heal and different when they should really be the same.