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Healing Class Summaries

Welcome to the Healing Class Summaries page! We’re going to take you through each Healing Class/Specialization (from here on referred to as ‘spec’) and give you a run down on each one, hopefully helping you make your decision about what type of play style you’d like to go for. Each class is different and some play styles may appeal to you and others may not, so it’s good to get a feel for each one before jumping in.

There are 6 possible healing specs that you can choose from: Restoration (Resto) Druid, Mistweaver Monk, Holy Paladin, Discipline (Disc) Priest, Holy Priest and Restoration (Resto) Shaman. Let’s take a look at each spec and what makes them unique. You’re possibly going to be sinking a lot of time into this character, so it’s best to be 100% sure on the class that you choose (if you plan to only have 1 character, there’s nothing wrong with playing all 5!).

Resto Druid:

Resto Druids are great healers with strong focus on Heals over Time (HoTs), less focus on direct healing spells and some strong cool downs available to them. Due to the fact that their focus is on HoTs, this means they are versatile when it comes to movement in dungeons or raids, as heals are placed on targets and continue to heal while you (the druid) can do other things (like move). They also have a number of strong cooldowns which can save players in a clutch moment, such as Rebirth.

Resto Druid healing is more a proactive role, knowing when damage is coming, who will suffer from it and applying the correct HoTs and using your abilities in anticipation of that incoming damage. You will have to use some reactive spells, such as Barkskin (to save yourself) and Tranquility (to save yourself and others), but the majority of your time will be spent applying HoTs. You do have some cast-time and instant spells.

The Druid in general is a really fun class, with options to also play Melee DPS, Tank or Ranged Casting DPS as an off-spec alongside Healing. You also get to turn into a Cat, a Bear, Moonkin (a Giant Owl) or a Tree! What more could you want! If you find this play style interesting, head over to the Resto Druid Page to get started.

Mistweaver Monk:

The Monk is the newest class of any other in World of Warcraft. The healing specialization of the Monk is the Mistweaver. Since the Legion pre-patch 7.0.3, Mistweaver Monks no longer have the resource “Chi” and are no longer masters of face-to-face combat to heal. The Mistweaver Monk now only uses mana, like other healing classes.

Mistweaver Monks have some strong healing abilities should the damage increase. Some of the strongest heals the Mistweaver has access to includes spells such as Effuse and Enveloping Mist. You have some strong cool downs as well, like the Life Cocoon.

Besides the Mistweaver healing specialization, Monks can also play as either a Windwalker (DPS or damaging role) or a Brewmaster (a tanking role) as an off-spec. This gives you the option of playing either of the other 2 roles at any time. As the newest class to be added to World of Warcraft, with its unique play style and vast array of roles available, this class rarely dissapoints. To find out further information about the Monk Mistweaver, head to the Mistweaver Monk Class Page.

Holy Paladin:

A Holy Paladin uses their spells and abilities to infuse their targets with light to heal their wounds. If there is an opposite to the way a Druid Heals, it would have to be the Paladin. A Paladin relies strongly on direct heals, a couple of instant cast and  but mostly having cast times. While somewhat proactive (beginning casting slightly before damage hits), a Holy Paladin will find themselves being mostly reactive to damage.

As a Holy Paladin you’ll use spells like Holy Shock and Flash of Light. A Paladin also has a numerous amount of Buffs and Utilities or cool downs that makes this Healing class very Versatile, such as Beacon of Light and Divine Protection.

Due to the Holy Paladin’s new Mastery in Legion:  Mastery: Lightbringer, which increases healing based on proximity, we’re probably going to be spending a fair amount of time within range of the tanks and melee. Holy Power has also been removed since the Legion pre-expansion patch.

Apart from Healing, a Paladin can also be a Tank (Protection) or DPS (Retribution) spec, giving you many options should you be looking for something else to do when you’re not healing. To find out further about the Holy Paladin, head on over to the Holy Paladin page.


A great thing about being a Priest is always having the option of 2 very different healing specs (as well as 1 DPS spec), so if you get burnt out or tired of a particular Healing play style, it’s as simple as pressing a button and changing specs!

Discipline Priest:

The Discipline (Disc) Priest is yet another very unique style of gameplay. You will need to be both proactive and reactive as a Disc Priest, as you will be using shields (often called bubbles), direct heals, some strong utilities/cooldowns and also some damaging spells to heal your party/raid members.

Spells that you will use include such spells as Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier, strong damage mitigation spells with cool downs.

Not only are you a strong healer using traditional means, but you have the option to heal yourself/party/raid members while at the same time damaging your enemies using Atonement and there is no other class or spec that is similar (though a Monk is close). This uses your damaging spells Smite and Holy Fire to heal allies that are close to the target you’re damaging. For example, using Smite on a boss while the tank is near, will 1) damage the boss for a small amount and at the same time 2) heal the tank for a moderate amount. It can be quite fun! If this sounds like the kind of play style you’re after, head on over to the Disc Priest Page.

Holy Priest:

The other Priest Healing spec is Holy. This is a spec that focuses on healing throughput rather than mitigation or damage reduction through shielding. This is a heavily reactive healing spec, meaning you and your allies will take damage, and you will need to react to that damage by casting your spells and abilities. Your arsenal includes a vast array of instant and cast-time healing spells, as well as the typical Priest spells, such as your shields (bubbles), though your bubbles in this spec aren’t as strong or used as much as they would be in disc spec.

Holy Priest also has access to a couple of Heals over Time (HoTs) spells that enhance your versatility as a healer: with Renew, Lightwell and your HoT Mastery, Echo of Light, which complement your cast-time and instant heals very well. The Holy Priest can be viewed as a mixture of all other healing specs. You also have access to Chakra, which changes your healing “stance” depending on your situation, which is almost like swinging from one spec to another while in combat.

All in all, the Priest, both Holy and Discipline, is a strong healer with many unique abilities and some very beneficial buffs. The true beauty of being a Priest is that you can pick and choose between two different Healing specs each with very different play styles.

Interested in becoming a Holy Priest? Head on over to the Holy Priest page to find out more.

Restoration Shaman:

The last Healing class/spec we’re going to look at is the Restoration (Resto) Shaman. Once again, this class has a unique play style which is different to all of the other healing classes, but has a few things that are also similar. To sum up a Resto Shaman: Instant heals; cast-time heals; strong AoE heals; 2 Heals over Time (HoT) and… TOTEMS! That’s right, as a Shaman you’ve got something that no other class has and that’s Totems. Totems provide you with some very cool utility spells to improve your healing and other parts of game play.

Resto Shamans can also provide one target with an Earth Shield which will heal the target when an enemy hits them, and lasts for 9 enemy hits, giving you a bit of breathing space to heal others. A Shaman has some strong Area of Effect (AoE) heals such as Healing Rain and some excellent utility spells to mitigate damage like Spirit Link Totem. A Shaman’s other specs include elemental, a DPS spec focused on casting spells, and Enhancement, a melee DPS with some spells mixed in.

If you’re into the Shaman, found out more about them on the Resto Shaman page!

Now you’ve taken a look at all the healers that are available to you, hopefully you’ve got a grasp of what takes your fancy. If you’ve chosen your healer, not it’s time to choose your Race, so head to the Race & Class Combinations page.

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Originally published on December 4th, 2012 by on HealingWoW.com, Last modified: .

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  • nick

    this website is amazing please keep up the great work!!

  • amonas

    dont know which healer best inMoP but shman and priest is most popular

    • Knives

      for encounters that are current relevant now like SoO nothing beats Resto Druids and resto shamans from what ive seen

      • Yeah, Resto Shamans and Resto Druids and Disc Priests are doing very well this patch.

      • Daniel Leitner

        Depends on your skill with the class, the fight, and knowing what to do, when. I’ve yet to see any substantial overtaking of my paladin in both hps/absorbs/and output.

  • Ian

    Id like to know which is best for pvp/pve

    • Mana

      Honestly, Disc priests=RDruids, RShammys, Holy paladins, Mistweavers=Holy priests

  • Dorkins

    New to heals and this site is great. Lots of info that seems to be well organized and plentiful. Keep it up!

    • Thank you very much for your comment! We’re currently updating the entire site so stay tuned!

      • ace

        yup nice work!

  • Justin Merithew

    I’m just getting back into WoW again, and I think this site will be a very useful resource! What do you think the best Horde race would be min/max wise for a PvE Mistweaver with the WoD changes? Blood Elf, Tauren, and possibly Orc seem like the big contenders.

    • Joni Mars

      Just to necro needlessly….my main healer is a MW orc and she’s fantastic. Again, sorry for the necro but for anyone interested who’s reading this currently (pre-Legion).

  • Zell0911

    what would be the better class for someone that has never tryed healing before

    • laxel

      resto druid was my first and my main toon for healing

  • Jeniene

    Moonkins are not chickens!!! they are Owls!!! XD

  • DShoop

    I just came back to the game after awhile and it seems like they have crazy nerfed the holy pali… My disc priest seems to do better than she did before however, have yet to try my resto sham. My druid seems like she is exactly where she was when I left.

  • Catori Shadi

    I have 11 (soon to be 12) healing toons at 90-100. Meaning there are people who focus on 1 healing class & know more. But I have at least 2 of each healing class.

    First up – which is the best PvE healer in WOD. Well IDK. Still trying to work that out. Personally, my Paladin has overtaken my shaman, my mistweaver got a little love in 6.0.2 (but needs far, far more), I can finally play my druid as a serious great healer. Priests – meh. There is a fundamental flaw in atonement healing – it is not responsive enough – quality healing is not how much you heal, it’s HOW you heal and I don’t think atonement healing is acceptable in serious raiding – just my opinion, don’t shoot me.

    I played shaman as my main in MOP. But 6.0.2. saw them losing something compared to other classes – their smart heals lost numbers. (Crit build, not haste build) chain heal went from a mana neutral 1.4 seconds in MOP to 2.1 seconds and expensive in WOD. Healing rain is of less use too, because AOE damage has increased movement of players. I also lost my Natures Barrier (set bonus) as my tier gear was replaced. Shaman rely on layered heals (possibly up to 6 or 7 on a tank) and I think that ability has been reduced.

    Mistweaver – I’m NOT a melee player. That’s one reason I like healing. I also think “fist-weaving” is not viable in certain fights. I am still leveling my main monk (92). But don’t see anything new that makes it a viable raid progression healer. It may simply be harder to heal (just as monk taking is harder than other tanking classes). But with other fun healing classes, why would I bother ?

    Holydin. Most 5-mans appear to have 2 melee DPS in WOD. So I put beacon of light on one & beacon of faith on the other. I am glyphed to get passive self-heals too. Then I just single-target tank heal with AOE when it fits in. Honestly, WOD seems to be require large amounts of single target tank heals & melee heals, with the AOE damage taken causing lots of player movement. So unless raiding is radically different (it could well be), I expect my Holydin to be my main in WOD. If you have never healed before – try the Holy Paladin. I think you will enjoy it – aside from not being able to heal stupid 🙂

    Druid. They lost less abilities in 6.0.2 than I expected. They now have as much complexity as they probably need to be flexible & cope with every situation. The heals go together very well too. They used to be a tiny bit weak still in 5-man pugs. But I expect my druid to be the only serious alternative to my holydin.

    Priests. Disc – well, as I found on my shammy, it’s harder to anticipate damage now & I think that hurts Disc too. I have already said why I don’t like atonement healers My Holy priest is only 91 so far. But so far looks fairly strong. It probably has the right balance of single target & AOE heals.

    If pressed, my order for PvE healing would be

    1. Holydin.
    2. Druid.
    3. Shaman
    4. Priest
    5. Mistweaver.

    PVP healers – I only ever ran unrateds (lots of low-level BG’s), so I am no expert (about 250K HK’s in 7 years). But a mention for SHOCKADINS! With a good team, a shockadin is almost immortal in the high teen levels – it has the best combination of defense, offense & mobility/dispells to make it superb if your idea of fun is running the flag in Warsong. With a bad team, shockadins can be miserable to play. Sorry – that supremacy goes away a few levels later. Best to play the shockadin to about 20, then delete it & start again.

    • bubba

      so, with all of your experience, what do you think is the best healer for raiding in WoD?

    • Mathias Lindberg

      You’re completely wrong on Mistweavers. They have little to do with melee, and are better described as “Druids with Heals over Time that act like Chain Heal.” They have great raid-wide healing and single-target, great HoT both single and multi-target.

  • bubba

    so do we have any consensus on which is the best PvE healer there is for WoD?

  • ace

    but they taste like chicken….

  • xChrononautx

    What a great site!! I’m so glad I found this, I’d been trying to get my head around icy veins for some time now but this is much easier to understand (I’m rolling a holy priest.) Please keep on updating this!

    • Hi! Thanks so much for your comment! So glad you like the site! All the best with the Holy Priest! You will love it I’m sure! Keep us updated!

  • Vox

    Great site! very informative. Just wondered what the best, or at least which ones are the best, healers in WoD. In MoP I raided on a resto druid. I noticed soon after WoD released that resto druids got nerfed bad; now missing a lot of utility that wild mushroom, healing bloom (whatever its called, used to stack 3 times and could switch between targets), and rejuvenation had, and symbiote was removed completely. Been tempted to try a mistweaver, but i’m still not sure.