Welcome to my Holy Priest guide for the first tier of Mists of Pandaria! A lot of changes has come since I first wrote this guide, over 1½ years ago, and healing now looks like it did during the first phases of Cataclysm. Strap your seat belt and get comfortable, 'cus this is a long one!
*** IMPORTANT! ***
Since Pandaria landed, mana efficiency has gone down the drain. Current mana regen and conservability is lower than it ever was in Cataclysm (compared to gear level), and thus you will struggle with mana, even if you go all-out spirit. I marked this as important, because you need to be very aware of which spells you cast. Always aim to use as few heals as possible, and the cheapest and most efficient ones. Especially now when Intellect no longer increases our max mana, getting away from this mana trouble is very hard, and it might even take several tiers for it to happen.
You should always focus on staying calm and controlled when healing as a Holy priest, no matter what gear level you have, and I really can't stress this enough. You can't out gear it.
The talent system has also recieved a massive overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, and it's now a 6-tier system. Each tier has 3 passive or active abilities. Some of them hardly do anything, but there's a lot of customization to be done.
Try and mess around with some combos using http://www.wowhead.com/talent#p|.
Tier 1 - Control
Void Tendrils, Psyfiend, Dominate Mind
These are pretty much irrelevant to healers unless you PVP, so I won't cover them.
Tier 2 - Movement
Body and Soul gives a short sprint to the target when you Power Word: Shield it.
Angelic Feather brings a long a very interesting new cooldown mechanic. You can plant 3 feathers, and each feather has a seperate cooldown, a so-called Recharging cooldown. These feathers give a sprint buff when you run over one.
Phantasm frees you from all movement imparing effects when you cast Fade.
Tier 3 - Mana conservation & regen
From Darkness, Comes Light gives tons of free Flash Heals when you use single target heals like Heal, Greater Heal and even Flash Heal itself.
Mind Bender replaces your Shadow Fiend. It's a bit better at giving mana and gives it at a more steady rate, since you can use it more often.
Power Word: Solace is the new Telluric Current. It's a nice filler spell when no healing is needed, and regains a small amount of mana. It also heals the nearest low-health player for the same amount as it damages, similar to Atonement for Discipline.
Tier 4 - Self defense
Desperate Prayer didn't change much. A free, powerful selfheal that comes in handy quite often when you're being gibbed.
Spectral Guise is our new stealth! Good for getting out of trouble.
Angelic Bulwark is an automatic defense shield that activates when you get into trouble.
Tier 5 - Healing bonus
Divine Insight grants your Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing a 40% to make your next Prayer of Mending have no cooldown and jump instantly. A good talent for mixed group healing, especially if you use PoH a lot.
Power Infusion is an all time winner spell, but is now limited to the priest only. This talent also saves your mana and acts as a small cooldown.
Twist of Fate is very situational, and can be heavily abused on some fights with high, spiky damage, however on fights where targets rarely dip below 20%, this is a bit of a waste. It's definitely not a good talent on all fights.
Tier 6 - The Epic Spell That Does Something Awesome
Cascade shares with its fellow sixth tier brothers the ability to both damage and heal (though not at the same time). Currently it's the prefered talent for raiders, and will likely be so too in the future too on many occasions. In short, it bounces healing around the raid a couple times, prefering far away targets and heal them for more the further away they are. In addtion to this, Cascade bounces actually refresh the duration on Renew, granted you're in Serenity stance.
Halo is the big underdog at current gear levels. It's awfully pretty and powerful, but it's just so expensive to cast, and you don't feel like getting anything from your mana with it. Maybe it's because I'm from a 10man guild, but I reckon 25man raids would benefit a lot more from it. Word of advice though: Give it a thought before you use it, this is not something you want to cast for the sake of pretty sparkles.
Divine Star is the last healing spell you'll be considering. It's a fast flying ball flying 15-20 yards infront of you, healing stuff for small amounts. Since it's not a very large ball, it doesn't heal very many, and it's thus not a talent I'd reckommend. I've yet to find anything useful to do with it.
Remember that all of these talents are completely optional. I can't tell you whats best, because there isn't always an answer. Several talents are of course better on specific raid fights, and it's important that you discover your strengths and preferences, so you always know which talent is best for which fight. You don't have to visit a trainer to change talents, you simply need a Tome of the Clear Mind, so you can change inbetween bosses!
Arsenal of spells:
You will need to become familiar with your arsenals of spells and tools. If you don't know the whole toolbox, you're not able to perform to your full potential.
Chakra is an active stance that grants a bonus to either AoE healing or single-target healing, and transforms your Holy Word: Chastice into a healing spell, varying in design depending on which Chakra stance you're in. You should ALWAYS be in a chakra stance.
Chakra: Serenity - Your single-target chakra. Increases healing done by single target heals by 15%, and also makes your single target heals refresh the duration of renew.
Single target spells affected: Heal, Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Holy Word: Serenity, Renew (yes, renew counts as a single target heal).
Holy Word: Chastice becomes: Holy Word: Serenity
Chakra: Sanctuary - Your AOE-healing chakra. Increases AOE healing done by 15% and reduces the cooldown on Circle of Healing by 2 seconds.
AOE-healing spells affected: Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, Halo, Cascade, Divine Star, Holy Word: Sanctuary, Divine Hymn.
Holy Word: Chastice becomes: Holy Word: Sanctuary
Your most basic spell. Due to high spamability you'll be using this alot. Low mana, low healing, slow cast time, incredibly efficient. Use this to heal through non-stressful situations. Make sure to keep up Chakra and Renew while casting this. For most 5man HC boss encounters, this spell (along with Chakra and Renew) will keep your tank topped off. Only a few require heavier heals.
Your big, slow version of Heal. High mana, high healing, slow cast time. Costs 3 times as much mana as Heal, and heals 2.5 times as much. Its high burst makes this a good tool for tank healing aswell, if your gear allows you to cast this a lot. Use it for topping off your group, if one of them loses, say, 50% Dmg. It'll heal 25-30% Of their HP, and you can quickly turn your focus back on the tank. Again, healing with this while Chakra: Serenity is on will ALSO refresh the duration of Renew.
Holy Word: Serenity
An instant heal that packs quite a punch, and leaves behind a 25% crit buff on the target for 6 seconds. Needless to say, this should be used on cooldown when tank healing, or saved for moment periods.
Mists of Pandaria has once again made renew blanketing viable in many situations once again! Low mana cost and incredibly high Healing pr. Mana makes this a good choice, especially if you're in Chakra: Serenity. At 3039 haste renew gets an extra tick.
The glyph is very good, as Renew tends to overheal on its last few ticks. If you're able to reach 4721 haste, you can gain a 4th tick on your glyphed Renew.
If you're able to reach a staggering 13166 haste, you renew will gain a 6th tick. Even when glyphed, you can apply renew to a player and refresh it using a single target heal in Serenity mode, and thus it will gain the 33% bonus and have 6 ticks afterwards. However you're capable of reaching 13166 haste you probably don't need this guide. :3
Your panic heal. Use only if your mana allows it, and you have no choice except this spell. Its very inefficient, and its only upside is that it gives you a stack on Serenpidity (look in your talent tree). If you have specced into From Light, Comes Darkness, you will often get free, instant Flash Heals.