Spiritual Guidance: Artifact paths for Discipline and Holy Priests
Legion will be here Tuesday, and with that comes our brand new Artifact weapons. Now, as soon as you enter Dalaran, your class NPC will appear with a very urgent and mysterious quest. The quest leads you to choose your Artifact, then immediately launches into the respective Artifact questline before setting up your class hall. Once your class order hall is complete, you are introduced to you new Artifact tree, complete with shiny new talents and what seems like a million, million paths, glittering in their perfection.
Now, this is by no means a definitive guide or bible or rulebook about how to pave your way through your Artifact tree. Unlike the final titan, there is not exactly one clear above all others. The beauty of the Artifact trees is that I have yet to see a standard, unanimously-agreed-upon path. Sure, there is a general consensus about which direction to go, but the individual talents or order vary as much as the people posting them.
Honestly, the exact path you choose won’t matter overly much in the long run. If you level quickly and stay on top of all your dailies, by the time raids open up three weeks later you’ll have enough Artifact power to fill out 20 traits. If you happen to make a “mistake,” don’t reset your talents. The cost to reset is the same as the cost of your next talent, so just roll with it and keep going. I promise it will be fine.
Thanks to Vee’s detailed and helpful guide, we know that we can keep an off spec Artifact weapon going relatively close to our main spec’s progress without sacrificing too much. When you hit 110, you should have 11 traits. The next day gives you two more traits, and this is when you start offloading Artifact Power into your off-spec weapon if you choose that route, since the 14th trait costs as much as 1-13 combined. I won’t get into the exact details, since the infographic and spreadsheet cover it very well, but you’ll be able to keep both specs relatively close to each other throughout the coming weeks just by doing your activities and dailies, not even counting treasures or rares.
A lot of Priests will opt to level as DPS in order to get to 110 faster and luckily leveling as DPS won’t harm your healing Artifact’s progression as shown in the above guide. As I mentioned previously, leveling as either Discipline or Holy is now easier than ever before and won’t slow you down very much. Sure, it’s not exactly as fast as a DPS class, but it isn’t agonizingly slow and we actually have tools to AOE. I prefer leveling as a healer for extra street cred (or because I’m a big fan of keeping myself alive when I do stupid things), so I’ll be maintaining both Holy and Discipline artifacts for flexibility in my guild.
Discipline Artifact tree
Some of your Artifact talents will have a different emphasis based on what your role is. In dungeons, since you are the sole healer, you will have to rely more on your single target options like Shadow Mend and Grace. I’m not saying Atonement isn’t important here, but it does take a backseat when damage ramps up and all healers will find themselves scrambling to use their heavy heals in 5-mans. In raids, however, you have an entire team of healers to share duties, which allows Atonement to take a more active role. There your Atonement traits shine and allow use of their full potential.
Your hard hitters here are Confession and Darkest Shadows, especially when starting out in dungeons before the first raid. The most common paths start out hitting the left side of the Artifact tree for 3/3 Confession for that nice Penance boost, then going up the right side with Sins of the Many as your goal. For dungeon healers and Mythic+ aspirants, you can go with Power of the Dark Side as you make your way up the path.
Now, in a raid group, you can either make your way through the tree the same way or you can briefly skip Power of the Dark Side in favor of getting to Sins of the Many earlier. Since you have far more targets for Atonement in a full raid group and more time to focus on maintaining and applying it, Sins of the Many has a chance to shine. Later you can double back for Power of the Dark Side when you have more Artifact Power. Share in the Light and Burst of Light are relatively superfluous: a nice bonus but not needed right away, so you’d be fine in just skipping them until you need Power of the Dark Side. At 21 traits, you can grab both Power of the Dark Side and Sins of the Many. After that, head for Barrier for the Devoted, and then continue filling in the rest at your leisure.
Holy Artifact tree
If your main focus is dungeons, I would suggest going up the left side straight for Light of T’uure, and then heading back over to the right side, eventually filling out the bottom of the tree like a vase. There’s a bit of contention with this path, and even with emphasizing the left route first, since Trust in the Light is more of a fluff talent without much PVE use. But I feel that getting to Serenity Now and Light of T’uure is too useful for dungeons, especially when you get into Mythics and Mythic+ where the extra single target focus really helps in those environments.
Continuing on to the right side, Reverence and Words of Healing are your goal, further helping your single target heals. You could put a point into Renew the Faith, but in 5-mans I feel it’s probably overkill and is more suited to larger groups/raids. After that you can pick your favorite. If you want to continue on the right side, you head into Hallowed Ground and Power of the Naaru to buff Sanctify, plus a little self preservation. Switching over to the left side gives you Prayer of Mending choices: Say Your Prayers and Holy Mending.
For raid healing, you’ll want to immediately go hard right. Make your way up the right side of the tree hitting Holy Hands, Reverence, and Words of Healing for your AOE spells. You have the option here to take Renew the Faith, with a brief foray into the left side just long enough to grab Holy Guidance, and then going back to Hallowed Ground and Power of the Naaru. Or you can skip it in favor of crossing over to the top left side for the Prayer of Mending talents, Say Your Prayers and Holy Mending. This covers your 20 traits when raids open. As you acquire more Artifact Power, you can hit Blessing of T’uure and make your way through the left side, going up to Holy Mending or down to Serenity Now and Light of T’uure.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, this is not intended to be a definitive “You Must Do This Or Else You’re Bad” guide. This is simply a starting point to put you in the right direction. Your individual mileage may vary depending on so many factors such as raid size, raid difficulty, your raid’s healer comp, or even your own healing role. People like being able to visually see the path, myself included, so that’s what I’m offering. But the individual needs come down to you or your group. Feel free to choose other talents depending on what will help you or your raid. Even if you choose the “wrong” one, eventually you’ll have enough Artifact Power to get the next one, so don’t stress it.
And, above all, don’t forget to have fun going through these amazing new areas. See you in Legion!
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