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WoW Class Guide: Priest: Introduction/Levels 1-19
You first have to decide what is your playing style and what you want from the priest class. The priest class in World of Warcraft can be specced into three viable talent trees: discipline, holy, and shadow. The discipline tree is primarily focused on improving buffs and buffing the priest and his/her party. The holy tree focuses on the priest's ability to heal the party. Finally the shadow tree focuses on enhancing the priest's damage per second or dps and returning health points and mana points back to the party. So if you want to heal go holy, damage is shadow, and sort of the talent tree in between is discipline. Generally most players will go for a hybrid build consisting of a mixture of shadow/disciple or holy/discipline. For leveling, I strongly suggest going shadow. It provides a good amount of damage with the ability to recover health and mana points. Furthermore, with the talents Improved Psychic Scream and Silence the priest's ability to survive goes up exponentially.
After you've decided what type of playing style suits you it is time to actually start playing. The first thing you'll notice leveling is that the priest class is VERY mana independent. You simply will not survive as a priest if you don't invest in good mana management, mana regen, and a relatively large mana pool. With that being said the first piece of gear you need starting off is a wand. No joke. The wand and the act of wanding reduces the amount of mana you will use but also allow you to regenerate mana while you wand. Staying in this vein, in the beginning you want to stack spirit and intellect on your gear. Spirit increases how much mana you regenerate in a five second period when you are not casting (mp5) and intellect increases the pool of mana from which to cast from.
The first 5 talent points you receive, should be invested into Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap regardless what talent build you are planning to ultimately go into. Spirit Tap is a three point talent that allows the priest to gain a 33%/66%/100% chance to gain a 100% bonus to their spirit and 50% boost to their mana regeneration while casting for 15 seconds after they kill something. Improved Spirit Tap takes this further to give spirit and mana regeneration a further boost every time Mind Blast crits.
After the first five talent points, you can begin to invest into the talent tree of your choice. For discipline I suggest Twin Disciplines that increase damage and healing. for holy I suggest holy specialization for the increased chance to critical with holy spells. Finally, for shadow I would go with Improved Shadow Word: Pain for more damage and Shadow Focus to reduce the amount of mana that it cost to cast shadow spells.