Haste for Priests

Last updated: 12/11/07, patch 2.3.

Updated info coming soon!




How does spell haste work?



There are many new items in 2.3 that have spell haste on them. Let’s take a second to explore what this means for us priests.

15.7 spell haste = 1% reduction in cast time

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it sure adds up fast. Let’s say you stack up 264 spell haste. A spell that casts in 3 seconds (such as Mind Flay) will now only take 2.5 seconds to cast. The spell will still do the same amount of damage, only requiring less time to cast it.

Here is the formula to find the reduction in cast time of a spell:

[New spell cast time] =
[spell cast time] – {[(Spell Haste rating) /15.7]/100 * [spell cast time]}

The [(spell haste rating) /15.7] portion of the formula gives the percentage that the spell cast times are being reduced by. In the example above with a 264 spell haste rating, you can divide 264 by 15.7 to get 16.8, the percent that the cast time of your spells are being reduced by.

For example, if you had 190 spell haste, how long would your (talented) greater heals take to cast?
Greater heal (talented) is a 2.5 second spell, so:
New spell cast time = 2.5 – (190/15.7)/100 * 2.5

New spell cast time = 2.2 seconds


Instant Casts and the GCD



What spell haste doesn’t do is reduce the time of the global cooldown (GCD). For us priests, the GCD is 1.5 seconds, no matter what our spell haste rating is. Instant cast spells (Renew, SW:Pain) do not gain any benefit from spell haste for this reason. You cast the spell, and still have to wait 1.5 seconds before you can cast another.

If you are just sitting there chain casting spells (on a boss fight, for example), spells with 1.5 second cast times (like Mind Blast or Flash Heal) would not gain from spell haste. While the cast times are reduced as with any other spell, you will still have to wait at least 1.5 from the start of casting the spell to cast the next one, as you will still be in the global cooldown period.

However, it should be noted that in PvP, or other times when you have to deal with spell push back or avoiding interrupts, haste would still be providing a benefit to 1.5 sec. cast time spells as it would reduce the window in which that spell could be interrupted or pushed back

There have been rumors that procs from the Mystical Skyfire Diamond, the troll racial ability Berserking, and the shaman abilities Heroism and Bloodlust can actually reduce the global cooldown. There has been no definitive proof about any of these doing so; in fact Heroism and Bloodlust have been tested not to.


What is the Limit?


The theoretical limit: So, a 785 haste rating (unheard of!) would mean a 50% decrease in the casting time of your spells, meaning that your 3 second casts are now casting in 1.5 seconds (half the time). 1570 (a completely unattainable haste rating) would be a 100% reduction (making them all instant cast). In theory, could you ever have more than 100% haste? Well…. on paper yes, but in a game it is a big, fat NO. Regardless of how much spell haste you manage to stack, you, for obvious reasons, cannot have finished casting a spell before you ever told the computer that you were going to cast it.

The practical limit: Most casters do not have to worry about spells with cast times longer than 3 seconds. For 3 second cast time spells, anything more than a 50% reduction in cast time from spell haste would put you in the global cooldown, thus making it impractical.

For these two reasons above, there is only so much spell haste available in the game to prevent you from stacking it too high and cheating yourself out of its true value. Last I checked, the highest your could possibly stack to is ~350 spell haste (not even a 25% reduction) and it would be really tough and impractical to do.


Haste and Shadow


In PvE instancing and raiding, spell haste isn’t very useful for shadow priests. The global cooldown prevents spell haste from benefiting our instant cast and 1.5 second cast spells. So… that leaves us with Mind Flay.

Well, Mind Flay, for the average shadow priest, can provide 25-40% of ones damage in instances/raids. Some simple math could easily tell you that an increase in spell haste would increase the average amount of Mind Flays cast, which would increase your overall damage in a significantly linear manner. And it is all rubbish.

You have to look at it practically. You have your spell casting rotation, right? You can’t just add in another 0.2 Mind Flays to it because your spell haste stat allows for it on paper. 0.2 Mind Flays = 0 DPS. You could wait to cast VT or SW:Pain to fit in another full Mind Flay, but then you are losing time in which your DoTs should be up.

Well, Mind Flay has three “ticks” of damage (one at the end of every of the three (unhasted) seconds it is being channeled). You could experiment with interrupting your Mind Flay early (after only two, or even one tick) to get your DoTs in on time. That is a bad idea for a few reasons. First of all, a Mind Flay canceled early still costs the same amount of mana. It is just wasted damage potential for mana already spent. Second, it would be a very difficult balancing act to get the right amount of haste to allow you to cancel your Mind Flay just right as it ticks and not be sitting around waiting for something to come off of cooldown at any point.

Practically speaking, stacking haste you will just end up with little gaps of time. Unhasted, everything meshed up just fine as things happened in 1.5 second increments. Now, we have DoTs and short spells that still happen in 1.5 second increments (due to the global cooldown), and Mind Flay which is an irregular cast (slightly less than 3 seconds).

It should be noted, as it was not mentioned above, that spell haste will shorten the cooldown time of spells such as Mind Blast. However, that fact doesn’t actually doesn’t help things much as the major issue haste raises is with the irregularity of the cast time of a hastened Mind Flay.

So what good is about spell haste for a PvE shadow priest? Well, it does have one small use. It can be used to negate the effects of latency or lag (computer or human) in your spell casting sequence. This can help tighten up your spell casting.

The amount you should look for really depends on your latency, and how fast you can press the buttons to fire off those spells. Similar to crit, some haste is nice if you can get it, but not something that you should be looking to stack. Spell haste is a much better stat for direct damage dealers (not DoT classes, like us), who have longer cast times on most of their damage spells.


Haste and Healing


It should be pretty obvious why spell haste is great for healing. If you aren’t sure why, take a look at your holy talent tree for a moment. Hopefully, you have 5 talent points in Divine Fury, decreasing the casting time of your Heal and Greater Heal spells by 0.5 seconds. Spell haste gives you the ability to decrease the casting time on ALL your (non-instant) healing spells even further.

Provided you have your five points in Divine Fury, your Greater Heal is taking 2.5 seconds to cast. Spell haste affects spells after talent points do, so any modifications to your greater heal spell would be modifying its 2.5 sec cast time. If you can pull off 190 spell haste, then you reduce the cast time of your greater heals to 2.2 seconds.

Spell haste just isn’t about landing those healing spells quicker. The less time you spend casting spells, the greater chance that you could be in the five second rule, especially with some smart healing rotations in raids. That means more mana regen for you.

Don’t go out of your way to sacrifice too much in the way of +heal or regen (spirit/mp5) stats to pick up spell haste. However, do take what you can get your hands on. The unfortunate reality is that spell haste is tough to get on healing gear without the sacrifice of some of our key stats.


Where do I get haste?


For DPS, patch 2.3 gave us an explosion of items that have spell haste on them that drop in Zul’Aman (such as the Robe of the Departed Spirits and the Mantle of Ill Intent).

If you are a healer, then there are two some great items that have spell haste, called “Swiftheal.” Be sure to check out drops from Zul’Aman as well, for things like the Dark Blessing mace.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more spell haste items geared towards DPS casters than healers.


In Summary


  • Spell haste is always good for PvP, as it helps you avoid interrupts or spell-pushback (though not at the cost of “defense” stats, such as resilience or stamina).
  • PvE shadow priests see little benefit, besides a small amount to off-set for latency and “human lag,” and this stat should largely be ignored for them.
  • PvE healing sees a large benefit from the spell haste stat, as faster heals are always a good thing. It can also increase the amount of time in the five second rule during healing rotations, which means more mana regen. However, don’t sacrifice too much in the way of mana regen or +heal from gear to get it (which leaves us with few options to get it).

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4 Responses

  1. thank you so much, great info!

  2. Well u said that 350 is the highest, Tho atm i got 580 Haste. havent been collection it it’s just there coz of the lack of other good gear aviable.

  3. Hey, i tried reaching as much haste as possible, and i got to 940 haste rating. with a haste trinket, a haste potion i was reaching 1538 haste. i repeated this all with a bloodlust for the 30% extra:

    1538 * 1.3 = 1999.4 haste

    Confirmed the cap for 1570 haste to be the absolute cap and all spells are instant. All the haste you get after 1570 don’t do much special.

    nice post!


  4. Gz!
    when me come here find best Formulas :))
    realy Thank You :)

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