So you decided to play a “clothie” and have boiled your choice down to either a mage or a priest. If you are wondering  which class is better. All I have to say is, play both. If and when you choose one over the other I still urge you to go back and level the other class. Neither class is better, because both classes have very rewarding gameplay characteristics to them.

Sure you could say every single class is rewarding, but if you are a magic, caster, sorcerer type of player, then play both. I’ve done this myself with every expansion and I’ve always been glad I did.

So how does that help you decide whether to play a mage or a priest? Well I’ll describe some of the basic characteristics here to help you.

The similarities between mages and priests

They both wear cloth and enjoy the role of damage but do so very differently.

Both classes are popular and in high demand for groups and raids. Though priests are a bit more in demand due to their ability to dps and/or heal.  I would love to add tank to the Priest role list due to the fact that they are often the first target in battlegrounds but I’ll leave that off here ;)

Both classes have CC (“crowd control”) but the mages CC is more useful due to the fact that they can CC beasts/humanoids which are more plentiful in wow. Priestscan only CC undead with their shackle spell and mind control humanoids which are used less often due to the fact that its a channeled spell and can break easily at times.

Differences between mages and priests

Mages are a pure DPS class and cannot heal themselves or others with the exception of Draenei mages who have a racial spell called Gift of the Naaru. They can DPS as arcane, fire or frost spec or a mixture of those. They also have more AOE (Area on Effect) capabilities meaning that they can damage several mobs/players at once which can be loads of fun. If you start leveling your mage, I suggest you read my article on how to level as an AOE Frost Mage. Mages do not have any DOT abilities like priests and warlocks do. Although dots can result  from a few of the mage spells as a a side effect.

Mages are also known as a utility class due to the fact that they can provide food and water for their party or raid as well as de-curse, provide crowd control, buff everyone with extra intellect and port other players to various cities throughout the wow world.

The priest on the other hand is a hybrid class that can do both damage and healing and can be stronger in either role depending on the chosen spec. Quite a few of priest’s abilities can heal his party from the damage he deals. Priests also have channel type spells for DPS where the damage is done continually as long as they are casting those spells . They have only one AOE ability as of this writing while the mage has several at his disposal.

Priests make wonderful healers and have a variety of healing abilities at their disposal. They can also resurrect other dead players in the game.

More on roles

One thing you have to consider if you like to deal damage is the expectations that are place on priests. Priests are often asked to heal when there are a lack of healers or no healers left in a  group. If you are opposed to healing you will have to either stand your ground that you don’t heal or just give in and help out with healing every once in a while. On the other hand if you like healing like I do you may choose to heal all the time.

The dual role that priests enjoy gives them a greater ability to get into groups of any kind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat around as a mage waiting to get into a 5 man dungeon or even a raid. There’s just plenty of DPS around and will probably always will be. Healers and tanks are much more in demand due to the greater stresses placed on these roles.

On a Side Note

Personally, for raiding I like to use my mage over the priest. And for PVP I like to use my priest as a healer but your personal preferences may vary in that regard. I know quite few people who love to PVP on their mages and DPS on their priests. However I know plenty of people who love to raid/dps on their priests and pvp on their mages.