Fear Ward is a priest spell. Using it grants the target a buff that renders them immune to one fear effect. The buff lasts 3 minutes, has a 3 minute cooldown to recast, and is considered a magic effect. The buff is consumed by any fear effect, even if the character is already immune to fear, such as a warrior using [Berserker Rage].
This spell traditionally caused contention between the Alliance and Horde communities as it was not available to Horde players until patch 2.3.
Due to the fact it is instant cast, the priest can learn to time it against an enemy fear to lessen the chance that it is dispelled. The warlock's [Fear] has cast time, and the priest's [Psychic Scream] has a radius of only 8 yards.
Fear Ward is often best cast 1–2 minutes before beginning combat, reducing the time until it is available again.
The best target for Fear Ward varies depending on many factors. When expecting AoE fear effects, it can be useful to ward a player capable of dispelling fear effects on others. For example, if used on a priest, should the entire party be feared, the priest can use [Mass Dispel] to remove the fear effects from the others. In PvP, warding a healer can help break opposing players' crowd control efforts.
Although belonging to the Holy school, Fear Ward is in the Discipline tree, making it possible to cast it in [Shadowform]. Shadow priests can therefore contribute some utility to their party by using Fear Ward on cooldown, either on themselves or a teammate.
When dispelling is not a danger, priests should generally keep Fear Ward active on a target at all times. Since its cooldown matches its duration, it is better to cast it ahead of time than wait until it is needed.
Patch 2.3.0(2007-11-13): Fear Ward is now available to all priests at level 20. Duration reduced to 3 minutes, cooldown increased to 3 minutes. (Previously only available to draenei and dwarves, with a duration of 10 minutes and a cooldown of 30 seconds)