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First Impressions: Shadow Priest PvP

In last week’s Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest post I outlined my plans for gearing up my Shadow Priest who reached level 85 on Saturday. Today I’m going to share what I found in my first weekend of focusing almost entirely on PvP with the Priest.

I’ve made a couple of changes to the plan after finding how I performed, I’ve found a few problems I’m going to have to figure out how to solve, I’ve decided on a spec, and I’ve got a good feel for which classes I can defeat and which I cannot.

Gear Changes
The first gear change is with the gems. I was planning on using my JC gems for Stamina to help me live longer, but I’m finding Resilience to be more useful for survivability. When you play with no Resilience and then you play with a fair amount of it you can really see how significant a difference it can make.

I also got ahead of myself on the gear purchases as I found myself almost reaching the Honor cap over the weekend. I had almost 1800 Honor from all the BG’s I ran while leveling up and then I spent several hours both Saturday and Sunday chaining BG’s while I waited for Tol Barad and Wintergrasp queues to pop. So I already have two pieces of Bloodthirsty Gladiator gear, though I don’t have a set bonus yet since I got the Gloves and a PvP trinket.

“Week 1″, from the Planning post, doesn’t actually start until tomorrow so while I’m still going to buy the gear in the same order I had listed, I’m likely going to fill in other slots with Bloodthirsty gear while I wait to earn the Conquest Points for the Vicious gear. I may also focus on filling both set pieces w/ Bloodthirsty and upgrading to Vicious as I can before bothering with any of the off-set items. We’ll see how easily I get Conquest capped this week and go from there.

Concerning enchants, I think I’m pretty good where I’m at right now on those. The one exception is the weapon enchant. I’ve been using Mending so far which has a chance to heal for about 850 or so, but the proc chance, while high for a weapon enchant, isn’t fast enough to really matter in PvP. I would definitely rather have more damage coming in than a mediocre heal every once in a while. I think I’m going to switch to Avalanche for now and once I get my hands on a PvP weapon then I’ll consider upgrading to Power Torrent.

Warlocks and Death Knights
Kill me.

Over the weekend I found out that Demonology and Destruction Warlocks are mean. Mean as in seeing one leaves me with only two options: run away or die. Oftentimes those two options are only a single option because the Warlocks I’ve been facing just love chasing me down and killing me anyway. I can handle Affliction without too much trouble it seems, though I admit I didn’t take the time to check my opponents in the Armory to see if the Afflocks were perhaps just undergeared or geared for PvE instead.

Unholy Death Knights are more or less the exact same way. If I can’t keep them out of melee range, I’m dead. My only hope is kiting them until their bubble of “hahah, I’m immune to magic” crap wears off and then combining CC with direct damage spells rather than DoT’s to burn them down, then kite with DoT’s working until CC cooldowns are up and repeating that.

Spec
Right now I’m running an 8/0/33 spec that’s working pretty good for me. I don’t have any points in Paralysis right now, but I’d really like to fix that. On the one hand being able to root targets for 4 seconds after a Mind Blast crit could be a real help against some classes (Death Knight, Rogue), and on the other it wouldn’t have much effect on most of the casters at all. It’s a talent I’d love to have, but that I’m not sure I can afford to put the points into.

One thing that deserves a special note is Evangelism/Archangel. I have severe mana issues right now, and Archangel is a fantastic tool for mana regen. If you’re going to PvP as Shadow, do not skip out on Evan/Arch. Shadowfiend is decent when it’s not getting CC’ed or focus fired, Divine Hymn isn’t bad, but if I have the time to safely cast it then I likely have time to sit and drink too. Disperse is good for mana regen, but I often find myself needing to use it as a defensive ability, so it’s not always off cooldown when I need mana. The Glyph of Spirit Tap is good when I can nail a killing blow, but in PvP if it’s not a 1v1 situation it can be really hard to time the cast just right and not cast it too early or too late.

Issues to Work Out
One of my issues right now is the one I just pointed out above, I’ve got mana problems. I did just now start building up my gear, so I’ve got some upgrades coming in the near(ish) future that will increase my mana pool and maybe ease up on the mana usage a bit, but it’s still going to be a problem I think. I might have to look at using the purple Timeless Demonseyes (+20 Intellect, +30 Stamina) in my Blue slots instead of straight Stamina so that I can boost my mana up a bit more. Or I might have to ignore the socket bonuses here and there and go with straight Inferno Rubies.

The next issue is one of rotation. I’ve found three ways to play the Priest that still remain somewhat effective. First, I can just nuke the targets with Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, and it works pretty well but it’s also high on mana cost. Second, I can use PvE style rotations and load up the DoT’s followed by Mind Flay spam and SW:Death when they’re under 25% health, which is also effective but somewhat costly. Third is to combine the two, using Mind Spike x3, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay which is even more costly of course, but generally gets the job done. Spreading DoT’s around in a group of PvP is just asking to run out of mana.

While one aspect of the rotation problem is related to the mana issues, the other is that we just aren’t bursty DPS. If I want to burst someone down as soon as possible it has to be Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, which requires me to stand still to cast. Standing still in PvP is closely related to this thing we call “waiting for the resurrection timer”. Our only two options for dealing damage on the move are Devouring Plague spam (lots of mana) and SW:Death which has a cooldown. Maybe it’s just a gear issue, where I’m not doing as much damage as I’d like to, but I still have some learning to do on how to actually play the class in end game PvP.

First Impressions
Overall I’ve managed to grow more skilled and more confident in my Shadow Priest performance. I do not like how hard mana management is right now in some cases, but I do like that it’s prompting me to get creative in my playstyle and teaching how to fight in those situations.

Shadow Priests in end game PvP don’t play like they did leveling up, so it’s definitely an adjustment. It also changes the feel of the class and I will admit I’m not quite so pleased with the new feel as I was just a few levels earlier. I’m not ready to give up on it or anything, but it’s worth noting that there is a definite change in how it feels.

I enjoy most of the battlegrounds, though I do cringe when Eye of the Storm pops up as Alliance apparently has no idea how to win there. I think my lifetime wins in that place can be counted on one hand, even if you’re missing a finger or two. Of the new BG’s I’m not really that big on Twin Peaks even though it’s a lot like WSG which is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what it is, I just don’t care for it much. Battle for Gilneas isn’t too bad and I like how it looks for some reason, but I still prefer Arathi Basin.

It was interesting to see that multiple times in Strand of the Ancients over the weekend I was able to knock down gates by myself faster than two other people could on the opposite gate. The key has always been to have melee in the tanks, but I kick butt in those siege engines, so I take one whenever I can. It does suck though that Horde understand the whole root/snare the tanks concept and it’s completely lost on Alliance. I don’t think Mind Flay actually has any slowing effect on them though, so all I can do is burn them down. I don’t know if the gates are glitched there or what, but gates don’t stand a chance if I can actually reach them.

Apparently IoC is currently bugged so that the bosses cannot be killed and they deal 92,000 damage even to tanks. So your only option for winning IoC right now is to run the opponent out of reinforcements. The game plan for IoC then becomes to zerg the Workshop (WS) and use the siege engines there to destroy the opposing faction until you can force them into a graveyard and then camp that graveyard with all of the siege so that you just farm the kills until it’s over. I admit, it’s fun watching the bodies fly when you’re doing it the first time, but otherwise it makes the BG really boring from then on.

As for Tol Barad, I’m still not a huge fan, but it does at least switch hands a bit more often now. I love the amount of honor you get there, so I’ll visit frequently, but that place is a beast. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I think it could still use some improvement. Wintergrasp is very interesting now that group sizes vary from 1-4. Thank the Light you can accomplish almost all of the quests for honor there without having to kill actual players or else the place would be even more dead than it already is. I’ll take some free honor and gold from 20 minutes of my time though.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Caster, Class, Player vs Player, Priest, Professions

 

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Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest

While I am still in search of info on Shadow Priest PvP, I’m content going on in PvP discovering things for myself until I find a decent source that can tell me something I don’t already know. I already have a decent skill set for PvP with the Shadow Priest so until I’m able to learn more I have to focus on other aspects of it, which for right now is going to be the gear aspect.

I need to start dueling other classes to get a better idea of how to take on various opponents in a 1v1 setting, but I’ll take care of that when I reach level 85 so that I’m facing the full package instead. But the gear I can start working on right now. I can’t buy level 85 gear without being level 85, but at least I can start building up the currency needed for those purchases and I can plan those purchases well in advance so that I’m not sitting there at the vendor staring at her inventory for an hour before I decide on what to buy.

I decided to make a spreadsheet to plan out my purchases, noting the cost of each piece and the stats that were on it. I also had to take into account the currency used for each and also establish a starter set so that I at least had a decent start while I built up the currency to purchase the larger pieces. I knew that Cynwise had a recent post where he shared his thoughts on how to get ready for Cataclysm PvP, so I started there.

Step 1: Make a Plan
I started off with the list that Cyn mentioned in his post:

  1. Get the crafted pieces made as soon as you can.
  2. Supplement with good items gained from PvE.
  3. Participate in Tol Barad whenever possible, win or lose. Do dailies for Commendations for PvP enchants.
  4. PvP in regular BGs to grind as much Honor Points as you can to get Bloodthirsty gear, focusing on offset pieces and the 2-pc set bonus.
  5. Participate in as many rated PvP matches as you can, up to the limit of Conquest Points you can gain this week. Focus on gaining Vicious set pieces and weapons first. (As Taugrim points out in the comments below, if your class depends on their weapon, get the weapons first, before anything else.)
  6. Once your Vicious set is complete, start replacing Bloodthirsty offset pieces with Vicious.
  7. Once you’ve upgraded your offset, upgrade your weapons to the Glorious versions.
  8. Skip upgrading the Conquest armor unless you have points to burn at the end of a season (and even then, just consider stockpiling them at the cap.)

Crafted pieces was already at the top of my list because my Tailor has already been maxed and I’ve purchased all of the patterns and the gear was well in hand.

Supplements from PvE are sort of what I’m working on right now. My Priest is only level 81 so I’m just now working my way through Cataclysm content to get her various upgrades. I should really be a good little facemelter and do some research on quest rewards, dungeon drops, and rep grinds to find out which quests give me items I need for the slots I still have open.

TBad when possible will have to wait since it requires level 85.

Running BG’s to build honor I’m already in the process of doing though it is slower than it will be once I hit 85. Rated BG’s I think have to wait for 85 as well, but I’m not sure since I haven’t looked into them very closely yet.

Upgrading Bloodthirsty Honor pieces to Vicious Conquest pieces also has to wait for 85 since I can neither purchase them nor gain the currency for them until that point. Upgrading the weapons falls into the same.

Step 2a: Crafted Pieces
Emberfire Cowl 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Resil, 189 Haste
Fireweave Pants 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Resil, 189 Haste
Emberfire Robe 425 Stam, 283 Int, 189 Spirit, 189 Resil
Emberfire Boots 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Haste
Emberfire Gloves 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Haste
Emberfire Belt 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Resil, 140 Mastery
Emberfire Shoulders 316 Stam, 210 Int, 140 Spirit, 140 Resil
Emberfire Bracers 237 Stam, 158 Int, 105 Resil, 105 Haste

I switched the pants to Fireweave instead of Emberfire because I prefer Haste to Mastery right now. I might change my mind on that later, but for right now I like the Haste more. I considered doing the same for the Robe since Emberfire gives Spirit, which is Hit, where the Fireweave gives Haste, but decided not to. First off, it would throw my whole look out of whack with a bunch of white gear spread around a red robe, and second I’m actually going to need that Hit stat since PvP gear is typically lacking in Hit Rating. But honestly, it’s the look that makes me not do it. At least the pants are hidden under the robe so it won’t throw me off.

I have full suits of both sets anyway, so that I have a starter set for both of my specs, and can swap them out to mix and match as I please.

Step 2b: PvE Supplemental Pieces
This is one of Cyn recommendations that I haven’t done yet. There are tons of items that I’ll have to dig through in this category to find out which ones will really be good for me, and I’d rather do that when I’m closer to the level cap so that I can skip over items that aren’t upgrades compared to the gear I (will) already have.

The most important item here, starting out at least, is going to be a weapon. Hopefully I can find myself a solid one-handed caster weapon to use so that I can make use of my off-hand as well, but I’ll definitely pick up a staff if it’s stats are superior.

Step 3: Honor Pieces
When I first decided to make my list I checked with Cyn on how easy he felt it was to reach the Honor and Conquest caps. Both of them cap at 4,000 points at any one time, but Conquest Points have an additional cap of only 1,343 Conquest per week. His response was that running arena matches maxed his Conquest weekly cap every week quite easily, but that Honor was really hard to cap.

That being the case, I aimed low for my weekly amount of Honor points. Not being 85 yet on my Priest and not really doing much PvP at all on the toons I do have at 85, I had to do some guessing on how much my weekly Honor allowance would be. I didn’t have any current information to with so I just pulled a number out and went with it – 1500 Honor/week. That’s just over 200 per day if I PvP every single day. That’s 3 losses in Tol Barad every day if I do nothing else, or almost half of a single offensive TB victory. Not to mention whatever other BG’s I manage to get into, so I think that’s a safe amount to go with.

I also estimate that I’ll have at least 300 extra Honor to start with before Week 1 actually starts so I’ve added that to the initial pool. I have 1800 Honor right now and I’m aiming to be able to buy at least 1 item and have the extra 300 remaining before I even get started on the weekly allowances.

The pieces purchased with honor are all “Bloodied Gladiator’s ..” pieces, so I’m going to save some space by using “BG’s ..” in place of that when listing the item names.

Week # Honor Earned Honor Cost Honor Balance Item Purchased
1 1800 1650 150 BG’s Mooncloth Gloves
2 1650 0 1650 No Honor purchase.
3 3150 2200 950 BG’s Satin Hood
4 2450 1650 800 BG’s Medallion of Tenacity
5 2300 1250 1050 BG’s Drape of Diffusion
6 2550 1650 900 BG’s Treads of Alacrity
7 2400 1250 1150 BG’s Cuffs of Meditation
8 2650 2500 150 BG’s Band of Accuracy
&
BG’s Band of Cruelty
9 1650 1650 0 BG’s Insignia of Dominance
10 1500 0 1500 Start over, building the full healing set.

I don’t manage to get any set bonuses at all from the Honor gear because I’m going for one Mooncloth piece and one Satin piece. I’m going to get the set bonuses by adding Vicious pieces though as I’m going to build both sets at once.

The reason I’m going for 2 pieces from each set is because first, dual sets give me extra resilience for more survivability early on, and second the Mooncloth Gloves have better stats than the Satin gloves, so I might as well take advantage; right?

I’m working towards filling in my other slots with Vicious gear as well, so anything you see that’s oddly missing is likely because I’m picking up the Vicious version which you’ll see in the next section.

Step 4: Conquest Pieces
My Vicious pieces are being put to use first to finish off my set pieces, and then to fill in my missing slots with the higher quality pieces. Luckily I don’t have to estimate my Conquest points each week because I know exactly how much I can get. Granted, there may be some weeks that I don’t manage to hit the weekly cap, but at least then I know I can just update my spreadsheet accordingly and know how far it sets me back. Hopefully I can at least hit the cap for the first few weeks at the very least so that I can establish my set bonuses if nothing else.

All Conquest items have “Vicious Gladiator’s ..” in their name, so I’ll shorten that in this list to be “VG’s” instead just to save some space.

Week # Conquest Earned Conquest Cost Conquest Balance Item Purchased
1 1343 0 1343 Not enough points yet.
2 2686 2200 486 VG’s Mooncloth Leggings
3 1829 1650 179 VG’s Satin Mantle
4 1522 700 822 VG’s Touch of Defeat
5 2165 0 2165 No item this week.
6 3508 2200 1308 VG’s Satin Robe
7 2651 2450 201 VG’s Gavel
8 1544 0 1544 No item this week.
9 2887 1650 1237 VG’s Cord of Cruelty
10 2580 950 1630 VG’s Endgame

And similar to my Honor Points, moving forward I’ll do the same thing with my Conquest points going for a healing set instead of just DPS.

The first week of Conquest points caps before I can buy any set pieces, and rather than blow it on other Vicious gear I’m going to just hold off for a week to build up some more. That gives me the opportunity to pick up my first 2-piece set bonus on week 2 when I get the Mooncloth Leggings and my second 2-piece bonus on week 3 when I get both the Bloodthirsty Satin Hood the Vicious Satin Mantle.

So the first week I’ll be in mostly crafted gear and then in week 2 I’ll start building my set bonuses, finishing those in week 3, and then moving on to all of the off-set pieces from week 4 on.

Step 5: Gemming
Step 5 will of course take place during steps 2-4 as the pieces become available. I treat my serious PvP gear the same way I do my serious raiding gear, with gems and enchants added as the pieces become available.

My Priest is a 525 Jewelcrafter, so I have access to the JC-only gems, Chimera’s Eyes, which provide higher values of stats than you’ll find on regular red/yellow/blue gems.

Gems
There are only a few different gems I’m going to consider for the PvP gear. All of the socket bonuses are at least decent, so I’m going to match them unless I get the urge at some point to prioritize a certain stat regardless of socket.

The gear itself grants 3 Red, 3 Yellow, 3 Blue, and 1 Meta gem slot. I’m also going to have a belt buckle added to the gear which will open up an additional slot, which I’m going to use as Red.

Red Slots:
Brilliant Chimera’s Eye (+67 Intellect)
*Brilliant Inferno Ruby (+40 Intellect)

I haven’t decided for sure whether I’m going to use my Chimera’s Eyes in the red sockets or the blue. I’m leaning towards blue to start with for the extra survivability, and then switching over to red after I’ve completed my gear sets, but I’m still not sure.

So I’ll either have 4 Inferno Rubies for +160 Intellect, or I’ll have 3 Chimera’s Eyes and 1 Inferno Ruby for a total of +241 Intellect.

Blue Slots:
*Solid Chimera’s Eye (+101 Stamina)
Solid Ocean Sapphire (+60 Stamina)
Steady Dream Emerald (+30 Stamina, +20 Resilience)

I’m leaning towards Stamina for my blue gems, and as I mentioned in the Red section, I’m leaning towards the Chimera’s Eyes being used here at least to begin with. I considered going with Stormy gems for Spell Penetration, but you only need 240 total and I’ll have almost twice that amount from my gear alone. There’s a slight chance that I might go with the green stam/resil gems when I move the Chimera’s Eyes over to the red sockets, so I’m leaving it on the list just in case.

So starting out I’ll have 3 Chimera’s Eyes for +303 Stamina and when I switch them over I’ll end up with 3 Ocean Sapphires for +180 Stamina or 3 Dream Emeralds for +90 Stamina and +60 Resilience.

Yellow Slots:
Mystic Chimera’s Eye (+67 Resilience)
Mystic Amberjewel (+40 Resilience)
Quick Chimera’s Eye (+67 Haste)
Quick Amberjewel (+40 Haste)
*Willful Ember Topaz (+20 Intellect, +20 Resilience)
Steady Dream Emerald (+30 Stamina, +20 Resilience)

While I might get better stats overall going with an actual Yellow gem here, I’m leaning more towards the Willful Ember Topaz. I don’t want to focus too much on survivability as a DPS spec, so Resilience is an option but not my top choice. Haste is tempting, but I’m going to hold off gemming for Haste until I see how well I perform without it. The green gem is another one I’m considering placing here if I do happen to need some more survivability, but again I still favor the orange Ember Topaz.

My initial plan will be 3 Willful Ember Topazes with +60 Intellect and +60 Resilience. If survivability is an immediate issue then I’ll switch those to 3 Dream Emeralds for +90 Stamina and +60 Resilience or 3 Mystic Amberjewels for +120 Resilience, and if I find that survivability is fine and I need more killing power then I’ll switch it up to 3 Quick Amberjewels for +120 Haste.

Meta Slot:
*Burning Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, +3% Critical Damage)
Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Critical Strike Rating, +3% Critical Damage)
Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Critical Strike Rating, +1% Spell Reflect)
Effulgent Shadowspirit Diamond (+81 Stamina, -2% Spell Damage Taken)
Ember Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, +2% Maximum Mana)
Forlorn Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 Intellect, -10% Silence Duration)
Powerful Shadowspirit Diamond (+81 Stamina, -10% Stun Duration)

The Meta gem I’m not 100% sure on. Above are all of the ones that I’ve considered using for one reason or another. I’m going with the Burning Shadowspirit to start off with because I have the pattern myself. Spirit Priests aren’t known for their crits, so I’m not sold on the crit gems here though some of them do have some decent additional abilities.

The ones that reduce stun and silence duration have some potential, but only if the CC applies in a given match. I expect that CC to happen in arenas, but in Battlegrounds you can never be sure. With our current mana issues, the 2% Max Mana from the Ember is an interesting option that I’m keeping a close eye on. Mana isn’t as important in a BG setting as it is an Arena setting, but I haven’t decided which of the two I’m going to run more often so it’s on hold for right now.

Destructive sounds interesting with the 1% Spell reflect, but the crit isn’t all that great, and neither is a measly 1% chance. On the one hand it would be incredibly fun to kill someone with their own spell, but at the same time the chance is so small I can’t count on it for anything. Effulgent offers much more survivability, and it’s one I’m also considering.

Step 6: Enchanting
I know which enchants I’m going to use for most of my gear, but I do have a few pieces that I’ve narrowed it down on and need to make a final decision.

Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Vicious Intellect (+50 Intellect, +25 Resilience)
Head: Arcanum of Vicious Intellect (+60 Intellect, +35 Resilience)
Back: Greater Intellect (+50 Intellect)
Chest: Might Resilience (+40 Resilience)
Bracer: Speed (+50 Haste)
Gloves: Haste (+50 Haste)
Belt: Ebonsteel Buckle (adds a Prismatic Socket)
Legs: Powerful Enchanted Spellthread (+95 Intellect, +80 Stamina)
Feet: Earthen Vitality (+30 Stamina, Increased Run Speed)
Weapon: Mending (Proc: Heals when spells deal damage)
Off-Hand: Superior Intellect (+40 Intellect)

Once I’ve had a chance to build up my stash of Maelstrom Crystals I’ll put some of the more significant enchants on my gear. Of those Weapon, Bracer, and Chest will be the first to be upgraded, though the Weapon will probably wait until Blizzard finally releases the upgraded weapons to us.

I’m going to do a little playing around with my weapon enchant at first. I want to start out using Mending as I have in the list because I’ve seen some of what it can do when you’ve got DoT’s ticking on several targets and every time they deal damage you have a chance to heal yourself. The more DoT’s I spread, the more healing I have coming in on top of the healing I naturally generate as a Shadow Priest. The first upgrade will be to Hurricane (Proc: +450 Haste for 12 seconds) to help with my damage output. Once the real PvP weapons become available I’ll upgrade to Power Torrent (Proc: +500 Intellect for 12 seconds) for even more power.

The Mending enchant averages about 850 healing when it procs, and can crit for around 1350. The proc rate is uncertain but reports list it as somewhere between 10% and 17%, and the proc happens any time you damage an enemy with a spell or melee attack. I’ve heard mixed reports of whether or not DoT’s can trigger the healing effect, so I’m going to test it myself and then decide when/if I’m going to switch to a new enchant.

Step 7: Professions Change
Right now while I’m still leveling my Priest she’s going to keep her Mining profession so that she can gather while she levels both for the experience and for the mats. Once I get her to level cap and start getting into the PvP though, I’m going to want to change that out for something more relative to PvP, but I haven’t decided yet what it’s going to be.

By dropping Mining I lose Toughness (Rank 7) which is 120 Stamina, or 1,200 Health.

Enchanting
Enchant Ring – Intellect (+40 Intellect)
Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina (+60 Stamina)

Enchanting gives me the ability to enchant my Rings. Most likely I would go with dual Intellect enchants for +80 Intellect, but if I’m feeling vulnerable I could always go with the Stamina enchant instead. But if I were to use the Stamina enchant I would get the same benefit of Mining (+120 Stamina) and nothing but the high cost of level Enchanting to show for it.

Engineering
Lightweight Bio-Optic Killshades (helm, see below)
Grounded Plasma Shield (Belt: Absorbs 16,200 to 19,800 damage)
Invisibility Field (Belt: Invisibility outside of combat)
Synapse Springs (Gloves: +480 Intellect for 10 seconds)
Tazik Shocker (Gloves: Deals 4320-5280 Nature damage)

Dropping my Bloodthirsty Helm for the Killshades would cost me 213 Resilience and 153 Haste in exchange for a bit of Intellect and Stamina. However, it would also allow me to use 2 Cogwheels in place of gems, so I would trade one Inferno Ruby (40 Int) or Chimera Eye (67 Int) for two Cogwheels suck as the Mystic Cogwheel (+208 Resilience) or and the Quick Cogwheel (+208 Haste). It’s something to consider, but it’s not enough to sell me with the one item alone.

The Plasma Shield could be interesting, providing me with another bubble that I could use when Power Word: Shield is on cooldown or something. I don’t know if you can use it in Arenas yet or not (I haven’t researched Engineering much yet), but it would be useful in BG’s as well. It’s a decent option, but not great.

The Invisibility Shield has some interesting potential if I can use it in Arenas. I could use it to get into position at the start of a match, or I could use it during a match to regroup and reposition if I could manage to get out of combat long enough to use it. It’s gimmicky and it wouldn’t help much at all against certain group setups or in some situations, but it’s not a bad choice otherwise.

Synapse Springs offer a great cooldown for when I need some extra burst, or when I’m about to use my mana cooldowns. By increasing my Intellect it increases my Total Mana value which would allow Dispersion, Shadowfiend, Divine Hymn, Glyph of Spirit Tap, and Masochism to all return additional mana to me while the effect is active. There’s some definite potential for this one.

The Tazik Shocker is an extra bit of damage to use every 2 minutes. It’s not enough to be a huge game changer or anything, but extra damage is extra damage.

Another bonus of the Glove and Belt enchants is that they don’t replace normal enchants, so it’s all extra. If I do go with Engineering then I’ll use the Synapse Springs for sure, and probably the Plasma Shield (if I can use it in Arenas). I’m not sold on the helm alone, especially since it takes an item set slot, but it’s a decent option, and there isn’t a bonus for having all 5 pieces, only 2 or 4, so I’m not losing as much as I otherwise could be.

Tailoring
Lightweave Embroidery (Cloak Proc: +580 Intellect on cast)
Embersilk Net (Use: Root a target up to 25 yards away)

Tailoring offers a very nice cloak enchant that can grant a huge amount of Intellect when it procs. The extra Spellpower from that is nice on it’s own, but just like the Synapse Springs from Engineering, it also has the added benefit of allowing my mana regeneration spells to give me even more mana back by increasing the size of my mana pool. In the case of Shadow Priests, size does matter.

The other benefit is the Embersilk Net which only Tailors can use. It’s a ranged Root which we otherwise don’t have access to (other than the Paralysis talent), which also deals a fairly small amount of Fire damage to the target. It only lasts for 3 seconds, but those three seconds can be significant and so can getting someone to burn a cooldown or trinket cast to get out of it early).

Inscription
Felfire Inscription (+130 Intellect, +25 Haste)

It’s the best shoulder enchant out there for casters, even if it’s not the PvP enchant we’re using already, but 55 Intellect and 25 Resilience compared to 130 Intellect and 25 Haste isn’t too hard to see the winner. 25 Resilience isn’t going to kill you (hopefully), and that 130 Intellect is worth the upgrade.

As I already have an Inscriptionist, yes “Inscriptionist” not “scribe”, I’m not too thrilled about having it on two characters, so I don’t know that this is a big enough benefit to make me choose it.

Leatherworking
Draconic Embossment – Intellect (Bracer: +130 Intellect)

Leatherworking is just a little bit above Blacksmithing for me. I get more potential stats from Leatherworking, but again I have very little use for anything else the profession has to offer. It’s another one to consider, but not very likely.

Blacksmithing
Socket Bracer (Add a prismatic socket to bracers)
Socket Gloves (Add a prismatic socket to bracers)

Blacksmithing doesn’t offer anything real exciting, but it does provide 2 free gem slots that are otherwise unavailable which is 80 Intellect, 120 Stamina, 80 Resilience or 80 Haste just waiting for us to take it.

I’m not thrilled about the idea of leveling Blacksmithing again, but it’s possible. That’s a lot of time, effort, and gold for a fairly small return. Given that it’s a cloth wearer, it’s even less impressive.

Onward and Upward
I’m going to see if I can hit level 85 this weekend on my Priest. I’m fairly confident I can do it, but it’s been about a month since I leveled a character through the end game content so I don’t remember how much time it actually took me on each character. I also have the BoA cloak and the Guild bonus to leveling which I didn’t have on any of the others, so I’ll level faster than before regardless.

What do you think of my plan to get my PvP gear?

How about the gems and enchants? Any suggestions for ones to consider that I missed?

And what about changing professions? Engineering has always been linked to PvP to some extent at least, but do you think I should go there or perhaps another route? Or should I continue swinging my pick axe and not bother changing at all?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Player vs Player, Priest

 

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Looking For Info: Shadow Priest PvP

When I write all of these guides I like to make sure I know what I’m talking about by experiencing all of the content for myself. I don’t write guides for leveling classes until I’ve played them myself, for example, nor do I like to cover level ranges that I haven’t actually participated in personally. Before I even get started on leveling my own toons though, I like to do my own research beforehand.

My own research includes checking blogs that I know are related to the topic in question, checking forums to get multiple opinions on various aspects, and digging deeply into the Wowhead database for things I might have missed. I don’t always catch everything of course, and that’s not why I mention it, but the point is that I like to research things before I get started. That desire to know what to expect ahead of time is the reason why I blog about what I do, to offer other people the kind of help I wish was out there for me when I needed it.

And that brings me to the purpose of today’s post, Shadow Priest PvP. As you know if you’ve been following my blog for the last few weeks, I’m currently working on a Shadow Priest who I just got up to level 81 last night. I’ve been participating in PvP off and on since she was level 10 and quite frequently from the time she hit level 60 on. As usual I like to get into PvP my own way and figure things out as I go, adjusting where I see a need so that I can get better at it every match. Eventually I get to a point, like last week, where I’m doing great, but I want to improve as I know I’m fighting random players that aren’t necessarily skilled at PvP. And so, the search for Shadow Priest PvP began…and ended.

The only sources I can find for Shadow Priest PvP are outdated. I’m sure I haven’t checked “everywhere” or else I surely would have found something. Right? I am exaggerating there just a little bit, I did find a few decent sources of information, but not enough.

The most recent post I found on Shadow Priest PvP that was anything more then “hey I can kill everything but a feral druid” was from over a year ago. I did manage to find a few forum threads here and there that mentioned specific parts of a strategy and some suggestions on spec, but nothing really solid.

So rather than continue beating my head against a shadowless wall, I’m going to take a break from my searching and ask you instead. If you have a link to any decent, up to date information on Shadow Priest PvP I would love to see it. Whether it’s your own or something you stumbled onto for whatever reason, send me a link. Whether it’s blog posts, forums, podcasts, or videos on YouTube; if you have a link (and it’s recent, 4.0+), I want it.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Class, Player vs Player, Priest

 

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Priest Leveling: 50-69 Shadow

If you’re just getting started on a Shadow Priest of your own, or considering one, then I suggest you take a look at the previous guides applicable to your level:
Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow
Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow

Playing a Shadow Priest
There aren’t really all that many changes in how you’ll play your Shadow Priest in this level compared to the last 20 levels. While you get a lot of helpful spells and talent points, none of them really impact how you actually play your class. The biggest change is that you get even more ways to restore your mana so that you can more liberally spread your DoT’s around to multiple targets without having to worry about your mana.

Shadow-Specific Tips
If you’ve been following along with my other guides then you’ll know that mana has been an issue for us for some time. Hopefully you’ve been seeing the same thing I have, in that mana issues for the most part disappear in the 30′s or 40′s. Well in this bracket we get even more tools to help us with mana regeneration, allowing you to become a bit more aggressive in combat.

Continuing on with the Jedi analogy, this is where you get to stop hiding in the shadows like some wrinke-faced Sith Lord and go whip out a dual lightsaber of doom like Darth Maul. Now sure, Maul ended up falling to pieces in that horrible Episode 1, but you can’t deny that he was the coolest thing we’d seen up to that point.

What does that have to do with anything? Well I’ll tell you what it ha- WHAT’S THAT OVER THERE!??!??!?

I’m sorry, you were saying? Yeah, I forgot too. So anyway, yes the Shadow Priest is an awesome class to play and now that we’ve got the mana issues under control it’s time to start really start embracing the Shadow and start dishing out the damage.

Important Spells & Abilities
We do get a few new spells in this level range, but only a couple of them really stand out for us as Shadow Priests.

  • Mysticism: Increases your Intellect by 5%.
  • Shadow Protection: Power infuses the target’s party and raid members, increasing their Shadow resistance for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
  • Fear Ward: Wards the friendly target against Fear. The next Fear effect used against the target will fail, using up the ward. Lasts 3 min.
  • Mind Soothe: Soothes the target, reducing the range at which it will attack you by 10 yards. Only affects Humanoid and Dragonkin targets. Does not cause threat. Lasts 15 sec.
  • Mana Burn: Destroy 10% of the target’s mana (up to a maximum of 20% of your own maximum mana). For each mana destroyed in this way, the target takes 0.5 Shadow damage.
  • Holy Nova: Causes an explosion of holy light around the caster, causing 155 to 179 Holy damage to all enemy targets within X yards and healing up to 5 targets within X yards for 155 to 179. Healing is divided among the number of targets healed. These effects cause no threat.
  • Hymn of Hope: Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec. Maximum of 12 mana restores. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.
  • Shadowfiend: Creates a shadowy fiend to attack the target. Caster receives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.

At level 50 every class gets a 5% buff to their primary stat for their chosen spec (Intellect for us). That bonus only applies so long as you are wearing the type of armor associated with your class, but since we can only wear Cloth we just get it by default. For us, that buff is called Mysticism. It’s not a spell, but it’s listed as such, so there you have it.

You get two buffs in this level range to add to your buff collection. The first is Shadow Protection at 52 which gives you and your party/raid resistance to Shadow. It’s not great, but what the heck, we’ll take it. The second is Fear Ward which auto-cancels the next fear effect that targets you (or the target of your Fear Ward). Shadow Protection is an hour long buff so you want to have it up at all times just in case, but Fear Ward only last for 3 minutes and it’s only good for 1 use, so you’ll really only use it when you’re facing targets that you know are going to fear you.

Mind Soothe is an interesting spell. It reduces the physical range that a mob will agro you at. The only time you’ll really find this useful is when you’re using gathering professions or when you’re trying to “sneak” around in a certain area where your flying mount isn’t available. It’s uses are fairly slim, but it can be helpful if you’re doing gathering professions or gathering quests and would rather not fight every mob in the area. I’ve personally never used this, but it can help if needed.

Mana Burn is an interesting spell. It destroys mana rather than health (directly, at least) and then converts the amount of mana destroyed into half as much Shadow damage dealt to the target. It’s a decent spell to cast for running caster mobs out of mana so that they run into melee range when you’re in a dungeon, or for burning through a healer’s mana so they can’t heal anymore. I generally prefer to just kill the target, but it does have its uses.

At level 62 we finally get our first AoE, Holy Nova. Unfortunately it’s a Holy spell so casting it takes us out of Shadowform. The damage on it kind of sucks and the healing isn’t bad but it’s not great either. I’ve gone ahead and used it a few times in LFG after getting SW:Pain and Vampiric Touch on all the mobs, then I’ll spam Holy Nova while jumping around in the group of mobs hoping for Shadowy Apparitions to proc (see talents below). It worked alright, but it wasn’t great and mobs died faster when I just stayed in Shadow and burned them down. It’s still kind of fun, though.

Level 64 brings us one of our new mana restoration tools in the form of Hymn of Hope. It restores a total of 20% mana to up to 3 party/raid members and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec. It’s a channeled spell, just like your Mind Flay, so if you do cast it be sure you let it do its job. The tooltip on it is a little confusing, so don’t take it at face value. By increasing the targets’ total many it increases how much mana it’s actually restoring itself as well. The best way to use this spell is to watch your healer’s mana in LFG. If you see him going down a bit, use this to give him a hand. If you’re flying solo you can use it to restore your own as well of course, but you shouldn’t be struggling with mana very often anymore.

Level 66 introduces our summonable pet, the Shadowfiend. Every time the Shadowfiend deals damage to a target he restores 3% of your maximum mana. If you’re really hurting for mana and there’s nothing you can get it from with SW:Death casts, a good way to get some of that back is to summon your Shadowfiend and then channel Hymn of Hope while it attacks. Hymn of Hope increases your maximum mana by 20% while it’s being channeled so each of the Shadowfiend’s attacks are going to restore 3% of your temporarily increases mana pool, meaning it will restore quite a bit more mana every time it hits. If you had 10,000 mana, then each hit would restore about 300 mana. Using Hymn first increases your mana to 12,000 which would make each attack restore 360 mana instead. That might not seem like a whole lot with a 10k mana pool, but when you reach level 85 and you’ve got twelve times that much mana you’ll really start to see the benefit.

Leveling a Shadow Priest

  • Questing Single Mob: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word:Pain, Mind Flay, Shadow Word:Death
  • This is my rotation right now for killing single targets. If the target isn’t down to 25% health by the time Mind Flay is finished being channeled, I’ll just leave them alone and go after another target, allowing SW:Pain finish them off. If they’re not elites, they’re not going to live through that.

    When you’re in Outlands you can usually leave the Mind Blast or the SW:Pain cast out of the rotation, whichever you prefer. As I move on into Northrend I’ve started to leave out the Mind Fly cast and just let the DoT’s do their thing to finish the mobs off. Until you get points spent in Shadowy Apparition, I would probably leave out the SW:Pain cast to save your mana.

  • Questing Multi-Mob: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain (first target) – Vampiric Touch, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague (second target) – Vampiric Touch, SW:Pain (all others) – SW:Death to finish targets
  • I changed this up just a little bit from the last guide. The main reason for that is because I like to get the mana regeneration from Replenishment rolling early, which requires you to Mind Blast a target currently afflicted with Vampiric Touch. I also like to make sure my Shadowy Apparitions have as many chances to proc as possible, so I get SW:Pain cast on all of the targets.

    I then switch to a second target and use all three of my DoT’s on it, adding Devouring Plague to get some heals rolling in as well. All of the other targets just get the two spammable DoT’s since Devouring Plague can only be on one target at a time. If I’m low on mana or looking to speed up the kill times then I’ll add the Shadowfiend in for some extra damage and mana regen.

    If you use a bubble before the first pull to reduce the damage you take and then start taking more damage than you can stand while PW:Shield is on cooldown, just cast Disperse and reduce your damage received by 90%. When it wears off you can use a heal if you need to, and hopefully PW:Shield is about ready to be reapplied, or Psychic Scream is off cooldown.

  • LFG Trash Rotation: Vampiric Touch (1 target), Mind Blast (same target), Shadow Word: Pain (all targets) , Mind Flay (as needed), SW:Death when possible
  • I changed this one up a bit as well, and for the same reason. I like getting that Replenishment effect rolling as soon as possible, so I do it first, then spam SW:Pain on everything.

    While I’m casting my DoT’s I generally run a crescent shape pattern back and forth behind my tank while I tab-target all of the mobs to get SW:Pain spread around. The reason for this is to increase my chance to spawn Shadowy Apparitions from 12% up to 60% per damage tick. Your apparitions can do some nice burst damage, so giving them a better chance to spawn can be pretty useful. Just don’t forget to have a Fade and/or Disperse ready to cast in case you get several Apparitions to proc and burst your way passed the tank on the threat meters.

    In Outlands I topped damage meters by doing 30-100% more DPS than everyone else in basically every instance I ran, including other players who had full, enchanted heirlooms. As I moved on to Northrend that gap quickly closed and now I often fight Mages and Warlocks for the top DPS spot. Don’t read that as me bragging, read it as an example of about where we sit as a class on DPS at this level. If you keep your DoT’s up and spread them around early then you’re going to see good results.

  • LFG Boss Rotations: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, SW:Death, Shadowfiend (on cooldown), Mind Flay, Mind Blast, Mind Flay x2
  • Again, we’re going to get Replishment rolling first off, then we’re going to establish DoT’s. Reapply your DoT’s as needed, but remember your Mind Flay will refresh SW:Pain once you’ve spent your talent points to get the effect. Vampiric Touch (VT) will wear off before Devouring Plague (DP) will, and you’ll have enough time to cast 2-3 spells after refreshing VT before you need to refresh DP.

    Keep your DoT’s up at all times. If you need mana, get it. Shadowfiend, SW:Death, Replenishment (Vampiric Touch + Mind Blast), Dispersion, and Hymn of Hope are all sitting there just waiting to be used, so don’t let yourself run dry for no reason. If you’re especially low on mana then cast your Shadowfiend first and follow it with an immediate Hymn of Hope. Both of them restore your mana by themselves, but Hymn has the added bonus of increasing the size of your mana pool and the amount of mana returned by the Shadowfiend is based on your maximum mana, so all of its attacks will restore more thanks to Hymn.

    Talent Spec: 69 Shadow Priest

    • Mind Melt (+1) 2/2: Increases the damage done with your Shadow Word: Death by 30% on targets at or below 25% health, and when you deal damage with Mind Spike, the cast time of your next Mind Blast is reduced by 50% lasting 6 sec. Mind Melt can stack up to 2 times.
    • Pain and Suffering 2/2: Your Mind Flay has a 60% chance to refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain on the target, and reduces the damage you take from your own Shadow Word: Death by 40%.
    • Paralysis 1/2: When you critically hit with your Mind Blast, you cause the target to be unable to move for 2 sec.
    • Shadowy Apparition 3/3: When you deal periodic damage with your Shadow Word: Pain, you have a 12% chance to summon a shadow version of yourself which will slowly move towards a target which is afflicted by your Shadow Word: Pain. Once reaching the target, it will instantly deal 485 shadow damage. While moving, the chance to summon the shadowy apparation is increased to 60%. You can have up to 4 Shadowy Apparitions active at a time.
    • Sin and Punishment 2/2: When your Vampiric Touch is dispelled, the dispeller and all nearby enemy targets within 10 yards have a 100% chance to be instantly feared in horror for 3 sec. When your Mind Flay critically hits, the cooldown of your Shadowfiend is reduced by 10 sec.
    • Dispersion 1/1: You disperse into pure Shadow energy, reducing all damage taken by 90%. You are unable to attack or cast spells, but you regenerate 6% mana every 1 sec for 6 sec. Dispersion can be cast while stunned, feared or silenced and clears all snare and movement impairing effects when cast, and makes you immune to them while dispersed.

    I finished off Mind Melt first because I like that extra damage on SW:Death. You find that mobs have more health when you move from Vanilla into Burning Crusade and again from Burning Crusade into Wrath, both of which you’ll do in this level bracket. By increasing the damage that you do you have a better chance of triggering that 12% mana return from your Glyph of Spirit Tap instead of only 10% mana from the Masochism talent.

    Pain and Suffering was next on my list because I like to solo all of the Outlands group quests as I come to them. Those group quests are against mobs that have way more health than anything you’ve faced before, and being able to save mana on those big fights by not having to refresh my SW:Pain spell were a big help, especially when I had to drop Shadowform to heal myself. This talent won’t help you much if you’re big on just solo questing, but it’s great on bosses in LFG as well.

    Paralysis is kind of a filler talent right now to get us down to the next level. Rooting a mob when you crit with Mind Flay is pretty cool when soloing, and really useful for PvP, but in places like LFG is most a waste. Whether or not you take this one is up to you. I have some suggestions down below for other places to spend this point.

    Shadowy Apparition is a really cool talent. When you have SW:Pain cast you have a chance to summon little shadowy versions of yourself that walk towards your target and burst into shadowy damage when they touch them. The chance to summon one is pretty low at only 12%, but that’s only when you’re standing still. If you’re moving while your SW:Pain ticks away on the target that chance is increased to 60% each time it deals damage to them. If you’re fighting mobs 1v1, then chances are good that you’re standing still, casting your spells. But if you really want to start nuking things, get your DoT’s on the target and then start moving around while your Shadow App’s blow them up.

    Sin and Punishment is a talent that you’re going to need to decide for yourself whether or not you want to take it. It has good value in PvP, but in PvE half of its effect will basically never happen. The benefit of taking it outside of PvP is that when you crit with Mind Flay you have a chance to reduce the cooldown of your Shadowfiend spell by 10 seconds, which is great if you’re still struggling with mana. I’m currently playing around with this one to decide if I like it or not for PvE, but so far it’s not too bad when doing LFG on boss fights.

    Dispersion is one of the signature Shadow Priest spells. It turns you into a shadowy cloud and reduces the damage you take by 90% for 6 seconds. During that time can’t attack or cast spells, but you do regenerate 6% of your mana every second for those 6 seconds (so 36% total mana regen). A great thing about this spell is that it can also be cast when you’re in almost any kind of CC available (I think polymorph is the only effect it won’t break). The most important thing for soloing is the mana regeneration, but the damage reduction is a great bonus as is being able to break so many forms of CC.

    If you don’t like the feel of Sin and Punishment, as part of it’s effect is very much PvP related, feel free to switch those two points around. My suggestion would be to put another point into Paralysis to root the target for 4 seconds instead of 2, and the the remaining point I would put into Psychic Horror to have a targeted fear with the added bonus of a disarm. If you don’t like either of those options, then I suggest you put the two points into Harnessed Shadows instead. The two points in Pain and Suffering can be moved as well if you don’t like the talent for leveling.

    Remember that the talents that I suggest in my leveling guides are chosen based on their usefulness in leveling your character. Some of these talents you won’t take if you’re already at end game and preparing for heroics or raids. I’ll leave that up to the people who focus on end game content.

    Glyphs
    Level 50 finally opens up our second glyph slot of each type, so we can finally start to get some more power from our glyphs without having to decide whether we’re primarily LFG levelers or solo levelers.

    Prime Glyhphs

    • Glyph of Mind Flay: Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain: Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Death: If your Shadow Word: Death fails to kill the target at or below 25% health, your Shadow Word: Death’s cooldown is instantly reset. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 6 sec.
    • Glyph of Dispersion: Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.

    I list the Prime Glyphs in the order that I suggest them. Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain are the two that I’ve been using and the two that I think I’m going to keep on using as well. Shadow Word: Death is another good option as it not only gives you a better chance of getting your Spirit Tap glyph to proc, it also gives you a way to deal some quick burst damage to mobs or bosses that are low on health. Dispersion is a decent glyph if you’re looking for more survival or more mana regen. It drops the cooldown from 2 minutes to 1 minute and 15 seconds so you can use it a lot more often, but I’m not sure that you really need to cast it that often.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
    • Glyph of Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Horror: Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Horror by 60 30 sec.

    Spirit Tap remains the top priority here, though with more mana tools coming out in this bracket you could probably drop it if you really wanted to without worrying too much. Fade is a really good option for me since I like to hit LFG now and then to help me level and it’s also good for PvP against pet classes as Fade will often make a pet leave you and target something else if you’ve not done anything to harm the pet. Psychic Scream is a good option if you’re going to do a lot of LFG leveling by making the mobs tremble in place instead of running off in random directions. Last up is Psychic Horror which cuts its cooldown in half by 30 seconds, though you’ll have to spent the talent point to get the spell in the first place before this glyph does you any good.

    Minor Glyphs

    Minor glyphs are still really minor so take whatever you want. Levitate is my first option just because I like using spells like Levitate and don’t like having to keep a supply of some stupid reagent in my bags in order to use it. Fortitude is great if you’re into LFG and just decent otherwise. Fading isn’t a bad option, though it’s not especially good either. Shadowfiend has some real good potential, but I don’t think my Shadowfiend has died from damage even once so it wouldn’t do me much good right now.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    At this level range you should have enough of your mana returning spells and effects that Spirit isn’t quite so important now as far as mana is concerned. Spirit is still a good stat to have, especially with points in Twisted Faith turning it into Hit Rating, but at this point I wouldn’t bother stacking it above other stats that are more important to your DPS.

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

    So I’ve changed up the priority list just a little bit, dropping Spirit down a couple of notches because it’s not as important anymore. Intellect is always the top priority for DPS casters as it provides mana, spellpower, and spell crit. I have Haste ranked next because it can increase your DPS in multiple ways, but it’s especially good for classes that make use of DoT’s. I bumbed Crit up in the list mostly because of the drop in Spirit’s importance, but also because watching all of your DoT’s crit and taking a target from 85% down to 14% is a wonderful sight to see, and makes excellent SW:Death fodder for refilling your mana pool.

     
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    Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     

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    Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow

    My Shadow Priest reached level 51 last night, so the time has come to implement the second part of the Shadow Priest leveling guide. If you’re just getting started on a Shadow Priest of your own, or considering one, then I suggest you take a look at the previous guide, Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow.

    Playing a Shadow Priest
    As I said in the 1-29 guide, while the Shadow Priest shares similarities to other classes such as the Affliction Warlock, playing a Shadow Priest is really only like playing a Shadow Priest. At least, that’s what it’s like if you keep it to game terms. If you broaden your mind a bit though, it’s actually a lot like playing a Sith Lord. “Hello, I am Darth Psynister, and I’m here to flay your mind! /cast !Mind Flay”

    You want to talk about Jedi mind tricks? Then you better go roll yourself a Shadow Priest, because you’ve got some minds to start controlling. Granted, we can’t wield cool looking lightsabers, but who needs a 3 foot sword that can cut through anything when you’ve got a 40 yard Mind Flay that can cut through brains? We might not be able to jump fifty feet into the air with a triple front flip, but we can walk on air and hover over water with nothing but the sheer power of our minds (and levitate spell).

    Shadow Priests do an excellent job of combining spells that deal damage, restore health, and hinder opponents into a very appealing package wrapped in shadowy goodness.

    Shadow-Specific Tips
    The first thing to know is that if you’ve been having mana problems then today is a day of rejoicing. Well, it is if you’re in this level range at least. During this span of 20 levels you get three tools that help you keep your mana topped off during and after every fight.

    Up to this point playing a Shadow Priest is all about maximizing damage while minimizing mana costs. Now that we have the means to control our mana replenishment it’s time to fully embrace the shadow and start doing what we do best – melt faces.

    The most important tip I can give you about playing a Shadow Priest is to learn how to ninja kills. If you’re playing solo then you don’t have to worry about the ninja’ing part so much, but if you’re in a group then you should get as much practice as you can at stealing the killing blow on every target possible. Shadow Word: Death is the key to keeping your mana high. In this level range you’ll have both a glyph and a talent that allow SW:Death to restore your mana on use.

    The reason why mana is so important is because now you can also start to cast your DoT spells much more frequently. You’ll see an increase in your kill speed as well as how fast you can burn through kill quests by spreading DoT’s across several mobs at a time. By getting spells and abilities that also grant you and your party healing based on the damage you deal you’re also able to stay alive in situations that most other cloth-wearing casters would have a trip to the spirit healer.

    Shadow Priests aren’t designed to burn things down with massive bursts of damage, instead they’re meant to overwhelm their targets with so much damage from so many different sources at once that they can’t even get to you before they’re dead. And when a Shadow Priest tells someone to die, they list.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    There aren’t all that many new spells that get introduced in this level range. The spells that do get introduced though, are a pretty big deal.

    • Shackle Undead: Shackles the target undead enemy for up to 50 sec. The shackled unit is unable to move, attack or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be shackled at a time.
    • Shadow Word: Death: A word of dark binding that inflicts Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health. If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.
    • Levitate: Allows the friendly party or raid target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts 2 min.
    • Mind Vision: Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 min. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
    • Mind Control: Controls a humanoid mind up to level 41, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 sec.

    While you won’t use Shackle Undead on a frequent basis at all, it’s important to be aware of what forms of Crowd Control you have available in your class. This spell effectively removes one undead target from the fight for 50 seconds, or until damaged. As Discipline spell you can cast it in Shadowform safely.

    Shadow Word: Death is the most important spell for you to get familiar with in this bracket. A lot of people get a little freaked out by the part where it deals damage to you too if you don’t kill the target with it, but that’s why you’re going to practice using it on every mob you face. You’ll lessen the damage you take with talent points, though it’s not anything to worry about in the first place, really.

    Levitate is one of those spells that’s just plain useful. In relation to combat about the only time I use it is when I’ve got some great terrain I can take advantage of where I can DoT the mobs and have them chase me up a cliff and then I can just off and Levitate down slowly while they continue to chase me and my DoT’s kill them off without me ever getting hit. Otherwise it’s useful in getting around pre-flying mount and for fishing if you like to fish on the water where mobs won’t (usually) attack you.

    Normally I wouldn’t even bother mentioning Mind Vision, but its usefulness in PvP is worth mentioning. You can follow people just about everywhere with this spell so you can either use it on your own teammates to be an extra scout for them or you can cast it on the enemy flag carrier to know exactly where he’s hiding or the path he’s taking if he’s running away. It’s a sweet spell to have in PvP even if it’s usefulness in dungeons or solo questing is pretty limited. If you’re trying to find a special mob that you can’t see though, you do have the option of using a “/target MobName” to target them and then using this to see where they actually are.

    Mind Control is the reason I got interested in Priests in the first place. Being able to take control of your target and make them do what you want is a lot of fun, especially in PvP. The only thing I like more than knocking people off of cliffs is making them jump off “voluntarily”. It’s especially fun when the target is in PvP and knows the effect and what’s about to happen, and then the spell breaks because of damage and they don’t take control back immediately because they expected to die, and then you grab them again just as they find hope and fling them off the cliff anyway. I love this spell.

    Leveling a Shadow Priest

  • Questing Single Mob: Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word:Pain, Mind Flay, Shadow Word:Death
  • This is my rotation right now for killing single targets. Prior to level 49 when you actually learn Vampiric Touch, just substitute it with a Mind Blast instead. The point here is to start the damage on the target with the DoT’s/MindBlast, use the Mind Flay to help speed the drop the target to 25% Health or less and then finish them off with a SW:Death cast.

    If the target isn’t at 25% by the time Mind Flay finishes you need to make a judgement call. Either you Mind Flay them again because they’re way over 25% health, or you just sit there and wait a few seconds for your DoT’s to get them there, and then you finish them with SW:Death.

    If my target isn’t high enough for another Mind Flay I usually just go grab another target and start doing the same thing to it while I wait for the previous target to get within SW:Death range, then I’ll switch target to them, SW:Death, and then back to my current target. I suggest you use a Name Plates addon if you’re not using one already. My addon of choice for this is called TidyPlates/ThreatPlates because it also makes the nameplates show agro so I know when I need to back off to let my tank get agro back.

  • Questing Multi-Mob: Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague (first target) – Vampiric Touch, SW:Pain (second target) – SW:Death to finish targets
  • The way this one works doesn’t necessarily come out in listing the spells, so here’s the deal. Pick a target and cast Vampiric Touch followed by an immediate Devouring Plague. Remember, you can only have Devouring Plague on one target at a time, but having all three of your DoT’s on a non-boss is typically overkill. So the first target gets Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague and then your additional targets get Vampiric Touch and SW:Pain.

    Whenever you see one of the mobs getting close enough that SW:Death can finish them off, use it. Once your Devouring Plague target dies, use it in place of SW:Pain on the next mob you pull. Two DoT’s should be all you need to kill the mobs, or at least get them close enough that SW:Death can finish them off. If you find that you aren’t doing enough to kill them with that go ahead and add in Mind Blast first (because it will trigger Replenishment from Vampiric Touch to restore 10% of your mana) and Mind Flay when Mind Blast is on cooldown.

    I also suggest you go ahead and bubble yourself after pulling the first or second target just to on the safe side. Kill off all the targets you can with SW:Death to trigger its mana regeneration as well, and don’t worry if it doesn’t kill them since Masochism will kick in at that point to reward you with 10% of your mana anyway. Just be sure to keep an eye on your health when pulling several mobs and using SW:Death because it does have the chance to be deadly if overused when you’re already taking heavy damage.

  • LFG Trash Rotation: Shadow Word: Pain (all targets), Vampiric Touch (one target), Mind Blast/Mind Flay (as needed), SW:Death when possible
  • For LFG trash I like to go ahead and spread SW:Pain around to all of the mobs first because it’s an instant cast. After all of them have their DoT’s I’ll go ahead and Vampiric Touch one of them just to trigger Replenishment with my next Mind Blast, and then I’ll just switch between Mind Blast and Mind Flay to finish everything off.

    The point is to get some damage rolling on all of the mobs from your DoT and then burn them down one at a time with your direct damage spells (Blast/Flay), using SW:Death to kill them off whenever possible.

    Remember, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you get the chance to kill something with SW:Death – do it. Priests and Warriors are the only classes that I know of that have a special ability that triggers off of landing killing blows that’s actually significant. For Priests it’s mana regen via the Spirit Tap glyph and for Warriors it’s additional damage and healing via Victory Rush (I love that spell). Stealing killing blows from other Priests and Warriors is kind of mean, so at least consider whether or not you’re sure you want to steal a kill from one of them, but for all other classes just remember – you’re a Sith Lord, not some code-following Jedi.

  • LFG Boss Rotations: Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, SW:Death, Mind Flay x2, Mind Blast
  • This is the rotation I prefer to use with a boss fight. You start it off by applying all three of your DoT’s, then a Mind Blast to trigger the replenishment effect for your party. SW:Death comes next to deal some instant damage and also give you back 10% of your mana form the Masochism talent followed by Mind Flay casts until Mind Flay comes off of cooldown.

    Refresh your DoT’s as needed and cast Mind Blast when it’s not on cooldown both for the damage and for the replenishment effect. SW:Death will help you keep your own mana topped off, but feel free to skip casting it if you feel like you’re dealing too much damage to yourself to justify casting it. Sniping a boss kill with SW:Death is a lot harder than normal mobs because so many different people will be hitting it at the same time that you’ll usually end up casting it too early or the boss is dead before you get the cast off.

    Talent Spec: 49 Shadow Priest

    • Improved Mind Blast (+2) 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 2 sec., and while in Shadowform your Mind Blast also has a 100% chance to reduce all healing done to the target by 10% for 10 sec.
    • Improved Psychic Scream 2/2: Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Scream spell by 4 sec.
    • Vampiric Embrace 1/1: Fills you with the embrace of Shadow energy, causing you to be healed for 6% and other party members to be healed for 3% of any single-target Shadow spell damage you deal for 30 min.
    • Masochism 2/2: When you take a damaging attack equal to or greater than 10% of your total health or damage yourself with your Shadow Word: Death, you instantly gain 10% of your total mana.
    • Silence 1/1: Silences the target, preventing them from casting spells for 5 sec. Non-player victim spellcasting is also interrupted for 3 sec.
    • Mind Melt 1/2:
      Increases the damage done with your Shadow Word: Death by 15% on targets at or below 25% health, and when you deal damage with Mind Spike, the cast time of your next Mind Blast is reduced by 25% lasting 6 sec. Mind Melt can stack up to 2 times.
    • Vampiric Touch 1/1: Causes 540 Shadow damage over 15 sec to your target and causes up to 10 party or raid members to gain 1% of their maximum mana per 10 sec when you deal damage from Mind Blast.

    The first thing on the list here is to finish off Improved Mind Blast so that we can get that cooldown reduced and use it more often. If you already spent points here then I suggest you put those two points into Twisted Faith instead so that you can turn your Spirit into Hit Rating.

    Improved Psychic Scream by itself isn’t all that great unless you’re really using Scream a lot, but the reason we’re taking it is to open up access to Silence further down the tree. If you don’t want either of these two talents, which I know some of you will not, then I suggest putting 2 points into Harnessed Shadows to increase your Shadow Orb generation and move the point in Silence over to Mind Melt to max it.

    Vampiric Embrace is an excellent buff that causes your direct damage spells to heal you and your party for a percentage of the damage that you do. You want to keep this buff active at all times.

    Masochism is the moon to our mana pool’s sun, otherwise known as Shadow Word: Death. It causes you to restore 10% of your Total Mana any time a single attack hits you for at least 10% of your health or when you damage yourself with SW:Death. So if you cast SW:Death and it doesn’t kill them, then this talent restores 10% of your mana, but if it does kill them then the Glyph of Spirit Tap will restore 12% of your total mana. It’s a win-win situation.

    Silence is an excellent tool. If you’re just solo questing then you can probably skip this one because casters aren’t going to be a huge threat to you. If you’re doing LFG or PvP though, then you want to be able to use this. The main reason I took it was to get the casters to close into melee range on the ignorant tanks I was running with who didn’t know to pull melee mobs onto the casters so they would stop trying to kill our healers.

    Mind Melt has a couple of really cool effects, though we only benefit from one of them in this level bracket. Increasing the damage that SW:Death deals to targets below 25% health helps to ensure that you get your 12% mana returns from the Glyph of Spirit Tap when you kill targets with SW: Death. I only have one point in it for now, but the next talent point we get outside of this bracket I placed here to increase it further.

    Vampiric Touch is the final touch we were waiting for to solidify the end of our mana issues. This spell is a DoT with a cast time, but we can put it on any number of targets. It also has the added benefit of causing a Replenishment effect on up to 10 raid/party members in your group when you cast Mind Blast. Replenishment causes the targets to restore 10% of their maximum mana over 10 seconds. Once you get this spell it becomes the one you’ll use to pull from here on.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyhphs

    Even though mana issues melt away in this level range and you can more freely use your DoT’s, I still think that Mind Flay is the best choice here because of how often you’ll end up casting it, especially on boss fights. Using SW:Pain will increase your DPS on trash in LFG if you’re spreading your DoT’s around, but you’ll have to decide how important that is to you. I would freely support the use of either one, though.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
    • Glyph of Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.

    Without a doubt, your major glyph of choice is Spirit Tap. This glyph is what causes you to stop having mana issues. I’ve recently found that I’m pulling threat like crazy, so I’m pushing Fade up a bit in the priority list. Psychic Scream is a decent option, especially if you’re going to run LFG, but I generally cast this when soloing or in PvP where I would prefer the targets flee.

    Minor Glyphs

    I don’t find Levitate to be nearly as useful as a Mage’s Slowfall spell, but it’s not a bad substitute so I like to be able to cast it without having to worry about a reagent. Fortitude is a great option if you like to chain LFG runs for quick and easy experience as it will cut down on your mana consumption. You shouldn’t have problems with mana, but there’s no reason to waste it, right? Fading isn’t bad, especially if you find yourself pushing your tank’s threat a lot. Where Fortitude reduces your mana spending outside of combat, Fading does so during combat so you might find it more useful.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    At this level range you should have enough of your mana returning spells and effects that Spirit isn’t quite so important now as far as mana is concerned. Spirit is still a good stat to have, especially with points in Twisted Faith turning it into Hit Rating, but at this point I wouldn’t bother stacking it above other stats that are more important to your DPS.

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

    So I’ve changed up the priority list just a little bit, dropping Spirit down a couple of notches because it’s not as important anymore. Intellect is always the top priority for DPS casters as it provides mana, spellpower, and spell crit. I have Haste ranked next because it can increase your DPS in multiple ways, but it’s especially good for classes that make use of DoT’s. I bumbed Crit up in the list mostly because of the drop in Spirit’s importance, but also because watching all of your DoT’s crit and taking a target from 85% down to 14% is a wonderful sight to see, and makes excellent SW:Death fodder for refilling your mana pool.

     
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    Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     

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