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Category Archives: Leveling

Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Enhancement

The first class I ever really tried to get into on my own was the Shaman. My first toon was a Hunter that I got to level 20, but I had no idea what I was doing and just shot things in the face until they either died or closed into melee range with me. But the Shaman was the first class that I ever did any research on to try to learn how to play it and play it well. In looking at the class my first impressions were to be Elemental or Resto because casting just seemed so much more powerful than melee back in the day, but then I eventually found out the insane burst damage of Windfury and I was sold.

I’ve leveled up a few Enhancement Shamans in my time, though none of them ever reached max level. My highest level Shaman to date was level 54, an Orc Enhancement Shaman named Belgawrath. But during Wrath my wife’s main was an Enhancement Shaman so I’m continually reading guides and blog posts about the class and spec so that I can pass on all of the important information to her.

But now the time comes once again for me to level my own, but this time I’m going all the way to 85.


Playing an Enhancement Shaman
Enhancement Shamans are a great example of a hybrid class that has a truly hybrid playstyle as well. You’re a dual wielding melee class that deals a large portion of your damage as magic damage rather than just melee. Being tied so closely to the elements also means that you have a lot of flavor in the magic that you use as well, and though it’s all elemental, it’s not all tied to a specific element.

Of the dual wielding classes you’re more closely related to the Death Knight, in my opinion, than any other. Rather than weaving diseases into your melee, you’re instead weaving bursts of elemental damage, and rather than summoning the dead for aid you call on the spirit of wolves. You’re not a sneaky Rogue, or a pansy Hunter afraid of getting hit. You might be similar to a Fury Warrior, but I’ve honestly never played one of those beyond level 14 so I can’t say from experience.

Of all the characters I’ve ever played, the Shaman gives me the strongest feeling of actually “being there” in combat. All Shamans are able to take on the form of a Ghost Wolf, but only Enhancement (early on at least) can do so instantly, and I absolutely love turning into a wolf, charging towards an opponent and unleashing my fury on them, then instantly dropping back into wolf form to charge down the next target. It might not do much for you, but I’m a huge fan.

Shamans also come with a very special class mechanic that is all their own: Totems. Totems work similar to the party/raid-wide buffs of other classes, but rather than being cast on players they are instead centered around a totem that is placed on the ground. When the totems are active, they grant their buff to a wide area. Most totems work in that fashion, providing buffs of one kind or another, but there are others that deal/heal damage or summon elemental pets for their duration as well. We’ll get into the specifics a little bit later for those you’ll actually use as Enhancement, but it deserved a mention here.

Shamans also have another special class mechanic which is their Shields. Shamans have three different Shield spells, with Lightning Shield and Water Shield available to all specs, and Earth Shield available only to Restoration Shamans. Each of these shields is built around a “charges” mechanic that has a specific effect whenever a charge is triggered to be used. Lightning Shield deals damage, Water Shield restores mana, and Earth Shield heals the target when they get hit. More on those later as well.

Enhancement-Specific Tips
As Enhancement you don’t use a whole lot of your mana during combat, and what you do use you’ll typically regenerate through your class abilities anyway. You still cast spells very frequently, but you typically don’t have to worry too much about mana. As a melee class though, you are a bit more “squishy” than many other melee classes because you only wear Leather armor until level 40 where you upgrade to Mail. But remember that Shamans are also healers, and because you’re not spending much of your mana it’s usually not a problem for you to stop the offense for the sake of casting a healing spell on yourself.

As a DPS spec you’ll typically want to use Lightning Shield to deal additional damage whenever an enemy hits you with an attack. At later levels you may occasionally switch to Water Shield instead to be sure you have adequate mana. In this level range, Lightning Shield is a passive DPS spell, dealing damage only when you’re attacked, but at higher levels you’ll also be able to trigger the charges of Lightning Shield with your attacks.

Remember that Shamans are a partially hybrid class with a very hybrid playstyle. You’re meant to be able to heal while you’re in your DPS spec, so do so. You’re not supposed to be “the healer”, but you are designed to be able to toss those heals out there when they’re needed. Shamans can be very “squishy”, taking a lot of damage in a short time, but we also pack some very efficient healing to get us through those times. At these low levels your healing spells will nearly restore you to full in a single cast. You can take that one of two ways: either you can heal in the middle of combat to be sure to make it to the end, or you can push yourself and your damage potential to be able to destroy your enemies quickly and efficiently, and then heal yourself back up to full at the end of combat.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 1-10

  • Lightning Bolt (1): Casts a bolt of lightning at the target for 39 to 43 Nature damage.
  • Primal Strike (3): An instant weapon strike that causes 10 additional damage.
  • Strength of Earth Totem (4): This totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards.
  • Earth Shock (5): Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing 49 to 51 Nature damage and reducing melee and ranged attack speed by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • Lightning Shield (8): The caster is surrounded by 3 balls of lightning. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for Nature damage. This expends one lightning ball. Only one ball will fire every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.
  • Flametongue Weapon (10): Imbue the Shaman’s Weapon with fire, increasing total spell damage by 408(?).
  • Searing Totem (10): This totem repeatedly attacks an enemy within 20 yards for fire damage. The totem will prefer to target enemies that are afflicted by your Flame Shock or Stormstrike effects. Lasts for 1 minute.

Lightning Bolt is the ability you start off with, and what you’ll be spamming for a few levels in order to kill things quickly. As you get higher in level you’ll cast this less and less until you final get a talent that allows you to cast it instantly, but that won’t happen in this level range. Primal Strike is going to be one of your best friends in this level bracket as one of the few melee attacks you have access to. If you’re in melee range then you want to use Primal Strike whenever it’s not on cooldown.

Strength of Earth Totem is your primary Earth totem now and forever. It provides both Strength and Agility to your group, both of which contribute to your primary damage stat Attack Power. I couldn’t find the exact amount that it grants you at level 29 and neither of my shamans right now is the right level to test it to see. Earth Shock is one of your bread and butter attacks, it’s an instant burst of damage which also provides a nice attack speed reduction to the target for a bit of additional survivability.

At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which is one of your primary buffs as it passively deals damage to anyone attacking you. Keeping this buff active is a bit of a pain until level 25 at which time you can add a glyph that prevents the orbs from being expended and instead turns it into a flat 10 minute buff. Flametongue Weapon is one of our most important weapon imbues at at level 10 you’ll have it on both of your weapons. Wowhead tells me that 408 Spell Power is the value at level 29, but that sounds way too high to me so I think the numbers are wrong.

Last up on the 1-10 list is Searing Totem which is your primary Fire totem for the rest of the game. It deals decent damage for now that will increase a lot more as you get higher in level and spend talent points to enhance its effect.

By choosing Enhancement as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
Lava Lash: You charge your off-hand weapon with lava, instantly dealing 200% of that weapon’s damage to an enemy target. Damage is increased by 40% if your off-hand weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
Mental Quickness: Increases your spell power by an amount equal to 50% of your attack power, and reduces the mana cost of your instant beneficial, damaging, and totem spells by 75%.
Dual Wield: Allows one-hand and off-hand weapons to be equipped in your off-hand, allows you to parry frontal melee attacks, and increases your chance to hit by an additional 6%.
Primal Wisdom: Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to immediately restore 5% of your base mana.
Master: Enhanced Elements: Increases all Fire, Frost, and Nature damage done by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.

Lava Lash is one of our signature attacks, one that you’ll use very frequently and will be a big contribution to your overall damage. Mental Quickness is how our spell damage remains viable as a melee class that weaves spell damage into most of what we do, and it reduces spell costs by a 75% which is how we manage to cast spells as a class that doesn’t stack Intellect.

Dual Wield is another signature of our spec, allowing us to wield two weapons at once, and it’s one of the reasons I love playing this class as much as I do. Primal Wisdom relates to Mental Quickness up above, providing us with the means to regenerate our mana through melee combat so that we can continue casting spells even with a relatively small mana pool.

Enhanced Master doesn’t actually turn on until level 80, but it’s a big boost to damage once you do get access to it.

Level 11-20

  • Flametongue Totem (12): This totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%. Lasts 5 minutes.
  • Flame Shock (14): Instantly sears the target with fire, causing 28 Fire damage immediately and 48 Fire damage over 18 seconds.
  • Purge (12): Purges the enemy target, removing 1 beneficial Magic effect.
  • Ghost Wolf (16): Turns the Shaman into a Ghost Wolf, increaes speed by 30%. As a Ghost Wolf, the Shaman is less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
  • Wind Shear (16): Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school form being cast for 2 seconds. Also lowers your threat, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Cleanse Spirit (18): Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
  • Earthbind Totem (18): This totem slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards of the totem. Lasts for 45 seconds.
  • Water Shield (20): The caster is surrounded by 3 globes of water, graning 15 mana per 5 seconds. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, mana is restored to the caster. This expends one water globe. Only one globe will activate every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.

Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, but not a huge benefit to us as Enhancement. When I’m grouped with two or more casters I usually use this one instead of Searing Totem to benefit the group more. Flame Shock is our other bread and butter shock that we’ll use all the time. Flame Shock is best used on targets with large health pools, such as dungeon bosses, so that it will be active for the 18 seconds it takes for its full damage to take its place.

I decided to list Purge here as an offensive dispel, which I don’t often do. For the most part you’ll cast this in PvP to remove buffs from enemy targets, but there are some buffs you’ll want to remove in PvE as well. Since PvP is definitely a viable option for leveling your characters now, you’re going to see me mentioning things like this more than I used to. Ghost Wolf is a wonderful movement speed buff, allowing us to take on the form of a wolf to move faster. That second sentence in the description above means that you cannot go below 100% movement speed while in Ghost Wolf form. So you move at 130% normally with the buff, and you cannot be slowed below the 100%. Note that that applies to effects, not conditions, so you’ll still be slowed by things such as being in water.

Wind Shear is primarily used for its spell interrupting feature, though it does also reduce your threat in a group setting. I primarily use this on crowd control spells being cast on my party (like the Sleep spell cast by the Druids in Wailing Caverns) or to counter healing spells. In PvP you can use it on Player Pets that you haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking you. An experienced PvP player will quickly put them back on you, but you’d be surprised how many players don’t notice. Cleanse Spirit can remove Curse debuffs cast on you or your party, which is actually pretty common. Even though you’re playing a DPS spec it’s good practice to be in the habit of dispelling Curses as you can save your healers time and mana.

Earthbind Totem is somewhat situational. It’s a great totem for PvP, especially to slow Flag Carriers or pursuers of your Flag Carrier, or for allowing you to escape a deadly situation. In PvE it can slow mobs who run away when they’re low on health or it can be used to get some distance between you and your attackers to get a heal cast if you’re in danger of dying. Water Shield is the alternative to Lightning Shield, but not typically used by Enhancement. If you do find yourself in need of mana then you can certainly switch to Water Shield to get it back faster. I often switch to this shield in LFG in my upper-20′s as I start using more of our mana-intensive spells for AoE damage, but for soloing and questing I stick to Lightning Shield.

Level 21-29

  • Frost Shock (22): Instantly shocks the target with frost, causing 46 to 48 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50%. Lasts 8 seconds. Causes a high amount of threat.
  • Water Walking (24): Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 minutes. Any damage will cancel the effect.
  • Frostbrand Weapon (26): Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with frost. Each hit has a chance of causing additional Frost damage and slowing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds. Lasts 30 minutes.
  • Chain Lightning (28): Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 55 to 61 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Each jump reduces the damage by 30%. Affects 3 total targets.
  • Fire Nova (28): Causes the shaman’s active Flametongue, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.

Frost Shock is another spell that I mention primarily for its usefulness in PvP. Slowing targets is a pretty big deal in a lot of PvP matches and talent points can be spent to make it freeze your target in place instead of just slowing them as well. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners; Earth and Flame Shocks are more useful in PvE.

Water Walking is a cool utility spell that allows you to move on water. It’s great for certain PvP Battlegrounds and has some small usefulness in certain dungeons as well. For PvE can save you a little travel time prior to having a flying mount by letting you cut across water without being slowed down. Frostbrand Weapon is one you’ll only use in PvP as all of the other imbues offer better damage, but in PvP this can be a really good enchant to roll with.

Chain Lightning is our first AoE spell, and an interesting one in that it’s more multi-target than AoE. You’ll only really use this one in LFG or perhaps in PvP, unless you’re a AoE crazed leveler like myself in which case you’ll use it all the time. If you do use this one often then you’ll want to be sure to use Water Shield to keep your mana supply high. Fire Nova is our first literal AoE spell, dealing damage in a ring around our Fire totems. Searing Totem is our primary Fire totem when soloing, but it doesn’t allow Fire Nova to be cast through it, so you’ll need to remember to plant the right totems to use it, and the nova is centered on the totem itself, so you’ll need to drop your totem near your targets for it to be useful.

Leveling an Enhancement Shaman

  • Questing Single Mob: Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, (swap targets), Lava Lash, Flame Shock
  • LFG Trash Rotation: (Totems), Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
  • LFG Boss Rotations: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]

[NOTE: At level 29 you should replace Primal Strike with Stormstrike. Remove PS from your bars completely and forget that it exists. The two share a cooldown and are designed such that Stormstrike takes its place for Enhancement. Stormstrike is a better ability in every possible way and should be used from level 29 on.]

Questing Single Mob
In this rotation you’re just going to destroy targets as fast as possible. If you’re using heirloom weapons then I definitely suggest you stick to using Earth Shock as your go-to shock spell, but if you’re not using heirlooms then you might find Flame Shock to be a better option for the opening cast as it’s DoT damage will add up over time to be even more than Earth Shock. Any shocks you cast after the first one should be Earth Shocks though, unless you missed with the Flame Shock cast.

Questing Multi-Mob
If you know that your’e going to face multiple mobs, or multiple groups of mobs, go ahead and cast your totems before you get started on the actual combat. Just remember not to drop aggressive totems (like Searing) until you’re within range for it to hit your target(s) and you’re ready for combat to start.

I don’t suggest you intentionally get into combat with multiple targets as Enhancement unless you’re using heirlooms or are over-geared for the mobs you’re facing. Shamans have some good healing spells and a lot of utility, but they’re also pretty easily killed in this level range if you’re taking sustained damage.

If you do have good gear and decent survivability though, I suggest you go with this rotation. The point here is primarily to get Flame Shock cast on all of your targets so that they’re all taking damage, and then speeding up their deaths with your melee attacks. Light one up, bash them in the face a time or two, switch targets and repeat.

If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. If you find yourself running short on mana because you’re healing go ahead and switch over to Water Shield for the mana return and switch back to Lightning Shield when your health and mana are at a more manageable level.

LFG Trash
This one is the same as solo questing, except that sometimes you might want to bother with totems and others you might not. I don’t cast my totems by default at this level when I’m doing LFG, instead I wait to see how quickly we’re progressing through the instance. If we’re moving at a fast pace then I usually don’t bother with any of them until we see a boss. If we’re going kind of slow or we have people who are /afk or something, then I’ll go ahead and drop the totems to increase everyone’s performance.

For most trash pulls though, just stick to Earth Shocks and using your melee strikes as often as possible.

Wind Shear: Deserves a special mention here though. Shamans have crazy-good spell interruption capabilities thanks to Wind Shear. If you see a mob casting spells, particularly a healer, interrupt as many of their spells as possible. If you’re in instances with caster mobs who are especially annoying (LOOKING AT YOU, WAILING CAVERNS DRUIDS!!!) then be sure to make use of Wind Shear when they’re casting the spell you don’t want to go through.

LFG Boss
For bosses you want to maximize your DPS potential. That means that you’re going to make sure Flame Shock stays active on the boss as long as possible, and that you’re going to utilize your totems for the good of your group.

Totems: Strength of Earth, Flametongue, Healing Stream

Using Searing Totem will give you a higher, personal DPS score on a boss fight, but if you have at least one caster DPS in your group then you should probably lean towards Flametongue as both they and the healer will benefit from it as will you, though to a lesser extent. If there are no caster DPS in the group then switch your Fire totem over to Searing and drop it right next to the boss when you move into melee range.

Once Flame Shock is dealing its damage you’ll start rotating through your melee attacks and casting Earth Shock as filler while you wait to refresh Flame Shock. If you time your shocks just right you can get two Earth Shocks off with almost perfect timing for your shocks to refresh just as Flame Shock ends, allowing you to reapply it immediately with no time lost.

Wind Shear will still work on many boss abilities at low levels, so be ready to use it when you get the chance as Shamans have a fairly flexible and laid back rotation at this point. Spells you want to interrupt in particular are healing spells and AoE damage spells such as Chain Lightning. I could go into specifics, but this is a class guide, not a boss guide, so just use your own judgement.

Talent Spec: 29 Enhancement Shaman

  • Focused Strikes 3/3: Increases the damage dealt by your Primal Strike and Stormstrike abilities by 45%.
  • Elemental Weapons 2/2: Increases the passive bonuses granted by your Flametongue Weapon and Earthliving Weapon abilities by 40%, the damage of your extra attacks from Windfury Weapon by 40%, and the effectiveness of the ongoing benefits of your Unleash Elements ability by 50%.
  • Ancestral Swiftness 2/2: Reduces the cast time of your Ghost Wolf spell by 2 seconds and increases the movement speed by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Flurry 3/3: Increases your attack speed by 30% for your next 3 swings after dealing a critical strike.
  • Stormstrike 1/1: [Instant cast, 8 second cooldown] Instantly strike an enemy with both weapons, dealing 125% weapon damage and granting you an additional 25% chance to critically strike the enemy with your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lightning Shield, and Earth Shock spells for 15 seconds.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

With Lava Lash being a staple attack and the fact that you get it at level 10, this is my first choice of Prime Glyphs, increasing its damage by 20%. Next up is Stormstike, though you don’t get that spell until level 29, as the bonus crit can be useful. Finally I have Flame Shock listed though it’s important to note that it’s really only useful in LFG boss fights or in PvP as typical mobs and dungeon trash will not live long enough for even the normal duration to matter.

Major Glyphs

Lightning Shield is overall going to be the most useful glyph for you here; it’s how you turn your Lightning Shield into a solid 10 minute buff instead of lasting only for three hits worth. Ghost Wolf is my next choice because moving faster is always a good thing, both in PvE and PvP. Frost Shock deserves a mention for those of you interested in getting into some low level PvP, though I would generally suggest Ghost Wolf above this one.

Fire Nova is probably the best investment if you’re looking to beef up your AoE ability in dungeons by increasing its radius and taking away the hassle of replanting your totems. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.

Minor Glyphs

I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form. The only other Minor Glyph available at this level range is Thunderstorm which is a spell that only Elemental Shamans can use, so it’s completely worthless to you.

Gearing Up Your Shaman
As Enhancement your primary stat is Agility. Each point gives you 2 Attack Power and it also boosts your Melee Crit (and Dodge). Intellect boosts your Spell Power on a 1:1 ratio, and it also increases your Spell Crit and your mana. Strength is a decent stat for you as it still gives a 1:1 ratio for Attack Power, but it’s not something you really want to seek out unless you just cannot find any Agility pieces at all for those slots.

You also want to look for gear with Hit on it in particular since you take a penalty to melee hits for dual wielding. You don’t need a ton of Hit to get you by while you’re leveling, but if you find some good Agility pieces that also have Hit on them then be sure to pick them up.

For green gear with random enchants you’re probably most interested in “..of the Falcon” (Agility and Intellect), “..of the Tiger” (Agility and Strength), and “..of the Monkey” (Agility and Stamina).

As you get into running random dungeons you’re looking for items with the “..of Agility” and “..of the Bandit” (Agility, Stamina, and Crit) enchant on them from the Satchel of Helpful Goods.

There are two ways you can look at gearing up your low level Shaman. You can either go for maximum killing potential, which is stacking Agility above all else, or you can go with a more balanced build where you look for gear with both Agility and Stamina. I prefer maximizing my damage potential, personally, and going for good survival pieces in slots that I have no Agility piece to fill in. If you’re not used to healing on the fly as a DPS spec though, you might want to lean more towards survival.

Dungeon Gear
There are a lot of good pieces of gear that you can find in low level dungeons, some of them pretty decent and some rather outstanding. I’m not going to go into detail as far as which pieces to pair up from which dungeons to get a “best in slot” list, but I will give you a list of the items that if they dropped for me, I would consider rolling on if they were an upgrade to what I currently had.

A lot of the “good” lower level gear is tuned more towards Strength, which is still good though it’s not great. Agility is where it’s at, so don’t pass up an Agility piece for a Strength piece unless the value is at least twice that of the Agility piece.

Ragefire Chasm
Oggleflint’s Inspirer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Crit
Subterranean Cap: Cloak, 4 Strength, 4 Agility
Hide Vest of the Hungerer: Chest, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

The Hide Vest is a quest reward available to Horde only.

The Deadmines
Defias Leather Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, BOots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cape of the Brotherhood: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Smelting Pants: Legs, 8 Agility, 4 Stamina, 4 Crit
Smite’s Reaver: One-handed Axe, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Tenderizer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 2 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Meat Mallet: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Stamina
Cookie’s Table Cloth: Cloak, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina

The last two items are both quest rewards, but the same quest and rewards exist for both factions.

The Defias Leather set is a great set to have, unfortunately the Chest is no longer available in the game now that Cataclysm has replaced the final boss. The four remaining pieces are still very good, but they all have low drop rates. The good thing about this set though, is that it’s all BoE so you do have a chance of finding it on the auction house.

Wailing Caverns
Glowing Lizardscale Cloak: Cloak, 6 Agility, 2 Stamina
Embrace of the Viper Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, Boots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cobrahn’s Boots: Boots, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Cobrahn’s Boots are a quest reward, available to both factions. The Embrace of the Viper set is an example of the exceptional armor. Unlike the Defias Leathers from Deadmines, all but one of the pieces from the Embrace set are BoP, so you’ll have to farm all but the Gloves yourself if you want them, but the drop rates are significantly higher than the Defias set.

Shadowfang Keep
Wolfmaster Cape: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Silverlaine’s Family Seal: Ring, 5 Strength, 3 Stamina
Butcher’s Cleaver: One-handed Axe, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina
Baron’s Scepter: On-handed Mace, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Black Wolf Bracers: Wrists, 3 Agility, 4 Stamina, 3 Crit
Shadowfang Spaulders: Shoulders, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Blackfathom Deeps
Naga Battle Gloves: Gloves, 7 Agility, 7 Stamina
Bands of Serra’kis: Bracers, 5 Agility, 5 Stamina
Dusk-Stained Cloak: Cloak, 5 Strength, 5 Stamina
Band of the Skull Crusher: Ring, 7 Strength
Aluwyn’s Legguards: Legs, 8 Agility, 10 Stamina

The last three items are all Alliance-only quest rewards.

The Naga Battle Gloves have a pretty high drop rate, so if you haven’t scored better gloves then these are a really good and pretty easily obtained option.

The Stockades
Hogger’s Trousers: Legs, 9 Agility, 9 Hit
Standard Issue Prisoner Shoes: Boots, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Rifle Commander’s Eyepatch: Helm, 8 Agility, 11 Stamina, 8 Hit

These are all really great items, especially the legs and helm. As a dual wielding class Hit rating is important because you take a penalty for wielding two weapons, and both of these pack a great amount of Hit as well as exceptional Agility and Stamina.

Gnomeregan
Charged Gear: Ring, 4 Arcane Resist, 4 Nature Resist, (Random Enchant)
Temple’s Vest: Chest, 7 Agility, 11 Stamina, 7 Crit

Temple’s Vest is an Alliance-only quest reward.

The Charged gear by itself looks pretty crappy, I know. But, the random enchant on it can be exceptional. You’re looking for “Charged Gear of..”: the Tiger (7 Agi, 7 Str), the Falcon (7 Agi, 7 Int), the Monkey (7 Agi, 7 Stam), Agility (10 Agi), or Strength (10 Str). I listed those in the order I would personally rank them, with “..of the Tiger” coming out on top as it provides a total of 21 Attack Power.

PvP Rewards
Sentinel’s Medallion: Neck, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Defiler’s Chain Greaves: Boots, 8 Agility, 8 Stamina, Increased Run Speed

Both of these items can be purchased with Honor, and you can get all the honor you need for them in about 2-3 Battlegrounds worth of fighting. The run speed on the boots is particularly worth looking into, even if the stats themselves aren’t as great as other boots you might already have.

There are two versions of the necklace, one for each faction. There are also multiple copies of them for different level ranges, so you can also get one of these for other level ranges, including level 19. You’ll have to travel to Ashenvale to purchase this as Alliance, and Northern Barrens as Horde since they are sold by the Warsong Gulch vendors.

The Boots come in multiple names as well as two versions of each for their respective factions. They also come in multiple level ranges just like the necklace, so you can keep coming back at different level ranges for definite upgrades, though you can’t get them for lower than the 29 bracket. To purchase these you’ll have to travel to Arathi Highlands for both factions, as the Arathi Basin vendors are the ones who sell them.

 

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Priest Leveling: 70-85 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
Priest Leveling: 50-69 Shadow

Playing a Shadow Priest
You’re going to find a couple of changes to how you play a Shadow Priest in this level range. The first thing is that you actually get an AoE spell at level 74. It’s not great, but it is useful if you’re in an AoE situation and you’ve already got your DoT’s spread around. The second change is that once you hit 81 you get a new spell that completely changes how you quest, called Mind Spike. I’ll get into the specifics of it down below, but for now just know that you have two methods of leveling through Cataclysm content at that point – DoT’s or Nukes.

We still run out of mana easily, but we also still have a lot of tools for getting that mana back. As we spend talent points in the Discipline tree we get even more ways to manage our mana successfully while also increasing our performance. Again, more on that down below.

Shadow-Specific Tips
Playing a Shadow Priest even at level 85 shares a lot of similarities to other classes. We’re part Warlock, part Mage, part (healer of choice), and 100% face melt. We have multiple play styles within a single spec, have excellent survivability spells, we heal while we kill, and we’re just plain fun to play.

The tips for playing Shadow in particular remain mostly the same. Finish off every mob that you can with Shadow Word: Death casts to trigger the mana regeneration from your talent points and glyphs, as that is the most common form of replenishing our mana. Speaking of replenishment, make sure you follow a rotation that allows you to take advantage of other forms of mana return, such as the Replenishment effect you get from casting Mind Blast on a target that already has your Vampiric Touch debuff active.

If you step away from your DoT rotation after level 81 and switch over to Mind Spike and Mind Blast, remember that you can still take advantage of your mana regenerating abilities, including Replenishment from Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast. Also remember that if you’re using the direct damage route rather than DoT’s, you’ll often encounter mobs while questing that die from the direct damage crits before you can trigger SW:Death returns so you might consider dropping back to a DoT rotation for a single mob now and then just to trigger those returns.

No matter which rotation you tend to use the most when you’re soloing or fighting dungeon trash, remember to stay flexible for the situation you’re in.

Mana Issues
Shadow Priests have mana issues no matter what level you are. The higher you get in level though, the more tools you get to manage your mana and restore it so that it’s less and less of an issue for you, but it’s not so much that the mana issues go away as it is you learning how to deal with them and get around them so that they no longer hinder your performance.

The following are your tools for managing your mana.

Vampiric Touch: Causes up to 10 party/raid members to regain 10% of their mana over 10 seconds if you cast Mind Blast on a target that’s inflicted with Vampiric Touch. Vampiric Touch itself has no cooldown, but the trigger for the replenishment effect (Mind Blast) has a default cooldown of 8 seconds which can be reduced to 6 seconds by spending 3 talent points in the Improved Mind Blast talent.

Shadow Word: Death: By itself does nothing for mana returns, however 2 talent points in the Masochism talent causes you to regain 10% of your mana instantly if you cast SW:Death and do not kill the target. The Glyph of Spirit Tap causes you to regain 12% of your mana over 12 seconds when you do kill a target with SW:Death. Default cooldown is 10 seconds, but the Glyph of Shadow Word: Death causes the cooldown to instantly refresh if you cast it on a target below 25% health if it doesn’t kill them which allows you to double-dip either Masochism for 20% mana instantly if they don’t die from both casts, or Masochism + Glyph of Spirit Tap for 10% mana instantly plus 12% mana over 12 seconds.

Dispersion: The keystone of the Shadow Talent tree, this ability restores 6% of your mana every second for 6 seconds, a total of 36% mana returned. Default cooldown is 2 minutes, but can be reduced to 75 seconds by use of the Glyph of Dispersion.

Shadowfiend: A summoned pet which restores 3% of your mana every time it attacks. Over it’s 15 second duration it averages around 10 attacks if it’s not killed or CC’ed in some manner, resulting in up to 30% mana return. Default cooldown is 5 minutes which can be reduced to 4 minutes with 2 talent points in Veiled Shadows, and 2 talent points in Sin and Punishment reduces the current cooldown by 10 seconds every time your Mind Flay crits.

Archangel: From the Discipline tree restores up to 25% of your mana instantly when you use it. In order to use Archangel you have to build stacks of Evangelism which you do by casting Mind Flay, resulting in 1 stack each time Mind Flay deals damage up to a maximum of 5 stacks, and each stack results in 5% mana returned by Archangel. Cooldown is 90 seconds.

Hymn of Hope: A channeled spell that restores 2% mana to up to 3 targets low on mana, ever 2 seconds for 8 seconds. It also increases the targets’ mana pools by 15% for 8 seconds (this effect is refreshed each time it ticks, so it lasts even after the channel). Cooldown is 6 minutes.

All of these effects allow you to replenish your mana at varying rates and amounts. Combined with one another they provide a vast amount of mana regen, enough even to go from 0 to full in a matter of seconds. One of the most effective ways to get your mana back if you need a large amount is to cast summon your Shadowfiend, channel Hymn of Hope, and then drop into Dispersion. Hymn of Hope’s 15% buff to your maximum mana means that the percentages of mana restored by Shadowfiend and Dispersion restore more per hit/tick than they would otherwise.

If you need some mana and you need it quick, toss a SW:Death cast on anything you can find that it won’t kill to regain 10% from the Masochism talent, follow that with two casts of Mind Flay to get 5 stacks of Evangelism and then pop Archangel for 25% mana instantly. That amount of mana should be enough to get you back on your feet and into a rotation that will restore even more mana if needed.

Important Spells & Abilities

  • Mass Dispel (72): Dispels magic in a 15 yard radius, removing 1 harmful spells from each friendly target and 1 beneficial spells from each enemy target. Affects a maximum of 10 friendly targets and 10 enemy targets. This dispel is potent enough to remove Magic effects that are normally undispellable.
  • Mind Sear (74): Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the target, causing 104 to 112 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target.
  • Mastery: Shadow Orb Power (80): Increases the damage done by your Shadow Orbs by 11.6%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 1.4%.
  • Mind Spike (81): Blasts the target for 1083 to 1143 Shadowfrost damage, but extinguishes your shadow damage-over-time effects from the target in the process. Mind Spike also increases the critical strike chance of your next Mind Blast on the target by 30%. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Inner Will (83): A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increasing your movement speed by 10%. Lasts 30 min.
  • Leap of Faith (85): You pull the spirit of the friendly party or raid target to you, instantly moving them directly in front of you.

Mass Dispel is a great spell to have, but one you probably won’t be casting very often unless the task is assigned to you in a raid or instance that has large scale AoE debuffs. I use it it PvP quite a bit, but basically never in PvE up to this point.

Mind Sear is our only Shadow AoE. It’s damage isn’t all that great, but it’s still a good option when you’ve got several mobs you want to damage at once when you’re in a group. The cool thing about it is that you can cast this on a friendly target because it doesn’t do anything to the actual target, instead it deals damage to everything around the target while you channel it. The bad thing is, it doesn’t deal damage to the target, so if you did cast it on a mob that mob doesn’t take damage from Mind Sear.

At level 80 we unlock our Mastery: Shadow Orb Power which gives us additional damage on our Shadow Orbs based on our Mastery stat. Our Mastery is pretty good, but I’ll leave it up to the experts to tell you how good and why.

Mind Spike is the spell that changes how we play, if we decide to use it. It’s a direct damage “nuke” spell that removes all of our DoT’s from the target with no benefit of doing so (unless you need to clear DoT’s off of a raid boss or something). It also puts a stacking debuff on the target that grants +30% Crit Chance to our next Mind Blast spell on the target, to a max of +90%. You now have the option of burning targets down with direct damage rather than waiting on your DoT’s to tick. I find the smoothest flow of questing is to use a combination of these two of different mobs I face at the same time, typically finishing my DoT target with SW:Death casts as the direct damage route often kills the mobs outright so that I can’t use SW:Death for mana regen.

Level 83 adds a new buff called Inner Will which gives a 10% movement buff it cuts the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 15%. Sadly you can’t have Inner Will and Inner Focus active at the same time, so I tend to use Inner Focus for the extra spellpower. It’s a good buff though, and one that I do take advantage of in certain PvP fights.

And our reward for reaching level 85 is Leap of Faith, more commonly known as “Life Grip”. It works just like the Death Knight spell Death Grip (hence the nickname), except that you cast it on your allies rather than your enemies. Its uses are endless, though most of them are mischievous. Just to point it out for the sake of completion, Leap of Faith is a Holy spell and it will take you out of Shadowform if you cast it.

Leveling a Shadow Priest

  • DoT Rotation: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word:Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay, Shadow Word:Death
  • Same old DoT rotation we’ve been using. In Wrath content you probably don’t need the Devouring Plague cast in there, but it will help you while you’re leveling through Cataclysm. Sometimes I use it while questing, sometimes I don’t so just figure out which method you prefer and go with it.

    After level 81 I rarely bother with the DoT rotation while I’m soloing because it’s just faster to kill things with the direct damage.

  • Direct Damage Rotation: Mind Spike, Mind Spike, Mind Spike, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, (Mind Flay if 30% health or higher), SW:Death
  • This is the rotation I end up using the most right now. I sneak a Vampiric Touch cast in before my Mind Blast so that I trigger Replenishment just in case the direct damage spells are enough to kill the target before I can SW:Death.

    If you’re running low on mana and you’ve already spent talent points in Evangelism and Archangel, then I suggest you go ahead and skip SW:Death on the end and instead cast a second Mind Flay to build up your 5 stack of Evangelism. Once you have that 5th stack go ahead and cast SW:Death if the target isn’t already dead, but don’t worry about it if they die during the Mind Flays. Once you have the 5 stack go ahead and pop Archangel for 25% of your mana instantly returned. You also get a 20% damage buff to your direct damage Shadow spells while it’s active so just keep right on killing things while you’ve got your wings.

  • LFG Trash Rotation: Vampiric Touch (1 target), Mind Blast (same target), Shadow Word: Pain (all targets) , Mind Sear (on the tank), SW:Death when possible
  • This one changed once again thanks to our new spells that became available. Get Replenishment going first with VT>MB and then start the SW:Pain spam rolling on all of the targets (assuming they won’t die in .2 seconds anyway). Follow that with Mind Sear on your tank for AoE waves of death and snipe every kill you can with SW:Death when it’s off cooldown.

    If the trash isn’t going to last long enough for SW:Pain to be cast on them I suggest you use the Nuke Rotation above and just apply it to the tank’s target.

  • 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, Archangel, 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. If you’re still worried about mana when Hymn is done channeling, pop your Dispersion for another 36% mana.

    Talent Spec: 85 Shadow Priest

    • Twin Disciplines 3/3: Increases your Shadow and Holy spell damage and healing by 6%.
    • Mental Agility 2/3: Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 7%.
    • Evangelism 2/2: You have a 100% chance when you Smite and 100% chance when you Mind Flay to gain Evangelism. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts for 20 seconds. [Dark Evangelism] Increases the damage done by your Periodic Shadow spells by 2%.
    • Archangel 1/1: Consumes your Evangelism effects, causing an effect depending what type of Evangelism effect is consumed. [Dark Archangel] Instantly restores 5% of your total mana and increases the damage done by your Mind Flay, Mind Spike, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death by 4% for each stack. Lasts for 18 seconds. 90 second cooldown.
    • Harnessed Shadows 2/2: Increases the chance for you to gain a Shadow Orb when dealing damage with your Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain by 8%, and you have a 100% chance to gain a Shadow Orb when critically hit by any attack.

    I decided to go straight into the Discipline tree once my mandatory 31 points had been placed in Shadow. I do go back and put a couple more points into Shadow at the end, but you get more benefit from reaching Evangelism/Archangel as early as possible.

    Twin Disciplines is a straight 6% bonus to our Shadow damage as well as our healing. We don’t do a whole lot of direct healing, but we do indirectly heal through abilities such as Devouring Plague which benefit here as well. Mental Agility will help with some of your mana issues, especially while you’re still killing everything with DoT’s.

    Evangelism by itself is is a nice bonus to your DoT damage, with 5 stacks granting them 10% more damage. When you combine it with Archangel though, it becomes both a damage increase and a mana returning tool. With all five stacks of Evangelism up casting Archangel will instantly restore 25% of your total mana and increase the damage of your direct damage spells by 20% for its duration. It also has the spiffy animation of giving you wings which just plain look cool.

    The last two points go back into the Shadow tree with Harnessed Shadows. Now that you can actually find and use the Mastery stat you might as well take advantage of getting extra use out of it, right? This talent helps you build up Shadow Orbs faster which increase your DPS when you cast Mind Blast or Mind Spike which consumes the orbs.

    Glyphs
    Level 75 opens the three remaining glyph slots, allowing for 3 of each type to be used.

    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.

    Primes for PvE
    I list the Prime Glyphs in the order that I suggest them. Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain are both great for your DPS, and the two I recommend most. Shadow Word: Death is another good option as it not only gives you a better chance of getting your Spirit Tap glyph and/or Masochism talent 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 if you’re using the methods I’ve been discussing throughout these guides to help manage your mana.

    Primes for PvP
    Dispersion is a fantastic glyph for PvP as it reduces damage, clears movement impairments, and restores your mana all at the same time. Shadow Word: Death is the next one on the list because being able to double your SW:Death casts on a target near death is very important in the world of Resilience stacking. Last up is Shadow Word: Pain as it’s the most likely DoT for you to cast on multiple people at once and it’s damage is already good so you’re only making it that much better.

    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.

    Majors for PvE
    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…maybe. 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 spend the talent point to get the spell in the first place before this glyph does you any good.

    Majors for PvP
    Fade is one of the more important glyphs in this bracket as reducing the cooldown of Fade means you’re able to break out of slows and snares more frequently thanks to the talent that adds that effect to Fade. Psychic Horror is next up on the list because it’s basically the key to you killing a healer as you’ll need to CC the snot out of them and then nail them with something like this to initiate the burn phase to bring them down. Psychic Scream is next up on my list because it allows you to still use the CC but also maintain control over the effect rather than having everyone run in random directions. Spirit Tap is still a really good glyph to use in PvP, but whether or not you use it I’ll leave up to you since you get more direct benefit from these others.

    Minor Glyphs

    Minors for PvE
    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.

    Minors for PvP
    I suggest you use Shadowfiend over Fading for PvP if you’re going to bother making any change here at all. Sometimes my Shadowfiend is CC’d, sometimes he’s left alone, and sometimes he’s killed. Levitate and Fortitude are still the best options overall.

    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

    Once you hit level 78 you might want to take a look at the Auction House for any green quality items from Cataclysm that are significant upgrades to your existing Wrath gear. You’ll likely replace it soon anyway, so don’t spend a fortune on it, just pick up any cheap pieces that are significant upgrades.

    Once you reach level 80 you can start to equip pieces of the Deathsilk Set made by tailors which is an excellent starting set for a Shadow Priest entering Cataclysm zones. There are eight pieces in the whole set, four of which can be used at level 80 and the other four at level 81. The full set provides almost 20,000 health and mana, over 1,300 Spellpower, 334 Haste, and a great amount of Hit, Crit, and Mastery as well. In total this set requires the following mats to craft from scratch:

    When you reach level 85 I suggest you pick up yet another tailor-made set of gear, though technically it’s not a “set” since there’s no bonus for wearing additional pieces. As with the Deathsilk set above, there are a total of eight pieces in this “set”, but all eight require level 85. Technically this gear is PvP gear since it has resilience on it, but due to the fact that Blizzard decided to make all of the level 85 crafted cloth gear PvP gear you’re just kind of out of luck. Luckily, the set has excellent stats anyway so it’s still a great place to start. With this set you’ll receive almost 28,000 health and mana, 1,800 Spellpower, 378 Haste, and even more Crit and Mastery, though the bonus to hit that Deathsilk offers is replaced by the Resilience stat for this set. In total this set requires the following mats to craft from scratch:

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

     

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    Paladin Leveling: 70-85 Protection

    Here we are now in the final stretch, finishing up Wrath content and both starting and finishing Cataclysm leveling content as you prepare for your gear and reputation grinds as you strive to get your gear improved enough for heroics and eventually raids as well.

    This guide will get you all the way to the level cap so you’ll have all of your spells and talents available to you at the end of this. If you aren’t already familiar with your various cooldowns and buffs, then now is the time to learn them. Go queue yourself up for a random dungeon and make a point of using all of your cooldowns at some point. If you’re still under level 81 then queue for Wrath dungeons so that you don’t have to worry about new mechanics just yet, and focus on learning how and when to use the spells you may have been ignoring up to this point.

    As always, remember that my guides are focused on getting you leveled up. I’m not here to get you ready for raiding, that’s for other bloggers who focus specifically on certain classes and the raiding aspect of the game.

    Playing a Protection Paladin
    So now you’re in Northrend level content and moving up towards Cataclysm content and the level cap. As far as playing your Prot Pally goes there’s not much difference at all, save that Northrend mobs are harder than Outlands mobs and Cataclysm mobs are harder than Northrend mobs. You can still do big AoE pulls in all the content you’ll level through in this range, though I suggest you go back to starting with small pulls of 2-4 until you get a feel for the mobs and then work your way up to bigger groups.

    Questing as Prot is both simple and effective. Keep on doing what you’ve been doing the whole time, keep an eye on your health when you enter new areas so you know what to expect in the way of healing and pulling, but otherwise just have at it.

    If you’re looking for specs, rotations, gear guides, and so forth for getting into heroics and raids, then I direct you to Righteous Defense, a blog written by my buddy @Rhidach, who I consider my go-to source for end game Paladin information.

    Protection-Specific Tips
    I don’t have much in the way of specific tips for you in this level range other than I love taking advantage of kill quests to use my AoE. I didn’t have any trouble at all with Northrend group quests until I got to the last couple of levels in Northrend, there’s one Group 5 quest in Ice Crown that I couldn’t handle at 78. Not a big deal, I just skipped it and went on to other quests.

    As you get into Cataclysm you’ll notice a big jump in how powerful mobs are compared to how relatively weak your gear is if you’re leveling straight through and weren’t raiding in Wrath before. While not specific to Prot, I suggest you check the Auction House or your crafting alts to get yourself some Cataclysm gear from level 78 on. Get yourself a new set of armor, a new weapon, and a new shield. You should be able to get a couple of rings and a neck for fairly cheap since Jewelcrafters mass produce them to level their profession. A good weapon and shield are probably going to cost you a couple hundred gold each, but it’ll be worth it.

    Important Spells & Abilities

    Level 70-85:

    • Avenging Wrath: Increases all damage and healing caused by 20% for 20 sec.
    • Resistance Aura: Gives additional Fire, Frost and Shadow resistance to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time.
    • Turn Evil: The targeted undead or demon enemy will be compelled to flee for up to 20 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Only one target can be turned at a time.
    • Hand of Sacrifice: Places a Hand on the party or raid member, transfering 30% damage taken to the caster. Lasts 12 sec or until the caster has transfered 100% of their maximum health. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.
    • Mastery: Divine Bulwark: Increases your chance to block melee attacks by 18%. Each point of Mastery increases block chance by an additional 2.25%.
    • Inquisition: Consumes all Holy Power to increase your Holy Damage by 30%. Lasts 4 sec per charge of Holy Power consumed.
    • Divine Radiance: Heals all friendly targets within 0 yards for up to 683 every sec, with effectiveness diminishing on targets farther than 8 yards away and for each additional player target beyond 6. Lasts 10 sec.
    • Guardian of Ancient Kings: Summons an Ancient Guardian who reduces all damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds.

    Avenging Wrath, at level 72, is what gives your Paladin their “wings”. It’s a flat 20% increase in damage and healing that you do. It’s a great buff and you should use it whenever you have the opportunity to do so, whether you’re solo questing or tanking.

    Level 76 gives you Resistance Aura which is a pretty decent buff when used at the right now. If you’re in a situation where you’re going to take elemental damage and you don’t particularly need any of your other auras, then you might as well use this one. If you aren’t taking significant elemental damage though, I wouldn’t bother with it. As Protection Paladins we can take a melee style beating for days and just keep right on going, but we have very little resistance to Magic damage, so if you find yourself facing a lot of casters it might be a good idea to switch this baby on for a bit.

    At level 78 you’re able to send the fear of righteousness into undead and demons thanks to Turn Evil. It’s a fear spell that can only target Undead and Demons, but at least it’s somewhat reliable CC when it can be used. There aren’t a whole lot of undead in Cataclysm, but there are some demons hanging around here and there. Honestly I only use this in AoE situations so that I can get a mob to socially agro his buddies for me. I leave the CC to other classes when I’m tanking.

    At level 80 you get both Hand of Sacrifice and access to your Mastery, Divine Bulwark. Hand of Sacrifice is a great spell for saving the lives of your teammates by taking 30% of the damage they deal and directing it to yourself instead. The only time I cast this as a tank is when my healer is taking damage and my taunts are on cooldown. I use this a lot more during the rare moments I’m in a spec other than Prot. We make great use of our Mastery stat.

    Level 81 sends in the (Spanish) Inquisition, our final method of burning Holy Power, this time to increase our Holy Damage. I’m not going to lie to you, I forget this thing exists constantly. It seems to me it’s more of a DPS spell, though it could of course be used for tanking as well. I generally don’t bother with it, but that’s me.

    Level 83 brings Holy Radiance which is an AoE heal centered on you that heals for more the closer they are to you. I actually like using this as Prot, even though it’s a heal and my heals typically suck. It’s something I can cast during combat to add a little buffer to myself and the other melee DPS. When I talk about the 939 rotation down below, this is one of those spells I fit into a 9-slot that doesn’t typically belong there.

    And finally, level 85 gives us Guardian of Ancient Kings, a spell that has a different effect based on your spec. For Prot that means we get 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds. It’s a great way to mitigate some damage and ease up the load on your healers, or to add some more survivability when you’re solo grinding large packs of mobs.

    Leveling a Protection Paladin
    Buffs List: Righteous Fury, Seal of Insight/Truth, Blessing of Might/Kings, Retribution/Devotion Aura
    Multi-Target Rotation: Avenger’s Shield, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Wrath, Hammer of the Righteous, Judgement, Hammer of the Righteous
    Single-Target Rotation: Exorcism, Avenger’s Shield, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous
    Boss Rotation 1: Avenger’s Shield, Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous
    Boss Rotation 2: Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Avenger’s Shield, Consecrate, Holy Wrath, “939″

    The Buffs List contains the buffs you should have up at all times. You’ll notice that most of those have a This/That option as well. I tend to use Seal of Insight at all times while I’m leveling. Most mobs aren’t going to live long enough to make SoTruth worth it, and it’s better to keep your life and mana topped off instead. For Blessings I generally use Might when soloing and Kings when I’m in a group or a Battle Ground. The Aura is up to you, though I lean towards Retribution unless I’m taking a ton of damage.

    The reason why the Boss Rotation 1 changes from everything else we’re doing is because you want to start off as strong as possible on the threat front. This is my own preference for boss fights, it’s how I like to handle them. Avenger’s Shield and Judgement give you a decent start on threat but the real kicker is using Divine Plea which your talents trigger to give you 3 Holy Power and Shield of the Righteousness burns those three for a big burst of threat as well. Doing this should put you far enough ahead of all your DPS that you won’t have to worry about them pulling off of you. Also, if you have your Avenger’s Shield cooldown reset from your talent procs go ahead and fit it in whenever you have a moment to do so.

    Boss Rotation 2 brings up the mysterious Paladin rotation known as 939. Prior to 939 you’re building up your threat with various cooldowns and then settling into the 939 rotation. See the following section for details on what 939 is, and how to use it.

    Understanding the 939 Rotation
    939 – Those numbers more or less represent the cooldowns of your spells. The 9′s represent your longer cooldown attacks while the 3′s always represent Crusader Strike (single target) or Hammer of the Righteous (AoE). So the basic idea to do Special Attack > Crusader Strike > Special Attack, and repeat that over and over. That’s why Paladins are “so easy” to tank with, because they have a literal rotation and it’s easy to follow.

    The easy part of 939 is remembering that you’re going to use Crusader Strike or Hammer of Righteousness every time they’re off cooldown, which will end up being every-other attack.

    The “hard” part, which really isn’t hard, is remembering when to use your 9′s, which are all of your other special attacks. On one hand you could say to just use whatever happens to not be on cooldown and you’ll probably do just fine while you’re leveling. But the key to making 939 work, and work well, is knowing the priority of your 9′s.

    Before you learn their priority, you probably need to know what the 9′s are: Judgement, Avenger’s Shield, Holy Wrath, and Shield of the Righteous. There are also a couple of spells that can fill the 9′s slot that don’t have a dedicated place in the rotation and instead are used as needed in a 9 slot: Word of Glory, Consecration, Hammer of Wrath, Hammer of Justice, and Rebuke.

    Priority of 9′s: Shield of the Righteous (only with 3 Holy Power), Judgement, [Exception*], Avenger’s Shield, Consecration, Holy Wrath

    Shield of the Righteous takes the top spot because if you don’t use it when you’re sitting at 3 Holy Power then you’re going to waste Holy Power with the next Crusader/Hammer cast that you make unless you throw off your whole rotation. Judgement provides you with a lot of different beneficial effects, so use it when you can to reap the benefits.

    The [Exception*] is when the target is below 20% health. In those situations Hammer of Wrath takes a priority slot right behind Judgement. If you don’t have 3 Holy Power yet and Judgement isn’t on cooldown, cast Hammer of Wrath before all the others.

    Avenger’s Shield, Consecration, and Holy Wrath fill out the remainder of the priority list. I’m not a big fan of Consecration in this expansion, so I usually leave it out completely, but that’s just me.

    The other spells I mentioned being able to fill your 9′s slots with are all situational. You won’t necessarily be able to fit in a Hammer of Justice or Rebuke cast on the 9 slot as interrupts are usually needed right now instead of whenever it’s convenient for you, and if you’re in desperate need of a Word of Glory heal then of course you need it when you need it.

    Talent Spec: Protection 85

    • Improved Judgement 2/2: Increases the range of your Judgement by 20 yards.
    • Crusade 3/3: Increases the damage of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous, and Templar’s Verdict by 30%, and the damage and healing of your Holy Shock by 30%. In addition, for 15 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor, your next Holy Light heals for an additional 300%.
    • Pursuit of Justice 2/2: You have a 100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when struck by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect. In addition, increases your movement and mounted movement speed by 15%. This effect does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
    • Rule of Law 3/3: Increases the critical effect chance of your Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Word of Glory by 15%.

    I like to take Improved Judgement as my first point outside of the Prot tree. It’s great for pulling additional mobs, patrols, or adds when you don’t have a taunt handy (or want to save it), and for having more to do while you’re rushing in on a boss. It’s not required, but I like it a lot personally. Switching these points to Eye for an Eye would be a decent alternative I imagine.

    Crusade is a flat damage increase of 30% to two of our most frequently used spells: Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous. I also like it for the 300% healing from Holy Light after you kill an honor/experience target so that I can easily top off after a big pull with a single, cheap heal.

    Pursuit of Justice is a great little talent. First it gives free Holy Power when you’re stunned, feared, or immobilized and then it has the added benefit of increasing your movement speed by 15% on top of it. Increasing your speed from talents frees up an enchant slot on your boots too.

    We finish off our talent points with Rule of Law, increasing the crit chance of three of our most common spells.

    Again, I want to point out that my guides are here to help you level your toon, not necessarily to get your ready for raiding and farming heroics. If you want to get serious about end game content then you’re much better off looking at someone who’s focused on end game. I level, it’s what I do, and I can help you with that just fine, but end game is not my strong point.

    Glyphs
    All of your glyph slots will be open to you as of level 75, so you’ve now got 3 of each type to fill. Glyphs are listed in the order I would suggest you take them from a leveling perspective.

    Prime

    Now that all of our glyph slots are open, it’s time to fill them up with the good stuff. I list these in the order I suggest that you take them.

    Major

    Again, I list these in the order I suggest you take them. One glyph that might stand out as an oddity to you is the Glyph of Lay on Hands. I mention it solely because of the mana issues that many people are having right now, especially healers. Lay on Hands restores a lot of health, but it also restores some mana to the target as well, and being able to use this on a healer who’s out of mana can be the difference between a loot roll and a corpse run.

    Minor

    Paladin minor glyphs are crap. We get six glyphs that all do exactly the same thing, reducing mana cost of their respective spells by 50%. Grab the three you cast most often and go with it.

    Gearing Up as Protection
    As a melee class we’re looking for stats that impact our melee performance such as Strength, Attack Power, Hit, Crit and Haste. As a tank though, you also want to look for survival stats such as Stamina, Dodge and Parry.

    Stat Priority: Strength and Stamina, Mastery, Dodge and Parry, Other melee stuff

    Use that as a general guide for your stats. If you’re looking to get geared up for heroics and raids then I suggest you do a little more research elsewhere to find the actual stat weights.

     
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    Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin

     

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    Professions Leveling: Mining 1-525

    Well folks, it’s time for another gathering post in the series of Leveling Professions. This time we’re going to take a look at Mining, one of the most profitable gathering professions in the game, both directly and indirectly.

    Mining is the primary gathering profession of Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting, and it provides mats which are often used in Alchemy as well.

    As I’ve said before, gathering professions are where I tend to venture away from the guides at WoW-Professions.com, because I have my own paths I like to travel to get specific items that I know sell for more or are used for more items that what the guide tells you. You can click on this link to find their Mining Leveling Guide, and this one if you’d like to level 1-375 with their Smelting Guide.

    I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. I’ll go over how/where I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.

    Getting Started: Materials
    As a gathering profession, Mining doesn’t need anything in the way of actual mats of course. However, it does require you to devote one item in your bags to an item that works as a Mining Pick. You can get the actual Mining Pick or any number of weapons that count as one. You can also use a Gnomish Army Knife which I have about a dozen of to pass around to my toons so they always have the basic tools for any profession. You can buy a pick from almost any trade goods vendor in the game as well as Blacksmithing Supplies and Mining Supplies vendors.

    Special Note: One good thing about Mining is that even when nodes are green to you they still have a very high chance of awarding a skill point because of how few nodes there are. Herbalism has a lot of nodes, so the chance of getting skills on green nodes is fairly low, Skinning has even more “nodes” so skill points on green skins are rare, but Mining has the fewest nodes of all gathering professions so it has a high skill up chance on greens to make up for that fact.

    There are a few items and enchants that give you a bonus to your Mining skill that can help you move forward to new types of ore a bit faster.
    Enchant Gloves – Mining: Use: Teaches you how to permanently enchant gloves to increase mining skill by 2.
    Enchant Gloves – Advanced Mining: Use: Teaches you how to permanently enchant gloves to increase mining skill by 5.
    Goblin Mining Helmet: Equip: Mining +5.
    Enchant Gloves – Gathering: Permanently enchant gloves to increase Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning by 5. Requires a level 60 or higher item.

    I keep a pair of white-quality Cloth gloves that have the enchant for each of the gathering professions (the individual enchants for each, not Gatherer) on them to pass around to toons while leveling. I almost always level miners with a pair of enchanted gloves to help them gather, mostly for when you start getting towards the end of vanilla content and beyond where you’ll find “rich” nodes in the same zones as regular nodes.

    I wouldn’t bother with the +2 Mining enchant unless that’s really all you can find, and even then I’d probably skip it. Advanced Mining and Gathering are both decent enchants to use, but like I said I don’t often use Gathering because I like to be able to use these kinds of items on low level toons and Gatherer requires high level items to use it.

    The Goblin Mining Helmet isn’t bad, but it has some requirements that make it hard for a lot of toons to use it. First off it requires you to be able to equip Mail armor so half of the classes can never use it. Second, it requires an Engineering skill of 205 which means you have to have Engineering as your 2nd profession to use it, and you have to be at least level 20 you get your skill level high enough. But if you’re questing in a zone that has mining nodes more than 5 levels above your current skill level then you’re probably better off going back to a lower level zone to level up anyway.

    Trouble Areas
    Luckily, recent patches and expansions have done a world of good in smoothing out the bottlenecks of leveling the Mining profession. The number of nodes have been drastically increased, placement around the world has been improved so that you find ores you need in more zones and across more evenly spread level ranges, and minimum requirements to use the profession in each expansion’s content have been lowered.

    If you’re just leveling Mining itself, then you don’t have to worry about bottlenecks very much at all now. The one slight exception is 375+ where you can no longer smelt your ore for additional skill points. However, spending about an hour in any of the top 3 zones in Northrend should yield enough Saronite nodes to push you easily to the minimum requirements for Cataclysm nodes (425).

    If you’re leveling Mining to fuel a crafting profession though, then of course you’re going to need massive amounts of certain ores/bars to craft all of the items that you need. And that’s where the following information can help.

    The following are Ores that are required in a significantly higher amount that other ores in relation to certain crafting professions. Also note that the numbers given are for the amount of Ore required to make the number of Bars required to level the respective crafting professions.

    Mithril Ore: [BS 320, Eng 161, JC 140]
    This is your first big stumbling block as a Blacksmith. Up to this point Iron has been your biggest time sink and you need less than 200 of that. You’ll need 320 Mithril Ore to level a Blacksmith and that’s a lot of ore. Engineers and Jewelcrafters need a fair amount of Mithril as well, but not nearly as much as Blacksmiths.

    My favorite place to farm Mithril is Badlands. It doesn’t have the highest number of nodes in it (Thousand Needles does), but one big benefit it has over all of the other zones that do have higher node-counts is that it’s mostly flat ground (so easy to farm without a flying mount) and the nodes are very close together and spread out perfectly along the edge of the zone. Just while leveling there for a short time on my Shadow Priest recently I got over half of what you would need as a Blacksmith in this zone alone, and as much again in Burning Steppes.

    Thorium Ore: [BS 420, Eng 189, JC 50]
    Thorium is next up on the list, and if you’re a Blacksmith then this is the second worst grind you’re going to face for a single type of ore. Thorium is easier to come by than it used to be, but it can still be a pain, especially if you need a lot of it. With a 420 Ore requirement for Blacksmithing you can get an idea of why so many people hate leveling BS and consider it a massive time/gold/material sink – because that’s what it is. Engineers need a fair amount of Thorium as well, but again less than half of what a BS does. Jewelcrafting might only use 50 Thorium Bars in their leveling, but a lot of the gems that need to finish off vanilla patterns are found from Thorium Ore making that number of 50 somewhat incorrect. You only need 50 bars, but if you can’t get your hands on the gems themselves then you’ll need much more than that in raw ore for Prospecting.

    My preference for farming Thorium Ore is Un’Goro Crater. Just like my Mithril spot above, it doesn’t have the highest number of ore nodes (Winterspring does), but it does have a more farmer-friendly layout. The zone is relatively flat, though there are some times you’ll need to go up into the mountains around the edge of the zone to find your nodes. The best trait of the zone is that it’s almost perfectly round and most of the nodes are found around the outside ring, making farming there very simple and easy to do.

    Cobalt Ore: [BS 320, Eng 324, JC -]
    Cobalt Ore is the next bottleneck, the first ore of Nothrend. Blacksmiths need 320 Ore, but they’re outmatched this time by the Engineers who need 324. Jewelcrafters don’t need this ore in particular because we’ve now stepped away from Jewelry as the primary product of JC and now we’re looking more at Gems and what Jewelry we do have is mostly made with Eternals instead of smelted bars. That said though, you don’t really need all that much ore to level through Northrend content as a JC.

    I hate farming Cobalt Ore; Of all the ores that WoW has to offer, Cobalt sucks the most. Well, not counting the uncommon nodes, of course. There are five primary zones that you can farm Cobalt, and while all of them offer a decent number of node locations, none of them are really set up for easy farming. The highest concentration of nodes is in Zul’drak, but I really don’t like the layout of the zone and the placement of the ore nodes there, so I usually avoid the place. Instead I prefer to farm in Howling Fjord because it has the simplest farming paths and many of the nodes can be farmed at-level without much risk of pulling nearby mobs because it has a large concentration of non-aggressive beasts and many nodes don’t have any mobs around them at all.

    Elementium Ore: [BS 708, Eng 224, JC -]
    Last up on our bottleneck list is Elementium, the highest common ore of the Cataclysm expansion. Blacksmiths will prepare for their worse ore farming spree yet with 708 Ore (354 Bars) needed to level their profession. Engineers don’t even come close with their 224 Ore (112 Bars) needed, and Jewelcrafters don’t necessarily need any of it at all.

    While Deepholm supposedly has the highest number of Elementium nodes available, it’s also one of the most frequently farmed locations for it. Twilight Highlands is listed as having the second highest Elementium population, and Uldum the third. I’ve farmed in all three of these locations, and while Deepholm used to have Elementium everywhere you looked it’s now almost barren. Twilight Highlands is sort of the premium farming spot for almost everything so finding ore there sucks as well. So Uldum is my choice for farming Elementium even though the layout of the zone sucks compared to Deepholm’s circular setup.

    For this bottleneck I’m going to have to say that you’re better off finding your own favorite spot on your server. Since this is new content these nodes will be targeted more than all of the others above, and each server has its own economy that will determine where you should farm or if you should even bother farming at all. It could be that your server is so full of farmers that your only real option is to farm the Auction House instead.

    Psynister Preferences
    I don’t really follow the WoW-Professions guide much at all when I’m farming ore. I have followed their smelting guide, but generally I don’t power level Mining for the sake of having Mining, I do it to fuel a crafting profession. Because of that I don’t want to just reach the next level for the newest types of ore, I need to find good places to farm for certain types of ore and gather until I have enough for what I’m going to make.

    As I mentioned before though, I also enjoy PvP twinking and like to keep a store of mats for power leveling my twinks’ professions, so I always farm more than I need so that I can keep my twink guild bank stored with whatever mats I need.

    If you’re farming ore so that you can sell the ore/bars raw on the Auction House, it’s always good to know where the market stands on each type of ore, and what else you might be able to do with that ore by using any crafting professions you have access to that use it.

    Before you sell your ore, always check the value of the bars you can make with it first. You might think that you’re making a kill selling a stack of ore for 90g, but you might be ripping yourself off if you could have smelted that ore and sold the stack of bars for 140g. It’s more common in bars that require 2 of their respective ores to craft instead of only 1, but I’ve turned even stacks of Copper Ore into Bars and sold them for 4x the profit before.

    While it can be a hassle if you’re not used to it, it’s also a good idea to get to know your crafting professions well so that you know what you can craft with which type of mats. If you have a Blacksmith then you might want to consider not selling your Mithril/Thorium (the same for Fel Iron/Adamantite, Cobalt/Saronite, and Obsidium/Elementium) until you check the prices for Plate Tanking gear that you can make with that ore to see if it’s more valuable. When you’re dealing in Northrend and Cataclysm mats you may also want to check the prices on Plate DPS gear, especially those pieces that have Resilience and are good for PvP as they often sell well (server depending, of course).

    If you have a Jewelcrafter then you might want to keep yourself familiar with the value of gems that you can prospect as well. You’ll rarely get more money prospecting Outlands ore than you would for selling the ore itself, and for the most part the same is true for Northrend. But for some vanilla gems and even some Cataclysm gems, sometimes you can get more money from prospecting than you can from the ore.

    Your other option is to craft things with a BS/Eng/JC and then disenchant them with an Enchanter to then sell the enchanting mats or enchanting scrolls on the Auction House. You can search for details on this type of thing at various websites by searching for “Saronite Shuffle” or “Obsidium Shuffle” which can give you the basics. Some of it applies to just those particular ores, but you can apply the concept even to vanilla and Outlands ores as well.

    Power Leveling List

    From WoW-Professions.com:

    1 – 60 Durotar, Dun Morogh
    60 – 110 Barrens, Loch Modan
    110 – 185 Ashenvale, Wetlands
    185 – 205 Dustwallow Marsh, Hinterlands
    205 – 265 Thousand Needles
    265 – 300 Un’Goro Crater
    300-360 Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand
    360-450 Borean Tundra, Sholazar Basin
    450-525 Mount Hyjal

    Guide Sections:
    1 – 65 – Copper Ore
    65 – 125 – Tin Ore
    125 – 175 – Iron Ore
    175 – 230 – Mithril Ore
    230 – 300 – Thorium Ore
    300 – 325 – Fel Iron Ore
    325 – 350 – Adamantite Ore
    350 – 400 – Cobalt Ore
    400 – 425 – Saronite Ore
    425 – 475 – Obsidium Ore
    475 – 525 – Elementium Ore

     
    3 Comments

    Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions

     

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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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