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Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Player vs Player, 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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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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    Paladin Leveling: 50-69 Protection

    Now it’s time for our next-to-last guide on leveling your Protection Paladins. This time we’re going to finish up Vanilla, blow through the Burning Crusade content, and get started the Wrath of the Lich King content as well.

    Up to this point you have all of the primary tools required for tanking, though you’re still missing some of your defensive cooldowns. At the end of this guide you’ll also have those cooldowns that you’re missing and you’ll finally reach the final talent point in your tree, allowing you to finally be able to branch out into the Holy and Retribution trees.

    Playing a Protection Paladin
    There’s not much change at all in how you play your Paladin in this level range compared to how you played it in the last. You now have both of your Holy Power generating attacks as well as both of the spells you’ll primarily dump your HP into to use. You’ve got all the tools you need to be an AoE grinding fiend, and you’re virtually immortal so long as you don’t over-pull.

    While you’re getting ready to go to Outlands at level 58 I suggest you go ahead and start testing those boundaries to see just how far you can go. Pull five or six mobs and see how you do. Any problems? If so, then you know that your limit is below that. If not, then go pull a couple more and see if you can still survive it. Keep on doing this until you find out where your boundaries are so that you don’t find yourself in situations that you can’t handle. Know your strengths, and utilize them.

    As you move into Outlands itself you’re going to end up in a gear reset though, so be prepared to get hit harder once you get there and likely you’ll find you can’t pull nearly as many mobs as you could in Vanilla. Well, not until you get your gear upgraded at least. Once you’ve got the gear upgrades you can start finding those boundaries again.

    Prot Paladins truly are a power trip. You have some of the best defenses the game has to offer coupled with some incredible healing and survivability skills, and great damage thrown in as well. You’re not going to kill things as fast as a DPS character will, but you’ll kill more things in shorter time than they could. You also excel in areas filled with Undead or Demon mobs, which is what much of Outlands is all about.

    Protection-Specific Tips
    The first thing you need to know about this level range is that level 50 opens up your Plate Specialization. Since you’ve chosen the Protection spec, this means that you get a 5% bonus to your Stamina for wearing Plate armor in all of your armor slots, so make sure you’re not still carrying around any Mail pieces that might have been left over; upgrade them as soon as possible. You can probably drop under 50g on the auction house to replace any Mail pieces that you’re still holding onto.

    The next thing you need to know is that at level 62 you get access to Crusader Aura which increases your mounted speed by 20%. You’re probably going to have this ability turned on all the time when you’re out running around the world, especially if you have a gathering profession. But remember, you can only have one aura active at a time and having this active while running dungeons is a complete waste. So don’t be a nubcake by leaving your Crusader Aura on or else you’ll make me a sad panda, and I don’t want to be a sad panda. :(

    Important Spells & Abilities
    There are a lot of spells and abilities that come with being a Paladin, but I’m going to try to keep it simple and limited to only the most important ones for a Protection spec. There are other spells that you’ll get in this level range as well, I leave them out only because I do not find them critical to playing a Prot Paladin.

    Level 50-69:

    • Hand of Freedom: Places a Hand on the friendly target, granting immunity to movement impairing effects for 6 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.
    • Blessing of Might: Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing attack power by 10% and restoring 326 mana every 5 seconds for 1 hour. If target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.
    • Crusader Aura: Increases the mounted speed by 20% for all party and raid members within 40 yards. Players may only have one Aura on them per Paladin at any one time. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
    • Hand of Salvation: Places a Hand on the party or raid member, reducing their total threat by 2% every 1 sec for 10 sec. Players may only have one Hand on them per Paladin at any one time.

    Hand of Freedom is by no means a critical spell, unless you’re a big fan of PvP. However, there are going to be some mobs that start to use some slowing effects on you in this level range were before it was very rare. If you find yourself slowed or rooted in place, then this is the spell that you use to free yourself (or another friendly target). I use this a lot when I’m body pulling several mobs for an AoE grind, especially when there are casters using Frost spells on me.

    Blessing of Might is our second blessing. Generally speaking I like to use Might when I’m soloing, and Kings when I’m in a group (unless there’s a Druid in the group, then I’ll Might). It’s an Attack Power buff and it also restores mana, making it a very useful buff, especially when you don’t have any DPS there to provide you with extra firepower.

    Crusader Aura, like I mentioned above, is a fantastic buff that gives you an extra 20% mounted movement speed, which makes Paladin an excellent gathering class, and that movement is very useful when you’re leveling by cutting down your travel time between questing hubs and locations. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re in dungeons since it does nothing for you there.

    Hand of Salvation is a spell that you need to get familiar with as soon as you get it. It reduces threat over time of the target you cast it on, lowering their threat by 2% every second up to a maximum of 20%. If you see someone getting close to you on threat then you want to cast this on them early to be sure they don’t steal it from you. If you’re in a dungeon and you find someone who’s consistently pulling threat, just get used to casting this on them before it becomes an issue each time. Different classes build threat at different speeds so it’s hard for me to tell you when to cast it, so just pay attention and adjust as needed. If they’re stealing it early then cast it right when they start to become an issue, if it takes them a few moments to get it then cast it at the end of your rotation or something to knock them down before it becomes an issue.

    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: Avenger’s Shield, Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Crusader Strike, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Shield of the Righteous

    Not much change here except that I’ve added in the Boss Rotation and the Buffs List.

    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 changes from everything else were doing is because you want to start off as strong as possible on the threat front. 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.

    Talent Spec: Protection 69

    • Vindication 1/1: Your Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous reduce physical damage done by their primary targets by 10% for 30 sec. In addition, your Hammer of Justice will interrupt creatures that are immune to stuns.
    • Guarded by the Light 2/2: Increases your Word of Glory by 10% when used to heal yourself, and allows your Word of Glory to grant Holy Shield. In addition, any overhealing will create a protective shield equal to the amount of overhealing that lasts for 6 sec.
    • Reckoning (+1) 2/2: You have a 20% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.
    • Shield of the Templar 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of Avenging Wrath by 60 sec and Guardian of Ancient Kings by 120 sec. In addition, your Divine Plea will generate 3 Holy Power.
    • Sacred Duty 2/2: Your Judgements have a 50% chance of making your next Shield of the Righteous a critical strike. Lasts 15 sec.
    • Ardent Defender 1/1: Reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While Ardent Defender is active, the next attack that would otherwise kill you will instead cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health.

    Vindication reduces the damage we take from the primary target of our CS and HotR attacks by 10%. It also turns Hammer of Justice into a spell interrupt for us to use against targets that are immune to stuns, which are typically elites and dungeon bosses, but also some mob types who are generally immune to stun as well. The main thing though is the damage reduction.

    Guarded by the Light is another great defensive tool, increasing the healing we receive from Word of Glory and also allowing WoG to proc Holy Shield for us, so that we can get the defensive buff from HS even when we’re in AoE grinding mode and spending our HP on heals rather than single target DPS from Shield of the Righteous. It also has the added benefit of providing us with a bubble whenever we overheal ourselves with Word of Glory, allowing us to dump HP for addition defense in cases where WoG heals you to full but your other talents make that WoG cast cost no HP, you can cast it again to get a bubble if you need one.

    Reckoning we already had one point in, and now we’ve just finished it off. It’s purely a Threat/DPS increase, giving us a chance to get free melee attacks after we block an enemy attack. The best way to (ab)use this talent is by fighting multiple melee mobs at once, so always strive to do so when it’s convenient.

    Shield of the Templar reduces some cooldowns that we don’t even have yet which is kind of wasted for right now, but it also provides us with 3 Holy Power instantly when we cast Divine Plea. You can either turn that into an “oh crap-heal!” opportunity to get a full powered WoG cast (or as a bubble from the talent above), or you can use it offensively by popping Divine Plea before you rush in to attack a boss and start the encounter off with a full powered Shield of the Righteous (see the Boss Rotation in the section above).

    Sacred Duty is another potential Threat/DPS increase. Every time you cast Judgement on the target you have a 50% chance to ensure your next Shield of the Righteous is a critical strike. The buff lasts for 15 seconds, so if you’re about to cast SHoR and your Judgement is off cooldown, but you don’t have a Sacred Duty proc, start with the Judgement cast first for a chance to score a free crit with your most damaging spell.

    Ardent Defender is purely a defensive cooldown. You want to use it when you think you’re about to die. It provides a 20% damage reduction so it’s good to cast at any time, but it’s best used when you really are going to die because it will stop you from dying and instead heal you back up to 15% of your maximum health. If I’m going down I try to pop this when I know I’m a few seconds away from dying and I’ll follow up the Ardent Defender heal when I “die” with either a Lay on Hands for a full heal, or a Divine Plea-fueled Word of Glory heal to try to get myself back on my feat as best I can.

    Glyphs
    Now that we have access to two of each glyph slot I’m going to include a third option for you to choose from in each category. Glyphs are listed in the order I would suggest you take them.

    Prime

    Now that you have two slots to fill you need to decide which two are going to be the best for you. I suggest Hammer of the Righteous no matter what. Of the other two I suggest Shield of the Righteous if you’re going to do a lot of dungeon running, and Crusader Strike if you’re more focused on solo questing.

    Major

    Dazing Shield is the one I suggest you get first as it has the most potential for being useful. Holy Wrath is a close second since you’re going to start running into more Dragonkin and especially Elementals as you continue on. As I’ve said before, Consecration is quickly becoming a thing of the past, so I’m not too fond of it. As my 85 Prot Paladin is currently AoE grinding the crap out of mobs left and right I’m actually using it more and more, but that’s really the only situation where it’s a big deal. Pick up Dazing Shield and then go with whichever of the other two appeals to you more, or pick another one that I didn’t mention if you don’t like the sound of either.

    Minor

    Pick two and go with it. Since seals only have a 30 minute duration where Blessings are 60 minutes, I suggest you take that as one of them just because you’ll cast it more often, but otherwise it really doesn’t matter.

    Protection Macros
    Only one new glyph this time, and it’s up to you whether or not you use it.

    #showtooltip
    /castsequence reset=10 Judgement, Divine Plea, Shield of the Righteous

    This macro is one I use when I’m charging in on a boss. Rather than pressing all the buttons I need to cast the spells individually, I just spam this one while I’m running in to face the boss until SHoR goes off. I’ve played around a bit with adding Avenger’s Shield either before or after Judgement, but I prefer to just have it off on it’s own to add it in when I want it or leave it out otherwise.

    The idea here is to use Judgement hoping for a Sacred Duty proc to force SHoR to be a crit, then using Divine Plea to get 3 Holy Power for free, and following that up with the actual SHoR cast. It’s the single best way to establish threat on a boss early on. The only thing you can do to improve it is to throw Avenger’s Shield into the mix as I said, though I’d probably start off with it and then spam this one. Whether or not you need that much threat starting off is something you’ll have to decide on your own.

    I only use this on bosses though, as it’s not really needed during trash pulls or when soloing.

    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, Dodge and Parry, Other melee stuff

    In short, we’re going to stack Strength and Stamina first and foremost, followed by our avoidance stats of Dodge and Parry, and then on to any other DPS stats (attack power, hit, crit, haste, etc). Most of the stats that you want to cap at end game are still rare for us to find even in Outlands (though not as bad as Vanilla was), so this is really all you need to watch out for for the time being.

     
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    Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Melee, Paladin

     

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    Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Leveling a Shadow Priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Talent Spec: 49 Shadow Priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyhphs

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

    Major Glyphs

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

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

    Minor Glyphs

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

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

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

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

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

     

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    Addressing Mana Issues: Shadow Priest 1-45

    Of all the searches that I get on my blog in relation to the Priest class there are two questions that come up more than any other. The first is simply how to level one, which I’ve already started writing the guides for. The second is the topic of today’s post: how to deal with shadow priest mana issues.

    After writing my 4.0.1 guide for leveling Shadow Priests I started to get a lot of emails from readers about the mana issues. I could tell we had some mana issues here and there, but overall it wasn’t all that bad for me. I started sending out advice, and in some cases it really helped while in others it didn’t seem to help much at all and I even had to suggest that some of them switch to a different spec for a while until mana issues were addressed by Blizzard.

    A couple of months went by and with the Cataclysm release there was so much to do, so many toons to level, and so much gold to spend/make on the AH that I set the priest aside for a bit. Priests are now the second-most searched for topic on my blog right now, right behind Druids, and that prompted me to stop slacking on the priests and get back to finding out what’s going on with all of these mana issues.

    But in order to figure out mana issues at all of the low levels I had to start over so I deleted the Human Priest and rerolled a new one, this time a female Dwarf for the sake of having some twirly braids of doom.

    Research Plan
    So in order to figure out what mana issues the Shadow Priest really has, I had to reroll a new Priest and look at how it performed at every level. So I took part in all different aspects of the game to find out not only what the performance was, but also to find out where I spent the most mana.

    Knowing that the mana issues do exist I made a special effort to monitor and control the number of times I sat to drink in order to restore my mana. Every time I reached a level ending in 5 I would sell all of the drinks that I had in my inventory and purchase two full stacks of the new type of drink that had just become available, and then monitor their usage.

    Activities: I had to look at it from the perspective of questing, running dungeons, and also PvP so that I knew where we spent the most mana, and why. Do we spend more mana when we’re alone or when we’re in a group?

    Rotations: How important is rotation? Are some spells to be avoided, or some to be focused on?

    Regeneration: I also needed to see how much mana I could regenerate on my own, both during combat and after. This includes regeneration from spells or effects that increase regeneration as well.

    Consumption: Consumption refers to both the consumable drinks that restore mana outside of combat, as well as various types of mana potions.

    Performance: Finally, I had to pay special attention to my performance to know whether or not it was possible to be effective at playing the class and spec while also being conservative with my mana. Do I lose DPS by not casting spells with the highest mana cost? How does spamming my cheapest spell(s) impact my performance?

    Once I had my plan in place it was time to execute it.

    Level Range: 1-15
    Consumables: Ice Cold Milk 437 Mana, Minor Mana Potion 140-180 Mana, Lesser Mana Potion 280-360 Mana

    During this level range I didn’t even bother buying drinks because the passive mana regeneration outside of combat is significantly increased by Blizzard to make low level playing easier for new players. You can empty your entire mana bar and it will refill itself in a matter of seconds during this level range so there’s no point at all in buying drinks. The only time I used a mana potion during this range was when I was participating in PvP, and even then I used a total of two Lesser Mana Potions.

    The only time I really had mana issues was when I was either spamming Shadow Word: Pain on multiple targets (mostly PvP), or when I was forced to do a lot of healing via Flash Heal (mostly PvP).

    As far as Rotations went, spamming Smite from 1-10 and Mind Flay from 10-15 were the cheapest options, and both very effective for killing single mobs. Using SW:Pain was often a waste of mana if I were fighting a single mob at a time. Casting SW:Pain on multiple mobs at once sped up the leveling process by killing more mobs in the same amount of time, though occasionally it could lead to “wasting” even more mana to cast a heal if the bubble wasn’t enough to keep me up on its own.

    Level Range: 15-25
    Consumables: Melon Juice 835 Mana, Lesser Mana Potion 280-360 Mana, Mana Potion 455-585 Mana

    This level range was pretty similar to the previous one. You lose the increased regen outside of combat at level 15, but they do a good job of scaling it back as you level so it’s not like you’re suddenly constantly running out of mana and wondering what in the world is going on. I did buy my two stacks of Melon Juice as soon as I hit level 15, and I started to add the LFG to my leveling process since it had just opened up as well.

    Of the two stacks of Melon Juice I hit level 25 after using 8 of them. I didn’t use any potions outside of PvP, save for single boss fight in which the Warrior Tank thought that his healer saying “OOM” meant that he should charge the boss and point his AoE at the rest of the group. Stupid Tanks + SFK = Suck.

    I did have some mana issues starting out in LFG as I tried to find a decent rotation to use. It’s hard to set any one specific rotation that’s good for LFG because it’s going to vary in every group that you get into. If we had good DPS then DoT’s were a complete waste and I would cast nothing by Mind Blast and Mind Flay, but if the DPS was low then I would spam SW:Pain across all of the mobs and then Mind Flay to finish them off one at a time.

    The only other time I had problems with mana were in certain instances (Shadowfang Keep) where I had to stop DPS and switch over to healing to make up for extra damage that people were taking from doing stupid crap like standing in AoE’s. I did run into some mana problems in PvP here as well, but not quite so much as I was before. I don’t think the PvP experience was changed so much because anything had changed in my class, I think it was simply the makeup of the teams and how the matches played out.

    Performance definitely didn’t slacken by conserving mana here as I never dropped below #2 on the PvP charts and the only people that beat me in LFG were tanks with their low level AoE.

    Level Range: 25-35
    Consumables: Sweet Nectar 1,345 Mana, Mana Potion 455-585 Mana, Greater Mana Potion 700-900 Mana

    This level range was one of the big tests on mana. You get some great new spells in this range and some good talents to go along with them. You also get access to glyphs, finally, which gives us one of our best forms of mana regen I’ve come across so far.

    Of the two stacks of Sweet Nectar I hit level 35 after using 22 of them. I used 5 Mana Potions outside of PvP (where I used my left over Lesser Mana Pots just because I had them), typically during boss fights.

    The numbers on the Sweet Nectar are going to be slightly skewed because I did end up healing two instances in this level range with my Disc offspec. I used 6 of them during those two runs, but with 16 used in the Shadow spec I’m sure at least some of those 6 would have been used with the Shadow spec as well.

    Part of the increased mana usage in this range is that we get access to Devouring Plague which is our highest cost DPS spell that we have, matching Flash Heal for mana cost. The spell is very powerful and it has a healing effect while it deals damage which makes it extra appealing.

    When it comes to boss fights in LFG I don’t hold back, I unless everything I’ve got. So rolling both DoT’s (our too most costly spells), Mind Blast on cooldown, and spamming Mind Flay in between cooldowns, I was burning through mana pretty quick. I never ran out of mana in any situation, including PvP, but there were two boss fights that I possibly would have ran out of mana had I not used a potion when I saw myself get to around 25-30%.

    The Glyph of Spirit Tap was without a doubt the best decision I made concerning mana. It took me a while to get used to sniping kills with Shadow Word: Death, but as I got to the end of this level range I had it down pretty good. You trigger the glyph by using SW:Death to deliver the killing blow to a target. At first I was trying to conserve my mana by never interrupting another spell or a Mind Flay channel to cast SW:D, but I found through testing that it was worth it to cancel whatever I was doing to get it off.

    As for performance, the only person who beat me on DPS was a Hunter in one of my PvP matches. In LFG I did have some tanks that pulled ahead of me a couple of times, and one Warlock could top me on trash packs with his AoE.

    Level Range: 35-45
    Consumables: Moonberry Juice 1,995 Mana, Greater Mana Potion 700-900 Mana, Superior Mana Potion 900-1,500

    This is the level bracket where I kissed my mana problems goodbye. The most important lesson I learned was when to time my SW:Death casts to trigger that Glyph of Spirit Tap. Once I had the timing down in LFG, the only time I ever dropped below 65% mana was during boss fights, and even then only when one of the DPS was slacking or dead, causing the boss fight to take longer than normal.

    I did so some more healing in instances with my Disc spec, and as Disc I used over 30 of my Moonberry Juice, mostly because I had a string of dungeons where my tanks were mostly Druids and a couple of Warriors. Druid tanks seem to take an insane amount of damage to where I’m casting Flash Heal frequently just to keep them alive. The Warrior tanks seem to share a common goal of pulling more mobs than they can effectively tank. I used two potions during those healing instances as well.

    As for the Shadow spec, I used a total of 5 Moonberry Juice and all of those after boss fights. When the boss doesn’t have any adds, there’s nothing that you can use your SW:Death on to generate additional mana, so until you get towards the top end of this level range you tend to burn through a lot of mana during boss fights. Again, rolling two DoT’s at all times, Mind Blast on cooldown, and spamming Mind Flay in between adds up over time. The only time I used a potion as Shadow was when I needed to drink after a boss fight and the impatient tank decided it would be a good idea to pull the next trash pack, so I downed a potion instead and then went back to fighting.

    We also get access to a talent called Masochism at the high end of the level range. This talent (rank 2) gives us 10% of our mana back anytime we deal damage to ourselves with SW:Death (meaning the target didn’t die, so the Glyph of Spirit Tap isn’t triggered) or when an attack hits us for more than 10% of our total health. SW:Death costs 12% of our Base Mana and casting it is either going to refund us 10% of our Total Mana if it doesn’t kill them, or 12% of our Total Mana if it does kill the target. So now you’re basically in a win-win situation with casting SW:Death whenever it’s not on cooldown. Once you’ve spent points in this talent your mana issues on boss fights ease up a lot as well, allowing you to get 10% back any time SW:Death is on cooldown.

    At this point I had pretty well given up on pulling more than 2-3 mobs at a time while questing. A lot of times I would just take them on 1v1 and burn them down before moving on to the next target. Occasionally I would pull up to five targets at once when I had quests to kill 10-20 of a certain mob just to make it go by quicker, but otherwise I used a simple rotation of Mind Blast, Mind Flay, SW:Death or Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Mind Flay, SW:Death if the mobs had too much health for the previous rotation to finish them off.

    As for performance, I really started to get outdone when it came to PvP in this bracket, but I think I only ran three battlegrounds in this range because the experience in LFG was just too good to pass up. In LFG I continued to dominate the charts until I started running into Arcane Mages. Low level Arcane has some crazy burst damage and all the Arcane Mages I saw were very good at playing the class and spec. I don’t care if they only have to push 2-3 buttons to deal their damage, they do it well. As I got closer to 45 I also found a couple of Balance Druids who were able to beat me on the charts.

    Note that me mentioning topping the charts here isn’t me boasting of my greatness here, it’s to point out that you can perform well while paying attention to your mana. You don’t need to worry about throwing DoT’s on everything that moves, but at the same time you can still do that and stay comfortable with your mana levels so long as you’re taking advantage of opportunities to get your mana back with good use of your spells.

    Conclusions
    So what I found out overall was that the key to mana management with a Shadow Priest is closely tied to your level due to the abilities you have available to you. At early levels the best way to conserve your mana is to only cast your DoT’s when you have to; otherwise focus on Mind Blast and Mind Flay as they’re your cheapest DPS options.

    Once you gain access to Shadow Word: Death the best thing you can do is to start watching your target’s health to get a feel for how quickly the mobs are dying. Once you know about how fast the mobs are dying you’ll be able to judge your SW:Death casts to ninja all of the killing blows you can. If you end one fight with less than full mana and you start another one, throw in an early SW:Death cast to trigger Masochism (once you have it) to get an early mana restore, and then try to snipe a mob with another cast once it’s off cooldown for more mana.

    Once you’re comfortable with stealing kills with SW:Death you can feel much more secure in spreading your DoT’s around to multiple targets without having to worry about running out of mana. If you do this while solo questing a good way to get your mana back after fighting a large group is to fight a single target. Pull them with SW:Death, follow that with SW:Pain and then channel Mind Flay. If you’re worried about the mob hitting you then kite them around while you wait for your DoT’s to get them below 25% of their health and then cast SW:Death again to finish them off. Doing this will restore a total of 22% of your total mana, and you can repeat that as many times as you need until you reach a comfortable level. I used that method a few times in my upper 30’s just to see how easy it would be to top myself back off after a big pull. The answer: very.

    There are two other things I want to point out real quick since they don’t really fit in anywhere in particular. First is that the Twisted Faith talent grants you Hit Rating equal to your Spirit. By stacking Spirit on your gear you increase your chance to hit with all of your spells while also increasing the amount of mana that you regenerate. I don’t stack Spirit above Intellect or Haste, but I do pick it up whenever I get the chance for the regen. The other is a very simple, fairly minor thing, but it’s called a Basic Camp Fire. If you purchase the Cooking skill then you can create a camp fire any time you’re out of combat that gives you a dinky little buff of +4 Spirit for 1 minute. I dropped a camp fire before every boss fight during the levels that I had mana issues. It’s nothing special, that 4 Spirit isn’t going to make a big difference, but every little bit counts if you’re having real problems.

    If you’ve had trouble with mana on your Shadow Priest, see if some of the things I’ve said here can help you out. If you find that you’re still having problems, let me know what level you’re at and what kind of problems you’re seeing and I’ll be happy to help you find a solution.

    If you’ve found some good ways to fight the mana problems yourself that I didn’t cover, please share those with us in the comments so that we can spread the good word.

     
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    Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Caster, Guide, Priest

     

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    Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow

    I covered Shadow Priests just a couple of months ago, but a lot of the feedback I got was from people who were having a much harder time than I was leveling their Priests. So rather than continuing on I deleted my Priest and started over to take another look at it with a special focus on watching my mana and my downtime.

    What I found was that I did in fact have a lot of mana issues at various stages of play if I stuck to a specific rotation. I also found that I naturally change my rotations based on my mana without actively thinking of doing so. So I changed how I did that and tried to stick to specific rotations and watch my mana to see what works and what doesn’t in various situations.

    Playing a Shadow Priest
    In the past I’ve linked Shadow Priests to Affliction Warlocks as both classes/specs focus on using DoT’s and Drains for the majority of their damage, with some direct damage spells thrown in to help speed up the killing process. While the similarities are there, the classes actually play much differently while leveling. For example, on my Affliction Warlock I simply cast my DoT’s on my current target and then go find another target while I wait on the first one to die. With the Shadow Priest I can’t rely solely on my DoT’s because the biggest part of my damage is actually my drain (Mind Flay).

    So basically, playing a Shadow Priest isn’t really like playing a Warlock, it’s like playing a Shadow Priest.

    Shadow Priests have more survivability than any other DPS caster. You have defensive spells such as bubbles and heals, you have spells that heal you while you deal damage with them, and the spell you cast more than any other applies a slowing effect that means you’ll rarely have a mob close in to melee range before it’s dead. And if that wasn’t enough, you also have fear effects to send them all running away (or cowering).

    Shadow-Specific Tips
    In my previous Shadow Priest guide I mentioned that you have two types of DPS spells, but really you have three: channeled spells (Mind Flay), direct damage (Mind Blast), and DoT’s (Shadow Word: Pain). Knowing how those work and how/when to use them determines how effective you are at playing the class. The most important thing to do early on is to learn your spells.

    Right now Shadow Priests have more trouble with mana issues than any other class in the game. Healers can run out of mana in no time if they cast the wrong spells, but Priests can run out of mana in no time even casting the right spells. The key is to know your spells. You need to be aware of how much damage your spells can deal, and how much mana it takes to cast the.

    DoT = OOM: The first thing you need to know about playing a Shadow Priest is that even though DoT’s are a big deal for you, casting them is a complete waste of mana if they don’t have time to deal their damage. If you cast Shadow Word: Pain on a target and then promptly kill it within the next 2 seconds then congratulations, you just wasted your mana.

    • Mind Flay: 9% base mana
    • Mind Blast: 17% base mana
    • SW:Pain: 22% base mana
    • Devouring Plague: 25% base mana

    Channel Time = Up Time: The next thing that you need to know is that Mind Flay is your best friend. The more you use Mind Flay, the less time you’re going to spend drinking in between pulls. Mind Flay deals great damage, it slows the target’s movement speed, and it has the cheapest mana cost of all of your damaging spells. You can cast Mind Flay 2.5 times for the same mana cost of a single Shadow Word: Pain, or 2.8 times for the same mana cost of a single Devouring Plague.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Priests have a fair number of spells and abilities at their disposal, so it’s always good to know which ones you have available to you. I’m not going to list every spell that you get here, I’m just going to point out the ones that you’ll use at least fairly often while leveling. Number in parenthesis after spell names indicate the level at which you can train the spell.

    Level 1-10

    • Smite (1): Smite an enemy for 33 to 35 Holy damage.
    • Shadow Word: Pain (4): A word of darkness that causes 66 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
    • Power Word: Shield (6): Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing 177 damage. Lasts 30 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage.
    • Inner Fire (7): A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, increasing the armor value from items by 60% and spell power by ??. Lasts 30 min.
    • Mind Blast (10): Blasts the target for 50 to 52 Shadow damage.
    • Mind Flay (10-Shadow Spec): Assault the target’s mind with Shadow energy, causing Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.

    Smite is your starting spell, and your primary nuke for your first 10 levels. Typical Priest leveling involves Smite-spam where you just cast this over and over until things are dead (2-3 casts in most cases). I would tell you not to get used to casting it since this is the only guide you’ll see it in, but you really don’t have any choice at this level. As a Holy spell, you cannot cast Smite in Shadowform.

    At level 4 you get Shadow Word: Pain which is your bread and butter DoT (damage over time) spell. You’ll use this one for the rest of your shadowy career, so get used to it, but it’s also one of the highest mana costs, so don’t just fling it around carelessly.

    Power Word: Shield is your “bubble” spell, absorbing damage for you so that you don’t actually take damage. It’s a great spell while you’re leveling in this bracket or when you need to act as a healer. You’ll use it quite a bit while leveling, especially when you’re doing it solo. PW:S is a Holy spell, but it falls under the Discipline tree so it can be cast while in Shadowform. Use it on yourself when soloing, or on your tank when using LFG (unless your healer is a Priest, then leave the bubbles to them).

    Inner Fire is your first real buff, and one you want to keep up at all times. It provides you with a bonus to your Armor which will make you take less damage in combat, and it also provides you with a nice Spellpower boost. While Inner Fire is a Holy spell, it’s listed under the Discipline tree so it can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Mind Blast is your first shadow nuke, dealing decent damage with a fairly short cast time. The 8 second cooldown on it prevents you from spamming it, but if you wanted to just constantly nuke things to death then you would have rolled a Mage, right?

    For choosing to become a Shadow Priest at level 10 you’re awarded use of the Mind Flay spell. Mind Flay is a channeled spell that deals a lot of damage over 3 seconds and also slows the target by 50% while it’s being channeled. This is your most mana-efficient spell, and the slowing effect is one of your best defensive tools by keeping melee mobs away from you.

    Level 11-20

    • Power Word: Fortitude (14): Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their Stamina for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
    • Psychic Scream (14): The caster lets out a psychic scream, causing 5 enemies within 8 yards to flee for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    • Holy Fire (20): Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cause 45 to 55 Holy damage and an additional 14 Holy damage over 7 sec.

    Power Word: Fortitude is another buff that you want up at all times, which will increase your party’s Stamina for 1 hour. PW:Fort is another Holy spell found in the Discipline tree, so it can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Psychic Scream is your version of crowd control and/or emergency button. It causes up to 5 targets around you to run away in fear for 8 seconds or until damaged. I like to use it while questing by casting SW:Pain on several targets to draw them to me and then using Scream to send them running away where I’ll pick them all off with either spells or my wand (assuming SW:P isn’t enough to kill them by itself). Just remember, the damage from your DoT’s will break the effect, so it’s best used before you start spreading SW:P, or when you’re taking a lot of damage and need a chance to escape.

    I list Holy Fire here only because it’s a good spell to use in this leveling range when you’re pulling a boss or an elite mob with a lot of health. It does good damage and has a longer cast time than all of your Shadow nukes, and it also has a DoT effect for extra damage. You won’t use it anymore once you get Shadowform at 29, but until then it’s a decent damaging spell. Once you reach level 29 and pick up Shadowform you can forget that this spell exists.

    Level 21-29

    • Fade (24): Fade out, temporarily reducing all your threat for 10 sec.
    • Dispel Magic (26): Dispels magic on the target, removing 2 harmful spell from a friend or 2 beneficial spell from an enemy.
    • Devouring Plague (28): Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 88 Shadow damage over 24 sec. 15% of damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster. This spell can only affect one target at a time.

    At level 24 you get Fade, to reduce your threat generated. If you’re solo questing then it doesn’t do much of anything for you. It has some small amount of value in PvP against player pets if used properly, but it really shines in dungeons so that you don’t draw agro, or to lose that agro if you do happen to draw it.

    Dispel Magic is how you’ll get rid of debuffs that hit you, or how you remove buffs from enemy targets. You’ll probably use that one more for PvP in this level range, but it’s good to know you have it. If you do a lot of dungeon runs you’ll start to see debuffs around the level 30 range that are worth clearing off with this. As a member of the Discipline tree, Dispel Magic can be cast while in Shadowform.

    Last up we have our other Shadow DoT for this level range, Devouring Plague. The great thing about this one is that it also heals you for 15% of the damage that it deals. While that might not be a huge amount of healing by itself, when you combine that with the 15% damage reduction from being in Shadowform and the ability to bubble and/or heal yourself you can really start to see just how powerful a Shadow Priest can really be. But just so you don’t forget, Devouring Plague is the highest mana cost spell you have so don’t cast it when it’s not needed.

    Leveling a Shadow Priest

    • Questing Single Mob: Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Mind Flay
    • Questing Multi-Mob: (First target) Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain – (Adds) SW:Pain, Mind Flay
    • LFG Trash Rotation: Shadow Word: Pain (all targets), Mind Blast/Mind Flay (as needed)
    • LFG Boss Rotations: Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, Mind Flay x3, Mind Blast

    The rotations I had in my last guide suck. They didn’t suck for me, but they sucked for a lot of my readers. Why? Because not everyone loads their toons with enchanted gear from level 1. My level 1 toons generally have around 760 Mana, and I usually top 1,000 by level 8-10 to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

    So if you were following the previous guide, please accept my apologies for leading you astray. Now, on to rotations that actually work.

    I’ve got a few different rotations here so that you can find one that fits your play style. The rotation I don’t mention is the one you use prior to level 10, which is simply spamming Smite until everything is dead. Once you get to level 10 these options start to open up for you.

    The first rotation up there is what I typically do. It costs 35% of your base mana in total. It will basically kill any mob you come across while questing. If you find that it’s not enough then you can either use your wand to finish them off or add either a third Mind Flay or a second Mind Blast.

    The second rotation is one I use when I know I’m going to pull more than one mob just because of how close they are to each other. It costs 39% of your base mana to kill the first target, and another 31% for each additional target. The damage from SW:Pain is almost enough to kill any mob you find while questing, but you don’t want to sit there taking damage from multiple sources while you wait the 18 seconds it takes for SW:Pain to do its full damage. So by loading another damage spell into the mix as well you significantly lower the amount of time it takes to kill them. If you’re facing more than 2 mobs, be sure to cast SW:P on all of them before you cast the Mind Flay on your second target.

    When it comes to trash in LFG you need to make a decision based on how quickly the group is killing the mobs. If the mobs die quickly then just use the single mob questing rotation instead. If it takes more than 10 seconds for the mobs to start dying though, go ahead and use the LFG Trash Rotation, which is to spam SW:Pain on all of the targets and then pick one of them to start burning down with Mind Blast and Mind Flay casts. I’ll generally Mind Blast one of the targets with less health to speed its death, and then I’ll start the Mind Flays on the mobs that have the most health.

    Also, when using LFG I like to cast Fade before it becomes an issue, so I’ll cast it right after spreading SW:P to all targets during trash. Boss fights are based on how well my tank has done with threat so far. If he’s good on threat then I’ll Fade after the second Mind Blast, otherwise I’ll do it after the first Mind Blast.

    Talent Spec: 29 Shadow Priest

    I’ve got two talent specs for you to choose from here. The one that I prefer is the one on the left which puts two points into Twisted Faith for a 2% increase to Shadow Damage and counts all of my Spirit as Hit. The second option uses those two points to max out Improved Mind Blast which reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds and reduces healing on the target by 10%. I don’t like to miss, so I prefer to get Twisted Faith early, but if you would rather get more Mind Blast casts in then feel free to choose Option 2.

    • Darkness 3/3: Spell haste increased by 3%.
    • Improved Shadow Word: Pain 2/2: Increases the damage of your Shadow Word: Pain spell by 6%.
    • Twisted Faith 2/2: Increases your shadow spell damage by 2%, and grants you spell hit rating equal to 100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.
    • Improved Mind Blast 1/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 0.5 sec., and while in Shadowform your Mind Blast also has a 33% chance to reduce all healing done to the target by 25% for 10 sec.
    • Improved Devouring Plague 2/2: Your Devouring Plague instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its total periodic effect.
    • Shadowform: [Instant cast] Assume a Shadowform, increasing your Shadow damage by 15%, reducing all damage done to you by 15%, and increasing all party and raid members spell haste by 5%. However, you may not cast Holy spells while in this form.

    I decided to switch things up a little bit this time and I found in leveling the new Priest that it was better for me to start with Darkness for the increased Haste and then fill in with Improved SW:Pain after. You can do them in either order, but I like how good that Haste is at low levels.

    From there I suggest going Twisted Faith first to improve our hit chance. I used to not worry about Hit very much at all while leveling, but after leveling my Rogue I’ve seen the real value in hit while leveling, so I suggest you go ahead and pick this up now. Improved Mind Blast shortens the cooldowns for one of our nukes, and has a PvP’ish benefit to reduce healing as well. If you don’t like Twisted Fate, feel free to move it’s points over to this for now and then fill TF in at later levels where the hit will be more important. You’ll want 3/3 here eventually anyway so that choice is yours.

    Improved Devouring Plague won’t help you much when you first start putting points into it, because you won’t actually get the spell until level 28 though I’m suggesting you take the points in this talent at 25 and 27. Even though those points get “wasted” for a few levels it will pay off once you get the spell.

    At level 29 we get the signature Shadow Priest ability, Shadowform with a 15% damage increase, a 15% reduction of damage taken, and a 5% Haste buff that we grant to our whole party.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyhphs

    In the previous guide I had SW:Pain listed first because I’m a DoT spreading fool. Taking another look at things while paying attention to my mana and all though, I have to say that Mind Flay takes the top slot because it’s going to be cast more often. I believe in Patch 4.0.6 they’re also changing the glyph so that it’s a straight damage increase, taking away the SW:Pain requirement. Shadow Word: Pain is still a great glyph though, especially if you’re looking at doing some LFG runs for those boss fights and large trash packs.

    Major Glyphs

    • 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 Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.

    I have two options for your Major glyphs as well. I’m going to rank Psychic Scream above Fade here strictly because Fade has no use (at this level) while soloing. If you’re a solo quester, go for the Scream. If you’re going to do a lot of dungeon runs or if you like to PvP a lot, then I suggest you go with Fade first instead. Again, you’ll end up using both of them eventually, so you can’t really go wrong here.

    HOWEVER – If you’re low on cash or glyphs are really high in price on your server, ignore your Major glyph for right now and wait until you can use the Glyph of Spirit Tap at level 32.

    Minor Glyphs

    Two options for Minor glyphs too. Since you’ll use PW:Fortitude both soloing and in groups, it’s the clear winner for me. Fading will only be used when you’re in a group. Just from the frequency of casting them I’d go Fortitude over Fading, but either one will work. Minor glyphs are just that, minor, so don’t worry about screwing this one up as neither one really provides any significant benefit.

    Again, if glyphs are high priced or you’re low on cash, you might want to wait until level 34 and use the Glyph of Levitate to remove the reagent requirement from the spell.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    As a typical caster you’re most interested in Intellect since it increases your total mana, your spellpower, and your spell critical strike chance. However, unlike most other DPS casters you also benefit from Spirit. If you put points in the Twisted Faith talent then your spirit counts as Hit rating which is a nice bonus, but Spirit is also the stat that determines your mana regeneration rate. As the class and spec with the most mana issues in the game right now, you can use all the mana returns you can get your shadowy fingers on.

    Mana Issues: Intellect > Spirit >= Haste > Crit
    No Mana Issues: Intellect > Haste > Spirit > Crit

    Intellect is the most important stat because it has a more direct effect on your performance than any other.

    I listed Spirit and Haste as being roughly equal because even though Haste is actually a better stat for your DPS, Spirit plays a big role right now in our poor mana regen and has the benefit of giving Hit if you’re specced for it as well.

    Now that all of our spells can score critical hits, including our DoT’s, Critical Strike Rating has become more appealing. I wouldn’t rank it higher than the others with the possible exception of Spirit if you’re having no mana issues at all, but it definitely has an impact and the more you have the better. I would take all of the other stats over Crit though, unless it’s truly an absurdly large amount of Crit for your level (not likely).

     
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    Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     
     
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