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High Heals: Priest

Priest came in a very close second to the Shaman from reader replies on the Project: High Heals post. As such, they’re going to be the 2nd class of course, but I also decided that I can handle leveling two of these classes at once, so the Priest has already been rolled as well.

The Priest is unique among the classes for having two healing specs to choose from, but I’m going with the one generally agreed to be the “harder” of the two to level, Holy. I have considered actually grabbing a dual spec on this priest to make use of both of the healing specs since it does still fit in with the plan of the project, but I think I would end up running around as Disc all the time and ignore Holy, so I’m going to resist.

Also, as I’m finally making a return to the Horde (though not for good) I decided to make this one an Undead male, allowing him to take on the Master’s name. So today I’m going to do a bit of outlining for my plans to level the second (first, part two?) of the leveling guides, Psynister the Holy Priest.

Healing Tools
Priests have probably the single largest healing tool set in the game. They have direct heals, HoT’s, bubbles; heck, they can even heal you after they’ve already died themselves. The spec that I’ve chosen, Holy, is geared more towards the use of direct heals and HoT’s where my potential dual spec (Discipline) is aimed more at damage mitigation through the use of bubbles. Both specs heal and they both have mitigation, they just have different strengths between the two specs.

As far as dispels are concerned the Priest has Cure Disease which removes a single disease from the target, Dispel Magic which removes up to 2 Magic spells from themselves and for choosing a healing spec they can do the same for friendly targets, and Mass Dispel which hits a 15 yard radius with a dispel that removes 1 harmful spell from all friendly targets and 1 beneficial spell from all enemy targets within the radius (up to a maximum of 10 friendly and 10 enemy targets). Holy Priests can also spec so that their Cure Disease also removes 1 Poison effect when cast on themselves.

Mass Dispel also has the added benefit of removing Magic effects that are otherwise too powerful to be dispelled, for example you can use this to break an enemy Mage’s Ice Block or a Paladin’s bubble which normally makes them immune to everything.

Leveling Tools
Being a full caster class, Priests have the benefit of being able to use all of the class’s offensive DPS spells even in their healing spec. Granted, they don’t do as much damage as they would in other specs, but they’re still available. None of the other healing classes are pure casters. Healing Priests also receive additional mana regen during combat which is designed to help them in their healing role, but while leveling that also means less downtime while using your spells offensively for questing.

For choosing the Holy spec you get a spell called Holy Word: Chastise which is an instant cast spell that deals damage and also disorients the target for 3 seconds. As both an instant spell and one that can pseudo-stun a target it’s a fantastic spell for leveling as well as PvP. Sadly, it does come with a 30 second cooldown, but that can be specced down to around 20 seconds.

Priests also have the advantage of their bubble, Power Word: Shield, which absorbs damage and also prevents pushback when you’re casting spells while it’s active. This makes leveling much easier compared to other casters as your spells fire off at the normal rate when mobs manage to close in to melee range (not to mention the added survivability from the absorb).

Leveling Strengths
Holy Priests don’t have just a whole lot going for them in the way of leveling strengths, which is why most people who level Priests choose to do so as Shadow or Discipline instead. If you can stick to your healing role by running dungeons and PvP a lot then you can really play to your strengths (healing), but for questing you’re not quite as well off as you could be in another spec.

While Holy doesn’t receive any boost to their damaging spells, they do get to reduce some of the cast times which speeds up leveling in a similar way. While I might not hit you 20% harder, I do cast 20% faster (just an example), so it evens out. But the flip side of that is that I may also have to spend more mana to do it as it takes me three casts to kill something that another spec could handle with only two.

Leveling Weaknesses
The Holy Priest’s biggest weakness when it comes to leveling is that they receive no damage buffs at all outside of glyphs. Any amount of damage you can do as Holy, Disc or Shadow could easily do better. Not so much at low levels perhaps, but the higher you go the more apparent it becomes. Thankfully the class’s strengths should be enough to overcome this, but it does mean that questing will seem slower as Holy. I’ve tried to alleviate some of that by choosing Engineering as one of my professions, hoping to put explosives to very frequent use in my questing.

Priests are also notorious for having really bad issues with mana while leveling. Shadow gets a few tools to help with this, as does Discipline, but Holy does not. I’ve decided to combat this to some extent at least with my racial selection of Undead, allowing me to consume the corpses of undead and humanoids in order to regenerate both health and mana.

Intended Leveling Focus
Since I am going with the most healing-focused tree for the class, I’m leaning more towards dungeons as my focus for the Priest. Questing isn’t too bad, but my lack of damage buffs makes it more difficult than it would be had I chosen a different spec. PvP isn’t too bad, so I’m going to keep on doing a decent amount of that as well, but LFG seems to be the best fit for me.

I think focusing to LFG allows me to utilize my strengths and nullify my weaknesses. The major exception to that being if I end up with people in the dungeon queues that don’t allow me to stop and drink if my other mana replenishment options aren’t available. Being able to use bubbles usually gives me the time I need to use Cannibalize to regen my mana, but big pulls where I’m doing a lot of healing or where agro is all over the group can really burn through my mana and easily lead to a wipe.

Planned Spec
Holy is unique for me personally because it’s the only spec of all of the healer classes that I have no experience in at all. Well, technically I did have a level 10 Holy twink-to-be that lasted for a single WSG run before he was switched over to Disc, but he doesn’t really count since it lasted all of seven minutes.

Having no experience of my own, I had to turn instead to a reliable source. And with Tales of a Priest closing their blogging doors I had to find a new, reliable source: enter The Stories of O, stage right. She blogs about Holy Priests in particular which happened to be just what I was looking for too.

I gave her suggested spec a look and figured that for the most part I see where all of those talents could be helpful to me while leveling. There are a couple of possible exceptions, such as Lightwell and Circle of Healing which I can probably get away with not spending points on as this particular priest isn’t going to raid. That’s not to say that they couldn’t be used in a leveling environment, just that they aren’t necessary. I’ll probably end up spending the points in them anyway since there’s not really anywhere else that they could serve me better.

And I think frequent use of Lightwell while leveling in dungeons just might teach some people to get used to clicking it…maybe. Alright fine, they’ll still be clueless, but not for a lack of trying on my part!

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Caster, Class, Leveling, Play Styles, Priest

 

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Project: High Heals

Finding information on how to level a particular class in a DPS spec isn’t hard to do. Most classes (except Rogues, apparently nobody likes being a Rogue) have at least a decent blogging community dedicated to them and/or you can find posts for it on forums all over the place. You can find most of the same for leveling as a tank as well. But when it comes to healing guides, almost all of them are aimed at healing in heroics or raids, or how to switch from a non-healing spec to the healing spec.

Personally, I don’t like just grabbing a random spec I’ve never tried before when my character is a high level. I don’t like learning when I have all the tools I’ll ever need thrown at me all at once. Rather than grabbing a spec I know nothing about I prefer to reroll the character, especially if the spec in question is tanking or healing because of their nature. If I pick up an unfamiliar DPS spec my team can usually carry me while I’m busying sucking and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, but I can’t do that as a tank or a healer because I’m the only one filling that role at the time and my failure would lead to the group’s failure.

I believe that the best way to become truly skilled and knowledgeable about a particular spec is to level in it. I’m not saying it’s the only way, you could certainly do it without ever experiencing the spec until you reach max level, but that knowledge is so much easier to pick up if you’ve had the time to learn about each and every ability as it becomes available to you rather than just having them all thrown at you at once.

So I’m going to do a little mini-project, which is to level a character form 1-85 in their healing spec the entire way. I know it can be done, my wife did it on her first Paladin. The results of this test, which are going to be based on how fun it was and how hard/easy it is will determine whether it becomes a larger project (leveling all of the healing classes in their healing spec), or if I just say, “that was fun, but uh…yeah, never again.”

But I’m not going to take the easy route, I’m not just sticking to LFG where four other people do my leveling for me; I’m going to experience the leveling content in every aspect of the game. So I’m going to take the healer(s) into dungeons, I’m going to take them into battlegrounds and I’m going to quest with them all with the healing spec. I’m not even going to purchase dual specs for them because I know if I do I’m going to be tempted to cheat and grab a DPS spec that I’m sure I’ll tell myself “oh, it’s just for a BG or two so I can throw someone off of the Lumber Mill in AB.” None of that, these suckers are going to live or die (/delete) by their own healing power.

Having done at least some leveling with all of the healing classes with varying degrees of healing experience, I already know a few things off the bat about each class:

  • Druid: Can be very boring as HoT’s are very powerful and quick/instant cast.
  • Paladin: Some healing spells or related spells can be used offensively to help leveling.
  • Priest: Similar to the Pally, they have some heals that can be used offensively.
  • Shaman: Passive healing from Earth Shield can make up for time spent DPSing.

Knowing that Druid healing is frequently boring, I’m less inclined to have them be the class I use for the first test. On the flip side, their powerful HoT’s could very well make up for their boring factor by allowing me to deal damage during the downtime. I’m still considering the druid, but right now they’re the lowest on the list.

Paladin healing I’ve only done in the low level battlegrounds and tiny bit in Northrend during Wrath. I don’t think I have any real “need” for another Paladin right now, so I might leave this one for one of the last slots as well as the character would likely end up deleted and rarely/never played.

The Priest is a class I’m really enjoying right now, but still in the Shadow spec that I’ve recently blogged about. I’m not a great Priest healer and that’s something that I want to work on, and I’d really love to learn it by leveling instead of just flailing into it on my 85. As such, this is a big contender for first or second. I would likely go Holy over Disc because Holy is labeled more as the “used for heals only” spec where Disc is more “use for heals or leveling”.

Lastly we have the Shaman, a class I’m also having a lot of fun leveling right now, but both of my existing Shaman are in DPS specs. My Resto Shaman experience extends to about level 25 as my current Enhancement Shaman was originally a level 19 Resto Twink (which is why he’s named Tiklemonster, btw). I know that Shaman healers are very powerful at low levels as even after Cataclysm I managed to solo a couple of the low level dungeons, one of which (SFK) my buddy Cynwise hasn’t managed to solo yet on his super-twinked 19 Prot Warrior…yet. This ranks the Shaman near the Priest in priority as I had a lot of fun with the Resto spec.

So for right now I’m left with the big question – Resto Shaman or Holy Priest.

 

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Priest Leveling: 70-85 Shadow

If you’re just getting started on a Shadow Priest of your own, or considering one, then I suggest you take a look at the previous guides applicable to your level:
Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow
Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow
Priest Leveling: 50-69 Shadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following are your tools for managing your mana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Important Spells & Abilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leveling a Shadow Priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep your DoT’s up at all times. If you need mana, get it. Shadowfiend, SW:Death, Replenishment (Vampiric Touch + Mind Blast), Dispersion, Archangel, and Hymn of Hope are all sitting there just waiting to be used, so don’t let yourself run dry for no reason. If you’re especially low on mana then cast your Shadowfiend first and follow it with an immediate Hymn of Hope. Both of them restore your mana by themselves, but Hymn has the added bonus of increasing the size of your mana pool and the amount of mana returned by the Shadowfiend is based on your maximum mana, so all of its attacks will restore more thanks to Hymn. If you’re still worried about mana when Hymn is done channeling, pop your Dispersion for another 36% mana.

    Talent Spec: 85 Shadow Priest

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Prime Glyhphs

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

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

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

    Major Glyphs

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

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

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

    Minor Glyphs

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

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

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

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

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

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

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

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

     

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    Update: Shadow Priest PvP

    A little over a week ago I shared with you my First Impressions: Shadow Priest PvP post. I’ve put in quite a bit of PvP time since then and learned quite a bit more as well, so I figured it was time to give another update on where I stand right now.

    Gear Changes
    I’ve definitely found more success using my JC gems for Resilience over Stamina, and I’m very glad that I did. I might be a clothie, but I’ve got some definite survivability…usually.

    As far as purchasing the gear goes, I’ve found that getting the honor I need is way easier than I was anticipating. I was shooting for 1500 Honor per Week, but I can pretty regularly pull that off in a day, plus some. Sometimes we get in a big losing streak and it just takes forever to get out of it, so there are some days that I’m lucky if I make it above 200 in a given day before I just give up on PvP for the night. Right now I’m averaging just over 600 Honor per night.

    Because of that I broken away completely from My Plan on purchasing gear. Seeing the need for Resilience early on I went straight for set bonuses above all else, and I chose to go with the dual-2pc bonuses over a single 4pc starting out so that I could get the +400 Resilience bonus from both sets. I decided I’d rather build a solid, workable collection of gear sooner and then fill in with upgrades as I go along.

    Right now I have one non-PvP ring that needs to get replaced, and then four pieces of crafted gear that need to be upgraded at least to Bloodthirsty. I’m also using a PvE weapon right now, but this week I’ll be able to get the Conquest points I need to upgrade to the Vicious Gavel.

    While Conquest points are maxed easily in a single night of Arena matches the cap on them makes it take forever to purchase Vicious gear. Because of this I’ve gone PvP crazy in BG’s to farm the Honor I need to get full Bloodthirsty first. As I upgrade my set pieces to Vicious, I’m going to go for the 4pc Mooncloth set instead of the dual-2pc so that I can make use of the Mooncloth 4pc set bonus as one of my biggest problems right now is getting mobility debuffs and then having a melee eat my face.

    Right now I’m rocking Jewelcrafting and Inscription as my professions, but even though I just power-leveled the Inscription last week I’m still feeling the urge to switch to Engineering for the helm. I’m going to let that idea simmer for a while and see if I still like the sound of doing that in a week or so, but right now I’m considering it and I’m even more notorious for dropping maxed professions than I am deleting max level toons.

    Nemesis
    I still find Destruction Warlocks to be my biggest threat. Unholy Death Knights are still really strong as well, but I’m actually managing to take some of them out now so it’s not quite as bad as it was. I’m finding a lot of Arms Warriors stepping it up and giving me a challenge now as well as Feral Druids.

    Demonology Warlocks aren’t quite so big a deal anymore, and Affliction isn’t doing much to me either. Frost DK’s are pretty annoying, but I find them a lot easier than Unholy. Blood DK’s take forever to actually kill, but their damage is low enough that they don’t bother me much.

    As I’ve built up my gear and changed my spec and glyphs I’m finding Frost Mages to be much more managable than they used to, though they can still put up a ton of pressure and make for some really great fights.

    On the Arenas front, I’m having a horrible time with Enhancement Shamans as well. Not so much from staying alive, but rather in managing to kill them. It’s like they have heals for days and there’s nothing I can do. They never run out of mana either, even if I switch to Mana Burning them. They end up killing me by outlasting me more than anything else, and there’s almost nothing I can do to stop it. I’ve gotten a lot better at managing my CC and cooldowns since the last time I faced one though, so I’m looking forward to trying it out again to see how well I can hold my own with better gear and a stronger skill set.

    Spec
    I’ve changed my spec up a couple of times now. Right now I’m running with this 8/0/33 build, but I’m about to make a change to it, dropping Improved Mind Blast and it’s healing debuff for 2 points in Paralysis and 1 point in Harnessed Shadows. I don’t really need the cooldown on Mind Blast, and the Mortal Strike debuff on it doesn’t seem to help me much at all.

    Mana issues are still present right now, but I’m getting a lot better at managing them and dealing with them during combat so I’m much more calm in most fights than I was before. With the mana issues becoming more manageable I also dropped my points in Mental Agility (reduced mana cost on instant cast spells) and switched them over to Improved Power Word: Shield for an extra 20% win to my bubble. When the time comes to spread those DoT’s and run I like having the survivability more so than saving a small amount of mana.

    I’m also making use of the Glyph of Dispersion now which drops the cooldown on it from 2 minutes to 75 seconds which helps on the mana front as well as survivability thanks to being able to take advantage of its damage reduction more often.

    Issues to Work Out
    My biggest problem right now is rotation. I don’t feel like my DoT’s do enough damage for them to really be reliable against anyone in Resilience gear. They still deal damage and all, but if there’s a healer nearby who can dispel then the DoT’s are just a waste of my mana. On the flip side, Mind Spike/Blast spam works fairly well, but I can’t keep it up for very long before I drive myself OOM, and if my target is getting decent heals then I’m screwed anyway).

    I’m not sure what the answer is, but I probably need to go dual every class I can to find out which strategies work against which classes.

    My ability to kill people right now just feels weak overall. Now that I’m over 3,200 Resilience I think it’s time for me to start focusing back on Intellect to increase my damage output. I also need to figure out whether I’m better off stacking more Haste until I reach the next break point in damage per cast for all of my spells, or if I should just focus on Spellpower and Mastery instead.

    First Impressions
    I’m still managing to grow more skilled and more confident in my Shadow Priest performance. I like how most of the struggles I’ve faced on the Priest have caused me to develop to overcome them rather than giving up in frustration as I’ve done before with other classes.

    There’s still that feeling of having the class changed on me there at the very end, and it’s still a little odd, but it no longer bothers me in the same way that it did before. Once you get Mind Spike you have the ability now to be something more than a simple DoT Monkey, you can actually deal some spike damage and try to burn down your targets which is great. I still need to get a better grasp on which style to use versus which opponents though. Often in BG’s I can Mind Spike people to death all over the place because there’s rarely any real coordination in non-rated BG’s. When it comes to Arena and RBG’s though, I have to be much more aware of who I’m facing and the best way for me to deal with them and the situation around us. Sometimes my best option is to DoT and run, other times it’s Mind Spike spam, sometimes it’s pure CC (as best I can), and sometimes it’s blowing all of my cooldowns while I get 2-4 stubborn (ie – stupid) melee DPS to chase me all the way across the field while my flag carrier runs right though the area we were just in.

    I still find that EotS, TP, and BfG are the battlegrounds that I enjoy the least. Whatever the reason, it just seems like Alliance has a horrible time accomplishing anything in those three places. Horde executes great tactics that people should be learning from, but instead they just mindlessly bash their head against an unyielding wall over and over until the timer runs out and the Horde claims victory.

     
    4 Comments

    Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Caster, Class, Player vs Player, Priest

     

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