In last week’s Planning for PvP: Shadow Priest post I outlined my plans for gearing up my Shadow Priest who reached level 85 on Saturday. Today I’m going to share what I found in my first weekend of focusing almost entirely on PvP with the Priest.
I’ve made a couple of changes to the plan after finding how I performed, I’ve found a few problems I’m going to have to figure out how to solve, I’ve decided on a spec, and I’ve got a good feel for which classes I can defeat and which I cannot.
The first gear change is with the gems. I was planning on using my JC gems for Stamina to help me live longer, but I’m finding Resilience to be more useful for survivability. When you play with no Resilience and then you play with a fair amount of it you can really see how significant a difference it can make.
I also got ahead of myself on the gear purchases as I found myself almost reaching the Honor cap over the weekend. I had almost 1800 Honor from all the BG’s I ran while leveling up and then I spent several hours both Saturday and Sunday chaining BG’s while I waited for Tol Barad and Wintergrasp queues to pop. So I already have two pieces of Bloodthirsty Gladiator gear, though I don’t have a set bonus yet since I got the Gloves and a PvP trinket.
“Week 1″, from the Planning post, doesn’t actually start until tomorrow so while I’m still going to buy the gear in the same order I had listed, I’m likely going to fill in other slots with Bloodthirsty gear while I wait to earn the Conquest Points for the Vicious gear. I may also focus on filling both set pieces w/ Bloodthirsty and upgrading to Vicious as I can before bothering with any of the off-set items. We’ll see how easily I get Conquest capped this week and go from there.
Concerning enchants, I think I’m pretty good where I’m at right now on those. The one exception is the weapon enchant. I’ve been using Mending so far which has a chance to heal for about 850 or so, but the proc chance, while high for a weapon enchant, isn’t fast enough to really matter in PvP. I would definitely rather have more damage coming in than a mediocre heal every once in a while. I think I’m going to switch to Avalanche for now and once I get my hands on a PvP weapon then I’ll consider upgrading to Power Torrent.
Warlocks and Death Knights
Over the weekend I found out that Demonology and Destruction Warlocks are mean. Mean as in seeing one leaves me with only two options: run away or die. Oftentimes those two options are only a single option because the Warlocks I’ve been facing just love chasing me down and killing me anyway. I can handle Affliction without too much trouble it seems, though I admit I didn’t take the time to check my opponents in the Armory to see if the Afflocks were perhaps just undergeared or geared for PvE instead.
Unholy Death Knights are more or less the exact same way. If I can’t keep them out of melee range, I’m dead. My only hope is kiting them until their bubble of “hahah, I’m immune to magic” crap wears off and then combining CC with direct damage spells rather than DoT’s to burn them down, then kite with DoT’s working until CC cooldowns are up and repeating that.
Right now I’m running an 8/0/33 spec that’s working pretty good for me. I don’t have any points in Paralysis right now, but I’d really like to fix that. On the one hand being able to root targets for 4 seconds after a Mind Blast crit could be a real help against some classes (Death Knight, Rogue), and on the other it wouldn’t have much effect on most of the casters at all. It’s a talent I’d love to have, but that I’m not sure I can afford to put the points into.
One thing that deserves a special note is Evangelism/Archangel. I have severe mana issues right now, and Archangel is a fantastic tool for mana regen. If you’re going to PvP as Shadow, do not skip out on Evan/Arch. Shadowfiend is decent when it’s not getting CC’ed or focus fired, Divine Hymn isn’t bad, but if I have the time to safely cast it then I likely have time to sit and drink too. Disperse is good for mana regen, but I often find myself needing to use it as a defensive ability, so it’s not always off cooldown when I need mana. The Glyph of Spirit Tap is good when I can nail a killing blow, but in PvP if it’s not a 1v1 situation it can be really hard to time the cast just right and not cast it too early or too late.
Issues to Work Out
One of my issues right now is the one I just pointed out above, I’ve got mana problems. I did just now start building up my gear, so I’ve got some upgrades coming in the near(ish) future that will increase my mana pool and maybe ease up on the mana usage a bit, but it’s still going to be a problem I think. I might have to look at using the purple Timeless Demonseyes (+20 Intellect, +30 Stamina) in my Blue slots instead of straight Stamina so that I can boost my mana up a bit more. Or I might have to ignore the socket bonuses here and there and go with straight Inferno Rubies.
The next issue is one of rotation. I’ve found three ways to play the Priest that still remain somewhat effective. First, I can just nuke the targets with Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, and it works pretty well but it’s also high on mana cost. Second, I can use PvE style rotations and load up the DoT’s followed by Mind Flay spam and SW:Death when they’re under 25% health, which is also effective but somewhat costly. Third is to combine the two, using Mind Spike x3, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay which is even more costly of course, but generally gets the job done. Spreading DoT’s around in a group of PvP is just asking to run out of mana.
While one aspect of the rotation problem is related to the mana issues, the other is that we just aren’t bursty DPS. If I want to burst someone down as soon as possible it has to be Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam, which requires me to stand still to cast. Standing still in PvP is closely related to this thing we call “waiting for the resurrection timer”. Our only two options for dealing damage on the move are Devouring Plague spam (lots of mana) and SW:Death which has a cooldown. Maybe it’s just a gear issue, where I’m not doing as much damage as I’d like to, but I still have some learning to do on how to actually play the class in end game PvP.
Overall I’ve managed to grow more skilled and more confident in my Shadow Priest performance. I do not like how hard mana management is right now in some cases, but I do like that it’s prompting me to get creative in my playstyle and teaching how to fight in those situations.
Shadow Priests in end game PvP don’t play like they did leveling up, so it’s definitely an adjustment. It also changes the feel of the class and I will admit I’m not quite so pleased with the new feel as I was just a few levels earlier. I’m not ready to give up on it or anything, but it’s worth noting that there is a definite change in how it feels.
I enjoy most of the battlegrounds, though I do cringe when Eye of the Storm pops up as Alliance apparently has no idea how to win there. I think my lifetime wins in that place can be counted on one hand, even if you’re missing a finger or two. Of the new BG’s I’m not really that big on Twin Peaks even though it’s a lot like WSG which is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what it is, I just don’t care for it much. Battle for Gilneas isn’t too bad and I like how it looks for some reason, but I still prefer Arathi Basin.
It was interesting to see that multiple times in Strand of the Ancients over the weekend I was able to knock down gates by myself faster than two other people could on the opposite gate. The key has always been to have melee in the tanks, but I kick butt in those siege engines, so I take one whenever I can. It does suck though that Horde understand the whole root/snare the tanks concept and it’s completely lost on Alliance. I don’t think Mind Flay actually has any slowing effect on them though, so all I can do is burn them down. I don’t know if the gates are glitched there or what, but gates don’t stand a chance if I can actually reach them.
Apparently IoC is currently bugged so that the bosses cannot be killed and they deal 92,000 damage even to tanks. So your only option for winning IoC right now is to run the opponent out of reinforcements. The game plan for IoC then becomes to zerg the Workshop (WS) and use the siege engines there to destroy the opposing faction until you can force them into a graveyard and then camp that graveyard with all of the siege so that you just farm the kills until it’s over. I admit, it’s fun watching the bodies fly when you’re doing it the first time, but otherwise it makes the BG really boring from then on.
As for Tol Barad, I’m still not a huge fan, but it does at least switch hands a bit more often now. I love the amount of honor you get there, so I’ll visit frequently, but that place is a beast. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I think it could still use some improvement. Wintergrasp is very interesting now that group sizes vary from 1-4. Thank the Light you can accomplish almost all of the quests for honor there without having to kill actual players or else the place would be even more dead than it already is. I’ll take some free honor and gold from 20 minutes of my time though.