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Category Archives: Leveling

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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    Professions Leveling: Jewelcrafting 1-525

    Continuing on with the series on Leveling Professions. This time we’re going to look at one of the hottest professions the game has to offer – Jewelcrafting.

    Jewelcrafting (or JC) is a somewhat odd profession because it completely changes what it does once you get halfway through with leveling it. Up to skill level 300 the profession crafts rings and necklaces, an occasional trinkets. Once you hit level 300 it switches your focus almost entirely over to gems with a few bits of jewelry left over. That trend continues on throughout the remaining expansions, though jewelry does crop up a bit more in Wrath and Cataclysm.

    The purpose of these guides isn’t to actually tell you what to make, because you can already find that at the same source I go to when it’s time to level professions: WoW-Professions.com. You can click on this link to find their Jewelcrafting Leveling Guide.

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

    Getting Started: Materials
    The first thing you need to know about Jewelcrafting is what type of materials you need to craft. Mining is your primary source. If you want to level a Jewelcrafter then you need to either make their other profession Mining so that they can provide their own mats, have another toon with Mining to feed them mats, or be prepared to spend thousands of gold on the auction house purchasing the ore or raw gems that you need.

    There are two items that you’ll need to have with you in order to perform your Jewelcrafting services. First up is the Jeweler’s Kit which you need for basically everything you do with the profession, and second is the Simple Grinder which you’ll need once you reach skill level 300 and start cutting the gems.

    Once you reach the Northrend level of Jewelcrafting you’ll also find that Alchemy can be a great benefit for leveling up your Jewelcrafting by being able to transmute certain gems for you. You don’t have to have an Alchemist, but it can be very useful. If you’re looking to do JC for the sake of profit and not simply providing gear and gems for your character then you may really want to consider leveling an Alchemist for the ability to transmute lower quality gems into higher quality.

    If you’re looking to power-level the profession you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to find a list of items you want to gather beforehand. Be aware though that there are some portions of power leveling it where there are more than one option for what items to craft and there may be a cheaper option available to you. I suggest you follow the guide as needed rather than stocking up on all the mats before hand so that you don’t end up spending thousands of gold on a certain material when you could have spent just a couple hundred on another option.

    Jeweler’s Special
    There are a couple of things that are special to the Jewelcrafting profession as well, which most other professions do not have. These are Prospecting and Daily Quests.

    Prospecting is a Jewelcrafter-only spell that you can train at skill level 20. It allows you to turn 5 of a single kind of Ore (Copper, Fel Iron, Cobalt, etc) into gems instead. The 5 Ore are destroyed in the process and replaced by the gems. Each type of ore has it’s own set of gems that it can turn into, and knowing which ore turns into which gems is the key to making gold as well as the key to leveling up “on the cheap” if you would rather farm your own ore than buy certain gems on the auction house or even worse, farm them from ore node procs alone.

    Refer to the following table to find out which kinds of gems you can get from each type of ore.

    Ore Type Primary Prospect Secondary Prospect Additional Prospects
    Copper Ore Malachite 50% Tigerseye 50% Shadowgem 10%
    Tin Ore 1-2 Lesser Moonstone 38%
    1-2 Shadowgem 38%
    1-2 Moss Agate 37% Aquamarine 3%
    Citrine 3%
    Jade 3%
    Silver Ore Cannot be prospected.
    Iron Ore 1-2 Citrine 36% 1-2 Jade 35%
    1-2 Lesser Moonstone 35%
    Aquamarine 5%
    Star Ruby 5%
    Cannot be prospected.
    Mithril Ore 1-2 Star Ruby 36% Aquamarine 35%
    1-2 Citrine 35%
    Large Opal 3%
    Azerothian Diamond 2%
    Blue Sapphire 2%
    Huge Emerald 2%
    Truesilver Ore Cannot be prospected.
    Dark Iron Ore Cannot be prospected.
    Thorium Ore 1-2 Azerothian Diamond 31%
    1-2 Blue Sapphire 31%
    1-2 Huge Emerald 31%
    1-2 Large Opal 31%
    1-2 Star Ruby N/A
    Fel Iron Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 17-19% Rare Gems 1.1-1.3% N/A
    Eternium Ore Cannot be prospected.
    Adamantite Ore Adamantite Powder 100% 1-2 Uncommon Gems 17-19% Rare Gems 4%
    Khorium Ore Cannot be prospected.
    Cobalt Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 23-24% Rare Gems 1.1-1.5% N/A
    Saronite Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 18-19% 1-2 Rare Gems 4-5% N/A
    Titanium Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 23-24% 1-2 Epic Gems 4-5% 1-2 Rare Gems 4%
    Obsidium Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 23-24% Rare Gems 1.2-1.3% NA
    Elementium Ore 1-2 Uncommon Gems 18% 1-2 Rare Gems 4-5% NA
    Pyrite Ore 1-3 Volatile Earth 100% Uncommon Gems 16-17% Rare Gems 7-8%

    There are a couple of other types of Ore that you can get from mining in particular zones that are used strictly for quests that I didn’t bother linking above. If there’s another type of ore you’ve found that isn’t on this list you can safely assume that it has no prospecting value.

    Trouble Areas
    Almost every profession has some sort of bottleneck, or trouble area where the mats are either hard to find or all of the recipes you have access to are either green or yellow and so only have a chance to skill you up. I’ve had yellow recipes that took up to nine attempts before it gave me a single point, and yet I’ve had green recipes that gave me a point every single time I made them. Random numbers suck, but that’s all we’ve got.

    One of the early bottlenecks you might find is pretty early on. If you can’t find 20 Small Lustrous Pearls or 40 Shadowgems (or if they’re overpriced) then you might want to take a look at the price of Silver Ore or Silver Bars instead since they can level you through the same range. I find I rarely use Silver in other professions so I end up having a couple of stacks worth sitting in my bank. You’ll see that yourself while you’re leveling through WoW-Profession’s guide, but it’s one you should be aware of for sure since the price of Shadowgems in particular can range anywhere from a few silver to several gold each.

    Now, on to some more literal bottlenecks. Large Opal is the first one that comes to mind. While you may find a few while leveling up a Miner, they aren’t all that common overall. The best way to get them is by actually prospecting Thorium Ore, which people don’t really do all that often in general. You might be able to find them on your AH if people have been prospecting ore or leveling toons with Mining, but you might find them way more expensive than you’d like to pay. If you aren’t going to spend time mining Thorium for extended periods of time then you may want to check the prices for Thorium Ore on the AH to see if it’s cheaper. You can get some of them from prospecting Mithril Ore as well, but the chance is much lower.

    You can also find Azerothian Diamonds with the same method which can ease up the cost of mats for leveling Jewelcrafting. Some of the other recipes in this level range also require other gems that can be found from prospecting Thorium. Those in particular are a bit easier to find because they also have a higher chance of being mined from the actual Thorium nodes, but it’s good to know where they come from.

    If you find that prices for the gems in this particular level range, which is 225-300 or so, then be sure to check the price of Thorium Ore to see if you might be better of buying it than the gems themselves, or give some thought into farming Thorium Ore yourself if you have a Miner who can do so easily.

    The next potential bottleneck is Outlands level gems. Typically you can find these for pretty cheap prices on the Auction House, usually less than 1g each or even just 4-5g for a stack of them. You need about 55 of them or so, and it doesn’t matter which type they are. However, you’re going to need to prospect 200 Adamantite Ore to get your hands on the 40 Adamantite Powder you need to finish leveling through Outlands content anyway, so before you purchase those gems you might want to prospect all of your Adamantite Ore and use the gems you get from it first. You do have to have a Jewelcrafting skill of 325 before you can prospect Adamantite Ore, so you may need to buy some raw gems to get you up to that point. The blue-quality rare gems from Outlands sell for 3g each to a vendor, and that’s about all they’re good for too.

    The only other bottleneck I wanted to bring up here is going to come at the very end of your JC leveling, which is the new uncommon gem, Nightstone. You need 40 of them to powerlevel, but they’re also one of the gems required for the JC daily quests so they’re often more expensive than the other gems. You can either purchase the gems themselves, or you can buy/farm the Cataclysm ores to prospect for a chance to get them. I had 24 stacks of Obsidium Ore last night and prospecting them all yielded exactly 20 of these. While prospecting is completely random in what it gives you, you can see the percentage chance of getting one is fairly low at a bit less than 1 per stack of ore in this particular example.

    Notable Special Recipes
    There are only a couple of recipes that you need to keep an eye out for when you’re leveling your Jewelcrafting. There are other options for things you can craft to get past their levels, but you’ll really spend a lot of mats using them instead.

    Both of these “special” recipes are for fairly low level crafting, and you really only need to get one or the other unless you can’t find enough of their mats to get through the level range, then it’s beneficial for you to go ahead and get both. The first one is Design: Pendant of the Agate Shield which can be purchased from Neal Allen (Alliance) in Wetlands or Jandia (Horde) in Thousand Needles.

    The second recipe is the Design: Amulet of the Moon which is purchased from Arred (Alliance) in Exodar or Mythrin’dir (Alliance) in Darnassus, or from Daniel Bartlett (Horde) in Undercity or Gelanthis (Horde) in Silvermoon City.

    While there are a lot of recipes (usually called “cuts” or “designs”) for other types of gem cuts, the way that gemming works basically nullifies all of the old cuts when new expansions are released. The only exception is twinks, but I haven’t even bothered looking into the twink gem market to be able to tell you how profitable that may or may not be.

    Specializations
    Jewelcrafting is one of the few crafting professions that does not, and has not (that I’m aware of), had any form of specializations attached to it. Basically, all JC’s are created equal.

    However, the high level gem cuts are purchased by tokens that are rewarded for completing daily quests that are only available to high level JC’s. Because of that the patterns for specific gems take time to acquire and not all JC’s will have the same patterns at the same time. Generally you’ll find that casters will start with caster cuts, melee the melee cuts, tanks the survival cuts, and so on. The exception to that, at least early on in an expansion like we are now, is when members of a guild team up in their pattern purchases so that nobody is overlapping and each JC can get a different pattern so that all of the guild’s needs can be met by at least someone, and after those needs are met then they will start to get the patterns they prefer for their own characters or that sell the best on the AH depending on what their motivations are.

    So if you’re looking for Strength gems you generally have a better shot finding the cuts you need from Jewelcrafters who are similar classes that also need those same cuts. So Strength-based Plate Tank/DPS will usually have Strength gems, Leather/Mail DPS classes will usually have Agility, DPS/Healing casters will tend towards Intellect, and so on. Like I said, it doesn’t always work that way, but in general that’s what you’ll find early on in an expansion.

    Psynister Preferences
    Jewelcrafting is one of those professions that I pretty well stick to the guides on. I do break away a few times, particularly when it comes to snatching some cheap skill ups at the beginning of each material bracket up to skill level 300.

    The item I’m talking about are the Stone Statues which each require 8 of the different types of Stone found in Azeroth mining nodes, from Rough up through Dense. The stones summon a little statue that sends out a channeled heal that targets you for a few seconds and then dies. The Rough, Coarse, and Heavy versions each take 8 of their respective stones to make and the Solid and Dense versions each take 10 of their stones. They aren’t all that useful, but they do come in handy when they’re needed and they’re fairly cheap to make as well.

    If you have a stockpile of these from leveling Mining on one of your toons then you might consider dumping them into these statues for some cheap skill levels since the stone usually sells for crap on the AH. If you don’t have your own, go ahead and check their price on the AH, and if they’re cheap go ahead and get a few stacks if you can skill up on them, but if they’re expensive then just ignore it since they’re not really needed. Making the statues does take a lot of stone, and the statues themselves only stack up to 5 so you’ll fill up your bags pretty quick, but it’s another option that can potentially save you more expensive mats.

    There are also two suggestions I’m going to make in particular regarding making gold with this profession. First off, buy every green-quality Northrend gem you find on the AH for 50 silver or less. You can cut all of the Northrend uncommon gems and vendor them for 50 silver if they’re regular cuts or 1g if they proc as a perfect cut. If they’re over 50s each then I don’t suggest you buy them, but if they’re at 50s you’ll at least break even and under 50s you’ve got guaranteed profit. The same concept applies to Cataclysm gems, except that the vendor value for them is 9g each. So if you see any at under 9g then snatch them up, cut them, and then vendor them.

    Another item you can make early on that can bring in some decent gold is the Thick Bronze Necklace. It requires level 17 to wear, provides +3 Stamina, and has a fairly low material cost of 2 Bronze Bars, 1 Shadowgem, and 1 Delicate Copper Wire. This necklace is the default choice for all level 19 twinks. Every now and then the market gets flooded with these and they aren’t worth the mats it takes to make them, but if you get your hands on some cheap mats or already have some collecting dust in your bank then it’s a good option for turning it into cash.

    Power Leveling Materials List
    The following list is taken from the WoW-Professions website. To find a list of what to make with these items you’ll need to refer to their Jewelcrafting Leveling Guide.

    Approximate Materials Required for 1-525:

    IMPORTANT! DO NOT BUY ALL OF THE MATERIALS AT ONCE! Jewelcrafting is really expensive to level, and on most servers AH is screwed up because of the insanely high prices of low level Gems, Orbs and Bars. I usually have a few tips and alternatives so you can save some gold.

    100 Copper Bar
    20 Tigerseye or 20 Malachite
    120 Bronze Bar = 60 Copper Bar, 60 Tin Bar
    60 Shadowgem OR 20 Shadowgem and 20 Small Lustrous Pearl
    80 Heavy Stone
    30 Moss Agate / 60 Lesser Moonstone for Horde
    140 Mithril Bar
    80 Solid Stone
    25 Citrine
    15 Truesilver Bar
    5 Aquamarine
    50 Thorium Bar
    10 Star Ruby
    20 Large Opal
    10 Powerful Mojo or 10 Blue Sapphire
    10 Essence of Earth or 10 Essence of Undeath
    20 Huge Emerald
    55 green gems OR 40 and 15 Black Diamond – You can find a list of green gems here. Don’t buy all of them from one kind, because there might be some recipes where you don’t have the reputation to buy it, so you will have to choose other green gems. Just buy them when you get to that part of the Jewelcrafting guide.
    40 Adamantite Powder (200 Adamantite Ore)
    10 Primal Earth
    10 Adamantite Bar
    Buy around 70 from any of the following gems: Bloodstone, Chalcedony, Dark Jade, Huge Citrine, Shadow Crystal, Sun Crystal. Make sure to buy at least 5 Bloodstone, 1 Chalcedony, 1 Shadow Crystal and 1 Dark Jade, because you will need the Bloodstones when you reach 395 and the other gems when you reach 440.
    46 Eternal Earth OR 23 Eternal Earth and 23 Eternal Shadow
    5 Forest Emerald
    5 Titanium Bar
    5 Dream Shard
    Buy 45 from any of the following gems: Carnelian, Alicite, Jasper, Zephyrite. I did not include Hessinote and Nightstone in the list, because you will use them later on.
    16 Hessinote
    40 Nightstone
    Note: 495-525 material list is not included, because you shouldn’t buy all of them at once, but you will need around 30 Shadowspirit Diamonds and a lot more Uncommon Gems for the Fire Prism transmutes.

     
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    Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions

     

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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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    Professions Leveling: Skinning 1-525

    Today I’m going to continue my series on Leveling Professions with a gathering guide – Skinning.

    Skinning is the primary gathering profession of Leatherworking, and it provides mats which are often used in Blacksmithing, Engineering, and even Tailoring as well.

    Gathering professions is where I tend to venture away from the guides at WoW-Professions.com, because I have my own paths I like to travel to get specific items that I know sell for more or are used for more items that what the guide tells you. You can click on this link to find their Skinning Leveling Guide.

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

    Getting Started: Materials
    As a gathering profession, Skinning doesn’t need anything in the way of actual mats. However, it does require you to devote one item in your bags to be used as a Skinning Knife. You can get the actual Skinning Knife item from basically every trade goods vendor in the game as well as any leatherworking supplies vendors and some blacksmithing supplies vendors as well. There are also some items that act as a Skinning Knife, chief among them being the Gnomish Army Knife which acts as the basic gathering and crafting tools for basically every profession.

    Special Note: One way that Skinning stands apart from every other profession is that even mobs that show as Orange do not have a 100% chance to skill you up when you’re skinning. Another way it differs is that you’re not guaranteed to get any leather or any other items when you skin something either. Sometimes you’ll skin orange mobs and get nothing at all for it. It’s more rare that you’ll get no items than it is that you won’t get a skill point, but both of them happen.

    You can also get several bonuses to your Skinning skill from items and enchants in the game.
    Enchant Gloves – Skinning: Permanently enchant gloves to increase skinning skill by 5.
    Enchant Gloves – Gathering: Permanently enchant gloves to increase Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning by 5. Requires a level 60 or higher item.
    Finkle’s Skinner: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)
    Zulian Slicer: Equip: Skinning +10. (Also counts as a skinning knife.)

    I keep a pair of white-quality Cloth gloves that have the enchant for each of the gathering professions (the individual enchants for each, not Gatherer) on them to pass around to toons while leveling. Skinning typically doesn’t need it, but if you’re going to power level it then being able to move on to the next stage a bit early can save you some time.

    The Zulian Slicer is no longer in the game, so if you don’t already have one you’re just out of luck. Finkle’s Skinner can still be found in Upper Blackrock Spire, and you can use two of them for +20 Skinning if your class is able to dual wield. Both of these items count as a skinning knife as well, so you can get rid of your regular one if you have these, or your gnomish army knife if you don’t need it for your other professions.

    If you are looking for a guide to farming specific leathers, WoW-Professions has a guide for that as well: WoW Leather Farming Guide.

    From WoW_Professions:

    Up to skinning 100, you can find out the highest level mob you can skin by: ((Skinning skill)/10)+10. Example: ( 50 / 10 ) +10 = 15

    From skinning level 100 and up the formula is simply: (Skinning skill)/5. Example: (175 / 5 = 35)

    Trouble Areas
    Skinning doesn’t really have any trouble areas, it’s basically about as straight forward as you can get since it’s keyed off of mob levels. If you find yourself in a zone that doesn’t reward you skill points for skinning then you simply move on to another zone that does.

    However, if you’re Skinning for the sake of doing Leatherworking then there are definitely some bottlenecks.

    The problem is that it’s so easy to level Skinning. If you skin everything while you level you’ll still find that you’re short on certain leathers if you’re using them for LW because you spent so little time in areas that give you the kind of leather you need in the quantities that you need it.

    So while Skinning itself doesn’t have any bottlenecks, I am going to tell you which leathers you want to spend a little extra time farming. If you’re interested in leveling Leatherworking or in selling the leather for profit, then you’ll want to take a look at this list. If you’re just interested in getting to max level as fast as you can so that you can focus on Cataclysm leathers, then just disregard the list and move on to the next section.

    Heavy Leather: While you only need 180 of these to level your Leatherworking, the level range that these drop in are generally gone through so quickly that you won’t have near that amount even if you skin while you’re leveling your character. If you are leveling your profession with your toon then the best place to farm this on your own is in Feralas. However, I prefer to farm it via dungeon, particularly Uldaman.

    In Uldaman you’ll find three (four?) little pits filled with scorpids that all have a great drop rate for Heavy Leather. You’ll also find several bats and basilisks in the instance that can also be skinned for Heavy Leather. You will end up scoring some Medium Leather and Medium/Heavy Hides from them as well, but the Medium Leather can be combined by a Leatherworker to turn it into Heavy, and the Heavy Hides are often hard to come by and sell pretty well on the AH, so they’re an added bonus.

    Thick Leather: You need 410 Thick Leather for Leatherworking, and while you’ll find plenty of it while you’re leveling a toon, you probably won’t find the 20.5 stacks worth before you’re ready for Outlands. If you’re going to farm them solo while leveling then your best bet is to head over to Badlands and kill the dragon whelps northwest of New Kargath. You can also go kill the Ravasaurs in Un’goro Crater.

    Because you need so much of this one and so much of the Rugged Leather as well, I like to farm these in a place that gives me a nice mixture of both of them: Sunken Temple. If you’re a high enough level to solo this place then I highly recommend it. There are a ton of dragonkin in here and almost every mob in the instance is skinnable (save the one wing filled with trolls). You’ll find Thick and Rugged Leathers in almost exact proportions each run. You will end up with some Green and White Dragon Scales as well which aren’t used for much, but sell reasonably well on the AH.

    The two skinners that I recently leveled to 525 both went here, and I farmed it a third time to help my wife with her Skinner/Leatherworker a couple of weeks ago as well. The instance is a fraction of the size it used to be now and it’s full of skinnable mobs in a fairly small area. Reaching my five dungeons per hour limit I got an average of 185 of each of these leathers per hour.

    Another decent place is Blackrock Depths. You can kill all of the hyena/dog things there for Thick Leather. There are a fair number in the first room and then there’s a boss right down the hall that’s surrounded by them. You can get a decent amount here, but not as much as Sunken Temple. The side benefit of running BRD for the leather is that you can also get a bit more profit if you also take the time to go upstairs to take down the Pyromancer for a chance at the Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon recipe which you can sell for 50-150g.

    Because it takes 410 of these to power level Leatherworking, Thick Leather is a decent option to grind for profit. Thick Leather prices are always all over the place any time I look at getting into them. They’re either incredibly high or ridiculously low. Watch the market and find a decent time to jump in. And in case you didn’t know, right now is a good time. Currently Leatherworking is one of the top raiding professions in the game and people are powering through it.

    Rugged Leather: You also need 410 Rugged Leather for Leathworking, and it’s a bit harder to come by than the thick in general leveling. The reason for that is because you’re generally going to leave for Outlands at level 58 and it’s pretty likely that you’ll manage to get a least a level or two into the 50’s while questing or running dungeons in areas where the mobs are still dropping Thick Leather. If you want to solo farm these at level then you want to head to the Blasted Lands, farming the boars and hyenas that inhabit the northern half of the zone.

    As I said above though, I prefer farming these in Sunken Temple alongside the Thick Leather. The level range of the mobs in Sunken Temple is great for being able to double-dip into two different level ranges of leather at the same time. You need the same number of both types for LW, and you’ll find them at almost the exact same rate in the instance, so you might as well skin two birds with one sunken stone.

    If you have all the Thick you need/want already, then you can also head into Blackrock Spire to farm these. There are a lot of mobs there that can be skinned for Rugged Leather, but I don’t care for the layout of the dungeon and you have to run through a lot of humanoids to get to the areas where the farming is really good so it’s kind of a pain.

    Again, with 410 of these required to power through Leatherworking, Rugged Leather is a great option for farming if you want to make some gold on the AH. Rugged Leather is typically the top seller for Vanilla leathers, because so much is needed and so many people are eager to get into Outlands as soon as possible which means they miss out on farming opportunities.

    Borean Leather: This is your biggest road block in the whole leveling process. If you’re leveling it along with your toon then it won’t be such a mindnumbing grind (yes it will), but it’s still going to suck. You need almost 1,000 Borean Leather to power through Leatherworking, so you’ll be here for a very long while if you want to farm it all yourself and for that purpose. Arctic Furs can drastically reduce the number of Borean Leather someone needs to level, but with the number of people in Northrend dwindling, it won’t be long before the supply disappears.

    When you first get to Northrend you’ll start with the Rhinos in Borean Tundra (my preference) or the Shoveltusks in Howling Fjord. Once your skill reaches 390 you’re off to Sholozar Basin for some monkeys. (I resisted the urge to put a joke in there, so you should thank me.) The Gorillas there are your farming spot of choice for the rest of forever as far as Northrend is concerned. If you get tired of farming the monkeys, or your competition picks up, then you can kill the mammoths, worms and proto-drakes in Storm Peaks, the mammoths, raptors and cats in Zuldrak, or the Nerubians in southeastern Ice Crown.

    If you feel like running dungeons your best bet for the leather is going to be Violet Hold. Almost everything in there is a dragonkin that can be skinned. The only exception being most of the bosses.

    Psynister Preferences
    I break away from the guide on Skinning quite a bit because I have my own way that I just prefer to use. I don’t really use the guide much at all until it’s time for Outlands, honestly.

    Following the WoW-Professions you’ll be skinning mobs that are generally always either orange or yellow to you, so you have a higher chance of skilling up per skinning attempt. I prefer to level mine with quantity over quality, so I often farm large packs of mobs using AoE that are only green to me because I can get more skill points in a shorter period of time without having to do excessive amounts of travel to get to new zones just to get orange/yellow mobs when I could just as easily the same skill level by spending another 10-15 minutes right where I am.

    1-100
    To start off, I start leveling all of my skinning at the farms south of Goldshire. I don’t care whether they’re Horde or Alliance, I’m going to the Human’s capital zone to start my skinning because it is hands down the best place to do it. The pigs at these farms have a forced respawn, meaning that when you kill them you force others to spawn. The fastest way to farm them is to find a Mage that’s high enough level to one-shot them with Ice Lance and just have them run circles around the farm killing everything that moves. Set the loot to Free For All and you loot/skin while they kill.

    Don’t worry about the bodies despawning before you get to them because there’s literally an endless supply here and you’re just going to skin your little heart out until you hit 75. Personally, I hit 50-60 and then go to the trainer north of Goldshire to train the next level and then I go back and farm them again until I reach 90 skill. After I hit 90 I run around the zone on the eastern or western edges to kill the packs of wolves and bears until I hit 95-100.

    100-150
    From there I generally skin the wolves in northern Duskwood since they’re right there just south of me, but the real sweet spot is the Wailing Caverns instance. That place is filled with raptors and snakes that can be skinned from skill level 95+ and so is the cave outside of the instance. There’s also the added bonus that every Druid of the Fang in the place has a chance to drop Gloves of the Fang which sell on the AH for 45-175g. My current record is four pair of the gloves on a single run.

    There are also two rare spawns in the cave outside of the instance portal, one who drops a two-handed axe that sells for 50-125g and the other which drops a mail belt that I’ve sold for 175g. They won’t be there all the time of course, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look when you’re in the area.

    The Barrens itself is a great place to level your skinning as both North and South Barrens are just filled with beasts. What you don’t manage to get skilled up in Wailing Caverns can be done by farming the plateau just north of Ratchet which is filled with raptors, zhevra and and lions (and two rare spawns), or in the packs of lions and hyenas that are spread all over the zone.

    150-225
    Once you reach skill 150 it’s time to go down into Southern Barrens where the level 30+ mobs are. Here you can skin the raptors and hyenas that are spread along the northern border as you make your way to the mountains west/northwest of Northwatch Hold (on the eastern shore). There you’ll find a pack of raptors set back into the mountain. There’s an Alliance quest that sends you in there to get supply crates or something now, and I don’t recall what the quest was before the Shattering. Skin all of these until you reach skill level 165 or so and then it’s time to hit another instance.

    Razorfen Kraul has two wonderful spots for skinning. The first is the trench that’s typically considered the end of the dungeon, though you can easily reach it from the entrance, and the other is the cave near the middle/end of the dungeon filled with bats. The first time I run it I usually run the dungeon as it’s meant to be run, and just skip all of the humanoids that aren’t in my way. I kill and skin all of the bats and the big piggy boss that’s in the cave as well, and then I drop down where the final boss is and clear out the trench full of boars. Then I leave and reset the dungeon and go run it again clearing out just the boars and skipping the rest of the instance until everything has gone green to me or I’ve reached the next level of skinning and have to train.

    Again, I go for quantity over quality, so I’ll often give RFK at least one more run after I train, just hitting the boars real quick and then heading out to Dustwallow.

    225-260
    At 225 it’s time to head over to Dustwallow Marsh just east of the Southern Barrens. There are beasts all over this zone, but three areas in particular interest me. The first is in the mountains west of Muddsprocket; there’s a small area filled with annoying trees where you’ll find a pack of raptors. That’s the first place I clean out because of how many there are in the small area, they’re very easy to AoE.

    The second spot is north of Muddsprocket, near the center of the map, called the Stonemaul Ruins. This area is covered with dragonkin that can all be skinned. The ruins themselves hold a lot of dragonkin, and so does the area around it. You’ll also find a lot of crocs in the swampy area all around the zone which are also great for skinning. There’s also a cave between the raptor area I just mentioned and the ruins that is filled with these same type of dragonkin, so I’ll move from the raptors to the ruins killing everything in between.

    The third area is east of Muddsprocket, surrounding Onyxia’s Lair. This place is also swarming with dragonkin just waiting to be skinned. There are some drakes that fly above you too, so if you have a ranged attack you can pull those down from the sky and kill/skin them as well.

    Each of these three areas is great for skinning, but most of what you’ll find is going to be Heavy Leather with a little Thick Leather mixed in. While that’s great for your skinning skill, it doesn’t do a whole lot for the massive quantities of Thick/Rugged that you’ll need if you’re a Leatherworker, and that’s where the next part comes in.

    260-300
    Once you reach 260-270 though it’s time to move on to yet another instance: Sunken Temple.

    Here you’re going to kill dragonkin by the dozen. While you can skin two of the three bosses in the instance, they don’t drop any special type or special amounts of leather so I suggest you just skip them if you’re only here for the leather. Kill all of the dragonkin, leave the instance, kill the three dragonkin right outside the portal, reset the instance, go back inside and repeat those steps until you reach 300 skill.

    If you get close to 300 and you aren’t getting skill points as often as you’d like, go ahead and move on to Un’goro Crater and kill the ravasaurs there to finish it off. Some of the mobs in Sunken Temple will go grey before you get to 300, so you might just leave for Un’goro a little early if you don’t need any more Thick Leather and finish your skill levels with better mobs.

    300-525
    I didn’t find any better options for 300-525 that what WoW-Professions suggests, so I stick to their guide pretty much from that point on.

    Power Leveling List

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

     
    3 Comments

    Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Guide, Leveling, Professions

     

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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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    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

     

    Mage Leveling: 1-29 Frost

    Today we’re getting back to the leveling guides, this time with the low level Frost Mage. I originally had the Frost and Fire posts combined, but decided that since the style of play really is different now that Frost has a pet that they deserved their own posts.

    Right now I plan on bouncing back and forth between the two specs until I get you all the way to the level cap and then whether or not I do an Arcane post will be decided by whether or not I roll an Arcane Mage… which isn’t very likely.

    But, first thing’s first:



    Playing a Frost Mage
    As I mentioned in the 1-29 Fire post, each Mage spec has it’s own focus or specialty, and for Frost that is control. Frost is the king of control and survival, taking me back to the days where I dominated Magic: the Gathering tournaments with something we called a Stasis Deck…

    .. oh, sorry. What were we talking about? Oh, Frost Mages. Yeah, sorry about that. It’s been a long time.

    So yeah, Frost is all about controlling your opponents, whether they be mobs or other players. Cataclysm actually increased our control capabilities by giving us more ways to freeze our targets and also by making the Water Elemental a permanent pet. They also did us the favor of providing one of our most effective damaging spells, Ice Lance, at level 28 rather than waiting until after level 60, so we’re now able to turn the defensive freezing effects into deadly offensive damage.

    But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because we have more control means that we deal less damage. Sure, our spells might be slightly lower in damage than the other specs’, but by combining control with the proper spells you can actually deal more damage in a single hit than either of the other two specs.



    General Mage Tactics
    Mages are known for two things: Being hard to kill, and being incredibly squishy. That’s right, we’re hard to kill because we’re so easy to kill. Why are we easy to kill? Because we wear t-shirts instead of plate armor. Why are we hard to kill? Because we’re often able to kill you before you can do anything to make our t-shirts matter.

    As a spellcaster your primary source of defense is to stay away from things that want to hurt you. That doesn’t mean avoiding combat, it means avoiding damage. You’re a ranged class, so don’t get into melee combat when you don’t have to. That doesn’t mean you have to run away from everything, but it does mean you don’t want to run up and hit things with your staff or stab them with a dagger when you could instead cast several spells at them before they can cause you any harm.

    Mages have more crowd control options than any other class, in general. Warlocks can beat us when it comes to using CC on certain types of mobs because they have spells that work on things that we don’t, but generally speaking we’re the kings of CC. We can freeze, stun, slow, and polymorph our targets and in some cases we can do those to multiple enemies at once.

    Mages also have a number of defensive spells that can either prevent damage or remove harmful effects. If you’re stunned or “rooted” (you can’t move because of a spell/effect) you can cast Blink and it will remove those effects from you. If you are poisoned or diseased you can cast Ice Block to remove all of those effects as well. And if you’re about to die you can always just jump off of a cliff…just make sure you cast Slow Fall before you hit the ground.

    While you won’t see it in this level range, Frost also has additional defensive tools that the other specs do not as well as offering talents that can lower the cooldown time of some of those abilities that allow them even more control and survival.

    Frost-Specific Tips
    Prior to 4.x being released the people who disliked Frost did so because they felt their spells hit for less damage, which was true. The trade off was that Frost spells also had shorter cast times and they did have to give up some damaging potential in exchange for their increased survivability. But the real problem was that so many people who played Mages were afraid of getting killed in melee that they overplayed their defenses to stay alive even if there wasn’t any real threat.

    So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re playing a Frost Mage:

    1. Use your pet – constantly.
    2. Use the terrain to your advantage.
    3. Use the extra time to cast additional spells.
    4. Take advantage of Crowd Control.
    5. Chill, there’s no need to hurry.

    Use Your Pet: The biggest mistake that Frost Mages are making right now is that they’re trying to treat their pet like a Warlock treats his, which is to say they just leave it alone and let it do its thing. The Water Elemental can do some decent damage with his attack, but his real value is actually in his special ability called Freeze. At level 10 when you get the pet this ability is mostly helpful in the form of defense by keeping mobs away from you, or in keeping fleeing mobs from bringing other mobs into the mix. Macro this ability. Use it. Love it. Embrace it.

    Terrain: As a caster you have the huge advantage of being able to use terrain to your benefit where melee classes cannot. If you’re fighting mobs that fight back with melee rather than ranged attacks or spells of their own, then make use the terrain. You can cast your spells through trees, or from the top of a hill or a wall. The time that it takes your target to reach you is time that you have to freely cast your spells. Casting from the opposite side of a tree makes the mob run around the tree to get to you, effectively making the distance between you longer. Doing the same from the opposite side of a fallen log has the same effect, for example. And you’re playing Frost which means that the mobs chasing you down are moving at a slower speed than usual thanks to your Chill effects. A good Frost Mage who’s able to abuse the terrain is virtually unstoppable.

    Time: I mentioned the travel time of your spells in the Fire guide, and Frost takes advantage of this as well, but in a different way. Rather than using the travel time strictly to queue up our second spell (which we do, but that’s not the only reason) we’re also doing it to use and abuse our Freeze effects. Our talents grant us extra benefits, such as an increased chance to Crit or additional damage, against targets who are frozen. When a spell is cast the game checks to see if there is a frozen debuff on the target and then if so it applies the buffs. One of Frost’s signature damage spells though is Ice Lance which is an instant-cast spell which does double damage (even more later on) against frozen targets and because it’s instant you’re able to take advantage of a Freeze with both a Frostbolt and an Ice Lance cast by taking advantage of Frostbolt’s travel time to cast an instant Ice Lance so that they both get to benefit from the target being frozen.

    Crowd Control: There are three types of CC to bring up here: Slow, Freeze, and Polymorph. Slow refers to any Chill effects you have that slow the target down, primarily Frostbolt. By pulling mobs with a Frostbolt cast you can slow the target’s movement to allow additional time for casting additional spells before they reach you. Freeze is similar, though it prevents movement from the target all together. Frost has the advantage of being able to freeze with Frost Nova, Freeze (pet ability), and Cone of Cold (via talent). You’ll have access to even more freezing abilities later on as well. Polymorph is just that, and typically used when you’ve pulled multiple mobs. If you’ve taken the time to sheep a mob then the best way to break that CC to get back into combat is to move out to max range and then make use of your long-cast time spells such as Fireball in the case of a Frost Mage, or a Frostbolt if you want to immediately apply a slow once Polymorph is broken.

    Chill: Yeah, I know, I’m so punny aren’t I? Like I said before, Frost might be the spec of control and survivability, but it’s still a very deadly spec as well. If a mob is hitting you, but you’re not in immediate threat of dying, then who cares? You can either Freeze them and then relocate for safety, you can Freeze and then lay on the extra damage, or you can just keep right on casting and kill them anyway. If you like to move a lot in combat (like me) then go ahead and do so. If you would rather stay in one place and cast until they die then do that. There are very few times outside of fighting elites or group quest mobs that you’ll actually be killed by a mob in a 1v1 fight in which you pull from range.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Mages have such an amazingly useful spellbook that it’s really hard to narrow it down to which spells are important and which ones aren’t. Some of them aren’t useful in every fight, but under the right circumstances they’re your go-to spell of choice for the situation. But, I’m going to do my best to remove all of the “but what if…” questions and stick strictly to usefulness for leveling in general circumstances.

    All numbers are taken from the level 29 version (where applicable) of the spell. The number following the spell name is the level at which it becomes available.

    Damage Spells
    Fireball (1): Hurls a fiery ball that causes 63 to 79 Fire damage.
    Arcane Missiles (3): Launches a 3-5 waves of Arcane Missiles at the enemy over 2 sec, causing Arcane damage per wave. Each offensive spell you cast has a 40% chance to activate Arcane Missiles.
    Fire Blast (4): Blasts the enemy for 67 to 79 Fire damage.
    Frostbolt (7): Launches a bolt of frost at the enemy, causing 47 to 59 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 40% for 9 sec.
    Summon Water Elemental (10): Summon a Water Elemental to fight for the caster.
    Cone of Cold (18): Targets in a cone in front of the caster take 53 to 57 Frost damage and are slowed by 60% for 8 sec.
    Ice Lance (28): Deals 25 to 31 Frost damage to an enemy target, damage doubled against frozen targets.

    I only mention Fireball because when you first roll your Mage you have no other option. You don’t actually get Frostbolt until level 7. Arcane Missiles I only list because up to level 29 it will be your main proc spell, allowing you to get mana-free damage; after level 29 you’ll never cast this again. Fire Blast is one of your most useful spells, dealing better damage on average than Fireball and as an instant cast as well; the only drawback being its cooldown. Fire Blast is one of the few spells that provides great utility no matter what spec you choose.

    At level 7 we actually get the bread and butter spam spell, Frostbolt which deals decent damage and slows the target by 60% for 8 seconds. At level 8 we get our first freeze effect in the form of Frost Nova, freezing the mobs near the caster. Level 10 gives us access to our Summon Water Elemental which provides our second freeze effect, called Freeze (creative, I know), which works just like Frost Nova except that we get to pick where its effect is centered. The details of the elemental’s Freeze spell can be found in the Utility section just below.

    Level 18 gives us Cone of Cold which is a decent spell in its own right being instant cast and dealing AoE damage in a frontal cone, but it also provides yet another freeze effect from the talent points we spend. Finally we have Ice Lance at level 29 which is the key to Frost’s burst damage. It’s an instant cast spell that’s fairly cheap and usually doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage. But, if you cast it on a target that is frozen it will deal double damage instead, putting it slightly ahead of Frostbolt in raw damage if the target is frozen.

    Utility
    Frost Nova (8): Blasts enemies near the caster for 26 to 30 Frost damage and freezes them in place for up to 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    Freeze (Pet 10): Blasts enemies in a 8 yard radius for 27 Frost damage and freezes them in place for up to 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    Evocation (12): Gain 15% of your mana instantly and another 45% of your total mana over 6 sec.
    Polymorph (14): Transforms the enemy into a sheep, forcing it to wander around for up to 50 sec. While wandering, the sheep cannot attack or cast spells but will regenerate very quickly. Any damage will transform the target back into its normal form. Only one target can be polymorphed at a time. Only works on Beasts, Humanoids and Critters.
    Blink (16): Teleports the caster 20 yards forward, unless something is in the way. Also frees the caster from stuns and bonds.

    Frost Nova gets a special mention even though it’s not a Fire spell because it’s such an excellent tool for both offense and defense, often both at the same time. If a mob manages to get into melee range use Frost Nova to keep them in place, move away, and then use the time that they’re frozen to cast another Pyroblast. Evocation is your source of massive mana return, and once glyphed it also restores a good amount of your health as well.

    Polymorph is your primary crowd control (CC) spell, effectively removing the target from combat. If you pull more than one mob, use this on one of them to even the odds and then smack them upside the head with a Pyroblast once the first target is killed. Blink is another one of our signature abilities, a spell that no one else can duplicate save Subtlety Rogues to a much lesser extent. It allows you to teleport 20 yards away in the direction you’re facing and breaks any stuns or roots that have been cast on you.

    Leveling a Mage
    Questing Rotation: Frostbolt, Freeze (Pet), Ice Lance x2, Frostbolt, Frost Nova, Ice Lance
    Optional Rotation: Frostbolt, Ice Lance spam while kiting, Arcane Missile on proc
    Dungeon Rotation: Frostbolt spam, Ice Lance on proc, Arcane Missile on proc

    Frost is often seen as a somewhat boring spec to play, and the rotations up there are your reason why. There’s not a wide variety of damaging Frost spells, so you find yourself doing a whole lot of Frostbolt spam, especially in dungeons since we no longer get Blizzard until we get to the end of Vanilla content.

    The Questing Rotation can also be used in dungeons, but a lot of tanks tend to get pissy when you start freezing things in place with your pet or with Frost Nova. If you’re going to use these in a dungeon be sure to use them in situations where you’re not going to mess things up with the group. For example, don’t use your freeze effects until the mobs are gathered closely around the tank, and if you find that one of them is outside of the range that the tank can currently build agro on then you either need to focus on that target to kill them off quickly or do nothing else to them at all so that the tank doesn’t have to put extra effort into pulling threat.

    The Questing Rotation is going to maximize your Ice Lance damage by applying freeze effects as often as possible. It’s a great tactic for both PvE and PvP, and it allows you to stay fairly mobile with the Ice Lance casts.

    The Optional Rotation is how you’ll see a lot of PvP players utilize a Frost spec, which is slowing the target down and then kiting them around while killing them with Ice Lance casts. If the target does catch up to you just use Freeze or Frost Nova to root them in place, get your distance, bust the freeze with a Frostbolt, and then go back to IL kiting. It’s a “cheap” way to fight, but as long as you’re left alive and they aren’t then who cares, right?

    The Dungeon Rotation is what you’ll use when you have a tank. If you get a Fingers of Frost proc from your talents then switch over to Ice Lance to use the proc, but otherwise stick with Frostbolt spam unless you need to move.

    Procs: Unlike Fire, Frost keeps the Arcane Missiles proc for quite a while, so when you get an AM proc go ahead and use it so long as the target’s not frozen and you don’t have a Fingers of Frost proc to use instead. AM is a decent damaging spell, but Ice Lance takes priority if the target is frozen or if you have a FoF proc. Once you get to 29 and spend your talent point on Fingers of Frost you get your second proc which makes your Ice Lance treat the target as frozen even when it’s not, allowing Ice Lance to do additional damage and benefit from the x3 crit chance.

    Talent Points

    Solo Spec



    Shatter 2/2: Multiplies the critical strike chance of all your spells against frozen targets by 3, and increases the damage done by Frostbolt against frozen targets by 20%.
    Piercing Ice 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your spells by 3%.
    Improved Cone of Cold 2/2: Your Cone of Cold also freezes targets for 4 sec.
    Ice Floes 3/3: Reduces the cooldown of your Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Ice Block, Cold Snap, Ice Barrier, and Icy Veins spells by 20%.
    Fingers of Frost 1/3: Gives your Chill effects a 7% chance to grant you the Fingers of Frost effect, which causes your next Ice Lance or Deep Freeze spell to act as if your target were frozen. Fingers of Frost can accumulate up to 2 charges and lasts 15 sec.

    Shatter is one of your most important talent points. It’s one of the primary keys to your damage output as a Frost Mage. It triples your crit chance against frozen targets and also gives a 20% damage buff to Frostbolt against frozen targets as well. It’s the best DPS increase you can get at that level. Piercing Ice is one of those talents that basically every Mage will take at some point. Free crit chance is free crit chance.

    Improved Cone of Cold gives you a third method of freezing targets, and while you probably won’t have points in this talent at level 85, it’s an excellent addition to your leveling tool belt. The more you can freeze targets in place, the more you can abuse the increased damage, crit chance, and instant cast speed of Ice Lance. Ice Floes is a great tool, providing a faster cooldown of all of your most important spells, allowing you to make use of them more often.

    The final talent point goes into Fingers of Frost which gives your chill effects a chance to proc the Fingers of Frost buff which treats your next Ice Lance cast as though the target were frozen. So IL’s damage is doubled because that’s the way the spell itself works, plus you get triple your crit chance because your points in Shatter, so you’ve got a very high chance of dealing critical strikes every time you cast Ice Lance on a frozen target or when you have a FoF proc.

    Glyphs for Leveling
    You don’t get glyphs now until level 25, but at least you do get to use them a little bit in this level range.

    Prime Glyphs
    Glyph of Ice Lance: Increases the damage of your Ice Lance spell by 5%.
    Glyph of Frostbolt: Increases the critical strike chance of your Frostbolt spell by 5%.

    Ice Lance wins out for me because I primarily level solo so I use a lot more freeze effects which makes the extra damage to IL more appealing overall. If you’re not primarily a solo leveler then Frostbolt is also an excellent spell and you’ll see a better return overall if you use it instead. You’ll use both of these glyphs eventually, so you really can’t go wrong here, just pick the one that fits better for you.

    Major Glyphs
    Glyph of Evocation: Also grants you 40% of your total health over the channeled time of your Evocation spell.
    Glyph of Frost Nova: Your Frost Nova targets can take an additional 20% damage before the Frost Nova effect automatically breaks.

    Evocation is one of the most amazing glyphs that Mages have access to. If you can only afford a single glyph, make it Evocation because the ability to heal yourself on the fly like that for 40% of your total health is amazing.

    Frost Nova isn’t a great replacement, but it can help give you additional Ice Lance casts if you manage to not score crits with your Ice Lances when the target is frozen. Unfortunately the freeze from FN breaks pretty easy regardless, so while it has some potential benefit now and then overall it’s not all that great. It is much better while leveling than it will be at end game though, so it’s not a bad choice even though it’s not optimal.

    Minor Glyphs
    Glyph of the Monkey: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a monkey instead.
    Glyph of the Penguin: Your Polymorph: Sheep spell polymorphs the target into a penguin instead.

    These are your only two options within the level range, and sadly they both essentially do nothing at all. They change the physical appearance of what you change targets into when you polymorph them, and that’s it. Of the two, I definitely prefer Monkey, so that’s my suggestion….or just wait until level 32 and use the Glyph of Slow Fall instead.

    Macro Suggestions
    Frost makes a bit more use of macros thanks to the Water Elemental. The best way to make use of his Freeze spell is to use a macro and add it to your action bars (or you can keybind it directly). You can either have it there by itself like I do, or you can tie it into other spells to make it easier for you to remember.

    #showtooltip
    /cast Freeze

    This macro simply calls up the Freeze spell to be cast and nothing else. This is the version that I use for any special abilities that my pets have, regardless of class. In fact it’s literally the exact same macro with a /cast for every spell that I have a pet that can cast, and I just use a default icon for it. But I’m lazy like that.

    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast Frostbolt
    /cast !Freeze

    This is the version that I made for my wife to use on her Frost Mage. This is the first pet class where having the pet’s special ability activate on demand was especially important, so she’s not used to having to use them. This macro casts your own Frostbolt spell but also brings up the target icon for your pet’s Freeze spell. Many players tend to spam the button needed to cast their spells so the exclamation point in front of Freeze will prevent the target area for constantly going in and out while you spam it because activating it every other time cancels the cast without it.

    Gearing Up for Spellcasting
    Intellect > Crit > Haste > Hit > everything else

    You’re a caster, so Int is your top priority. Crit is number two because your DPS thrives when you manage to crit due to Hot Streak procs and Ignite DoT’s. Haste is good for helping you with those cast times, and it will improve your DoT’s later on when you actually have some. Hit really doesn’t matter while you’re leveling; it’s not a bad stat, it just isn’t all that great either. If you stumble onto some great gear that just so happens to have Hit on it, then grats on your bonus stat, but don’t turn down upgrades to the other stats in favor of Hit at this level.

    The Tailoring profession is a great source of gear throughout the various levels, especially if you plan on soloing your way to the top. You can generally find better gear in instances than you can from tailoring when you are starting out, but you can certainly weave that cloth to fill in any gaps you might have. Don’t discount quest rewards though, because Cataclysm brought a whole new set of quest rewards and some of them are fantastic for their level.

    Whether you use a staff or you go with a one handed weapon and an off hand item is mostly up to you. Use whatever will give you better stats overall and go with it. Typically the low level staffs will be better than other options, but just use whatever you have on hand that provides the most benefit.

    When it comes to Wands, it’s all about the stats. I haven’t used my wand for anything other than killing critters when I’m bored in a very long time. Look for Intellect and Crit above all others for your wand and ignore the damage it can do all together.

     
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    Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Caster, Guide, Leveling, Mage

     
     
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