Archive for November, 2011

How To: The Darker Side of Things

Posted in Priest, PvE, WoW on November 17, 2011 by Srsbusiness

I am honestly shocked this wasn’t one of my very first posts on this site when I got it up and running, but lately I have been fielding a bit of traffic with regards for the feeding and care of a shadow priest, specifically DOT ALL THE THINGS. Shadow priests change their playstyle a lot especially if you find yourself starting out as a new priest at level 10, as opposed to trying out an off-spec at level 85. One thing that will change a lot, aside from your gear, over the course of your expedition from 10 to 85, is your rotation.


The Evolution of Rotation

Level 10

Your arsenal starts out limited at level 10, and expands slowly over time with a few new spells to add to the mix. At 10, you find yourself having spells such as Smite, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, and Mind Flay. The last of course is assuming you made the (right) choice in picking shadow as your spec, and if you haven’t, why are you still on this page! There are other blogs out there that can help you with healing, it wont be here! There is really not a whole lot of action going on at this point, you have your one lone dot ticking, your one shadow nuke on an 8 second cooldown, and your channeled shadow spell or smite (lol). You do get the added benefit of getting shadow orbs as a specialization bonus at this level, which is a 10% chance to gain one on every tick of SW:P or MF, however, there isnt much use figuring out when you should cast MB or how many orbs you should save, the mob is going to die before you know what happened.


Level 18

You gain another offensive spell in Holy Fire. At this point your rotation becomes preferential to your playstyle. Holy Fire is a decent spell to use as an opener of a pull, questing or in a dungeon, but loses a lot of its appeal because it doesn’t gain benefit from the extra 15% shadow damage as a specialization bonus. and also it has an 8 second cooldown. You may wish to add this to the start of your combat encounter or continue with using SW:P, MB and MF exclusively!


Level 19-21

A small upgrade to damage comes here via the Twisted Faith option in the talent tree. It will increase your damage by 2% and convert your spirit into hit at a 1:1 rate, making misses much less likely.


Level 25

Glyphs! You get your choice of  a Prime, Major and Minor (as you will again at 50 and 75). I would strongly suggest taking Mind Flay as your prime, Spirit Tap as your Major (doesn’t become useful until 32, then it really shines), and Levitate as your minor.


Level 28

Rejoice! Another shadow damage spell has arrived – Devouring Plague. This spell will also heal you for a small amount over time in addition to its damage, you may want to consider at this point to wait to apply your dots until you have a shadow orb to consume, your dots will deal 10% more damage at this point when applied with empowering shadows active. Use this spell at the start of encounters to get the most of of its damage (and healing) effect.


Level 29

At this point, you should no longer be casting any holy spells, unless its to heal yourself, because you will have enough talents points at level 29 to take Shadowform. This will further increase your damage with shadow spells by 15%, reduce your damage taken by 15%, and give you 5% of that sweet, glorious haste. Casting any holy spells will drop you out of this form instantly.


Level 29-31-33

After picking up Shadowform, which you may want to right away as it becomes available at 29, you get a talent option called Harnessed Shadows, which will increase you chance to gain a Shadow Orb for empowered shadows by 8% on SW:P and MF ticks. You will also get a Shadow Orb anytime you are critically struck. A better chance to gain a shadow orb means a quicker time of gaining empowered shadows and applying your dots to the target.


Level 32

You gain the shadow priest version of execute with Shadow Word: Death. However, this ability has some additional uses aside from being an execute. With the major glyph, it will regenerate 12% of your mana over 12 seconds if you kill a target with it, and that target gives experience. At level 39 and 41, you get a chance to pick up the specialization talent, Masochism, which will grant you 10% of your total mana every time you damage yourself with Shadow Word: Death. For encounters that have a crowd control ability or in a PvP environment, a well-timed Shadow Word: Death can break you out of a CC if the recoil on you hits after the CC lands.


Level 39/41

Over these two levels you gain opportunities to pick up talents called Masochism and Mind Melt. These abilities will help to keep your mana in stock so you can minimize your down time on pulls and quest mobs, while increasing the damage of your execute. If you find yourself in combat and almost out of mana, feel free to throw a SW:D in as you need to, it still works best when used on targets in your execute (25%) range.


Level 49

At this point, you gain your last and final (major) component in your damage output with Vampiric Touch. In addition, you will now be the envy of your dungeon runs, as you provide replenishment to your party members, as well as nearby spell haste and passive group healing from Vampiric Embrace, which you get at level 32. At this point, you should strongly consider putting only Shadow Word: Pain on your mob to start, and casting Mind Flay until you get at least 1 shadow orb to consume with Mind Blast. After that, apply Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague to get maximum effect from it.


Level 50

Mysticism! An extra 5% intellect, which means an extra 5% damage in the long run. Your 2nd set of glyphs also opens up, to which i would suggest taking the Shadow Word: Pain prime, Dispel Magic major, and Fading minor. Your rotation does not change at all here.


Level 49-51-53

Two ranks of the talent specialization Pain and Suffering. You are first able to get this talent at 49, but it is extremely wise to pick up another damage dealing ability before this at 49, 51 and 53 should be the levels to get this should you choose these talents. This alters your rotation by (almost) eliminating the need for you to hard cast a reapplication of Shadow Word: Pain on your target.  This allows for more Mind Flays in the long run, which is going to be your primary nuke on targets aside from Mind Blast to trigger Empowered Shadows and Replenishment.


Level 66

Your psuedo-pet makes its debut in your repertoire here. You gain Shadowfiend, which serves as a bit of an offensive spurt in addition to restoring 3% of your total mana per each hit it deals. Your shadowfiend can serve to do a lot of damage especially with the tier 12 bonus which increases its damage by 20% (as fire). Some things a lot of people do not know about shadowfiend is that its damage scales in relation to your intellect (and spell power). Your shadowfiend is best used for you if you have a potion, trinket proc, weapon proc, etc, or all in unison if you get them to line up right so your shadowfiend can do a lot more damage for the time it is active.


Level 74

The first level that we get our only aoe ability to damage packs of mobs – Mind Sear.  Grab a friend, or as many as you would like, and easily amuse yourself with this spell as that ground of 20 mobs your tank just pulled falls down around him/her in a nice, neat collection of death and in-animation. BONUS! If you are able to gain empowered shadow by having a shadow orb consumed on you, this spell will gain additional effect when you cast it to waste your foes!  I would suggest talking to this person on the various creative ways you can use this spell.


Level 75

Your final set of glyphs. The last three I would choose would be Shadow Word: Death for your prime, another execute if it hits and doesn’t kill in execute range, also an additional 10% mana back, Fade for your major glyph, and Shadowfiend for your final minor glyph in case it dies for whatever reason.


Level 80

Mastery! This where we begin to shine as far as being a dot-based class. Mastery for shadow priests improves your damage over time abilities for each point of mastery. Spells that are affected by this mastery include: Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay, and Mind Sear. While Mind Blast is not effected by the periodic damage part of the mastery, each orb you have (up to 3) will increase the damage of that spell or mind spike to consume orbs. As of right now, Mastery is your next most desirable secondary stat after haste, always take a (haste/x) piece of gear over (mastery/x) piece of gear, unless its a mastery/haste piece of gear, in which case, its a great item for you.


Level 81

Mind Spike. I hate that this spell removes all of your dots. Your best use for this comes in PvP, or if you are solo questing and you can kill your mob in the duration of 2 Mind Spikes and then a Mind Blast (and Shadow Word: Death for spirit tap). Other than that, avoid at all costs using this spell while you have dots on targets, it is just not worth it to use.


Level 82

At this point, you have the option to subspec into disc, by 82 you will have enough points to go 2 points down into the second tier of discipline to get  Evangelism. At this point, you want to cast Shadow Word: Pain and then Mind Flay enough to get a 5 stack of Evangelism. On top of this a consumed shadow orb bonus will stack with evangelism increasing your dot damage by quite a bit, after you have a 5 stack of evangelism and a consumed shadow orb, cast Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague only, as Shadow Word: Pain will refresh itself.


Level 83

After getting 2 points into Evangelism, the option for Archangel opens up, which serves as our way of gaining burst through or single target nukes, Mind Flay, Mind Blast, and Shadow Word: Death in execute range. Because Archangel consumes your evangelism stacks, you want to make sure you have a fresh set of dots on your target before you consume the stacks for your nuke. Before casting Archangel, make sure to reapply VT and DP on your target(s) so they get the benefit of the 10% bonus on evangelism. At this point, unless your dots need to be refreshed, hit Mind Flay every time its channel is over, unless you have 3 Shadow Orbs or need to consume an orb to refresh Empowered Shadows.


Ready for End Game

At this point, there is nothing left that you will gain between 83 and 85 to help you out with rotation, aside from gear. You are now ready to shadow priest in an end game setting!  Your opening will usually be the same, unless you happen to come into the possession of a certain normal or heroic trinket. You should always open with a Shadow Word: Pain on your target, and then Mind Flay until you get a shadow orb to generate. After consuming the orb, cast your other dots on the target(s), then proceed to cast Archangel and begin your nuke on one target. If however, you have the Necromantic Focus from Firelands, you may wish to alter your opening rotation a bit. Due to the RNG being completely wacky on shadow orbs, you may get a shadow orb before your trinket is procced to 10 stacks, in which if you consume an orb before then, your spells will only gain the benefit of empowered shadows when you cast Mind Blast at the lower stack of the mastery buff. For this, I cast all my dots to open, then MF so that it is almost certain the trinket will be at maximum effect when you consume an orb. Once the orb is consumed, I recast VT and DP, then consume my evangelism stacks and go into Archangel.  There is not much difference between the two, either of these will give you the desired effect you are looking for in raiding.


For the people who read, I hope this can be of some help to your priest if you are leveling one, or for one day when the voices…… (I am about to tell them already, let me finish!……) compel you to try shadow as an offspec on your current priest.


Thank you to Sara and Raymiee for being curiously curious people!


Role Adaptation

Posted in Real Life, WoW on November 4, 2011 by Srsbusiness

There comes a point, as with every guild around, that they hit a lull in what they do, whether it be raiding, pvp or a combination of both due to real life circumstances. I feel that we have not only hit, but passed right through that line here in my guild.  We became a 6/7 HM guild on 11/03/11 after dispatching Baleroc (finally!) and now have our sights set on Heroic Ragnaros. That being said, we are into phase 2 just after one pull! (>.>) But with the good news also comes the not-so-good, with news that five of our stellar damage dealers have decided to step down from raiding due to real life events. So, if you read this and happen to be looking for a guild Apotheosis may be right for you. Check us out at Apotheosis. We have cake (or pie, or cheesecake?)


In light of these dps stepping down and us having, I think 8, healers on the roster, my gut is telling me that we may have some of our healers go dps. This is not uncommon for any guild, as most of the ones I have been have a question on their application along the lines of:


Are you willing to play an off-spec role if asked to do so?


Or something along that wording. I don’t believe I have ever seen anyone say No to this question, on account it won’t look good on an app due to a self before team attitude. Myself, I have declared that my offspec for playing is healing, mostly for pvp/arena/RBG, but for pve is well. A lot of people do not know that my priest was actually leveled completely on healing all the things before switching over to shadow later on. In fact, I have been asked to heal (and offered to as well) in this expansion, and was able to do a decent job of it on fights like Nefarian. It certainly is a different change of pace, and a bit higher in difficulty, when you are asked to perform a different role and you only have one set of gear, and that gear has hit rating on it.


That raises the questions: How comfortable do people feel if asked right now at this moment to play their offspec in raids? Would you be happy as a change of pace? Would you feel nervous because you never thought you would have to play an offspec? Would you welcome the challenge, or prefer if someone else with a more desirable offspec filled that role?


This question sounds more exclusive to hybrid classes, but can also work for classes like mages, who would have to swap to arcane (3% damage) or frost (replenishment), how would you feel as well?