Archive for Guides

Guides: Feedback and Requests!

Posted in Guides, Professions, PvP, Raids and Instances, Reputation, Roleplaying, Shadowpriest with tags , , on August 2, 2010 by Natarumah

As we are slowly marching on to the release of Cataclysm, I have come to the realization that there are many things I still want to do; my hunter’s epic level 60 quest, completing the Scepter of the Sands questline, completing a few of the old questlines and reputations. So, with a light heart I started completing the Scepter questlines (about halfway now) and started gathering materials for a lot of old world factions like the Thorium Brotherhood.

This prompted me with an idea, for which I will need your assistance. What I want to do is to create a series of guides on some of the old world and Burning Crusade material from the perspective of a Shadowpriest.

Guides I am sure to do at this time are:

  • The Insane title
  • The Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline
  • RP outfits from the old world with RP commentary
  • Loremaster’s Compendium (this will take a while!)

What I will do in those guides is make a clear and step-by-step documentation on how to do it, from a Shadowpriest perspective. I don’t care if it can be solo’d by a Hunter or Paladin, but if a Shade can do it – and if not, what you will need to get it done. The usual niceties apply; maps for quests and locations, questlines in order, requirements listed beforehand and if any useful addons currently exist to help you.

I also want to include a “cheat sheet” with each guide, basically a one-page checklist of all the materials you will need to fulfill the requirements of the guide, including some optional stuff if applicable. To me it should feel like this one page when printed out and put next to your keyboard should answer all your needs when checking the AH or grinding.

I know there are many other guides out there, most of them paid, but what I am going for is to make it specific for our needs and to put some brains in it. That is to say, if there is a smarter way of getting it done than the usual, I go for it. I will try to get a sample guide done this week to show you what I mean.

What I need from you guys is to tell if you feel a guide should have more “meat” in it than I described. I need these guides to be usable and complete, not quick rundowns. Consider this your chance to get your wishes across – I am writing these guides for you, after all!

Second, I want to know if there are any reputations, questlines or other guide-worthy subjects you want to see published; I am open for requests and there’s plenty time for me to go and get firsthand experience as well as research these subject matters. Just keep in mind I am looking for things that are Shadowpriest-specific; I don’t think I will make a guide on completing the hunter epic quest or a showcase of Paladin armor. It also doesn’t need to be Classic-only. The Burning Crusade has a lot of fun things to do that would be helped by a clear how-to.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Spell Focus: Fade

Posted in Guides, Theory with tags , , on October 8, 2008 by Natarumah

Fade: a spell that has been denounced for its apparent uselessness, and yet has been used regularly to save us Shades from the deathly after-effects of our aggro backlash. WotLK finds this spell returned from plastic surgery, looking much better than before.

The Spell

Fade applies a buff to the player for 10 seconds, which lowers the current amount of threat that character has by about 1200-1500 at its maximum rank. When this duration ends, all threat you had before casting Fade returns, as well as any additional threat you may have gained during the Fade duration.

  • Spell damage does not affect the power of Fade
  • 30 second cooldown, 10 second duration

Talents

Currently, only two talents have any effect on Fade, and it is a marginal effect:

  • Improved Fade (requires 15 points in Shadow): Decreases the Cooldown of your Fade ability by 3 seconds per point. (Max 6 seconds)
  • Mental Agility (requires 15 points in Discipline): Reduces the mana cost of your instant-cast spells by 2% per point. (Max 10%).

General Use

As it stands, Fade is mostly, perhaps purely, a PvE ability. It can be used during a fight just before you pull aggro, or as it happens, hoping to reduce your threat enough for the mob to return to the tank. If the tank manages to generate more aggro than you, the ending of the Fade spell will not cause you to pull aggro again. It is advised to stop or lower your healing/DPS while Fade is active, to give the tank some leeway in threat.

In PvP, the only documented use for Fade is that it may confuse the internal AI of various pets, such as treants, shadowfiends and even hunter pets. The exact workings are not very clear (at least to me) but sometimes when you are attacked, and cast Fade, the pets choose a different target. On treants and shadowfiends (which have a short duration) this may mean the pet dies before it returns to you.

I would imagine this ability is less useful against a hunter who keeps his eyes open, as he will simply order the pet to attack you again.

How will it be in Wrath of the Lich King?

As said before, Fade receives quite an overhaul. First off, during those 10 seconds it lasts, it will drop all threat, making it a sure-fire way to prevent being the victim of pulling aggro. Second off, Improved Fade now is renamed Veiled Shadows, and also reduces the cooldown on your Shadowfiend ability by 1 minute per point. This makes this talent a much more worthwhile investment.

Also, its interaction with Improved Shadowform means that you can use it to break out of snares, and that makes Fade (and Veiled Shadows) necessary investments for PvP.

All in all, I am very pleased with the changes to this spell, turning it from situational and prone to faillure into a win-win ability for both PvE and PvP.

Spell Focus: Devouring Plague

Posted in Guides, Theory with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Natarumah

inv_inscription_tarotprismFor those of us who are not among the Undead Forsaken, this will be the newest tool in our arsenal. Currently in the Beta for testing, this little number has all we could ask for; it slices, it dices, and it feeds us. Today’s installment of Spell Focus will go into more detail on this oddly misnamed DoT.

The Spell

Damage-wise equivalent to Shadow Word: Pain and healing-wise as powerful as a buffed-up Renew, and this is just the old version! The version that is currently in the Beta has a much lower cooldown and a “substantially reduced mana cost”. It’s most recent incarnation from MMO-Champion is this:

Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 1720 Shadow damage over 24 sec. Damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster.
31% of base mana, 30 yd range, Instant cast, 24 sec cooldown

Assuming base mana of about 2000 at level 80, the mana cost for this spell would fall in the 620 range. The base damage this spell deals is slightly superior to a rank 11 Shadow Word: Pain. Expect the cooldown to be set back to 30 seconds in the future. (Instead, the healing was reduced to 15% of damage done).

  • 80% coefficient, meaning 100 Spell Power would translate into +80 damage.
  • 24 second cooldown, 24 second duration (Meaning 100% uptime is nearly possible)
  • Devouring Plague can crit, but is unaffected by haste.
  • Devouring Plague heals the caster for 15% of the amount of damage dealt.
  • Devouring Plague is a Disease, not Magic or Curse.
  • Procs Shadoweaving
  • Devouring can affect only one target at a time.

Talents

Because it went from a Forsaken racial ability to a trained ability, Devouring Plague’s interaction with other talents is still uncertain.

  • Shadow Reach (requires 15 points in Shadow): Increases the range of your offensive Shadow spells by 10% per point. (Max 20%)
  • Mental Agility (requires 15 points in Discipline): Reduces the mana cost of your instant-cast spells by 2% per point. (Max 10%).
  • Improved Devouring Plague (requires 25 points in Shadow): Increases the periodic damage done by Devouring Plague by 15%, and also allows it do deal 15% of its total damage instantly when DP is cast on the target.

In patch 3.0, the coefficient of this spell has been raised (some say doubled), making this spell our highest DPS and DPCT spell across the board when fully talented.

General Use

Like Shadow Word: Pain, this spell would be a very spammable DoT as long as its duration equals its cooldown. And even if it doesn’t, it should not be difficult to manage it among the others. With VT, SW:P and DP on the target at all times, your damage should see a hefty increase.

It is less stellar against multiple targets, because the cooldown prevents you from using it on more than one. Therefore, it is best used against bosses or in PvP. Its use in farming and trash clearing is limited.

Tips and Tricks

This is a Master Recovery combo in PvP. With VE, SW:P and DP on the target, pop Dispersion. Over the course of those 6 seconds of Dispersion, you should see a massive increase in mana and health, as well as a remarkable decrease in your opponent’s life. Essentially, this combination functions as a reset during a battle.

In PvE it would be good to have this spell on a boss target at all times, and this is exceptionally valuable during AoE boss fights or heavy spike-damage fights. Just to name a few:

  • Lynx phase on Zul’jin
  • Shadow Volley on Malacrass
  • Reliquary of Souls
  • Watery Graves on Morogrim Tidewalker
  • Taking the blue beam on Netherspite

And many more like it. A very multi-purpose DoT.

How will it be in Wrath of the Lich King?

Well, as the pre-patch would contain the talent changes, that is also the most likely time for it to become our newest toy of destruction. Even so, it is likely to see a few iterations on the way.

As of patch 3.2, the cooldown has been removed from this spell, allowing you to cast it on different targets much quicker. However, it can only affect one target at a time. This means that if you have a target die with DP just applied, you can immediately cast it on the second target.

And why misnamed, exactly?

Well, the spell is listed as a disease, which I personally find less fitting for a Shadowpriest that is not an undead. If this spell is to see general use, I would rename it “Hungry Darkness” or “Devouring Dark” or the like.

A tale of three lakes

Posted in Guides with tags on September 19, 2008 by Natarumah

We’ve all seen our cash reserves dwindle after a particularly big expenditure or evenings of successive raids with little time in between. Flasks, gemcuts, enchants and gearing our alts becomes a pressure on our gold pile, and as it dwindles, so does our focus to replenish it.

I always see my own monetary system as a tale of three lakes, as pictured below:

The lowest lake represents my sources of income; making sure they stay in my reserves (my gold stock) is literally an uphill battle. This is because the third lake, “spendings”, is also a lower lake. And water (like money) streams downhill easier than up.

When you notice that your income lowers, and your spendings do not increase, it is time to start damming those lakes and fill up again.

The first lake: Income

This represents you making money ingame. And, like in real life, it takes hard work and a bit of luck. Grinding mobs for money, doing quests and farming sellable items.

Damming this lake involves finding efficient ways to make money. Check out what reputations you need for trade skills that would make you money, and then grind mobs that give rep (items) for this faction. Are there mobs that drop components for your tradeskills or are close to farmable nodes?

Enchanters could farm lower-level instances (which you can solo) and disenchant the blues. Herbalists could farm the Dead Mire, where the bog lords drop motes of life, large quantities of sellable junk and can be herbed pretty well.

Daily quests are a quick and dirty source of income, and often give reputation. Daily dungeon quests give Badges of Justice (Badge gear is economically cheaper than crafted/BoE gear) as well as gold, while the daily PvP quest may give extra incentive to get some action going on in the battlegrounds.

All of this is pretty basic material, but then, this is also the easiest lake to dam.

The second lake: Reserves

Ah, the nebulous waters of fortune. Once you made gold, you have to find a way to keep your gold. Especially because there are many temptations to spend your gold. Auctions for nice items churn out daily, raids require food and flasks, and alts scream for better gear to survive the perilous lower levels. And the Light forbid you have a Twink…

Damming this lake involves a bit of psychology. Most people have a bank-alt, a lower level character designed to hold items you may need later. Make sure that you send not only your sellable loot to that character, but also your gold. On a daily basis, even when raiding, you will never need reserves over 100 gold. This money is sufficient to buy raid materials, repair and do some moderate trade-skilling.

The remainder of your money should go to your bank alt. Have your bank alts do your auctions and store the items you want to keep. This not only makes sure your main(s) don’t have to go back to town all the time, it also reduces your exposure to the lures of the auction house.

Once your bank alt has a fair supply of money, you can “play the auction house” a bit, or use it as a safe deposit box.

Even better: have your bank alt make a guild, and use the Guild Bank tab (and money tab) to store money. Money in the Guildbank cannot be spent on the AH, making it even easier to keep your money in your pocket.

The third lake: Spendings

The third lake represents money flowing from you and into the economy. This is not always bad, just be sure to be conscious of what your spend. In essence, you should only spend money when:

  • You expect to gain a substantial return or
  • Your character improves significantly from the investment

This is most often done by “playing the auction house”. Most people just use the Auction House to buy and sell items, but it can also be used as a form of speculation. Buy Low, Sell High, goes as much in WoW as in real life.

There are many small tricks to make money, whether silvers or hundreds of gold. There are guides written on how to play the auction house, and economists could make as much of a detailed study on WoW economy as they would of the Federal Reserve.

Some examples of tricks and money-makers I know are:

  • When motes are a lot cheaper than primals of that type, buy motes, turn them into primals, and sell them.
  • Put enchanting materials on the auction house before you advertise your enchantments. If you manage to hook a customer, there’s also a big chance he’ll buy your materials.
  • Alchemists can buy cheaper primals (Earth goes for 4 gold each on my server) and transmute them (for instance, to water, which goes for 16-20 gold each). Once per day a 12-14 gold profit is a good investment. When you are a Transmutation specialist, the profits simply increase.
  • Alchemists who are Elixir masters can buy mats for their flasks, and sell the flasks. Make sure to make a small profit even without proccing multiple flasks. For example, my alchemist buys 200g worth of mats to make 4 flasks. I sell each for 55 gold Buyout. If I have no proccs, I make 20 gold if I sell them. If I procc once, I make 75 gold. Two proccs means 130 gold, and so on. Elixirs work in the same way, but with smaller margins.
  • Advertize your tradeskills, but be cautious. Spamming /trade or making overly long advertisments will not help your business. Keep it short and concise, and link only your most outstanding recipes. There are addons available such as TradeBarker, which will allow people to whisper you with a codeword with the type of item they want, and you will automatically whisper them back if you can make anything such as that.
  • Having multiple alts with complementary trade skills really helps in keeping your overhead low. I created an alchemist to make Natarumah mana pots and flasks, and later a jewelcrafter and an engineer, and each added trade skill to your account helps keep money in your pocket that would have gone to other players…
  • …which also have the downside that you need to invest in these characters first.

This is but a small sample of ways to keep some money in your pocket, as many players find their own ways and all of this is subject to the economy on your local server.

Saving up, why?

And it is best to start saving now, because Wrath comes out in November, and the last thing you want is being derailed from leveling and questing by being forced to suddenly farm money to fuel your forays.

My personal to-do list for november will be the following:

  • Get my druid to 70 and get her Epic Flying form, as well as the Cenarion War Hippogryph (because I feel I deserved it).
  • Make sure my characters each have as many [complete] quests in their quest log as possible before launch, to get a small headstart when the expansion hits.
  • Get all my needed attunements for (heroic) dungeons and raids required, and get my reputations up with any factions I feel I still need.
  • Collect enough herbs to powerlevel Inscription on two characters.
  • Collect enough materials for my existing trade skills to make sure I can make at least 10 skillups from them for each of my toons.
  • Create a leveling-specc for each toon, and my “wishful thinking” raid specc at level 80.
  • Buy or stock the materials for the 300-375 powerleveling of Enchanting and Tailoring, as well as the required primals, because I will be able to sell those to Death Knights power-plowing their trade skills.
  • Re-design my UI (and post it) and make sure all those addons are wrath-proof.

Anyone else have some simple money-making tips or good ideas to prepare for Wrath? And, will you make a Death Knight toon?

Gearing your baby Shadowpriest

Posted in Guides with tags , , on September 18, 2008 by Natarumah

We all know how it gets started don’t we? We build a Shadowpriest (our first, or an alt) and then we do quests and grind until we hit 70. But then? How to get into those elusive first raids and make the big impression to guide you to grander stuff?

Below I have made a compilation of the gear that is the quickest to achieve in order to get into Karazhan and beyond. Mind you, this means that either you spend a lot of money, or run a lot of heroics. It’s still not easy, it will take time. The focus here is to shorten that time as much as possible to get you up to speed.

General gearing rules

  • +Spell hit until you are capped at 16% (15% as a Draenei). If you have 5 points in Shadow Focus, you need 76 Hit rating from gear, 64 as a Draenei.
  • +Shadow Damage is king, this is the most important factor.
  • +Stamina/Intellect as needed to survive encounters and have enough mana to last an encounter.
  • +Haste is not really needed until after +1400 raid-buffed Shadow damage.
  • +Crit is next to worthless.
  • Gems should always be red +damage gems (Runed Living Rubies), unless the socket bonus would give you more +Spell Hit or +Damage.
  • It is best to use +9 gems on gear you expect to replace soon, +12s for your “gear to last”.
  • Enchants: WoWwiki has a comprehensive list; if you can get the +damage one, go for it. If there is no such enchantment, then go for what you feel you need the most. Mana issues? Go for MP/5. Dying? Go for +Stamina.

Shadow’s Embrace

If you are a tailor, you cannot go wrong with the Frozen Shadoweave Set. Although it may take quite a while to get all the materials required, friendly alchemists and tailors may be able to help you; another Shadoweave Tailor will create 2 shadowcloths with the materials for 1, speeding up the process.Also, an alchemist can turn the relatively cheap Primal Earths into a Primal Water, once per day. On most servers, the difference between the two is easily 8-10 gold each.

As a whole, the set offers:+66 Stamina, +44 Intellect, +179 Shadow Damage, Sockets [3x yellow, 3x blue], You heal for 2% of the Shadow Damage you deal.

Total Mats Required: 8x Netherweb Spider Silk, 38x Primal Water, 26x Shadowcloth

Spellstrike Infusion

Another tailored set, this set shines in that it does not actually require tailoring to use, although you will gain no benefit from its set bonus. This set bonus and its Spell Hit is what makes Spellstrike such a good starter set, and if you are not a tailor with 350 skill, you may want to take one of the Dungeon Equivalents below. Even so, being able to fill a large portion of your Spell Hit needs with just two items is very handy.

As a whole, the set offers:+28 Stamina, +20 Intellect, +38 Spell Hit, +50 Spell Crit, +92 Spell Damage, Sockets [2x Red, 2x Yellow, 2x Blue], You have a chance when your harmful spells land to gain +92 Spell Damage for 10 seconds.

Total Mats Required: 2x Primal Nether, 10x Primal Might, 20x Spell Cloth

PvP Gear

Although I generally feel that going through hours and hours of PvP might not be worth it to then turn around and use it for PvE, it may be a good tactic. It is obviously not the fastest way, but a set of Merciless Gladiator gear with PvE enchants and gems will function quite well in practice. Generally, this route will cost you some Spell Hit and Intellect, but gain you Stamina, Resilience, and better looks.

As a whole, the set offers:+274 Stamina, +105 Intellect, +146 Resilience, +197 Spell Damage, Sockets [3x Red, 3x Yellow, 1x Meta], +1 second duration on psychic scream, +35 resilience (2 piece) and Reduces the Duration of Weakened Soul by 2 seconds (4 piece).

Total Honor Required: 65,200 honor points, 30 Marks of Warsong Gulch, 50 Marks of Arathi Basin, 50 Marks of Alterac Valley.

Dungeon Equivalents

There are some decent pieces of starter kit that drop from various dungeons, heroic or not. Sadly, there is not really a dungeon set that tailor to our needs, and as such we will be forced to enter Karazhan with a mishmash of items. I have also included a few tasty quest rewards.

Evoker’s Helmet of Second Sight: Quest reward in Shadowmoon Valley from “Teron Gorefiend, I am.

Shattered Sun Pendant of Acumen: Exalted with Shattered Sun Offensive.

Shoulders of the Torn-Heart: Quest in Shadowmoon Valley from “The Cipher of Damnation”.

Cloak of the Black Void: Tailoring BoE, requires 6x Bolt of Imbued Netherweave, 3x Primal Mana, 3x Primal Shadow.

Shroud of the Lore’nial: 100 Badges of Justice.

Scarlet Sindorei Robes: Drops from Kael’thas Sunstrider in Magister’s Terrace.

Runed Spell-cuffs: 35 Badges of Justice.

Bracers of Havok: Tailoring BoE, requires 4x Bolt of Imbued Netherweave, 4x Primal Earth, 4x Primal Shadow.

Jaedenfire Gloves of Annihilation: Drop from Ambassador Hellmaw in Shadow Labyrinth.

Akama’s Sash: Quest reward from Shadowmoon Valley, “Akama’s Promise”.

Voodoo-woven Belt: 60 Badges of Justice.

Shattrath Jumpers: Quest reward for “Into the Labyrinth” in the Shadow Labyrinth.

Timbal’s Focusing Crystal: Drops from Priestess Delrissa in Magister’s Terrace on Heroic level. Despite the difficulty of getting it, it is a must-have for Shadowpriests and Affliction Warlocks.

Icon of the Silver Crescent: 41 Badges of Justice. Considering its power, this is a steal.

Scryer’s Bloodgem: Exalted with the Scryers.

Scryer’s Blade of Focus: 150 Badges of Justice. Despite the name, anyone can buy it. It is so good, that you are not likely to replace it until far into Black Temple. This is worth putting a Soulfrost enchant on.

Gavel of Unearthed Secrets: Exalted with Lower City. A good, solid starter mace. However, it would need to be upgraded soon.

Orb of the Soul-Eater: One of the best off-hands possible until +1400 Shadow damage or higher.

Carved Witch-Doctor’s Stick: Buy it, socket it, love it. Will be a companion until Sunwell.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a massive list of possible upgrades which should skyrocket you to an average of about +1000 shadow damage and straight into Karazhan. Expected DPS with gear like this should be easily 600 DPS, and your raid will love you for it.

As you can see, getting geared in this way will cost you either:

  • Time to PvP
  • Badges (Run heroics!)
  • Money

But it is possible to gear from freshly-dinged 70 to Kara-ready in about 2-3 weeks of focused effort.