Archive for WotLK

Spell priority redux

Posted in Guides, Shadowpriest with tags , , on December 15, 2008 by Natarumah

spell_shadow_brainwashWe’ve had a lot to swallow in the past few patches, and with the coming of Wrath. We’ve had Devouring Plague and Mind Sear added. Some spells became more powerful (Mind Flay), while others less so (Shadow Word: Death).

This means it may be time to take another look at the spell priority we Shades are using. I personally still struggle with a good priority, because I am too used to putting Shadow Word: Death on cooldown, and not used to keeping Devouring Plague up all the time. So I put my thoughts here on the matter, and perhaps we can figure out together what would be the best thing ™.


The following assumptions are made when thinking on this, as a lot of our spells are either talented, or rely heavily on talents to be viable.

  • You have put points in Mind Flay, Vampiric Touch and Shadow Form. Redundant to say perhaps, but still…
  • You have 3/3 Pain and Suffering (Refreshes the duration on Shadow Word: Pain when you cast Mind Flay).
  • You have put points in Shadow Weaving.
  • We are still working on a priority system, not a cast rotation. It still requires a functional brain to be a Shadowpriest.

Single-target rotation

On a single target, whether in a 5-man dungeon or a raid, you can be sure it dies fast. So fast, in fact, that our DoTs hardly get the time to tick fully, if even that. This means that in order to get the most out of our abilities, we have to prioritize getting our Replenishment up, and then blasting with full force.

This leads to casting Vampiric Touch first, then Mind Blast (to activate Replenishment) and then casting Mind Flay until Mind Blast becomes available again, or VT needs refreshing. Don’t bother with Shadow Word: Death until the very end, when you see that the mob needs at most a second or two to die.

In most cases, even a Mind Blast will not be fully casted before the target dies, hence the use of an Instant spell.

Multi-target rotation (up to 3 targets)

In a situation where there are multiple targets, or a series of pulls without a break in between, the priorities change. First, Replenishment must be up, Shadow Weaving must reach 5 stacks, and then we need to squeeze out as much DPS as we can.

So the start would be to cast Vampiric Touch, then Mind Blast, then Devouring Plague. Then cast Shadow Word: Pain on the first mob, and rotate SW:P on all mobs in the pull. By now it will be time to refresh Replenishment again. Mind Flay targets until they die, and go to the next mob as each dies. If you can, sneak in a SW:D to finish off targets.

This makes sure that your Shadow Weaving stays at 5 stacks, so that your DoTs on secondary targets and beyond are maximized.

You can replace Mind Flay with Mind Sear if you estimate that the primary target will not die soon, but in my experience your target(s) may die very soon after you finish dotting everything up. Or, you could not dot up secondary targets, and simply Mind Sear right after dotting up your primary target.

Multi-target Rotation (Many, many whelps)

From the start it is as above, except that you Mind Sear after Dotting up the primary target. Make sure that Replenishment and dots stay up on your primary target, but just AoE nuke the hell out of everything else. At about 4 targets your Mind Sear will give you a sweeter deal than multi-dotting, mana-wise, and it’s basically a short breather break for us between heavy dotting fights.

Boss rotation

Since bosses have oodles of health, just make sure all dots are on the target, and that you have 4 or 5 stacks of Shadow Weaving up before putting up Shadow Word: Pain. From there on, it is simply a matter of refreshing dots whenever they are at their last tick, and using Mind Flay as much as possible, as this is now our main spell, like Frost Bolt is to Frost Mages.

In essence, we can consider ourselves (playstyle-wise) as a mix between Affliction locks and Frost Mages. We have plenty DoTs to keep our eye on, and in between we spam Mind Flay.

The cinch

What I have problems with, and with me more Shades, is that we have to watch several cooldowns and durations:

  • Shadow Word: Pain (Did it fell off? Bad Shade! Reapply…)
  • Vampiric Touch (Big-ass DoT and central to Replenishment)
  • Vampiric Embrace (On AoE heavy fights, to spare the healers)
  • Mind Blast (Damage, and triggers Replenishment, has a cooldown)
  • Devouring Plague (Has a cooldown)
  • Shadow Word: Death (Has a cooldown)
  • Keep up 5 stacks of Shadow Weaving
  • Shadow Fiend at about 85-90% mana (so it becomes available again during a longer fight)
  • Dispersion when targeted, caught in a stun/DoT/etc, or when low on mana
  • One mana pot (1!) per fight
  • Mind Flay away (It’s no longer a filler spell, but with all other things to watch, we may neglect it accidentally)

As you can see, Shadowpriest DPS is everything but simple. It wasn’t easy to begin with, and it has not become simpler.

Also, we suffer from a few bugs; a big killer for us is the fact that Mind Flay’s damage ticks no longer are spread evenly among its 3-second duration, but rather one at the start, and 2 close to the end. This means that if you accidentally clip the tail end of channeling Mind Flay, you may actually be cutting off 2 ticks of damage. That is a lot!

Also, you may have noticed that the channeling animation goes on slightly after your castbar and addons tell you that you are done with channeling; the same has been observed with Mind Sear, but less obvious. This means that the spell may actually be ticking a second after you finish casting. This means that you also can’t always rely on addons to tell you when to cast the next spell.

You’ll just have to verify with your own eyes when you stop channeling, and then chain the next spell.


I admit that I have issues learning the new “ways of the shade”. Perhaps it is lack of practice, perhaps sentimental clinging to the old idea of the Mana Battery which subconsciously makes me choose to keep up Replenishment rather than focus on full DPS. And perhaps my gear is just not up to snuff enough, making it a bit harder to choose what to cast, as our various abilities are not clear-cut different enough.

But I’ll get back in the saddle and learn it, as should we all.

What are your thoughts? What rotations do you use?

Do you feel it is easier, or more difficult?

Let me know! Share your ideas. :)

Let me get this straight…

Posted in News, Shadowpriest with tags , , on December 12, 2008 by Natarumah

spell_shadow_manaburnAs we speak, the PTR is up for testing. Many things change, especially for Death Knights and Hunters. However, we are not forgotten. Although I have to say that a lot of the changes are rather nonsensical…

  • Levitate can now be cast on other players – nice, but what? If another player’s falling, we’re probably not quick enough to save them. Still, it’s a lot of fun with the Levitate glyph that removes the component.
  • Prayer of Spirit now affects raid members – This puts it in line with Prayer of Fortitude; but Prayer of Shadow Protection still languishes in the party sphere…
  • Mana Burn now destroys 13% of the target’s mana (up to 26% of your own mana as a maximum), taking 1 damage per 2 mana drained – I guess this is fair towards classes with little mana (Hunters, Retri/Prot Paladins) but increases our efficiency against notorious mana hogs like Shamans and Mages.
  • Abolish Disease and Cure Disease can now be cast in Shadowform – wait, what? Where’s the logic? I know a lot of PvP monkeys have been begging for this, to be able to counter Death Knights, but it still makes no sense. Rather, make Prayer of Hope castable in Shadowform instead…
  • Shadowform can now be cast while sitting or mounted – cosmetic difference, little else.
  • Vampiric Embrace mana cost removed – this is pretty nice, since it’s up often, and we can always use more mana efficiency. This also makes this a free “junk debuff” in PvP.

Other notable changes

  • Flasks no longer require an alchemy lab
  • Fixed a bug where casting Mind Flay and then turning away prevented Mind Flay from dealing damage

All in all, interesting changes, but I feel we could’ve been without most of them.

At least it’s not a nerf ^_^

Taking your shadow to Naxx

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

inv_chest_cloth_73Well, after a short run-down on the gear we love that trickles down from our Reputation vendors, it’s time to have a stab at the Heroics. There’s good, good stuff hiding in there, and at the high end is comparable to Naxx-10 in terms of itemization. This means they are perfect preparation, whether for Naxx-10 or Naxx-25!

More than before, it seems that our gear is “mix and match”; you have some pieces devoted to one stat, and once you feel it is sufficient, you swap out other pieces to focus on another stat. It is crazy how much the stuff we find (even while questing) seems very much pidgeonholed into providing mainly one stat in addition to the basic Int/Spi/Spell Power.

As such, I’ve made the list in such a fashion, that it filters based on “main focus stat”:

Focus on +hit

Focus on +crit

Focus on Spirit

Focus on Haste

Focus on MP5

So, I bid you all happy min-maxing! And remember, Hit Cap comes first, all other things are later concerns. ^_^

Le big ding!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 28, 2008 by Natarumah

achievement_level_80So, I finally hit level 80 last evening. It took me two weeks exactly to get it done, considering I was refurbishing our new house and thus only had time to spend in the evenings. Especially the last 25% of the level was slow and tedious. /taps foot.

That said, I am glad I can finally start doing some real instancing and focus on my tradeskills a bit more. In order to level I put a lot of effort in steamrolling quests and stringing quests back-to-back just to maximize the use of my time. I skipped some quests that would take too long or too many people were on, since that would just have taken time I could have spent doing something else.

The one dilemma I have now is whether I level my Druid and Mage next (for tradeskill synergy and because my guild still needs another healer – especially a tree) or whether I am going full-out on reputation and achievements.

I noticed that a lot of the reputation rewards are pretty unspectacular until you hit exalted, and even then…the shoulder and head enchants are a no-brainer, so that means getting some of that anyway. But let’s take a few of the rewards useful to Shadowpriests:

Frenzyheart Tribe – Sholazar Basin – Exalted:

Oracles – Sholazar Basin – Revered:

Oracles – Sholazar Basin – Exalted:

Ebon Blade – Icecrown – Exalted:

Wyrmrest Accord – Dragonblight – Exalted:

Argent Crusade – Icecrown – Exalted:

Kirin Tor – Dalaran – Revered:

So far, the Kirin Tor seems to have the best return on investment, while the others are marginal upgrades or even sidegrades to my own gear. It seems a bit sad to hit 80 and have (except trinkets, gloves and boots) the same gear as I had at the end of TBC.

Especially considering the fact that my gloves were from Karazhan and my boots were Frozen Shadoweave…

Anyway, I am sure some upgrades will come my way from the (heroic) dungeons and eventually Naxxramas. I will try and get a good list together for gear we can snag in Naxx, as well as what would be a good measure of stats to have when first entering.

The one thing I will not fail to do, however, is getting Exalted with the Kalu’ak. The thought of running around at the shore with the Mastercraft Kalu’ak Fishing Pole is just too damn attractive…

A day in the tundra

Posted in News with tags , on November 14, 2008 by Natarumah

Whirrrrr. DvD spinning, installation commences. Tension, tension. Patches downloaded. ULA accepted. Aaaand…play! Welcome to Northrend everyone!

As I was jumping straight in without research or preparation (how unlike me!) I just jumped on the boat in Stormwind and decided to go where the wind would blow me.

And so I ended up in the Borean Tundra (along with 3/4 of my server, because it is the easiest to reach). The first impressions were that it is rather big, empty and…kind of disappointing. That is, until I discovered the DEHTA druid camp, slaughtered woolly mammoths for meat and discovered an oil-slicked Gnomish camp overrun by a reconstructed Titan robot who seeks to cure them of the “curse of flesh”.

And the Ka’luak…how cool are they?

I mean, walruss people, right? That couldn’t be any more cool than the walruss from Alice in Wonderland…and the fact that their transportation vessels are big turtles is a plus. And the fact that they have carrots on a stick to make them move.

Results after one evening of trudging: Level 71, Honored with the Ka’luak, ran an Uthgard instance and discovered that I was sitting in the middle of a horde of mob-stealing levelers.

Ah well, those are the dice.

On a brighter note, it seems the collector’s edition has some spanking great concept art, according to a post on MMO-CHampion. The wicked priest set displayed there, matching the leaked set on youtube before, seems to be what will be Tier 8. Oh joy!