Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shadow priesting 101 - Patch 4.0.1

Hello shadow priests and wannabes (locks)!

There is a lot of information out there on the brand spanking new patch 4.0.1, but I thought I'd compile and quick and dirty list of things you should know before delving into your new empty talent tree or your woefully-over hit capped gear.

Intro - some changes

  • Inner Fire no longer has charges - just buff and go for 30 minutes.
  • No more candles!  No more spirit buff!  Just fort and shadow protection, only one of each that works for raid or just yourself. 
  • You have to visit the priest trainer - do this as soon as you sign in.
  • Hit cap is now 17% for all priests except for space goats - for them only (it's not party wide anymore) it's 16%.
  • Before you do anything like regemming or reforging, put on your absolute best pieces (still with the 4-piece T10), disregarding hit or anything else.  You want to start from the best you've got - reforging really gives us an opportunity to tailor our best pieces to our own collection of gear.
  • Shadow Weaving is gone - we no longer have to wait on five stacks before applying our final Shadow Word: Pain.  Shadow Word: Pain, therefore, has become our second-highest-hitting dot up front, ahead of Devouring Plague.
  • When you go down this list, try to do things in order (gems and enchants before reforging).

 1.  Talents

This seems to be the consenses on the new level 80, pre-Cataclysm, non-leveling, PVE raiding spec, with two "optional" points.  Some will want to put them in Mental Agility, the mana-reduction talent for instant casts in the Discipline tree.  My choice, however, will be to put them in the ultra-useful Phantasm, in the third tier of the shadow tree.  What does Phantasm do?

  • Phantasm (2/2):  Your Fade ability now has 100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects.

As of a couple of days after the patch, shadow priests seem to have absolutely no mana problems whatsoever.  So why not take a mana-saving talent and swap that for something that might be useful for running out of The Bad?

2.  Glyphs

  • Prime:  Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Word: Death, and Mind Flay (these three are the only three that offer dps increases)
  • Major:  Mass Dispel, Fade, Inner Fire (alternative for Mass Dispel or Inner Fire - Psychic Scream, will be handy for leveling but I'm not sure how useful it'll be for raiding at 80 .. but Mass Dispel would kind of be situational)
  • Minor:  Levitate, Shadowfiend, Fading (alternative for Shadowfiend or Fading - Shadow Protection)

3.  Gems

  • Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (unchanged from before)
  • Nightmare Tear (use only one in a blue socket, hopefully to obtain the most useful socket bonus you can - usually best in the helm slot)
  • Brilliant Cardinal Rubies in red sockets  (Runed Cardinal Rubies changed into these, so you won't have to regem your reds)
  • Purified Dreadstone in blue sockets (to meet the meta requirement or obtain a +6 socket bonus)
  • Reckless Ametrine in yellow sockets (only to meet a +6 socket bonus)

Ideally, you'll have the meta, one Nightmare Tear, one Purified Dreadstone, and all Brilliant Cardinal Rubies.  Sometimes, though, the socket bonus is worth using Reckless Ametrine or Purified Dreadstones for.

4.  Enchants

Chuck the head and shoulder enchants you've been using for forever, and get thee to Wyrmrest Accord for their head enchant.  Theirs is an Intellect+Spirit enchant, while the old one is still Spellpower+Crit.  Intellect gives spellpower PLUS mana, while spellpower is just boring old spellpower.  That being said, in your priority list, intellect > spellpower and thus Wyrmrest Accord enchant > Violet Hold enchant.  Similarly, you want the "healer" shoulder enchant from Sons of Hodir over your old "dps" one. 

Change your spirit chest enchant to Powerful Stats.  Other than those, everything else is the same - all spellpower, Tuskarr's Vitality (you've been using this, right?), and so forth. 

**** And for all of you lucky engineers out there - you can now keep your rocket boots/gloves/flying cloak engineering tools AND enchant your cloak, boots, and gloves.  Go for haste on the cloak, spellpower on the gloves, and Tuskarr's Vitality (or Icewalker, I suppose, though I'm firmly in the Tuskarr's camp) for your boots.****

5.  Reforging

When I first logged in, I was way, way, way over hit capped (like 25% hit) because of all the spirit on my gear.  As far as stats go, Mastery is junk at level 80.  So what you probably want to do is this, in terms of priority (if you can't do the first because the stat you are trying to reforge to is already on the item, go ahead to the next):

Hit to Haste
Hit to Crit
Spirit to Haste
Spirit to Crit

If you are NOT like me and need the hit, then do the following (after changing your helm and shoulder enchants):

Crit to Hit
Haste to Hit

You shouldn't have to do that, though.  Most folks will be way over hit cap.  Remember, put all of your best, highest level gear on before starting this process - with the new Reforging system, you can slap on that non-hit neck you won but couldn't wear because you were under hit cap without that lesser hit neck, and so forth.

Most items have either crit or haste on them, unless you are a lucky bitch who has best-in-slot and has all of the super haste+crit items anyway.  Reforging is pretty much a no-brainer - reforge what you don't have onto your gear, make sure you are hit capped. 

5.  Stats

Priority for stats is pretty much the same as before, until we start gaining mastery on our gear and crit becomes more important.  So:

Spirit or hit (until hit capped, but spirit is better than straight hit) > Intellect > Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Mastery

Crit is better than haste if you are focusing more on the last 25% and you are relying on Shadow Word: Death crits.  It'll probably be better as we edge towards 85, as well.  For now, though, haste is still our strongest stat behind spellpower.

6.  "Rotation"

Like before, we don't actually have a rotation so much as a priority system. 

Blizzard really bent over backwards to make sure we are using Shadow Word: Death again - it hits like a freaking truck.  It also crits a lot.  And it will kill us if we use it too much. 

With the glyph, below 25% health, there is no cooldown on the spell.  It'll hit anywhere in the 20k range when it crits (which hits us for about 10k).  Spamming it too much will of course wipe us out in due time.  Even though the risk is great, the reward is also great - if a shadow priest were to just spam Shadow Word: Death with a healer directly healing him, he could do some amazing, amazing dps. 

That being said, don't be stupid and think that a healer is going to be watching your back when your raid has Heroic Sindragosa down to 20% and everyone is taking frost damage and people are running around like crazy and the tanks are taking a buttload of damage to the face.  Again, DON'T BE STUPID.  Hit it once, MAYBE twice if your health was full to begin with and the first didn't crit.  Don't go hitting it three or more times when you know that it could potentially give healers a heartattack when you are full and suddenly you are on the floor.

So to make a long story short, priority:

(Above 25%) - Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Shadow Word: Death > Mind Blast (on cooldown) > Mind Flay (filler again)

(Below 25%) - Shadow Word: Death as much as you dare!! > Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Mind Blast > Mind Flay

Use Shadowfiend on cooldown, starting with near the beginning of the fight.  With our new talents and such, the cooldown on Shadowfiend can be lowered to around a minute, maybe less.  I have close to 30% crit and my little buddy was getting a cooldown of just over a minute.  Take advantage of this little guy!

Also, something to keep in mind - dots are no longer clipped (or they are not supposed to be, according to Blizzard - some speculation is suggesting that this is bugged for now).  If you apply a dot before the last tick, it will just tack the new spell's ticks onto the remaining ticks of the old.  Mind Flay also acts as a dot now, so you don't have to worry about clipping the last tick. 

That being said, don't waste global cooldowns trying to refresh dots halfway through their duration - wait until the last tick is ALMOST up, and THEN reapply.  You don't want any time to go by without your dots ticking, but you don't want to be reapplying too early, either.

7.  Consumables

Fish Feast is still tops (and the other spellpower foods). 
Flask of the Frost Wyrm is still our flask of choice.

The only difference is that now we pre-pot with Potion of Speed instead of Potion of Wild Magic, since Shadow Word: Pain crit modifiers do NOT get refreshed with Mind Flay.  The haste is better. 

A good question is whether or not the new haste-on-dots mechanic is applied to the entire duration of each dot while the haste modifier is up, or ONLY when the haste modifier is up.  For example, you chug a speed pot.  You apply your dots.  The speed pot boost falls off in the middle of your Devouring Plague duration.  Will the haste modifier remain until Devouring Plague is reapplied or falls off?  Or will the hastening end when the pot wears off?

I do not know the answer to this.  Any insights, shadow priests?


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below.  I'm no numbers cruncher, though - I read a lot of blogs as well as pay attention to and elitist jerks.  I do my own tests, but I don't crank out numbers of every little thing.  I'm certainly not an expert.  I also may have some things wrong, like the crit modifier not getting refreshed on Shadow Word: Pain or the amount of a socket bonus that makes it worth gemming something other than straight intellect.  But my guide should at least get you started on the way towards pwning as a shadowpriest in your next raid.

At least until a fire mage shows you up by doing twice your damage.  :-(  (Yes, they are OP.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hullo? An update!

Oh, I know that no one follows this piece o' crap anymore, but what the hell - an update!  It's not that I've been gone/busy, it's just that things around the WoW-verse have been very boring lately.

So last time I wrote, I was working my way through hard modes in both 10 and 25 in ICC.  A couple of months ago, I was directed to go out of town for work for five straight weeks.  The guild was working on H. Putricide at the time, with only Sindragosa and Lich King left.  That's right - we were 9/12 25-man ICC heroic.  The 10 man groups were changing week to week, but there was a consistent group who lost a caster and got me in - we went 11/12 heroic modes.  The guild also trounced old Halion the first week he came roaring out in both 10 and 25, no problemo.

When I left, I did so with a heavy heart - I had visions of the guild getting heroic Lich King and Ruby Sanctum without me, and I very much wanted to be part of that (still do).  But the first week I was gone, about four or five regular raiders posted on the forums about being absent for that week.  The raids that week didn't happen.  The next week, a couple of the core members announced that they were taking a break until Cataclysm.  Two more core raiders announced that they had just been accepted to a higher-progressed guild and were moving on.  The guild got some recruits to fill in the missing slots, but progression went backwards - couldn't get heroic Saurfang down, not to mention Deathwhisper or the wing bosses.  The third week, a couple more people left. 

By the time I got back, the guild had been only sporadically raiding - only one or two of the three raid days per week.  I did do one raid night with them, where we wiped over and over on heroic Saurfang before changing it to regular.  We couldn't even get normal Lich King that night.

And that was it - several more people announced that they had apps in to other guilds, and the the guild leader spoke to the rest of us on Vent, stating that he didn't think we would pick back up on 25-man raiding.  In short, we were done for the rest of the expansion.  A mass exodus happened that night.

I stayed for a while, unsure of what to do.  I continued to work on heroic Lich King on 10 man with the regular 10 man group, who had all migrated as a whole to another guild.  I considered joining them, but they weren't doing 25 mans, and that's kind of where my heart was.  I joined a GDKP 25 man for a few weeks, that successfully cleared 8/12 heroic bosses and Ruby Sanctum, netting around 7-8k gold per person.  I was sitting with a ton on gold on Icecrown with D, my guild broken up, the majority of my friends back on Silvermoon with my alts, and wondering what I would do.

I was one achievement (the Sindragosa one) away from getting my 10 man bony dragon mount from ICC when I decided to app. with the top Alliance raiding guild back on Silvermoon (a long established guild that had a great reputation).  I thought, at the very least, that I could chill with D and get some gold back to my poor, broke alts.

I was accepted to trial with that guild - they were 11/12 heroic 25 man.  They had a very solid shadow priest, and when I got there, I saw that they had a shadow priest recruit as well.  Both have been trouncing me on the dps charts for the length of my trial so far - I am about one week in and already feel like a fish out of water.

How do you pull out of a trial without looking like a douchey douchebag?  I'm not sure, but I think I may have to do it before they kick me out in disgust - my dps is nowhere near what I know it can be, and neither is my performance.  Why?  I suspect it has to do with a combination of things - boredom of ICC, late hours (the raid time ends an hour later than what I had been used to - thought I could handle it, but maybe I was just deluding myself), and, oh yeah, Silvermoon is a west-coast server while I live on the east coast.

Stupid D!  My latency is horrible on Silvermoon.  Icecrown was a Mountain Standard Time server, which isn't that much closer but it DID make a difference, as my dps and latency on Icecrown was a lot better (as was my performance). 

I'm not a terrible player, so I've been completely and utterly ashamed at my performance in my current trial.  Clipped dots and Mind Flays, being hit by Malleable Goo on Putricide, dying to Pungent Blight just last night on Festergut because my Dispersion hot key didn't seem to work in time (super embarrassing for a shadow priest) ... it's been abysmal. 

So I think I might just pull out of the trial, take a break from raiding (but I really want to work on heroic Lich King, dammit), and wait for Kurn to get her guild ready for recruiting so I can apply to an actual East Coast server progression guild for once (and raid with someone I admire - I'm not a stalker, really!).  Why I started out on Silvermoon escapes me completely. 

In the meantime - if there are any guilds out there that could use a non-bad (I promise!) shadow priest (disc is my offspec, but I also have a holy set ... you might not want me healing, though .. just saying) for the rest of the expansion, hit me up!  Only CST or EST servers, raiding anytime during the evenings (anywhere from 7-12 EST) or anytime on the weekends, at least heroic Deathwhisper down (I think that's a good indication of a decent progression guild) or 8/12 ish in 25 man AND Ruby Sanctum normal 25, bonus for guilds that care about achievements and 10 mans (mounts, old content like ToGC, etc). 

I'm in full 264 and up gear, 4-piece T10 of course (all Sanctified), several heroic 25 pieces (wrists, DFO, neck), the nifty normal 25 Lich King staff, 1100ish haste unbuffed, 3200ish (I think) spellpower, hit capped (of course), and I have worked on all heroic modes on 10 man (including Lich King) as well as 10/12 heroic modes in 25 (I have never seen Sindragosa or Lich King on heroic mode in 25) ICC.  I have also completed Ruby Sanctum 10 and 25 on normal and pushed him to phase 3 several times in 10 man heroic (I think I've gotten hit by the cutters across all my attempts on all my toons less than five times - after working on it in heroic mode there's no excuse for getting hit in regular mode).  I have completed (more than once) OS 25 with 3 drakes (non-zerg fashion, yo) and ToGC 10 with no wipes (I have the mount as proof!).  I have also completed Algalon on 10 and 25 man, as well as obtained my stupid Rusted Protodrake on not only D but K.  I have the Undying title on K.

None of that last stuff matters, except to tell that I am good with mechanics of fights and not dying to stupid stuff.  No joke, I once knew someone that could not grasp how to do Heigan's dance or avoid flame walls on the Sarth fight even years after the content had been released.  That's not me!  It took me one wipe to get heroic Sindragosa, and that wipe was not even my fault (tank died).  One shot heroic Putricide the first time I saw the fight.  Really, I'm good with mechanics and a very fast learner. 

I like guild loyalty - I don't really fancy myself jumping from guild to guild for the rest of the expansion.  I was sad that my Icecrown guild ended, as I had no intention of ever leaving.  Before that, I was very sad to leave the guild that I was in on Silvermoon, as I had no intention of ever leaving that one, either, except that I was aching for more content and the guild was barely able to fill raids.  If I can find a solid guild that is capable of clearing all available content, I'm good! 

Er, so anyway, I'm ready to kill Mr. Lich King on heroic so I can be proud of myself and what I accomplished for my first WoW expansion. This lull peroid sucks!  I'm really, really looking forward to Cataclysm (no beta key, /sadface). 

Oh, but something I did get accomplished during my lonely days on Icecrown?  I got my blue dragonhawk!  100 mounts, yay!  What a grind, though (Argent Tournament, I hate you).  I finally got my white chocobo hawkstrider, too, after 54 Kael'thas kills.  Don't hate me, but the mount I didn't care about getting other than to count towards my mount total, Baron Rivendare's mount?  4 kills.  /ducks

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kitties and cats

Restokin had an interesting post interviewing druids in her guild, and one interview in particular caught my eye. 
What do you like least about the druid class & your spec?
•Part of what I liked least was removed when they redesigned cat and bear forms. As we all know, Blizz still needs to improve boomkin and tree. In addition, I don’t like that there is no visual advancement to my character in the form I take 95% of the time. It’s the same cat that I have stared at since level 20. I’d love to see either some armor or have the animal become more tough-looking somehow.
Of course, this made me think of how cool it would be if feral cats started off as, well, KITTENS!!

Level 20:

Level 85:

Wouldn't that be kick ass?  I'd definitely play a feral cat.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gunship (normal and heroic) cheese strat ftw

So lately, I've seen a couple of blog posts about "how" to win at Gunship heroic mode. 

The long and short of it?  "Do it like normal, just don't get hit by the cannon balls." 

Well, great ... but want an even easier strat that you can do for normal OR heroic mode, nab yourself the achievement, and, if done right, you do not even need two tanks for?

Sure you do!  Presenting the "cheese" gunship strat, as if it wasn't easy enough.

So here's a overview shot (stunning, I know) of the two ships - I am only Alliance, so I'm kind of guessing for the Horde strat here, based on the layout of the Alliance ship and what I know to be true about both.

So you have your one tank stay on your ship to handle the adds that spawn from the portal, just like normal.  Put two RANGED dps into the cannons (four on 25 man, of course).  Make sure all of your melee, the other tank, and one healer have their packs on.

When the mage comes out and freezes your cannons, have said other tank, all your melee, and one healer (can be your weakest healer, spec or class doesn't matter) hop over to the other ship.

Now look at the artwork above.  If you are Alliance, you jump over.  Your tank will grab Saurfang, HIT HIM A FEW TIMES WITH MELEE ATTACKS (super important), and then edge over to the ledge behind where Saurfang stands - camera positioning is important here, just have the tank rocket up onto the ledge (#1 on the Horde ship).  I suppose that if you are Horde and you jump to the Alliance ship, you'll see a similar ledge on the LEFT side of the ship, and will also have your tank jump up to #1.

If your tank melees the boss a few times, then said boss will follow the tank and try to get at him up close (instead of standing back and throwing axes/shooting at the tank). 

The thing is, the ledge the tank is jumping onto?  The boss can't get him them without running all the way around to where the ledge starts sloping up from the main floor of the ship.  This buys the tank a good few seconds to wait up on the ledge for the boss to run around and start up the slope of the ledge.

Once the boss gets about halfway up the ledge, have your tank either rocket pack themselves to #2, or simply jump down off the ledge. 

The boss then stops, turns around, and has to run down the slope of the ledge and around to where the tank is.

Once the boss gets a little away from the bottom of the ledge, have the tank rocket pack up to #1/the ledge again.

The boss will continue running around the edge of the ship to go up/come down the slope instead of jumping up or down, so your tank is always one step ahead of the boss.

If done right, the tank takes ZERO damage.  The healer will be very, very bored, but that healer is needed for the initial few hits.

If the tank gets perfectly comfortable with rocketting up and down and never getting hit, then your healer can just go back to help with your ship.

The key is, the tank continues to "kite" Saurfang/Muradin the entire fight, even when the mages are killed.  Your melee dps will also stay on the enemy ship, running around killing the rocketeers and axethrowers (or gunners or whatever) when a mage is not up.

This results in a faster kill overall.  The ranged dps not in the cannons on your own ship take care of the adds that spawn from the portal.

Simple, easy way to win and get the achievement, your tank doesn't take huge hits from Saurfang/Muradin, your raid members remaining on your faction's ship take less damage over all (because the axethrowers/rocketeers on the enemy ship are brought down a lot quicker) and there's less of a repair bill for the tank - extra win!

I'm going to assume that if you have a skilled holy paladin, you could have that person jump over and take over the "tank" role - pop a cooldown, melee Saurfang/Muradin a few times, then start the ledge jumping.  That frees one of your tanks to dps or heal.

Anyone else do it this way?  This way is so easy that we prefer this on normal AND heroic, 10 and 25 man.  I love being the "kiting" tank.  :-)  Pretty fun to see Saurfang freak out and run around trying to catch up with me.  Glad he doesn't have a rocket pack!