Outland passed me by so quickly I don’t really know what to say. By this time I was expecting to be able to moan about how much I hated the experience but it was great. The combination of having a flying mount and very little downtime meant that I sped through each zone and raked in the XP. I had memories of Outland being this horrible grind to level 68 so I could quickly escape to WOTLK content but it was quite the opposite.
Anyway I headed over to Orgrimmar to clear my bags and make sure I was completely ready for Northrend and hopped onto the next Zepplin. My destination was Warsong Hold:
I’ve always enjoyed the WOTLK quests and I look forward to starting them after I finish this post. I now need to start looking out for gear that might actually come in useful during the Undergered project. This means I need to pick which reputations to improve, which zones to visit and which dungeons to enter.
– We can literally fire lazer beams from the palm of our hands. What else do you want from a spell?!
– This spell reduces the movement speed of your target by 50% whilst pumping out some heavy damage. People often undervalue how useful this can be. In PvP you can use this spell in so many different ways and the fact that you are dealing damage can often be just an added bonus. Mind Flay can save your healer friend from being killed by that Arms Warrior or it can slow an enemy down as he tries to approach you whilst your DoTs tick away at his HP. Mind Flay is amazing in PvP!
– Refreshing Shadow Word: Pain whilst dealing damage = profit
– It is actually one of the cheapest spells to use in terms of mana compared to how much damage it can deal.
– Melting of faces
Some of you may notice that you are accidentally recasting mind flay before the previous mind flay had finished. This means you are missing out on the last ‘tick’ of damage and therefore wasting time and mana. This macro can help:
#showtooltip Mind Flay /cast [nochanneling:Mind Flay] Mind Flay
This allows you to spam your mind flay spell without allowing yourself to cast until the previous spell has finished channeling.
So I hit level 40 last night and finally picked up the most iconic spell of a shadowpriest: Shadowform!
That description can seem a little overwhelming to a new shadowpriest and although everyone understands that it is good, not everyone can fully explain why. Also take a look at the mana cost to put Shadowform up, its not cheap so always remember that when dropping Shadowform for a quick heal or two. However the mana cost is actually a lot less than it used to be before patch 3.3 and should not be overlooked when you think providing some off heals may be useful.
Damage Increase / Damage Reduction
Ok the first part of the descrption is probably the most straightforward. Having Shadowform increases all shadow damage that you do by 15% and reduces all the damage you will take by 15%. Nice and easy, this spell will make you hit harder and take more hits.
All threat generated is reduced by 30%. As I mentioned before, being a shadowpriest means you will put out some pretty constant damage as well as group healing, which means that you may attract a little more attention from your enemies than you would like. A flat 30% threat reduction will help compensate this and let you breathe a little easier when you start melting faces in PvE.
Cannot cast Holy spells
This is the biggest disadvantage to a priest using Shadowform. You cannot use any holy spells apart from curse disease/abolish disease. This means that if you want to heal you will need to drop Shadowform. Dropping Shadowform means that you will lose all the advantage it provides until you recast it. When you recast Shadowform you will be using a fair amount of mana and wasting a Global Cooldown. So always assess whether dropping Shadowform is essential or not. However don’t be afraid to drop it when needed as you can often save your own life or a member in your party / raid. When playing in PvP you will need to drop Shadowform more often depending on what situation you are presented with.
Increased DoT crits
This part of shadowform is awesome on so many levels! Allowing your DoT spells to crit for 100% increased damage will vastly improve your DPS if you have some decent crit rating. Remember this increased crit damage will only take place when the player has Shadowform up and you really will see some awesome damage. It is also a god send in PvP when you see your DoTs crit just as you prepare a Mind Blast.
Haste now helps Devouring Plague / Vampiric Touch
This is a rather new addition to Shadowform and it is the reason that many Shadowpriests now love haste. By stacking haste you can make your DP/VT spells do the same amount of damage in a shorter amount of time and thus increase your DPS drastically. Haste is a great stat to have and it provides all sorts of benefits. One of these being the time it takes for your Global Cooldown is reduced and this will let you use your spells and abilities that much faster. Haste can be extremely useful once you get the balance right with your other stats and I will be looking at this at a later time.
So as you may have noticed, I love Shadowform and this will make my leveling process a little easier from now on. Also don’t forget, Shadowform makes everything look bad-ass.
As you will know if you have read the previous posts within this blog I am a member of the Undergeared project. This means the the profession bonuses I can obtain are extremely important. I don’t really have the luxury to pick these professions because I like them or I know I can make some easy gold using them. I have to pick them because of stats, pure and simple.
Whilst leveling I have the professions Mining and Jewelcrafting, which is obviously not what I intend to start raiding with. Jewelcrafting is a great choice for me and in terms of stats alone it will provide 60 Spellpower or the equivalent in whatever stats I need. The bonus from this profession is higher for me that usual because part of the Undergeared rules state that I can only use blue quality gems unless I am a Jewelcrafter in which case I can use my three Dragon Eyes within my gear. The Jewelrafting trinekts are not currently useful to me but the stat increase from the Dragon Eyes makes it possibly the ‘best’ profession I can take.
I am using Mining as my other profession whilst I level to help me with my Jewelcrafting and to provide some extra gold when needed. I wouldn’t ever recommend starting on a new server from scratch without at least on gathering profession. However my problem at the moment is deciding what exactly I should take as my second profession once I hit level 80 and I am to ready to start taking part in the Undergeared raids. My current options are:
This profession provides a flat increase of 47 spellpower from Mixology (improved effect of flasks). This is not impressive when compared to the other profession but Alchemy also provides the following trinket:
Mercurial Alchemist’s Stone (trinket, 59 Spellpower, 50 Haste Rating & 40% improved effect of mana/health potions)
I cannot really write this profession off until I know which trinkets I will want to use at level 80. I have not completed a ‘Best in Blue Slot’ gear list yet, so it will be interesting to see how it compares.
This profession is always interesting to compare, as it doesn’t provide a flat stat bonus as such. Instead it has a series of items that can be very useful in the right hands. First of all we have the epic helm (this can be used as it is engineering only) and that provides the following stats:
Visage Liquification Goggles
Once again I will need to compare these to the blue equivalent and then look a the stat differences and see just how useful they will be. Either way this will definitely be an upgrade and gives me access to an ilevel 200 epic quality item.
Hyperspeed Accelerators (340 Haste on use)
This attachment to my gloves will provide me with 350 Haste every minute with 12 seconds of uptime. This equates to:
(340 haste*12 seconds)/60 seconds = 68 passive haste (if used every cooldown)
This blows all the other glove enchants out of the water and is a great attachment. It is also worth considering that it is off the Global Cooldown and can be combined with other abilities such as Troll Berserking to become extremely useful.
I also would like to compare this to the DPS increase that the Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket (1000 Damage on use) would give. As I need to see how much the haste would effect my DPS considering my gear will not be that great.
I also need to look at my hit rating when I have geared up to see if the Nitro Boots attachment is worth obtaining (24 Critical Strike compared to the enchant that provides 12 Critical Strike and 12 Hit Rating). Not to mention the fact that I could include Saronite Bombs into my rotation to possibly increase my DPS. As you can tell I need to put a lot of work into evaluating this profession. Oh and hell, Engineering is fun!
Finally Inscription provides a flat increase of 52 Spellpower & 5 Critical Strike Rating when comparing the Inscription shoulder enchant to the Lesser Sons of Hodir enchatn that we are allowed to make use of.
It may prove that this flat stat increase is the most useful and I look forward to grabbing a full set of gear so I can compare.
I apologize that this post may seem rather random but I just wanted to show the ideas I am having for my second profession and why it is more complicated than it may seem to decide!
Ok as I have mentioned, I am currently in the process of leveling a new Shadow Priest. I thought I would share some really quick tips that I think are essential whilst leveling:
1. Get a wand – This should not be underrated. As a shadowpriest, you will have a lot of mana issues during the early levels and the entire process can be hell unless you have a backup. Get a wand as early as possible and maintain it. Possibly one of the most important items you will have whilst leveling.
2. Inner Fire – is awesome. Keep it up at all times or you will get pounded by any melee opposition. It has only 20 charges (unless you improve this in the discipline tree) and often needs to be refreshed.
3. Power Word Shield – is even more awesome. This spell is the difference between happy shadowpriests with full HP and unhappy shadowpriests running back to their corpse in spirit form.
4. You’re a hybrid act like it! – You have the option to heal yourself at any time if needed. Don’t get bogged down in your damage dealing and forget you can heal yourself or other party members and do a damn good job. This applies to questing and even more so to instances.
5. Psychic Scream – is a lifesaver. However use it as a last resort or if you are very confident of your surroundings. Fearing mobs can often create bigger problems when you accidentally aggro too many.
6. Dot and Run – You may look a little silly but you can easily kite mobs (or players) and maintain your instant cast DoTs on them. Let them chase you whilst you chuckle at their lack of HP. You usually need some space for this to work vs mobs but it is often a way of beating higher level or even elite mobs.
7. Mana is not your friend – Until you obtain spells such as Shadowfiend and Dispersion you will not have the best mana regen in the world. For this reason make sure you always have a stockpile of water and mana potions. They will make your life so much easier.
8. Spirit Tap – Probably one of the most important talents to pick. Get this straight away and don’t be afraid to use gear that has plenty of spirit whilst leveling. The same goes for Improved Spirit Tap. Anything that gives you mana or makes you use less of it is a definite yes!
9. Use a threat meter – Whilst in low level dungeons a decent Shadowpriest can easily run into some threat issues during instance runs. Semi decent DPS + Group healing (Vampiric embrace) may land you in some trouble. A threat meter such as Omen is always handy.
10. Enjoy it – Shadow is a great spec and should therefore be enjoyed. Try questing , running instances or battlegrounds and make sure you do what feels fun. There may be parts where you find it tough but ultimately it will improve your gameplay when you overcome each challenge.
As you know I started my new Shadowpriest as a proud member of the Troll race. I thought it might be interesting to go over each of the races a Shadowpriest can play and look at the various racials that may affect your choice.
With the exception of Draenei, I would say that the Alliance racials are more useful for the PvP side of World of Warcraft. You can currently choose to play any of the Alliance races apart from Gnomes. Lets be honest, you wouldn’t really want a Gnome Shadowpriest anyway.
Arguably the best PvP racial at this moment in time, Every Man for Himself means that you will not need to have a PvP Trinket to break out of any movement impairing effects (Polymorph, Fear, Hammer of Justice etc). This means that not only can you use this skill whenever you may need it but also you do not need to waste a Trinket slot on the PvP Trinket in PvP situations. This will allow you to pick another trinket that you would not usually be able to equip.
Perception is another great PvP racial, it is now a passive ability. This means that you will constantly have improved stealth detection and have a much better chance of spotting those sneaky rogues / feral druids before they strike. The passive ability equates to 5 stealth detection at all times and that means you will see any stealthed player as if you were 1 level higher than them. This may sound odd but if you imagine looking at a lower level rogue whilst they are stealthed, they are easier to spot.
The Human Spirit racial is a 3% buff to your total spirit. This is a nice bonus to your shadowpriest but not a game changer. The racial used to be considerably higher and offered a 10% increase to your spirit, however this was considered to high and was later nerfed. Yes thats right, Blizzard nerfed the human spirit :< href=”http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=20599″>increase to their reputation gains which is always going to be useful. Any human player will receive 10% additional reputation from quests, killing mobs or playing in battlegrounds. Whilst this racial is not going to improve your end-game DPS or make you a better PvPer, it makes life a little easier and is a welcome addition.
All in all, I personally think the Human Shadowpriest is the single best for any kind of Player vs Player situation when looking solely at racial abilities. It also provides a great range of different racials that any kind of player will enjoy. If you are looking for the best PvP combination then the Human Shadowpriest is for you. Alternatively if you are looking for a race that will provide advantages in all types of your gameplay then you can’t go wrong with a Human.
Dwarf Shadowpriests have the ability to use Stoneform allowing them to remove all poisons, diseases and bleeding effects from themselves. Shadowpriests can already remove diseases from themselves but being able to get rid of any bleeding and poisons instantly is pretty damn useful. However this does have a 2 minute cooldown and therefore must be used at the right time. Although I would say this ability is mainly aimed at PvP it does have some uses in PvE to remove a raid wide poison effect from yourself and save your healer the trouble. I’m sure you guys and girls can think of times when a racial like this could have saved you and your repair bill.
However apart from Stoneform, Dwarf Shadowpriests don’t have much joy with racial abilities. Sure they have a pretty nifty Frost Resistance that you will probably never really notice and finding treasure is great if it wasn’t so useless in Northrend. Personally I would never pick a dwarf on racials alone and I really hope they get some love in Cataclysm.
Night Elves would be considered fairly weak in terms of racials if it wasn’t for Shadowmeld. Not only does that racial begin with the word ‘Shadow’ it is also incredibly useful to all types of players. This ability instantly stealthes the player and takes them out of combat, although you cannot move whilst stealthed this simple ability offers several important advantages.
You can use it in PvE to leave combat and stay stealthed directly before a raid wipe and then pop out of shadowmeld and ressurect the raid when the boss / raid trash has reset position. This will not only make other players happy but it will keep your repair bill nice and low. If you manage to attract the attention of an enemy NPC then you can use Shadowmeld to reset your threat and return the attention of the NPC to the tank. In some situation in both PvE and PvP you will be able to use Shadowmeld to leave combat and then drink to replenish your mana. When attemptign this please remember that you will break the stealth once you begin drinking and so you will need to attempt this at the right time and place. Shadowmeld has some other great uses like avoiding an enemy spellcast or avoiding enemy players in battleground / World PvP but I won’t go into detail about these.
Other than Shadowmeld, the Night Elf racials offer very little to a Shadowpriest. Faster travel in ghost form and Nature Resistance are not going to change your gameplay. Quickness may be considered useful in PvP if you combine it with other factors but once again its not really going to be the difference between Gladiator and Challenger.
I would say that Draenei players have the “best” racial ability for a PvE Shadowpriest. Heroic Presence increases your chance to hit with spells by 1%. Unless you have raided as a DPS class before then you will probably be thinking that sounds useless. I will quickly explain how this works:
For every player the spell hit cap is 17%. This means if you have 17% hit then you will not miss any current raid boss or mob with your spells. Shadowpriests usually pick the talents Misery and Shadow Focus, which means that they now only need 11% hit. If you are a Draenei Shadowpriest you will only need 10% hit to reach the ‘hit cap’ where you will no longer miss the target you are fighting. It is almost always considered correct to reach the hit cap through your gear stats and then you can think about other stats you may want on your gear. This 1% hit offered by the racial simply means that you can reach the hit cap easier and then focus on more stats that will increase your DPS.
Draenei players also receive a Shadow Resistance racial that when coupled with your Shadow Resistance buff, may actually be considered pretty great in PvP. Finally Gift of the Naaru is an instant cast HoT that heals the player for 1235 health over 15 seconds. However as far as I am aware it does actually break Shadowform even though it is a racial, therefore it is only useful when you intend to lose Shadowform to heal yourself. It is a nice little extra HoT but it would be a hell of a lot more useful to us if it didn’t drop our lovely Shadowform.
The Horde currently only have three options for rolling a Priest, but the racials they offer are pretty interesting.
Will of the Forsaken has always been debated when looking at PvP and the different racial abilities that can be used. It has recently taken a nerf and shares a separate 45 second cooldown with the PvP Trinket. A lot of people are upset by this change and think this reduces the benefit of the racial considerably. For a shadowpriest I still think its great in any PvP scenario. In my opinion, if you use the right timing and put a little thought into when and what you use your PvP Trinket/WOTF with then it can still be an exceptional racial. This is without mentioning that Priests already have the option to use Fear Ward and the right player in the right situation can mitigate a whole chain of Crowd Control. Getting nerfed blows, but you need to think about how to adapt to these nerfs to really improve your gameplay in my opinion.
I think that Cannibalize is a very underrated racial as it allows Shadowpriests to heal themselves without breaking Shadowform which is such an advantage in certain situations. Also nothing says “I win” like eating the corpse of your opponent. Pretty much a PvP / soloing racial but still a great little ability that looks awesome. Shadow Resistance when combined with your own Shadow Protection is always a bonus and Underwater Breathing is well…better than nothing.
Undead Shadowpriests make a really great PvP choice for their racials but are lacking in the PvE department.
Players that pick Troll Shadowpriests receive some really great racials. Most importantly the Beserking ability that increases casting speed by 20% every 3 minutes. This is a great ability in itself and is only made better by the fact that the recent haste changes mean that Shadowpriests now receive some great benefits from stacking haste. In my opinion this is the best PvE racial available to a Shadowpriest at the moment. It is more difficult to state how useful it is in PvP because you are always adapting to your opponent. However this ability will allow you to increase your burst damage or throw some really quick heals depending on the situation. Definitely a great racial for whatever your playstyle.
Passive abilities such as Beast Slaying and Da Voodoo Shuffle are actually incredibly useful to Shadowpriests and help make the Troll a great choice for both PvE and PvP content. I picked a troll for my own shadowpriest and I am very pleased with the racial abilities he offers.
The Blood Elf has two racials worth having a look at. First off is Arcane Torrent which silences all nearby enemies and provides 6% of your base mana. The mana regen may be pretty useful when soloing or leveling but is not really going to be that useful in PvE where most Shadowpriests don’t have any real mana issues if they have their rotation and gear planned out carefully. Where this racial ability really shines is within PvP, this ability is off the GCD (Global Cooldown) and the two second silence can work wonders. Combine this ability with the Shadowpriest spell Silence and you are looking at some serious PvP benefits.
The other racial you might want to take a look at is Arcane Resistance which similar to the other racials of its type may offer certain advantages in PvP.
The Blood Elf Shadowpriest can be great in PvP when looking at the racials alone, but simialr to the Undead it holds no real advantage in a PvE scenario.
In conclusion to this post, I want to mention something very important. The information I have provided is purely looking at racial abilities and how they can be useful. However WoW characters are not just a set of numbers on a DPS meter or just an Arena Rating, they represent yourself in the game and therefore try not to pick your character because someone told you to. Racial abilities are great but they are not going to make or break the game for you, so never be afraid to pick a class / race combination that isn’t considered the “best”. Pick your race because you like it.
I picked my troll because he dances like a pro.
Level 20 is great. I can move faster and fire a laser beam from my hands. Level 20 is great.
When I noticed I was less than 1 bar of XP from level 20 I decided to treat myself to a Warsong Gulch and after waiting a couple of minutes I entered and instantly won. I was actually pretty disappointed to win so quickly as it meant I was no longer level 19 and if I joined another game I would be the lowest level possible in that bracket. I quickly got over that fact when I realized I could now go and purchase my very own raptor mount and no longer have to walk everywhere. I still can’t quite get used to level 20 mounts. Back in my day… never mind.
My leveling spec so far is purely shadow and I am focusing on anything that either increases my damage or makes me more mana efficient. When hitting level 20 I get the chance to obtain the Mind Flay spell which is one that all Shadow Priests love. It does some pretty decent damage and importantly it slows your target by 50%. This is great for any kind of solo activity and lets be honest, lasers are just fun.
Check back tomorrow for some of my best advice for leveling a shadow priest!