Raiding Shadowpriest DPS utilises roughly five core spells for DPS. In order of uptime priority, they are:
Shadow Word: Pain
My personal opener, since it requires on equip effect procs (Black Magic): MF VT MB DP SW:P
Try to make sure VT is up before MB for Replenishment uptime. Start casting VT when there is about 1.5s left (adjusting for haste).
Some people use Shadow Word: Death in their rotation; I prefer to save mine for movement situations.
MF is a filler spell that has damage ticks at about 50%, 75% and 100% during the channelling. So always make sure you have casted halfway before clipping the spell if you need to. MF also provides a stack of Shadow Weaving every tick. This also applies to the Muradin’s Spyglass trinket (unfortunately only provides a single stack per cast for Illustration of the Dragon Soul and Eye of the Broodmother).
DP’s instant cast component is very powerful, especially with heroism where you can almost keep casting it, waiting for the first tick and casting it again. This is probably only something you can do with T8 2set bonus though.
Hard refreshing SW:P through recasting it (as opposed to MF’s soft refreshing it) can be useful when:
- You possess a crit buff through Potion of Wild Magic and/or Nevermelting Ice Crystal.
- You have a Rune of Power/Malygos Spark damage buff.
- Your current SW:P wasn’t casted with 5 stack Shadow Weaving.
Hard refreshing SW:P doesn’t have any affect on:
- You gain spellpower buffs. It adjusts automatically.
- Any boss weakened/debuff states.
During Heroism: Leave out MB from rotation, be sure to cast VT/DP as soon as it starts and just before it ends to get full benefit from the haste. Otherwise make use of any potions and MF the day away.
Casting my mind back to November I was in an inbetween stage between playing orc warrior and human priest, both had good guilds and bunch of friends but I stuck with the people I knew longer, although it didn’t matter much since I would be quitting the game for the next 6-7 months after the first week!
I had bought the Collector’s Edition and it arrived the previous day so I knew I would be one of the first people to arrive in Northrend, just as I would be the first to enter Outland the couple of years prior to Wrath’s release. However unlike TBC release where Outlands became available immediately after midnight, Northrend came up much earlier, and at around 10-ish a bunch of us were in Borean getting our Grand Master tradeskills and doing the early starting quests. We did Nexus a few times, a guildmate getting realm first skinner shortly afterwards with the amount of dragon mobs to skin. I tried my hand at trying to get realm first fishing but trying to do it in higher levelled Northrend waters wasn’t the best of ideas and someone got it way before I was anywhere close.
Anyway, due to the horrible timing of Wrath release and having to deal with work and school at the same time, and not taking part in the all nighter levelling race my guildmates were having overall made me kinda detached from the whole Wrath experience. I gradually stopped playing at 73 and continued after 3.1 came out. In hindsight it did save me from what seemed like the worst period of Wrath, the black hole of post-Naxx pre-Ulduar, and I didn’t have to deal with fighting for quest mobs!
Despite not having the motivation to level I managed to get my mage guildmate to portal me to Dalaran, where I spent my time trying to get the coin achievements. I didn’t do too bad and was only two gold coins away from the meta achievement by the time I fully quit! It would save time for my Salty title which I got the first couple weeks after reaching 80. Here’s to hoping for a nice relaxing summer release of Cataclysm where I don’t have to deal with upcoming exams!
We didn’t make much progress past Saurfang last night, partly due to undergeared people, partly due to how we went in almost completely blind on Rotface and spent 2-3 hours slapping away at him. I suspect the main reason was underestimating how hard everything was after the Trial of the Crusader loot pinata and the relatively forgiving first wing.
Rotface has several gimmicks which can take out a raid pretty quickly, and the one we need to get a hang of is the ooze management. As the fight drags on the more diseases he applies to people, not completely sure if it’s a soft-enrage timer or a %-health thing. If its the former then the whole thing is a DPS and idiot check which can be dealt with buffs and more gear, the latter then it means we need to accelerate the damage towards the end. Our best attempt last night was 2%, and it felt like we were bruteforcing it with myself as the third healer and didn’t feel like it was under control. Our next attempt will be on Monday, which gives us more time to see more detailed tactics hopefully.
Currently 28 badges away from my next tier piece, the shoulders. After I get that I can wear my robe as well for the 2 pc T10 bonus. I also got Icecrown Spire Sandals which were socketed with Reckless Ametrine and Runed Cardinal Ruby. I will lose my one of my meta requirement blue gems when I replace the robe so I will regem for the bonus on those.
I’ve been a bit lazy these past couple months, but here’s a brief update of how I fared since the release of 3.3:
- Levelled a warrior to 80 and did some casual raiding with Goon Squad. T10 warrior pieces look awesome on orcs.
- Racechanged priest to Draenei. They’re cute and extra hit is kinda nice.
- Did new 5 man instances as soon as they came out, gotten Battered Hilt on first day of running and completed it subsequently. I also bought the Kirin Tor ring from scratch, which was a costly 9500 or so gold to upgrade to ilvl 251.
- Bought T10.251 chest with my frost emblems. Can’t wear it yet though, not until I get shoulders for the set bonus. Those pieces replace my spirit T9.245 pieces.
- Begun Loremaster on a whim. Northrend Loremaster I got shortly after 80, and just yesterday I got Outlands Loremaster. All thats left is Azeroth which will be a lot more painful without flying mount.
Still got much more things to do, finalize pieces of what I want from ICC10, make a video of ICC10, and the shadowpriest guide which will be abut doling out damage. In great quantity.
This guide is something I’ve been writing for past few days, and is intended to give you a rough overview of raiding as a shadowpriest. I’m pretty casual as far as raiding goes, but nonetheless I hope this guide proves to be useful no matter if you are a healer looking for an offspec or an up and coming shadowpriest.
Why be a shadowpriest?
What I love most about being a shadowpriest is Vampiric Embrace, the ability to steadily heal my group in the raid through damage. It allows me to take a lot more risks and be a rebel, standing in fire, whirlwind, fire, orbs and fire. If we underestimate the damage then we have Dispersion to fall back on. It’s pretty stupid to like a class for the ability to play bad, but it’s funny on fights like Twin Val’kyr to see everyone manically running around trying to dodge orbs, sometimes dying, while I am able to more damage through not having to move and healing myself for more at the same time. We’re not immortal, but we’re not pushovers.
Unfortunately we will always have some deficit to our class, known as the ‘Hybrid Tax’, that makes us inferior to pure damage dealing classes. We put in more effort than others only to get less in return. But if you are looking for a class that can stand on it’s own two feet in raids, Shadowpriests are it.
Key points about shadowpriest.
- Provides Replenishment through Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast. Same as Retribution Paladins, Frost Mage, Survival Hunter and Destruction Warlock.
- With 3/3 Misery, a deep shadow talent, gives entire raid an extra 3% spell hit. Same as Balance Druids.
- Constantly heals yourself for 25% of your damage done, 5% to party members, through Vampiric Embrace. A Paladin’s Judgement of Light is similar on a smaller scale, but benefits the whole raid.
- Shadowform provides 15% less damage. Also, the talented cooldown ability Dispersion temporarily reduces damage by 90%.
Gearing a shadowpriest.
It used to be simple, reach spellhit and stack spell power. Shadowpriests get a decent amount of hit through talents Shadow Reach and Misery, requiring 289 hit with both talents to hit the cap, 263 if you’re a cute draenei to boot (<3 racechange). You still want to keep gearing for more spellpower, but that comes with a penalty in terms of gear itemisation - you gain more from multiple stats rather than one stat.
Thankfully haste is thrown into the fray due to patch 3.3, and is weighed up very close to spellpower, with Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague ticking faster with more haste. Affliction Warlocks, our closest cousins to the DOT-oriented playstyle, have the same buff with Corruption. Haste is beautiful, but it changes things around a bit. With the Black Magic enchant on a one handed weapon you have to keep an eye on your Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch when it procs. If you don’t refresh them while it has procced, then you lose the real benefit of the haste.
Spirit is calculated into spellpower through Twisted Faith (increases spellpower by 20% of total spirit) and Improved Spirit Tap (increases Spirit by 10%) talents and Glyph of Shadow (increases spellpower by 30% of spirit when critting with non DOTs). Thats 50% of our spirit, which also gets an extra 10% increase. Moonkins and Warlocks also get 30% as spellpower while Mages get 55% as crit rating. When both proc on my self-buffed priest I gain around 220 spellpower. There is no spirit on any of the T10 pieces, nor do the set bonuses provide crit buffs to spells which proc Shadowy Insight like T9 gave 5% crit to Mind Flay. As far as 3.3 looks, we will be spending 5 talent points and a glyph for an increasingly diminutive gain in spell power. That 220 bonus spellpower will end up at 140 spellpower with full T10 and a couple of spirit pieces.
Ultimately, priority for gearing is, with values from shadowpriest.com:
Hit = 1.88 (0 after cap)
SP = 1.00
Haste = 0.98
Crit = 0.76
Spi = 0.59
Int = 0.22
If you’re switching from holy or levelling pieces with shadow, a good mix of crit and spirit will give you uptime on Glyph of Shadow and some decent spellpower to compensate. But ultimately go for spellpower and haste pieces for good, consistant damage. You can afford to go for gem bonuses with red/yellow requirements thanks to Reckless Ametrine, which is rated close to Runed Cardinal Ruby. Note that you should spend Heroism badges on the Ametrine and Honor on Cardinal Rubies, as the rubies are more expensive with badges.
Shadowpriest Glyph and Talents
Damage (which includes Hit) are top priority talents for shadow, and we get a lot of them. Along the way we will get some utility talents, some more useful than others but all ultimately situational. There isn’t really a right or wrong, the Shadow tree is pretty good as talent trees go. But within that tree there are many mana conservation and regeneration talents, which can be sacrificed for less interruptions or constant self healing.
Glyph-wise it’s the same principle; Damage before Utility. Patch 3.3 turned Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain into one of less importance, making Glyph of Shadow and Mind Flay the chief damage dealing glyphs. Glyph of Shadow Word: Death is also a damage dealing glyph but it’s situational requirement of 35% or less health for 10% damage buff means it is useless for the first 65%. It is a prime choice for the mana regen utility of either Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain or Glyph of Dispersion. The latter comes with a shield wall like ability and is my chosen third glyph.