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My blog has moved!  Check out Gearing Your Shadowpriest for Naxx 10 for all the info you need.

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To Priest or Not to Priest?

So, you’re thinking about rolling a priest.

Aendi over at Voodoo Ventures posed the Blog Azeroth topic of the week: Why did you choose your class, and what are the pros and cons?

Now, I’m a bit of an altoholic (don’t believe me? – meet the girls!). But, it seems that I’m a LOW LEVEL altoholic.

My main, my love, my only character over 60, is my priest. That being said, I had no idea what I was really getting into when I created Isis. I was going to duo my way up to 70 with my fiancé, and thought “huh, a healer would go well with a dps, I guess.” Little did I know that I’d be shadow for the rest of my career.

Larísa at The Pink Pigtail Inn did a great write up of the pros and cons of being a mage, and since she’s all sorts of awesome, I thought I’d emulate her for this post.

The Pros

Versatility
If you’re unsure what you want to do when you hit endgame, a priest may be for you. Spec holy to be an insanely wonderful healer in raids. Go shadow if you decide you want to pew pew and melt faces. Spec discipline if you want to annoy the crap out of people in pvp who can’t seem to kill you.

People want us around
Whether for awesome healing or to use us shadow types as a mana battery, raiders will want you in their raid!

Unique buff
No one else can raise health like we can with Power Word: Fortitude.

Shadowform
If you go shadow, no one will be able to see your clown gear when you first enter Outlands!

We can heal ourselves
This is a “well, duh?” for holy priests, but shadow priests – remember your heal buttons! This can speed up your leveling immensely because you’re not stopping every two mobs to eat. When you get Vampiric Touch and Vampiric Embrace, you’ll rarely need to stop to eat or drink.

Wipe recovery
With Resurrection, we can get things moving quickly if there’s a wipe. Very useful when raiding, or when leveling with friends.

The Cons

The Squishy Factor
Wearing only cloth armor, you’ll likely have low health and low armor – you’re squishy! If you get too many mobs on you, or a hard hitter, expect that you’ll have a problem. Low level priests are hard to solo, and many priests are left to rot before ever hitting level 20. You’re going to die, so get used to running for your corpse.

Mana Management
Stock up on water before you leave town to quest – you’ll need it, especially in early levels! While you can heal yourself up, you’ll be relying on spirit and water to keep your mana full.

You’ll be asked to heal
Over and over and over when leveling. Even if you’re shadow spec’d. The good thing is – you can! Even as shadow spec, you can heal regular instances well into your 60s.

You’ll be blamed
If you’re the healer, expect to be blamed for wipes that aren’t your fault. Especially in PuGs, blame for a wipe is usually placed squarely on either the tank or the healer.

So you still want to be a priest?

Good choice! Being a priest is extremely rewarding. People love having you around, and your versatility means you bring a lot of potential to the end game. In addition, priests are easy to play, but very difficult to master, so when you really nail something, it brings a great sense of accomplishment.

Now go roll your priest!

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In build 8962, Dispersion was modified heavily. The damage reduction was increased back to 90%, it’s castable when stunned, feared, or silenced, and there’s now a spell damage buff at the end of it if you don’t take any damage.

Some factoids about the Buff

  • The buff is called Dark Energy.
  • If you apply Shadow Word: Pain when Dark Energy is active, and refresh your SW:P using Mind Flay instead of manually reapplying it, your SW:P ticks will be boosted by Dark Energy the entire fight.
  • If you absorb damage (by using PW:S for example) you will not gain the Dark Energy buff

Blizzard got it Right

Merlot of Misery thinks that Blizzard has dispersion all wrong. I disagree.

She notes:

Let’s be absolutely clear what this means — dispersion is now an either/or spell. You can either use it to reduce incoming damage or to buff spell damage. You cannot have both.

And that’s precisely why I like it. This is a difficult talent to use to it’s fullest. Shadow priests are one of those classes that are easy to play, but very difficult to master. Ask anyone who has learned to precisely clip their Mind Flay ticks.

You know why I don’t have a high end raiding warlock right now? Because I would be so bored with the one-button Shadowbolt spam style of play.

I like to make snap decisions and think on my feet. It’s probably why the shadow priest spell priority system is so attractive to me. Instead of a standard rotation (like Mind Blast, 2x Mind Flay, Mind Blast, etc.), I’m re-evaluating my DoTs and cooldowns every single time I cast. Every time I cast Mind Blast, it’s because it is the best possible choice for me at this very moment, not because it’s time to hit button number 5 in my rotation.

Now, I’m looking at this from a raiding perspective because, well, that’s what I do.

With the new Dispersion, I have choices. I can tailor my use of the spell to the situation.

  • Will my tanks be able to get threat quickly? I’ll cast Dispersion 6 seconds before the pull and melt faces from the outset, and have my SW:P ticking harder the entire fight.
  • Do I need to do burst damage later in the fight (think Shade of Akama)? I’ll save Dispersion for then.
  • Is this a fight where there will be unpredictable heavy raid damage? Use Dispersion to save your butt and “OMG, Get out of the fire!”
  • Am I making a rare trip to the battlegrounds? I can save Dispersion to get away from those damn melee types.

Bravo, Blizz, for making this a game where I have to think. THAT is why I like Dispersion, and why that shiny icon with the purple swirls will have a permanent place on my bar.

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I didn’t get into the beta, so I had to satisfy my curiosity by getting on the PTR.

New Login Screen!

New Login Screen!

Loading Screen for Outlands

Loading Screen for Outlands

Loading Screen for Eastern Kingdoms - Popping over to Stormwind!

Loading Screen for Eastern Kingdoms - Popping over to Stormwind!

Isis Before the Makeover

Isis Before the Makeover

Isis After the Makeover (HATE the screwup on the face)

Isis After the Makeover (HATE the screwup on the face)

Playing with the new Pet Interface

Playing with the new Pet Interface

New Calendar - We'll see how much Guilds actually use this

New Calendar - We'll see how much guilds actually use this

New Emote! /cower - I predict I will use this mockingly

New Emote! /cower - I predict I will use this mockingly

Achievement Comparison - Bring on the E-Peen!

Achievement Comparison - Bring on the E-Peen!

(Side note: See Sydera’s post over at World of Matticus on How Achievements may rock WoW’s social world.)

Went out to play around - Replenishment proc'd fairly often

Went out to play around - Replenishment proc'd fairly often

New Mindflay Graphic!

New Mindflay Graphic!

Dispersion

Dispersion

Dispersion

Dispersion

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From mmo-champion’s blue tracker, since the forums are apparently down:

– Shadow Resilience re-designed. Now called Mind Melt – Increases the critical strike chance of your Mind Flay, Mind Sear and Mind Blast spells by 2/4%.
– Shadow Power: Now 20/40/60/80/100% critical strike damage bonus, also works with Mind Flay.
– Improved Shadowform – The chance to remove all movement impairing effects when you Fade is now restored.
– Psychic Horror – Redesigned. Now reduces all damage done by targets when Psychic Scream ends by 15/30%. Lasts 6 sec.
– Dispersion – 90% damage reduction is restored.
– Misery – Now has 5/10/15% bonus spell power to Mind Flay, Mind Sear and Mind Blast.

Also:

Discipline – About damage mitigation, utility and single target HPS. It’s intended to be a better tank healer.

Holy – Good single target healer, but more healing utility. Intended to be the AOE healer, or the healer than can react to any situation. Only spec of a class that has an on demand HoT, AOE, Lightwell which players can click to heal themselves, a flash heal, a large greater heal.

Shadow – Obviously a single target sustained DPS, with Mind Sear now should be one of the strongest AOE classes.

So, taken overall, in PvE, I think Shadow Priests are still a bit down from where they were two days ago, but at least it’s not the huge kick in the guts this morning was. We’ll see how shadow priests work with spirit now.

Blizz tactic: Knock us down so hard we’ll be happy with what we get.

EDIT

ShadowXXX from shadowpriest.com has created a mock up of what the priest talent trees will look like after the above promised changes.

Go ahead – try it out!

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The nerfbat has arrived!

The pendulum has certainly swung the other way for shadow priests. Once again, some people are up in arms, and some, like myself, are hopeful that Blizz saw us as a bit OP, and needed to knock us down a bit before they could selectively build us up.

Here are the latest changes from mmo-champion:

  • Dispersion now reduces all damage taken by 60% (down from 90%) and doesn’t regenerate health anymore.
  • Twisted Faith now increases your spell power on all spells (Old – only shadow spells) by 2/4/6/8/10% (down from 6/12/18/24/30%)
  • Improved Shadowform doesn’t give a chance to remove all movement impairing effects when Fade is used anymore.
  • Misery doesn’t increase the damage of your Mind Blast / Mind Flay / Mind Sear spells anymore.
  • Shadow Resilience now Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by all spells by 2/4%. (Old – Reduces physical damage taken by 2/4%.)
  • Improved Fade renamed to Veiled Shadows. Now Decreases the cooldown of your Fade ability by 6 sec, and reduces the cooldown of your Shadowfiend ability by 2 minutes.
  • Improved Spirit Tap now let your mana regenerate at a 10/20% (down from 25/50%) rate while casting.

Some of this looks like PvP stuff to me, so frankly, I don’t care. I wouldn’t have taken Dispersion as anything more than a gimmick for PvE anyway. Shadow Resilience is a PvP talent and they removed the movement impairing side of Improved Shadowform. Whatever, that doesn’t really matter to me.

The Twisted Faith nerf makes me a bit sad. We only cast shadow spells, anyway. Perhaps Blizz expects that shadow priests could be that backseat healer in a jam? With the change from +spell damage or +healing to +spellpower, it wouldn’t be the gear and talents preventing a spriest from healing, just the talents.

The Improved Spirit Tap thing might not be so bad. Keep in mind that the only talent we have right now that lets us regen mana while casting is Meditation in the Disc. tree. Even with the nerf, every time we critically strike with Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death, our spirit is increased by 5/10% and we will be able to regen 10/20% while casting. Maybe, as Merlot at Misery mentioned, there’s too much spirit on the gear. Maybe it’s a different issue: perhaps there is too much spell crit on the gear to allow us to continually proc that Improved Spirit Tap as it was. They are trying to homogenize caster gear.

The Misery change… sucks. That one just plain sucks.

Right! Optimism. Maybe Blizz needed to take us down before they could build us back up, and balance all classes. Here’s hoping.

This optimism thing is hard. 😦 At least we get a new Mind Flay graphic? :/

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I’m a bit behind the news curve, I know. It was a busy weekend 🙂

Misery (Tier 8 ) changed to: Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay and Vampiric Touch spells also increase the chance for harmful spells to hit by 1/2/3%, and increases the damage of your Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Mind Sear spells by an amount equal to 5/10/15% of your spell power.

It seems that Blizz just might not hate shadow priests after all. The hit chance still confuses – why would anyone be raiding under the hit cap, assuming a shadow priest or boomkin will be there? But the extra damage on our other spells is bea-U-tiful!

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