Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

As you might have guessed, I was one of the privileged few to have been offered a slot in the Warlords of Draenor friends and family alpha that went live a few days ago. I was quite intent on making my mark in Wildstar’s Nexus but I’ll have to put that on hold.

Unfortunately, only the Horde side is available for play meaning I had to create a Blood Elf priest.

I’ll need to take a long cold shower after this play session.

I feel so filthy.

Anyway, I’m not going to delve too much into garrisons too much. The only base building I can do effectively is in Starcraft 2. But, head over to BlizzPro for their hands-on with garrisons.

Just as I’ve done in previous expansions, I plan to blitz my way to the max level as quickly as I can. Each expansion brings with it new tools, new systems, and new spells to help that process.

spriest-leveling

For Shadow Priests, Warlords made it a little tougher. The changes to Shadow and the loss of certain healing spells slowed down leveling. No Renew means I can’t simply keep refreshing Renew whenever it wears off. It means I have to stop and eat more to replenish my health. Flash Heal is obviously no help since it wasn’t designed to top a player off quick in Shadow. Prayer of Mending’s cast time means it can’t just be applied on the run either. Divine Star also lost the healing component.

Thankfully, I can still rely on Power Word: Shield to soak at least some of the damage. Vampiric Embrace, glyphed Psychic Scream, and Dispersion are going to be workhorse cooldowns during the grind.

At the moment, I’m capped at level 92 but level 100 talents are unlocked and can be selected. Auspicious Spirits is a neat talent but Clarity of Power seems to be useful when grinding or farming mobs since you can just go straight to Mind Flay instead of applying a DoT that isn’t going to last the full duration anyway.

draenor-perk-unlocked These Draenor perks are actually quite nice. They offer bits of quality of life improvements. I managed to obtain the Enhanced Shadow Orbs perk quickly after hitting 91 and Enhanced Mind Flay at 92.

More to come later! I’ve got a Shaman I want to try out.

I have never seen healing or DPS numbers this low in a long time.

Skewering Vizier Zor’lok

Skewering Vizier Zor’lok

Wikipedia states that A vizier […] is a high-ranking political adviser or minister in an Islamic government.[3][4] The word is derived from Middle Persian[5][6] and then adopted into Arabic root. The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter.

Well, today I learned. Not exactly the voice of Psy, but he’s fun and engaging nonetheless.

Healers looking for pointers can visit this page.

We got trolled. For the longest time, Vizier would always run to the Attenuation platform. We would routinely trigger the boss from the middle and then run to it. We figured he’d go there everytime. Sure enough, the one time we set up at the Attenuation platform, the Vizier runs to the Force and Verve platform instead.

I was never able to take down the Vizier during the beta. Either I ran out of time or the gear or skill just wasn’t there for the groups I was in. I knew the Attenuation platform was going to be challenging for players (especially those who use the keyboard to turn instead of to strafe). Pay attention because Attenuation rings can go clockwise or counter clockwise.

Pro tip: Rebind your A and D keys to strafe left and strafe right respectively. It helps with moving through discs. Point your camera so that it’s from the top down. Paladins with the Relic of Chi Ji are instructed not to use Light of Dawn.

Look how blinding that can be. My guild likes to joke about it and call it the vagina of light.

With all the movement that’s going on in the Attenuation phase, I switched up my glyphs and used the Glyph of Shadow Word: Death instead. When I’m dodging discs, there’s situations where I’ll get lucky with Mind Blast, Mind Spike, and Devouring Plague procs. It’s possible to stand in one place and get a 2-tick Mind Flay through before interrupting it. Shadow Word: Death just gives you an extra spell for to to use on the go.

During the Convert platform, pop your Psychic Scream and Halo spells early and on cooldown. People get pissed off at you if you’re Mind Controlled and dropping fear bombs all over the place. Halo if used at the wrong time will chunk or even kill players.

On the Force and Verve platform, I’d activate Vampiric Embrace while under the Noise Cancelling shield. We assigned all the ranged players to the bubble furthest away. Healers would take the next closest (or middle) bubble. Melee DPS and the tank would secure the closest bubble to the Vizier. Any bubbles that had more than 9 players would have extras reassigned to the healer bubble.

Heroism was used in the final phase during the first Noise Cancelling bubble. It was used defensively to help the healers keep up with the healing without activating their raid cooldowns.

It’s not the greatest fight for a Shadow Priest with the amount of moving that’s going on. I’m still struggling with maintaining meaningful uptime. 80.5% on my Vampiric Touch just isn’t quite cutting it. The DoTs just keep falling off and I’m not able to refresh them fast enough. I try to reapply them with anywhere from 3-4 seconds left, but I’m not all there. Shadow’s fun this expansion (compared to Cataclysm where maintaining 3 different DoTs was a chore).

I’m using Fortexorcist to help track my DoTs but I think I need to find a better place for it. Maybe underneath the target on the top right? Where do you Shadow Priests park their timers? Should I just clip more and throw it up earlier?

So Shadow Maybe

So Shadow Maybe

“Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But Monks are OP
So Shadow maybe.”

 

The world is officially ending.

Seriously, this is the year. Volcanoes are erupting ash into the atmosphere. Earthquakes are shattering continents. Storms are tearing up landscapes.

Why? Because the two most unlikeliest things have occurred.

I have a Horde Priest at max level. Never thought I’d get a character that high and routinely doing stuff. My friends ask me why didn’t I try a different class. It’s because I don’t feel comfortable playing another class. I just have an affinity and love for playing a Priest. However, I did decide to take her Shadow instead though she’s still quite capable of healing.

That’s the first bit of news.

The second?

It’s been clear to me after the first few weeks of raids that Holy Priests just can’t seem to match the level of other healing classes right now – Well, either that, or I can’t match the level of the other healers. That’s potentially true. The officers in my guild asked me to give Shadow a try. Since I’ve been predominantly Shadow on my Horde priest, I’ve had some practice. They were curious to see how I’d do in raids. I wasn’t the greatest Shadow player in Cataclysm but that’s largely due to my inability to maintain uptimes on DoTs (among other things).

But the Mist changes have made it a little easier for a newer Shadow player like me.

It’s fun, but I still feel wary. After playing a healer for 8 years, you still have assorted muscle memory from healing for so long. I find myself not only watching my DoTs on bosses, my timers, and my cooldowns, but I’m constantly scanning my raid frames. Burning Mana Hymns when I spot healer mana fairly low. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for. My Resto Druid has been giving me her Symbiosis for Tranquility (which is fairly weaksauce, but not meant to stand on it’s own as a true healing CD).

I don’t know if I’ll ever play at full DPS capacity because I’m worried that something bad is going to happen. 

It’s not that I don’t trust the team, but I can read the play and “see” what’s going on.

Anyway, I apparently passed my trial so I’ll be doubleshifting as Shadow and Holy.

Things I need to work on:

  • Lining up cooldowns
  • Maintaining DoTs
  • Decision making (on spells)
  • Acquiring additional shadow gear (because I really don’t want to touch my healing gear)
  • Figuring out how to properly burst down orbs on Elegon
Priest talent: Mindbender

Priest talent: Mindbender

Really quick, my earlier post about Atonement is no longer accurate. Atonement is now a baseline, Discipline ability. It’s no longer a glyph and Holy has no access to it anymore. Edit: Discipline has access to Atonement at level 60.

Mindbender
40 yd range
4 min cooldown

Creates a Mindbender to attack the target.  Caster receives 6% mana when the Mindbender attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.

It’s literally a flying squid. And it sucks the mana out of opponents. Not sure if this is a placeholder model or not, but I rather like it.  Now that the level 45 talents are seemingly finished, which one of the three talents would you choose?

I’m not actually sure which one of these I would take. My default choice will most likely be From Darkness, Comes Light. I really like having those free, instant Flash Heals. Not exactly the most reliable and there’s an heavier emphasis on procs. Can’t ignore the benefits of Mindbender though. A 4 minute cooldown means it can be used twice on most raid encounters.

Priest 87 Ability: Spectral Guise

Priest 87 Ability: Spectral Guise

Spectral Guise is the current spell all Priests gain at level 87. as a talent at level 60.

Spectral Guise
30 sec cooldown

Your shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 sec or until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks.0

It seems much more suited towards PvP action than anything else. I can see it coming in handy for PvE stuff while you’re questing or if you’re one of the few people left alive in engagement.

What would help improve this illusion is if my clone taunted or if it casted a placebo spell dependant on my spec (Flash Healfor 0 or Mind Flay for 0).

Here’s a direct link to check out the video.

What do you think of Spectral Guise? Something you’d use?

The Life of a Confused Priest: From Healing to DPS and back!

This is a guest post from my friend Synysta about breaking stereotypes and enjoying the game. -Lodur

My main Synysta is a Priest. She’s been many races and factions, but currently she is a Blood Elf. I think I can see the rotten tomatoes flying in my direction from the Alliance- I must duck! /cast Power Word: Shield

I’ve been playing a Priest for several years now as I rolled her at the beginning of BC and back then I did it just for kicks. The guild I was part of at the time was in desperate need of a healer and as we all know, the Priest is the archetypical healer in World of Warcraft. Was I aware of what I was letting myself in for, or was I aware of how much fun I was going to have? Absolutely not. I was a total newbie in the beginning, I hadn’t got a clue how the game worked and my experience with the universe of Azeroth was limited to Warcraft II and Warcraft III. So in I jumped, feet first and grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns. How hard could playing a Priest be?

I can hear all the Priests laughing as I typed that. As I have found out in my few years of playing the class, there’s a lot more to a Priest than you would imagine on face value. So I rolled the toon, picking Draenei as my initial class and starting as a Level 1 on the island of Azuremist. I did a few quests till level 10, smiting my way through the mobs and casting Renew and Gift of the Naaru on myself. Of course, I never realized how useful the shield could be until around level 65. Dumb? You betcha. I soon discovered dungeon healing and found I actually had a talent for healing the unclean, unwashed masses. The levels flew by and I was soon standing in Borean Tundra, dinging Level 70. Then I discovered ‘The Dark Side’.

Shadow DPS was an absolute riot and a half for me. I found that not only was I a capable Holy Priest but also a capable Shadow Priest. Now, I am aware that this is World of Matticus and I know that this is a Healing blog…but as someone who has played both sides of the coin as a Priest, I just want to say that no one should ever feel pigeonholed to heal- just because you are a Priest. It’s like saying a Warrior should only tank or a Paladin should DPS. It’s the stereotypical choice to go that path, sure…but it isn’t your only choice.

As a Shadow Priest, I was constantly bombarded from all angles about how I should heal and constant pressure was ladled onto me as I fought hard and strong on staying Shadow. Sadly, I was constantly forced to be a healer when Dual Specialization was introduced. From my early days of raiding Naxxramas through to Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel, most of my raid leaders or Guild Leaders were okay with me being a Shadow Priest but the more I held onto my new identity, the more people would try to shove me in the opposite direction. From here I decided to bite the bullet and learn to be a healer again. I leveled as a Holy Priest and had so many years of that I decided it was time for a change. So Discipline was the chosen way of the Light for me.

Having fun with Discipline has been a challenge for me. It took me a very long time for me to master it and then when Cataclysm came along and turned Healing on its head, I found myself struggling and gasping for mana like a fish out of water- flipping and sputtering around on its back. I soon learned that it was because of my gear. In Wrath of the Lich King, Discipline Priests would get mana returns through crit based heals and the use of Power Word: Shield. I never once had to sit to drink or use Shadowfiend, or even Hymn of Hope. I would watch Holy Priests seem to have a lot more issues with it than I ever did. I suppose that I really took it for granted as when Deathwing blew a giant hole in the side of the world…he seemed to blow a giant hole in the side of my mana pool too. Starting off with a 42k mana pool in my 25 man ICC gear, I thought that I was pro. I thought that I could stroll into Blackrock Caverns like the cat that had gotten the big bowl of cream. I soon found out how very wrong I was. Lets just say that panic was definitely the order of the day when 42k mana would vanish in a matter of seconds before my very eyes. It was like Pacman attacking my blue bar, OM NOM NOM NOM. I screamed. I panicked. I thought it was me. So I asked Matticus what to do. He told me to use the Heal spell more. And actually that seemed to work.

As my gear got better, I found that my mana pool doubled in size and with the added intellect and spirit, my mana gains seemed to return to normal and my anxiety levels seemed to drop. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no superstar healer but honestly- practice really does make perfect. I’ve seen Priests get so many changes since the early days of BC and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Sure, I’ve pulled out my hair in clumps and given myself heart palpitations but I really do love the challenge of relearning my character and class.

I recently leveled a Holy Paladin up to 80 too. 85 and healing though? That could well be for another time. Same place, same heart attacks. But as for the Priest? I still love DPS. It’s a nice change for when I can’t be bothered with the PUG’s ;)

Leveling, Holy and Discipline Priest specs

Here’s a quick glance at my healing and questing specs on the grind from 80 to 85. My mentality behind this was to select talents that would give me an edge in either survivability or efficiency. I went for talents that helped reduce mana costs or gave me mana back. I also opted for talents that made me a little bit tougher to kill.

Starting from level 80

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Improved Psychic Scream – In case things get dicey with an overpull, I can couple this talent with Glyph of Psychic Scream. I don’t send mobs flying every where and pulling even more stuff. But it might buy me the precious seconds I need to DPS something down and heal up.

Mental Agility – Cheaper dots. ‘Nuff said.

Veiled Shadows – Wishbone gets to come out more often. … What, don’t you guys name your Shadowfiends?

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

I chose holy as my dungeon healing offspec. Mana won’t be a terribly challenging issue with the opening instances like Blackrock Caverns or Throne of the Tides. But you’ll want to consider grabbing Mental Agility on the way up.

Notes

Desperate Prayer – Yeah, yeah, not many people would choose this. But I personally like having a safety net in dungeons in case I pull something.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Chose Empowered Healing over Divine Fury. Cast time isn’t as big a factor when you’re leveling up via dungeons, I found. Still going to be using a combination of shields and Flash Heal to get over the top.

Raiding

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Sorry guys, I can’t say this is the final form of the raid spec I plan to use as shadow. I’ll use this as a baseline to work with though at least.

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

Yup, I kept Desperate Prayer and Inspiration for raiding. Darkness is another option when your mana regeneration hits a point where it isn’t a big a factor. I won’t be switching to it until I accumulate more potent gear.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

So many options here. You can take out the points from Veiled Shadows and place them into Surge of Light or Inspiration (In case your party doesn’t already have one with it). But Disc by far seems to offer the most variety when it comes to talent placement.

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Image is courtesy of Brian Hough.

Kind of a fun title, no?  I’m ready to let the “fail” jokes ensue!  Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

In all seriousness, the folks over at Raid Warning (xSeven and Epiphanize) have assembled this special podcast (scheduled to be released March 1st) – a roundtable of some of the community’s most prominent priests.

Raid Warning’s last roundtable, Wild Shots, was a huge hit.  It was a roundtable of some very well-known hunters in the community.  You can follow links on their site to listen.

As for Power Word: Fail, I cannot be more excited for this event.  I’ve been recording with these guys for a while, and it’s always a blast.  If Wild Shots is any indication of the level of discussion we’ll have, then you’re sure to get some detailed insight into “The State of the Priest”.

Here’s who you’ll have the pleasure of hearing:

This podcast is going to center around questions you provide by emailing Raid Warning here.  We take your questions and discuss them throughout the podcast, as well as current news and speculation. 

I hope you’ll all submit questions, and check it out on March 1st!

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Shadow Priests Are Allowed to Divine Hymn

Yesterday’s post on hybrids spawned a great discussion on when it becomes useful for DPS players to switch out to different roles. Today, I wanted to expand it further and delve into the topic of Priests.

Now according to the Rules of Raiding #77:

DPS and tanking players should not have to heal.

It’s a good rule that states that if you’re in a DPS position or in a tanking position, there is no reason for you to have to change your role to heal. For one thing, you don’t have the spec or the bonuses or the gear to pull it off long term in an encounter.

If you’re a Shadow Priest, all you need to do is simply wail on the boss.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Rule #10 for instance states:

Every possible course of action should be considered by every player no matter what they do in order to beat the encounter.

In a case where rules may clash, rules that are lower on the scale will supercede the ones above it.

Let’s apply it.

Shadow Priests will almost never be called upon to drop their Shadow form to heal. It’s inefficient and often times unnecessary. But a Shadow Priest is still a Priest and they have access to some valuable cooldowns.

There is one in particular called Divine Hymn.

Don’t shy away from using it if you have to. As one of the healing leads, I look and see what cooldowns are available. I won’t hesitate to ask for Shadow Priests to Divine Hymn. I won’t hesitate to ask a Ret Paladin to use their bubble-sacrificing abilitiy. Feral Druids know that my Priest is the Hummer of healers in the guild and that I am one heck of a mana guzzling machine when I hit the accelerator. Yet I’m playing a hybrid class, right? (That’s a joke).

Anub’arak is a stressing fight for healers. This oversized frost beetle ramps it up a notch when he hits the 30% mark and everyone in the raid starts taking damage. A quick glance at the cooldowns available is followed by me barking out names and abilities. They respond with either an affirmative or a negative. This isn’t the time to debate why their cooldown isn’t up. Maybe a Paladin had to bubble earlier in the fight to survive. Stuff like that gets discussed after the fact, not during.

I run a total of four Priests during raids. Two are Shadow and the other two heal. Shadow Priests know they’re not going to be asked to drop form and heal (usually). But four Priests means access to four Divine Hymns which is extremely powerful during a a phase with high incoming damage.

The final point I want to stress is that a Shadow Priest isn’t required to keep the raid alive for long periods of time. That’s not their job. But they can help keep the raid stable enough for everyone else to stay alive and pile on their damage.

If you’re in a top 100 worldwide raiding guild, your Shadow Priests might not have to do it. For the rest of us, every option needs to be considered.

Guest Post: Synergies Between a Priest and a Hunter

This is a guest post from Trackhoof. Check out his blog at Survival Hunters Anonymous.

Well, Matticus wanted a nice little guest post, so’s he’s gonna get one!

I felt it’d be appropriate, as he plays a priest, and I play a hunter, and I used to play a priest, to talk about the awesome, ass-kicking synergy the two classes have for each other.

We’re talking Tango and Cash, Mick and Keef, Jay and Silent Bob, Glenn Tipton and K.K Downing, Jet Li’s left foot and Jet Li’s right foot; some seriously awesome kind of teamwork that creates things that are truly awesome.

First off, you have Hunter + Healy-Priest. This is still a solid combination, but more Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston than Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. The priest does their job, keeps everybody in good health, and makes sure they’ve all got plenty of team spirit.

The Duty of a Hunter

The Hunter, on the other hand, is the wrangler. If possible, assign a hunter to protect a priest, or any other healer, all the time; they’re amazing DPS, but even better at peeling loose mobs off healers and sending them back to the tank. While boss strategies may require a different approach than most trash pulls, if possible, have a hunter protect each healer.

Hunters have lots of high-threat abilities, but even more importantly, the ability to re-direct threat to where it needs to go; so that rogue add who’s about to smack down your priest will get popsicle’d and sent back to your sword-and-boardsman in the space of ten seconds. Priests do have Fade, and while that DOES help with aggro, it won’t help as much as a good hunter will.

By the time you have them in raids, Hunters should understand the basics of their class, but also understand their dual role as an assist; they are the kings of emergency crowd control.

If they have pets, even better. If they’re Beastmastery, you have something even better than regular crowd control; crowd control with teeth. Intimidation, Growl, and threat-building abilities will make a mob’s head spin faster than a merry-go-round with a jet engine.

Marksmen should be masters of the Scatter-trap, and Survivalists have the almighty trapping skills. Wyvern sting is not something I’d recommend for this if you need more time to bring the tank over, but if you slap a Misdirect and unload on the sucker immediately, it’ll more than do the job.

Discipline Priests

Now, second, we have Discipline priests. They have great survivability, but above rules apply. Hunter = bodyguard. But it’s like giving a bodyguard to somebody that can fend pretty well on their own, but still needs the help anyway. Like assigning Chuck Lidell to be Jean-Claude Van Damme’s bodyguard.

Shadow Priests

Finally, we have the most synergistic of the combinations: Shadow Priests and Hunters.

This is what I’m talkin’ about!

First off, Shadow Priests take less physical damage, and can still use Power Word: Shield. Score! That makes life easier for any Hunter providing emergency CC.

Secondly, they have Mind Flay. It slows the target down, and makes them easier to intercept. Psychic Scream is another good one.

Thirdly, and most crucially, they have Vampiric Touch, on top of massive amounts of pew pew. I havent done any straight-up number crunching on the subject, but trust me, the proportion of Hunters who want Shadow Priests in their raid groups for this very reason is staggering.

We, as Hunters, are mana hogs. We are the SUV’s of mana conservation. Pairing us with Shadow Priests is like driving along and having somebody fill up our tank while we’re driving. If we happen to be Survival Hunters, then that SUV just became a Hybrid.

So, in summation – Holy Priests, come with us if you want to live. Discipline Priests, we respect your crazy asses, we’re here to help. Shadow Priests, don’t waste mana. Raid with a Hunter today.

-Track