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March 2011

Friday Five: Twitter Edition

Just a typical day in the life of a Shadow Priest: a solitary path, down a long corridor, into a dark room.

Twitter, how do I love thee? Let me Friday Five the ways...

  1. I love twitter for getting to know guildies.
    I'm the first to admit this is a double-edged sword. Sometimes you learn that your guildie is a two-faced, passive-aggressive, card carrying member of the opposite political party with whom you'd really prefer to have nothing to do with ever again. But that's usually the exception, not the rule. (of course, if you find that *is* the rule with your guild, maybe you can find a new, better guild.) Seriously though, creating a twitter list of your guildies and checking in on it throughout the day can be a great window into the daily lives of the folks with whom you like to slay Internet dragons.
  2. I love twitter for enticing new guildies.
    You know that list of awesome guildies on twitter? When other folks see the camaraderie and good conversation amongst your guildies, it sometimes has the effect of enticing them to roll yet another alt (or better yet to server transfer over a max level toon) to play with your peeps.
  3. I love twitter for helping me find new places to play.
    I recently rolled a goblin toon, and needed a new server on which to roll. How'd I choose? I asked around on twitter, of course, and found some tweeps I already enjoy chatting with who were willing to take in a slow leveling baby goblin. And when I wanted to start playing my Alliance toons again last year, it was twitter that connected me with my beloved AF peeps.
  4. I love twitter for the conversation.
    A casual aside or snarky comment can often turn into a lengthy, in-depth discussion about a WoW topic. Or it can crack you up so that you are laughing out loud in real life making everyone wonder what's so much more awesome on your smart phone than theirs. And when I'm feeling bummed out about one thing or another, it's amazing how quickly a twitter check-in can act as a pick-me-up.
  5. I love twitter for giving me more bright ideas than I could ever have time to pursue.
    Every time I have a crackpot idea or hair brained scheme, I tweet about it. I love to see how other folks build on the idea and improve it. Even if none of us actually do anything about it, the joy in that moment of having the back-and-forth and ideation is worth it by itself.

Are you on twitter?

If so, follow me on @Anexxia and check out my WoW Bloggers list and and Citizens of Azeroth lists to find more folks to follow. And to find out who the active WoW tweeps are on your server, check out Psynister's big list of twitter folks.

If DPS is "So Easy" Why Are Folks Still Struggling?

Shadow priest basking in warmth from two-headed beast Chimaeron, recently slain

DPS is so easy. I know this because people tell me this, often.

Healing is so hard. And Tanking is so much more difficult. But DPS? DPS is so easy.

Bollocks I say!

If DPS were so easy, then everyone I know would be 12/12. I would never be in a fail 5-man PUG that couldn't get past Baron Ashbury in SFK. And this game would be so incredibly boring as I stood in one place and used a macro for my rotation.

The truth is, I am still in heroics with people who are doing 6k DPS. I've recently been in a 25-man with someone in my same spec, with better gear than me, with my same assignment, who did 50% of my damage. And on any given raid night, I see wide fluctuations in my own DPS, depending upon my assigned job in the raid.

That's right-- we DPS don't just stand around in one place and look pretty as we hurl shadowy death at mobs. We also stare at the middle of our screen waiting for the DBM warning to come up about the nastiness we need to offensively dispel off a boss, while also staying at range from everyone else, or stacking up, or running out of the group so as not to explode you.

DPS kite adds while folks focus on the boss. They click on vehicles to engage random mechanics at very specific times in your raids. DPS endure all means of crackpot schemes dreamt up by frustrated (or perhaps even just plain crazy) raid leaders. And most of all, DPS take being told, day after day, raid after raid, you are replaceable, interchangeable with any other DPS.

A good raid leader, however, knows the value of their best DPS. They understand that a raid is a team effort. The weight of the raid is not all on the shoulders of the healer, or the tank. It's on *everyone's shoulders*.

Success hinges upon the team working together seamlessly, one action flowing into another. Healers anticipating damage, as DPS damage the boss and execute their assigned tasks, and tanks maintain threat. A successful boss kill is a thing of beauty and it takes all of us, playing our best, to make it happen.

So the next time someone says "DPS has it so easy..." please consider telling them to knock it off. We're all in this together, folks.

Shadow Priest FAQs V.2

Big DPS comes in small shadowy packages.

Q: Which is better, spirit or crit? And should I choose haste over mastery?

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by

  • Int = 1.00 (always normalized to 1)
  • SP = 0.79
  • Haste = 0.50
  • Crit = 0.42
  • Mastery = 0.42
  • Hit = 0.00* (see notes on hit)
  • Spi = 0.00* (see notes on spirit/hit)

Hit and spirit are given a 0 because after you hit your hit cap, it is entirely worthless to have additional hit. Your hands down most valuable stat is Intellect. Crit is still tasty, and Mastery has been improved, but haste is still the primary stat you will be looking for after Intellect.

Q: How much hit should I have?

A: That depends on your comfort level. The previous wisdom was you wanted to be hit capped, at 17%, for raid bosses. But since 4.0 dropped, hit cap has seemed a lot less important for shadow priests than our other stats. I personally run with 12.5-13.5% hit.

Q: What should I be reforging? Should I aim towards straight hit or spirit that gives mana regen and hit? Is there a plus to just doing hit?

A: My two most reforged stats are hit and mastery. I will also reforge off spirit when I feel I have enough hit. Whenever it is an option to do so, I reforge an undesirable stat into haste. My gear is a mix of hit pieces and spirit pieces. The only value to picking hit pieces of spirit pieces is to not have pouty PUG healer harangue you about "stealing" a spirit piece from them when you can't possibly use spirit (when in fact you both have equal claim to it.)

Q: What is our best rotation?

A: If you are running in on a boss such as on Magmaw, you'll want to toss out your instant casts on your way in, then hit your Vampiric Touch, and start on your mind flays. If you are stationary, start with the Vampiric touch then put up your other DoTs, then Mindflay. After Mindflay activates your archangel, pop it, then mindflay again twice to get your 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism which then buffs your periodic damage spells. Mindblast whenever it is up (in my experience I always have an orb or two up), and Shadow Word: Death only when your target is under 25% or when you start to get low on mana. And use that shadowfiend whenever he's available.

Q: What about Mind Sear?

A: It's horribly low DPS currently, but will be doubled in damage after patch 4.1 at which point we'll see if it beats tagging adds with VT and single targeting them down.

Q: What are the must-have addons for raiding and heroics?

A: I keep it simple: Quartz Castbar to see when I should start queuing up my next spell, and Need to Know which allows me to track my DoTs. Omen and DBM for raiding. There are some shadow priest specific mods out there, but I've never used them.

Send in more questions via the comments and we'll get to a V.3 yet!

Coming out of a Flu-Fueled Fog


Yes, I have been slapped around by a really nasty flu bug for the past few days.  Thus radio silence here and over on twitter.

Right before this plague came down upon me, I *finally* rolled a Goblin lady, seen here joyfully making her way into beautiful Silverpine Forest.

I wasn't sure how I'd like to Goblin starting area, having heard in turns that it was the best thing since sliced bread and that it was way too cartoony to suspend disbelief. In the end, I think both were true, but I had a great time out there, cruising around in my hot rod with Riz.

Finally having a horde lowbie also means I am finally starting on all the Silverpine Forest quests I'd wanted to see. Unfortunately, the chain got spoiled for me some time ago, but it will still be cool to see it all for myself.

The one thing I *had* seen before was the unnecessary exchange between Garrosh and Sylvanas. I still don't think the B-word was necessary-- or, frankly, in keeping with the overall tone of the game. This isn't Grand Theft Auto -- it's world of Warcraft. And last time I checked, characters and NPCs didn't go around using swear words, or calling each other derogatory terms.

*steps down off soap box*

Anyhoo, I'm totally looking forward to leveling this lady and getting to see new content. I could have done the same on one of max level toons, but it's truly not the same as seeing things through the fresh eyes of a lowbie character starting fresh without heirlooms or cash on a new server.

Wish me luck!

Disappointed, But Not Surprised

these are the moments I raid for

This time last month, I wrote about waiting it out to see how our raiding schedule played out for my shadow priest horde-side. Here's how it shook out:

  • Second early start time raid night added, for a total of 4 EP earning nights per week*
  • No additional Pacific Time weeknight progression/EP earning raid night added (Note: Pacific Time was the raid time for all the Wrath raids, which was a key factor in my joining the guild circa Ulduar)
  • An incredible # of DPS signing up for every raid night, with half those signed up, on average, being sat
  • Early start time raiders also signing up for and being seated in Pacific Time raids
  • After I got sat from my only raid signup one week, the raid scheduler tweaked the signup spreadsheet in a way that will probably usually (but not always) mean that I will be seated for the 1 weeknight I can sign up for.

Over the course of the past month, I've gotten to attend 3 EP earning raids. That was my typical weekly raid count for BC and Wrath. And in Wrath, the other raid officer and I were neck and neck the entire time after EP was implemented for the most EP. i.e. if there was a raid, I was there. If there was a first kill screenshot to stand in, I was in it.

Now, I'm "a casual." And not at all by choice.What does this change for me? It means I go to raids and am killing content that other folks have already been working on for a few nights, or have killed. I have to play catch up-- learning how the raid is approaching the fight, and getting into the groove with a boss fight, well behind the learning curve. I like to lead the charge. To figure things out. To be ahead of the curve. And that's simply not what's possible for me with this schedule.

Yes, I could raid on Saturday night if the seating chart gods aligned. However, Saturday is the 1 weekend day my SO and I both have off, and we often *gasp* -- do things offline on Saturday date night. So I don't want to commit to spending my Saturday nights in a raid group. And more to the point, I don't want to not know until 24 hours beforehand if I am going to spend my Saturday night in a raid group. 24 hours notice is not enough advance time to make a dinner reservation, or buy advance movie tickets, or make plans to grab a City Carshare in this busy city of mine. It just doesn't work that way.

If it was Sunday night instead, I'd be there. And I'd totally be there for the raid nights that are early starts now -- but I have this thing called work that I do that pays the Internet and WoW subscription fees, and makes it impossible for me to be able to raid at the time I typically leave work each night.

And thus, I find myself without much of a reason to log in to my beloved shadow priest.

Because it's the raiding I love. The raiding that gets my adrenaline flowing. The raiding that I spent so much time planning for and prepping for and writing about. And now it's out of my grasp. And I am disappointed. So very disappointed.


*the significance here is if you receive points (EP) for time spent in raid and for killing bosses. Thus, if you are not able to attend raids, you are not earning points. If you are not earning points you will have no points to spend to buy any gear in raids. If you do not gear up in this tier of raids, you will be woefully unprepared for the next tier of raids. And so on.

Friday Five: Five of My Favorite WoW Websites

You know how some folks seem to always have the answers to every WoW question that comes up? And are always recommending a blog post to you to read? It's probably not just because they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the game. I'd bet they have a well-worn list of WoW bookmarks, like I do. The following are the five resources I can't get by without:

  1. Wowhead.
    I used to be a thottbot fan. But eventually, I became a WoWhead believer and fangirl. They have a frequently updated item database, great comments that inevitably address whatever annoyance sent you there. And they have some timely and informative blog posts too.
  2. MMO Champion.
    I remember WoW life before MMO Champion, but just barely. It's truly become the Gawker and CNN rolled together of Azeroth. I go here to keep up on what the blues have to say, keep track of patch note changes, and to get a sneak peek at the bling future raids and instances will provide us.
  3. WoWpedia/WoWiki.
    This is where I go whenever I have a burning question about an NPC or bit of lore, or want to read a profession guide. And if I have extra time, I go on a bit of a click safari here, moving through related topics, learning more about Azeroth and its inhabitants.
  4. Tankspot.
    Despite its name and original purpose, Tankspot has become the defacto boss strategy resource for most folks I know, not ust for tanks. If I had a quarter for every time I've heard someone say "Did you watch the tankspot video" or "Go watch the tank spot video" I'd have laundry money for months!
  5. The Daily Quest.
    This occasional column on WoW Insider rocks for drawing attention to thought provoking (or just plain fun) posts throughout the greater blogosphere. There are days when I really need a good WoW read. And this is where I always look first.

What are your favorite WoW resources?

How I Finally Got My Archaeology Groove On

  oh hey look who followed me home! wonder how that happened...

I first tried out Archaeology on my druid, right after the expansion hit. Despite the nice little hits of experience every time she surveyed, I quickly grew antsy about completing the new content. And left her Archaeology hovering in the low 100s.

I tried out archaeology again on my undead shadow priest, using it to pass time between dungeon queues. But the PUGs for my horde battlegroup were uniformly horrible, so that didn't last long either. I think she may have just barely hit 100.

Fast forward to my gnome mage hitting 83, and my not being enthusiastic about pushing a 4th character through all the Cataclysm content again so soon. Dutifully, I headed over to the archaeology trainer, then set out on my flight path to my first dig site. And this time, it stuck. I spent hours zooming from place to place on my mage, herbing as I went. Racking up the experience. I got my first rare pretty quickly-- the Fossilized Hatchling. At which point I started to get the crazy gleam in my eye-- oh yes, Vial of the Sands, one day, I could have you!

And the rest, as they say, was history. I kept at the archaeology, and hit 525 with it not too long after the mage hit 85. Almost all of it just from surveying dig sites.

And no, I don't have the Vial of the Sands yet. But I know if anyone can extract that from the Uldum sands, it's my lucky little mage.