Gear

What to Wear: The Shadow Priest's Guide to The Emerald Nightmare

image from www.furlinedteacup.com

It's been a very long while since I've put together a gear guide, but this seemed like a good time since my gnomies are about to start raiding.

Know Your Priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  • Haste
  • Critical Strike
  • Mastery
  • Intellect
  • Versatility

Note: If you take the Legacy of the Void or Mind Spike talents, you'll swap #1 and #2 with each other, per Icy Veins

Note that Noxxic has a different shadow priest stat priority (Intellect > Haste > Crit > Versatility > Mastery). I suggest you see what works best with your play style and gearing. 

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

Shadow Priest Gear Priorities for The Emerald Nightmare

I've linked to the Wowhead page for the LFR version of each item; from there you can select your mode of choice to review the different stats. If you're not sure which piece of gear to use, as you juggle ilevels and stats, consider using an addon such as Pawn to help you more easily determine which piece of gear is your best choice.

Cape

Chest

Feet

Hands

Helm

Legs

Neck

Relics

Rings

Shoulder

Trinkets

Waist

Wrist


What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to the Siege of Orgrimmar

WoWScrnShot_100713_184420

Now that I've been making some headway into the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, both in 10 regular and flex, I figured it was time to put together one of my perennial What to Wear Guides. But once I got started with it, I saw my usual simple guide format of days gone by just wasn't going to cut it with this many bosses and so many gear options per slot. Thus, instead, I put together a handy matrix in Excel:

Siege-of-Orgrimmar-Shadow-Priest-Gear-Matrix

Download a printable PDF, or save a copy of the matrix in spreadsheet form from google drive.

Know your priorities

Per Icy Veins, stat priority changed up a little bit with Patch 5.4:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Hit Rating or Spirit
  3. Haste Rating (until reaching the soft cap)
  4. Critical Strike Rating and Mastery Rating (NOTE if you do not have the 2-pc tier 16 bonus, crit still better than mastery)
  5. Haste Rating (past the soft cap)

Gem Appropriately

If you do not have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:
Once you have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:

Maximize Your Enchants

It can be difficult to keep up with maximizing all the changes in stats as you gain new gear. I highly recommend using the Reforge Lite add-on or maximizing your gear via Ask Mr Robot.


Mists of Pandaria Factions to Grind for Shadow Priests

It takes hard work and perserverance to look this cute!

With the bazillions of dailies one could complete in support of raising your faction high enough with them in order to purchase something useful, there's one thing for certain: You've GOT TO prioritize! If you try to grind out all the factions at once, you'll quickly burn out and retreat to the safety of the pet battles. And collecting all the pets. Ahem.

As previously noted, I only ever really stick with and play my spellcasters. Hence this guide focusing on factions you'll want your shadow priest to rep up with in order to improve your gear. Note that I am including both +hit and spirit caster pieces. However, many of the spirit pieces have mastery as a stat, which is your least desireable stat. Keep that in mind when choosing which piece you want. Of course, if you want to use items for a healing offspec in addition to shadow, the spirit gear would be the way to go.

As a reminder, your shadow priest stat priority is:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

I'm leaving the Tillers and The Anglers for another post since their rewards are fun and benefit your cooking and fishing professions, but are not factions that reward gear for improving your gameplay. Ditto for the Lorewalkers and Order of the Cloud Serpent.

Golden Lotus

Revered status with the Golden Lotus faction will allow you to pick up quests pointing you to the daily quest hubs for Shaod-Pan and August Celestials.

Gear

Tailoring Patterns

Misc

 The August Celestials

To unlock the daily quests for this reputation, you must be Revered with Golden Lotus.

Gear

Enchanting Formulas

Misc

The Klaxxi

Per WoWhead, to grind rep with The Klaxxi, you'll have to do a lengthy Dread Wastes quest chain that starts with Psycho Mantid. Once you reach honored, you may obtain ~6 quests from the Elders you freed.

Gear

Misc

The Shado-Pan

To unlock the daily quest hub in Townlong Steppes, you must be Revered with Golden Lotus. Until then you can gain rep with the Sdhado-Pan by questing throughout Townlong Steppes.

Gear

Enchanting Formulas

Misc

 


What to Wear: the Shadow Priest's Guide to Mists of Pandaria Heroic Gear

Note: to jump in to the Heroic difficulty Mists of Pandaria max level dungeons at level 90, you will need a minimum ilvl of 435. If you don't quite meet that minimum, check out my guide to pre-heroic gear.

Know your priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

 Heroic Dungeon Gear

You may obtain ilvl 463 gear (and a few epic pieces) from the following max level Heroic dungeons:

Note that I am not leavng out items with mastery despite it being our least effective stat.  I've called out hit and spirit on pieces, and the few epics. Here's what you can take home from these dungeons if the RNG is in your favor:


What to Wear: the Shadow Priest's Guide to Pre-Heroic Mists of Pandaria Dungeon Gear

To jump in to the Heroic difficulty Mists of Pandaria max level dungeons at level 90, you will need a minimum ilvl of 435. I've compiled your sources for getting the gear you need to beat or exceed that minimum.

Know your priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

 And now, onto the Gear!

The following ilvl 450 gear can be obtained from the later leveling instances, Mogu'shan Palace (MP) and ilevel 435 gear from Shado-Pan Monastery (SPM) so be sure to queue up as you go!

 

 


Spirit: Still Not Just for Healers

elemental shaman can use spirit too mister pally pants!

I've been leveling my goblin shaman in large part through LFD groups. I've been enjoying the under 10 minute queues, and seeing the old instances in new level ranges. But what I haven't been enjoying as much is the non-stop arguing about who gets the spirit gear.

While in Dire Maul, I rolled need on, and won, mail spirit gloves. Our healing paladin, who, in that same moment, won the shield off the King, immediately started berating me. The conversation went roughly like this:

PALADIN: " Why did you roll need on those gloves, shaman???"

ME: "?"

PALADIN: "Don't you know anything? You use AGI not spirit, dumbass."

ME: "Actually, as an elemental shaman, with a resto offspec, I can use spirit in either spec. I have the talent that converts spirit into hit."

PALADIN: "Obviously you don't raid."

ME: "Yes, I actually, I do. Your point?"

PALADIN: "If you raid then you should know main spec before off spec."

ME: "As already noted I'm elemental and have the talent that uses spirit for hit. And you not only got plenty of other loot this run, you can wear plate so you didn't have more right to win those gloves than I did."

/ignores paladin

ME: "Next time, before you start berating a stranger in an instance over loot, be more informed about your topic."

That's right. The paladin and I both rolled on mail spirit gloves, in a run wherein they had won a ton of loot, and he threw a hissy fit about my winning them with a need roll. I am not making this up.

Back in October, when I first wrote about the changing face of spirit, I expected we would have some short term hiccups. I did not anticipate, however, that my hybrids (and I only really do instances with my SP/boomkin/ele shaman) would be the target of non-stop harangues from healers who felt that every item that dropped with spirit on it was their priority over mine.

Yes, I understand that healers really really need spirit. But hybrids also can use it. And especially when you are talking about the mail and leather gear, there isn't a plethora of non spirit gear awaiting my picking it up. And it's ridiculous to expect me, in PUG 5-mans no less, to pass on any item with spirit on it in case a healer wants it. That'd be a great way to be wearing level 20 quest gear up to 60.

Warlocks and Mages: Still Don't Need Spirit

Probably one of the more vexing related issues that crops up just as often is warlocks and mages rolling on cloth spirit gear, or my worst case so far: melee DPS rolling on and winning a spirit trinket. I know that Blizzard spent an entire expansion trying to convince locks and mages that they should have a teeny bit of spirit in their gear, but those days are past.

Yes, as someone pointed out to me in their argument as to why I was wrong that they don't use spirit at all, your rate of out of combat mana regen is dependent upon spirit. That would technically be considered "using spirit" but having a stat on your gear that you mostly reforge away because it only affects your out of combat mana regen does not really fit in with my definition of "using it" the same way that casters who convert it into hit (which you need whenever you are fighting something up to your hit cap.)

At this point, I'm going to have to make a macro to spam before the first boss drops his phat loots, that says something along the lines of: "Since it always comes up, please be advised that boomkin/elemental shaman/shadow priests actually use spirit as hit; I have it talented. It's not just for healers. Cheers." Not that it will do any good, but it will save my wery fingers from typing these worn out arguments at least...


What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to Zul'aman and Zul'gurub Heroic Dungeon Gear

Patch 4.1 brings us 5-man heroic dungeon versions of a couple of classic raids: Zul'aman (ZA) and Zul'gurub (ZG), with an opportunity to deck yourself out in ilvl 353 epics, which should help ease more folks into being raid-ready from a geaer perspective.

Thankfully, the loot tables will additionally help fill in some gaps for some of the harder to source items (i.e. wands and bracers.) Personally, I can't wait for my new and improved Will of Arlokk. That was always my favorite staff...

Once the item databases provide more details, I'll subdivide the list by instance.

Note that there is also a trinket, usuable by everyone, that calls forth your own posse of voodoo gnomes: Miniature Voodoo Mask.


What to Wear: The Shadow Priest's Guide to Cataclysm's Justice and Valor Points-purchased Gear

consider this a prime example of what NOT to wear

Now that you've got some justice points stacking up in your currency tab, and a few vexing greens still on your 85s, you are probably ready to go shopping, yes? But first things first -- how do you earn more of these points?

Justice Points

  • Cataclysm Heroic dungeon boss -- 75 Justice Points
  • Cataclysm daily normal dungeon -- 75 Justice Points

Valor Points

  • Cataclysm daily Heroic dungeon -- 75 Valor Points
  • Cataclysm 10-player raid boss -- 75 Valor Points
  • Cataclysm 25-player raid boss -- 105 Valor Points

Now before you hit the comment button to tell me I forgot about WotLK raids and heroics, let me stop you. At 85 you will not be earning justice points from any "outgrown" content, regardless of if they previously dropped badges for you. And now, on to the good stuff.

Justice Points Gear (ilvl 346)

 Valor Points Gear (ilvl 359)

Next Steps

If you are looking to build a set that works well for healing in addition to shadow, you will want to grab pieces with spirit rather than with hit. The relative utility of the mastery bonus continues to be debated, but is widely considered to not be worth choosing over an item without it, so also bear that in mind if you plan only to play as shadow. Additionally, there are some crafted items, including epic pants and belt, that you may wish to have made rather than spending your points.

Now that you have your wish list in place, where do you make your purchases? Horde has Jamus'Vaz <Valorous Quartermaster> and Gunra <Justice Quartermaster> in Orgrimmar's Valley of Strength. Alliance has Faldren Tillsdale <Valorous Quartermaster> and Magatha Silverton <Justice Quartermaster> in Stormwind in the Old Town area.

NOTE: It is a bummer that wands and bracers for shadow priests are not craftable, available through rep, or purchaseable from the point vendors at this point. Hopefully we shall see that rectified with a future patch. Until then, you can farm Grim Batol for the Wand of Untainted Power [spirit]. For bracers, your options are Lost City for Sand Silk Wristband bracers, the long quest chain that culminates in Doing it the Hard Way in Halls of Origination, or Crimsonborne Bracers in Grim Batol.


What to Wear: The Shadow Priest's Guide to Cataclysm's Crafted Gear

shadow priest fishing up volatiles to craft some new clothes

Note that I am not including rare quality tailoring gear here at this time since it is PvP oriented, or ilvl 333 and under. Also note that overall, until there's data showing that mastery is worth it for shadow priests, I am leaning towards gear without it when there is a choice to be made.

ilvl 359 Tailoring Epics

ilvl 346 Blacksmithing Weapon

ilvl 346 Jewelcrafting Accessories

ilvl 346 Inscription Off Hands



What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 5-man Cataclysm Heroic Dungeon Gear

This is a companion piece to the 5-man Cataclysm Dungeon Gear guide. All items are ilvl 346 rare quality. What you will immediately notice is the item names are the same as their regular dungeon counterparts (with the exception of SFK and Deadmines which both have a number of uniquely named items), with a boost of stats from the regular version, and often the addition of one or more gem slots.

Please note: if you are wondering why I have included items with spirit in this list, please go read The Changing Face of Spirit. If you have taken the Twisted Faith talent, you will want to use spirit items to help reach your hit cap as needed.

Details after the jump.

Continue reading "What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 5-man Cataclysm Heroic Dungeon Gear" »


What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 5-man Cataclysm Dungeon Gear

Before you dive into Heroics, you'll need to get yourself a solid set of dungeon blues to get started.

Now I do need to warn you of one thing: don't be fooled by the level requirements on the items. That blue that only requires level 78 to wear? Don't turn your nose up at it if it's ilvl 279 and you are sporting ilvl 200 level 80 WotLK epics. If you're in ICC25 gear, you're probably not going to be taking any of the 279 ilvl pieces, but will want to start looking at the 300+ pieces to see if the piece better meets your itemization needs.

Note: if you plan on using the LFD finder, you'll need an average ilvl of over 279 to use it after the two introductory instances, so it is best to make your peace now about ditching your beautiful Icecrown epics for questing greens..

Also note:

  • ilvl 279 requires level 78 to wear.
  • ilvl 316 requires level 81 to wear.
  • ilvl 333 requires level 83 to wear.
  • ilvl 346  requires level 85 to wear.

And finally, if you are wondering why I have included items with spirit in this list, please go read The Changing Face of Spirit. If you have taken the Twisted Faith talent, you will want to use spirit items to help reach your hit cap as needed.

Details after the jump.

Continue reading "What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 5-man Cataclysm Dungeon Gear" »


Cataclysm: Factions to Grind

When it comes to prioritizing which reputations I focus on working up to Exalted status, my priorities are based upon: profession recipes they unlock, pets or mounts that are available, and otherwise hard to obtain entry-level 80 gear for that character. This is why few of my characters attempt to work through all of the reputations each new expansion brings. This guide aims to help you prioritize where to spend your Cataclysm reputation faction grinding time.

NOTE: Until I can see how the rare level items from crafting and heroics shake out, not including the purchasable rare items here. In prior expansions, most of the rare reputation blues were not typically worth grinding out rep for on their own merits.

Neutral Factions

Horde Factions

Alliance Factions


Guardians of Hyjal

Exalted rep will land you the ability to purchase an epic plate DPS belt, cloth spirit belt, melee DPS mail boots (Malorne gear not for druids? Oh the humanity!), or a tanking cloak. Spellcasters will want to grind at least to revered to grab the Arcanum of Hyjal helm enchant.


Ramkahen

These guys are on my epic faction grind list so I can obtain a tan riding camel or a brown riding camel. Other epic purchasable items include dps spellcaster cloth boots, a melee DPS necklace, plate tanking wrists, or a plate healing waist. Melee DPS will want to grind to revered for the Arcanum of the Ramkahen helm enchant.


The Earthen Ring

Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes mail spellcaster boots, cloth spellcaster gloves, a melee DPS ring, and plate healing gloves. Tanks will want to grind to revered to purchase the Arcanum of the Earthen Ring helm enchant.


Therazane

Therazane's big draw is shoulder enchants. Rare shoulder enhancements available at Honored: Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone, Lesser Inscription of Jagged Stone, Lesser Inscription of Shattered Crystal, and Lesser Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz. Epic shoulder enhancements available at Exalted: Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz, Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal, Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone, and Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone.


Dragonmaw Clan (H)

 Melee DPS will want to grind out revered for the Arcanum of the Dragonmaw. Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes plate tanking boots, leather melee gloves, a spellcaster leather belt, and a spellcaster necklace.


Hellscream's Reach (H)

Clearly, I am going to be working on this rep, for a number of good reasons. Primarily: Hellscream's Reach Tabard (Use: Teleports the caster to Hellscream's Grasp  on Tol Barad) and the Rustberg Gull vanity pet, both available at Honored reputation. At Exalted reputation, they have trinkets for everyone: Impatience of Youth, Mandala of Stirring Patterns, Mirror of Broken Images, Stump of Time, and Unsolvable Riddle. And they also have two mounts available at Exalted reputation: the Reins of the Drake of the West Wind and the Reins of the Spectral Wolf.


Baradin's Wardens (A)

Alliance folks will br grinding this rep for Baradin's Wardens Tabard (Use: Teleports the caster to Baradin Base Camp on Tol Barad) and the Rustberg Gull vanity pet. Like Hellscream's Reach, they have mounts available at Exalted reputation: Reins of the Drake of the West Wind and Reins of the Spectral Steed. And At Exalted reputation, they have trinkets for everyone: Impatience of Youth, Mandala of Stirring Patterns, Mirror of Broken Images, Stump of Time, and Unsolvable Riddle.


Wildhammer Clan (A)

 Melee DPS will want to grind out revered for the Arcanum of the Wildhammer. Epic gear purchasable at exalted includes plate tanking boots, leather melee gloves, a spellcaster leather belt, and a spellcaster necklace.


The Changing Face of Spirit

Snakedriver_ZD_ScreenShot_090110_213821
Just when we had mages and warlocks conditioned to roll on +spirit gear, and shaman chastised for even thinking about taking a piece with some on it, Blizz had to go and change up everything for Cataclysm. But not everyone has gotten the message yet. And some have gotten the wrong impression that +spirit is now exclusively a healing stat.

Here's the scoop.

Clothies

Priests

Shadow Priests can and likely will take the Twisted Faith talent: Increases your shadow spell damage by 1/2%, and grants you spell hit rating equal to 50/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Holy and Discipline Priests have Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat. Holy Priests also have the Holy Concentration talent which increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 10/20%.

Other Clothies

Mages have no spirit related talents.

Warlocks have no spirit related talents. Fel Armor no longer adds Spell Power from Spirit. Life Tap (and Glyph of Life Tap) no longer use Spirit for their various effects.

Druids

Balance Druids can and likely will take Balance of Power which increases nature and arcane spell damage by 1/2% and now increases spell hit rating by 50/100% of Spirit.

Restoration Druids have Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

Shaman

Elemental Shaman can and likely will take Elemental Precision which now increases your Fire Frost and Nature damage by 1/2/3% and grants you spell hit rating equal to 33/66/100% of any Spirit gained from items or effects.

Restoration Shaman now get Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

Paladins

Holy Paladins now get Meditation (Passive) - Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.

What This Means for Master Looters and Raid Leaders

At this point in the game, someone's undergeared alt may still see a +spirit piece as a major upgrade even if the spirit is a wasted stat for them. When you are comparing an ilvl 200 blue to a 232 epic, there is still likely a big upgrade there. But as of December 7, that's when things get hairy.

Once Cataclysm drops, a mage or a warlock grabbing a piece of spirit gear from a priest of any flavor is akin to a DPS spellcaster grabbing a piece with dodge or a healing proc on it or a healer pitching a fit over wanting a weapon with hit on it. Yes, they should have it if it would otherwise be DE'd, but they shouldn't be getting that item over the classes and specs that can actually use the spirit points.

The big question is, how do you want to handle the +hit gear? Yes, a shadow priest can use +hit. However, they are also able to gain hit fro the spirit gear for which they should now only be competing against other priests. It's too soon to know (having not seen all the potentially gear from Cataclysm) if a shadow priest could conceivably obtain all their BiS pieces and hit the 17% hit cap without donning any pieces of hit gear. But if that does turn out to be the case, you may want to strongly consider giving warlocks and mages priority on the +hit cloth gear. What to do about weapons remains to be seen as well, until we know how Blizzard is choosing to itemize them.

Why These Stat Changes Now?

Why did Blizzard throw this big spirit monkey wrench into everyone's gear bucket? All in the name of gear homogenization.

They didn't want to have to create relics specific to each class. Or to have endless flavors of trinkets and weapons and off hands to allow for the variations that existed previously from class-to-class performing the same role. If you  play hybrids (which is almost exclusively what I play, and is exclusively what I've raided with) you've probably seen a number of times what a PITA it was to get the pieces that were right for you from an itemization standpoint, and often had to do some armor proficiency downranking to get them.

Hopefully, these changes will mean there won't be another restoration shaman raiding with the same bracers for 10 months (/wave at Emtox), and that boomkins can stop having to mix and match cloth and leather.


Shadowpriest FAQs, Vol. 1

shadow priest at a portal into the Emerald Nightmare

 
I'm not one to make a soup-to-nuts guide to shadow priesting -- I wasn't keeping a blog or journal going 3 years ago when I leveled either of my two shadow priests (one Horde, one Alliance), and plenty of other folks have done a great job of that already.

But that said, I do often get questions from new shadow priests, or most often, from healing priests looking to get crib notes for their shadow off-spec. Hence, some FAQs. If you have a question I haven't answered here, leave it in the comments and I'll answer it in Volume 2. A big THANK YOU to my tweeps who suggested some of the questions.

Gear

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

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by Shadowpriest.com:

  • Int = 0.22
  • Spi = 0.59
  • Crit = 0.76
  • Haste = 0.98
  • SP = 1.00 (stat weights are normalized to SP)
  • Hit = 1.88

What this means is haste and spellpower are weighted almost the same, and hit is rated as more valuable right up until you reach your hit cap. Spirit and Int are your least valued stats, and better suited, perhaps, for your healing set. Crit is still tasty, but not as much as haste.

Q: What hit cap should I be targeting?

This gives me the leeway to wear primarily haste/sellpower gear, with a few pieces that are bulked up on hit (I used a hit trinket forever which meant I only had to wear 3 other hit pieces.) Here's the breakdown:

  • 263 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery plus a Draenei in your group
  • 289 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 315 hit cap with 5 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 341 hit cap with 4 points in Shadow Focus and Misery 
  • 368 hit cap with 3 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 420 hit cap with 1 point in either Shadow Focus or Misery
  • 446 hit without any points in Shadow Focus or Misery

Q: How about tips for the disc priest that only pretends to be shadow on those pesky low healer fights?!

A:The most important thing I can say to you is to invest in a DoT timer and resist the urge to clip your Vampiric Touch. Don't put up your Shadow Word: Pain until you have 5 stacks of shadow weaving plus any other spellpower buff from trinkets, etc. Mind Flay is your all-purpose fill-in sell when Mind Blast isn't up and it's not time to refresh your DoTs. And finally, 4 or more targets are optimal for Mind Sear. Less than that and you are better off DoTing 2 and focus firing the other.

Q: How do you prioritize and balance haste/crit/sp, etc as you gear up?

A: Haste didn't make it onto the scene until I was level 70 if I recall. So I can only answer from the 70-80 sphere. Spellpower is the end all be all stat, in my mind, as you level. Haste becomes attractive once you have better gear that gives you a solid mana pool. I didn't start truly noticing haste's discrete effect on my DPS output until it got up to about 19%. That is also the point at which I started using haste pots, rather than Wild Magic Pots, on boss fights. You should get the incidental crit you want/need as you go along as a secondary stat.

Q: Meteor Chaser's Raiment or the T10 chest?

A: They both cost the same in badges, but unless you are doing hard modes and can get the max upgrade to the T10 chest, the Meteor Chaser's Raiment is your best buy. For more details on the T10 versus the other emblem gear, see my Frost Emblem post.

Spells

Q: Shadow Word Death: Will this get me chewed out by the healers and kicked out of a group? 

A: If you have a healer who is not used to shadow priests, an ill-timed SW:D is likely to result in a tongue lashing. Because it's rarely the case it's used as the death blow for a mob, which means you, dear caster, get it back in your face in damage. And it's rarely your best use of a GCD these days in bang for your buck, so it's typically not part of a rotation, except for those folks who like to include it in their initial ramp up for their 5 stacks of shadow weaving. So, use it sparingly, and when it makes sense. Don't use it when the entire team is taking AOE damage or you may die. Do use it when you are having to run around or being tossed up in the air to sneak in a little damage.

Q: What's your rotation?

A: It varies depending upon the situation. In 5-mans, I tend to DoT the primary target then mind sear because everything dies too fast to make single targeting them down feasible (too often there's not enough time for the DoTs to tick.) In raids, my boss rotation typically starts with a VT, then DP, MB, MF, MF then SW:P. That second go of MF is so my trinket's 10 stacks of extra spell damage is up before I cast SW:P.

Q: What shadow priest mods do you use?

A: Apparently there are a few Shadow Priest-specific DPS and buff mods I have never heard of, because folks often ask me if I use them. 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. Auctionator and Lil'Sparky's Workshop for crafting, though the latter is giving me LUA errors now.

More soon. If you have a question, leave it below.


What to Wear: Frost Emblem Gear for Shadow Priests

Patch 3.3 brought with it a new top-end emblem (Emblem of Frost), and a nice assortment of gear to fill in some lingering holes or help with the never-ending hit-swap dance. Personally, for now, I am hanging on to my badges to see how my luck fares in our ICC 10 runs, and how our progress goes in ICC 25. I'm not at all tempted to purchase my first few pieces of tier gear. Overall, other than the shoulders, it's looking like it's not worth wearing until you have the 4-piece bonus, or have been able to upgrade pieces via the marks that drop off each wing's final boss. So, after giving it a couple more weeks, I'll decide if I want to take the plunge and upgrade my less than 245 iLvl pieces, or wait until I have the 300-something badges for 4 pieces of tier gear.

Tier Set

Non-Tier Gear

  • Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky (50 emblems). If you are not doing 25-man content, and do not have a heroic ToC cloak, this will be your best option for this slot. You will not want to purchase the other badge cloak, Drape of the Violet Tower (50 emblems), as its MP5 is not useful for damage dealing.
  • Meteor Chaser's Raiment (95 emblems). This is your third-best chest, bested only by a heroic chest and the max-upgraded tier chest. The other non-tier badge chest, Ermine Coronation Robes (95 emblems), is itemized a little better for healers.
  • Gloves of False Gestures (60 emblems). If you have all your hit taken care of in other slots, these are considered to be your second best gloves. The other emblem gloves, Gloves of Ambivalence (60 emblems), are better itemized for healers.
  • Circle of Ossus (60 emblems). If you are not doing ICC 25 or heroic ICC 10, this will be your BiS belt.
  • Belt of Omission (60 emblems). If you are looking for hit in this slot, this will be your best option.
  • Maghia's Misguided Quill (60 emblems). If you have been using the Ulduar hit trinket you may want to spend the badges to upgrade to this even larger dose of hit (thus freeing up other slots for non-hit gear.)

If you purchased all 5 of your tier items, you would be looking at an emblem spend of 405.


What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to 25-man Icecrown Citadel Gear

As previously noted, I'm not a math geek so I am not going to argue BiS (best in Slot) with the maths here. Rather, I am going to discuss your gearing up opportunities by boss, to help you prep your wish list. If you want to see BiS across all available 10-man and 25-man raids, including ICC hard mode boss drops, shadowpriest.com has an excellent list. With more math than you can shake a stick at.

Words of Caution: As with ToC, you will want to be picking up some haste gear from ICC which means doing the hit-swapping dance, so don't be quick to shard or sell your existing gear when you receive an upgrade. You will likely have to swap gear around for raids to ensure you stay hit capped.

Your boss-by-boss gear guide, after the jump.

Continue reading "What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to 25-man Icecrown Citadel Gear" »


What's Strange About This Picture?

shadow priest

No, I didn't get a haircut.

And I haven't lost any weight.

But there is a strange change in my appearance...I am rocking a staff! For serious! Not like that time when we would have DEd the bat on a stick so I took it for dress up.

Illumination dropped for us in ToC the other night, and after looking it over, I realized that despite the Twins dropping my shiny OH a few weeks back, the staff, with its 2 gem slots and ability to use the big ass enchant of staff spellpower made it a nice upgrade. It was about time I gave my Torch of Holy Fire a rest.

For the record, this is the first time I have worn a staff on a toon since Karazhan. Back then, my mage, druid and shadow priest each had the Curator staff for a solid chunk of time.


What to Wear: the Shadow Priest's Guide to Gear from Trial of the Champion

Patch 3.2 landed like a Loot Reaver pinata. Everywhere you looked were mains and alts alike running instances like mad and jumping significant WoW Heroes levels. While it is all very awesome, it's also left many folks a little uncertain as to what is available to them and from where. We'll start to tackle that problem here.

Trial of the Crusader (normal)

Dropping all iLvl 200 items on regular mode, just like the raid instance Naxxaramas, some have said this 5-man instance has made Naxx obsolete. I disagree since the raiding experience Naxx provides is invaluable. However, this instance is a great way to quickly gear up your alts, or stock up on your Abyss Crystals as the case may be.

  • Abyssal Rune. If you have had bad trinket luck like me, you will be excited to see this haste and chance on cast to increase dps trinket drop.
  • Belt of the Churning Blaze. Good to bank for hit swapping.
  • Bindings of the Wicked. Another good item to keep on hand for hit swapping.
  • Handwraps of Surrendered Hope. These gloves are slightly better itemized for healers, but grab if they are an upgrade.
  • Leggings of the Haggard Apprentice. The leggings have good stats plus 2 gem slots, including the ever elusive blue gem slot.
  • Mantle of Inconsolable Fear. This shoulder piece is slightly better itemized for healers, but worth grabbing if it is an overall upgrade.
  • Signet of Purity. Solid ring though its spirit means you will be up against the druid and priest healers.
  • The Confessors Binding. Good waist, but will want to bypass the gem slot bonus to put a ruby in this spot. Its  spirit means you will be up against the druid and priest healers.

Trial of the Crusader (heroic)

Dropping all ilvl 219 items, this heroic 5-man instance even provides upgrades for folks who've gone through Naxx 10.


It's not Vile Sorcery...It's the Badge Gear!

Since 3.2 dropped, I've noticed something afoot in my raids and 5-mans. And on WoW-Heroes for that matter. Our tanks are staying alive easier. Our healers yawn into their palms in heroic ToC. Suddenly our gear level is on par with being ready to step into 25-man ToC...but it's not vile sorcery -- it's the badge gear!

Don't get me wrong -- our guild has a number of skilled players who have been making serious efforts in raids all year long. But this past week was the first night that we ever cleared every boss up to Vezax in 3 hours and 15 minutes. We didn't all suddenly have more skill, or more experience. But we did have significant gear upgrades all around.

I personally upgraded my Naxx 10 OH in Ulduar, then used badges to upgrade my Naxx  25 chest to T8.5 and my T8 helm to 8.5. That may not sound like much upgrade-wise, but I can tell you my WoW Heroes suggested instances jumped to the highest available tier (as did a solid 30 of my guildies.) Previously, we had closer to 10 at that level, and I was not one of them.

Yes, I saw Gevlon's experiment with his raid of blue-clad (tho as he admitted class/buff optimized group). And they did great DPS. But I have also been raiding for well over 3 years now, through AQ in vanilla, to BT in BC, and now through Yogg Saron in Ulduar, and I can tell you for sure that a big dose of gear upgrades does make a visible impact on your raid. No, it can't take a mediocre group of layabouts and hand them success. But it can give you the extra bit of avoidance and dps and healing you need to push you into success.

As my raid leader Garkas said to me last week: "The line between success and failure can be a thin one." I'm glad Blizzard gave us all that extra edge -- and the lockout period extensions -- to help casual guilds like ours achieve our dreams.

Once I have time to catch my breath, I'll be posting a guide to upgrades to shoot for with your Conquest and Triumph badges.

Happy  Adventuring!


What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to 25-man Ulduar

On the heels of my 10-man guide to shadow priest gear upgrades available in Ulduar, I bring you this heroic 25-man version. (it's going to be hard to retrain myself on that one.)

As previously noted, I'm not a math geek so I am not going to argue BiS (best in Slot) with the maths here. Rather, I am going to discuss your gearing up opportunities by boss, to help you prep your wish list. If you want to see BiS across all available 10-man and 25-man raids, including Ulduar hard mode boss drops, shadowpriest.com has an excellent list. With more math than you can shake a stick at.

Words of Caution: Much of the Ulduar loot lacks hit. So don't be quick to shard or sell your existing gear when you receive an upgrade. You may have to swap gear around for raids to ensure you stay hit capped.

Your boss-by-boss gear guide, after the jump.

Continue reading "What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to 25-man Ulduar" »


What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 10-Man Ulduar

On the heels of having had, shall we say, "lively" discussions with Master Looters over whether two belts were "best for healers. healers get first priority" in Ulduar in the past two weeks (once in 25 the other in 10), I realized the best defense is an offense. These discussions go a lot more smoothly when you can point to unbiased third parties and say "um, no."

I'm not a math geek so I am not going to argue BiS (best in Slot) with the maths here. Rather, I am going to discuss your gearing up opportunities by boss, to help you prep your wish list. If you want to see BiS across all available 10-man and 25-man raids, including Ulduar hard mode boss drops, shadowpriest.com has an excellent list. With more math than you can shake a stick at.

Words of Caution: Much of the Ulduar loot lacks hit. So don't be quick to shard or sell your existing gear when you receive an upgrade. You may have to swap gear around for raids to ensure you stay hit capped.

The list, after the break.

Continue reading "What to Wear: a Shadow Priest's Guide to 10-Man Ulduar" »