shadow priest

Friday Five: Five of My Favorite WoW Websites

WoWScrnShot_022711_092445
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?


Providing Constructive Criticism Without Being a Jerk

shadow priest versus the world

So you've decided you need to provide someone in your raid team with some constructive criticism. My first word of advice: put that thought on simmer on the back-burner for a while before doing so. Seriously. No matter how well-intentioned, "constructive feedback" given in the heat of the moment is rarely effective. Instead, take some time to think through what you have to say to the person, and how you're going to say it. Here are some thoughts to guide you through that process.

First, Evaluate if You are the Right Person to Give the Feedback, and If It is Warranted

Once upon a time, I was filling in on a ToC25, healing on my shaman. An elemental shaman in our guild, mid-Jaraxus fight, started telling me everything I should be doing differently. On my alt. In the middle of a boss fight I was healing. This person was just another teammate. Not the raid leader. And I wasn't failing either mind you-- my shaman was 3 out of 5 healers, which I was pretty proud of given her limited play time that expansion and her crappy gear. This unsolicited criticism was ill timed, came from someone who had no business telling me what to do, and was directed at an alt that was actually doing just fine. This was a great example of how NOT to give constructive criticism.

In general, if someone is playing an alt to fill in for a role your raid needs, you should consider carefully how you give feedback. The player is less comfortable with that role generally, and is doing it as a favor to the raid. If you did want to help them boost their future performance, it would be appropriate, after the raid, to say "hey if you think you are going to be healing on your shaman a lot moving forward, I read a great blog post on healing you might be interested in."

Make Sure You're Providing an Expert Opinion, Not Just Your Opinion

Yup, that's right. Holding the title of raid leader or guild leader does not, in fact, make you an expert in every class and spec. If you have a hunter who is struggling, have your guild's best hunter talk to them. No one wants to hear someone who doesn't play their class regurgitate a well-meaning blog post they read somewhere, and being told to "just do that." Likewise, no one wants to be told how to improve by someone who uses another class/spec as their example for what to do. Each class and spec is different, and takes different finessing. If you don't have an expert in your guild on that class, do some online homework: start with Elitist Jerks and from there fan out to class and spec-specific resources. If you're not sure where to start, WoW Insider has a nice big list of WoW resources, including bloggers by class.

Praise Publicly, Coach Privately

This one should be obvious, but I have many times heard a raid leader berate a player and give them detailed instructions on how to improve in the middle of a raid, over vent. this is fail. How would you like it if your boss came up to you, in front of all your coworkers, to tell you you were doing a sucky job and should change X, Y and Z immediately? Yes, WoW is not a job, but the scenario still applies. No one wants to be taken to task in front of their peers. By doing that, it is unlikely that even good, well-intentioned advice will be heard by that player. Instead, they'll remember how they got chewed out by that jerk (YOU) in front of their raid team.

Make Your Feedback Specific and Actionable

Bad Feedback: Your DPS sucks, improve or we kick you from the raid team.

Good Feedback: Elitist Jerks is modeling a player with your spec and gear level at about 2k DPS higher than we're seeing you perform. I think we can do some fine tuning to your spec/gems/enchants/rotation to get you to where you need to be.

See what I did there? I gave specific feedback on what needs to be improved, and by how much, and laid out a possible check list to start with, and offered up a partnership with the person to help them improve.

Be Sure to Praise the Improvement

Once you give the feedback and support, and the person improves, you have one last constructive feedback task ahead of you: Praising the person for their improvement. This reinforces the change and shows the player that you are paying attention, and are aware of the efforts they made, and their progress. If you don't say anything, the player can feel as though they wasted their time and efforts trying to meet your standards. It's a small thing to do and doesn't take much time, so make sure to acknoledge your teammate's progress.


Friday Five: Five Reasons I Raid

oh hey Maloriak, your momma dresses you funny

Last night I went in and killed this guy, a guild first. I had that awesome heart-pounding adrenaline rush, and thought it would be fun to share the 5 primary reasons I raid.

  1. I love the adrenaline rush of a new boss kill. First you make steady progress. Then you get the wipe at 17%. Then you get the attempt where everyone is in the flow. No one has died. You are in phase 2. Everything's smooth. The raid leader says "BURN HIM!" and you do. You push your character, micromanaging every GCD, You find that volcanic potion you forgot you'd stashed in your bag. Push, push push...and he's dead!
  2. I love the teamwork. The world is full of plenty of ways to be an individual contributor. Raiding on the other hand is very much about the entire team doing the dance, ebbing and flowing together. And I love being part of a team accomplishing a goal together. I also love all the silly inside jokes you have after a year or more of raiding with the same folks. See also why I never let my horde guild's paladin tank Dreb off the hook without making at least 1 funny voice for me.
  3. I love seeing new places. And taking many many screenshots.
  4. I like to push myself to be a better player. And raids have endless room for fine tuning and experimentation. You can raid on the same character for an entire expansion and still have room to fiddle with things you do in the raids to keep it interesting. And of course raiding has the potential, RNG willing, of your getting new gear with which to improve your character, which feeds back into this reason.
  5. I like to have the opportunity to shadow priest tank. What, your raid doesn't have any shadow priest tanking? My raids *always* have some shadow priest tanking. Like when both tanks die at 3%, and someone needs to keep the boss engaged long enough to finish him off. Or when a nasty dragon trash mob kills the entire raid and I get to DoT and kite him down a long hallway until he keels over. Those are incredible moments of fun and joyfulness for me.

So why do you raid?


It's Too Soon for ICC to be a "Retro Raid" for me

wasn't this shadow priest just in this place?

Last night, the scheduled 10s ended up morphing into 25-man ICC. "Retro Raid!" was the call to battle. "No thank you!" was my atypical but firm reply.

There is just not enough distance between me and ICC for it to live in that rosy pink nostalgia haze in my brain where the other retro raids like kara and BWL live. I don't get the warm fuzzies at the idea of going in there.

I knocked my head against the ICC wall, in 10 and 25, for 9+ months, finally taking a break from it only a month or so prior to the Cataclysm. Anexxia alone had 30+ kills of Marrowgar in 25. I'm tired of the icy winds of Northwind consuming my soul. It's going to take ma at least a solid year -- if not two-- before a big smile will come across my face when someone suggests heading in there.

Right now, I want to do new content. See new instances, kill new bosses. ICC will still be there in the morning. And I need to give it some serious space for its absence to make my heart grow fonder.


Waiting it Out

shadow priest hiding in plain sight

Right now, I'm playing the waiting game on my undead shadow priest Anexxia. Specifically, I am waiting to see how our raiding schedule shakes out. And this is why I have had a sad as of late.

You see, I love raiding. I've been raiding ever since my first character hit 58 in vanilla WoW days and was goaded into coming along to a guild alliance's MC run. I've been hooked on it ever since. Fast Forward to WotLK. I finally found a good server and home for my shadow priest, in a guild for whom I am currently serving as an officer. I managed to complete all of the WotLK raid content, including getting my Starcaller title. Some pretty amazing and rewarding accomplishments.

I'm still wearing my Starcaller title but I don't feel much like a raider at the moment. My work schedule has been erratic and unpredictable, and we've done some changing up in our schedule.

One of the things that I really liked about our guild's raiding schedule was it offered up 4 or even 5 possible raiding nights per week, all of which started at 6:15 Pacific. Even if I got waylaid a bit at work, I could get home in time for the raid. But even before the expansion hit, we had some East Coasters lobby for an earlier start time. And thus, we now have a 5 Pacific start time raid night, soon to be 2 raid nights.

So, depending upon how things shake out, that leaves us with either 1 or 2 Pacific time raid nights during the week. And Saturday which starts at 6 Pacific. There aren't too many folks who work on the weekends, and for those who do, 6 Pacific on Saturday is no better or no worse than any other time on Saturday. Although I used to count Saturday as one of my raid nights, RL schedule changes on my SO's part mean I would be choosing raiding over the one weekend night we both have to go do something, so that's out.

This leaves me at 1 or 2 nights per week I could possibly raid. Which is usually about how much I want to raid. but here's the wrench: we're going back to our old seating system that seats you based upon how many times you sign up and seated versus other folks. So, back when I could sign up for 4 raids per week, I'd get seated once or even twice depending upon signups. Now, I could sign up for our 1 or 2 nights, and be sat half the time or more often depending on how the math works out. That could put me at raiding 4 times per month on Anexxia. unless of course, like my schedule for the next 2 weeks, I have work-related events that either spill over past 5 or mean I will be stuck working late to make up the time after 5 on those few possible raid nights.

That's just not going to work for me. I don't see that I can improve my character, learn the fights, and be a rel part of the team if i am seated in 4 raids per month. I get that could work for other folks but for me, it's like being a visitor, not being an active member of the team.

So for now, I wait and see what happens. I am signing up for raids when I know for sure I can attend, and I am crossing my fingers it will work out. I've spent the entire weekend stressing and bummed about this. And there's absolutely nothing I can do to influence the outcome one way or another.

Wish me luck.


Friday Five: Five Things I Love About my Shadow Priests

shadow priest blending in to the Lost City of the Tol'Vir Scenery

  1. We blend in with the scenery. This means we can sneak up on you in PvP.
  2. We always look well dressed. Even if we are wearing a mismatched Outands clown suit.
  3. Those shadowy apparitions scare the bejeezus out of folks running an instance with you for the first time. Especially in Vortex Pinnacle if you DoT those balls that you run past. A legion of shadowy gnomes trailing behind you is scary stuff folks!
  4. We have incredible survivability. We can shield, disperse, self-heal. This may be why in certain instances (*looks at Heroic Stonecore*) my shadow priests have tanked bosses. I can usually keep myself alive and bouncing around from 9% to dead boss, provided I have a healer who knows my determination to not wipe who tosses me some heals.
  5. Embrace the Shadow! It's one of the best calls to action ever. And it's mine. All my mine. /cackle.

Happy Friday!

P.S. The title is not a typo, I have two level 85 shadow priests, baby!


Friday Five: The Five Patch Changes to Which I am Most Looking Forward

shadow priests eyes magmaw, and suddenly realizes she is not sure where her shadowfiend has run off to

Have you been eagerly lapping up the revised 4.0.6 patch notes as they are released by the devs? I know I have. Here are the five that I'm most excited about so far:

  1. WHAT: The guild reward Armadillo Pup now requires revered faction instead of exalted.
    WHY I CARE: I have a pet collector with 100+ pets horde-side and Alliance-side. They both want this pet, and having to wait until I slowly and painfully leveled them each to exalted (slowed by the fact that I also have alts to play and level) would have been torture.
  2. WHAT: The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
    WHY I CARE: It's rare that I am standing around in night elf form when I need to stop drop and roll off some aggro and hide.
  3. WHAT: Mount Up: This guild perk now applies to Flight Form and Swift Flight Form as well.
    WHY I CARE: I don't fly around on mounts on my druids b/c it's a lot prettier and more efficient for skinning to be in flight form.
  4. WHAT: Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear's damage has been increased by roughly 15%.
    WHY I CARE: In its current state I rarely bother to use mind sear, my formerly most beloved spell. Its damage is too wimpy and it doesn't damage the target I am channeling it on. Thank you Blizz for realizing this spell was over-nerfed, and giving us back an AOE.
  5. WHAT: The number of herbs required to create flasks has been reduced, while the Volatile Life needed has been increased slightly.
    WHY I CARE: I like to be prepared when I go to raids. And it sucks to blow a flask that takes @250g worth of mats for 30 minutes of attempts in the final countdown of a raid. this will make it a little less painful.

What change has gotten you the most excited?


Are You Ready to Raid?

before you step through that raid portal...

More and more folks are seeing raid signups on their calendars now, as even many casual guilds are starting to get the raiding itch. Chances are, you may be feeling like you want to get back into raiding and pronto. but that doesn't necessarily mean that you -- or your fellow guildies-- are actually ready to raid.

Once an expansion gets to be more mature, it gets a lot easier to set minimum requirements. With this one still shiny and new, and based upon my own experience with two level 85 shadowpriests and one level 85 boomkin, here's what I am seeing as being raid-ready.

Check Your Gear

Although the trade recruiters are specifying ilvl 345 minimum, that's not necessary, or in some cases attainable pre-raiding, for some casters. Wand-users have a tough time of it as compared to the relic equippers who can have a 346 item crafted. One of my shadow priests lucked out and got the wand from Grim Batol. The other is stuck with an ilvlv 318 green wand. That green brings down her ilvl (she's 340, wearing 2 epics) and keeps her from the Cataclysmically Superior achievement. It doesn't make me a bad player or her not raid ready. She's smoked people with higher ilvl gear in heroics. This is specifically why I would discourage raid leaders from having across the board hard-and-fast requirements at this point in the game. Better gear can help you eek out a little bit more damage, but it can't play for you.

Shooting for ilvl 339 and above is probably a better target goal for your shadow priest. This is reachable through running the max level dungeons, crafting some gear, buying some badge pieces, and having a few lucky heroic drops. Next, you'll want to make sure you gem your pieces with blue quality gems, enchant them, and reforge off any extra stats (such as mastery or extra spirit/hit.) If you are about to object and say "but why would I waste time enchanting gear I am just going to replace?" you might want to reconsider starting raiding at this point. Start of an expansion raiding is not a cakewalk. It needs everyone to give 110%. You will be wiping, and repairing, and rinsing and repeating. If you think you are being put out by spending $100g on a gem for your gear, you may want to wait til you can outgear the content.

Check Your Output

I have been grouped with folks in heroics through LFD who can only eek out about 4-5k. This doesn't cut it in most heroics, unless your other 2 DPS are rock stars, and your healer's mana pool can support a protracted boss kill. In a raid, no one can afford to carry you. If you are not able to hit 9-11k consistently in heroics, you are not ready to be thinking about raiding.

If you are close to the 9k, start looking at how you can fine tune. Try pulling back on some of that hit, shooting for closer to 10% hit than 14-17%. This means having to keep an eagle-eye watch on your debuffs to ensure you cast another Vampiric Touch if the first one doesn't land, but it can make a boost in your DPS in the long run. I swapped out my glyph of dispersion, which I loved for leveling, for the SW:D glyph. I also make sure I have my personal buff food on hand (Severed Sagefish Head) in case there isn't a feast or BBQ put out. I also come armed with a flask of the draconic mind or a stack of speed elixirs. Yes, these consumables cost a ton. But a raid is a team effort.

Try and Try Again, but Know When to Quit

So you are invited to your first raid -- awesome! Get in there and modify your rotation and work on adapting your playstyle for the on-the-move style of these new raids. It can take some time to get into the groove and to understand a new encounter. But you will also want to make sure you are able to ID when you are not up to the challenge.

For instance, if your team is repeatedly coming very close to killing the boss, but not quite making it, take a look at the damage meter. Are you hitting your target DPS? What about overall damage? In the event that you see there is a wide gulf between you and the DPS right above you -- or worse yet, there is a tank above you in the raid encounter -- you may need to give yourself a time out before your raid leader has to. It is important to understand the difference between needing some fine tuning or needing to focus a little harder, versus being in denial about not coming close to the requirements for an encounter, and having the expectation that someone else will pick up the slack.


Friday Five: Five Posts You Should Read if You're About to Start Raiding

this is a good place for a shadow priest to hide

It's about that time again. Time to start thinking about putting together successful raid teams, or plotting how to get into your guild's raids. That's why this week's five are five of my favorite raiding advice posts that you can read and share with your raiding team to get things off on the right foot.

In addition to the above bits of advice from moi, there have been some pretty helpful and thoughtful posts in my feedreader that pertained to raiding, as my favorite bloggers get back into raiding. Here are a few of the highlights:


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" »


Friday Five: My Five Favorite Post-Shattering Things (so far)

Forsaken shadow priest Anexxia walks into the beautifully redesigned Brill.

It feels as though my exploration of Azeroth has barely begun. There is so much I have yet to see and do. It's a welcome change of pace. In these past few days, I have come across many changes that have made me very happy:

  1. Gnome priests. Is there much that is cuter than a gnome shadow priest? No, there really isn't.I never really clicked with my Draenei shadow priest. In large part because she never had the same compelling back story, for me, that mu Forsaken shadow priest had. But that's all changed now. Snake is a happy bouncing gnome lady. And I am utterly charmed.
  2. The new Silverpine Forest. Although I really only did a tourist look-see through this zone, even a cursory visit shows it has been utterly, magnificently changed. For the better. I can't wait to play my future goblin and take them through Silverpine.What exactly *are* those Valkyrie ladies up to?
  3. Dwarf Shaman. I faction changed my Draenei shaman some time ago, and was getting the urge to play a shaman Alliance side again, but am glad I waited to reroll until this week so I could make my dwarf shaman lady.
  4. The new Deadmines. I had so much fun running through there yesterday that I totally forgot to take any screenies. And that's pretty much unheard of for me, yes? The entrance area is that same old tunnel, but not the same inhabitants (the same goes for the entire Moonbrook area-- it reminds me of our old bus terminal downtown.) Once you get into the actual entrance, the loot is the same but most of the bosses are completely different. Many little touches that make it a much more fun place to explore and fight in. Lots of things to pick up, explode, or hop onto. And portals conveniently scattered around so you don't have to run run run back if you die in a PUG on your lowbies. I don't want to spoil the fun for you, so the only thing I will give away right now is: mining monkeys you can set free. Mwahahaha.
  5. Many new pets! So far, no new pet achievement for having 100 pets, but we do have a whole slew of new pets to pursue. I'd suggest you first head to Hillsbrad to find the goblin botanist who can give you the Plants Versus Ghouls questline starter, Basic Botany. At the end you'll be rewarded with the adorable singing sunflower. And a plea for courtesy: level 80 pet collectors, don't follow around lowbies questing in the same areas you are in for pursuing your pet. It's really incredibly lame of you to 1-shot mobs they've DoTd or are casting at. There are plenty of quest mobs for everyone so DBAD.

BONUS: A big THANK YOU to Blizz for the many improved textures that help make the redesigned Orgrimmar and Stormwind cities truly magnificent. You've outdone yourself guys.


Thank You, Deathwing, for my Gnome Shadow Priest


It's been several years since the destruction wrought by Deathwing shattered Azeroth. Yet it seems like only a few days ago. How have you coped? What has struck you most in your heart?

I knew that after all the transformation we'd seen take place in Azeroth as a result of Deathwing's fury that I too needed to undergo transformation, to show the world my true self. And thus, I went under the knife for my recustomization, and became the adorable shadow priest gnome that I always had lurking inside of my sexy blue shell.

gnome shadow priest snakedriver on her mechanostrider in shadowform

After I made my leap of faith, I made sure to visit my racial leader, the High Tinker himself, and to receive his blessing.

this gnome shadow priest lady carries the High Tinker seal of approval

I hope you too have found your post-shattering "whoohoo!" moment and your inner (gnome) peace as well.

xo Snakedriver


Starcaller Anexxia

Face to Face with Algalon

My last major achievement of Wrath of the Lich King. I never really put it on my to hope for list. I was afraid of being disappointed. Especially after all the Sunday afternoons spent watching people run into fire on Mimiron Firefighter attempts...

:)

But tonight, I got to see Algalon for the first time. And after 40 minutes of working on him, we defeated him. And that makes me Starcaller Anexxia. And I am nearly teary eyed over it. Because it feels good to hit up that one last thing as the days tick down on this expansion.

Thank you Emtox for perservering on this, even in the face of flaking and no shows. This meant a lot.


My Shadow Priest's Planned Patch Day Build and Glyphs

  WoWScrnShot_091310_210456

Since I've been able to do some playing around on the PTR, I have my plans solidified for my talents and glyphs when the patch comes out in the next week or so. These choices are for being raid-ready at 80. I'll certainly change things up for my off-spec and for leveling when the expansion drops on December 7.

Glyphs

As of the patch, you'll get three glyphs each for your prime, major and minor glyph slots.

Prime

  • Dispersion
    Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.
  • Shadow Word: Pain
    Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
  • Mind Flay
    Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

I know that Blizz wants us to move SW:Death back into our rotation, but until I actually see in action that I am using it enough to warrant its glyph, I'm choosing SW:P over it. In BC, when it was part of my rotation, I still don't think it got enough use that I would pick decreasing its cooldown over something else. And if you are spamming it trying to get those juicy big crits at the 25% and under health levels, well you'd better have a healer keeping an eye on you unless you enjoy floor hugging.

Major

  • Spirit Tap
    When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
  • Psychic Scream
    Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
  • Fade
    Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.

Despite not thinking I'll be using SW:D a ton, the Spirit Tap glyph seems like a good buy (especially since there aren't a ton of other glyphs in this range that I am dying to use.) The psychic Scream glyph rocks for providing PvE priests the ability to use Fear in a raid setting without sending off its targets to go find new friends. Huzzah! And given my love for using my Fade button, that glyph is also a no-brainer.

Minor

  • Fortitude
    Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 50%.
  • Levitate
    Your Levitate spell no longer requires a reagent.
  • Shadow Protection
    Increases the duration of your Shadow Protection spell by 10 min.

Nothing to see here. Pick your favorite boring old minor glyphs. These are the ones I've used since the dawn of inscription.

Talents

I've used MMO Champion's talent calculator to show my build. Basically, you go through the Shadow tree, minus the stun for Mind Blast and the psychic horro and sience points, then put your remaining points into Discipline.

Talents

(NOTE: Now that you get your talent points every other level, you can't spend that next point in Discipline until you hit 81.)

Rotation

I'm not set on my rotation at this point. And from all the nerding back and forth on SP.com, I don't know that anyone else is yet either. But this is what I am looking at:

SW:P > DP > VT > SW:D > MB> MF

Then wait for the MB and SW:D CDs to be back up, and refreshing DoTs as needed. Toss out your shadowfiend whenever the CD is available, starting when you are down 25% mana or thereabouts. If it's a short fight, you may want to lead with it for pure DPS boost.

Reforging

The current talk is that mastery becomes better than crit and haste only at the point that you have 1400 of each of them. Which I, not having any heroic gear, certainly do not have. So at this point, I won't be worrying about it, other than as a way to manage my hit rating. Basically, 40% of the following stats on a piece of gear may be reforged into any stat not currently present on that piece of gear:

  • Critical Strike Rating
  • Dodge Rating
  • Expertise Rating
  • Haste Rating
  • Hit Rating
  • Mastery Rating
  • Parry Rating
  • Spirit

Overall it's looking like our 4.0.1 gear stat priority would be: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (at hit cap) or  Hit > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (until hit cap)

For Further Patch Related Reading

 


Friday Five: Five Things You Probably Don't Know About my Shadow Priest

Anexxia Archturus ScreenShot_100707_160840

  1. Anexxia was born in January 2007. She is seen here with her co-conspirator Archturus, a disc priest with whom she duo'd a number of instances at level. I didn't start playing her in earnest until October of that year. After only a few months, I was hooked on shadowy spellcasting.
  2. By December 2007, it became clear that the friend whose server I rolled on didn't have the most inviting/friendly guild, and wouldn't be a place I could see myself join. The guild ended up dissolving and my friend ended up quitting WoW, hence why I rolled my Alliance shadow priest in December 2007.
  3. Anexxia was moved to Bronzebeard in December 2008 to join Daughters of the Horde, a guild with whom I'd become acquainted through Livejournal. I slowly leveled her up to 80, while still raiding Naxx on my Alliance druid, but by mid-Spring, toe dipping her bony toes into raiding in Naxx 10s and 25, she had usurped the druid's position as my main.
  4. Despite the fact that many folks pronounce her name Onyxia, her name was, in fact, one I made up from scratch, playing off the idea that she was an auxiliary character I had created to explore the horde-side of the game and as a break from my progression raiding guild.
  5. No, she doesn't heal. Yes, she has an offspec that the armory notes is holy. However, truth be told, she has used it approximately once. When a bunch of us were running around Northrend visiting elders. On a lark, the peeps asked me to heal. I lasted through a partial instance before one of our group members volunteered to go get his healer. *cough* Yes, I am sure I could learn how to heal if I put my mind to it. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE shadow priesting and thus am not inclined *to* put my mind to it. And that's OK. You can have me heal on my shaman, and I plan to learn how to druid heal again in Cataclysm, but for me, priesting is all about the shadowform, baby.

Shadow Priest DPS on the PTR

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

The above is from the PTR today, self-buffed, no special food or elixirs/flasks, no mods to help me keep an eye on things like latency or procs. Just me on the heroic dummy.

Overall the DPS is OK. I do notice a few differences from PTR versus live:

1) Mind Flay's damage is showing up as a DoT. However, the crit % was within 1% on live versus PTR, so it seems comparable in that way.  The average live tick, however, was a smidge over 3k. Could have just been lucky procs.

2) Vampiric Touch had 3% fewer crits on the PTR. versus live, however, its average tick was for 300 more.

3) In live, I consistently do more overall damage with devouring plague than with shadow word: pain (13.1% vs 11.3%). On PTR this has consistently been flipped, with SW:P on top (13.3 vs 11.1).

4) SW:P has gone from 1983 a tick on average on live to 2313 a tick on PTR. That seems like a small uptick, but since you keep your SW:P up all the time with your mindflays, it adds up.

5) I kept up the mind blasts in both places to keep the replenishment flowing, but the new talents etc. caused the DPS from it to be twice as high on the PTR (12.4k average versus 6k average.)

6) It is really weird for me to see the shadowfiend's melee swings outpacing the improved devouring plague, but it's true. The talents/glyphs I am using on the PTR give me a shadowfiend cooldown a minute which I took advantage of every time it was available. I should mention the damage from each of its strikes has also increased by 1k.)

Due to all the changes to mana regen, I'd been concerned about maximizing replenishment uptime. And the last time I'd been on the PTR I'd had to disperse a few times over the course of my 12min trial. But today, although I had to do that in live, I didn't ever even dip below about 28k/32k mana. So I am waiting for the nerf bat to strike. One thing I could not really test is how much damage shadowy apparitions add to your arsenal. They're not showing up on the logs yet as they are doing 0 damage. So they are just a pretty proc to look at for now.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about what shadow priest DPS will bring for Cataclysm. For theorycrafting on BETA shadow priest DPS and spells, head to shadowpriest.com.


And the Winner is...Me! Blazing Hippogryph Mount is All Mine

  Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you: that's an undead priest on a hippogryph mount. Mwahahahaha!

You see, over the course of the past month, I'd been retweeting the @rawrcast contest twitter phrase, for a chance to win a Blazing Hippogryph mount code, courtesy of the Wootloots.com peeps. (NOTE: I've been a subscriber to the Rawrcast podcast for a good while, and had been following them on twitter since I made my first serious effort to find all the folks whose blogs I read/podcasts I listened to and follow them.)

I certainly didn't expect to win -- after all I most commonly roll a 6 or a 7 whenever I want an item that drops in a raid. Lucky is *not* my middle name.

So it seriously made my week to get a DM that I'd won the mount from the June contest. For those of you not familiar with it, the mount is an exceptionally uncommon loot card from the WoW trading card game.

  Shadow Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

Her feet are even still on fire in shadowform! How cool is that?

When I told my guildies of my extreme good luck, my GM asked me "So, wait, did you set a hippogryph on fire, Anexxia?" "Uh..no! Of course not! It was on fire when I found it!" (likely story, yes?)

I don't think I'll be eligible to win their Blizzcon t-shirt slogan contest now, but that won't stop me from sending them my ideas...I am torn between a 2-sider with "I remember you..." on the front and "...in the mountains" on the back, or, in the sassy spirit their podcast embodies, maybe a naughty defile reference, but I am honestly too tired at the moment to think of one witty enough.

  Shadow Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

And yes, I milled around in Dalaran to show the guildies my new toy.

Thanks again Rawrcast -- you've made this pet and mount collector very very happy.

cheers!