At level 15, you'll be able to further customize your priest by choosing one major and one minor glyph to give your abilities a boost. Your options at this low level are extremely limited -- your best choices are the Glyph of Inner Fire (most recommended) and the Glyph of Power Word: Shield (another strong choice for leveling). As for minor glyphs, the only one worth picking up at this point is the Glyph of Fortitude.
Where to quest
A large part of World of Warcraft is the solo questing aspect. To get the most out of it, of course, you want to spend your time at the areas best aligned with your current level, otherwise you either won't be able to pick up quests (or the quests you can pick up will be worth virtually nothing to finish).
Alliance characters will find quests available in Loch Modan (levels 10-19), Westfall (10-19), Bloodmyst Isle (10-19), Darkshore (10-19), and Duskwood (18+). Horde players should favor the Ghostlands (10-19), Silverpine Forest (10-19), and The Barrens (10-25). Alliance and Horde can find things to do in Redridge Mountains (15+), Ashenvale (18+), and Stonetalon Mountains (17+), though the first two are skewed more towards Alliance and the latter is skewed towards Horde.
Remember, a lot of the areas you'll be visiting during this time will be experiencing grand makeovers in Cataclysm, so appreciate the scenery (and the lore-rich quests) now while you still can -- they'll only be around for another couple months.
Trying your hand at PvP
Once you pass level 10, you'll find yourself able to enter battlegrounds with your newly minted priest -- specifically, Warsong Gulch. Warsong Gulch is a 10 vs. 10 capture-the-flag-style game played the best three matches out of five. The entrance to Warsong Gulch is found in Ashenvale, though you can also sign up for a battle by visiting a Warsong Gulch Battlemaster in a capital city or pulling up your character's PvP menu at any time.
At early levels, there's not much PvP opportunity for shadow priests -- the basic mechanics of battlegrounds encourage you to sling heals and use Power Word: Shield. It stinks not being the hero who gets to carry the flag, but keeping the flag carrier (or flag defender) buffed with PW:S and Renew is just as vital a job. And don't forget your access to Psychic Scream -- it's a literal lifesaver in battlegrounds.
If PvP is not your thing, you can still take advantage of the Warsong Gulch rewards! In last week's edition of this guide, I suggested you have a well-off level 80 alt send you a bind-on-account Wintergrasp Commendations, worth 2000 points of honor. Once you hit level 18, you'll be able to use that currency to buy, equip and wear the Lorekeeper's Ring [A] / Advisor's Ring [H] and the Caretaker's Cape [A] / Battle Healer's Cloak [H]. Both are terrific bargains at 100 honor each, and unlike level 80 PvP items, they're perfectly itemized for solo questing. You can get these from Illiyana Moonblaze [A] or Kelm Hargunth [H] at your faction's entrance to the Warsong Gulch battleground in Ashenvale. In the old days, you'd actually need to grind multiple wins in Warsong to buy these, so take advantage of the latest patch changes!
Of course, even if you don't have access to the "easy honor" of a level 80, grinding 100 points of honor should be a simple affair of running a couple Warsong Gulch battlegrounds. If this is the case, you probably don't have heirlooms, so think about buying the caster staff (500 honor) and trinket (300 honor) while you're there.
Instances and the dungeon finder tool
Patch 3.3 heralded the advent of the supremely useful dungeon finder tool, letting you queue up to run instances even from the safety of your own capitol city, starting at level 15. The benefits are obvious: lots of experience, and rare quality (blue) drops, plus an extra, random blue bind-on-pickup item if you finish a random dungeon. Oh, money too. The only thing you don't have lavished on you is good looks (but thankfully, yours truly has enough of that to cover the both of us).
Remember, these early dungeons are supposed to be relatively easy in difficulty, so don't fret too much about not having the right level of skill or gear to run these. True blue future shadow priests will choose to queue for dungeons as DPS, though you could cut the wait by queuing as a healer. There's more pressure on you as a healer, but you should probably get the hang of things quickly given how forgiving the enemies are in these.
On the way to level 20, you'll have access to five different instances (with the minimum level at which you can enter each using the dungeon finder tool in parentheses):
- Ragefire Chasm (minimum 15): Once available almost exclusively to Horde characters, any player of appropriate level can now try Ragefire Chasm (RFC) using the dungeon finder. Horde players will want to pick up the quests involving RFC for extra experience, though these are scattered in Undercity, Thunder Bluff, and Orgrimmar. Priests will be interested in trying to grab the Robe of Evocation that drops off Jergosh the Invoker and the Crystalline Cuffs that drop off Taragaman the Hungerer. Both have high drop rates (~33%) and are easily farmable. RFC makes for an excellent "beginners" dungeon where you can learn the mechanics of participating in a five-man group -- grabbing aggro is seldom fatal (unless sustained).
- Deadmines (minimum 15): The Deadmines has higher level enemies than RFC does, but the rewards are slightly better. All available Deadmines quests are Alliance only -- two are obtained in Westfall, and the third is obtained from Shoni the Silent in the Dwarven District of Stormwind. The prime drops to look for as a priest are the Lavishly Jeweled Ring from Gilnid, the Gold Flecked Gloves from Sneed, and Cookie's Stirring Rod from Cookie. If you don't have heirlooms, you'll also want the Emberstone Staff from Captain Greenskin and the Corsair's Overshirt from Edwin VanCleef. Alliance players should also loot VanCleef to get An Unsent Letter, which starts a quest.
- Wailing Caverns (minimum 15): Located in the Barrens, Wailing Caverns (WC) is similar to the Deadmines in difficulty. Most of the quests involving WC are for Horde characters, and start in Thunder Bluff of Crossroads, though both factions can pick up neutral quests in Ratchet. The boss drops to look for here are the Serpent Gloves off Lord Serpentis and the Deep Fathom Ring off Mutanus the Devourer. Those without heirlooms will have interest in the Robe of the Moccasin off Lord Cobrahn, the Slime-encrusted Pads (with some helpful mana regen), and Verdan the Everliving's two-handed staff, the Living Root.
- Shadowfang Keep (minimum 16): Most of the Shadowfang Keep (SFK) quests are for Horde characters (starting at The Sepulcher and Undercity), but you'll be hard pressed to pick any of them up at lower levels. The main drop you'll want out of SFK is the Belt of Arugal off of Archmage Arugal himself. If you don't have heirlooms, SFK is a goldmine of great drops: You can grab the Robes of Arugal off Archmage Arugal, Wolf Master Nandos drops the Feline Mantle, and stamina-hungry priests will like the Bloody Apron off Razorclaw the Butcher. Also keep an eye out for some great, sellable bind-on-equip drops that you can sell on auction (or equip, like the Witching Stave).
- Blackfathom Deeps (minimum 19): Noted here for the sake of completeness, since you technically can get in. The enemies in Blackfathom Deeps will be exceptionally difficult to hit before getting to level 20, and this will be a challenge to heal if you're under 20, as well.
If you liked this article, you may also like the other parts of the "Spiritual Guidance leveling guide" series:
Hunger for more information about bending the light to your advantage? More interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? Think it's neat to dissolve into a ball of pure shadow every few minutes? Hate gnomes? The darker, shadowy side of Spiritual Guidance has you covered.