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Spiritual Guidance: The worst shadow priest raiding application ever

Each Wednesday, Spiritual Guidance is taken over by shadow priest ambassador Fox Van Allen. Named one of People Magazine's "Most Influential People" in 1984, Fox finished ahead of both Secretary of State James Baker III (#8) and actress Farrah Fawcett (#9). Where was Dawn Moore on that list? She tied Press Your Luck host Peter Tomarkin at #273. It was a very comprehensive list, you see.

Icecrown Citadel, in some capacity, has been open for business for over six months now.

There's some good news and bad news in that statement. It's definitely bad news for established raiding groups -- once core members have established themselves as Kingslayers, they're likely to start losing interest in raiding. That's good news, too, at least for people interested in becoming Kingslayers themselves -- it's an ideal time to be looking for a raid group, even if you're not a perfect, hardcore raider.

While opportunities are increasingly plentiful, any raid group worth joining is going to have some semblance of standards. You can't just walk in off the street just because you're a shadow priest and they're looking for one -- you have to prove yourself a little bit first. That's what this week's column is all about: understanding what raid teams are looking for and understanding how to best present yourself.

In the spirit of Goofus and Gallant, we'll teach by showing you what not to do. I will be playing the part of the handsome Gallant. Playing Goofus today is Mookie Wilson, New York Met and villain (or hero, whatever) of the 1986 World Series.

Okay, so, here's the situation. There's this awesome hypothetical raiding guild named <No Jacket Required>. They're well known on our hypothetical server as being a fairly serious (but not overly hardcore) raid group, which is exactly what we're looking for. We went to their website, did a little research into their team, and good news -- they're looking for a shadow priest! Time to roll up our sleeves and apply.

Our competition for the position: former Mets center fielder Mookie Wilson. We could have our work cut out for us -- dude's sporting World Series rings. Thankfully, though, Mookie has never applied for a position on a raid team before and has put together the worst shadow priest raiding application ever. Let's take a look at his application, line by line, and point out Mookie's tragic mistakes. And, of course, learn from them. Even if it takes 18 years. Eighteen long, championship-less years.

1. Introduce yourself.

mookie
OK, so we should be feeling good about our chances already, because Mookie fumbled an easy one. Where did he go wrong? Mookie didn't put any effort into his response. The item wants us to introduce ourselves, but he gave the absolute bare minimum. Never mind not being interested in typing a sentence; he didn't even bother putting in the effort to hit the shift key and capitalize his own name. (He must have been too busy screwing over Bill Buckner.)

Guilds aren't looking for your life history, but even the most hardcore raiding guild will be a little interested in learning at least some details. Even more than that, though, they're looking for effort. If you really want to raid with a decent guild, put some time in to your application. Think out your responses. Answer in full sentences. Maybe even explore using paragraphs.

Don't half-ass it.
2. What is your raiding history in World of Warcraft? What experience do you have with Icecrown Citadel (including hard modes)?

i did uldaur and did some icc
OK, so basic lesson number two: Answer the damn questions. How far did you get in Ulduar? Did you do One Light in the Darkness? Did you even beat Flame Leviathan? And how much ICC did you actually do? Did we clear up through Sindragosa? Saurfang? Or did we just clear some trash for Ashen Verdict rep? And what about hard modes?

Who the hell knows? Mookie didn't answer the question.

Instead, Mookie should have said something more along the lines of this: "Besides the weekly raid quests I've run for emblems, I cleared Ulduar up through Mimiron with some PUG groups, and I've just started experiencing ICC. I've cleared the first wing and have experience with the Festergut and Rotface fights. I haven't done any heroic modes in Icecrown yet, but was 2/5 in ToGC, and I've done the hard mode versions of Flame Leviathan and Ignis."

Is the new answer perfect? Maybe not; Mookie's experience may not be enough for what the guild is looking for. But we did answer the question -- all parts of it -- and we were honest. Honesty is key.

Why? Aside from the obvious, it's because most of what is said on an application can be independently verified. We can say we've done heroic Lich King, but a quick visit to the Armory will show whether or not we actually have. Even white lies can come back and bite you on the ass. Lying is a great way to get your application denied, regardless of how good you are.
3. Provide a link to your character's armory and a recent damage log.

...
The perfect way to botch an application is to not even respond to certain questions -- especially simple requests like linking to your armory profile.

Of course, actually providing the armory link is only half the battle. The other half is making yourself look good. Here are a few shadow-priest-specific tips to pimp your profile for inspection.
  • Make the most of what you have. Gear is actually quite easy to get for established raiding groups, so not being decked out in full ICC-25 gear is usually not an issue. Still, there's no excuse for applying for a guild if you haven't put an effort into at least getting some Emblem of Triumph gear. It takes about two hours of running heroics to get enough emblems for a piece of tier 9 gear. If your gear stinks and there's room to improve it before you apply, improve it. If you don't want to put in the effort to do that, then you probably won't be happy with raiding in general.
  • Enchant, enchant, enchant. This goes back to what we were talking about earlier regarding effort. Enchanting is an increasingly inexpensive way to improve your performance. Even if you don't have the best gear, spending the time to enchant what you do have -- even lowly level 200 purple items you earned in heroics -- shows that you're dedicated to being the best you can be. Enchant for spellpower where you can. For your boots, grab Tuskarr's Vitality or Icewalker if you're desperate for the hit. Leave no item unenchanted -- and yes, that goes for your head and shoulders too.
  • Gem correctly. Gemming is another place where a lot of applications are written off, even if you have amazing gear. Every red slot (plus the colorless slot you get on your belt from the Eternal Belt Buckle) should be filled with a Runed Cardinal Ruby. Yellow slots should be filled with Reckless Ametrines, or possibly a Rigid King's Amber if you need to get to the hit cap. Blue slots are best filled with Purified Dreadstones. And there's only one choice for the meta gem: the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.
  • Get to -- or damn close to -- the hit cap. Another basic competence check: Is your shadow priest at or near the hit cap? It's 263 for Alliance; 289 for Horde. Is your spriest at 140? Get new gear with more hit on it, gem for hit or enchant for hit -- there's little excuse for falling short there. Is your spriest at 495 hit? That's laughably high. Try to swap out pieces if you can, even if it's a slight item level downgrade. If you do this, though, you may want to note in your application that you've deliberately swapped in a few lower level items to drop to the hit cap, and that you'll be able to upgrade multiple item slots with one solid hit-free drop.
  • Always log out in your best gear. Don't accidentally sign out wearing your fishing hat and pole. If you're providing a link to your character, people are going to be looking at it.
If there's anything unusual with your armory profile, be up front and explain why. You might be able to get away with using the +23 spellpower bracer enchant instead of the +30 spellpower one if you say that you wanted to save a little bit of gold because you're planning to upgrade this weekend. Or, at least, they're more likely to be forgiving.

Try to spin any perceived negative into a positive through your knowledge of the shadow priest craft.
4. What is your spec? How have you invested your talent points? Do you have a dual spec?

i am shadowspec 0/0/71
What this question is really asking about -- or at least, what it gives you the opportunity to show -- is your knowledge of what shadow priesting is all about. Giving nothing more than a set of numbers (especially the head-turning choice of putting all 71 points into shadow) just doesn't cut it.

You don't have to itemize every choice, of course -- it should be enough to explain that you've taken every talent available to maximize your DPS without singling each one out individually. Do, however, put in the time to explain any unusual choices. Taking Improved Power Word: Shield is an odd choice, but you can explain that you do it for extra survivability in 10-man raids that lack disc priests. If you've skipped out on a common mana regen talent (by, say, going only 2/3 in Mediation), explain that you've done it because you don't find mana to be an issue on your fights.

If you've taken the talent (and you really should!), be sure to point out that you've invested points in Improved Vampiric Embrace to increase the amount of passive raid healing you do. Don't forget to mention Misery, either. It's always good to show where your spec helps the team to show that you're not a selfish player. And if the team is looking for a shadow priest in particular, then those two talents will definitely be prerequisites for any successful applicant.

And if you've spent the 1,000 gold for a dual spec, you should definitely point it out, even if you're not good at healing. Dual-specced raiders add huge value to a team. Just be honest and up front about it -- don't pass yourself off as solid off-heals if you don't feel comfortable healing.
5. What would you bring to our raid team?

i dps hard for ur team
Mookie answered this question by not even answering the question at all. If he's a shadow priest, a raid leader already knows he'll be DPSing raid bosses. As is, this answer is so terribly non-specific that it barely qualifies as an answer at all.

In formulating a better answer, we could be a little bit more specific. Would you rather take the applicant who claims to "dps hard for ur team," or would you rather bring someone who says, "I bring a strong knowledge of my class. I average 8,000 DPS in Icecrown and regularly research and seek out opportunities to better my performance. I'm a team player, I have a positive attitude (even during nights where we wipe constantly!) and am always willing to help out a fellow guildmate with a quick gem cut or crafted flask in between fights."

(P.S. Never use "ur" on an application. For anything.)
6. What are you looking to get out of your raiding experience?

epics
Whoops, wrong answer. Even if it's the right answer, it's the wrong answer.

It's like Mookie just walked into a job interview and said that the only reason he's applying is "money." Of course you'll get gear by joining a raiding group, but it's bad form to say it's your reason for joining. Better answers include stating that you find raiding fun, that you're looking to experience and learn new content, that you want to challenge yourself, that you want to be part of a team or even that you're looking for a social environment to make new friends. Don't lie, but don't tell your prospective raid team that all you care about is soon-to-be-obsolete treasure.
7. What times are you available to raid? Can you make all scheduled raid times? Do you have anything that might conflict with our existing raiding schedule?

ya i can make most raids but i gotta watch gossip girl on mondays
Mistake: Gossip Girl is the worst. (Especially with the direction they're taking the Jenny Humphrey character -- I mean, come on!) But give Mr. Wilson credit -- at least he's being open and honest about his love of the team drama and the place it takes in his life.

Don't expect an established group to work around your schedule. Your goal should be finding a raid team that works for you. Don't apply for hardcore if you're looking for casual. Don't apply for a guild that runs on Wednesdays if you play canasta with your grandmother on Wednesdays.

There are a lot of guilds out there. You're only setting yourself up for disappointment -- on both ends -- if you try to jump into a team that doesn't meet your own goals.

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.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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