And WoW being directed by Michael Bay?! Also amazing!
Prior to the release of MoP, I decided to dust off my most neglected alt and start leveling him. He was a Holy Priest healer that I quickly converted to a Shadow Priest dps. That alt has since become my main.
Before the advent of LFR, I was one of those guys that simply did not have the time to see raid content due to RL time constraints. I now often run LFR, happily dealing small amounts of shadow damage to anything that crosses my group's path. The problem is that I really suck... like 40-45K dps with an ilvl of 477, fully gemmed, enchanted, etc.
I have looked at a few websites to try to refine my rotation. While I am trying to follow the direction that they provide, I am still barely improving. I suspect that I am not managing my DoTs correctly when battling groups of trash. I see other Shadow Priests in my LFR groups dealing upwards of 85K DPS and their top spells seem to vary.
Where can I go to learn how to not suck?
I started to write out a long response to you, but then I saw a big comment in reply to you on the Queue. I'm just going to turn it over to Seidus now, because he does a great job in replying (and as a note, comments like this are the reason why I love our community):
Veteran priest reporting. Priest has always been my primary alt, and while I'm a tank at heart, I absolutely love any opportunity to play my priest. Currently, I'm doing a lot of healing, but shadow is a spec that I've been passionate about since Karazhan.
There is often a lot of discourse regarding reforging and stat priorities when folks aren't DPS'ing up to their potential, but when there is a significant variance between theoretical DPS and actual DPS, the problem is almost always mechanical instead of mathematical.
First, it is important to note that shadow priests aren't exactly excelling at single-target DPS right now. It's not terrible, but it isn't our strength by any means. Shadow priests truly shine on fights with 3-4 targets that will live for a significant period of time. Unfortunately, the only fights that come to mind that fit this description are LFR Stone Guard, Will of the Emperor, and Sha of Anger.
To address your comment regarding the variation of Recount reports from other shadow priests that are blowing up the meters, this almost certainly comes down to talenting. Twist of Fate priests are going to be doing more direct damage with their DoTs. FDCL priests are going to have 10% or more of their damage coming from Mind Spikes. Divine Insight priests are going to have significantly more Mind Blast damage. It all works, but some talents just work better for certain fights.
It is important to note that we are DoTers above all else, not so much in the vein that our DoTs are the overwhelming bulk of damage, but we also receive useful procs from our DoTs to generate instant cast, high-damage abilities through FDCL and DI talents. Maintaining DoT uptime is pivotal in the shadow priest DPS arsenal.
Unfortunately, there is no way to efficiently track DoTs on 3+ targets with the standard UI, barring top-tier Starcraft-like APM abilities to constantly click your mobs between GCDs. This is purely inefficient and really just silly. DoTimer-like addons (e.g. DoTimer, Affdots) are decent, but their main functionality revolves around single-target tracking. I would download TidyPlates (or a similar addon). This allows for direct tracking of your DoT durations on the nameplates of each mob. Get used to tracking your DoTs this way.
You also need to know when to use Mind Sear as opposed to multi-DoT'ing. I see a lot of priests simply Mind Searing the tank when there are 3 mobs on him. The rule for Mind Sear vs multi-DoT is somewhat convoluted. You have to make a bit of an on-the-fly calculation of how many mobs are going to be hit in conjunction with how long they are going to live. If they are going to live longer than 15 seconds, the general rule is to mind sear only if there are 5 or more. Also, you can throw SW:P on the mobs as they are running toward the tank (before clustering into Mind Sear range), so long as you are popping Fade. This is mainly a trash mechanic, though there are some bosses where Mind Searing is required (e.g. Heroic Feng).
A few other things to consider for shadow priest DPS:
(1) You don't have to use DP as soon as you get three shadow orbs. You are wasting nothing by holding DP until you get a windsong/trinket/lightweave/etc proc, so long as you use it before you cast another MB. Similarly, you don't have to use a FDCL proc immediately. They stack to two, so you can hold off if you need to refresh a DoT or have a DI proc to use (which only stacks to one).
(2) Game the mechanics. Normal Stone Guard? Throw a SW:P on the dog with the 90% damage reduction when you are on the move and can't hardcast anything else. It won't do much damage, but you can still proc DI with it. Garajal? Save Halo or Cascade for going into the spirit realm to obliterate a good chunk of health from the Shadowy Minions. Elegon? Same deal with Cascading the orbs. Almost every encounter has areas where you can game mechanics on multi-target fights.
(3) Don't get discouraged on fights like non-heroic Feng. It's a purely single target fight, so let the mages blow up the meters here. Just stay tight with your DoT refreshes and proc usage, and use your utility. Take Glyph of Dark Binding, and help the raid by using PoM/renew on the unmitigated ticks from Epicenter and Draw Flames, and look for a clutch opportunity to line up a Vamp Empbrace/DP combo. Leap of Faith the tunnel-visioning rogue that is about to drop fire on the entire melee group. You aren't brought to fights like this to compete on the meters with the mages and warlocks, so get your utility on.
(4) Once you get comfy with these concepts, learn the more fine-tuned elements of shadow priesting. Which fights can you talent Twist of Fate and snipe renew/PoM heals on critically injured players regularly? When is Cascade more effective than Halo, due to CD and mob positioning? There are a lot of little things, but staying on top of your muti-DoT potential and managing procs from both your gear/enchants as well as your talents are the cornerstones of your DPS.
I was in the Valley of Four Winds doing my Tillers dailies a couple days ago, and the whole zone was experiencing a big thunder & lightning storm, and a torrential downpour.
Was this some kind of precursor to the upcoming Throne of Thunder patch, or is it just some quirk of RNG that I've simply never happened to be in the Valley during one of these weather events on any of the five characters I've gotten as far as the Valley? I'd honestly never seen weather like that anywhere in Pandaria since the launch of MoP.
Way back when we used to have weather effects all the time, but they got shut off for various technical reasons. Now with MoP they're back on and have taken a lot of players by surprise. It's entirely normal and natural to have a thunderstorm out on the farm, after all. As far as we're aware there is no pre-patch event for 5.2; so the fact you've not seen this particular event is probably just some RNG love.
One of the real cool things I like about the weather is having to wait for the baby gorilla pet to spawn out in STV. Camping that thing felt old school and cool, and I proudly play my rare baby ape in pet battles.
Question: do we know yet what caused the Mist to part where it's been fine for thousands of years? Does it have anything to do with Deathwing?
We still don't know, plain and simple. There's a lot of theories, and some off hand comment by an NPC that says (paraphrased) "you caused the mists to part." But that's it, nothing of any meaning yet. I suspect we'll find out towards the end of the expansion.
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