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Posts with tag dispersion

Spiritual Guidance: In defense (or condemnation) of Dispersion

This week your shadow priesting expert, Spiritual Guidance columnist and ace attorney Fox Van Allen, took on his hardest case yet: defending fellow columnist Dawn Moore against charges of murder! The trial was quick -- after presenting the same Rime-Covered Mace to the judge as evidence five consecutive times, Dawn was instantly declared guilty and hauled away. She was last heard muttering something about "the scent of fresh lemons ..."

I have this recurring vision of a grand council of shadow priests. We sit around a gigantic conference table in a dark, shadowy dungeon somewhere. We talk shop and strategy. We share recipes for roast gnome. We discuss our plans to conquer the world.

Then some joker mentions Dispersion, and the whole damn thing falls apart.
"It's a waste of a 31-point talent! We're being screwed!"

"Sit down, jerk, Dispersion is just fine!"
An epic fistfight breaks out. And the haters wind up using Dispersion to soak up the blows. Hypocrites!

Now that we know Dispersion is firmly set as our 31-point talent in Cataclysm, some old wounds are getting reopened. A lot of priests were never truly sold on Dispersion when it was first introduced, and while it's slowly gained acceptance (and more usefulness -- remember when it was garbage in Ulduar?), emotions still run high. A contingent of shadow priests loves the utility of the ability and the lore behind it. A contingent despises it for eating up the slot of some mythical perfect ability that's yet to be designed.

It's the shadow priest equivalent of Roe v. Wade. And we're going to jump right in the middle of it after the break.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Of lore, the forsaken and shadow priests


In addition to being the author of Wednesday's shadow priest edition of Spiritual Guidance, Fox Van Allen is an accomplished songwriter. After Dawn Moore refused to use Power Infusion on him during a lengthy raid encounter, Fox wrote the song In the Air Tonight. He mailed Dawn front-row tickets to his first concert performance, and as he reached the chorus, a bright spotlight engulfed Dawn. She cried in shame. It was awesome.

Regular readers of Spiritual Guidance know that over the last month, I've been putting together a leveling guide for aspiring shadow priests. In the last installment, I made a seemingly innocuous comment about shadow priests' being able to take the talent Shadowform at level 40:
We're able to make that fateful decision to forsake the light in exchange for causing more destruction more effectively.
I was literally describing the game mechanics; staying in Shadowform requires you to give up the spells in the holy tab. One of our commenters, aramis, used the line as a launching pad for an interesting comment that addressed a very basic question for us shadow priests: What the heck are shadow priests supposed to be, anyway?

I won't reprint the entire comment here, but it's definitely worth reading. The gist of it can be understood by reading just the first few sentences:
Mr. V-A, we don't FORSAKE the light as Shadow Priests. On the contrary, we embrace it ... We accept the light as the balance of ourselves. Life is about balance: pleasure and pain; good and evil; life and death; light and shadow.
Is aramis right? Follow me past the break as we explore a little bit of shadow priest lore, dip our toes into the cold waters of shadow priest roleplay, and try to solve an identity crisis that most of you probably don't even realize exists.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Priest Q&A: Tackling the Shadow Priest answers

Our resident Holy Priest guru tackled the healy bits of the Priest Q&A recently, and I've been mulling over the various Shadow commentary in the meantime. Going into the Q&A being fully aware that it wasn't intended to be a list of changes coming to the class, and more a look into the current design around the classes, I honestly wasn't too disappointed with the Shadow items. It's a case where, with a few exceptions, I think Ghostcrawler (and the other developers) actually know what's going on with the spec quite well. You can try and call me out on that, but hey. It's the truth. As far as Shadow was concerned, it wasn't too far off.

The general spec overview at the beginning of the Q&A was pretty spot on. It's easy for us to get momentum in PvE and lay down the damage, but the nature of PvP/arena doesn't really let us do that. Our long buildup time is harsh. We don't lend ourselves well to stop-and-go. We're pretty much all about the 'go' and a little bit of 'stop' sets us back to where we started. There's really no picking up where you left off. If the opposing team locks you down for a little too long, you pretty much need to start over. Your offensive momentum is irrecoverable. PvE usually doens't have to worry about that. Now, from this point forward, I'm going to address each Shadow-relevant quote point by point.

First question:

"Q: Since a lot of the damage a Shadow priest does builds with damage-over-time (DoT) spells, are you concerned about them being well-rounded enough to do adequate damage in shorter PvE encounters, 5-player dungeons, or in the Arenas?

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Patch 3.2 PTR: Priest changes in build 10072

A new build for patch 3.2 hit the PTR recently, and all of the related Shadow Priest changes are things that the recent Q&A hinted toward or straight out told us to expect. Let's not waste any time here and dig right into the changes.
  • Vampiric Touch now deals more damage when dispelled. (Max rank deals 1360 damage, previously 680)
Definitely not a surprise here. I've been saying for a long time that this component of the spell needed a significant buff, Ghostcrawler agreed, and doubling its base damage can probably be considered that. We'll still need to see it in action to determine if it's enough. If it's not enough, at least it's closer, and that's something.
  • Devouring Plague cooldown removed, can now only be applied to one target at a time.
This is a change I long expected, and despite Ghostcrawler initially seeming iffy on it in the Shadow Priest Q&A, the simple fact that it was mentioned made me more hopeful that it would happen. And it is happening! So I'm pretty happy about that. There isn't much more to say. It'll make playing a Shadow Priest much less frustrating when it comes to encounters where you're swapping targets a lot. Yogg-Saron, I'm looking at you.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Shadow Priest questions answered

Shadow Priests have been up in arms all over the official forums recently, and it seems to have reached a bit of a breaking point. Rather than waiting for the official Priest Q&A in the developers' Q&A series, Ghostcrawler chimed into an unofficial Q&A thread to give some insight. Since it's unofficial, the questions asked are very direct and specific, aimed at the posters in that thread rather than the playerbase as a whole. Still, the tone is mostly the same: Don't expect major announcements while reading the thread, it's more a discussion on class direction and philosophy rather than patch news. That being said, there is some good news in the whole thing. Some bad news, too.

I strongly recommend reading the whole thing on the official forums, but I'm going to pull out some bits and pieces here.

The first big thing that jumped out to me was in response to a question regarding Haste and DoTs. Have they considered DoTs scaling with Haste? Ghostcrawler says... yes! It's something they're apparently actively discussing. That doesn't guarantee we'll see it, but the fact that they're talking about it is promising.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow as a secondary spec in 3.1

Every week, Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host today is Alex Ziebart who doesn't have as many cool links to plug up here as Matticus does but will try anyway. This week we get our Shadowform on..

Dual specs are coming, probably only a week away, and I suspect that many Holy and/or Discipline Priests out there will be picking up a Shadow build as their second spec. Priests, like most classes, can have many little build variations to fit your playstyle: Raiding, soloing, doing Battlegrounds, doing arenas, all of that. I'm going to look at a couple of good PvE specs to use in patch 3.1, but unfortunately avoiding the PvP specs for you arena junkies in our audience. Trust me, you don't want to take my advice there. Discipline PvP maybe, but not Shadow.

PvE Shadow - Raiding
MMO-Champion has a great tool for setting up talent specs, because you can include your glyphs as well, so we're going to be using that. This spec (14/0/57) will be a fairly cookie-cutter raiding build in patch 3.1, with only very minor variations from person to person. The Shadow tree isn't a very complicated one. Either a talent boosts your DPS, or it does something else. For a raiding spec, you want all of the DPS talents and you can skip all of the 'something else' talents unless they're mandatory for a DPS talent. It's pretty straightforward. Even in the Discipline tree the ultimate goal is to pick up the DPS talents, Twin Disciplines and Improved Inner Fire. Meditation isn't a direct DPS talent, but having no mana is certainly a DPS hit.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Does 'bring the player, not the class' apply in PvP?


We've been discussing the whole 'bring the player, not the class' idea, playfully dubbed by Eliah as BTPNTC, and in raids this boils down to a few core abilities or effects that Blizzard feels are mandatory. It was such a powerful statement that it got Eliah's mind doing all sorts of math about it. That said, the same doesn't quite apply to PvP. In Arenas, particularly, some compositions are simply more viable and synergistic than others. Take the incredible cohesion of Rogue-Mage-Priest, which continues to be a powerful comp even in Level 80 Arena play (as seen in the current ESL tournament).

When asked the question of whether BTPNTC applies to PvP, as well, Ghostcrawler had a succinct answer: "we're not sure." He explains that the immediate concern is to make all specs equally viable in PvP (read: Arenas), with particular focus on the class specs that have historically been underrepresented. I can tell you right off that that they probably overcompensated with Survival Hunters. With such limited numbers -- twos, threes, and fives -- it's quite unreasonable to think that just any combination of classes and specs will work the same way they do in PvE.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Arena

Patch 3.1 PTR Priest glyph changes thus far

One of the things Patch 3.1 is supplying in spades is glyphs and glyph changes. Every class is getting a ton of them, and it's really hard to keep up with them there are so many. Priests are coming out alright so far through the whole process, with a lot of our current glyphs being improved and our new glyphs being legitimately useful, if situational. Let's see what's new, shall we?

Glyph of Fade - Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec. (Old: Increases the duration and cooldown of your Fade spell by 50%.)

This is massively better than what it was previously, and I suspect that this will become a popular Shadow Priest glyph in PvP. Two points in Veiled Shadows plus this glyph means a 15 second cooldown on Fade. Every 15 seconds, a Shadow Priest will be able to clear all movement impairing effects, assuming they have Improved Shadowform. That's pretty friggin' sweet.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Shadow Priest changes

The PTR patch notes have hit, and while we don't have the entire spread of changes yet (they'll be coming in waves), we do have a lot of pretty good material to look at. Personally, I think the Shadow Priest changes are pretty great this time around. PvP Shadow Priests might feel a little disappointed, but PvE Priests should be fairly happy with how things are going so far.

Even PvP received a few good buffs, but while it's a step in the right direction, it simply isn't enough. It feels as if they're trying to approach some of the big issues carefully, when they really do need to go in there and start making pretty sweeping changes to the PvP-centric talents of the Shadow Priest. A lot needs to change to make the Shadow Priest relevant in PvP again without strapping a Warlock to their hip at all times.

Enough of that, though. Let's look into the changes, shall we?
  • Shadowfiend: Health scaling increased. Now receives 30% of the master's spell power. Mana return increased to 5%, up from 4%. The Shadowfiend now receives mana when its melee attacks land, rather than when it deals damage. Movement speed normalized to player movement speed. Tooltip revised.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: 3.0.8 for Priests



Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Today Matticus looks at the upcoming 3.08 patch.

I thought we'd be getting the 3.0.8 patch last week. I guess I need a new magic 8 ball. Hopefully it will come out this week instead. In any case, here's several of the big changes you can expect along with a list of bug fixes. Mind you, most of these aren't game or class breaking type changes.

At least, not to me. You may feel otherwise.

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Filed under: Priest, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Where to begin? (Poll)

Do you remember the night that Burning Crusade came out? I waited in the cold outside Game Stop with about 30 other people. We boasted about our accomplishments and I nearly came to blows with a decidedly orcish young woman who played a Gnome Warrior (with pink pig tails). I rushed home to install the expansion and couldn't wait to get in. First, I ran my character into Orgrimar to get the PvP version of the Hawkstrider. I was disappointed that it didn't exist so I bought a Skeletal Warhorse and trotted on to the Dark Portal.

There was a raging PvP battle in Blasted Lands. The ground was covered in skeletons. I ran the gauntlet as quickly as I could, grabbed the quest and zoned in. Through the portal I found the worst monster I've ever encountered in WoW: lag. With everyone starting in Hellfire Peninsula it was like my character was swimming to sand. While there was an uneasy, unspoken truce between the factions quest mobs were hard to come by. It was reminded of Black Friday at Fry's. I still stayed up until seven the next morning.

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Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Shadow Priest talent build for Patch 3.0.2

Echoes of Doom is here, along with all of its tasty new talent points. Things haven't changed very much for us Shadow Priests. If you enjoyed the Shadow Priest playstyle before, you still will. The numbers you put out in terms of Healing, DPS and mana regen are wildly different, but the buttons you push are pretty much the same. If you found Shadow Priest playstyle (not necessarily the numbers game) a little stale before patch 3.0.2, this patch and even Wrath itself won't change that very much. If you plan on sticking with Shadow, good on ya.

I'm going to lay out my current Shadow talent build and explain why I picked the talents I did. Keep in mind that this spec is not for every aspect of the game. It's not even for every player. I'm using this spec as a level 70, PvE raiding spec. It's not perfect, I'm not completely happy with it, but I think that's because our trees are currently meant for level 80 and not level 70. I haven't been able to come up with something I like better yet. When I plan ahead for level 80, it feels much more complete. We don't have the luxury of those extra 10 talent points yet, so this is what I'm using for now:

Shadow

Tier 1
I skipped Blackout because its raiding applications are very limited. It works on some trash, but never bosses. That's a big 'meh' for sure. I went with Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap, because that's going to act as a Shadow Priest's Meditation for now. Finally, Tier 1 of the Shadow tree has something genuinely useful to raiders!

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Shadow Priest changes and glyphs in beta build 8962

Last night's beta patch brought a new round of Shadow Priest changes and glyphs (along with every other class), some good and some bad. Some of them are rather exciting like the addition of Devouring Plague to our repertoire and the changes to Dispersion, but I'll let you dig right into things.
  • Devouring Plague cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds (down from 3 minutes) and has had its mana cost greatly reduced.
Holy cow. Not only did they make the awesome move of finally getting rid of the horridly unbalanced Priest racials, but Devouring Plague will now be firmly in every Shadow Priest's damage rotation. Not only will this be a solid DPS boost, but the healing on it will be fantastic to offset how often we Shadow Priests like to punch ourselves in the face.

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Filed under: Priest, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow leveling in the Wrath beta

Welcome to Spiritual Guidance, usually a haven for Holy and Discipline priests hosted by Matt Low of World of Matticus. This week, out with the heals in and with the facemelting! Alex Ziebart and the shadows have taken over. Enjoy!

As you might guess from our list of new abilities in Wrath of the Lich King, leveling as Shadow in Northrend is basically the same as leveling as Shadow in Outland. The only difference is that in Northrend, you get to be a little more reckless thanks to Dispersion. Being reckless is fun.

If you've leveled Shadow before, you probably have used the "pull way too many monsters, tab DoTs, fear, and run around screaming like a fool while they slowly die" tactic. It's tried and true, so I don't know why you wouldn't. You can level pulling only one mob at a time, but why would you? Flailing your arms around in horror is much more efficient, and Dispersion makes it even better. Shock and awe, I know! Dispersion is good!

Let's take a look at the talent spec I've been using in Wrath, shall we? Note that when you look at this, it's a talent spec I am using because it works for me. Leveling is one of those times where you can get away with your talent spec being wholly different. Pick what works for you. This spec works for me.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Shadows of Wrath


This Sunday, Spiritual Guidance, a haven for Holy Priests, has been bludgeoned with a large rock and shoved aside for the Shadows. Your host this week is Alex Ziebart, who is neither Matt Low nor the the grand poobah of World of Matticus. No worries, though. Matt will be back next week. Probably. Assuming he wakes up.

We haven't had a lot of Shadow love lately, so I figure it's about time we check out our new spells in Wrath of the Lich King. With the level cap currently 77 in the Wrath beta, it's a little hard to gauge just how effective the new Shadow spells really are. You can't see Dispersion in a raid setting or a competitive arena setting, and Mind Sear just doesn't seem balanced for the level you receive it.

I'll start off with Dispersion. Before I was able to use the spell myself, I was really doubtful of its usefulness. This is because for a PvE scenario, it largely just seemed like Evocation for Priests since it Silences you. I've heard time and time again that high-end Mages don't use Evocation at all because it's wasted DPS time when you can just chain potions (which can't be done in Wrath now), or all of the environmental damage break it anyway. Yeah, I can definitely understand that. Sunwell is brutal.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

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