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Encrypted Text: Examining the rogue's assassin ancestry

assassin
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

If you start looking into the history of the rogue class, you end up reaching several dead ends. The reason is that a rogue who's easy to track or trace isn't much of a rogue at all. We specialize in disappearing, which makes rogue family trees notoriously difficult to map. Garona Halforcen is often considered to be the mother of the rogue class, executing one of the earliest and most daring acts of assassination and regicide in Azeroth's history.

The truth is that if we want to find our spiritual beginnings, we have to look back even further than Garona and even further away than Azeroth. The true ancestor of today's rogue class first found life eons ago, in another realm, known only as Sanctuary. There, the assassin class stood against the three Prime Evils, defeating the Burning Hell's greatest powers with elegance and subterfuge. The rogues of WoW were inspired by the assassins of Diablo II, and that influence can still be felt today.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Spiritual Guidance: Minor glyphs for discipline and holy priests, plus some pre-BlizzCon silliness

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

Whenever I'm scoping out priests on the Armory or even in my own raid team, I always like to see what glyphs they pick. Mind you, there doesn't actually tend to be much variety from priest to priest. The best glyphs usually stand leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, especially with major and minor glyphs, so there isn't usually much difference between one priest or another. So why do I check? Because I'm looking to see if the priest has Glyph of Shadowfiend equipped.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Spells we forget

This Sunday, Dawn Moore has called a temporary truce with Fox Van Allen so the two of them can take Spiritual Guidance on a group trip to Disneyland. They almost made it through the entire Space Mountain line without a fight on what was better, healing or damage. Later, Fox got a stomach ache and dispersed while riding the tea cups, and Dawn had to go back to the hotel to lie down before the Hannah Montana concert.

Once upon a time, an off-tank coughed.

At the time, the off-tank was zoned into Trial of the Crusader and thoroughly engaged in a battle against Anub'arak. His raid was just transitioning out of the first phase 2, and he was moving to his position to pick up adds. Unfortunately, as the off-tank coughed, he shifted ever so slightly, causing a poorly placed cup of cherry Kool Aid to upturn. Not a second later, the off-tank's raid was audience to a colorful soliloquy about a different type of penetrating cold.

As the above events transpired, a disco priestess noticed that she had suddenly acquired threat from a newly spawned bug add. She strafed momentarily before hitting the key for her Fade spell and in doing so, saved herself from unknown peril.

The bug, having lost its focus, immediately turned its attention to another priest in the raid named Calvin. Calvin, it turned out, was specced holy.

Before things could get worse, the off-tank managed to pull himself together and resumed his tanking duties; he taunted the large bug and the panic in the raid subsided. Surprisingly, the battle continued without incident, and in the end the nerubian king was slain.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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

Shadow Priests beaten to death in the Wrath beta

It has taken me a few tries to talk about Shadow Priests today, because I've had a difficult time even wrapping my mind around last night's Wrath Beta patch. It was one of those dreaded "balancing" patches, in which everything and everyone is brutally beaten with nerfs to bring their damage in line. The only problem with that is Shadow Priests were beaten just as hard, if not harder than many other classes, long before we ever had anything resembling competitive damage.

Edit: It looks like this is mostly being reverted, so the changes in this content patch were ultimately completely arbtirary and baseless. If you're still curious as to what those changes were, keep reading.

Let's look at what this patch had in store for us, shall we?
  • Fade now only has one rank, and it temporarily drops all of your threat.
Well, this is good. You can make as many arguments for the old Fade as you want, but it was just dumb. A tiny temporary threat drop that didn't scale was a pain to use, even if it was possible to use. Just because you can use something doesn't mean it's especially effective. I like this change. However...

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

Priest glyphs from Beta build 8885

A new batch of glyphs has come with the latest Beta push, and I can't really say the Priest ones are impressive. They're pretty boring, but not every batch of glyphs can be mind-blowing. They're not even implemented yet. Still, they're there, and it's usually some indicator of things to come so let's take a look, shall we?

Glyph of Fading - Reduces the mana cost of your Fade spell by 50%.


Well, I'm willing to guess this is a Minor Glyph. It's not that great and Fade isn't something you spam, though you'll be using it a lot more in PvP than PvE for sure. In the Wrath beta, Fade currently costs 13% of your base mana, according to Wowhead. At level 80, Fade will cost you around 470 mana, give or take a couple of points. With this glyph, it will cost 235 mana. If you're using a talented Fade every 24 seconds it will be equivalent to roughly an extra 50 mana per 5 seconds. According to a friend of mine, 48.95 mp5 is the exact amount. I didn't really feel like getting that crunchy about it, so I'll take his word for it. You probably won't use it immediately every cooldown, but eh.

As a minor glyph, that's fairly decent, really. It sounds underwhelming, but assuming it is a minor glyph, it's likely not a terrible choice for a PvP Shadow Priest. It'll come down to whether or not vastly better glyphs are available.

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

Select Priest glyphs changed in latest beta push

Do you remember when the Shadow Priest glyphs made their rounds, and then we all complained a lot and made suggestions as to how they should be fixed? Guess what, guys. They aren't terrible anymore! I know, it's a shock! The updated Shadow Priest glyphs are all pretty much straight buffs, while some of the Holy ones are buffs, and some are fixed balancing issues. Let's take a look, shall we?

Glyph of Lightwell - Increases the amount healed by your Lightwell by 20%.

I've played around with Lightwell on the beta quite a bit, actually, and its current incarnation is fantastic. The HoT rarely breaks, and my guildies are generally intelligent enough to know when to use it. At level 77 in full level 70 gear, each tick of LIghtwell currently heals for around 2,200. Each tick healing for 2600-2700 with this glyph is pretty amazing, considering it's a "set it and forget it" heal.

Glyph of Renew - Reduces the duration of your Renew by 3 sec. but increases the amount healed per tick by 40%.

Sounds good to me. It will be a little more mana intensive to keep the HoT on a tank, but strong HoTs are priceless.

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

A Shadow Priest's take on the new Priest glyphs

My Priest buddy Matt Low is going to cover the new Holy and Discipline glyphs later today, and I'm going to look at what us Shadow Fiends get so far. Let's leap right into the Shadow stuff, eh?

Glyph of Psychic Scream - Increases the duration of your Psychic Scream by 3 seconds.


Not bad, not amazing. You can argue that those 3 seconds will never, ever come into play in PvP, and you would be mostly correct. PvE, I've never said "Oh man I wish my silly fear lasted THREE MORE SECONDS" but oh well. Not all glyphs need to be drool-worthy. A Psychic Scream glyph might be something I would use while leveling. Reducing the cooldown by another 1-3 seconds would be far superior, though.

Glyph of Shadow Word: Death - Targets below 35% health take an additional 5% damage from your Shadow Word: Death spell.

Kinda counter-intuitive to the new talent Pain and Suffering, but more damage is more damage. I don't see anything really very wrong with this glyph. Should be good for PvP, good for leveling. Works against Pain and Suffering for raiding, but like I said, yay damage. EDIT: What I mean by counter-intuitive is that Pain and Suffering reduces how much damage we take, but now we're buffing that damage back up. It isn't a huge deal, more damage is awesome, but I would rather see that damage placed on a different spell for a raiding setting. It's quality everywhere else.

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

Turning up Fade for Priests

Though this idea was put forth before yesterday's tease of a mystery buff, I still think it's a good one. A lot of priests are supporting the idea that when Blizzard looks at fixing Priest spells, Fade should be front and center.

Currently, Fade is meant solely as a PvE spell-- the only thing it does is within the priest's party, so it's useless both solo and in PvP. But Maxx of Jubei'Thos suggests buffing it to make it more viable across the board. Some players say it should, like Feign Death, "untarget" priests who activate it, but Blizzard says that's a no-no because it confuses players without indicating what's happening. Maxx's idea is even better-- make Fade cause magic and physical attacks against the priest to miss 50% of the time (kind of like a Rogue's Evasion).

For people who think that overpowers Fade too much, Maxx has a solution: Fade would also give a debuff. Either it would make the priest miss 50% of the time as well, or it could do something like an anti-shadowform-- nothing but healing spells while Fade is activated. I think it's an interesting idea, and it's worth a look by the devs at least-- Fade is useless in everything but PvE right now, and tweaking it a bit wouldn't hurt. A few priests, however, say there are too many problems already to be messing around with Fade, and I agree with that as well. Neth, fortunately, goes right down the middle-- she likes the Fade idea (and is passing it to the devs), and realizes there are issues with, say, Circle of Healing.

Especially with all the +healing to be found in Outland, Fade is losing its utility. It shouldn't be the first priority, but making it more useful would help the Priest class all around.

Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Buffs

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