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Posts with tag improved-shadowform

Cataclysm Talent Preview: Shadow priests

On Thursday, Blizzard released brand new information regarding talent builds in Cataclysm. Surely, all of us World of Warcraft addicts are grateful for the slow tease of information.

Of course, a lot of the "new" information was already data mined and leaked from the alpha over a month ago. I covered a lot of the changes to the shadow tree in a previous column, Ghostly aspects of our shadowy hatepower. Shadowy Apparitions, Shadow Orbs, getting rid of Shadow Focus, spirit contributing to our hit rating -- it's all in there. I won't bore you with all the details I covered already.

But it's not all old news, of course. There's some new stuff in there, and there is stuff to be excited about. I'm getting more optimistic about shadow priesting in Cataclysm with each drop of new information, and it feels like Blizzard might actually be listening to us. Seriously.

Listen, the standard caveats apply here -- it's really early to talk about this stuff and this could all change. But it'd be really quiet and boring around here today if we didn't.

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Filed under: Priest, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: Spring cleaning your talent tree

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you -- there's something else. The World of Warcraft. A world of never-ending gnome corpses. You can always see the shadows, day or night. So when you call up that Spiritual Guidance columnist in Beverly Hills -- you know the one, Dr. Fox Van Allen -- instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him how much of your mind, baby. Cause he's going to flay it into effing oblivion every Wednesday.

Ladies and gentlemen, my first car ever was my grandmother's old 1986 Ford Taurus. It had a digital speedometer and a pretty kicking tape deck. I even got the sample cassette tape that came with the car. I spent some of the best years of my life cruising the Garden State while listening to Neil Diamond's Heartlight and the theme to Cats. (Before you judge, most of you were listening to Sugar Ray and the theme to Friends instead at the time.)

What in the hell does that have to deal with shadow priesting? The car was the right fit for me a decade ago, but it's just not right for me anymore. In Warcraft, just as in life, the right choices change over time. I mean, what the hell am I going to do without an iPod connection in my car? And Ford Tauruses -- do they still even make those?

When I applied for a new raid team a few months ago, I went to my class trainer and put together a pretty good build for my shadow priest. It worked great then for the content I was working on. After re-examining my build, I realize that times have changed, and so should my talent tree.

Psychic Horror was a great ability during Trial of the Grand Crusader progression. It's useless in Icecrown. And it's not the only talent that has outlived its usefulness. Shifting around a few points can have a very noticeable effect on your DPS, mana regen, and survivability.

The price to respec varies -- it could cost you as much as 50 gold depending on how many times you've done it recently. Still, when you compare that to the amount you spend twice that on a single epic gem and even more on high-end enchants, respecing gives you one of the best returns on investment in the game.

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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

Spiritual Guidance: Wrath of the Shadow Priest

Each Sunday one of our resident Priests brings you Spiritual Guidance, looking at the ins and outs of the Priest class. This week is brought to you by Shadow Priest Alex Ziebart.

Wrath of the Lich King
is only a few days away, and as soon as we put those install discs in our computer we're back to leveling. There are some Priests who prefer leveling as Holy or Discipline or tri-spec or whatever, but as a diehard Priest of the Shadows, I think they're insane. For the next ten levels, this world is ours.

The Shadow tree is by far one of the best leveling specs, perhaps across all of the classes. I'd put it right up there with Frost Mages. Shadow is very well known for how well it solos, and how smoothly it grinds. This becomes even more true from levels 70 through 80. Some of our spells have been reworked, we get some fantastic new ones, and our new talents are pretty swank. Leveling is a much easier process than raiding or the arena, so we have a nice and calm next few weeks. I've gone over a basic leveling spec before, and now we're going to look at the new (or updated) tools we're going to be using on the way.

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

Shadow Priest changes in patch 3.0.3

Patch 3.0.3 is going up on live realms today, and with it comes changes. Shadow Priests manage to get by without a massive list of changes and balancing acts, but the changes we do get are pretty good ones, I think. If you're interested in what you'll be seeing this afternoon, read on!
  • Devouring Plague: The bonus coefficient has been increased to be on par with other DoT spells. Base damage on ranks 7,8,and 9 decreased to partially compensate for better scaling.
This is very, very nice. Devouring Plague's damage was pretty pitiful for awhile there, right after they spread it to all Priests. It was sometimes even questionable whether it was actually worth using in raid situations because of the GCD and debuff slot. It needed this buff, and I'm glad to see it. The healing from it will be nice now as well, because every little bit helps with Shadow Word: Death around.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Buffs, 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 9095

A new beta build went live yesterday evening, and while it wasn't a massive patch, I don't think very many of them will be anymore. We're pretty close to the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, so I think a lot of the class changes will just be fine tuning from here on out. The glyphs coming in these beta patches look like they may be a little more exciting, though. With professions, especially something like Inscription, they can add new recipes whenever they'd like. You can't quite do that with new spells. I expect we'll be seeing new glyphs right up until the day Wrath launches and plenty afterwards, too.

Shadow Priests got a few good changes, a few bad changes in this patch. Let's take a look at the Glyphs first, then the class changes:
  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain - Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. Changed from: Reduces the mana cost of Shadow Word: Pain by 20%.
  • Glyph of Mind Soothe has been removed. Replaced with Glyph of Shadow: While in Shadowform, your spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 10% of your Spirit for 10 seconds.
Woohoo! It looks like our glyphs are on the right track finally! The new Shadow Word: Pain glyph is so much better than its previous incarnation, my mind is nearly blown. Glyph of Shadow looks downright fun. I was looking at Warrior glyphs the other night and wondered why their glyphs were so fun while most classes get straight bonuses or even punishment in their glyphs. Things like Glyph of Shadow is what I like to see from glyphs. Things that are fun and exciting. Something beyond 'more damage' or 'longer stun.' I min-max like crazy, but that doesn't mean I don't like my min-maxing to sparkle, you know? Eh! On to the class changes:

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

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

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

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

Priests in Wrath: Analysis of Alpha talents

I would like to take a moment to talk about the leaked Priest spells and talents from the Wrath friends and family alpha. We have decided not to keep this information on the site for legal reasons, but there are many other places on the internet to find it, such as this wiki (which, by the way, seems to have been semi-locked to prevent recurrences of Tuesday night's rampant vandalization).

Note that these are alpha leaks (for those not conversant with software testing, alpha comes before beta, and beta comes before release), and most of these talents and spells will change before Wrath goes live. Some of them will probably not be recognizably the same, or even there at all. Nevertheless, it's certainly something to talk about in a game that, in my opinion, has had far too little change over the past couple of years.

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

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