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Posts with tag shadow-priest-guide

Spiritual Guidance: Is the tier 13 shadow priest bonus really worth it?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

I get a lot of email at my WoW Insider account. Granted, most of the emails I get are intriguing business deals from the African continent. But I get real mail too, and lately, I've been getting a lot of mail about our four-piece tier 13 bonus.

Oh, no! My Tier 13 four-piece bonus isn't as good as I thought it would be! My wallet's too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!

Signed,
Everyone

I haven't answered the mail publicly yet, because I couldn't imagine the concerns being valid. After all, could it really be worth it to keep two-piece tier 12 over four-piece tier 13? But with so many of you concerned ... hey, maybe there's something to this. Maybe it is worth keeping your two-piece tier 12.

I decided sit down with a pen and paper and find out for myself.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Mists of Pandaria spell and talent changes for shadow priests

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration. He is also scientifically proven more beautiful than boomkin blogger Tyler Caraway.

When we first talked about the new-for-Mists of Pandaria talent trees after BlizzCon, there were still a lot of questions to be answered. The main question, of course, was this: What will happen to all the talents that were removed from the old Cataclysm-era trees?

Well, wonder no more. Last night, Blizzard went live with an all-new MoP talent calculator. Not only does it contain the new talents we talked about last month, but it also contains a list of what spells will be baseline for what specs and when they're learned.

"Don't worry," Blizzard noted. "If you don't see your favorite talent, we've probably just given it to your spec automatically while leveling." And it's true -- shadow priests get a lot of good stuff as baseline abilities, and we're getting a lot of it sooner than you'd expect. But not every shadow priest spell and ability made the cut. In fact, if they all make it to the live version of the game, there are some very surprising changes, additions, and omissions.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: On the subject of Shadow Word: Death

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Every Wednesday, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen provides stellar, thoughtful advice ... when not sabotaged by Tyler Caraway.

Over the past few weeks here at Spiritual Guidance, we've been talking a bit about the simple mechanics of shadow priests, ultimately exposing them as anything but simple. In April, I put the inner workings of shadow priest mastery on display, spending over a thousand words to explain a concept that some other specs can wrap up in a few sentences. Last week, we talked about shadow priest spell haste and DOT mechanics, something so complex that even I messed up a bit when explaining.

Today, we're giving Shadow Word: Death the same treatment. No other single spell generates so many questions in the shadow priest community, because no other single spell has so many complicating modifiers. You can improve it through three different talents and two different glyphs. The spell's effect changes depending on whether the target's health is above or below 25%. And, if that wasn't enough, the effect also changes depending on whether the target dies as a result of your SW:D cast.

Oh, and unlike all your other spells, Shadow Word: Death can kill you. That seems important to work in there somehow.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: The mechanics of shadow priest haste

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Every Wednesday, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen rains sheer purple destruction down on all who oppose him. Proceeds from this week's Spiritual Guidance will be donated to Li'l Sebastian's favorite charity, The Afghan Institute for Learning.

Haste. It's a really easy to understand concept, right? It makes spells get cast more quickly. The end.

Except that's not quite the end. Haste reduces the casting time of our spells, sure, but there's a limit to how much it can do so. Haste also make our DOTs tick more quickly, meaning there are certain levels of haste where our DOT spells gain an "extra tick."

These factors give different weights to each point of haste, creating weird, nebulous concepts such as haste soft caps and haste plateaus. With a little bit of math, we can pinpoint the exact value of haste where these caps and plateaus are said to exist. But how much weight should we give these numbers? And how should these numbers affect how we gear?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Gaming shadow priest mastery trinkets

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. This week, the venerable shadow-specced Fox Van Allen asks Theralion's Mirror who the fairest priest of them all is. Spoiler alert: It's not Dawn Moore.

One of the biggest mysteries for shadow priests during the development of Cataclysm was what our mastery mechanic would be. We had some vague notions of what we were getting early on -- Shadow Orbs -- but it took the boys at Blizzards a very long time to define what those orbs would actually do.

Perhaps it's that history that leads to one of the greatest misconceptions among shadow priests today. Most of us believe that Shadow Orbs are our mastery mechanism. They're not. If they were, shadow priests wouldn't see them until we trained mastery at level 80. Instead, we start seeing orbs as early as level 10.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Raiding Blackwing Descent as a shadow priest, part 3

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Each Wednesday, Fox Van Allen brings you the answers to all the burning questions: Is it Tyler Caraway that he's better than, or is it Dawn Moore? The answers, my friends, is simple; when you're a shadow priest, you're better than everybody.

Normally, my friends, I fill this space with pleasantries, pop culture references, and slams at other WoW Insider writers. But I just can't do that this week. Not when Nefarian runs free, flitting about his lair, overloaded with treasure. Shadow priest treasure.

Over the last two weeks, we've been sharing shadow priest strategies for taking down Magmaw and Omnotron, as well as Chimaeron and Maloriak. But they were just child's play for what's ahead. This week, we're concluding our three-part series with tips, strategies, and loot information for the most challenging encounters Blackwing Descent has to offer: Atramedes and Nefarian.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Raiding Blackwing Descent as a shadow priest, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, the shadowier-than-thou Fox Van Allen takes over, trying to undo the damage caused by Dawn Moore's healing-oriented Monday edition.

I've been pleasantly surprised with raiding in Cataclysm. It's pretty well-balanced -- raids like Blackwing Descent have a good mix of bosses with varying levels of difficulty. The statistics speak for themselves: While about 94% of raiding guilds have downed Magmaw (or so says WoW Progress), only 20% have made it to and beat Nefarion. That's a pretty wide gap.

My discipline-oriented nemesis Dawn Moore has been spending her last few columns covering Blackwing Descent raiding strategies for Maloriak and Nefarion and for Chimaeron and Atramedes. All the while, you poor raiding shadow priests have been on your own while I laid out the law in Shadow 101. Well, no more -- it's time to talk raiding.

We have to start at the beginning, though -- and that means taking on Magmaw and Omnotron Defense System. (Hey, everyone needs a couple of easy wins now and then to build confidence, right?) They're pretty easy for experienced raiders, but for those just cutting their teeth on Cataclysm raiding, they can still pose a real challenge.

Over the next few weeks, we'll build our way up to the exceptionally challenging Nefarion and even dabble in some serious heroic mode strategies. For now, though it's time to smash some loot piñatas right in their ugly little (Mag)maws.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: A shadow priest's guide to Cataclysm's heroic nightmares

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Bear is for tank! Spriest is for fite!

It's time for a heartfelt confession. I think I'm done with Cataclysm heroics for a while. Don't get me wrong, they can be fun, but as of late, they've become miserable endeavors.

If you're not running heroics yet, you may not know what I'm talking about. If you are running heroics (through PUGs), you know exactly what I'm talking about. An awful lot of tanks, healers, and DPSers think Cataclysm heroics are the same kind of faceroll instances that Wrath heroics were. Nothing could be further from the case. And as more and more "casual" players reach level 85, a greater percentage of players are just so terribly lost that they don't know what to do.

Wipes on the first pull. Frustrating attempts on bosses with "teammates" who just don't listen. People who AoE when they should nuke. People who use AoE and ... no, no, wait! Don't attack that, it's CCed, and ... well, crud. Now we've got merchants throwing fruit at us now, don't we? Simply put, most people are just not prepared.

It's forgivable, of course -- new, more difficult instances mean a new, gigantic learning curve. Even the best Wrath shadow priest can muck things up in a Cataclysm heroic. But that doesn't need to be the case! The shadow priest spec is an incredibly powerful one. Not only do we do get to churn out the DPS, but we have an incredible number of tools at our disposal to make up for the problems that PUG groups routinely face. From crowd control (yes, tanks, we can CC) to mana regen, there's an awful lot we can do to make heroics run smoother. Even if you're saddled with a group of four 12-year-olds from <Mommy's Little Accidents> trying to make the run as difficult as possible.

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

Spiritual Guidance: Gearing a shadow priest for Cataclysm heroics

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Your host for the Wednesday edition, Fox Van Allen, always brings you the latest in shadow priest news, the latest in shadow priest controversy, and the latest shadow priest tactics -- all with the level of maturity of an episode of Maury. After the break: a paternity test, a lie detector test, and you won't believe who we're sending to boot camp!

Eight months ago, I wrote one of my most viewed and read articles here at WoW Insider. It was about GearScore and item levels. Most of us know, of course, that each weapon or piece of armor we equip has a numerical value behind it that approximates how powerful it is. Back then, far too many people were using item levels and GearScore as the sole arbiter of who could and couldn't team up with them in pickup raid groups.
Sorry, you seem like a lovely person and all, but I've determined your entire worth as a raider boils down to a four-digit number. Unfortunately, the four-digit number assigned to your worth is slightly lower than the four-digit number I arbitrarily came up with as the requirement to participate in the outdated raid content I wish to be carried through.
In the piece, I explained that item levels and GearScore provide you with a general idea about whether or not a piece of gear is good, but in the end, having the right stats matters more than item levels. That still holds true in Cataclysm -- stats matter. An item level 333 blue can be better than an item level 346 blue.

Despite that, though, measures of your "gear score" matter more than they ever have before. Cataclysm instances and heroics are gated behind strict minimum average item level requirements. Blizzard has become that guy. We won't spend our time today discussing whether that's right or wrong; instead, we'll be productive gamers and figure out how and where to get gear to clear that item level requirement, get yourself into heroics, and eventually, get yourself ready to raid.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Cataclysm heroics vs. Wrath heroics

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Fox Van Allen, your shadow specced host for the Wednesday version of SG, once again finds himself suffering from an IRL version of Devouring Plague. This means three things: 1.) This version of SG was written under the influence of cough syrup; 2.) this version of SG is likely to be a disjointed mess; and 3.) Fox fell asleep on the keyboard three or four times in the middle of writing it.

This past weekend, I've been playing around a little bit with my druid. It's the first I've really played it since patch 4.0.1 went live, and it's really amazing how much has changed. I'm casting Wrath to buff Starfire, and then I'm casting Starfire to buff Wrath. There are a couple new "faux power auras" to learn, too. I kind of like the new mechanic, but the feel of it is just so different than what I was used to back in the days of yore. (For those keeping track, "yore" means, like, September.)

Shadow priests are somewhat fortunate in that our spec worked well enough in the world of patch 3.3.5 that it didn't need some kind of Lunar Eclipse/Solar Eclipse gimmick. Cataclysm plays a lot like patch 4.0.1, which plays a lot like patch 3.3.5. That doesn't mean there aren't notable differences in the way the game plays, though, especially when it comes to something so seemingly familiar as your daily heroic.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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: Going to the dark side

Silvermoon City records show that Dawn Moore was born and raised by a loving fire mage and holy priest. Fox Van Allen? He crawled out of an ethereal sludge and was raised by warlock cultists. Dawn once saved some puppies and bunnies from a burning zeppelin while simultaneously defeating Undermine drug lords. Fox? He tried to eat those same bunnies. Each Sunday in Spiritual Guidance, Dawn brings you information on how to walk, talk, and dance like a holy or discipline priest. Fox brings you trollish recipes for gnome genocide. Dawn Moore: the choice is clear. [Paid for by priests for Dawn Moore - nsfw]

It's about that time in a major content patch when things start to slow down. We've run all the 5-mans we can stomach, and in Icecrown Citadel we're starting to really close in on our goals as the 20% buff and our accumulated gear help to fill in the gaps of what we need to succeed. As this happens, your wish list of equipment is undoubtedly getting smaller; maybe you're done gearing up, or are just waiting for a few more pieces to drop. Maybe you're cursing my name for reminding you that you've had the most terrible luck at getting that wand, cloak, or whatever to drop. But regardless of where you are, I'm certain you've found yourself thinking, "hmm, I could use that for offspec."

Like most classes, priests are starting to think about where to go next. Do I gear out an alternative healing set? Should I collect more spirit items for Cataclysm? Do I spend my extra badges on PvP gear? (Dawn says yes! But that's another article.) How about honing out skills in that other healing spec we don't like quite as much as our favorite? Oh, and then of course, there is always the sweet seduction of the shadows.

Today, I've put together a little guide for healing priests who want to dabble in the darkness of the shadow tree. While there are notable differences between the styles of playing holy or discipline, the switch to shadow is more than just tossing on some hit gear and taking a trip to the trainer. But before we get started though, I have a small task for everyone.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Raiding Icecrown Citadel, Part 2

Welcome to Spiritual Guidance with Fox Van Allen. Fox Van Allen is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist. He's going to do a great column on shadow priesting today. And he's gonna help people. Cause he's good enough, smart enough, and doggonit, people like him.

Adjective-neutral news, everyone! A cadre of intrepid shadow priests cleared out the ramparts of Icecrown Citadel last week and are now preparing to strike at the heart of the Lich King's plague operations. This means taking on the fearsome Professor Farnsworth Putricide, but only after defeating his two mentally challenged children who seem to exist solely to fart, make "angry poo poo(s)," and eat up 15 minutes of your raid's time.

At least you get to sift through their remains for new things to wear. Where's that laundromat in Dalaran again?

As promised, follow me after the break for the shadow priest's guide to the Icecrown Plagueworks.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: On rotations, and having a good time


Welcome to the darker side of Spiritual Guidance. Each week, Mr. Fox Van Allen teaches the craft of shadow priesting to new players and end-game raiders alike through the clever use of a sports training montage.

A wise ski instructor named Thumper once said, "If you french fry when you pizza, you're gonna have a bad time."

Let's put that in Warcraft terms: You need the right spells for the right situations. Soloing, five-man instances, raids -- they're all different and require different mind sets. If you Mind Sear when you pizza -- let's say Mind Flay -- you're gonna have a bad time.

In the context of skiing, a bad time means crashing through the wall of a ski lodge. In the context of Warcraft, a bad time means pulling aggro, putting out lousy DPS, and getting yourself berated by a "leet" fourteen-year-old who recently learned the phrase "l2play" and is just dying to use it.

It all happens when you french fry when you should have pizza'd.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Paying the hybrid tax



Every Wednesday, Fox Van Allen uses his dark, shadowy powers
to take the reins of Spiritual Guidance, causing severe harm to others in the form of large, yellow five-digit numbers. Holy and disc brethren, alike -- come join the dark side before his shadowfiend eats you.

Fact: Priests are pretty much awesome.

It's because we're versatile. We can DPS the living snot out of Lord Marrowgar in shadow, and then change to discipline so we can cover the raid in Power Word: Shields and Renews for Deathbringer Saurfang. Heck, we can even do both. We're just that awesome.

But awesomeness comes at a price, my friends, and that price is called the hybrid tax. It's the term commonly used to explain why our DPS is designed to lag behind that of mages, warlocks, hunters, and rogues -- the pure DPS classes. If you're a jack of all trades, you're supposed to be a master of none.

(It's cool though, they need the handout. It really sucks not being a Priest.)

We can be forgiven, though, for looking at Recount or a World of Logs parse and thinking that whatever the hybrid tax is, it's just way too high. But is it really? Are we finally doing the kind of damage that we should?

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

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