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Posts with tag shadow-word-death

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow priest news bulletin (as narrated by a discipline priest)

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

I had just zoned into the instance when the rogue died.

I was running Temple of the Jade Serpent on the Mists of Pandaria beta as a promise to a friend who hadn't had the foresight to invite a tank or DPS. We were two healers and an enhancement shaman, organized enough to be on Vent but still ultimately at the mercy of the Dungeon Finder. My expectations were low.

All the same, six minutes later, we drew a warrior tank and a rogue. Now all we had to do was decide which healer was healing. The resto druid didn't want to DPS; rather, he "couldn't" because he only knew how to play feral and lacked a suitable weapon to actually do so. That meant by default I would have to go shadow, so I started readjusting my bars to do so.

When the druid finished resurrecting the rogue, we set right to work on our next trash pack. I found myself fumbling about, unsure why Vampiric Embrace was on cooldown and where Devouring Plague had gone. My friend, the enhancement shaman, took notice.

"When was the last time you played shadow?" he asked.

"Well, I have my rotation written on the back of an envelope I had on my desk," I replied.

Immediately he laughed, but from the way it awkwardly trailed off, I knew he was losing faith.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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: 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

Spiritual Guidance: The ups and downs of the 4.0.1 shadow priest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Your shadow-specced host Fox Van Allen encourages you to enjoy this, the Wednesday shadow version of Spiritual Guidance, for the world may end tomorrow night when he and Dawn Moore meet in person for the first time. Matter and anti-matter will collide, but with what result -- complete annihilation ... or karaoke?

For a few brief hours on Oct. 12, when patch 4.0.1 first went live, shadow priests were gods.

That's what it felt like, anyway. It was an interesting aligning of the planets: Shadow priests (and really, most spellcasting classes) were churning out impressive DPS numbers. Melee classes were lagging far behind, underpowered. Such imbalance was destined to be short lived, but it was damn nice while it lasted.

Patch 4.0.1 was -- and still is -- an unpolished work in progress. There's still a lot of rebalancing going on, and that often means, unfortunately, getting hit with nerfs. We got hit with a couple of them, and they both concern Shadow Word: Death. We'll talk about that -- and about the reality of 4.0.1 mana regen -- just beneath the fold.

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

Spiritual Guidance: The shadow priest's guide to World of Warcraft patch 4.0.1

Welcome to Wednesday's shadow priest edition of Spiritual Guidance, hosted by Fox Van Allen. We bloggers are all about search engine optimization. As such, there are going to be some changes around here: Shadowfiends will be referred to as "Lady Gaga meat dresses," and Dawn Moore will be henceforth referred to as "NY Jets reporter Inez Sainz." Fox Van Allen will, of course, remain Fox Van Allen -- he's as optimized as he's ever going to get.

I spent hours riding a seahorse in Vashj'ir last night. I love a good video game cliché, and there's no video game cliché quite like the underwater level. The environment is beautiful and immersive, but those beautiful aqua blues and sea greens couldn't distract me from a fundamental truth about the new expansion that I was constantly experiencing: Shadow priesting is a lot more fun in Cataclysm. Period. There are more options. More abilities. And yes, even more DPS.

For those of you who want to get the ball rolling on these new abilities in Cataclysm, there's good news: Patch 4.0.1 is currently available for testing on the public test realm. It's not the full release of the game, but the new patch will cover almost all the changes that are going to be made to our spec for the new expansion. And better yet, the patch's appearance on the PTR signals that all these changes to the shadow priesting way of life are just around the corner. (And not, like, how we keep saying Cataclysm is around the corner, despite its being months away. I mean legit around the corner. For reals, no take-backs.)

The way you play the game, whether it's soloing mobs or raiding Icecrown, is about to change significantly. Are you ready? Follow me after the break, where I'll explain what patch 4.0.1 is, what it is not and what to do once it hits.

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

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

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

The Queue: The loot blues


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

Merry No Maintenance Day, everyone! Let's not waste it and jump right into things. Chilblain asked...

When my guild does 25-mans, it's not uncommon to have 2-3 Priests, 2 Warlocks and 2-3 Mages. Nearly one third of the entire raid is all rolling on Cloth armor, yet we go entire evenings where not a single piece drops.

If Blizzard insists on the ridiculous notion that cloth should be all things to all people, have they addressed the poor drop rate in comparison to other items? Our Resto Druids and Shaman are all decked out in 213 and while our Priests are still healing in Heroic blues.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

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

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

Misery slightly less miserable

Last night's beta push, 8905, introduced another change to Misery. The former 5 point talent has gone through a number of changes already, and the latest one seems to be an attempt at healing the wounds of its previous nerf.

As of 8905, Misery now supplies its 3% spell hit as well as a 15% spell power coefficient increase on Mind Flay, Mind Sear, and Mind Blast. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and just how much a difference that makes. The original version of Misery was 5% spell damage across the entire raid, including your personal damage. Mind Blast and Mind Flay are definitely huge sources of a Shadow Priest's damage, but it's less than half of the spells used in our damage 'rotation.'

Will 15% more damage on those spells make up for the loss of 5% damage on all spells, as far as your personal damage is concerned? It's certainly possible, probably even likely. While the damage from Shadow Word: Pain and Shadow Word: Death (especially Pain) shouldn't be underestimated, Blast and Flay are definitely the major players here. Plus we have news that Mind Flay's coefficient is going up and gaining the ability to crit soon, so an extra 15% on that spell will scale very, very well.

Now that Naxxramas has opened up on the beta realms, we should start seeing some numbers and math soon. However, the new Mind Flay isn't implemented yet, so how this scale may completely change when that happens. At the very least, the bare minimum, this is an improvement over what they did to it originally. How much of an improvement remains to be seen.

Edit: Fixed to reflect the talent's wording.

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

Breakfast Topic: Your last breath

A pretty fun forum thread caught the attention of Bornakk and many, many regular posters as well. The player Course of Medivh-US asks a question: If your character said one last thing upon dying, what would it be? A majority of the responses were comedy answers, and only a handful leaned over to the serious side. The jokes were pretty hit or miss, but I got a few laughs out of it. Among my favorites...
  • "Haha, you fool! You fell for one of the classic blunders, the first of which is, "never get involved in a land war in Kalimdor." Only slightly less well-known is this; never go in against a Gnome when death is on the line! Hahahaha... *dies*"
  • "Pat? What pat?"
  • "wwwwwwwwssssssssssddddddddaaawdssssd"
  • "Et tu, Brutallus?"
  • "With my dying breath, I curse Kalgan!"
Being an RP nerd, my characters would probably say something more serious. My Priest would lament her failures or regret she couldn't have done more before the end. My Paladin probably wouldn't say anything. She would just harden a defiant glare and pass on. If we were leaning to the silly side, my Shadow Priest would probably say something like, "Whoops, shouldn't have hit Shadow Word: Death there." Actually, I probably say that a lot already... but let's not talk about that. Let's extend this to you guys: What would your character say with their final breath? Heck, how do you envision your character taking the final spill? Old and grey on their deathbed, going peacefully? Being cut down in glorious battle? Blowing themselves up while skilling up Engineering?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Forums

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

Hybrid Theory: Shadow Priests and the Wrath Alpha


Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

I really thought my excitement over Wrath of the Lich King would fade after the initial onslaught of alpha information and just come back around launch time, but that hasn't really been the case. It's been a pretty consistent type of excitement, and I pretty much devour every piece of information I can find.

We've talked about Druids already, but while I love Hybrids in general, my Shadow Priest is my main and my first love. Yes yes, I'm sure some of you still disagree with Priests being Hybrids, but I'm of the opinion that they are so I shall continue. If you want to disagree, do so in the Comments section below.

I adore playing my Shadow Priest, but I think all Shadow Priest players agree with me when I say there are some definite issues with the class on some level or another. Why don't we take a seat and see what might be on the devs' minds, eh?

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Talents, Buffs, Hybrid Theory, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

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