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Posts with tag spirit-tap

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: Starting a shadow priest from scratch



Like all shadow priests, Fox Van Allen is a resilient sort. He has few weaknesses: accidentally dropping Shadowform by casting a holy spell; the silver arrow from the far upper left room in level 9; and his own gargantuan ego. By comparison, Dawn Moore's weaknesses include scratchy sweaters, Shadowfiend bites, and the nasty case of the sniffles she gets when the thermostat dips below 67. The Sunday edition is all about warmth, hugs and kisses. Today is Wednesday.


It was a cold December day when the respawn timer ticked, creating the most elite shadow priest to ever grace the Wednesday version of Spiritual Guidance.

"Surely, he'll make a fine holy spec priest one day," the nurses assumed. "Such fortitude! And, why look, he can cast Smite already!"

"In between sips of milk, of course."

"Of course."

Those of us who already made the journey from level 1 to level 80 no doubt have some mixed feelings about the earliest, most formative years of our shadow priest. Heck, even mages, balance druids, elemental shaman, warlocks know the same pain. Starting a new caster can be a repetitive experience.

The good news, of course, is that World of Warcraft is revitalizing the leveling process in Cataclysm. They're giving us Shadow Orbs and refurbishing our talent tree to make shadow priests feel more like shadow priests. That's great. I can't wait for the change.

But still, if you haven't started a new priest in the last few months, you may have missed some of the more recent changes to the leveling process. It really is better now, and I can honestly say there's been no better time to start a priest. Why wait until Cataclysm?

(And don't you dare say because you want to roll a gnome.)

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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

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

Ghostcrawler gives specifics for patch 3.1 mana regen changes

One of the big changes coming in patch 3.1 is the change to mana regen, and it has a lot of people pretty frantic. The last thing healers want is for their life to become harder, right? Well, Ghostcrawler hit the forums today with some clarification on the subject.

Base regen (which is an equation that factors in both Intellect and Spirit) will be nerfed by about 40%. This means the mana you would regen while just standing around doing nothing will be quite a bit lower than it currently is. However, in exchange, regen-while-casting talents such as Meditation, Intensity, Spirit Tap and many others, whille be buffed so your in-combat mana regen shouldn't be harmed very much. It'll essentially prevent you from trying to wiggle in and out of the 5 second rule for big regen ticks, while not terribly bothering your mana regen while you're actually doing things.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

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 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

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