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Posts with tag spiritual-guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow Priest 101

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, the shadow-minded Fox Van Allen takes over for the discipline-oriented Dawn Moore. Fox -- the Reagan '84 to Dawn Moore's Mondale; the communion wine to Dawn's flavorless communion wafer; the Charlie Sheen to ... that other boring guy with the fat kid.

When I tell people that I write for WoW Insider, they often have a lot of questions. "What does Mike Sacco's hair really smell like?" "What's Tyler Caraway's deal?" "Can I have Dawn Moore's personal cell phone number?" I answer them all, of course (seriously, it smells like strawberries; he's overcome with Fox-induced hero worship; and no, you can't!). Today, though, I want to answer the one that comes up most often: "Do they let you write about whatever you want?"

In short, yes. My employers are gracious folks, who seldom resort to physical violence against their writers. Every once in a while, though, the editorial gods issue an edict from their digital version of Mount Olympus. Three months ago, that edict was "now that Cataclysm is out, write a [your spec here] 101 article."

You see, lots of World of Warcraft players are interested in reaching out and trying new specs, but are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information they need to get started. They want to know all about talents, gems, and what the spec is all about, but they don't want to sift through 50 articles to get the information. They want the Cliff Notes version. And that's precisely what the 101 series is all about.

All my fellow writers here finished their Not as Cool as Shadow 101 articles back in December or so. Since I was too busy staring at my own reflection to get it done in time ... well, here it is, three months late: Shadow 101.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Top 10 trinkets for the pre-raiding shadow priest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests.

All armor is pretty much the same. That may have always been the case, when it comes down to it, but it seems especially noticable in Cataclysm. Each armor slot has the same "stat budget," with the only differences between pieces of equipment at the same item level being the secondary stats that piece contains. Thanks to reforging, finding the right piece of armor isn't a big deal -- we can just find something close to what we need and modify it until it meets our specifications.

Our two trinket slots are special, though. Trinkets don't carry around the same intellect and stamina that all other equipped pieces of armor do. It's notoriously difficult to rank which trinket is best, because they all have special "on-use" or "proc" effects that vary from piece to piece.

Of course, it's those differences that make trinkets so compelling. The right trinket can make a huge impact in your DPS. For those of you who have yet to raid, there are 10 solid DPS caster trinket options -- six ilevel 346 rares and four ilevel 359 epics -- that you can choose from if you have the patience (or gold). Most have a huge spellpower proc. Some offer haste. One special little trinket offers intellect. We'll break them all down in this week's quest to answer the question, "What trinket is right for me?"

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Top 7 shadow priest questions about patch 4.0.6

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Wednesday's shadow-specced version of Spiritual Guidance was taped before a live studio audience.

Shortly before patch 4.0.6 went live, I took a glance at the final version of the patch notes. There were hundreds of changes, spread out across each and every class. And yet, with all those changes, there were really only four of major consequence to the practicing shadow priest. Taken from yesterday's official patch notes:


Patch 4.0.6 Official Notes
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
  • Mind Blast now does 18% more damage than Mind Spike.
  • Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear's damage has been increased by roughly 15%.
  • Shadow Orbs benefit from mastery has been increased by approximately 16%.


No, shadow priests, your eyes do not deceive you -- that is indeed four consecutive buffs without a single nerf. Together (especially the last three), they add up to a solid DPS increase. That's clearly good news for us, but it doesn't tell the whole story of 4.0.6 -- there are still some yet-to-be-resolved questions. Is haste still our best secondary stat, or should we gem for something else? Do the changes mean we should now be hit-capped? How do the changes in 4.0.6 affect rotations?

If you still have questions about patch 4.0.6, then today's column is for you -- it's all about answers.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: A Monstrous Compendium for the mind-controlling shadow priest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Each Wednesday, while Dawn Moore is busy handing out sparkle-covered hugs and cupcake-flavored shields, Fox Van Allen takes the helm of Spiritual Guidance to practice the fine art of Mind Control and all other things shadow. This week: How to get former Angels outfielder Reggie Jackson to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II, all with the push of a button.

Two weeks ago, we discussed the basics of the incredibly powerful priest ability Mind Control. It's crowd control taken to the next level -- you get to turn the bad guys friendly, dish out giant gobs of damage, blow the bad guys' cooldowns, and start out every pull with an effortless enemy death. In a world of cruelly difficult heroics, Mind Control is nothing short of a game-changer.

Once you get past the basics, though, Mind Control can be a challenging ability to master. With most spells, once you press a button, you're done. With Mind Control, casting the initial spell is just the beginning. Knowing your own abilities is no longer enough -- you need to know your enemies' abilities as well. Some enemies aren't worth mind-controlling. Some have unbelievably powerful abilities. With a little bit of knowledge, you'll be able to exploit every last one of those 30 seconds Mind Control gives you.

What follows is what I hope you'll find to be the ultimate Mind Control resource: a list of all the mind-controllable enemies in Cataclysm heroics, complete with their special abilities you can exploit for your own personal gain. It's our own version of a Monstrous Compendium. Turn your foes into crabs! Summon a meteor! Triple your tank's health and reduce the damage he takes by 90%! And that, as they say, is just the beginning.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: A guide to Mind Control for shadow priests (and tanks)

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. The shadow-specced Fox Van Allen returns every Wednesday to denounce the evils of truth and love (and healing) in an overwrought effort to extend his reach to the stars above. And yes, that makes our healing priest columnist Dawn Moore Jessie.

Cast Mind Blast on targets afflicted with Vampiric Touch. Keep Shadow Word: Pain refreshed by casts of Mind Flay. Cast Shadow Word: Death as a finishing move. Rinse and repeat.

I love shadow priesting, but it can get a little repetitive at times. It doesn't have to be, though -- shadow priests hands down have access to more abilities than any other class in the game.

How is that possible? Through Mind Control. It opens up an entire world of new abilities to shadow priests. By controlling our enemies, we can control what they do. Sure, you've cast Devouring Plague. But have you ever cast Disease Breath? You've boosted your tank's maximum health through Power Word: Fortitude, but have you ever done it through Renegade Strength? Like some kind of shadowy blue mage, we have access to hundreds of our enemies' abilities through Mind Control.

Mind Control is the most misunderstood crowd control ability in the game. It's also the most powerful, hands down. Shadow priests and tanks, take notice -- if you're not utilizing Mind Control, the way you run Cataclysm heroics is about to change forever.

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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: Playing catch up with shadow priests


Fox Van Allen steps out of the shadows every Wednesday to take control of Spiritual Guidance, telling you all you need to know to melt faces with expert precision.

The era of patch 3.2 held some dark days for a shadow priest. The fights in Trial of the Crusader were definitely not built for shadow priests, especially in heroic mode. We scaled terribly with new gear. Our tier 9 gear was questionably designed. Every class has their own problems, but the problems that besieged shadow priests were bad enough to negatively effect raid performance. It wasn't hard for shadow priests to get left behind.

Patch 3.3, though -- this is our time. The changes to the spec have already been detailed: buffs to our glyphs, talents, and haste-affected DoTs gave us a ten-to-twenty percent boost to our damage right off the bat. Our tier 10 gear gives powerful two- and four-piece bonuses. And best yet, the fights in the new Icecrown Citadel five-man dungeons and raids seem as if they were built for us. We add tremendous value to an ICC raid in almost every fight.

Actually seeing those fights, though -- that can be a challenge. Patch 3.2 did a lot of damage to the shadow priest class's reputation. An increased emphasis on "gear score" in the game can (unfairly) get an average-geared shadow priest written off. We can't just take playing for granted -- past problems with the spec means there's a higher bar for us.

If you got left behind in the last patch or even if you're a newly minted level 80, don't worry -- you can catch up quick. Here's how.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Easy pre-Naxx gear for Holy priests

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Eliah is filling in for Matt Low today. This week we'll take a look at some easy gear to help get you started at 80.

Naxxramas and heroic dungeons are where a lot of the players are spending their time nowadays. So much so that it can be hard to even get groups for normal instances, which are (in theory) the best source of gear to get ready for said heroics and raids. What's a healer to do?

Fortunately, there are many pieces of gear you have access to without having to get a group for an instance and then hope your item drops, and hope you win the roll against any other casters that might be in the group. This post will highlight pieces you might want to investigate that are crafted or obtained from various factions and quests. This is written from a Holy perspective, but Discipline priests will probably also be interested in many of these items.

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Filed under: Items, Instances, Features, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

The Queue: They're watching you


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.

The weekend was nice and slow as usual, so our Monday Q&A will be brief. I fully expect a busy morning tomorrow, so get your questions in now! Let's get started, shall we?

whack asked...

Why are there shades all over major and minor cities in Azeroth, Outland, and Northrend? Has there been an explanation? I originally thought they would only be there for the WotLK launch event but they haven't gone away.

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

Spiritual Guidance: Holyform and lesser Holy talents

There are a few things that have been desired by the players ever since WoW began. Rideable pets for hunters, player housing, guild banks (now in the game! yay!), and additional classes (one coming in Wrath of the Lich King) are a few examples. Here's one more, close to my heart since I have a Holy priest main: Holyform. The dark side of the Priest talent tree has a form; why not the light side? It would supplement our legendarily bad 21/31/41-point talents with something that was truly compelling for the dedicated healer, and of course it would look awesome.

Well, Wowhead and WOWDB now have entries for a spell called, indeed, Holyform, as shown above right. It's hidden in the data files for the 2.4 patch; note that it is not currently trainable by priests on the PTRs. It could be there for any number of reasons: it could be an NPC spell, it could be an ability usable only during the Kil'Jaeden fight, like the Kael'Thas legendaries, or it could just be a cruel joke. The most compelling explanation I've seen is that Blizzard is distributing some of the Wrath patch files early, to lessen the initial download, and this is going to be the new 51-point Holy talent. Please let that be it. Update: comments are reporting that this is an NPC spell in Sunwell. Too bad.

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

Spiritual Guidance: The shadow diaries

As you might expect for someone who writes a Priest column, my main is a priest. I've been Holy for quite some time (enough that it's starting to make me feel old), and I feel like I know the Holy game play style pretty well. I even leveled Holy from 60 to 70, shortly after Burning Crusade came out, and it was a blast. And I love healing. But lately I've been hearing the call of the dark side: I want to play Shadow.

But this leaves me with a conundrum. I can't really get my Shadow on without abandoning (albeit temporarily) my Holy nature. Or can I? After all, we get up to 50 characters per account; there's no reason I can't delete one of those level one alts I made to talk to somebody for a story and make a brand-new priest, destined for Shadow, instead!

So that's just what I did. I had other motivations, of course; just wanting to play Shadow probably wouldn't be enough to get me to trudge through the 1–60 levels yet again. I've never played much Horde, so I'd like to see how the other half lives a bit. I've never played a Blood Elf at all, and I'd always heard those zones were well designed. And I wanted to hang out with some people on their server, which would mean rolling a new character anyway. Several factors conspired, and Hieronymus of Draenor was born (that link is giving me an error right now, but I assume it'll go away).

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Filed under: Priest, Blood Elves, Features, Leveling, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: The spirit debate


Every Sunday, Eliah or Elizabeth will bring you their thoughts on the Priest class with Spiritual Guidance. Whether it's keeping your fellow players alive or melting their faces, you can read about it here!

This week, we've got a special episode co-authored by your two Spiritual Guidance writers, Eliah Hecht and Elizabeth Harper. In the course of emails around the WoW Insider bullpen, we noticed that there were some differing perspectives on the utility of Blizzard's favorite Priest stat, Spirit. So we decided to sit down and hash it out the old-fashioned way: an IM debate. Both of our mains are priests in a similar situation. We're Holy-specced and raiding somewhere around the middle of Karazhan. So considering how similar are gameplay niches are, it's interesting to note the differences in our opinions. On with the show, and do let us know what your take is.

Eliah Hecht: So. It's going to be a complicated issue, because you've got a lot of different kinds of priests to worry about...Holy vs Shadow, leveling vs raiding vs PvP...My take on it is that Spirit is paramount for all leveling specs, and for raiding holy priests, and not so much for the other spots on the grid.

Elizabeth Harper: See, I'm of a couple of minds on it for leveling. On one hand, you get more benefit from less spirit at lower levels, so leveling, I think you get more out of it. But it's still an issue of practicality -- leveling up, i'll grab spirit if it happens to be on something I otherwise want. But the size of mana and health pools is still more important. (And if you have spirit tap, a little bit of spirit can go a long way)

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Interviews, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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