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[GUIDE] Kilee's 4.3 Shadow Priest Guide

[GUIDE] Kilee's 4.3 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Kilee » 02 May 2011, 11:47

Kilee’s Shadow Priest Guide
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WoW version 4.3
Last Updated: 05/29/12
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Change Log

05/29/2012
- Fixed the Lightweave Embroidery value.

05/15/2012
- Updated the trinket list.

12/30/2011
- Removed link to Zurie's BIS list (until it gets updated).
- Added link to Uuna's Weapon BIS list/ranking.
- Tweaked Major Glyph section for recommendations.
- Removed 346 stat weights (outdated).
- Added new stat weights for tier 13 gear sets, and a link to GuildOx for the new stat weights.
- Updated trinket list to tier 13 stat weights.
- Added a link to Uuna's Weapon BIS list/ranking in the Trinkets and BIS section.
- Tweaked the 384 BIS list (thinking of taking this out).
- Updated Gem section.
- Tweaked opening rotation to fit better with tier 13 4-piece bonus (delayed Shadowfiend by 2 spellcasts).
- Added professions and racial traits to FAQ #6.
- Reworded the last section of FAQ #13.

12/13/2011
- Updated the Tier 12 and Tier 13 set bonuses.
- Updated the BIS lists.

12/07/2011
- Fixed error in VP trinket values.

12/06/2011
- Added Rathrak, the Poisonous Mind to the BIS list.

Index

1. Talents
2. Glyphs
3. Stat Weights and Gear Lists
4. Trinkets and BIS Lists
5. Reforging
6. Enchants
7. Gems
8. Mods and Addons
9. Macros
10. Cast Rotation
11. FAQ

Image Disclaimer

This guide is a continual work in progress intended for personal use and the (hopeful) entertainment of others. It is inserted with my own opinions, and as such I admit the guide is sometimes wrong or subject to personal play style. I maintain this guide primarily as an exercise in keeping myself freshened up on the current meta game of Shadow Priest DPS. If you spot something wrong or inconsistent about the guide, feel free to add any suggestions, comments, or criticisms.

Image Sources

I have found the following websites and tools very useful in my research.

Arlee's Hit Cap FAQ
Elitist Jerks Priest Forum
GuildOx
How to Priest
Rawr
Shadow Priest
Simulationcraft
Weapon BiS list/ranking by Uuna
World of Logs
WoW Insider Priest Blog
Wowhead

Image Talents

In terms of talent specs, this is the primer spec that Shadow Priests are currently taking: 8/0/31

This leaves us with 2 points that we can play around with. For raiding, you'll see the most benefit by taking either the last point in Mental Agility and/or putting points into Inner Sanctum.

There are also a few good utility talents you can look into. Psychic Horror and Phantasm are good talents and helpful in certain situations. Silence is also a good ability, but you have to take a point out of one of your core talents in order to get it, which could potentially cause a hit in DPS or mana efficiency.

Image Glyphs

These are the glyphs I would recommend for raiding, but there are many other glyph options you may want to consider.

Image Prime Glyphs
Glyph of Mind Flay
Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain

Image Major Glyphs
Glyph of Fade
Glyph of Inner Fire*
Glyph of Mass Dispel*
Glyph of Psychic Scream*
Glyph of Spirit Tap*

*These glyphs often go unused on raid bosses. You can take any two of the four that you feel might help on a boss fight, although I would consider Inner Fire and Spirit Tap the default options here.

Image Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Fading
Glyph of Fortitude
Glyph of Levitate

Image Stat Weights and Gear Lists

The following sets of stat weights were derived using Simulationcraft, set to 25,000 iterations and a mix of gear sets that would be used between the iLevels listed. I've generated a GuildOx gear list for you to use with the stat weights under each set. For all sets, I've set hit/spirit to the second secondary stat weight, so that the gear list will be ordered correctly and you do not pick gear with too much hit.

iLevel 359-372 (Tier 11)
Int 1.0000 SP 0.7688 Has 0.5176 Spi/Hit/Mas 0.4856 Crit 0.4836


359 GuildOx Gear List

iLevel 378-391 (Tier 12, with 2-piece set bonus)
Int 1.0000 SP 0.7589 Has 0.5361 Spi/Hit/Crit 0.5134 Mas 0.4792


378 GuildOx Gear List

In this later set of gear, crit rises above mastery because of the tier 12 2-piece bonus and the trinket Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor.

iLevel 384-410 (Tier 13, with 4-piece set bonus)
Int 1.0000 SP 0.7650 Has 0.5539 Spi/Hit/Mas 0.5480 Crit 0.5387


397 GuildOx Gear List

Set Bonus and Other Things

When looking at the Guild Ox Gear Lists, keep the following in mind.

Tier 11 2p - adds 150pp
Tier 11 4p - adds 70pp
Tier 12 2p - adds 288pp, increases Crit by .03pp
Tier 12 4p - adds 170pp
Tier 13 2p - adds 170pp
Tier 13 4p - adds 194pp, increases Mastery by .05pp

Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor - increases Crit by .02PP

Some Important Numbers

For reference, here is the amount of each stat we need for our next rating or cap.

Hit Cap = 1742 hit (1639 for Draenei) for the 17% hit cap
1% Hit = 102.446 rating
1% Crit = 179.28 rating
1% Haste = 128.05701 rating
1 Mastery = 179.28 rating

Image Trinkets and BIS Lists

Image Trinkets

Ignore the trinket list in Guild Ox, it is never right. I've done a few trinket calculations below. All of the trinkets have been evaluated using reforged values based on their stat weights and World of Logs data. This list is only an approximation, seek out a second opinion if you do not agree with this list.

Anhuur's Hymnal 346 - 376.03
Sorrowsong 346 - 385.78
Tendrils of Burrowing Dark 346 - 391.69
Gale of Shadows 346 - 422.57
Soul Casket 359 - 426.65
Heart of Ignacious 359 - 437.05
Stump of Time 359 - 437.91
Bell of Enraging Resonance 359 - 441.67
Mithril Stopwatch 365 - 444.27
Witching Hourglass 346 - 458.03
Vibrant Alchemist Stone 359 - 462.24
Figurine - Jeweled Serpent 346 - 466.02
Heart of Ignacious 372 - 493.96
Bell of Enraging Resonance 372 - 499.36
Rune of Zeth 378 - 527.78
Fiery Quintessence 378 - 536.46
Theralion's Mirror 359 - 542.87
Reflection of the Light 397 - 550.75
Bottled Wishes 397 - 545.66 (714.13*)
Moonwell Chalice 365 - 553.52
Darkmoon Card: Volcano 359 - 586.11
Necromantic Focus 378 - 591.70
Theralion's Mirror 372 - 613.89
Foul Gift of the Demon Lord 378 - 641.89
Insignia of the Corrupted Mind 384 - 643.56
Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor 384 - 656.00
Necromantic Focus 391 - 668.46
Insignia of the Corrupted Mind 397 - 727.19
Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor 397 - 733.00
Will of Unbinding 390 - 756.00
Cunning of the Cruel 384 - 816.00
Insignia of the Corrupted Mind 410 - 821.93
Will of Unbinding 403 - 856.24
Cunning of the Cruel 397 - 908.00
Will of Unbinding 416 - 963.27
Cunning of the Cruel 410 - 1012.00

* Any trinket that has a 90 second cooldown will be worth more than listed, when synched up with our Dark Archangel cooldown. Bottled Wishes, when paired with DA and the tier 13 4p set bonus, is worth the second value listed.

Weapons

Weapon BiS list/ranking by Uuna

This is a very good ranking list for the new weapons in Dragon Soul. The author has done a thorough job with his research.

Image 384 BIS List (LFR Mode)

A set planned for people who only have access to LFR and VP items.

Image Helm: Soulgaze Cowl
Image Neck: Opal of the Secret Order
Image Shoulder: Mantle of Dying Light
Image Back: Woundlicker Cover
Image Chest: Robes of Dying Light
Image Bracers: Chronoboost Bracers
Image Gloves: Gloves of Dying Light
Image Waist: Tentacular Belt
Image Legs: Leggings of Dying Light
Image Feet: Splinterfoot Sandals
Image Ring1: Band of Reconstruction
Image Ring2: Seal of the Grand Architect
Image Weapon: Rathrak, the Poisonous Mind
Image Offhand: Ledger of Revolting Rituals
Image Wand: Scintillating Rods
Image Trinket1: Cunning of the Cruel
Image Trinket2: Will of Unbinding

Image 397 BIS List (Normal Mode)

This list is for people doing normal mode Dragon Soul.

Image Helm: Hood of Dying Light
Image Neck: Petrified Fungal Heart or Flowform Choker
Image Shoulder: Mantle of Dying Light
Image Back: Woundlicker Cover
Image Chest: Robes of Dying Light
Image Bracers: Dreamwraps of the Light
Image Gloves: Gloves of Liquid Smoke
Image Waist: Cord of the Slain Champion
Image Legs: Leggings of Dying Light
Image Feet: Janglespur Jackboots
Image Ring1: Ring of the Riven
Image Ring2: Signet of Suturing
Image Weapon: Rathrak, the Poisonous Mind
Image Offhand: Ledger of Revolting Rituals
Image Wand: Finger of Zon'ozz
Image Trinket1: Cunning of the Cruel
Image Trinket2: Will of Unbinding

Image 410 Final BIS List (Heroic Mode)

This is the set I would ultimately want to have at the end of tier 13.

Image Helm: Hood of Dying Light
Image Neck: Petrified Fungal Heart
Image Shoulder: Mantle of Dying Light
Image Back: Woundlicker Cover
Image Chest: Robes of Dying Light
Image Bracers: Bracers of the Banished
Image Gloves: Gloves of Liquid Smoke
Image Waist: Cord of the Slain Champion
Image Legs: Leggings of Dying Light
Image Feet: Janglespur Jackboots
Image Ring1: Ring of the Riven
Image Ring2: Signet of Suturing
Image Weapon: Rathrak, the Poisonous Mind
Image Offhand: Ledger of Revolting Rituals
Image Wand: Finger of Zon'ozz
Image Trinket1: Cunning of the Cruel
Image Trinket2: Will of Unbinding

Image Reforging

Do your reforging in this order:

1. If an item does not have haste on it, reforge it for the maximum amount of haste.
2. If an item has haste, reforge the secondary stat to hit/spirit until 17%.
3. After steps 1 and 2, if you are still under hit cap, sacrifice haste to reach cap. If you are over hit cap, trade some hit for crit or mastery (whichever is stronger for you).

Your aim with reforging should be to have the most haste possible and secondly to reach as close to your hit cap (17%) as possible without being over. It's ok to be a little under the hit cap as long as you've maxed out your haste (see FAQ for more information).

Image Enchants

Note that if you have a profession enchant it's pretty much always better.

Image Head
best: Arcanum of Hyjal - revered with Guardians of Hyjal

Image Shoulders
good: Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone - honored with Therezane
best: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone - exalted with Therezane

Image Back
best: Greater Intellect

Image Chest
good: Mighty Stats
best: Peerless Stats

Image Wrist
good: Speed
best: Mighty Intellect

Image Hands
good: Haste*
best: Greater Mastery

*Haste could be best if it is used to reach an important amount of it (see FAQ for more information).

Image Legs
good: Ghostly Spellthread
best: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread

Image Feet
best: Lavawalker
best: Haste

Image Weapon
good: Hurricane
best: Power Torrent

Image Off-Hand
best: Superior Intellect

Image Gems

Image Meta
best: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Image Blue
rare quality
best: Purified Demonseye + 10 intellect
best: Brilliant Inferno Ruby in all others
epic quality
best: Purified Shadow Spinel + 20 intellect
best: Brilliant Queen's Garnet in all others

Image Yellow
rare quality
best: Reckless Ember Topaz + 10 intellect
best: Brilliant Inferno Ruby in all others
epic quality
best: Reckless Lava Coral + 20 intellect
best: Brilliant Queen's Garnet in all others

Image Red
rare quality
best: Brilliant Inferno Ruby
epic quality
best: Brilliant Queen's Garnet

For the most part, Brilliant Inferno Ruby is the best gem for every slot on your character (just as the GuildOx links suggest). But you can use Reckless Ember Topaz gems in red slots to reach your haste plateaus, as long as you don't sacrifice more than about 40 intellect.

Image Mods and Addons

Computer Mods and Game Settings

Something people don't often think about with their game performance is how they have configured their game and the computer that they play on. However this can often be just as important as your talent spec or how you maintain your gear. Every gamer should try to develop a little bit of interest in their PC and how to maintain it. With that said, I want to cover some of the major things you can do with your computer and game settings to help your performance.

Leatrix Latency Fix

A good software mod for your network efficiency - Leatrix Latency Fix. The link will explain better than I can what this does for you. The short of it is that it improves the timing between game commands and when the server responds to them.

Drivers

You should always have the latest drivers for your computer hardware. This goes double for video card drivers. You should be checking for new drivers for your computer at least once a week, and try to set up a an automatic update if your computer allows it.

Cooling

One of the things that can affect game performance is cooling. Your computer runs hot whenever wow is playing, especially in a raid environment with a lot of spell effects going on. 9 times out of 10, if you are having framerate issues or some other gameplay issue while raiding, it can be attributed to overheating - usually either the graphics card or main processor. Most video cards these days have manual fan settings, and you want to install whatever driver or extra software application that will allow you turn these fans up in order to keep your system cool during play.

Graphics Settings

The main Blizzard forums has a lot of dedicated stickies to setting graphics in wow so that you can get good performance out of your game. You should go look these up if you're having framerate or graphics problems while playing. Most of the time you can go to the graphics options and choose "Recommended Settings". This will usually be pretty good for general play. However, if you are still having framerate issues, you can try turning the graphics down a little, especially things like dynamic shadows which eats up a lot of processing power.

Addons

Addons are extra programs that run inside the WoW game and provide extra information for you while you play. A lot of these mods can be indispensabe to you. Look at the following picture:

Image

Cast Bar

The first mod I want to draw your attention to is the cast bar. The mod I am using in this picture is Quartz. However these days I am using Gnosis, which I think does a better job of representing Mind Flay channels. For both of these mods, I turn everything off except the player cast bar and the latency.

Dot Timer

The second mod is right above the cast bar, called Dotimer. I've tried a few other dot timers, but I like this one the best. I like the way it looks and it has a lot of configuration options. I set up my dotimer to only show (white list) Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Pain, and Devouring Plague). I also set it up to only show the current target and my focus target, and to sort the timers by current and focus so that the current target timers are always at the top of the list.

Buff Tracker

The last mod is called NeedToKnow, which is a buff-tracking mod. I use this to track important buffs that affect my dot damage, such as Dark Evangelism or various trinket procs. Notice that I've separated the types of procs into different blocks of timers. Another popular buff-tracking mod is Power Auras, but I don't use this because I find it difficult to see during battle.

Raid Addons

You also will need a few additional addons. A threat meter such as Omen. A damage meter like Recount. And finally a raid warning mod like Deadly Boss Mods.

I also find raider frame interface mods to be useful so that I know what is happening to the people around me (although lately I think the standard Blizzard raid frames are more or less good enough for this).

Image Macros

I've never been great at programming macros, but do have a few that I rely on, and I feel these can really enhance your gameplay. I'll go over a few of the ones I use, but there is a lot more you can do with them.

Image 1. Focus Macro

Code: Select all
/focus


I use this when I'm in a fight with Multiple Targets a lot. Basically it's just a quick way to keep track of targets that you are multi-dotting. An example would be a fight like Valiona and Theralion, where a target is generally out of your LOS, but still within range to dot. You just use the macro to make your current target your focus.

Image 2. Target Macro

Code: Select all
/target <name>


I use this whenever I want to have a target that I need to switch to quickly. Useful for fights where something pops up that needs to be killed immediately, and you don't know when or where it's going to appear.

Image 3. Tie Trinket to Spell Macro

Code: Select all
#showtooltip <spell name>
/use [modifier: shift] <trinket name>
/cast <spell name>


This macro will use your damage trinket when you cast a spell. You hold the shift key down while you cast the spell to use your trinket while you cast it. You can also do the same thing with the spell Archangel (/cast [modifier: shift] Archangel)

Image 4. Self Shield Macro

Code: Select all
/cast [target=player] Power Word: Shield


Casts Power Word: Shield on yourself without losing your current target. Very useful to keep yourself from dying.

Image 5. Shackle Macro

Code: Select all
/cast [target=focus] Shackle Undead


Set the target you wish to keep shackled as your focus target, and then use this macro to automatically shackle it.

Image Cast Rotation

Shadow priests do not really have a "cast rotation". They instead have priority list for which spells need to be cast first. Dot spells must be recast just before they expire in order to increase their up-time during the fight. After dots have been put up, you cast direct target spells until they need refreshing. The priority list is as follows:

1. Vampiric Touch
2. Devouring Plague
3. Shadow Word: Pain
4. Shadowfiend
5. Dark Archangel
6. Shadow Word: Death (under 25%)
7. Mind Blast
8. Mind Flay
9. Mind Spike
10. Mind Sear

Red spells are high priority, high DPC. Orange is mid priority, high DPC. Green spells are dependent on boss percentage. Blue spells are DPS cooldowns that also give you mana. Black spells are situational.

So the idea here is in order to maximize your DPS, you have a priority list of which spells to put up first. Red spells need to be cast as soon as possible, then orange after that. When the boss hits 25% or under, you can start adding Shadow Word: Death as an orange-priority spell. The blue DPS spells need to be used intelligently in order to increase your dps. If mana is not an issue you can use them as soon as possible within the priority list, otherwise use your best judgment.

Bear in mind that only Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague need to be refreshed by casting, and that Shadow Word: Pain will be refreshed automatically through the talent Pain and Suffering as you cast Mind Flays.

Opening Rotation

My opening rotation goes like this:

Code: Select all
Volcanic Potion
Shadow Word: Pain
Mind Flay x 1.2
Shadow Fiend
Mind Blast
Vampiric Touch
Devouring Plague
Dark Archangel


The goal of this opener is to get Empowered Shadow up as soon as possible, and to trigger Dark Archangel while your intellect procs are still active. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it can generate a higher dps opening than other openings, so I think it is worth it. (I've tested this in game and in Simulationcraft to make sure.)

I have a lot of people ask me about delaying Shadowfiend until later in the rotation when intellect or spellpower procs go up. This doesn't work, and where I have placed it is about as good as it will ever get (see Shadowfiend FAQ for more info).

Image Frequently Asked Questions

Image 1. Should I wait for Shadow Orbs to cast Mind Blast?

No, don't wait for them.

Both in Simulationcraft and in game testing, I have observed higher dps when Mind Blast is cast on cooldown. Mind Blast is just too high of damage spell to hold back compared to Mind Flay, so use it as soon as you can. You will also want to clip Mind Flay just after a second (or third) tick in order to cast Mind Blast, as this will also increase your DPS.

There is a danger with using Mind Blast on cooldown that your Empowered Shadows buff may fall off (there's a danger of this no matter what you do, but I digress...). The best thing you can do to control this situation is to recast your dots right before ES falls off, or to recast your dots when ES comes back up. This is should minimize any dps lost from ES downtime.

Image 2. How do I increase damage on single targets?

Push the buttons harder. (Seriously.)

For a shadow priest, every spell except Mind Flay is either an instant cast or a 1.5 second spell. It's important to understand that if you aren't moving, there's no action or button you can click that will cancel these spells once you've started casting them. Once you start casting Vampiric Touch, you can immediately start pushing/clicking the Devouring Plague button. If you are pushing/clicking repeatedly when the previous spell is near the end of its cast, the new spell will start casting as soon as the game engine will let you. If you aren't always casting something, if you aren't jamming the spells as fast as you can, you're probably doing it wrong.

The second most important piece of advice I can give is, learn to clip Mind Flay after the second or third tick (during the first tick, you are locked into a GCD). Since Mind Flay is a channeled spell, it has ticks of damage at regular intervals. If you interrupt the channel just after a tick of damage has happened, you can cast another more important spell at an earlier point in time rather than waiting for the channel to finish. If you have a cast bar mod like Gnosis or Quartz, you can see when the ticks of damage are happening, which makes it easier to do this. It takes some practice to get the hang of doing this, but it's worth it to learn how. With practice, it will allow you have a little bit better uptime on your dots, and most importantly it will allow you to cast Mind Blast sooner.

It's also worth mentioning that if you clip Mind Flay with another Mind Flay, the channel will continue rather than breaking the cast, and you will see up to four ticks of damage on the new cast.

Image 3. How do I increase damage on multiple targets and trash packs?

If you are fighting a boss or mobs that will not die quickly, you can increase your DPS by keeping your dots active on the other mobs in the fight aside from your main target. Always keep the most damage on the main target - this is the mob you want to keep Devouring Plague, Mind Blast, and Mind Flays on. For any other mobs that are active, you can tab target them and cast Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain. VT and SW: P are always higher DPC than a single Mind Flay, so the more of those you can fill your cast time with the more DPS you will do.

Some mobs don't last long enough to put all your spells on, so don't bother putting up dots or getting into a complex cast rotation if the spells won't last. If there are 4 or more targets, use Mind Sear. I've found a good trick with Mind Sear is to target a friendly target that is near the adds rather than the adds themselves. By Mind Searing off of friendly targets, you can often assure that the Mind Sear has good placement, and it doesn't get interrupted when the add dies. If there are 3 or less targets, just pick one and spam Mind Spike/Mind Flay and Mind Blast until it dies. I've found Mind Spike to be pretty effective on small adds that need to die quickly.

Last but not least, make sure to keep 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism and Empowered Shadows active while multi-dotting. Keep track of the buffs and throw in a Mind Flay and a Mind Blast whenever necessary so that your spells will continue doing their maximum damage. Mind Sear as far as I know is not affected by Dark Evangelism, but it is affected by Empowered Shadows. I generally keep ES up while I'm Mind Searing by throwing out a few Shadow Word: Pains before casting Mind Sear, then casting Mind Blast as soon as an Orb appears.

Image 4. What should I do when the boss is less than 25% health?

At 25%, Shadow Word: Death should come before Mind Blast with the tier 13 2-piece bonus, and after Mind Blast without it. Otherwise stick to the casting priority and maintain DOTs. A tip with this is to run around while spamming Shadow Word: Death. This can help proc a Shadowy Apparition, and add even more dps towards the end of the fight. I've had a few healers yell at me for getting out of position while doing this, so beware of the positioning requirements of the fight when you do this.

Image 5. What should I do when moving?

As long as you have mana, you should always be casting. You can't cast non-instant spells on the move however, so here are a couple techniques you can use instead.

The first technique is to stutter your movements, pausing periodically to cast every spell but Mind Flay in your rotation. Stop briefly to refresh dots and cast Mind Blast, then move again while you're waiting to re-cast them. Essentially just do your normal priority rotation, except whenever you would normally cast Mind Flay, use the time to move where-ever you need to go. If you're doing this right it should have a run, cast, run, cast rhythm to it.

The second technique is to only use instant casts while moving. You can spam Devouring Plague, which is your highest dps instant above 25%, and then add Shadow Word: Death below 25%. You can also use Shadow Word: Death above 25% for some mana gain if you need it. Other good instants to use are Power Word: Shield and Dispersion.

Image 6. What are the best buffs/professions/racials?

Raid buffs can be a huge source of damage for you. There's an addon called RaidBuffStatus that can help you check to see if you have them all. Here are all of the raid-wide buffs that you want to look for:

stats - Blessing of Kings (paladins) or Mark of the Wild (druids)
crit aura - Leader of the Pack (feral druids), Elemental Oath (elemental shamans), Rampage (fury warriors), or Furious Howl (hunter's wolf pet)
crit debuff - Critical Mass (fire mage) or Shadow and Flame (warlocks)
sp aura - Flametongue Totem (6%, resto shaman), Arcane Brilliance (6%, mages), Totemic Wrath (10%, elemental shaman), Demonic Pact (10%, demonology warlocks)
sp debuff - Master Poisoner (assassination rogue), Ebon Plague (unholy death knight), Curse of the Elements (warlocks), Earth and Moon (balance druid)
3% damage - Communion (retribution paladin), Arcane Tactics (arcane mage)
5% spell haste - you always have this buff, it is also provided by balance druids and all shaman

Dark Intent - warlocks, this is a single target buff, grants 3% haste and extra dot damage
Focus Magic arcane mages, this is a single target buff, grants 3% crit

For professions, the following appears to be the current order of them:

1. Blacksmithing, 2 additional sockets: 100 pp

2. Alchemy, Mixology: 80 PP
2. Enchanting, ring enchants: 80 pp
2. Engineering, Synapse Springs: 80 pp
2. Inscription, Felfire Inscription: 80 pp
2. Leatherworking, Draconic Embossment: 80 pp
2. Tailoring, Lightweave Embroidery: 80 pp

3. Jewelcrafting, 3 epic gems: 51 pp
4. Skinning, Master of Anatomy: 40 pp
5. Herbalism, Lifeblood: 20 pp

For racials, the following is probably the best order to go in:

Alliance: Worgen (1% crit), Dranei (1% hit), Human (.5% hit via Human Spirit), Gnome (5% mana pool)

Horde: Troll (increased cast speed proc), Goblin (1% cast speed)

Image 7. How do I manage mana?

You can Hymn of Hope or Dispersion to gain mana, but this stops your dps for several seconds, so I would save these as a last resort. If you find yourself running low on mana, the best tip I can give you is to add Shadow Word: Death into your rotation whenever you reach about 20% mana. The mana gain from Masochism should keep you going until your next dps-based mana cooldown becomes available (Shadowfiend and Archangel).

If you find yourself needing to use Hymn of Hope, you can cast Dispersion right after it for the greatest mana gain.

Image 8. How does Shadowfiend work?

Shadowfiend does not behave like a typical dot spell. It is a pet, just like hunter pets and warlock demons. As such, the fiend does not "stick" at values of spellpower like a normal spell would. Instead, the pet ineherits your attributes and uses those in order to determine the damage it will do.

The shadowfiend will use your stat ratings from gear as its own, and its damage is determined by your spellpower. Because of this, it will deal damage based upon your current spellpower buffs. If you have a trinket that procs intellect, the shadowfiend will deal extra damage as long as the trinket remainds active. As soon as the trinket goes down, the shadowfiend's damage will decrease immediately. This works in the opposite direction as well, so if you cast the shadowfiend while no procs are active, it will still gain the benefit of those procs if they go up afterwards.

However, the shadowfiend will only benefit from heroism if heroism is cast while it is active. The pet must be present in order to get the buff.

Shadowfiend also uses some of your other secondary ratings, such as hit rating or critical strike rating, but I have not done much testing with these.

Image 9. What do I do when a trinket procs?

There are two types of trinkets that you need to be aware of. Mastery trinkets and other trinkets. For both types of trinkets, it's an increase in dps to refresh your dots when you gain their buff.

However, for mastery trinkets you have to wait for a Shadow Orb and then cast Mind Blast in order to make the buff Empowered Shadows stronger. You can also extend the life of the mastery proc by casting another Mind Blast (with a Shadow Orb) right at the end of the proc. With some practice you can nearly double the life of many mastery trinket procs. This is an important skill to master (lol).

Image 10. Should I clip and/or refresh my dots early?

The concept of clipping dot spells was done away with in Cataclysm. Casting a dot spell on top of a current one will simply extend the length of the spell to another full duration, as well as finishout the remaining tick of the dot. Because of this, it's generally a good practice to refresh dots just before the last tick of the spell, as this will reduce downtime and increase dps.

In the case of Devouring Plague, you can refresh it just about whenever you want, as many times as you want. The extra bit of damage from Improved Devouring Plague makes it so that you don't lose any dps while refreshing it. This also makes it a great spell to use while moving.

For Vampiric Touch, you should try to only refresh the spell as close to the end as possible. The only time you would ever break this rule is if a particularly strong buff became active - Heroism, an Intellect proc, or going from a non-ES state to an ES state. In all other times you generally don't want to break it early.

Image 11. Any other DPS tricks?

I use a lot of spellpower potions on boss fights. One right at the start before the encounter begins will allow you to use another later in the fight.

Try to watch your spellpower procs and use Shadow fiend when a lot of them are active.

Try to time your Archangel ability with potions and spellpower procs - you will get a lot more dps out of it this way. Hitting Archangel during heroism is the best - try to get your raid to let you know when in a fight they will use heroism.

When Multi-dotting, you can get a bit more dps out of it by refreshing Shadow Word: Pain with Mind Flay.

Aside from the above, just try to watch your procs closely. Don't let important buffs fall off, and make sure to refresh your dots when big procs happen.

Image 12. Do I need to hit-cap?

Yes and No. Throughout all gear levels, Hit is the most important secondary stat, but as you progress through gear, there are several situations where you may find yourself going under the hit cap.

Sometimes, you may find an upgrade that has more intellect than your current item, but lose hit in the process of equipping it. In this situation it's still an increase in dps to wear it. Other times you may want to go under hit cap in order to achieve a certain level of haste. Finally, as your haste rises in value, you will eventually reach a point where hit just simply falls below the other stats in worth (this seems to be around 2200 haste rating). All of these situations are valid reasons for being under the hit cap.

Having said the above, there's a few strong arguments for remaining hit-capped, even at the expense of dps. The first concern is that you may miss an important proc opportunity, especially while multi-dotting. Under normal circumstances, missing just requires a re-cast, and you are not particularly limited on time to do this. But with multi-dotting or trying to get as many spells into a small proc window as possible, missing can amount to a significant loss of dps. A second and equally valid concern is that it throws off your concentration and focus, and can add mental stress to the already-complex cast rotation - this could be a major concern as the number of other things you have to keep track of during a boss fight increases.

When you consider going under hit-cap, take into account both the positives and negatives of doing so.

Image 11. I am a Human/Draenai/whatever and my racial gives me hit - what should I do?

Just refer to the character panel in your game to see where you are at. If you are a Dranei or a Human, the hit bonus will be factored into the character panel already. As a Human I sometimes arbitrarily lower the stat weight of hit in GuildOx by 3% so that I will be more inclined to wear gear with spirit.

Image 12. Should shadowpriests be allowed to roll on spirit gear?

Yes, absolutely. I would even go so far as to say that spirit gear for us is better than hit rating. Most of our dps gear directly crosses into healing gear, and I think that was the entire point of the new spirit conversion mechanics in Cataclysm. If you have a healing offspec, you will be using your dps gear to heal with (or vica versa), so spirit in general just goes further for a shadowpriest than hit rating. Having said this, be mindful of which items are best for you, and don't take spirit gear that you don't need or won't use.

Image 13. What about Haste Caps and Haste Plateaus?

Haste Soft Cap

The soft haste cap at level 85 is:

4268/4438 - soft haste cap with Dark Intent active for goblin/non-goblin
4780/4956 - soft haste cap without Dark Intent active for goblin/non-goblin

We probably won't see any these levels of haste in Cataclsym.

Haste Plateaus

What are they?

A haste plateau is a point of haste that you can reach that will give you a small bonus to damage upon reaching it. After which the stat weight of haste will decrease temporarily in value, sometimes (but not always) below that of other stats.

How do they work?

For some plateaus, you get a small damage bonus to one of your spells (Improved Devouring Plague). For others (Vampiric Touch), the duration of a dot spell goes from a low duration to a higher duration, and you get some extra time during the fight to cast other spells.

Haste Plateaus factor into two of our spells - Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague. It is also important whether or not you have Dark Intent..

What are the important points to know about?

This is a graph of our stats as gear progresses without Dark Intent.

Image

And this is a graph of our stats as gear progresses with Dark Intent.

Image

The main points on the graph that I want to point out are the following:

For both sets of graphs:

1. Improved Devouring Plague gets an extra damage boost at the following points of haste:
- 1601
- 3202

2. We see a "softening" of hit as haste grows.

3. Secondary stats start rising above .5 in stat weight just after 6000 intellect. This is the point you would want to start matching yellow sockets with +10 intellect bonuses. Total your intellect from gear, and add the average up-time of any of your intellect procs (enchants + trinkets) to see if you are near this level, or just simply sim your character in Simulationcraft.

4. The graphs were generated without set bonuses or trinkets activated. In tier 12, the 2-piece set bonus and the trinket Variable Pulse Lightning capacitor, when combined, can increase the stat weight of crit by as much as .05. In tier 13, the 4-piece set bonus can increase mastery by as much as .05. These behaviors are NOT represented on the graph, but it is something you need to be aware of if you have that gear on your character.

Without Dark Intent

2589 (2437) - the 2nd extra tick of Vampiric Touch (goblin in parenthesis)

2679 (2525) - Mind Blast appears to synch up well with our spell rotation (goblin in parenthesis)

With Dark Intent

2141 (1993) - the 2nd extra tick of Vampiric Touch (goblin in parenthesis)

2228 (2079) - Mind Blast appears to synch up well with our spell rotation (goblin in parenthesis)

So what do we do?

Since Cataclsym started, I see this question about a dozen times a week around the various WoW forums: "I just simmed my character in Simulationcraft, and it says haste is not my best stat. What do I do?"

The problem we are facing is that our class's haste stat weight rises and falls as we approach and then pass up different plateaus. To add to the confusion, some outside factors can make crit or mastery more valuable. We see this especially with some set bonuses, like the tier 12 2-piece bonus, and the tier 13 4-piece bonus, but it also happens with trinkets as well. Then on top of all of this, simcraft is only taking small samples of additional haste (ie it uses a delta of 300), so if you are not within 300 of a plateau, the full benefits of haste will not appear within the stat weights.

In a practical setting, the way you deal with this is that you assume haste is your best stat, even if Simcraft says that it is not. Then you collect a gear set where you have the maximum amount of haste (while making sure that intellect is more important). After you get this gear set, you see how much haste you have, and then sim your character. If haste is not your best stat, you can start trading some haste for the best stat, while being concious of the haste plateaus mentioned above and making sure not to go below them.

To try to put it as short and sweet as I can - our two biggest points of interest right now are 30% haste (2nd extra tick of Vampiric Touch, which come at either 2141 w/DI or 2589 wo/DI), and 3202 haste (3rd bonus damage to Improve Devouring Plague). If you find yourself inbetween one of these marks (ie past 30% haste, but not quite at 3202), you can sim your character to see which stat weight appears to be competing with haste, and then trade haste for some of that stat.

Ultimately this is something you will have to test for and decide for yourself. I can't predict every possible gear combination and make a blanket recommendation for you. However, if you NEED me to tell you to do something, the "safe bet" is to ignore the simulationcraft results and follow the static stat weights I have posted within this guide.
Last edited by Kilee on 23 May 2011, 14:40, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Kilee » 02 May 2011, 11:48

Hi all. I am posting this here on request of Veiled. I will keep the guide as up to date as possible. As always I welcome feedback and constructive criticism, and my goal is and always has been to make the best guide that I possibly can.

As I understand it, Newnoise's guide will not be updated any longer. I have admired the guide since its creation, and feel it has a lot of great information that my guide does not contain. This guide is not an attempt to replace that one - it is just one priest's view of the class, and I hope that it will be an inspiration for any shadow priest looking to learn more about their class.

If you see anything wrong or mis-informative about the guide, I will do my best to correct it as quickly as possible. I am not a perfect person, and the best I can do is to keep trying.

As always I am available for comments, questions, and feedback about the guide or about priests in general. I enjoy discussion about my class, and will be happy to address any questions about the guide or class within this thread.

Thank you very much for reading.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Arlee » 02 May 2011, 13:15

Heya... this is also an alternative spec for getting Silence without giving up imp Mind blast/Dispersion/Masochism... though I haven't had a chance to sim it out to see how it compares (dang being busy). If you want to, to see if it would be worth including go ahead. Otherwise I'll get back to you about it when I finally remember to do this. Shadow spec with silence and Imp MB

Also I was wondering about your placement of sw: death on the spell priorities. MF should be more of a priority than that. I understand due to boss % but I don't think there is a really good way to depict that due to when a boss hits under 25% sw: death kind of bumps everything in priority.

Last thing is I am curious about your preference to sw: pain then mind flay until you get an orb, mb, and then finally put up your other dots. It's a dps loss to do that especially if you end up getting one of those fail times where it takes awhile to get an orb up.

Looks really good though, and thanks :) I look forward to reading it more in depth when I get home :)
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Veiled » 02 May 2011, 13:45

Thanks alot Kilee. We're honored to have your guide posted here. Stickied!
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Kilee » 02 May 2011, 14:37

Hi Arlee, thank you very much for your feedback and questions. I'll try my best to answer them.

Arlee wrote:[color=#00BF00]Heya... this is also an alternative spec for getting Silence without giving up imp Mind blast/Dispersion/Masochism... though I haven't had a chance to sim it out to see how it compares (dang being busy). If you want to, to see if it would be worth including go ahead. Otherwise I'll get back to you about it when I finally remember to do this. Shadow spec with silence and Imp MB


I played around with Simulationcraft for about 20 minutes and I couldn't get it to recognize different types of talent specs. It doesn't appear to be importing changes in talent specs from the character dev site. It's also not importing my own spec correctly from the wow armory. I'm not sure how to recreate this as a simulation in order to test it.

In terms of graphs, I see on the simulationcraft chart that shadowfiend is doing about 20% of our damage. Mind Blast looks like it is doing close to 45% of our damage. So it makes sense from a "common sense" perspective that you'd lose less dps by taking points out of Veiled Shadows than from Improved Mind Blast. Although it may also be true that a .5 second increase to MB is not quiet the same as a 30 second increase to Shadow Fiend. It really depends on how many Shadow Fiends you can get off in a typical fight.

I don't really have enough data right now to say one or the other is best. I guess my only remaining question would be can we take the hit to our mana? That might be a trickier situation.

I've spoken to quite a few people who feel the last two points need to be placed into Inner Sanctum, enough so that I'll be updating the guide at a later date to reflect this.

Also I was wondering about your placement of sw: death on the spell priorities. MF should be more of a priority than that.


Ahh.. perhaps I need to rethink the way it is visually represetned. I do not intend for people to use Death before 25%. I'll see if I can word it more clearly in my next update. Perhaps I should place Death after Mind Flay in the list to better represent it as a "modified priority" spell.

I understand due to boss % but I don't think there is a really good way to depict that due to when a boss hits under 25% sw: death kind of bumps everything in priority.


In simulationcraft, the DPET of Mind Blast as compared to Shadow Word: Death:

Mind Blast 3: 30211
Mind Blast 2: 26502
Shadow Word: Death: 23562
Mind Blast 1: 23086
Mind Blast 0: 20291

Which to use first depends on the number of Orbs you have up. I'll try to word this more clearly in my next update.

Last thing is I am curious about your preference to sw: pain then mind flay until you get an orb, mb, and then finally put up your other dots. It's a dps loss to do that especially if you end up getting one of those fail times where it takes awhile to get an orb up.


I think it is worth it to build up 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism before casting dots. This also gives you a chance to proc an orb, so if you're lucky things work out. After the first 4 ticks of Mind Flay however, it's definately a loss of dps to wait for Shadow Orbs (unless there's a mastery trinket involved).

The opening rotation is still something that I'm experimenting with. I've been getting a lot of feedback from people saying waiting for orbs is bad though.

Edit: I'm contemplaing just taking that entire section out and just saying "refresh dots when ES goes up". It seems like a pretty controversial subject, and I don't really have an easy answer that fits everyone.
Last edited by Kilee on 02 May 2011, 15:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Kilee » 02 May 2011, 15:08

Edits at 5:05pm:

1. In the talent section, added Veiled Shadows as an option for specing into Silence.

2. In the Cast Rotation section, moved Shadow Word: Death to just before Mind Blast and added in parenthesis "under 25%" so that it is more clearly worded.

3. In the Opening Rotation section, took out the portion about waiting for a Shadow Orb.

4. In the Q&A: Should I wait to cast Mind Blast? Changed it so that the advice is not to wait, but instead to refresh dots when stronger buffs are present.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Arlee » 02 May 2011, 21:14

Chardev seems to be playing nicely with simulation craft for me tonight so I should have some information for you shortly. My inclination is that this spec would make crit a little bit more important because it would rely on crits to lower the CD of Shadowfiend. But will see what the simulations say :)

Also, yea I know a lot of people seem to prefer the last two points in Inner Sanctum... I don't really understand the reasoning for this though as it seems like a defensive place to spend points. I would definitely be interested in hearing someone talk about why you would want to do that (to many people are just like "ahmg it's better" which isn't helpful at all.


So for the simulations I used Helter skelter, 10,000 iterations, and Average player skill. I also used my gear to go off of because it was easiest.

And here is where I realize I fail and don't know how to link in info from SimulationCraft. ><

Silence spec without Veiled shadows:
Dps: 20,631.8
Time oom: 4.61%
The interesting thing here is is the stat weights.
Int:1.00
Spirit: 0.639
Hit: 0.4561
Crit: 0.3517
Haste: 0.3162
Mastery: 0.2967

Normal Spec:
DPS: 21,043.5
Time oom: 3.79%
Int: 1.00
Spirit:0.4557
Hit: 0.4759
Crit: 0.3843
Haste: 0.3651
Mastery: 0.3317

Gotta say I am a bit surprised by the second set of numbers. If anyone knows how to link/insert the charts and stuff please let me know. And now it is time for me to sleep :)
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Drye » 03 May 2011, 01:15

Arlee wrote:
Also, yea I know a lot of people seem to prefer the last two points in Inner Sanctum... I don't really understand the reasoning for this though as it seems like a defensive place to spend points. I would definitely be interested in hearing someone talk about why you would want to do that (to many people are just like "ahmg it's better" which isn't helpful at all.


A lot of individuals underestimate defensive talent points as a dps class, herp derp it gives me no direct dps output so why get it. Now I'm not calling you an idiot, I'm simply implying that a lot of the wow community thinks this way. Defensive talents are great, such as Inner sanctum due to the fact shadowfrom already gives 15% reduction, and depending on how many points you have in it can either increase it by 2%, or 4$(no way to get the 3rd point or you messed up other talent points) Giving shadowfrom 17 or 19% reduced dmg. Now having that much dmg already reduced it allows us to maybe take that extra tick of Ice patch on Al'akir, or an extra tick of Wrack on Sinestra(any extra time someone can hold wrack will help the raid and healers a substantial amount due to its mechanics) or be allowed to SW:D on nef >25% and halfus(LOLONESHOT?ZZZ).

TL;DR- defensive talents such as Inner Sanctum allow us to dps more aggressively.


Also back to the point I originally wanted to post. I don't think that you should say

Kilee wrote:Image Feet
good: Lavawalker
best: Haste



Due to the fact you honestly can't measure movement speed as a static dps gain. In many, many situtations the movement speed outweighs the minimal difference in stat gains.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Veiled » 03 May 2011, 02:04

Drye wrote:Also back to the point I originally wanted to post. I don't think that you should say

Kilee wrote:Image Feet
good: Lavawalker
best: Haste



Due to the fact you honestly can't measure movement speed as a static dps gain. In many, many situtations the movement speed outweighs the minimal difference in stat gains.


Kilee did state that the guide would be a mix of fact and his opinion. I think this is one of the cases of "opinion" and is also *extremely* situational. Mathematically, what he's put here is correct.. but in the real world depending on the fight it could change.
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Re: Kilee's 4.1 Shadow Priest Guide

Postby Arlee » 03 May 2011, 07:03

So after I got some sleep and am I a little bit more coherent I realized the reason the second set of numbers turned out like they did was because I had just crossed one of the haste plateau's... Anyways, from my reading of the results it looks like while the Silence Spec Without Veiled Shadows is definitely less dps, it still seems like it would be competitive if someone needed to spec into silence for some reason. If there are any other variants of it you would like me to run (ilvl 359/372 gears, with inner sanctum, etc) let me know :)

Also, I am a tard and I forgot what I was also going to say. You might want to add a table of Contents to your guide because it is long and would help people when they want to reference something specific in your guide, it would make it easier to find :)
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