Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Playing A Shadow Priest on World Of Warcraft

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 Hitting level 80 a Shadow Priest can focus on PVP or PVE. These two distinct pathways require very different play style and gearing. This article focuses upon PVE where the first step of a Shadow Priest is to run 5 Man Heroics. These Heroic runs will develop skills, improve group dynamics and provide essential gear upgrades to allow further movement towards 10 and 25 Man Raiding Teams.

Shadow Priest Role

The role of a Shadow Priest is to deliver high Damage Per Second (DPS). In addition to delivering the maximum damage a Shadow Priest must also maintain Buffs on party members and be prepared to dispel damaging magic when a party member is targeted. Examples of magic to be dispelled are forms of Crowd Control such as sheep. At the start of each instance run and after a member dies the Shadow Priest should apply Power Word: Fortitude, Divine Spirit and Shadow Protection. Each of these Buffs can also be applied using their group equivalents “Prayer of Fortitude, Divine Spirit or Shadow Protection” at the cost of a reagent, in this case devout candles.

Healing as a Shadow Priest

Whilst high DPS is the focus of a Shadow Priest they also bring a range of healing abilities to any Heroic run. If the healer is killed a Shadow Priest can take over healing of the party to prevent a wipe. Divine Hymn provides a very strong emergency healing spell to quickly heal the three party members with the lowest health. Power Word: Shield can also be cast during encounters to assist the main healer without breaking Shadow Form.

Gearing Up A Shadow Priest

Players running Heroics are a mix of those already well geared who are farming emblems of triumph and new 80’s attempting to improve their gear. Heroic drops are generally item level 200 with harder heroics dropping up to item level 232. Before starting 5 Man Heroics a Shadow Priest needs to improve the quality of their gear to ensure an effective contribution to the group.

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 Purchasing or making crafted items can significantly boost overall DPS, such as the Titansteel Guardian from the Blacksmithing trade. Running Normal Mode Instances will provide gear at item level 187 and Normal Trial of The Champion has drops at item level 200. Obtaining a mixture of gear at level 187 and 200 would provide the Shadow Priest with enough health, mana and spell power to run 5 Man Heroics. Choosing the correct enchantments and gems will also provide a valuable boosts to overall DPS.

Gemming and Enchanting A Shadow Priest

The priority stats for a Shadow Priest to obtain in Gems and Enchantments are:
Hit > Spell Power > Haste

After these; Critical Strike, Intelligence, Spirit and Stamina are important however most items will include these in conjunction with Hit, Spell Power and Haste.

Spell Priority for a Shadow Priest

Spell Priority refers to the order of spell casting to minimize wasted time and maximise DPS. Using an effective Spell Priority will greatly improve DPS on both Boss fights and trash. Inner Fire and Vampiric Embrace buffs should be reapplied to the Shadow Priest every time their duration ends. The healing boost provided by Vampiric Embrace, healing all party members for a percentage of shadow damage generated by the Shadow Priest, greatly assists healers when dealing with AOE damage.
To maximise DPS use the following casting priority:

Vampiric Touch (VT), Devouring Plague (DP), Mind Flay (MF) and at this point Shadow Weaving will have hit 5 stacks so the next cast is Shadow Word Pain (SW:P) followed with Mind Blast (MB).
VT > DP > MF > SW:P > MB

After this initial opening VT and DP should be reapplied as soon as they come off cooldown and MB cast every time it is available, generally after two MF. Pain and Suffering from the Shadow talent tree, an essential talent, will remove the need to reapply SW:P as MF will reset it’s duration. MF acts as a filler in-between cooldowns and to avoid negatively impacting overall DPS each spell must fully complete before recasting.

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For effective AOE on mobs of more than three targets, cast VT on each target then cast Mind Sear rotating which mob is targeted on each cast.
Elitist Jerks provide a detailed breakdown for Shadow Priest Spell Priority.

Maximizing DPS as a Shadow Priest

Release the Shadow Fiend on every boss fight to improve DPS and also restore mana. Use Dispersion as it comes off cooldown to maintain mana through the 5 Man Heroic to avoid having to stop and drink. This is especially important with a geared group who will run from mob to mob without stopping. Trinkets should be activated whenever off cooldown and especially for all boss fights.

Running 5 Man Heroics

To make the most of 5 Man Heroic runs as a Shadow Priest obtain gear of at least level 187 from Normal Instances. Gem and enchant these items to focus on Spell Power and Haste while trying to pick up additional Hit. Utilise the Spell Priority detailed above and if required switch to support healing to survive difficult encounters