My Shadow Priests’ Patch 5.0 Talents and Changes in Playstyle

Shadow_Priest_Patch_5_Talents_MoP

Now that I have my glyph choices squared away, I thought it was time to share the direction I’m heading with talents for my shadow priests* since we’re about to have Patch 5.0 land upon all of us, bringing us into this new talent world order.

It quite honestly feels odd, after years of playing, to have so few talents to choose from. Luckily, that marries well to the limited amount of time I’ve had to screw around in the BETA to see which ones I’d most like to have in the live game.

Tier 1, Level 15

Despite how tempting it would be to have a tentacle monster forest at my beck and call to root down my enemies (i.e. Void Tendrils), I went with the Psyfiend here. It’s fabulous fun to have a shrieking little friend causing my enemies to flee in terror. What’s not to love?

Tier 2, Level 30

Since this is my leveling build, I’ve gone with Phantasm. It allows you to remove damaging effects and disencumber yourself by hitting fade. The other real possibility in this tree, Angelic Feather, will go in my second build, to be invoked if I have a raid situation that needs the extra speed for allies.

Tier 3, Level 45

Given how much I love my shadowfiend, turning her
into an exquisitely evil and more frequently deployable mana regen machine by choosing Mindbender was a no
brainer for me.It will be interesting to see if Shadow Word: Insanity ends up being more DPS or not (that all being relative depending upon one’s ability to watch DoTs and CDs and react accordingly).

Tier 4, Level 60

This tier is all about self-preservation. Since I am tired of having way too many rarely-used “oh shit” spells crowding up my bars, I went with Angelic Bulwark which will passively try to save me from anything terrible I stumble into by shielding me and regenning health.

Tier 5, Level 75

My first look at Twist of Fate was initially due to it being an old friend name and icon-wise. But it stayed in my talent tree due to it being a nice passive DPS boost on low health targets. I’ll pop Power Infusion into my second shadow build, which is intended to be more suitable for raiding, as the increased haste and mana regen on demand could definitely come in handy.

Tier 6, Level 90

Since I haven’t gotten to 90 in the BETA (and frankly, I don’t want to ruin all the surprises or get burnt out playing at max level before Live launches), I haven’t yet gotten a chance to play with these talents yet. But they seem to be pretty interchangeable from their descriptions and what I’ve read from other BETA-goers. I thnk I’ll go with Divine Star on my leveling build and Cascade (with its higher mana cost) to my raiding build.

Changes to Shadow Priest Playstyle Along with the Patch

Give up any latent thoughts you may have of trying to keep your old rotation in the new frontier of 5.0 and beyond. It simply won’t be possible. Here’s why:

  • Mind Flay no longer refreshes Shadow Word: Pain. You have to manually keep an eye on it and refresh as needed.
  • Devouring Plague now requires shadow orbs instead of mana. Ideally, you’ll want to wait for all 3 orbs to be present to get the most plague for your buck.
  • You build up shadow orbs through damaging targets with Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death. The latter can generate 2 orbs if it is the killing blow on your target.

What this means for your rotation is you’ll now need to keep a closer eye on your Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word Pain (my favorite DoT timer for helping with that in the past has been Need to Know) and refresh them at the last possible moment. You’ll want to use Mind Blast every time it is off cooldown, Devouring Plague every time you have 3 orbs available, and fill in with Mind Flay when nothing else is up. And don’t forget to deploy your Mindbender/Shadowfiend early and often. When dealing with a group of 4 or fewer mobs, you’ll want to DoT with VT and SW:P and DPS down the main target, using plain old Mind Sear instead of DoTs for groups of 4 or more.

I have long loved using my Devouring Plague and being a DoT machine. But I am OK with the changes in my rotation that are coming with this patch. I’ll blame that easy going stance on having been a long-time boomkin as well. Adapting to all of their changes over the years, and feeling in a way I can’t quite put my finger on that this new shadow priest playstyle is more cosmicly linked to boomkininess, is giving me a purple calmness. I’m looking forward to trying out the new talents and abilities in the next few weeks on my shadow priest ladies.

See you in game!

* That’s not a typo. I have a gnome and a Forsaken shdow priest at max level tyvm.

Mists of Pandaria Shadow Priest Glyphs

Believe it or not, Mists of Pandaria finally delivers upon the promise of making minor glyphs…fun! That’s right, no more removing a reagent or adding some other utility function — you now get to pick your minor glyphs based upon what looks fun to you, not what makes the most sense for your pocketbook and bag space. But I am getting a little ahead of myself here.

First of all, there are no more Prime glyph slots. Just a total of 6 glyphs, split between major and minor. For major glyphs, shadowpriests can choose from these spec-specific glyphs:

  • Glyph of Mind Spike — 50% reduction in cast time of your next Mind Blast for 6 sec (stacks up to 2x)
  • Glyph of Mind Blast — 4 sec stun on target when Mindflay critically hits
  • Glyph of Dark Binding — can cast Prayer of Mending, Renew and Leap of Faith without leaving shadowform
  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Death — can cast SW:D at any time, but only does 25% damage on targets above 20% health, and casting SW:D now damages you for the amount it would for damaging a target above 20% health
  • Glyph of Psychic Horror — reduces cooldown by 10 sec
  • Glyph of Mind Flay — no longer slows target; instead every time it does damage your movement speed is increased 15%, stacking up to 3x
  • Glyph of Vampiric Embrace — converts an additional 50% of the damage you do into healing but reduces the duration by 5 sec

For leveling, I’ve chosen to go with Glyph of Dark Binding, Glyph of Mind Flay and Glyph of Mind Blast. I have to say I am not super enamored with the Mind Flay so if I find need for dispersion at 90, I may swap to that instead. I will also swap out the dark binding for Mind Spike at 90. If none of the above shadow specific glyphs appeal to you, you can choose from a glyph that buffs one of your utility spells. See Wowhead’s full list of Priest Glyphs for details.

Minor glyphs of interest include:

I will give you one guess as to which glyph I will equip first…Of course I have always wanted little shadowy friends! And then there’s the shadow ravens! How many times did I remark here and on twitter how shadow priests needed shadow ravens? TOO MANY TIMES! It’s like playtime for Anexxia with those two combined. Though I should not that the shadow ravens do not have as much visible time as I would like. And some of my noncombat pets are not as awesome in shadowform as regular form. Hmmmph. So, I am most likely looking at Glyph of Confession, Glyph of Shadow Ravens and glyph of dark archangel, with bouts of Glyph oh Shadowy friends.

What’s interesting to me, is none of these feel yet like “must take” glyphs, unlike previous go rounds with glyphs. It will be interesting to see if that is born out once the game hits live.

Why Hello There, Shadow Priesty Lady…

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I wasn’t expecting to be posting a screenshot of my shadow priest exploring in the new Pandaren lands. But here we are. All thanks to my twitter buddies Psynister, who was helping me think of a way in, and Krizhek (tytyty!)who was so kind as to give me a BETA key.

Welcome back, Anexxia, I really missed you.

And stay tuned to hear about all the shadow priest changes, pet battles, Pandaren Cooking and more.

xoxo

A Sort of Homecoming in Brill

Anexxia at her new office desk, thinking...

Anexxia had been at loose ends for a few weeks now, ever since walking out on her raiding team. They continued on with their never-ending fight against evil monsters, leaving Anexxia puttering about in Orgrimmar, restless.

One hot Sunday afternoon, she packed a small bag with her herbalism scissors and her sewing kit, and hopped upon the zeppelin for Tirisfal Glades. It was an easy decision to leave the dust and bustle of the City– she’d never felt welcome there. It was merely the most convenient point from which to set out with the raiding party. With those days behind her, she was free to return to the only place that had ever felt like home — The Dark Lady’s kingdom.

Even from the zeppelin tower, it was clear that things had changed in the years since she left on her crusade for justice. Brill had grown up. No longer a hastily slapped together burg, it was now a respectable place to call one’s home.

Anexxia kept her eyes peeled for for rent signs. The office was the easier find. But it took poking about in a number of unsatisfactory rooming halls before she found the studio. She’d nearly decided not to head up the stairs to look at the place after her encounter with the landlady. She was quite possibly one of the most dim-witted shadow priests Anexxia had ever met. Standing about with her flapping outdated bat-wing staff, not having been in shadow form in aeons. But her feet were getting tired, so Anexxia trudged up the stairs, and found the absolutely perfect place.

Nice rock hard bed, candles everywhere, cobwebs in every corner. Yes, this will do, she thought to herself. “I’ll take it!” she yelled down the stairs at the landlady, who chirped back something about being just thrilled to have another shadow priest in the house.

Taking off her dusty boots, and lying down upon the bed, Anexxia still didn’t know what she was going to do with herself. But at least she was finally home. And thus, she rested.

shadow priest at rest.

 

Friday Five: Five Ways That Gnomes Bring the Sexay

Sorry, Thrall honey, but I'm taken.

  1. We have the sexiest dance moves, both male and female side.
  2. We tell geeky jokes, and there’s no humor sexier than geek humor, amirite?
  3. We can sneak up on you from out of nowhere, and drop the sexay bomb, and then run off, leaving you wanting more.
  4. We’re the original ponytail rockers.
  5. Once you go gnome, there’s no going back. I mean, you’ve seen a male gnome doing a dance haven’t you?

GO GNOME OR GO HOME!

Happy Friday.

xoxo Anexxia

Meeting my Cataclysm Goals: Sandstone Drake, Check!

Whose a cute fuzzy wuzzy shadowy dragon? ME that's who!

Each expansion, I’ve had a goal in mind. For WotLK, it was to save Bolvar Fordragon. This expansion, from the moment I saw the Sandstone Drake, it was to be able to shift into a shadowy dragon. And as of this weekend, that goal is complete.

I didn’t want to get the Vial of the Sands for Anexxia, since she already has an awesome mount for shadowform– the Blazing Hippogryph. Thus, my Alliance shadow priest being the lucky recipient.

I’d burnt out on trying for the Vial on my alchemist after the fourth canopic jar full of nothing more than mummified remains. Thus, I’d started searching for the Vial on the AH every time I logged in, to get a sense of how much it was going for, so I could save up accordingly.

Just last week, I’d seen it up for 75k which was way too rich for my blood. But then something funny happened over the long weekend. Suddenly there was a price war, and we had three of them up with buyouts under 49k, and bids for 44k. Still a ton of cash, but then again, it cost me a lot of cash to make my motorcycle back in the day as well.

For those wondering just how I happened to have so much cash on hand, well that’s a direct result of being used to supporting raiding costs on two characters, but not doing any raiding, on the whole, for months. Instead of using up all my consumables and materials on myself, I’ve been selling stuff as I accumulate it. And continuing with my usual crafting. But not having anything to spend the cash on meant it piled up on the bank alt.

And thus, I’ve met my one Cataclysm goal to date. It’s great timing too — I’m about to be even more busy IRL due to a promotion at work. So even if I don’t play seriously for a few months, I’ll still be able to feel I’ve gone out in a blaze of glory, so to speak. And no, I’m not quitting WoW and I’m not stopping the blog, but I am a bit preoccupied with life outside of Azeroth at the moment. Catch you on the flipside.

Friday Five: Five Things I Look for in a Raiding Guild

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  1. You have set times to raid.
    Specifically, you raid at 6 p.m. pacific or a little bit after. This does not change based upon whimsy. Or enough people being on earlier. Or your raid leader not liking someone who can’t get online until 6 Pacific and thus trying to get things started before they log on.
  2. You confirm your raid slots in advance.
    No, not 30min in advance; a day or two in advance. Or better yet, you have a set raiding roster, and I’m on it. No one, including me, want to rush home form work to warm the bench.
  3. Your loot policies are clear, and not subject to change.
    Loot isn’t handed out based on their personal relationships with the raid leader/guild leader. RL/GL don’t get “dibs” on all the loot. Officers don’t get special consideration for special drops. There aren’t special requirements you’ve never heard about previously when a mount or a legendary drops.
  4. You have people on in your non-raid times.
    If your guild is a hot bed of activity during raid hours and a dead zone thereafter, that says to me there isn’t much camaraderie or community other than your raiding. And even if that’s very successful raiding, you’re not gong to be a good fit for me.
  5. Your guild leader/raid leader/officers are experienced and well respected.
    I am sure that there are many children under the age of 18 and people who’ve only been playing 6 months who are excellent guild and raid leaders. but so far, I haven’t encountered them. I’m a cranky 5 1/2 year veteran of WoW, and enjoy playing with people who are pretty experienced, mature, and with whom I have things in common in addition to playing this game.

What are the things you look for when shopping for a raiding guild?

 

What to Wear: a Shadow Priest’s Guide to Zul’aman and Zul’gurub Heroic Dungeon Gear

Patch 4.1 brings us 5-man heroic dungeon versions of a couple of classic raids: Zul'aman (ZA) and Zul'gurub (ZG), with an opportunity to deck yourself out in ilvl 353 epics, which should help ease more folks into being raid-ready from a geaer perspective.

Thankfully, the loot tables will additionally help fill in some gaps for some of the harder to source items (i.e. wands and bracers.) Personally, I can't wait for my new and improved Will of Arlokk. That was always my favorite staff…

Once the item databases provide more details, I'll subdivide the list by instance.

Note that there is also a trinket, usuable by everyone, that calls forth your own posse of voodoo gnomes: Miniature Voodoo Mask.

How Not to Make a Good Impression in Your First Raid

shadow priest Anexxia stares down Cho'gall

On a recent raid night, we somehow ended up one DPS short of a full raid (hold the jokes, please ;p). Thus, we ended up taking with us a member who had just joined the prior evening.

As it turns out, the officer who had invited this person, must not have known them very well, if at all. I say this because if they had, they wouldn’t have suggested bringing him in so far into the instance. Why do I say this? Because I’m pretty sure it was his first ever raid instance.

This player kept asking what color dot he needed to follow on the mini map and was clearly perplexed when asked to just visually look at his screen to see where folks were standing and moving towards. After partially wiping the raid group by running fire in the opposite edition (he literally ran me down), over Vent he asked repeatedly why the instance wouldn’t let him back in. And when he finally was in and we were about to go for what was his third attempt, he asked us to wait when the ready check popped up, and proceeded to ask why we didn’t all just spread out instead of moving around on the fight.

I believe we gave him three attempts before we cut him loose. And I don’t foresee our taking him with us ever again. Why? A few key reasons:

  • He didn’t say he was new to raiding before accepting the invitation
  • He demonstrated an inability to follow instructions
  • He talked over vent almost non-stop through the attempts, distracting the entire team from doing their jobs
  • Despite having no idea what he was doing, tried to tell the raid leader and team what we should be doing differently, on a boss we’d previously killed a number of times.

Start with Baby Steps

Now, I do understand why someone without any raiding experience would want to join a raiding  guild. And why they would be excited to be invited to a raid. And we do al have to start somewhere. But if you have no experience with grouping for raids, unless you are a WOW savant, a difficult boss towards the end of an instance is not the place to do that. You really need to start with an easier fight, and to have prepared for it.

Your best bet for getting your raiding feet wet is Baradin Hold. A slight bit of trash, only one boss, and a likelihood your guild can carry you through the content makes this a good starting point. You’ll be able to start to get familiar with the dynamics of coordinating 10 or 25 players to achieve a common goal. And gain an understanding of the tasks your class and role may be asked to perform in a raid.

Once you start to feel like you are keeping up with the group, you can start thinking about hitting some of the entry level raid bosses. But you’ll want to make sure you go watch a video of the encounter and read a description of what your role does in that fight, so that you are coming into the raid armed with enough knowledge to give it a good try. Be sure that your raid leader knows you are new to the instance, and ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of what you personally are being asked to do.

I understand it can seem scary to admit to being a newbie, but we were all newbies at one point or another. And a good team of folks will appreciate your ‘fessing up, versus not understanding why you are having trouble with executing on something they consider to be on farm mode.

Further reading: