So it’s been more or less a week of shadow priesting for me, transitioning from creation to destruction, metaphorically speaking. I will say that I am definitely enjoying the shadow side of things and relishing my new role as pew pew in groups. Not to mention that this new style of play has somewhat revitalized my excitement for the game, as is evidenced by increased blogging activities.
So as I’ve been SPriesting (I know some people hate that term, but I like to think of it as Super Priesting), I’ve also begun to notice the subtext involved and major differences other than simply dps over healing. It’s not all button rotation and spell power for shadowy priests, there’s some subtle skill occasionally involved. I know, I was just as shocked as you were.
First off, I found that Mind Sear was truly one of the best spells the devs have ever graced a player with on WoW. With this spell I’ve managed to hit 12,500 dps on a single pull (pretty much the only good part about Pit of Saron), and have been welcomed with the occasional “hooray, mind sear!” when landing in a random group. As far as I’m concerned, where there’s three or more mobs, there’s Mind Sear.
I’ve also begun trying to make sure that replenishment is ticking as often as possible while I’m grouped, optimizing my rotation around constantly having Vampiric Touch on the target so that no matter when Mind Blast comes off cooldown, I’ll be refreshing it. This helps to keep my mana more efficient (and I have run oom a couple of times, though never without my shadow fiend ready to go) as well as providing a boost for the rest of the group.
My other big tip is to try to balance your crit and haste. Most places that I’ve looked have recommended a haste:crit ratio of 1:2, which I’ve been trying my best to get to through gear, gems and enchants. As a holy priest, I was never too enamored with haste, but I’ve certainly changed that particular viewpoint. However, it seems as though lately Blizzard is really cramming haste down our throats with almost every dps oriented piece of gear almost exclusively providing haste.
There’s also the issue of Spirit. Frankly I love Spirit, it has a multitude of bonuses for holy priests and even some for shadow priests. I’ve tried my best to get as much spirit as possible, going so far as using “healing” gear as part of my shadow set in order to up the stat and provide a further bonus for me. Though I am pragmatic and if an obvious upgrade that does not feature Spirit fall into my hot little hands, I will almost certainly take it.
The biggest transition for me, however, was learning how to effectively target mobs. Out of laziness I usually use the tab method to cycle through mobs, especially since I’m only usually cycling through mobs when I’m Mind Searing and don’t need a particular target. I’ve heard that the best dps usually rely on click targeting in order to ensure accuracy, but I keep accidently clicking on the wrong mob or a group mate when I try that, even with nameplates up.
Of course, these tips are new to me and hopefully will evolve or change over time in order to provide for quicker and higher dps from ol’ Duegie here. Though I feel as though I’m getting it, with my dps averaging between 34 and 3600 in most groups. I’d also appreciate any tips any other more experienced shadow priests might have, even though I am rather perfect.