Archive for the PvP Category

PvP is dead….. and Blizzard killed it.

Posted in Mage, Priest, PvP, WoW on July 31, 2013 by Srsbusiness

Once, a long, long time ago, there was a time when I actually enjoyed PvP combat. Even back to my vanilla and BC days as a hunter, I remember walking up behind some poor, unsuspecting mage and unleashing an aimed shot that would crit for 3900. (3900!!) and 1-shot my adversary back in vanilla. And then in BC, the old passage was to locate the hunter and mana burn them as fast as possible, rendering them useless. It became common to see hunters with intel enchants and full time running aspect of the viper for preservation purposes. Resilience was introduced here, and it provided a new element to pvp, mainly as a way to not completely wreck the opposing priest/mage/warlock by sundering off all of their armor.

 

Around the middle of Wrath, I underwent my identity crisis, and eventually became a full time priest. Nothing new was introduced in Wrath as far as elements to PvP (aside from death knights having a joyride of a time deathgripping the heck out of people), so the play stayed consistent from BC, although learning how to effectively juke people on my priest gave adversaries, and even my own teammate, terrors.

 

As cataclysm dawned upon us, I was no longer enjoying healing in arenas, and decided I wanted to be the one getting healed, so back to shadow I went. Priests were all the rage as the end of the expansion broke, and this was where I got my first taste of rated battlegrounds. And it was glorious. I lived and died by the sword. I was willing to take the risk of using my PvE-acquired gear, with no resilience, in favor of higher spell power, secondary stats and tier bonuses. This tactic worked with devastating effect, as I used my tier set bonus, which allowed you to gain 3 shadow orbs each time your shadow fiend or shadowy apparitions did damage. Back then, your shadow orbs modified how much damage your mind spike or mind blast did, and we had archangel as well, which increased the damage of those spells by an additional 20% for 18 seconds. Throw in a rogue for a stun, and dk for a ranged silence and necrotic strike and you had yourself one dead flag carrier. PvP was fun.

 

And then Mists of Pandaria came, and the game of PvP started to drastically change. The pre-patch introduced a baseline resilience of 40% to everyone. And this was okay, it allowed me to take less damage and survive a bit longer in an iffy situation. Although I could no longer dispatch opponents with swift efficiency,

 

As someone who is a PvE content player first, and PvP’er second, its a nice change of pace to be able to do a battleground here and there. It breaks up the tedium of dailies and the same raid over and over (I’m looking at you Icecrown Citadel). By no means am I a rookie or scrub when it comes to out-thinking an opponent, or experience in a battleground as I have 100,000+ lifetime HKs, the battlemaster achieve, and duelist achieve (s2). Its the last change of late that has really crushed any type of fun I once had with queuing up for a battleground.

 

In 5.3, Baseline resilience for characters has gone up from 40% to 65%, and in addition, all gear is scaled down to 496 if the item level is higher by default. Throw in your new and improved battle fatigue ability, which cuts healing done by 45%, and you have quite a situation for your-not-so-dedicated-to-PvP player. Interested in these changes, I decided if I further became an indestructible tank, bringing forth indiscriminate justice to his foes, or if something was greatly a miss. And it turned out, something was a miss. I lacked the gear and “required stat” of pvp power to have much effect on my opponents. It was like being a wet match, in a damp cave and trying to light. My spell power declined by over 40%, and my health by over 200,000. Players whom I would make short work of anywhere in the world if I saw them were now crushing me with literal ease, despite using crafted pvp armor and entry level weapons. PvP power is designed to give the user more damage and healing from their abilities, as opposed to having stronger gear. What does this mean? It means people who are like me, no longer get to have their cake and also eat it. People using last or current season PvP gear, not only do not suffer a penalty to using higher level gear, they also get a bonus versus players wearing higher gear (as they aren’t going to use PvP power for anything LFR or higher raid based).

 

People who “casually” do PvP, are put at a disadvantage, not because they are under geared, as someone who raids is not, but because this change has made PvP a fully separate entity from PvE. In order to be competitive in PvP, you must also grind out a full set of pvp gear as well. Which makes sense, if you want to be a Tyrannical Gladiator. But for someone who just wants to blow off steam from raids/dailies? It seems completely absurd to go this route to even be semi-competitive.  I mean, you don’t see people who queue up into LFR or heroics get their gear normalized down to 463/476/483 do you?

 

Here’s the gripe: We put in a lot of time and work, sometimes fruitless nights of fighting encounters for powerful rewards (and the content of course…..). Those players have earned the right to use that gear as they see fit (without exploiting game mechanics, etc). Why should they be punished for bringing them to pvp? Because new person X doesn’t want to get killed by heroic raider Y? Here’s something to consider: We have all been at that point at some point in the game. We were all once noobs (to whatever we did). I remember being on my hunter back in ’05 and thinking counterattack was the coolest thing ever and melee’d the heck out of stuff hoping for a parry (god it was awful). PvP is no different. If you are undergeared, you are going to get beat down by the people who have better gear while you get your ownself better. This is the rite of passage/initiation. Then, once you have the gear, you get to do the beating down, and the cycle continues.

 

The practical problem to this is gear inflation. Right now Ilvls are shooting up stats at an enormously large rate. And there are ways to fix this: (Queue idea for expansion planning)

 

- Since ilvls aren’t going away, continue with them but alter the storyline of WoW.

 

- The burning legion returns after Garrosh is ousted in Orgrimmar. In the midst of celebration, Ner’zhul’s agents return to Azeroth and kidnap Anduin Wryn and warp him back to their home planet. Varian decides to enlist his gnomish engineers to make transport to the planet, and being the cunning tactician, enlists Vol’jin’s help, or otherwise threatens to Destroy the new Warchief’s regime before it rebuilds.

 

- The fight takes place on the Eredar planet. The atmosphere is filled with bacteria that alters the state of anything entering into it. STAT CRUSH! All items and stats have their level reduced by 98%. This takes gear and damage down to around what people had around the early stages of Burning Crusade. Health pools of 600,000 drop to 12,000. DPS drops from 200,000+ to around 4,200 (PvE). This cuts the insta-gib factor down quite considerably. Since we travel back and forth between the planet. Traces of bacteria linger in our atmosphere and carry over to the old BGs. This means:

 

- Battle fatigue has been disabled on the planet and any battleground/arena.

- Players no longer have a baseline of 65% resilience.

- This accomplishes: People who travel the world and engage in World PvP get to have super inflated stats and the feel of crushing anyone. People who want to queue for battleground can either use pvp or pve gear effectively, because a 98% reduction of ilvl 700 vs 98% of ilvl 600, is very miniscule.

 

TLDR: This is a whiny QQ post because I feel I have lost the capacity to enjoy an aspect of the game because of gear normalizing, or as I call it challenge mode PvP. And because I want to be able to make a cake and eat it too.

 

Mmmmmm..... cake.......

Mmmmmm….. cake…….

 

Here, have some cake. All this talk of cake has made me hungry, and I am going to go bake my cake and eat it right now.

5.2: Lemon Puddin’, Blasphemy, and Free Form Jazz

Posted in Priest, PvE, PvP, WoW on February 5, 2013 by Srsbusiness

Shadow priests are getting some tinkering done to them over the next few weeks in anticipation of the 5.2 Isle of the Thunder King patch. Some questionable, like Lemon Puddin’, and some that are just downright bad like blasphemy (Isn’t that right Leonidas?)

The changes that are affecting  shadow priests in 5.2 are:

Halo no longer breaks stealth.

- Glyph of Mind Spike now only works with non-Surge of Darkness Mind Spikes.

- Phantasm now no longer makes the priest untargettable by ranged attacks, but the movement freedom effect now lasts 5 seconds.

- Shadow Word: Insanity is now Solace and Insanity. In shadow, Devouring Plague increases the damage of Mind Flay by 33% per orb for the next 6 seconds, on targets that are affected by 3 shadow damage over time spells.

 

Originally, Devouring Plague was being changed to have its damage spread out evenly on application and over time. This change is something that I was personally looking for, as it actually came out to be an 11% buff to devouring plague in the long run for PvE content, while the massive burst being taken away was crippling to priests in PvP. On the whole, if you PvP as shadow, your are not too happy about the upcoming changes, aside from the small silver lining of having the bursty version of Devouring Plague back. No longer able to flare out those rogues and feral druids, as well as having your 3 second range protection shell go away, we may become the object of choice for the enemy even more so now!

 

For changes in raid encounters, how you match talents in tier 3 and tier 5 is going to largely matter on how much you want to take chances with RNG based on procs in those tiers.

Earlier in my first review of MoP talents and tiers, I went with Shadow Word: Insanity for tier 3 and Twist of Fate for tier 5 as my choices for best use in a raid setting. As it turns out, Shadow Word: Insanity was a complete nightmare from the start, not being active when it should, being active when it shouldn’t (hello free uses from dead spirit kings), and the damage it dealt was not comparable to From Darkness, Comes Light as gear improved. Twist of Fate was extremely powerful in LFR and in Normal modes, as many additional elements to the fight (that oneself did damage to), and had a good enough uptime to where priests were getting close to 50% active time of 15% increased damage for a fight. However, as we moved into heroic progression, the amount of time and number of elements dying on those encounters severely dropped off, while many encounter have multiple mobs up until the end of the fight. Even for fights like Feng the Accursed, where 75% of the fight is just the raid versus the boss, the amount of Divine Insight procs far outweighed the scant 40-50 seconds of ToF uptime from the adds on the shield phase + execute range.

As of now, I am using From Darkness, Comes Light and Divine Insight as my talent choices for Tiers 3 and 5. There is one predominant reservation I have about Solace and Insanity going forward, and that is the amount of actual usage priests will get out of the buff to MF. Devouring plague lasts 6-6.4 seconds (haste). Since DP is on the GCD, we lose 1 second from the start of MF and then until the first tick of MF, which at 8200 haste, is .77 seconds later. This drops the effective time insanity is active from 6 to 4.23 seconds at 8200 haste, which might be enough to squeeze 2 Mind Flays into. Note: Mind Flay is our 5th highest damaging spell when used with From Darkness, Comes light on the whole.

There are a lot of intriguing possibilities to mix and match for the upcoming patch. I have dubbed these: The Smooth and Flowing Approach, The Cookie Cutter Approach, and the Whack-A-Mole Approach.

 

The Smooth and Flowing Approach:

Smooth, melodic. Follow the beat of the rotation.

Smooth, melodic. Follow the beat of the rotation.

Safe and predictable, this approach conforms to the traditional style of shadow priest, which has been straight forward damage dealing without any hidden cooldowns or surprise procs to manage and balance. Dots refreshed as needed, mind blast off cooldown, DP at 3 orbs, and Mind Flay as fillers, no surprise mind spike or mind blast procs ever to manage. In tier 3, this build takes Solace and Insanity, and in Tier 5 this build goes with Twist of Fate. In execute range, your mind flays will be hitting much, much harder.

 

The Cookie-Cutter Spec:

Gingerbread or Shadow Priest, its all the same.

Gingerbread or Shadow Priest, its all the same.

Because of the way certain abilities work for shadow priests, it is not unrealistic to see this build become the new cookie cutter spec for shadow priests. This build focuses on shadow orb generation and increasing the number of devouring plagues cast in a fight. In addition, it also attempts to take advantage of the 100% damage increase to Mind Flay via Solace and Insanity. Without saying, it takes Solace and Insanity from tier 3, and takes Divine Insight from tier 5. This spec will have it moments on single target fights, but works really well on fights where you can have multiple targets with Shadow Word: Pain on them. The important thing for someone trying this build going forward will be to always make sure that the target they cast DP on also has VT and SW:P. or the insanity buff fails to serve its purpose. Hopefully, they refine Solace and Insanity for shadow a little bit before it becomes live, so that you actually get a full 6 seconds of value from the talent.

 

The Whack-A-Mole Spec:

I Double Dog Dare You.....

I Triple Dog Dare You…..

 

This is the spec that will have you mashing different buttons at any opportune time RNG decides to show up for you. With the change to the Mind Spike Glyph, it becomes almost imperative for people who use From Darkness, Comes Light to also take Divine Insight, as our Surge of Darkness casts now no longer benefit from the glyph. This spec, which takes the aforementioned FDCL and Divine Insight, is a finesse build, which gets better as the number of mobs active in a fight increases. One good result from the mind spike alteration is the change in what buff got consumed if you happened to have Divine Insight and 2 stacks of Mind Melt active. As it stands now, if you have Divine Insight and Mind Melt x2, you ended up eating the Mind Melt stacks and having your DI buff while Mind Blast went on cooldown. This led to the unfortunate occurrence that your DI buff fell off and you lost the proc, which is ultimately invaluable as a direct damage dealer, and also as a shadow orb generator. The Whack-A-Mole  build is the one I use currently, and if Solace and Insanity fares like its predecessor, will also become the Cookie Cutter build.

I do not have FDCL paired up with ToF because if bosses are getting harder in the next patch, with more hp, then ToF’s uptime will drop even further, making it even less desirable. It pairs well with Solace and Insanity because of the constant +15% and then and extra guaranteed 100% to MF, while its on a 15% chance per tick, per VT to get a FDCL proc.

All in all, this is a very underwhelming patch for shadow priests, which didn’t seem like the mechanics, aside from Shadow Word: Insanity looked to be terrible or crazy OP. The DP change was even a net gain for PvE, although their would have been howls of despair from the PvP community. As the gear improves and we get closer to more haste breakpoints, it will be interesting to see which talents become better for our playstyles.

 

(I Still wish our mastery increased periodic shadow damage instead of acting as a Psuedo-Tarecgosa…… *shakes fist*)

 

Oh, and here’s your citrusy dessert:

Only 800 calories, something light for a change.

Only 800 calories, something light for a change.

 

A la mode, because why not?

Push It to the Limit

Posted in Priest, PvE, PvP, Shameless Plugs, WoW on December 21, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Have you ever experienced those moments playing WoW where you just have that feeling where you are doing everything right? Where your spells, abilities and timing all line up perfectly and you couldn’t possibly ask for a better string of procs, misses and crits while approaching the zenith? That is what is going to happen when you partake in challenge modes and the Brawler’s Guild.

 

“Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.” - Roman philosopher, Seneca, 1st Century AD

 

Challenge Modes are a nice step up in difficulty from your standard heroic. The trash has considerably more health and all the bosses are level 93, which means your going to need more hit in your gear as opposed to the heroic lvl 92 mobs. Even going in to heroics wearing ilvl 463 gear, you can progress much faster as opposed to the challenge mode level. The first challenge mode I did a while back was Scarlet Halls. Scarlet Halls was an interesting instance because of how some of the pulls had to be done, specifically using invisibility potions after the first boss. Being the first challenge mode for some of the people I went with, it was a learning experience, as getting to the number of mobs kill required can be difficult while trying to skip enemies. We eventually got a bronze and for the first time going through, look forward for the challenge of coming back for a better time.

 

Fast forward a few months and we enter the Gate of the Setting Sun instance. Considered one of the “easier”, and by easier I mean MOTHER OF GOD IT HURTS easy, challenge modes, we set forth into the instance to see how it would pan out.  A few general tip for any group going in there: You are going to have to pull multiple packs at a time if you want to go for the gold medal time. For GSS, the gold timer is 13:00, which for 4 bosses and trash is cumbersome.  And now for shadow priest tactics!

 

Your spec and talent choices do matter, also your secondary stats (aside from hit) and going to be reduced for item normalization. And while its nice to aim towards crit and mastery, since its mathematically impossible to get to 8085 haste in ilvl 463 gear, you do want to have a decent bit of haste because you will be multi-dotting early and on every pull.

 

What to Bring with You!:

Depending on how long with wish to try the challenge mode you should bring:

- 1 to 3 Flasks of the Warm Sun

- 30+ Potions of the Jade Serpent (Use liberally, on every trash pull, make sure its available for boss pulls)

- 10 to 15 Mogu Fish Stew (+300 intel)

 

Spec:

Tier 1: Psyfiend. You are going to be using your fear as a means of a disorient to take some pressure of your tank and healer. Void Tendrils just roots and you want a little staggering so your tank isn’t being plastered with anything other than beer at some point in the run.

Tier 2: Pick. Nothing here that will be gamebreaking for your run. If you get aggro on something, phantasm wont save you because most things will be a one or two shot on cloth.

Tier 3: From Darkness, Comes Light. With a full set of dots on mobs your are engaged with, you have many chances to gain Mind Spike procs. USE ALL THE PROCS when you get them.

Tier 4: Desperate Prayer. The occasional heavy splash from AoE will hurt and this will allow the healer to focus on the tank. Will also come in handy for a later macro.

Tier 5: Twist of Faith. Mobs constantly dying around you will give you about a 50% uptime on this buff for the instance, and 15% more damage in a timed run, absolutely.

Tier 6: Halo. When you are at length, and not huddled under a smoke bomb, halo will serve as a power side heal and damage source.

 

Glyphs:

Minors: Any – These are nothing but cosmetics.

Majors: 1) Mind Spike – Reducing the cast of Mind Blast allows for more casts and the ability to cast on the run. 2) Inner Sanctum – 6% less spell damage taken, will help your healer a lot by the end of the run. 3) Dark Binding – Casting PoM and Renew, especially while in between packs will help conserve your healer’s mana, since you should be close to full most of the run.

 

Suggested Macros:

Set the tank as your focus, then:

/target=focus

/cast Void Shift

/cast Desperate Prayer

 

After a handful of pulls, we were able to engage Raigonn with about 2.5 minutes remaining. You are going to be ready to cycle people up to the Weak Spot asap to nuke it down, as its the hardest part of the encounter. With one final heroism and potion we gave the boss everything we had and got a time of……. 12:42! Our first gold level challenge mode completed. The composition was Brewmaster Monk, Arcane Mage, Frost DK, Shadow Priest, Disc Priest.

Hot Tips:  Dot all the things and use your Void Shift macro and Hymn of Hope  at your discretion.

 

The Brawler’s Guild

The Brawler’s Guild is a new feature brought about by 5.1. One can attain an invite to the guild one of three ways; By winning a bid off the Black Market Auction House, By getting a drop off one of the three horde(or alliance) rares in Krasarang Wilds, or by having a friend give you a pass after they get to rank 7 with the guild. The Brawler’s Guild is a place for people to test their individual strength against a set of increasingly difficult challenges as they move up in the ranks.

 

As I descended down the deeprun tram, a rowdy hooligan had shouted at me: “YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR FUCKING LEGPLATES!” And it had dawned on me that I didn’t even own a set of legplates to begin with.

As it starts out, the first few fights are about as difficult as one of the high level Pandaria rares, a bit of smart thinking and movement and you will progress to the next round. You can get some brawl specific potions from the quartermaster outside the ring, they cost 70 silver and can be used twice in a fight if used as a pre-pot. As you climb into rank 4 and 5, the fights start becoming noticeably harder, and you are going to need to use some creative thinking to further advance. By the time you get to rank 7 and 8 there are many elements now apart of the brawl, that you will have to keep track of 4 to 5 elements in order to survive. All fights in the Brawler’s Guild have a 2 minute berserk timer.

 

Because the brawling area is in a Cross-Realm zoning, you will be with multiple people at once, this is a good chance for you to group up and share buffs, to give yourself  (and others) the best possible chance to overcome the fight. Early on in the fights, your spec wont matter too much, as long at you keep dots rolling on the target. The biggest headache I (and most people) had was Battletron. Battletron received a health buff at now has 9.6M hp. It also spawns a set of 8 proximity mines around it, that will detonate for 75k damage each time a spell passes through one. This will create an opening which you can damage it through, but if Battletron drops below 5 proximity mines, it will re-create a brand new set. What this means is, you have to be able to do 82k dps, while being able to move around in the opening created by the mine explosions and heal yourself for the damage dealt to you. Abysmally hard. You will have to alter your spec some, in order to hit this timer before the arena fills with fire, instantly killing you. If you are just entering the Brawler’s Guild, try playing with this spec:

 

Tier 1: Psyfiend. The mobs will generally chew through the roots in 1 hit, while your psyfiend fearing mobs will allow so some time to cast some of your nukes, like Mind Blast and Mind Flay. And if you are feeling adventurous, try to MC one of your opponents, it might work!

Tier 2: Body and Soul. Using PW:Shield is a must, and with the speed increase, you should be able to get some distance to cast a nuke or dot when you aren’t tanking and need some recover time.

Tier 3: From Darkness, Comes Light. You are going to be moving a considerable amount on these fights, and getting a mind spike proc allows you to nuke on the run.

Tier 4: Desperate Prayer. While Angelic Bulwark has a shorter cooldown, it doesn’t absorb as much as the heal from DP, and you will only be able to use each once during a brawl.

Tier 5: (Shocker Alert). Divine Insight. As much as I have been an advocate for not using this talent, it shines a lot here, especially for the later rank when you need to dot and MOVE. The latter fights also have a lot more hp, so the amount of use you will get from ToF or PI is very, very small.

Tier 6: Halo. Same reasons as for challenge modes, high damage at long range that can be a difference maker on enrage fights.

 

You want to bring the same glyph setup and consumables to the Brawler’s Guild, but you can buy potions there instead of using the more expensive raid versions. Some tips for the Brawler’s guild:

- Let your Shadowfiend do some work! All of the mobs in the Brawler’s guild have a moderate threat table, so you can send your shadowfiend out and fade, allowing you to get off some nuke while your pet does the tanking.

- Don’t be afraid to take some hits. You are going to take some hits sooner or later, you can cast >>FIVE<< healing and absorb spells in Shadowform: Renew, PoM, Desperate Prayer, PW: Shield, and Vampiric Embrace. Take a few shots and show your opponents you can take what they can dish out. (Note: Fire still hurts, dont do it!)

 

There is nothing of overly incredible value that you can get from the Brawler’s Guild; A minipet and Rank 4, Heirloom First Weapons at Rank 8, and…..!

If you are dedicated enough to take on the rare Rank 8 challengers in combat, and are able to defeat one, you can get this swanky new (and permanent!) title!

The Hulk Hogan of Shadow Priests?

The Hulk Hogan of Shadow Priests?

Yes I did use the word SWANKY! That was in style in 2001, right? Anyways, if you are undertaking CMs or trying your solo prowess in the Brawler’s Guild, hopefully this helps out. Good luck!

Happy Blogiversary! – Changes on the Horizon

Posted in PvE, PvP, Recruitng, Uncategorized, WoW on August 22, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Its been a whole year since this whole zany idea first took flight, even Ameila Earhart would be proud, crazy right? Now its on to the future, new things, big things are coming, and coming in a hurry! (Take for instance the new layout, snazzy isn’t it?)

Changing of The Guard

With the coming of Mists of Pandaria, Apotheosis is undergoing a change into the future, with leadership changing directions. Our GM, Kurn, is stepping down and away from the game, and to her, the best of luck going forward. That being said, I welcome our successor, Jasyla, and look forward to the new direction and challenge the guild will conquer under her watch. In addition to her and Majik stepping down, Slout, Chronis, and Sara have all stepped up as well for the guild. The changes are coming quickly as well, with the imminent release of the 5.0.4 patch, which will bring us….

Changing of the Talents

YES! Self-buffed Power Infusion? 1 Minute Shadow Fiend? GIVE ME ALL THE THINGS. One thing that has priests’ interest piqued is the Level 45 talent, Mindbender. Replacing shadowfiend and reducing the cooldown from 5 minutes to 1, but returning only half as much mana. While mana isn’t a core concern for shadow priests, the interesting concept is if the 4 piece tier 13 bonus will function with Mindebender. If it does, GOOD LORD DPS EXPLOSIONATION EVERYWHERE, but at the same time HATE HATE HATE MIND SPIKE HATE HATE HATE. And the best part: No shadow altered tier 90 talent of recycled ideas! And maybe the servers will be stable enough as well, so everyone can test their changes on the target dum—

*You have been disconnected from the server.*

Changing of the…. Home?

Not for me anytime in the well foreseeable future, however for people who may be looking for a home, or a change of pace from their current one: Do you happen to be searching for a guild to be a part of in Mists of Pandaria? Do you want to be a part of a guild with longevity and adaptability? Do you use the word Tappen as a part of your daily rhetoric? We can still use a few more bodies at Apotheosis to make the transition of the first change easier, specifically casters, dare I say another Shadow Priest?! Check us out today! (No shame whatsoever, none.)

Changing of the Blog

Writer’s block is a pain, especially when you want to talk about something but it has already been beat into submission. Still! Shadow priests are awesome, and will continue to be awesome no matter what change Blizzard throws at them. Even though a lot of people like to gang up on us in battlegrounds, we can still get the better of all our adversaries. This one time, a rogue decided, HEY THIS GUY IS LOW HEALTH WATCH THIS. I also left my PvE gear on because DAMNIT IT WORKS BETTER FOR ME OK?, and after using every cooldown in 5 seconds (LIKE A TOTAL CHAMP), finally killed me through dispersion. HE WAS SO PROUD GUYS. He even took time to plant a flag of ownership in me and do some /taunt emotes! But he forgot one thing… I had a soulstone! I popped right up and Shadow Word:Deathed him in the face, dead. Moral of the Story: MORE SELF REZZING SHADOW PRIESTS. With Mists coming, there will be a lot of new ideas and concepts to peruse and write about. However, after talking to some fine folks, a fresh infusion, a tangent of dialogue is needed to freshen up this place. Once Mists is released and we are squarely into leveling an raiding, this site will feature more Mad Libs/Improv/Storybook writing, where even you the reader can add your own twists and endings to the ideas present!

It has been a pleasure to write for everyone who has read anything on this site over the last year, and I hope you took something away, humorous or informative from your reading! Here’s to another year, of new and improved!, blogging. Cheers!

And as an cliche internet meme once said:

“You could say that writing this post was just…”

Wait for it…….!

“… Simply Business as usual…”

YEAHHHHHHHH!!!

Or something like that, was pretty sure that’s how it went at least.

Independence? More like restricted.

Posted in Priest, PvE, PvP, Shameless Plugs, WoW on July 4, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Seasons Greetings and happy belated Canada Day to my Canadian readers. While today is about the USofA celebrating their 236th anniversary of liberation from oppression, my post will have nothing to do with anything related to politics (OH SWEET JESUS NOT POLITICS ON THE INTERWEBS, THANK YOU.). Enjoy your cookouts, barbeques, fireworks and general togetherness today!

 

As some people know, despite having a beta invite, I have neglected to play at all on the beta with the new talents and changes. A few days ago I found myself talking to Walks about the changes to shadow priests on the beta in comparison to the first post I made shortly after Blizzcon, highlighting the initial proposed changes to shadow priests. While some things have remained the same, a lot of the abilities and glyphs have changed. The list of shadow specific talents looks like this:

 

Spec*

 

(10) – Mind Flay: The same old mind flay we have come to know and love. Now with improved spell coefficients!

(20) – Spiritual Precision: Replaces Twisted Faith. 1-to-1 Spirit to hit conversion, but the 2% bonus spell damage doesn’t carry over.

(21) – Devouring Plague *new*: Now consumes shadow orbs to deal damage instantly and over time. The duration of the debuff has been reduced from 24 seconds to 6 seconds. Healing granted to the caster reduced from 15% to 1%.

(21) – Mind Blast *new*: No longer empowered by shadow orbs. Cooldown increased from 6.5 to 8 seconds. Now grants a shadow orb for Devouring Plague or Psychic Horror.

(21) – Shadow Orbs *new*: Now function as a resource to empower Devouring Plague or Psychic Horror. No longer increase the periodic damage of your spells.

(24) – Shadowform: Increased the damage bonus to 20% from 15%. Everything else is unchanged.

(28) – Vampiric Touch: Now grants 2% mana to the caster each time it deals damage.

(42) – Shadowy Apparitions: Now are baseline talents and no longer need to be talented. Maximum number allowed dropped to 3 from 4.

(44) – Mind Spike: The same mind spike we love to hate. May be useful with certain talents, otherwise still junk!

(52) – Silence: The same silence as always. Now no longer needs to be talented. (Hooray!)

(60) – Dispersion: Same dispersion as in live.

(74) – Psychic Horror: The same psychic horror, except the horror duration will vary between 1-4 seconds based on the number of shadow orbs consumed when cast. Disarm is still 10 seconds, and no longer is talented!

(78) – Vampiric Embrace *New*: Grants the caster 50% of the damage dealt as healing, split evenly among party members. Lasts 15 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. Man did they take a staple feature of shadow priests and turn it into utter rubbish.

(80) -  Shadowy Recall (mastery) *new*: Your damage over time spells have an 8% chance to deal twice the damage when they deal damage. Each post of mastery increases the chance by 1.0%. Interesting, its almost like a built-in dragonwrath to go with your dragonwrath already. TARAGOCEPTION!

(87) – Void Shift: Void Shift used to be the level 90 tier talent, but is now baseline. The effect is still the same, you swap health pools with the current target, and if the current target is below 25% health, they are brought up to 25% health.

(90) – Symbiosis (Druid) *new*: Grants the caster a version of the casting druid’s spells for a version of your own. Persists through death, cannot be cast in combat.  For shadow priests, we will always get Tranquility no matter what spec of druid  may link with us. This form of tranquility DOES NOT drop shadowform.

 

By a quick look of the shadow-centric talents, there aren’t a lot of  really striking changes that are favorable to the PvE environment for shadow priests. Psychic Horror and Silence are nice to have, except they are both useless in raids. Shadowy Recall has some promise to it, although I wish the amount gained through mastery was much higher than 1% per point. Shadow Tranquility is nice in not having to drop shadowfrom, but it takes away from our role as a damage dealer for that time period. The empowered mind blasts were very nice combined with the increase in cooldown, and even then only taking a tier talent can grant a quicker proc, I have a feeling Mind Blast is going to be going down in far of damage output, hopefully empowering Devouring Plague makes up for it. Speaking of which, reducing that damage returned from that to 1% is extremely abysmal, they should just remove that mechanic entirely because the amount of healing it will do in 6 seconds will not help any raid encounter in a matter of life or death. I am not enthused at all by the radical changes to priests, nor am I by the fact that since BC, all the devs were able to thing up for us were Dispersion and Mind Spike. With Void Shift being a baseline talent it looks like shadow priests may have a few raid/tank cooldowns in their arsenal still.

 

Prime Glyphs have also been removed, with both the major and minor glyphs functioning either aesthetically or providing a damage reduction, instead of enhancing some of our damage dealing spells. Mind Flay now increases our movement speed (which is amazing when you have to stand still to cast the spell, by the way), and no longer slows the target down. Shadow Word: Death now allows you to cast it anytime, but for 25% of the damage, and you get full recoil, which can hurt in the execute range. Glyph of Disperion got it cooldown reduction cut from 45 seconds to 15 seconds and the same for Psychic Horror, which went from 30 to 10 seconds. A lot of the glyphs that are in the system right now, almost make me feel like I can raid (to my fullest potential) without having to run any glyphs (from a DPS perspective). Glyphs, such as Inner Sanctum, which reduces all spell damage by 6%, will ostensibly help your raid, but I like to think that since my role is dealing damage, that you know, they have something that facilitate the dealing of damage by one or some of our spells. I will get into talking about the tier talents soon(tm), but at the rate that they have changed so many times for priests since they first came out in October, I don’t feel giving them an assessment now, when they might change again, is worth it. Whereas, w know the baseline spells are going to be there when Mists is released.

 

I am hopeful that priests will be a polished class by the time Mists comes out, I just hope we do not have to do a lot of relearning how to play our classes, no matter what class it might be. Have a safe and Happy Midsummer Holiday!

 

Enter the Battlegrounds: Part 2 – Strengths and Weaknesses

Posted in Priest, PvP, WoW on March 23, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Hey Folks, I decided that since I had outlined on what you should be looking for to better one’s play style stepping into arenas and battlegrounds, I would also breakdown the schemes of how you would approach your opponents on a spec and class basis. As a shadow priest, you hold an advantage over a lot of damage dealing classes by being dot based, however, 4 of your spells have a cast time, so you are also one of the most vulnerable to spell locks and spell interrupts.

 

Let’s take a look at how you stack up against other builds:

Note: All of these analyses are based on your opponent is of equal gear and skill set as yourself.

 

Key:   VS = Very Strong Against, S = Strong Against, E = Evenly Matched, W = Weak Against, VW = Very Weak Against

 

Death Knights:

 

Frost/Unholy: (VW) – Death Knights are the bane of shadow priests out there, and being disc generally only delays the inevitable. While all DKs have the same counters to your abilities, frost and unholy will end up wasting you that much quicker. AMS to stop all dots, reduce damage by 75%, and stop mind flay from being cast, combined with lichborne and a pvp trinket for 2 fear breaks, (one for fear, the other for psychic horror). Not only an interrupt, but a silence to boot, and its capped off by one ability that gives all mana users fits, Necrotic Strike. 30% slower cast time AND absorbs healing on you. If you have the option of fighting a DK or someone else, fight someone else.

Blood: (E) – With the great vengeance nerf that came to pvp, nuking a blood Dk (or any tank for that matter) doesn’t power them up like the incredible hulk when you hit them. They still possess the same anti-priest counters their dps counterparts have, but will not have the damage output. Their self-healing is also tremendous, but their blood shield only absorbs physical damage. You should be able to live long enough for your fear to come off cooldown and tip the scales back in your favor.

*Hot Tip for DKs* – When approaching a Death Knight, open with your silence ability, this will prevent a ton of things from happening. They will not be able to use Death Grip, Strangulate, AMS, Mind Freeze, Icy Touch, Chains of Ice or Howling Blast for the duration, this enables you to get a small amount of damage in while they basically are helpless. They can choose to trinket your silence, but that will leave them vulnerable to one of your fears, giving you a better chance to survive one.

 

Druids:

 

Restoration: (VS) – Somewhere out there, I just lost a handful of readers. As a shadow priest, Resto Druids are the least troublesome for how they can CC/snare/avoid you in terms of killing them. They have, at most, 2 forms of CC, the first being cyclone, and the other being Bear Form + Bash. If they end up using the second option on you, it means they aren’t healing (something). Aside from Living Seed, Barkskin, and Replenishment, two of which they need to spec into, you are able to dispel any buff a druid casts on themselves. A resto druid can only dispel two of your dot spells, and run the risk of fearing themselves and anyone near them for 3 seconds if they choose to do so. (They also need to spec into that cleanse.) They certainly have the potential to run you oom on your own, especially since if you dispel lifebloom, you will heal them for a lot. There are two tricks and tips for fighting a resto druid that will drive them nuts.

*Hot Tip 1 (Resto Druid)* – That wonderful spell that healers love to hate, Mana Burn. A resto druid does not have an interrupt like Paladins or Shamans do, nor the counter move in silence like priests do. They only way they can stop mana burn is to outrange it or take the lesser of two evils route. You want to make them choose either eating a mana burn, or shifting into cat or bear so that mana burn has zero effect. However, by shifting into cat/bear, they stop healing for at least 2 Global Cooldowns, thus putting more pressure on them to catch up.

*Hot Tip 2 (Resto Druid)* – This trick works very well in arena matches, specifically 2v2 scenarios and matches that tend to run longer than a quick gank. You can always keep a resto druid visible on the map by making their partner your kill target. Aside from CCing them, you can always keep your Devouring Plague active on the resto druid, as they cannot dispel this debuff, What this does is, it prevents them from stealthing and then drinking in the map, thus always keeping them visible and easier to put back into combat should they try to venture off and recover some mana. (Any disease will work.)

Balance: (S) – Much like yourself, they balance druid, relies heavily on their dots and then a strong ramp up, without being attacked or silenced. If paired with the glyph of dispel magic, you can effectively heal yourself for 6% of your health every time a druid hits you with Insect Swarm/Faerie Fire/Moonfire. Moonkins also have no counter to your dots, such as, they can’t dispel them. They have no reduced duration on either your fear, silence, or psychic horror, and you can fear their burst (treants) away rendering them useless. The only vulnerability you have against a resto druid is if you are slow to dispel roots off of yourself and get caught in their solarbeam. It will be a 10 second silence should you be unable to move out of it. I would recommend using dispersion here, because even using the trinket to get out of roots will still keep you silenced, and dispersion will reduce all that damage they are unloading by 90%.

Feral (Cat) (E) – Ferals tend to present a challenge for priests, their slowing debuff is a hindrance, their bleeds hit hard even with resilience and damage reduction from Inner Fire and Shadowform, and they are immune to your Psychic Horror, and when I say immune, they certainly are not immune to being feared in place for three seconds, but the disarm portion has no effect on the damage output a feral will do to you. They also have a short interrupt that if they switch to bear, can use at short range instead of melee. If they use tiger’s fury and berserk immediately after each other, they can burst you down very quickly, even with a dispersion.

*Hot Tip (Feral Druid)* – I know its almost an impulse reaction (even on my part) to immediately hit your fear when a melee jumps you. For ferals, you may not want to be so quick on using fear. If you use psychic horror as your first CC and get them to burn their trinket getting out of it, you can then fear them for the full 8 seconds, instead of using fear, having them trinket, and then only getting 3 seconds out of psychic horror. That 5 seconds  can make a world of difference in surviving.

 

Hunters:

 

Beast Mastery: (S) – Playing a beast master all comes down to how well you use the terrain to your advantage. It may also be a good idea to eliminate their pet, considering that’s whats going to deal a hefty chunk of damage to you. Combined with its intimidate and Bestial Wrath, you can be torn to shreds in that 4 second duration. If you find yourself in the open, you are going to have to play close quarters combat and deal with snake traps and whatnot to minimize what a hunter can do to you. Since they can’t dispel your buffs, kiting is a viable way to wear them down, a but a good use of your abilities should tip the battle in your favor.

Survival: (S) – Survival Hunters are a blessing in disguise for you. Sure they gain the extra CC in wyvern sting, but their burst damage is really dependant on them getting you into traps, which if you can avoid, greatly increases your chances of winning. You can dispel their hunter’s mark, you can also dispel black arrow, which is their dot used to try and get lock and load procs, and take their burst down to nothing. Their pet is nothing more than an annoyance, unless its a monkey, crab or spider, and you should handle your adversary well

Marksmanship: (W) – Marksmen, combined with the right pet, are lethal for any caster class out there. You already have scatter shot, now add in, the traps, a silence on a 20 second cooldown, and readiness to rest the cooldowns on all your abilities and you have a recipe for some very big time headaches. The amount of sheer damage they can put out is very high in addition to all the various types of crowd control, you will need to make very efficient use of your terrain to stand a chance.

*Hot Tip (Hunters)* – Get into a hunters melee range asap. Ideally you want to fear them and get them to trinket out right away. What this will do is allow you to psychic horror them and leave them dealing with the disarm/fear. If they are good, they will have a weapon chain on and only be disarmed for 4 seconds, if not, you get the enjoyment of them not being able to attack for 10 seconds.

 

Mages:

 

Arcane: (S) -  The famous one button mage. They become tricky if they get the jump on you, especially with Arcane Power, Mirror Images and Time Warp active. It may turn into a nightmare quickly. The nether vortex talent, while dispellable, will slow your movement and casting by 30%, however, its refreshed so often, they only way to escape is outrange or LoS. However, you good silence is enough to get a full set of dots on them and then kite, throwing a psychic horror in for good measure. Adding your shadowfiend as a pet will eliminate the mage quickly.

Fire: (VS) – Its almost like Christmas when you see a fire mage. All of their damage, save for Scorch, Pyroblast, Pyroblast(Dot), and Fireball are dispellable, which means you get to enjoy being hit for relatively low amount of damage, since fire mages wont be hard casting fireball or pyro in any pvp scenario. Fire mages will fight in close quarters though to make use of their Blast Wave and Dragon’s Breath abilities, so do try to keep your distance as much as possible to avoid those CCs.

Frost: (W) – The amount of control a frost mage has is ridiculously absurd. Sure all of their slows are dispellable, but you can either spend your time dispelling and not doing damage, or trying to do damage and being rooted/frozen/slowed/etc. You can easily survive a burst of a frost mage, if you get caught in a deep freeze by just dispersing it. However, the cold snap ability brings everything right back off of cooldown for them to do it again.  Silence and Psychic Horror will definitely your biggest timing abilities here, but even with those, the amount of damage Ice Barrier and Mana Shield absorb may be too much from an equally skilled opponent.

 

Paladins:

 

Retribution: (E) – Ret paladins have a nice tendency to be very bursty about their dps, however, you can dispel all of their burst rendering it null and void. They do have the melee interrupt in addition to Hammer of Justice. They key to a ret paladin is trying to figure out just when they are going to bubble. Silence and Psychic Horror will not stop the bubble, but if you can pinpoint when the bubble is coming, you can pre-cast Mass Dispel and take the bubble off right as they activate it. Ret paladins can close quick and censure can stack quickly, most ret paladin fights you have will be very close.

*Hot Tip (Ret Paladins)* – Sacred Shield. The one thing that may give you fits is this ability. Not only does it seem like it absorbs an obscene amount of damage, but they can also heal themselves with Word of Glory 20% better while active. To minimize this, when you see a paladin getting below 40% health you want to line up a string of spell that will cause their health to drop below 30% but also under 25% before the shield activates. This will allow you to shadow word: death twice, and quickly eat through the shield so you can finish them off.

Holy: (E) – Holy Paladins, while having no real offense, do have a number of ways to make things annoying for a priest. They can dispel all of your dots, if they get into melee range they can interrupt you, they can stun you, and they can bubble, forcing you out of dpsing or mana burning to remove the shield. The one big ability they have for clutch situations is Aura Mastery.

*Hot Tip (Holy Paladins)* – Aura Mastery from holy paladins can drive shadow priests berserk. Bursting down that target and getting ready to silence the healer? Aura Mastery just trumped your silence and laughed at it. When fighting a holy paladin at low hp, stay in close quarters. If they are about to use aura mastery, and you see it activate (looks similar to Fear Ward’s animation), don’t silence them and waste it, use your fear. If your fear is on CD, use your psychic horror, this will not only CC them, but it will also chew up all of those seconds that aura mastery has left.

Protection: (S) – Again, since the nerf to vengeance, they won’t really hit hard as a significant threat to your health. They share the same stuns and interrupts as the other specs of paladins, and they gain avenger’s shield, which will silence and daze, but because they will use it so frequent in their opening attacks against you, the silence portion will go on DR very quickly. A fear hear, a silence there, and a psychic horror to drop their shield should make very easy work of them.

 

Priests:

 

Holy: (S) – The only thing holy priests have for them is blessed resilience and Guardian Spirit. They do not enjoy the luxury of bigger bubbles, bubbles on crit, 24% extra healing from grace, Focused Will, Pain Suppression, nor Power Infusion or Barrier. They can escape your mind flay snare with the pvp 4 piece bonus combines with body and soul, but its only an escape. They wont have the time to mana burn or try and CC you, the damage you will be doing will pt way to much pressure on them to continue to heal and move.

Discipline: (W) – By far the worst healer you can encounter as a shadow priest in battle. They can dispel your dots, bubble themselves to absorb a considerable amount of damage while in turn trying to mana burn you, pain suppression for even more  reduction, power infusion for faster mana burns or more damage from another caster ally, focused will for 20% less damage taken. The Coup de Grace is rapture, so even when you starting runnng them low on mana, they can still get 6% of their mana back each time their shield is absorbed completely or dispelled, if done so in certain intervals.

Shadow: (E – Huge shocker, didn’t see that a mirror would be an even match at all!) – Getting the advantage on a shadow priest all comes down to who needs to use their CC first. The person who uses their Silence and Psychic Horror first is usually the one who is at a disadvantage, because in a utopian world, the two of you would just trade off CCs, with the last person getting the most time to benefit from the chain of control. Ideally, if you can get all your dots up on a shadow priest before you need to use silence, you should be a great advantage, unless you run into a dispel happy priest (like myself) in which case a little burst of mind spike to put them on the defensive would be your best play.

 

Rogues:

 

Assassination: (W) – The deadly brew talent is going to be a thorn in your side, since whenever they apply poison to you, it will also apply crippling poison. And since phantasm wont save you until MoP, you are stuck for now. Their burst is mutilate until sub-35% then backstab ramps up for them. They wont have the combo point generation a sub rogue does, but the increased energy regen from overkill may be too much for you to survive, if you can survive their trinket + cloak + vanish + 2nd opener, you certainly have a good chance to win. Otherwise, the combination of stuns, interrupts and constant slow may overwhelm you.

Combat: (E) – Combat really isn’t seen much in pvp, the few times I have encountered it, it really didn’t seem very burst like, because of the ability and poison choices of the rogue attacking me. I can certainly see how adrenaline rush + savage combat + combat insight can wreck someone, I just think with the amount of CC being used by you on them (and around you), such a combination may only exist in Utopia.

Subtlety: (VW) – The burst, the stuns, the silences. Sub rogues have a nasty way of torturing you with their cooldowns. One full set CCs (garrote, Kidney Shot, blind) is bad enough. Now add to that Shadow Dance (use of garrote and cheap shot out of stealth) and preparation (another instant sprint, smoke bomb, kick, etc). The only hope is that you can get a peel of you, or that you can find a way to survive this, as there is no way to avoid the burst….. or is there?

*Hot Tip (Rogues/Feral Druids)* – Ever want to make a rogue or feral druid half as useful as they are? Sure you do! This scenario works mainly in arenas, but in some cubbies in battlegrounds it can too. You want to position yourself in such a way that you are standing in a corner, facing away from the corner, with the back of your character directly in line with where the two sides of the wall meet. Then place yourself directly into that corner. What this does is make it exponentially hard for rogues and druids to “get behind you”. The shadowstep and feral charge (cat) mechanics will automatically put them in the one sweet spot behind you, but after yo fear them, it becomes damn near impossible for the player to get to that spot, and thus, they can no longer backstab or shred.

 

Shamans:

 

Elemental: (S) – Elemental Shaman have a few tricks up their sleeve, varying from grounding totem, to hex, to wind shear, but all of their damage aside from Flame shock is hard cast spells. One good silence will stop them in their tracks for 5 seconds, for good measure line up Psychic Horror right after and make it 8, and if their grounding totem is also gone, make it 16 from your fear. Elemental Shaman have some decent utility and can chase you around with Ancestral Swiftness or Glyph of Lightning Bolt, but your dots, and your ability to fear and silence will heavily outweigh their, at times, uni-linear attacks.

Enhancement: (W) – Enhancement Shaman pose a threat to anyone when their spirit wolves are ready to be used. The spirit wolves persist for 45 seconds, and basically leap to wherever their target moves to, so there is no escaping them. The wolves also stun periodically, and that combined with instant casts from maelstrom, interrupts, high burst from stormstike, and possibly and fire elemental and heroism/bloodlust tossed in there. There is a lot going on, and sometimes, just way too much to handle.

Restoration: (W) – Not as bad as discipline priests, resto shaman don’t have the capacity to mana burn and give you troubles that way. But they have much more ways of just generally annoying you than any other healer. They have no additional CC options from the other shaman specs, but versus a healer, being crow controlled or locked for that long against a healer  marginalizes your effect greatly. Add into this that earth shield has 9 charges and you have on individually dispel each charge off to negate the shield, plus the fact it can be recast right away, makes them a very tough target to handle from a killing perspective on your end.

*Hot Tip (Shamans)* – Be mindful of how you approach shamans, their ground and tremor totems may become the bane of your existence. While their is nothing you can do about them dropping tremor totem after a fear, it is nice to know where it is in case another fear or sleep or chamr is going out, so that you can get rid of the totem. Grounding totem however will make or break fights. If they sense a silence or nuke is coming, they will wait and allow you to start casting the nuke before dropping it right before the cast finishes. Its a good idea to have a cancelcast macro in case, that way if you see a grounding totem buff on them, you can eat it up with a shadow word pain, and then unload your silence or bigger nukes.

 

Warlocks:

 

Affliction: (E) – Affliction locks will function the exact same way you do. They have multiple dot effects, their main nuke is a channeled spell (Drain Life vs. Mind Flay), and their silence will wander around in the form of a felhunter and opposed to you casting it. They only real performance difference is how Psychic Horror works in comparison to Death Coil. You may want to open with your instant dots on a warlock first, then fear both the felhunter and warlock together, so you cant be spell locked while casting Vampiric Touch or any other cast time spell. If you get the jump, you should come out on top, if they get the jump on you, Unstable Affliction is a hard thing to overcome. Your opponent will also try to play the LoS game with you, if they do that, make sure to put some damage into their felhunter, if they lose their felhunter, they lose their silence and the 25% damage reduction from soul link.

Destruction:(S) – The destruction warlock used to be feared immensely in pvp. But the seduce/soul fire option has fallen greatly out of favor due to the much larger health pools against damage that didn’t increase to match the health gains. Most destruction warlock will run a succubus as their pet, if you kill it, its game over for them. Also, the will generally only use one dot in Immolate, this is in order to ramp up their Conflagarate, Incinerate, and Chaos Bolt damage, however all 3 of these spells have a cast time (Conflag is instant), so casting your silence while they are casting immolate will freeze their burst and usually push them into a defense mode when they just use a multitude of fear and death coil while they try to regroup. Shadowfury is a decent stun, but only if its on top of a crowd of people, and most of the effects of a destro lock can be dispelled. 3% healed per magic buff dispelled (You should really get that glyph! Its amazing!)

Demonolgy: (S) – Demonology locks play a bit in between both affliction locks and beast master hunters. They will send their felguard into to stun you, perhaps after trying to root you in their Hand of Gul’dan spell, and to top it all off, they will metamorph into a demon and immolate themselves to burn you while stunned, rooted, and their damage bonus is active. One quick trinket while this happens and followed by a fear, completely negates any offense from the demo lock and its felguard pet. Demo locks do tend to have a higher survivability than other locks, but if you can get your dots and your shadowfiend on them, you can kite them around for hours and finish them off with ease, just make sure to not get caught in a hand of Gul’dan, or you are going to be on the defensive.

 

Warriors:

 

Arms: (W) – Arms warriors are particularly nasty. I approach arms warriors like I do shadow priests. It all comes down to who has to use their cooldowns first. If you find the need to use up your dispersion and psychic horror before they use their throwdown and bladestorm, you may find yourself at the spirit healer very shortly. You always, ALWAYS want to keep your psychic horror ready for Bladestorm, its their 31 point talent and with one simple disarm, you can render it useless. You will generally not keep a warrior feared because of Berserker Rage having a similar cooldown to Psychic Scream. If you are able to juke cast** any melee who might interrupt you, you can get some channeled and cast time spell in on your opponents, just don’t get hit by a pummel, rebuke or kick, or it becomes much harder to recover.

Fury: (S) – While fury does have the stacking mortal strike effect, it just does not have the utility that arms does. No improved hamstring, no throwdown, no deadly calm. The addition of bloodthirst for healing is ok, but lacking all of the aforementioned abilities to keep a target within reach is lethal for them. A good warrior will make sure to have Heroic Fury, Heroic Leap, and Intercept ready for when you fear and try to kite, make sure all your dots are up and you should have no problems kiting a fury warrior even with disperse, because they certainly wont be stunning or knocking you down anytime soon.

Protection: (E) – The damage output by prot warrior isn’t a problem here, its just the amount of CC and surivability they have when facing you. Concussion blow, intimidating shout, shockwave, shield wall, spell reflect, Last stand + enraged regen, and gag order silences on heroic throw and pummel. Brutal. A good prot warrior can keep you permanently unable to do anything to them, make sure you use your psychic horror early so that you can get some dots active on them, and then go into kiting mode.

*Hot Tip (Warriors)* – When warriors, especially prot warriors, sense heavy spell casting coming in, spell reflect is almost a natural reaction for them. Take advantage of this in one of two ways, you can either anticipate the reflect coming and Psychic Horror their shield off for 10 seconds, making them incapable of using spell reflect and shield wall, or you can cast SW:P when you see the icon go up, and then dispel yourself, causing their spell reflect to actually heal you.

 

While this guide is designed for how to handle opponents as a shadow priest, the mechanics or a shadow priest are shared by other classes and can be used by them in the same fashion for the same results:

Silence – Mage, DK, Priest

Disarm – Rogue, Warrior, Hunter(pet), Priest

Horror – Warlock, Priest

Fear – Priest, Warlock, Warrior

 

Any class with those abilities can use similar effects to gain the desired result, in fact, other classes can use different abilities, like stuns, over a fear for when a paladin uses aura mastery to get the same effect of getting the effect to expire without wasting a silence or kick.

 

May this guide help you in seeing what your opponent has prepared for you and to handle what you are about to encounter for a more enjoyable battleground experience. And if you made it to the end in one sitting, you deserve a medal, a coffee, and someone to cook you dinner tonight, because this was taxing even for me! Thank you for reading!

Enter: The Battlegrounds – Spec, Stats and Gear

Posted in Priest, PvP, WoW on March 13, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Its been a bit over six months since my inaugural post here and looking back, I haven’t really touched upon the area of pvp as a shadow priest in cataclysm. The thing about pvp in any expansion of WoW is that what works in one season or arenas and battleground, does not always carry over into next one based on the types of items and item sets that are released. For instance, a lot of people who do pvp will use pve items (most notably legendaries from all previous expansions and some trinkets) to try and obtain an advantage over their opponents. Dragonwrath and Fangs of the Father will have superior impact for you and your team heading into the expansion due to the procs associated with them.

 

As a shadow priest in arena or battlegrounds, your role is 75% damage, 25% crowd control. Your three main forms of CC, each have a considerable cooldown which makes you a favorable target to the enemy if all of them have been used. You should generally attempt to stay out of the fray unless you need to fear someone off of a flag spawn or for good measure to stop a heal/counter attempt in arenas. Lets take a look at your 3 forms of usable CC in PvP.

 

Psychic Scream – Your bread and butter spell that you have had since you were a youngling priest back in your starter zones.  Despite knee jerks reactions to use this spell asap if melee are beating on you, you should probably try to wait to use this spell when multiple enemies are nearby to get the best effect out of it. Because 90% of the time, whatever melee is on you and you fear them, they will trinket out of it and resume pummeling you. There are tricks and tips to using this and outsmarting your opponent I will cover later on in this post.

 

Psychic Horror - 25 Point talent that causes your target to tremble in horror for 3 seconds, and disarms them for 10 seconds as well. 2 Minute Cooldown. This is a must have for any shadow priest doing pvp, unfortunately it is not a baseline spell, so you will have to spend one of your talent points for it, but you can easily pick this talent up as well as having what you need in the shadow tree without losing anything  major. This is an effective CC on all players, however, you should try and save this for physical damage dealers over casters, with the exception being feral druids, who suffer no penalty from being disarmed.

 

Silence - Nothing fancy about this spell, as it does what its name says it should do, silences spellcasting for 5 seconds. 45 second cooldown. Until MoP, this is something you will have to spend 3 talent points to get, but isn;t really an option when trying to neutralize your opponents. There are a bunch of unconventional uses for this spell, particularly on melee classes, however, priority for this spell goes to healers and spellcasters after.

 

Gear

 

There are two setups right now that I have found to be viable for shadow priests in battlegrounds, the first being the standard all resilience set. This includes 4 pieces from the holy/disc set, which gives you the bonus of when you PW:S yourself to not have your movement impaired for the next 4 seconds. This set will (likely) give you the most stamina and will give you the most damage reduction via resilience. You should be somewhere around 4850 resilience with full cataclysmic gear, and thats gemming with intellect in red slots, intel/haste in yellow, and intel/spirit or intel/stam in blues. This set will favor players who may not enjoy raiding, as the 403 item level will provide superior spellpower to the 397 pve counterpart. This set will also favor people who choose to be a bit bolder in their play style if they choose to, as the added resilience and stamina will allow them to survive for a good duration should they choose to rush into a foray and drop a fear.

 

The second set is a mix of pve gear with pvp gear. This mix includes 4 pieces of the tier 13 shadow priest pve set, combines with the rest of the gear being all pvp based.  This in essence turns you into a more glass cannon spec, which will increase your burst damage on targets, specifically in 2s or if a flag carrier has high stacks of focused assault. However, you are going to lose about 1200 resilience in the process, and you will be able to tell the difference in damage you take. I call it the three minute priest build, I even think there is a song for it somewhere…..

 

“….Shadowfiend, creating Shadow Orbs, and they don’t like, no three minute priest….”    —–> Its Not a Rick Roll

 

I think that’s how it goes anyways, it better at least, because if I have to create another terrible remix out of a hip-hop song, WordPress may shut me down.

 

This setup requires you to stay closer to healers for the increased damage you will be taking, it does turn out to be better as far as output if you run with people who can peel dps off of you or can cycle healing cooldowns on you well enough to get the dps to change to someone else. It also favors quick matches (2v2 double dps or vs double dps) or surgical quick strikes (2+ 1 stealth offense CTF games, flag returns).

 

Stats

 

For outlasting, Resilience will always be the choice stat to go for first. Intellect will always be the next stat in line, followed by haste, crit, and mastery at the end. Try to avoid having any mastery on your gear if you can help it, it is a very underwhelming stat for pvp.

Two things to note: Your hit cap for pvp is 5%, if you are well over that you can safely reforge off until that point and not worry about missing. However, to make sure you don’t encounter spell resists, you will also need to have 240 spell penetration as well. This is not hard to obtain, as any season of pvp cloak or neck has this much or more.

 

Now you may ask yourself: “But Srs, all resist buffs give a maximum of 195, why is the cap 240 for shadow priests?” Shadow resist from a priest or paladin will stack with mages running in mage armor, this will effectively give them 240 resist that you will have to bypass to ensure you don’t end up seeing a resist.

 

Spec

The path of the facemelter.... is... mostly enjoyable.

A few things that may stand out: No Improved SW:P, No Pain and Suffering, No Shadow Apparitions. None of these talents are taken, because they center around the shadow word: pain spell, which is not a game breaker in pvp, largely due to the fact it is easily dispellable with no penalty. Most of the rest are self-explanatory.

 

3/3 Darkness – 3% Spell Haste, Yep. All over that.

2/2 Veiled Shadows – Minus 6 seconds to fade and minus 60 seconds to shadowfiend. This is a doubly useful talent, it allows your burst (while running 4 piece 13 to come off cooldown quicker, and it allows you to fade out of snares quicker as well.

2/2 Improved Psychic Scream – Minus 4 seconds to Psychic Scream, required for Silence. Mainly used to get to silence. 4 seconds less on fearing someone away from you, an ally or resource node helps too.

3/3 Improved Mind Blast – Quicker Cooldown on your main nuke, that also applies an undispellable 10% healing debuff.  That extra 1.5 seconds helps a ton for your burst, its a general improvement for non burst as well, just watch you don’t get spell locked on this or Vampiric Touch.

2/2 Improved Devouring Plague – This is a finicky talent. The nature of DP is low damage over a long period of time, however the 30% initial damage is helpful to chip away at opponents health and can be used as a second execute with SW:D if needed.

2/2 Twisted Faith – Filler talent. 2% Shadow spell damage is very minor, the spirit to hit conversion allows you to focus on more damage based throughput like haste and crit instead of going all hit gear.

1/1  Shadowform – Yeah….

2/2 Phantasm – Allows you to break snares without having to disperse or pvp trinket out of it, it very powerful with the right spec and glyph choice.

2/2 Harnessed Shadows – Every time you get crit, you gain a shadow orb for your nukes, stacking up to three, great talent that shines after being crit a few times and then paired with your fear.

1/1 Silence – Your clutch CC ability. Self-explanatory.

1/1 Vampiric Embrace – Passive healing from all your shadow damage, required for Vampiric Touch.

2/2 Masochism – 10% Mana back when you take 10% or more of your health and damage, or are hit with recoil from SW:D, mostly a filler talent, nice if you have mana issues and also happen to be the kill target, but most people will ignore an Oom shadow priest for that very reason.

2/2 Mind Melt – Instant Mind Blast Crits and reduced damage taken from SW:D recoil, all over that.

1/1 Vampiric Touch – Your most powerful DoT in terms of damage, and will fear any target near the person who dispels the debuff for 3 seconds with no diminishing returns.

2/2 Paralysis – Mind Blast crits root the target for 4 seconds.  Great for isolating someone in the map, however it is dispellable, choose your targets to root carefully, ideally with 3 mind spikes then a mind blast.

1/1 Psychic Horror – Secondary CC, highly effective against physical damage dealers. Because of the longer cooldown, this spell is a bit more touch and go for when to use it, opposed to silence.

2/2 Sin and Punishment – 100% chance that your VT will fear anything within 6 yards of the dispelling target, and every time your Mind Flay crits, the remaining cooldown on shadowfiend is dropped by 10 seconds. A very versatile talent that allows for increased burst opportunity while providing a secondary CC in the presence of dispel happy healers.

1/1 Dispersion – Pretty straight forward, the mana return is nice, but the damage reduction is the main use for the spell in moments where you just so happen to get death gripped by a DK followed up by a rogue stun.

 

Glyphs

Call the Inscriptionist...... I mean Scribe, SCRIBE!!

 

Primes:

Shadow only has 4 glyphs total, 2 of which are musts for pvp, the other is a flex.

1) Glyph of Mind Flay – +10% damage to your main offensive spell. Take it.

2) Glyph of Shadow Word: Death – Gives you a second execute, for if the first doesn’t get the job done. Take it.

Flex Glyph: Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain versus Glyph of Dispersion. Neither are highly appealing for pvp. In either the burst or conventional setup, shadow word: pain can still be easily dispelled making the glyph and subsequent talents associated with it, moot. Likewise, dropping the cooldown on dispersion by 45 seconds implies that you may be thrusting yourself into the center of action a bit too much or aren;t getting anything peeled off you. I prefer to use the SW:P glyph for my burst, forcing healers to worry about keeping the target alive first, and then dispelling later. I would strongly consider taking they dispersion glyph over SW:P if they replaced the current effect, with something similar to the glyph of Evocation, where you would regenerate 5% of your health every second for 6 seconds, instead of dropping the cooldown by 45 seconds, but that may be a tad OP.

 

Majors:

At least the major glyphs gain some appeal for the pvp side of shadow, whereas they are extremely lackluster for all cases of pve right now.

1) Glyph of Fade – Reduces the cooldown of fade by 9 seconds. Paired up with Veiled Shadows, this drops the cooldown to 15 seconds, which means you can fade out of snares that quickly. Take it every time.

2) Glyph of Psychic Horror – Reduce the cooldown of Psychic Horror by 30 seconds. Reducing the cooldown of one of your CCs? Sign me up.

Flex Glyph: Glyph of Dispel Magic versus Glyph of Fear Ward. You have the choice of reducing cooldown on how often you can be feared as a form of CC, or healing yourself if you are actively aware of your debuffs when attacked. Fear does not bother me, I know not the meaning of it. Whereas it is really beneficial if you have a moonkin, fire mage, or aff lock dotting you up (before Unstable Affliction) and watching as your health goes up, instead of down. Ideally wait for 2 magic debuffs to be applied, and then dispel to get a 6% heal and maximize its effect.

 

Minors:

I am going to be labeled as an absolute heretic for when I post my choices, so I may as well get it out of the way and say that I DO NOT HAVE GLYPH OF LEVITATE IN MY CHOICES. And you may now proceed to point, laugh, and mock. There is really no flex glyph for minors, as all three I have, believably, serve good purpose.

1)Glyph of  Shackle Undead – Reduces the mana cost of shackle undead by 50%. Helpful for the Ghoul Pets, Gargoyles and Lichborne used by death knights. A good trick here is fearing a death knight, having them use lichborne and then shackling them.

2) Glyph of Fading - Reduces the mana cost of fade by 30%. Depending on who your fighting for how long, you might be using fade quite a bit to get out of snares while expending mana to dps and CC, every little bit helps. Take this.

3) Glyph of Shadowfiend – When your shadowfiend is killed, not expires, you get 5% mana back. In pvp situations, people will try to CC your shadowfiend as best they can (most notably with fear). If you decide to fear ward it and make it immune to that CC, chances are people will attack it to stop your burst, and the result is you getting 5% mana back. A loss in the end, but it still curbs the loss somewhat.

 

This setup should help you prepare for doing pvp on a regular basis, and should serve as a primer to help you have an enjoyable experience in the battlegrounds, or at least as much as you can on your end. Because lets face it, sometimes you just end up getting people who do not have any idea how to do pvp, or they are a fresh 85 queuing up with 75,000 hit points. This should ensure that you at least have the capacity to perform well on your end. If you disagree with my spec and glyph choices, tinker with ones you think would work better. Trial and error is always the best way to find something that suits your playstyle. PvP can be a very frustrating experience, especially running into premades, I hope this guide helps your experience in a positive manner, and thanks for reading!

 

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