The official Shadow Priest song?

So, running that Kara PUG last weekend, we had more Sidhe Devils than just Cassie and I in there. It went over two days, and during that time we had the awesome healing of Daxie and Doodle, plus the hunter fun of Nighthawke’s alt.

Good times were had by all.

At least, that’s what they told me. ūüôā

At one point, early on, I’m doing my usual rotations of damage dealing, opening with some mana DOTting Vampiric Touch goodness, followed by Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Death, and Mind Flay until a cooldown is up or a DOT expires.

And for those who aren’t aware, Shadow Word: Death is a very fun, very awesome evil little Shadow Priest defning spell you get in end game. It is an instant cast direct damage spell that is very mana efficient and does some slam-bam good damage.

The catch?

If your Shadow Word: Death does not cause a Killing Blow, YOU take a very large chunk of damage yourself. A hefty chunk.

I love that spell.

So, there I am blasting away, having a good old time of it, and I have noticed a time or two that group 1, the melee and tanks, are taking a hammering… but group 2, the casters… the group I am feeding mana to.. is also damn near always at 100% health. Why? Well, with a Paladin tank and Consecrate up all the time, I MAY have been slipping my Vampiric Embrace in there on the rotation… like, all the time. hey, a DOT is a DOT, and as long as I ain’t pulling aggro, and my Vampiric Touch is always up and giving mana back, well… what’s a little group healing between friends?

But it was making it that much more noticeable that group 2 is, like, always at 100% health… except for that damn Shadow Priest that keeps taking 1000 – 1500 or so damage¬†every so often, over and over.

And I swear Doodle at one point asked me what the heck was going on, that I kept taking damage that he was healing.

And I explained that I was a Shadow Priest… “It’s okay, I’m¬†emo, baby,¬†every so often I have to cut myself to see if I still feel. It’s a Shadow Priest thing.”¬†

And Dax pipes up by starting to sing ‘Hurt’. And I shushed him, not because his singing was bad, as you know he sings great, but because we were in a mixed PUG group… I didn’t want to freak out the straights that short in the run, damnit!

But I was thinking about it… and I think he’s right.

I hereby wish to nominate Trent Reznor’/Nine Inch Nails’ “hurt”, as sung by Johnny Cash, for Official Shadow Priest Anthem.

And if you don’t agree… what’s your choice?
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Damnit, Trollin is absolutely right… I had somehow completely forgotten about Mana Mana, what ratshag had posted and what i’d seen an awesomed at…

There can be no song above Mana Mana.

Tales from the Dark Side

My shadow priestie has been 70 for long enough that I’ve maxed out my gear except for raids, heroic Magisters’ Terrace, and Badge Rewards.

Everything is properly gemmed and enchanted, and I float around 1050 shadow damage unbuffed. I’m pretty darn happy with that.

The Sidhe Devils has our own Kara run scheduled for the morning of Saturday, May 31st, where two of our powerful Feral Druids will be tanking away, and neither of them will be moi.

Instead, I’m gonna play mana battery,¬†ranged DPS, and Shackler.

Now, I’ve only ever soloed as a shadow priest before. You guys know me; that leaves me nervous about my ability to properly perform my role, and not let the rest of the raid down.

So, I’d been keeping my eye out for two weeks now for a Kara PUG in the makings, to join and go in and learn my place and practise rotations and thinking on my feet, and mainly seeing what things look like from the back of the pack for a change.

The funniest part is, with my current gear, there are all of three upgrades I could get from¬†Kara, and they’re all from the first two bosses. I’d be looking mainly for badges, and for fun. How often would you expect tha from a Kara pug? Someone that wasn’t out to be a loot whore?

As a shadow priest, I knew that my Shackle would be welcome, but it might be hard to find a pug that felt secure enough to take a non-healer priest.

Well, last night I was giving Alex a bath, and Cassie calls out that someone in Trade chat was asking specifically for a shadow priest to fill the last slot in an all-guildie Kara run.

WTF? Are you kidding me?

I looked at Cassie with my beseeching kitty-cat “can I haz kara run?” eyes, and she not only said yes, but she even finished up Alex’s bath for me so I could scurry off and log in. Yay!

The guild was Essence of Grandeur on Kael’thas, and although they usually run two Kara groups, I got the impression the US Memorial Day weekend had left them short one for a badge run.

They welcomed me quite warmly, asked if I could join Vent, and once I ran off to get my raid mats and consumables, threw me a summons.

The run was completely unlike any Kara run I’ve ever done before.

We started with an untouched Kara, took down Attumen, and kept rolling without pause until we reached the large room at the top of the huge ramp past the library just after Curator. We didn’t STOP there for the night, I just had all I could take without a bio break.¬†

So a pause to put Alex and cats to bed, and a bit of bio regen, and it was back in business. We started back up and kept on until Chess was cleared.

That was the longest single run I’ve done in Kara. Every Legatum run I’d been on, there was usually an acknowledged stopping boss about halfway through. And that was typically Curator. When we 7 manned Kara we went further, but we still bypassed Aran and Illhoof when we went on and cleared Chess.

This one, we went until we just got too tired, and in our case last night it mean we rolled on until 2 AM.

So, Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Romulo and Juliette, Curator, Shade of Aran, Illhoof and Chess, dead.

That guild has a great sense of fun and playfulness on vent. Definitely a nice group of folks to play with.

Let me talk a bit about some of the things I learned as a shadow priest in Karazhan for the first time, when I thought I was completely prepared.

1) Bring twice as many sacred candles as you think you’ll need. You’ll probably run short anyway. I brought about 40, needed a fast trip to snag 20 more. Next time, I’m bringing 80.¬† Why? When someone dies, I found it easier to redo the whole group buff for the full duration rather than just a ghetto buff of 30 minutes on one person. So they got used a lot more than I expected.

2) Don’t freak out if you have the cookie-cutter priest spec, that gives you +102 Stamina from your Improved Fort buff, and when you buff people, it displays a tooltip saying they got a +79 stamina buff instead. It’s a known bug that I was previously unaware of. I did the math, and after I did the buff, the tooltip showed the +79, but I really got +113 (from the +102 Fort and +10% stats¬†from Pally buff).

3) It is vital to use a shackle focus macro that allows you to continue to provide ranged DPS uninterrupted to your target while keeping a second one shackled. Allow me to show you mine;

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/clearfocus [modifier:alt][target=focus,dead][target=focus,help][target=focus,noexists]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus]Shackle Undead
/s Shackling %f

I did not create this. I am, despite all that Kirk could do with his series of posts on how to write macros, still macro-creating illiterate.

BUT, I now understand better what to look for IN a macro. So I went to the Shadow Priest forums and did some searching. 

In a thread about Moroes and Shackling Macros, way towards the end, a player named Acererak wrote that macro¬†I listed above… and another player named MnilinM came by and helped explained what it did, an explanation even¬†I could understand, so¬†I will share it with you here.

MnlinM described the macro as doing the following;

Show the tooltip for Shackle, instead of just a random macro icon/name
Clear the focus target IF I hold alt, OR my current focus is dead, OR my current focus is friendly, OR if my focus doesn’t exist anymore.
Set my current target as my focus, only if I don’t have a focus target set
Cast, using my focus as the target, Shackle Undead
say “Shackling [target’s name]”

So… it’s a nice macro. Works great. Kinda does everything I can see that I would need in the heat of battle. In actual use, it kicks ass. I target the mob that has been marked for Shackle. At the pull, I hit that macro, and it makes my target my focus, and Shackles him. I then can target the Skull or X and begin blasting away, and I have a dot-timer mod that shows me Shackles’ duration even if I don’t have that mob targeted. And every ten seconds I just hit the macro button and it recasts Shackle on my focus, without changing my current DPS target.

So.. I macro-Shackle the purple diamond, retarget on Skull and mana dot death dot blast death flay mana dot blast reShackle death flay mana dot… you get the idea. As long as I keep my eye on the Shackle in case it breaks before the ten seconds I give myself to reShackle, I’m good.

Now, a few lessons learned from the run itself.

Essence of Grandeur seems to have always used a Paladin Tank as their main tank. As most of you are well aware, I am used to a warrior and feral druid, or mostly the two feral druid tanking combo.

I have only once ever played with a Paladin Tank, and that is when Gerolan the incredibly awesome tanked Steamvault and I was on my Hunter.

A paladin main tank in Kara was a very, very different experience.

I had heard before that a Paladin using Consecrate and AOE tanking, especially against undead, is an amazing sight.

That is an understatement.

Basically, if the healers could keep the pally alive, the team wins. No matter what else happens. It was shocking.

I made a mistake early on, body pulled a group on the run to Attumen while trying to back up to make some space/LOS to the fight we were on… I died right away as the three mobs came charging me… the Pally picked them up, and they kept right on trucking. No other deaths.

The group did have a warrior as well, for off-tanking, but the bulk of the fight was on the Paladin, and the first thing that surprised me was that he did not use pulls from the hunter’s misdirect to bring mobs to him, instead he charged in face to face to body pull.

In hindsight, it’s obvious why, since if you don’t have a ranged pull or Linkin’s Boomerang, you must get into the habit of running up and saying “hi” all nice and personal every time.

But what that does is bring all the mobs automatically into the range of your Consecrate, making Shackle useless. Shackle/break, Shackle/break.

They used Crowd Control, don’t get me wrong. But it became clear they used it only on those fights where they had problems in the past with the ‘pally rush in’ technique.

I’m just used to always walking up to every fight wondering how to apply the crowd control we have on hand to the given fight to break it up into bite sized pieces…

So I was there in a cautious mindset looking for things to CC, and they were there in a ‘blast the doors down, matey’ mindset.

Their way is much more fun.

But there were not as many chances to Shackle as I was hoping for. I practised it a lot, damn it!

But yes, I have seen firsthand now, what people mean when they talk about Paladins being awesome tanks, especially in Karazhan. No question.

What came to my mind was to wonder, if a newer guild started out for their very first raids with only a paladin tank, would having that incredible threat generation holding a group of mobs cause the new raiders problems in higher-progression fights?

Some fights are very CC dependant in other raids. Do you think having players used to NOT being able to pull aggro easily would cause problems in the learning curve?

These guys didn’t have that kind of problem, Moroes is a CC issue and they had it locked down, the hunter chain trapped very well, and BRK would’ve been proud. but it did make me wonder, seeing as how I’m going into Karazhan in one week with a group of my own guild’s, many of whom haven’t been far inside… if the Tank is that good, does it prevent your other players from having to stretch and struggle to master their own abilities to get the job done? And can that hurt a guild in the future, if they are used to success, and then suddenly hit a brick wall in progression?

Oh, and as long as I’m talking about the Hunter… this is hilarious…

So, we down Illhoof last night. And we have a very strong boomkin in the group. She stayed locked onto number one on the DPS chart from minute one, just great DPS output. Very cool. In case anyone cared, the DPS chart looked like this;

  1. Boomkin
  2. Warlock
  3. Me
  4. Rogue
  5. Hunter

Considering the Hunter was in a lot of blues and even some greens, it wasn’t his skill, it was just his gear. And he got some damn nice upgrades. That Steelspine Faceguard, for example.

But he had a green for a weapon… and a certain Staff dropped off of Illhoof…

And since the balance-specced Druid didn’t want it…. well…. that’s just awesome. Yes, yes he did. The Hunter won the roll on Terestrian’s Stranglestaff.

And he had a great time emoting ‘the tentacles brush up against xxx leg’ and similar for the rest of the fight… oh, it was priceless… the jokes about all the people that would be¬†seeing him with that staff that would QQ in Ironforge were perfect.

If you live and play in Kael’thas and happen to see Essence of Grandeur around, give ’em a /salute, they’re a damn fun, and mature, group to play with.


Shadow Priest Consumables – I feel like I’m forgetting something

I’m still working my Shadow Priest up to what¬†I will call ‘raid ready’.

Not that she’s gonna be raiding… but¬†I have high hopes for 5 man runs.

I have my basic gear pretty solid. The only major upgrade I need in the short term are the Tempest’s Touch gloves from the Caverns of Time/Old Hillsbrad quest chain. Everything else is pretty good, and is gemmed out with +9 Spell Damage gems.

So my next step is slowly farming the mats for all the enchants my gear will need. Last night, I got the Runic Spellthread for my pants. I have the mats for the +40 Spell Damage weapon enchant. (I plan on getting that for now, since the mats for Soulfrost are freaking insane. I’ll get that when I have a true ‘holy crap’ weapon, thanks very much.)

But consumables… I feel consumables are still my weak point.

Let’s take a look at the Shadow Priest. My role is to be a mana battery for the group/raid. I do this by keeping Vampiric Touch up on my target, and putting out massive shadow damage.

So my priorities in a raid are;

  • 1) Maximize Shadow Damage.
  • 2) Keep Mana up to keep pumping out continuous damage output.

Okay, that is pretty simple, right?

Why do I keep feeling like I’m missing something?

Test me on this.

For Shadow damage buffs, I can have;

ONE Food Buff

ONE Battle Elixir

ONE Guardian Elixir

OR, alternatively, ONE Flask

ONE Weapon Buff

Aaaannnndddd… that’s it. That’s all I can come up with for damage boosts.

Damn it, I keep feeling like I’m missing something there. Not an item itself, sure there are mana regens, #/mp5, etc. Kirk at Priestly Endeavors made a kick ass list¬†a while ago.¬†

No, I feel like there is an entire category I’m missing, and I can’t figure out what it is.

I mean, I eat a Blackened Basilisk, down a Flask of Pure Death, apply Superior Wizard Oil… and I’m done?

That’s +145¬†Shadow¬†Spell Damage, and that’s good. Don’t get me wrong, that’s very nice. But it just seems like there should be something else to pop there that I’m missing… food, flask, weapon buff. What else?

WTF? Am I crazy?

As far as the Mana support, to keep me going in the fight itself, I have the following;

Shared Potion Cooldown

Shared Healthstone Cooldown

  • Demonic Runes (restores 900-1500 Mana, loses 600 – 1000 Health)

And lastly, I carry Heavy Netherweave Bandages, regular level 65 food and Purified Draenic Water for recovery in-between pulls.

So I can apply Vampiric Touch on an enemy and then use various Shadow spells to pump out damage and regain Mana for the party.

When Mana starts getting down by around 1500, I can pop my Racial Symbol of Hope (thanks Dax!) to give my party around 1000 Mana from Mp/5 regen.

When my Mana gets low the first time, I can release my Shadowfiend for about 3500+ Mana recovery from him doing damage. It’s got a long cooldown, 5 minutes, so best to start it early in the fight.

When my Mana gets low the second time, I can either down a Super Mana Pot for “oh shit, we’re going down, I need whatever I can get” Mana recovery, or a Major Dreamless Sleep for some “I’ve got a few seconds, gimme a¬†solid¬†big chunk o’ mana” Mana recovery. With a 2 minute cooldown, we get that ticking next.

If I am still within the 2 minute Potion cooldown the next time I need a boost, I can use a Demonic Rune to keep me going just that little bit longer, just until the Potion or Shadowfiend cooldown is up again.

It’s not a bad plan, I think. I haven’t respecced to my final level 70 spec yet, so¬†I still don’t have Inner Focus. I know that it has a 3 minute cooldown, and that the next spell cast after it costs no Mana. So I know I’ll have to play with it, maybe macro it to my highest mana cost/long cooldown spell to make sure I get the most benefit from it.

I think I’ve got a good plan, I’m still in the ‘get my stuff properly enchanted’ phase.

Man… I keep telling people, if you think the game is over at level 70, better think again. Hitting 70 just let’s you narrow down your focus to getting an end-game piece of gear for your spec, and then affording the mats to enchant it, and then repeating the process.

The one thing I am most grateful for, is that the two characters I most want to play in this game, a Feral Druid and a Priest, both hit 70 well before Wrath of the Lich King was released. I’ll have plenty of time to settle in and enjoy them both, and learn the various idiosyncracies of the classes, long before I have to relearn everything all over again. And while everyone else is rolling their new Death Knight, I’ll be advancing through the new zones unopposed. ūüôā

Well, most likely not, but a guy can dream, right?