Credits go to SinhunterThe ShadowPriest[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
So I've noticed that there aren't many shadow priests recently, and the people that do want to play this spec are usually demotivated after they see their DPS the first time they try it. I don't know exactly when, but shadow priests got kinda bugged a few months ago. I haven't really went too much into research of the details that made shadow priest DPS so terrible recently but my guess would be wrong scripting of Spellpower coefficients and some talents not properly increasing crit chance of the spells in question. In Ulduar times Spriests were the top DPS class. Even in ToC times when everyone played a fire mage, Spriests were right behind the mages on the DPS meters.
Long story short, the damage isn't what it's supposed to be at the moment and no one has really bothered to actually find out what exactly is wrong with it and how to fix it.
Anyways, back to the guide.
The shadow priest is probably the hardest and most fun caster class to play. Most casters like mages, ele shamans, boomkins just spam 2 buttons for the whole fight. Personally I find that a little boring and not at all challenging. Shadow priests on the other hand have a lot of buttons to press constantly and rely on timing, awareness and spell priority to pull off great damage.
Talents, glyphs and how your gear can affect them
First of all, let me just give you a list of abbreviations and what they mean so I don't have to type the full names of spells as I go on.
SWP - Shadow Word: Pain
VT - Vampiric Touch
MB - Mind Blast
MF - Mind Flay
DP - Devouring Plague
SWD - Shadow Word: Death
Ok, so there are basically 2 types of shadow priests since ICC got released.
Priests that have 4piece T10, and priests that don't.
The difference goes a long way into what spells to use, rotations, talents, even gear and gems.
First off I'll start with the non-T10 priest talents.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
This spec has 4 unspent points. You can choose to spend these points differently depending on what you find more useful personally.
You can choose Inner Focus in Discipline to get 100% crit on your next spell, you can choose Improved Vampiric Embrace to help out with healing, you can get Shadow Reach if you'd like to be further away from your target, Shadow affinity if you feel like you do too much threat and Veiled shadows if you feel the need to pull out your Shadowfiend more often if you have mana problems. You can also choose to combine some of the choices to fit your needs. However, none of the given choices would make a big DPS impact.
The glyphs that are used in this spec are self explanatory and you can find them ON THE LOWER RIGHT CORNER of the talent page.
For lazy ass faggots: Glyph of Shadow, Glyph of Mind Flay, Glyph of Shadow Word: Death.
Minor glyphs aren't important
4 piece T10 talents.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
No unspent points this time. This is the best spec that takes everything you need.
I also changed 1 glyph. Instead of Glyph of Shadow Word: Death we now have Glyph of Shadow Word:Pain.Stats, Gear and Gems
Stat wise it goes like this.
Hit capped > Spellpower > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Intelect.
To get hit capped with a dranei in your group you need exactly 262 hit rating which is 10%
Without a dranei you need 11% which would be about 295.
It's argued that haste might be more important than Spellpower. In some cases, it is. For shadow priests, haste makes DoTs tick faster. This is important because DoTs are 70% of our damage.
First off, try to get to the haste soft cap which would be about 900 haste rating.
Try to find items that have haste on them. If you're still short, don't be hesitant to use +20 haste gems for your yellow sockets.
If your gear is really good, then use +23 SP for red slots (JC should use 39+ SP when they can), 12SP 10haste for yellow sockets and 12SP 10Spirit for blue sockets. In other words, if the socket bonus of the item is +SP, then put in the intended colors. If the socket bonus is +Spirit or something, then just put a red gem in it.
The 2 best professions for any DPS caster would be tailoring and JC. If you have other professions, use the specific enchants for that profession (unless ur a herbalist or something LOLOLOL)
Anyway, this is the recommended enchants list if you have no professions.
Head: Arcanum of burning Mysteries (Kirin Tor)
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm (Sons of Hodir rep)
Back: 23 Haste (Enchanters)
Chest: +10 all stats (Enchanters)
Wrists: +30 SP (Enchanters)
Hands: +28 SP (Enchanters)
Waist: Eternal Belt Buckle (BS)
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread
Boots: Icewalker (Enchanters)
Rings: +23 SP (only Enchanters)
Weapons: Staves: +81 SP (Enchanters), 1Hand wep: +63 SP (Enchanters)
I recommend having 1H wep + off-hand since you won’t get the same PvE worth benefits from a staff.Rotation
Now comes the fun part.
So we mentioned before that there are Priests that have 4piece T10 and priests that don't.
Let's start with the nobs that dont
So you got your talents and your gear all gemmed and shit and now you wanna learn wat buttons to press.
Ok, so before every fight make sure you are in shadowform (yea I've made that mistake) and make sure you have Vampiric Embrace on youself. In fact, put that spell right next to your other buffs like Stamina and Spirit so you don't forget about it.
At the start of the fight, the goal is to get 5 stacks of shadow weaving before you apply SWP.
So the way you start is: VT > MB > DP > SWD > MF > SWP.
After you have applied SWP for the 1st time, you don't need to do it again because our talents make MF refresh the duration of SWP.
Now, you have a priority list on what spells you should use to get the most out of your GCDs ( global cooldowns)
VT is your best DoT spell. If it's not on the target, reapply it as fast as possible. Don't refresh it BEFORE the last tick. It seems hard at first, but with enough practice you'll learn how to refresh it JUST at the right time so you don't lose DPS.
DP is your 2nd DoT that you need to refresh. It's a high priority as well. The thing about DP is that you CAN refresh it before it has run out. So even if you do it 2-3 seconds before the last tick, it doesn't make an impact on your DPS.
Now that we've covered the DoTs, it's time to talk more about the spammable spells. If all your DoTs are on the target and you don't need to refresh them for atleast 5 seconds the ideal rotation is MB > MF > MF. Repeat that until you see the need to refresh a DoT.
People ask if they should use SWD as a standard spell in the rotation. I find that SWD isn't as rewarding if you use it all the time. Best time to use it is while you're moving, because it's an instant cast. Also, it's a great time to refresh your DP while repositioning because it too is an instant cast.
When the boss is under 35% is when things get a little different. Now SWD is needed in your rotation because of your glyph. It jumps high in the priority list, so try to use it every time it's off of CD.
Shadow priests are really great multy target DPSers. When there's a boss and 2 other mobs that need to be killed, you can apply your SWP and VT on every target, and when SWP is about to expire you just refresh it by doing a quick MF on the target. Try to keep yourself aware of when you need to reapply or refresh your DoTs on the different targets that need to be killed.
Another great thing about Spriests is the ability to do massive AoE damage while still melting Single Target DPS. You have your DoTs on the boss, but you're also doing tons of AoE with Mind Sear.
Now, when it comes to 4piece T10, things get a lot easier. Honestly it kinda becomes boring, but you get a massive DPS increase which is good.
The priorities that you had before kinda deteriorate. With 4piece T10 your MF becomes a spammable spell, and your MB is dropped out of the rotation.
In this case, you do the same and wait for 5 stacks of Shadow Weaving before you apply ur SWP. After that, you keep refreshing your VT and DP as stated above, and keep spamming MF till they need to be refreshed. What I would recommend is for you to use MB every time you refresh VT. SWD is also dropped out, and should only be used when you need to move.
Even tho it seems like I wrote too much about the rotations and it looks really complicated, I've barely covered the basics.
Addons and additional tips and tricks
I'm not gonnah bother giving you direct download links here, so just google them or find them on curse.com
When it comes to addons, one thing you MUST have as a shadow priest is something that would let you know when to refresh your DoTs and would track their duration. You can use Xpearl to show you your debuffs on the target but I find that really unreliable.DoTTimer
is an amazing addon that is extremely hard to configure properly. The WoTLK version is kinda messy. The creators changed the addon's UI for CATA, but since we're still on WoTLK I wouldn't really recommend using it because it would take you a LONG time to configure properly.Quartz
is one of those invaluable addons that modifies your cast bar and shows you the ticks of your Mind Flay. It also gives you a small bar that tracks your GCDs, and adds your exact latency on your cast bar. It has it's own DoT tracker which could be used if you don't wanna install too many addons and would like to keep it simple.ForteXorcist
is one of the best DoT tracking addons possible. It shows you which spell is on which target, the duration remaining, the individual ticks of the DoT and many other things. It's really easy to configure and just an awesome addon for any class that uses any DoT or HoT spell.
On top of these, there's several other addons that can make your life easier as a shadow priest, but none of them are really essential. If you're interested in being the best of the best, then I suggest you search some retail forums or something to find everything that you need.
Now once you've mastered the basics of what a shadow priest is all about, there are some additional tips and tricks.
MF clipping is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to WoW. There are a couple of addons that might help you here, but it all comes down to your individual skill. What's MF clipping? Well, some vpro Spriests on retail figured out that out of the 3 ticks of damage that MF does while channeling, clipping it to only do 2 ticks and skipping the last one would increase your DPS. MF is a very different spell that you can't just spam the button, but you have to time when to press it to start the channel all over again. If you keep spamming it, you'll just interrupt it's damage and therefore FAIL. Optimally, if you have over 200 MS latency, don't even try to clip it. Just look at your qwartz latency and try to use MF again right after it finishes it's duration. This way you won't lose any time and your DPS will be higher. If your latency is under 200 ms, then you can try this. It's very hard to master and it's sort of a high-risk high-reward kind of thing. To clip MF at the right time means that you have to look at your cast bar, and press MF again right after it's 2nd tick.
One of the other things that you need to be aware of as a Spriest is your Shadowfiend. If you don't have any mana problems, use it when heroism is popped. If you have mana problems, use it when you're at about 30% mana. Another trick is to use Dispersion when you need to get some mana back, or when there's some sort of major AoE damage that needs to be dealt with.
Ok, so I think that about covers it. If I've left something out, please tell me.
All in all as you can see Spriests are a very comlicated class to master. Dont be intimidated when you look at how much I've written in this guide. It's fun when you know you're doing something hard, and you're actually good at it.
If you don't like to bother thatmuch, just go find an arcane mage guide that tells you to use 2 buttons all the time