Sunday, February 7, 2010

Alternative rotation for level 20+ Shadow Priests

Check this out! Last night I was running with my (now) level 33 Shadow Priest through Duskwood, catching up with some old quests. I decided to grab all the gray quests, because some of them lead to a longer chain.

The problem with Shadow Priests and gray mobs, i.e. mobs that are so far below the character's level that they don't give any more XP, is that the Shadow Priest relies a lot on Spirit Tap to regain most of his mana back after a fight. Well, as you can imagine, even though gray mobs go down quickly, you will just as quickly run out of mana if you go on using your standard rotation.
Realizing the problem, I decided to experiment with something new and unheard of. Yeah, it's not like I'm Columbus discovering America. I'm sure others have figured this out by now, assuming it is even such a great idea. For me though, it works.

What follows is a comparison between my "standard" leveling rotation and the "new" gray-mob rotation.
Standard Rotation

- Power Word: Shield
- Mind Blast
- Shadow Word: Pain
- Mind Flay
- wand

At the end of the standard rotation, my Spirit Tap procs and I gain back all of my mana and even more. Of course, my dual heirloom trinkets also proc, giving me some extra mana back. A word on Power Word: Shield, if I may. (See what I did there?) I always use it as a Shadow Priest, even though I'm not sure it is part of the rotation. This, of course, is only while leveling. That's because, for one thing, the shield absorbs most or all of the incoming damage. Secondly, and more importantly, it allows me to cast without being interrupted.

Once again, the problem with gray mobs is that neither Spirit Tap, nor the trinkets proc. So every fight means mana lost and none recuperated. On the other hand, I don't have to go through a full rotation with such mobs so I will give up Shadow Word: Pain, for example.

At one point I remembered that back at level 20 I had picked up a Holy spell that I had never used, (well, except at one point to kill Fangore who's immune to shadow magic) and that spell is called Holy Fire. Here's my new rotation.

Gray Mob Rotation

- Holy Fire
- Mind Flay

Simple, huh? Here's what makes this so efficient. Both these spells are very mana efficient. I am basically substituting Mind Blast for Holy Fire. Yes, it's not a Shadow spell but Holy Fire currently does more damage than Mind Blast, for a lower cost, and adds a quick acting DoT on top of that. I open up from extreme range with Holy Fire and then immediately follow with Mind Flay. By the time the mob gets within melee range, it drops dead. Total mana cost: very little.
Now for some numbers. Here's how my Priests's spells look like at level 33:

Mind Blast
cost: 120 mana
damage: 191-203

Holy Fire
cost: 80 manadamage: 206-258 + 42 over 7 secs.

So Holy Fire does significantly more damage for a lot less mana. Later, when I get all the relevant talents in the Shadow tree, this might change in favor of Mind Blast. Until then, Holy Fire FTW. And if I still haven't convinced you, just take a look at the awesome FX when this spell connects!


Dreorg said...

I have a priest that I am planning to play as shadow to 80, but I did Holy (plus 3 points in Spirit Tap, natch) for the first 40 levels, and then switched. I feel like Vampiric Embrace plus Shadowform is where you really start to see shadow come into its own. Pre 40, I found Holy to make for smoother sailing while solo.

(Added plus: going into Random w/ shadowform = clarity that you're DPS; much like Moonkin)

Jerry said...

I relied on PW:Shield heavily while solo leveling. No good reason not to hit it. I never solved the gray mob problem you mentioned. You will face this problem again at level 80, when you are no longer getting XP for kills. But by that time you have talents that make up for the lack of Spirit Tap. (And you will be going into the Disc tree to get Meditation for awesome regen while casting.)

I stopped using the shield while leveling once I got Vampiric Embrace. After that you earn back any health you lose, much like Warlock drain-tanking. It will save you mana as well.

Shadow is an awesome DPS spec that I've enjoyed all the way up. I didn't do it until level 50, but have been amazed with its power. My Spriest is closing in on becoming my "main" where before I thought I only wanted to play my Rogue!

Darth Solo said...

@Jerry I have Vampiric Embrace so it's not a question of health. The main reason why I like PW:S is that it allows me to cast uninterrupted. Oh and also if I happen to be mobbed by more than one mob, it comes in very handy.