Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shadow Priest gets better around high 20's

In between all my PVP and achievement chasing I'm finding some time here and there to level my baby toons.  Yesterday I spent some time on my Priest who finally hit level 31.  I commented before how dreadful priests were at the early levels and that was by no means a joke.  Not only are priests pre-level 20 dreadfully boring but they are also dreadfully mana inefficient.  I've played every single other class before and I've never experienced the boredom this class affords anywhere else.  Early on your only offensive means are Mindblast, Shadow Word: Pain, your wand, and Smite if you actually decide to use that.  You'll usually open up with Mindblast, then Shadow Word: Pain but you'll be bubbling and wanding from there.  I found Smite to be of little use and actually do more damage with my wand, plus my wand doesn't cost me mana like Smite would.

As you get higher in level you get a few more toys to play with like Devouring Plague and Mind Flay but if you think you're going to Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Blast and Mind Flay mobs while questing then be prepared to sit and drink after probably every fight because the dots eat mana like candy and you still have to add in the mana cost of your bubble.  Eventually you learn to save your dots for bosses in instances or elite mobs that might last 10+ seconds and just Mind Blast and Mind Flay, or Mind Blast, Holy Fire, and Mind Flay.  Even that requires you to either sit and drink after every couple of fights or if you've outfitted yourself with some heirloom gear that's extended somewhat.

I'm wearing the Devout Aurastone Hammer with +20 spirit, Tattered Dreadmist Robe and Shoulders, and two Discerning Eye of the Beast trinkets so I'm probably a little better off than someone who is just fresh to the game and is playing a priest.  I made the mistake of not putting two points into improved spirit-tap initially and I'd recommend you not follow me down that road.  With it being tied to crits and me not having a whole lot of that I thought it would be virtually useless.  Point in fact it doesn't proc as often as I would like because of my low crit rate but it's also the only bit of additional in-combat mana regen I have until l can start putting points into Focused Mind.  My advice to all new Shadow Priests is to put your first five points into Spirt Tap and Improved Spirit Tap.  But you won't get Spirit Tap procs unless you get the killing blow.  Makes instance runs a real pain, especially pre-level 20 when you'll be spending twice as much time wanding as you will be casting anything.  By level 30 it's much better as you'll Mind Blast, Holy Fire, and Mind Flay and will get a good share of killing blows.  Improved Spirit Tap comes in very handy as even with 6% crit I see it go off regularly enough in fights for it to matter.

I'm starting to enjoy the class more now that I have some additional tools and I'm starting to get into the talents that increase my offensive abilities as well as decrease their cost.  If I had a way to skip over the 40's and 50's and go strait to Outland I would because I know from level 60 is really where this class begins to shine.