5 November 2008

It may just be me but this sucks

I gave my divine shadow idea a road test in Nagraand while grinding clefthoof leather.

Admittedly, this is hardly a difficult test for a level 70 character in epic gear. Now was it particularly scientific. I just played around a bit and compared how it felt to the cookie-cutter shadow build pre-patch.

Those of you who scoffed at the idea of a shadow priest with divine spirit will be smugly pleased to know it was rather... lacklustre. Mana was, as I predicted, bountiful, but killing was slow. I had a small insight into what it must be like to solo as a healing class and have newfound respect for all my friends and colleagues who persevere at it.

Then we went to Karazhan for the murkblood boss so I respecced to a more appropriate raiding build with dispersion. And I was still unimpressed.

We went in with only six players, one of whom was level 69. That was a strong indication to me of just how out-of-balance the game is right now. My under-geared, neglected elemental shaman alt is topping 1,000 dps in heroics, and he's never stepped foot in a raid. But that's not the full story, because despite the ease of the instance and the apparent boosts to class spells and talents, Merlot still felt underwhelming.

Mana was an absolute nightmare, much more than usual, even with improved divine spirit. During boss fights, and on several large pulls, I had to pot, disperse, cast hymn of hope, all while replenishment was practically a permanent buff, and still ran out of mana at an alarming rate. To get dispersion, I had to drop inner focus and meditation, which would account for a small part of the problem. Then there are my crit and spirit ratings, which are probably too low to get much benefit out of improved spirit tap. Ultimately though, this has to be a direct result of the vampiric touch nerf. Adjusting is proving much harder than I had expected. I just hope these problems are easily solved by new gear and a few more talent points.

I also noticed, or rather failed to notice, much difference in my dps. I'm absolutely sure some of this is down to human error — I moved some spells around to fit devouring plague and dispersion in and found myself hitting the wrong keys quite a lot. The devouring plague cooldown is also an issue in that it wasn't always ready when I needed it. I really don't think the spell is good enough to warrant such a long cooldown but meh.

Another problem I am having is adjusting to the utter explosion in spell noises and effects. Has anyone else noticed this? Suddenly every class is popping and beeping like Wall-e at a disco. I use sound a lot more than I realised to time my spell casting and know what's going on around me, so it's putting me right off my game.

All-in-all, my dps barely shifted from pre-patch levels. Will it improve as I get used to my key bindings? I can only hope so. I'd be interested in knowing what other shadow priests have found, so please drop me a note if you've got any tips for how to adjust.


Ho Ho said...

Putting >5 points in disc at level 70 is a waste at the moment. I've been raidin in sunwell and don't have any problems with mana that fiend or dispersion couldn't fix. Last night I did a pug MH and chaincasted dots on trash and still had zero problems, only when spamming holy nova I had problems but that is expected.

crysana said...

I had the same issue after the last patch. I logged onto live expecting crazy dps, but it hadn't really changed at all... i was underwhelmed to say the least.

I went away and came back the next day, started running instances etc and started to get a handle on the changes. One thing I found is that it takes a while to get going now. Where dps on trash mobs was pretty much the same as before, dps on bosses was much improved. Once i was able to get a full stack of misery going, things seemed much better.

With this weeks patch (3.0.3 i think) and now dots scaling with crit, dps has gone up again. First time ever in kara last night i did over 1000 dps over the whole run, and on some of the bosses i was pushing 1800.

However, i cant say Im happy still. I dont know if its the changes to the class, or the fact that its all the same stuff as Ive always been running but i just dont have the enthusiasm for my priest that I did...

One trick Ive found is wait until you have the 5 stacks up of misery before casting shadow word pain - it will then be getting full 10% bonus, and will be refreshed by mind flay meaning you dont have to cast it again. If you cast it before the stacks are up, it wont get the damage increase from adding another stack! Mades a big difference on damage on bosses.

crysana said...

Oh and get that new glyph that gives mind flay 10% more dmg when shadow word pain is active on the target - very nice!!!!

Esdras said...

I have still to try both shadow and holy but will do this weekend i think just out of curiosity.

Leigh said...

I was in the same boat when the patch was released. My shadow priest had 1200 spell damage unbuffed. On the training dummys i was getting about 1100 DPS (my average geared elemental shammy done 1250 with just LB spam!!), the extra spells were messing with my rotations, thought i had it solved by leaving VT drop off and only reapply it when replenishment was about to wear off but now they have buffed VT to the point its a necessity again. On the training dummy yesterday with a rotation without SWD i was doing 1230 DPS, VT was 2nd in the list of Damage done according to recount. Major problem at the moment i suspect is lack of crit on the current spriest orientated gear. Hopefully at 80 we should be rolling at 20-30% crit, should make a difference then.

Oh and SWP at the moment refreshes based on your current buffs, ideally get 5 stacks up, crit to trigger a spirit tap and pop your trinket. The ticks will be about 200 or so stronger each time if not more!! As for the mana returns, dispersion returns very little but is a nice side effect of casting in your regular rotation. I generally fiend at 75%, at 40% i use dispersion but there is a 90 second or so timespan that i have to wait for the next fiend. At the moment i have not been on an intense boss that survived long enough to make this an issue but i can see it being tough at 80 unless we crit a lot more regular for spirit tap.

I'm still caught between levelling the priest or the shammy or even the lock! They seem to have taken the utility and overall fun out of shadow priests, now we have 3 DOT's, a channeled spell and 2 nukes. That's 6 (well 5 really bar on movement fights) to throw into a rotation and we are wondering why we are going out of mana? :P

Lourdes Denimore said...

Mana problems aren't an issue for me. I have > 5 points in Disc for Meditation. Don't have dispersion and since the 3.0 patch used the shadow fiend maybe once in a raid. Stack the crit.. in MH and BT on boss fights I have enough crit that mind blast crits about every other time I use it so spirit tap is up most of the time and I end boss fights with over 80% of my mana and stay within the top 10 DPS.
Gotta stack the crit.. after hit of course.