Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Poll Results

May Poll: If you had your choice, who would heal your 5-man dungeon?

Well, the Rogue took an early lead, and stayed neck-and-neck with our Shadow Priest for quite some time... but then the Priest pulled way out ahead and totally rocked this poll.

Thanks to all who particpated!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

GAH! As if it wasn't hard enough...

According to blogger V'Ming Chew at WoW Insider, Shadow Priests are about to get another reason to resent our sisters, the Warlocks. Now, don't get me wrong - I have a 70 'lock and I love her dearly, with great big pink fluffy hearts and balloons. But I also really, really like gear that is definitively more appropriate for one class or another. Used to be, the line on +shadow damage gear was whether or not it also featured Spirit.

Is it really a good idea to generalize cloth gear between three classes? Obviously, 'locks will continue to have the greater need for Stamina on PvE gear, and priests and mages will prefer Intellect. But I'm really concerned that we're going to start seeing some bitterness between the classes. Maybe all we can do is just passive-aggressively refuse to heal, or re-shackle, or whatever.

Prin Does PvP - Part 2

Arathi Basin. My second attempt at dominating the PvP playing field. Let's see how it goes!

Okay, I've got my Psychic Scream hotkeyed to the Z key (I switched it with Fear Ward on my toolbar for the excursion). I'm all buffed, mounted, ready to rock.

Oh yeah, what's the objective, again? Flags? No, no, it's bases in AB! Yeah, that's right. There are five: the Farm, Lumbermill, Mine, Stables, and Blacksmith. The way the map is set up, the Farm is closest to our base, while the Stables are furthest. There are some great strategy tips here.

I no sooner join the Battlegroup (already in progress) than I see this:

Well, I think, that was easy.

Then a Horde player posts what looks to be a reasonable strategy - we already hold 4 bases, let's go for the fifth! Apparently they call that a "five-cap" and it's really good.

I rush the Stables, right into the chaos of fighting at the banner. I start dotting up everyone I can target, until a rogue notices me - BOOM, I fear off the lot of them. By now, other players have been inspired by my bravery and dedication to teamwork and have joined me in the fray. They jump in and finish off the Alliance players I've feared, clearing our way. Well, most of our way. Seems they've neglected to take care of the rogue who is Backstabbing me mercilessly.

Ah well, it's part of war, right? Sure it is. Anyway, doesn't matter. After only 14 minutes of battle, the Horde dominated and Prin walked away with 587 honor (it was also the daily!) and 3x Arathi Basin Mark of Honor. A pretty solid showing by our favorite Shadow Priestess, if I do say so myself.
So, tell me guys, which is your favorite BG? And how do you like to play? I'm a fan of defense & dirty tricks, so far.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Easiest Ways to Get /Ignored

Yes, I know, there are several. I'm only looking for the easiest, those that don't require a huge investment in time or other resources.

  1. Ask me for gold. No, go ahead, I double-dog-dare you.

  2. Ask me for a "run thru" of (insert lowbie dungeon) so that you can get (insert piece of gear that is of absolutely no use to your class).

  3. Use the word "gay" to mean "lame" or "annoying." Yes, I know, etymology. It wasn't originally intended to mean "homosexual," either, but dammit, people. Do NOT say, "lol that was gay." Not to me.

  4. Ask me if I am gay. Yes, of course, I only married for the free Wi-Fi.

  5. Ninja loot in an instance. Not the "oops, omg, I'm so sorry, guys!" kind but the "lol i de i nned teh gold lol" kind. I will ignore your happy butt faster than Athene can fffssssssst! around the column.

  6. Post your damage meters. After every pull. Every. Freaking. Pull.

  7. Same-faction griefing. Yes, this does happen. Some people just NEED to be asshats so bad that they can't wait for an opposing-faction player to show up.

  8. Be stupid in /Trade. Also includes being stupid in /General. If you are stupid, that's okay, just, you know, keep it to yourself. (This does not, however, include Barrens Chat. You're expected to be stupid there. Get all the Chuck Norris and ur mom lol out of your system, go ahead, that's what it's there for. Try to keep it as clean as posssible, and avoid anything involving pedophilia, necrophilia, pedo-necro-philia, or forced sexual contact.)

  9. Be nasty to a new player asking a reasonable question. The first 3 times I attempted to go to the Undercity, I failed to notice the elevator doors. I just had minimal patience and crappy luck and never saw any of them open. I had no idea the city was down there until a nice mage escorted me to the bank.

  10. Drop a duel flag on me after I've politely declined your offer to duel.

So, what say you, fellow players? What hammers on your /ignore buttons?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where's the Love?

So I decided to grab an Auchenai Crypts pug this morning... Guess what kind of reaction I got?

Random Mage: So, you're healing?

Prin: I'd rather dps, if possible. I'm Shadow.

RM: Uhh... if you're shadow then you can't heal.

Prin: Well, of course I CAN. I have healer gear.

RM: Maybe u don't noez, but shadowzorz cant healz gud.

Prin: Look, I'm not a new player. This isn't my first toon, and I have decent experience healing. Plus, I, too, have a Z key. See? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Random Paladin: What other toons do you have?

Prin: I have a lock & a rogue - why?

RP: How about you go get your rogue, and I'll heal?

Prin: How about I stay right here on my priest, and you heal?

RP: Uh.

So, what's the scoop, chicken poop? Prin brings great dps, totally reliable CC for this particular instance, nice shadow resistance for the party - hell, it's like we were MADE for Crypts. And I love the Auchendoun instances, I've been looking forward to doing this on a shadow priest since Prin hit Outlands. Ah, well, just another instance I'm going to have to wheedle D into doing with me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Strafe: Learn it, Love it, Live by it.

Ah, the strafe... those wonderful default key-bound Q & E motions... why do we need to keep these, again?

  • Strafing is much faster than backing away
  • With the correct angle to the mob applied first, it allows us to avoid those nasty "You must be facing your target" error messages
  • Keep maximum distance from your mob while spell-casting
  • Maintain distance while firing off instant-casts
  • Combined with Vampiric Embrace, healing + damage avoidance = being able to drop PW:S and self-Renew from your spell rotation - saving you 1050 mana per pull at level 70.

You can start using the strafe early on, but it becomes essential at level 30 with the addition of VE. Here's how you do it: Select your target mob. Turn your character to an almost-90 degree angle from it. Make sure that you have a safe area to strafe into - nothing is worse than running smack into another group of mobs in a futile attempt to avoid the first one.

Wind up a high-damage spell with a cast-time - I prefer Mind Blast. As soon as it fires, begin strafing away from your mob. Simultaneously drop SW:P; continue strafing while watching the GCD and then drop VE. Again, continue strafing while the GCD ticks. As soon as another cast becomes available, stop moving and begin to Mind Flay. The beauty of this spell is that it's also slowing the mob's progress towards you. As soon as your 3 seconds are up - or the mob reaches you and interrupts it - check the mob's health. If it's under 30%, go ahead and finish it off by wanding. Your SW:P will continue to tick, supplying a little health back to you via VE. You've started your 5-second waiting period a little early, which means you'll have a head start on that mana regen.

You'll develop a pattern as you clear your way into an area, pulling mobs back substantially before moving forward a bit to select the next one.

At level 62, Shadow Word: Death becomes available to you. Acquiring this little number effectively makes your wand obsolete. Granted, the penalty for not timing it correctly kind of sucks, but keep in mind that a portion of that damage caused - both to you and the mob - is being returned to you via VE. It's not all bad. The fact that SW:D can crit (yummy) makes it even more attractive, and you absolutely MUST learn to work this spell into your damage rotation. I use it as a finisher most of the time.

Using the strafe well requires practice and a commitment to being a clicker. You need to be able to fire off instant-cast spells while strafing, and using the Q & E keys for movement while clicking spells is the best way I've found to accomplish that. Of course, I'm always open to hearing about the methods that others use - got an improvement for this system? Think I'm completely off in the head? Leave me a comment! Share your opinion with the world!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prin Does PvP - Part 1 (Warsong Gulch)

"We have met the enemy... and he is us."
"My own worst enemy."
"Danger to myself."

Okay, so I had more fun coming up with alternative titles for this post than I did putting in the PvP time to research it. For the record: Principessa does not PvP. She could break a nail. For the love of all that's holy, (?) why on earth would she subject herself to the elitist, bossy, afk'ing, honor-kill-farming, typical PvP'er?

Well, because D brought it up. Since he DOES like to PvP, I've heard all the conventional complaints about the various classes. It seems to boil down to own prevalent thought: most players think that Battlegrounds are about kills. That was once the case, but no more. Today's BGs require strategy, timing, coordination, teamwork, and a healthy supply of twisty Cheetos. (Seven pieces to a serving, my ***.)

As part of a three-post series, Princessa will take you inside the Shadow Priest's PvP experience. Dps, healing, and utility are the tools we bring to the table.

Coming to the party in the middle of the level bracket won't make things easy for me. Plus, my "meh" gear and limited PvP experience won't make me anyone's darling. So, how do I stand out and shine like the Princess I am? I decide to look for anything in my spellbook that could cause some havoc to the oppostion. Then I get out my stick and start stirring.

First up - Warsong Gulch. Basically what I did here was to hide out under the balcony, near the flag. I used Mind Vision on our stealthed rogue to keep an eye on what was going on, and everytime I saw an Alliance player come running up, I Mind-Controlled him. I did a little healing, a little dps, but found that for the most part I'm best at being a thorn in the proverbial side. We won, 3 to 0. For the Horde!

What I learned:

  • Psychic Scream, dammit. D's got me so trained to NOT fear, that I've almost forgotten I can still use this spell in a group. There's absolutely no reason why I shouldn't fear in a battleground. Fear is my friend.
  • I can't use Mind Control on Hunter pets or shape-shifted Druids. I couldn't use it the first time I tried, or the second, or the third, so I should probably quit and move on, right?
  • The 10-minute battle netted me 236 honor and 3 Warsong Gulch Marks of Honor.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WotLK Preview?

Rumor has it that the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is in alpha / Friends & Family testing. I flipped over to the wiki to check out what could possibly be on the horizon for Shadow Priests, and oh my frilly knickers!

  • Dispersion (51pt shadow, 5m cooldown) - You disperse into pure shadow energy, reducing all damage taken by 90%. You are unable to attack or cast spells, but you regenerate 6% health and mana every 1 sec for 6 sec.
  • Growing Pains - "Converts 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus healing into bonus spell damage. In addition, your Mind Flay has a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain on the target."
  • Improved Shadowform - "Your Fade ability now has a 50/100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects when used while in Shadowform, and gives you a 25/50% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage when casting any Shadow spell while in Shadow form."
  • Psychic Horror - "Causes your Psychic Scream spell to have a chance to Fear the target in horror for 4 sec."
  • Aspiration - "Reduces the cooldown of your Inner Focus, Power Infusion and Pain Suppression spells by 10/20%."
  • Dark Spirit - "Increases your Shadow damage by up to 10/20/30% of your total Spirit."

AND.... (drumroll)

  • Mind Sear (level 75, channeled, 545 mana) - "Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the enemy target, causing 481-519 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all targets within 10 yards."

OMFG, could we possibly be on track to get an AoE?? What I wouldn't give for a shadow AoE spell... *drool* I think this puppy actually rivals the 51 pt shadow talent. On a side note, I have a hard time believing that we'll get to keep Dispersion with a 5 minute cooldown. Seems like something as awesomely save-your-ass as this probably won't be available all that often.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


"Note to self, never group with a DPSing Shadow Priest again. "

That is the title of a topic on the WoW GameFAQS board today. I shuddered. Someone, somewhere, is out there making life harder for the rest of us 'responsible' shadow priests again. *sigh*

So why ARE S'Priests such adorable little aggro-magnets? In a word - or two - Vampiric Embrace. I mean, just check this baby out. Once you've wiped the drool off of your face, you'll realize the less-pleasant implication of such a yummy spell: it adds a second kind of threat-generation. Not only are you generating hate with the damage you deal, you're ALSO generating healing aggro.

From WoWWiki: One point of damage = one point of threat. One point of health actually healed = .5 threat. Emphasis is mine - it's important to note that overhealing doesn't apply. (Ex: You toss a 2000 pt heal on someone whose health was only down by 1500 - you'll generate 750 threat, not 1000 threat.)

Let's look at Prin, who currently has an average 735 dps Mind Blast, unbuffed. She also has Imp Vampiric Embrace, which heals all members of the party for 35% of all shadow damage I do. How much healing aggro is generated by this depends on the current health (or hp deficit, rather) of all the members currently in my party. Without taking into consideration any threat-reducing abilities, auras, etc., it's entirely possible to generate 735 dps aggro + 1286 healing aggro (35% of the dps x5 party members) = 2,021 threat for one little Mind Blast. GAH!

Lucky for us, Priests have a little talent in the Shadow Tree available to them called Shadow Affinity. Rank 3 reduces the threat of all shadow spells by 25% - that's HUGE. Our 2,021-threat MB just got reduced to 1,516. However, that's still more than double the damage done. If you're lucky enough to be partied with a paladin, please please PLEASE ask for Blessing of Salvation. That's another 30% reduction in threat you generate.

Hoo boy, we have to do math again. Be sure to buckle up first, and wear your safety goggles.

I believe that the BoS threat reduction uses our REDUCED threat amount, after our own threat-reducing talent has been applied. Ex: Our threat with BoS on the above 735 dps Mind Blast would be 2021 - 25% = 1,516 - 30% = 1,061 threat. It would be nice if we could just say "SA is 25%, BoS is another 30%, so I can reduce my threat by 55%!!" but that's just not the case.

So what's a Shadow Priest to do? Well, we can try several things.

  1. Wait an extra few moments before you start dpsing. The more hate the tank has generated, the more you'll have to do to pull aggro from him. This is especially important with Druid bear-tanks, since they rely heavily on damage received for their rage & subsequent threat.
  2. Always use a threat meter. Even if no one else in your party uses it, you can still gauge your own threat. Do a little research on the various tanking classes at your level in order to get an idea of their average threat generation numbers.
  3. Prioritize. If your party healer is doing a good job keeping your tank up and everyone else topped off, drop VE from your dps rotation.
  4. Fade near the end of the boss fight, hopefully about 10 seconds before you believe he'll go down. Then you can unleash with a little extra insurance.
  5. Fade if you can see your threat approaching the tank's. Granted, it's only going to last for 10 seconds and then you'll get all that hate right back. But with any luck and a skilled tank, he'll have topped you on the meter again by then.
  6. Prioritize again. Drop Mind Flay, since the speed-reduction component of this spell generates additional dps threat. Unless you're on runner-patrol, you can use the time between MB & SW:D cool-downs to let your threat drop a bit.
  7. Prioritize yet AGAIN. At this point you can SW:P, wand, and /sigh a lot.
  8. If you are STILL pulling aggro, you'll either have to stop running lowbies through SM or drop back into a pattern of /sighing, complaining, and asking your tank whether or not the guy he bought his account from had the audacity to add a shipping charge to the eBay sell price.
  9. If you haven't been /kicked from the group, now would be time to drum up support from the other party members to locate a different tank.
  10. Psychic Scream. No, really, go ahead. This party sucks anyway, right?

As always, I'd love to hear differing opinions / strategies on dpsing without pain (our own, of course).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Horoscope

Druid: Your guild votes you "Most Likely to Have a Clever Name," which only increases the pressure for each subsequent alt to have an even more clever name, leading to an utter meltdown right in the middle of Botanica.

Hunter: Your pet will chase a runner, getting you /kicked from the group just before the final boss. Luckily it's not a heroic and you didn't really NEED the final boss, or anything he might have dropped.

Mage: You've been dreaming about that new non-combat pet for ages. There's no time like the present, and no class better suited to mass-AoE-farming. Grab some mana oil, whip up a couple of stacks of water, and go snag that new whelping or firefly.

Paladin: This, like every other week, is a good week to avoid other Paladins. Showing up to your PuG to discover that you have a Pally tank, a Pally healer, two ret Pallies, and they really don't care what you want to do... Yeah, well, while typical, it's not exactly a recipe for good loot distribution, now is it?

Priest: An amazing piece of +shadow damage gear will drop... during a run where you've agreed to heal. The warlock in your group makes a couple of nasty comments about shadow priests, and leaves in a huff when you insist on rolling - and WIN!

Rogue: She who Vanishes or Sprints away will live to Backstab another day. Of course, she is also berated by her opponent, but since she doesn't speak "Common" she doesn't really care all that much.

Shaman: Did you know that one serving of twisty Cheetos is only approximately 7 pieces? Who the hell counts the Cheetos? You have better things to do - like camping that vendor who sells the rare leatherworking pattern.

Warlock: Get over it, already, the Shadow Priest had every right to roll on +damage gear, especially when that's her spec and she only agreed to heal this dungeon so that you all would quit spamming her with whispers.

Warrior: An ogre declares that he intends to "smash" you, "Rawr." Isn't that cute?

Friday, May 16, 2008


No one wants that. This dreaded declaration announces to your party that the heals or dps are now at an end. It's assumed, of course, that you've already used all the tools at your disposal to rectify the situation. What could you have done to keep from landing in this spot?

It all boils down to your style of play, and the main question to ask yourself is "how much time do I spend outside the 5-second rule?"

This chart should give you some idea of what you're looking for in the way of gear, gems, enchants, and consumables. Some priests may have totally different play styles for dps and healing; however, they should also have two sets of gear, each of which can be gemmed / enchanted as needed and food buffs are especially easy to come by. You ARE fishing and cooking, right? RIGHT?

Since we want to get the most bang for our mana-buck, it's a good idea to get familiar with the specifics of each of our spells, both healing and dps. DPS = damage per second; HPS = heal per second; DPM = damage per mana; HPM = heal per mana; HuOOM = heals until out-of-mana.

I don't know about you, but math was never my strong point. I'm fascinated by it, but rather like a sharp knife, it turns in my hand and cuts me before I'm able to use it as a tool. For this reason I rely on a can't-live-without addon called Dr. Damage, available for download at Curse Gaming. This hot little number adds to the Blizzard tooltip, giving you all of the information I listed above. It takes your talents and + healing / + damage into consideration so all we really have to do is mouseover the abilities on our toolbars and get comfy with the information.

Using my lvl 65 Shadow Priest with 350 Int, 218 Spi, 409 +dam - self-buffed only, in dps gear:

Vampiric Touch, costs 400 Mana and takes 1.5 seconds to Cast. Standard dps is 660 shadow damage over 15 seconds. I can see from the Dr.Damage tooltip that my +Damage adds 517.4 for the base, for a total of 1265 damage. Wait - 660 base + 517.4 additional does not equal 1265. Well, I have fully talented Shadow Weaving and Misery, and this additional damage is figured in on an average. See? This is why we don't try math at home, kids. It's just too scary.

While we're talking math, it's important to note that long-cast-time and channeled spells get the most boost from our +damage; instant-cast, direct-damage spells get the least.

Let's switch over to Prin's healing gear set and check out the mana-efficiency of those heals.

Now we're talking 368 Int, 247 Spi, 551 +healing, and 259 MP5 (93 MP5 while casting).

Greater Heal (Rank 6) has a base of 2090-2427. Add my +healing and we get an average of 2861. This little number crits for an average of 4092, which is awesome. My Flash Heal (Rank 8) bases at 931-1078; with +healing it's an average of 1237 and crits for about 1856. But since we're talking about mana efficiency and avoiding the dreaded "OOM," the most important statistics to look for here are HPM & Heal til OOM.

GH6 offers 3.8 points of healing for each point of my mana; I can apply 31,794 points of healing before I'm sidelined. Flash, however, only gives up 3.2 HPM and after 26,774 points of healing, I'm out of the game. If I can time my heals correctly and stay out of the weeds, GH is going to be the better deal. What about Renew? Well, Rank 11 gives a base of 1010 HP over 15 seconds, and actually averages ~1561 HP. HPM caluates out to 3.6, 26,057 until OOM. Because it's a HoT it gets the full benefit from +healing as opposed to Flash, which get's less than half. So, even though you can heal less through Renew before OOM, it's still a more mana-efficient solution than Flash Heal.

Of course, all of this math and theorycrafting is useless unless you're willing to get out there and try it out live. Spend some time with each of the dps styles, offer to heal a lower-level dungeon for leveling guildies, find out where you're comfortable and where you're challenged. Just, for the love of god, don't be stick-whacking anything. You'll make us all look bad.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Comments, Comments, Comments

Have you enjoyed something you read here? Do you have a differing opinion? Have I gotten my facts just completely wrong? Leave me a comment! I like to know who my readers are, and I can't think of a better way to get a discussion rolling.

Typical Elitist

Priests are known for being a bit... egotistical. But we really can't help it, we HAVE to know everything about every class. If we're in shadowform, we have to know at what point the various tank classes can maintain aggro in the face of our uberleet dps. If we're healing, then we need to understand both the threat generation and mitagation skills of our tank. We also need to know about the threat-dumping abilities available to the dps classes in our party. (Ahem. Do not stand next to the hunter.)

Having said that - I got the BIGGEST kick out of a
post by Idialog <> Maiev-US on the official WoW Priest forum. I'm reading along, smiling and nodding, totally digging his droll delivery. I'm also taking mental notes here and there, since healing hasn't really been a specialty of mine. (Healing can be fun, but it doesn't hold a Kobold Candle to scavenging ideas ABOUT healing and then debating them with D.)

Then I get to the part about, 'I learned a couple of days ago that there was like this spell to buff everyone at once, and I was all like, "yeah, sweet", but then I found out it like costs money to cast, so I was all like, "oh, damn." I ain't payin' to give a damn mage more hitpoints. That's just crazy talk.' and I was all like, whoa, maybe this isn't as tongue-in-cheek as I thought, perhaps it's more like satire and all of these tips are designed to get me labeled "n00b healer" and /kicked from groups...

I'd rather take a blow to the face than to the ego. Priest, you know. /shrug

So, today we got a twofer: not only am I sharing a good laugh, I'm also doing a little research on 5-man healing. Let's see if there's a kernel or two of truth in there.

1. Only use GH rank 7 on druid / well-geared warrior tanks. I'd be willing to agree to this, but most of the prot-pallies I've run with had comparable HP. Let's say I agree with GH7 on tanks, and a down-ranked GH4 for other classes. With decent +healing that ought to keep everyone topped off and limit the amount of over-healing you do. PoM - while this is an awesome spell to toss out if your party is taking AoE damage, it's not really a "set it and forget it" ability. Having Prayer on your tank doesn't mean you can ignore your dps classes if / when they start taking damage.

Also, do pallies really regain mana when they receive heals? Yes, Spiritual Attunement is a passive skill available at level 18 (and upgraded to 10% at level 66). Pallies are unique to tanking classes in that they use mana instead of rage - I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't drop a renew on your Tankadin just before the pull. Also, the S'Priest in me drools when I think about how much love Mr. Loltank will have for my VT / VE...

  • VE feeds him health with each point of shadow damage I do.
  • VT feeds him mana with each point of shadow damage I do.
  • Feeding him health (heals) feeds him even more mana due to his SA.

2. I'm going to have to play my bull**** card on this one. I've played all of the non-hybrid dps classes, and I've never had a priest refuse to buff the entire party. Yeah, it consumes quite a bit of mana before you get Prayer of Fortitude, and it consumes a reagent after, but still - it doesn't happen.

3. Again, attitude aside, I agree. My squishy little presence isn't going to save the day once the tank and dps buy it, so no need to take one for the team and go toes-up myself. The one nugget of wisdom here is common sense - rez the classes who can ALSO rez first.

4. Total silliness. I haven't raided on my Priest yet, but I have taken two toons to Kara and I've watched D raid-heal on both a priest and a shaman. There is NO time for any dpsing as a healer. Besides, you'd be better off tossing a SW:P and then wanding.

5. Awesome. Just awesome. Rule #1 - it's never my fault. Rule #2 - if I appear to be at fault, refer to Rule #1.

/cast Lightwell

/s Heal yourself, *****.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

World of Warcraft Client Patch 2.4.2

As always, the latest patch notes can be found at the official WoW website.
Patch 2.4.2 is LIVE on Tuesday, May 13, 2008.

Principessa: So, I'm here today to talk about the latest patch details with my sisters.

Malarea, lvl 70 Warlock
Despairity, lvl 54 Mage
Hawli, lvl 45 Hunter
Rigatoni, lvl 70 Rogue

Prin: So, I'm scrolling through the latest patch notes, and it appears to me that Hunters are the hot news of the day.

Mal: Hot mess, maybe.

Hawli: :P

Prin: Seriously, with the changes to Boar Charge, Growl, and Scare Beast, the Hunter section has more changes than any other class.

Hawli: Yah, the Scare Beast change rox my sox. I can't wait to try it out on D's druid.

Prin: But you don't play with the druid - I do. He's too high for your level. We're questing Zangarmarsh, for the love of god.

Hawli: We're all gonna be 70 some day, baby.

Desi: Not if some of us don't get on a horse. Seriously, I've been in my 50's for, like, a year now.

Hawli: ANYWAY, Scare Beast isn't the only big change for us. The controversy continues with the whole "Growl / boar Charge / which AP is which" thingy. I mean, seriously, we're now going to act like Growl scaling with MY attack power was a mistake? And it should have been Chookie's AP all along?

Rigs: *snort* Chookie... lol.

Hawli: Shut up. He is a lil' Chookie-wookie... *babytalks and scratches Scorpid's chin* Whatever. Besides, at my level I'm not having problems with pulling aggro off of Chooks, I'm having problems with keeping enough mana to do decent dps.

Prin: Yah, well, that was last patch. This is now. Moving on - Mages.

Desi: *wakes up* Yeah?

Prin: Pay attention. I noticed this little gem in the notes: Polymorph: Mounted creatures will no longer remain mounted while polymorphed.

Desi: God.dammit.

Rigs: What?

Desi: That was FUN.

Rigs: Well, you get a new teleport / portal spell to replace it.

Desi: To Stonard, right?

Rigs: Yup. Welcome to your new role - porting lazy bastards to Kara. Hey! Does this mean you can port me and Mal?

Desi: Of course not - we're all on the same account.

Mal: Gah, whose idea was the mage, anyway.

Desi: Hey!

Prin: OMG this is taking forever. Moving along - they've fixed the sound on my PW:S.

Mal: 'Bout time. A-NNOY-ING.

Prin: Tell me about it. Like I want the whole zone to know I had to bubble.

Rigs: Do they take away your Shadow Priest membership card for that?

Mal: No, but they ought to.

Rigs and Mal high-five, chortling.

Prin: *glares*

Rigs: Sorry - but neither of us got anything cool.

Desi: I don't call my changes "cool."

Hawli: Mine would only be good if I PvP'd.

Rigs: Well, you're gonna be PvPing, unless you want to be riding that featherduster with feet through Outlands.

Hawli: Good point.

Prin: In the tradeskills section, I notice that they've reduced the mats needed for Glove Reinforcements.

Rigs: Yeah. It's still insane, though. Three Primal Earth? Bah. I mean, who the hell puts 240 armor on their gloves? Especially when you could get a Strength enchant.

Mal: Strength to Gloves? I have that.

Prin: Yah, we know. *eyeroll* Anyway, I'm guessing tanks would like extra armor.

Rigs: They might now that it's so much cheaper. But *shrug* who knows what's going on in their heads?

Zohara: Mailboxes can be tracked on the mini-map, now.

Mal: What the hell? Who let her in here?

Zohara: Mailboxes are an important game mechanic.

Prin: We're talking about real issues and functions within the Game, Zoe, not just "mailing stuff." *eyeroll*

Zohara: *frantic* But it's ALL I'VE GOT!! Don't you UNDERSTAND? THAT'S MY WORLD! MAIL!

Rigs: "Bank Alts Gone Wild!" *giggles*

Hawli: This is totally getting out of hand. Can you Mind Control her, or something?

Desi: I could sheep her!

Mal: Yah, the minute you see a moon pop up over her head, you go for it. Until then, relax.

Rigs: *sneaks up behing Zohara and saps her* There you go.

Prin: Thank you.

Rigs: Hey - you guys know she's holding like 13 Primal Fires?

Mal: Yes - and they're earmarked for me. I'll thank you not to pick our bank alt's pockets.

Desi: OMG - "Troll Male off-hand items are now the same size as the main hand item." *snicker*

Mal: Is EVERYTHING a double-entendre for you?

Desi: Double what?

Rigs: She means, "dirty."

Prin: Okay, this is getting completely off-track. There really isn't anything else of note to talk about, so unless one of you has something important to say... Okay then, til the next patch. See you then.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hawt Macros

I love macros. I LOVE macros. Yeah, they can get you in trouble if you get lazy or don't understand the mechanics of what they're designed to do, but for those split-second-reaction-needed moments, nothing compares.

Prin has several at her disposal, ranging from the occasional, to the necessary, to the quirky. There are macros to trigger abilities, emotes, party / raid / tell announcements, etc. Before you start building or using macros designed by others, you need an understanding of the commands and functions involved.

Target and Focus are two primary components of an ability macro. Using %t for Target and %f for Focus within your macro allows you to keep it mob-generic. What's the difference between Target and Focus? Well, think of Focus as a "remembered" Target.

Ex: Target Mob 1 and use /focus. Now target Mob 2. Using /cast [target=focus]Shackle Undead will allow you to cast Shackle on Mob 1 without losing your current target of Mob 2. A good Shackling macro should have a Focus Set and Cast built into it, with the ability to re-focus on a different mob in mid-fight. If your raid leader barks at you to switch to a different Shackle target, you need to be able to continue using this same macro. We can accomplish that by adding a modifier key to our macro. Let's head over to WPL and practice, shall we?

Hit ESC to bring up the menu, and then click Macro. Create a new macro named Shackle, and click the ? icon. That will allow the game to plug in the appropriate skill-related icon once we have our macro designed. Now, copy and paste the following into your Macro area:

/clearfocus [modifier:alt][target=focus,dead][target=focus,help][target=focus,noexists]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus]Shackle Undead
/e is shackling %f - Back off!

What does each line do? The first line, #showtooltip, is used at the beginning of all ability macros. This allows the game to give you the tooltip for the relevant ability when you mouseover your macro button, just like any other spell on your hotbar.

The second line - wait

Okay, I'm back. Some lvl 29 Orc warrior just trained 3 bears onto me and died, just inside the zone. Seems he was trying to get to Silvermoon. I rezzed him, dusted him off, and escorted him back to UC to show him the Orb. You hear that, Karma? Okay then.

Anyway, second line does a couple of different things. If you hold the modifier key (alt, in this case), the macro will clear your focus, and re-focus to your current target. Otherwise, these commands and the third line set your target as your focus. Line 4 casts your ability, and line 5 announces your cast in an emote.

Let's try it out. Find two mobs, they can either pull separately or just both be within reach of you. Target the first mob and use your macro. Now target the second mob and pull him. Dps him down, keeping one eye on the shackled mob. If it breaks, click the macro again without changing your target. Did it work? YES!

Now we're gonna get fancy. Say you've used your Shackle macro on Mob 1, and you begin to dps Mob 2. The warlock breaks your shackle with a DoT - oh teh noes! - instead of targeting her own mob. Your raid leader asks you to abandon your original shackle target and shackle the lock's mob instead. Can we do it? Pshaw. Target the lock's mob, hold ALT, and click your shackle macro. The only caveat is that you will have to pick up your dps target again, but you can now re-shackle the lock's mob without changing targets after that. Try that out on our WPL test mobs.

Using a timer addon goes hand and hand with crowd-control ability macros. The one I use is ClassTimers, available at Curse Gaming. Set the addon to monitor only your crowd-control abilities and boom - you've got a nifty little timer at the top of your screen, letting you know how much longer your mob will stay shackled.

I always use some type of announcement at the end of ability macros to let my party / raid know what I'm up to. And yes, of course they're wondering what I'm up to.

Edited 5/28/08 - thank you to ASH who caught my typo!

Buy Me Stuff: I'll Be Nicer

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It Came From the Blog

So D & I joined up with WoW Insider crew and their guild, It Came From the Blog, on Zangarmarsh-US Sunday for the Mother's Day event. Hilarity ensued.

Meet Mahmi, my event-specific toon and new Zangarmarsh bank alt.

That is, if I could afford to mail stuff to a bank alt, yet. I'd forgotten how difficult it is to be starting fresh on a new server without any resources at one's disposal.

After gathering in the Orc starting zone, Valley of Trials, we formed an inspired chorus line

and then /trained our way to the Crossroads for some naked fist-fight dueling and awesomely corny "ur mom" Barrens Chat.

A random Undead character was shocked to find us "stalking" him on the Gold Road.

Afterwards, we demonstrated just WHY Mom always told you to wait an hour after eating before going swimming. D and I had a fabulous time, and everyone involved in the event was amazing. Thanks so much for ride, ICFtB!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008



Your spec is important, no lie. That's what makes you a shadow priest, as opposed to a utility priest or healbot. Deep in that Shadow Tree lurks our soul; coaxing it out is half the fun.

Because this is Prin's blog, and she - like most priests you know - can have a bit of an attitude, we're going to touch on her leveling spec first. The talents are presented below in order of acquisition.

Level 10-14: Wand Specialization - Rank 5/5 Increases your damage with Wands by 25%. These first few levels, your wand is capable of more dps than any of your spells. Love it.

Level 15-19: Spirit Tap - Rank 5/5 Gives you a 100% chance to gain a 100% bonus to your Spirit after killing a target that yields experience or honor. For the duration, your Mana will regenerate at a 50% rate while casting. Lasts 15 sec. Essential talent for any priest to have.

Level 20-21: Improved Shadow Word: Pain - Rank 2/2 Increases the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain spell by 6 sec. Longer duration = more ticks = more dps.

Level 22-24: Shadow Affinity - Rank 3/3 Reduces the threat generated by your Shadow spells by 25%. She had to take something to get to the next tier (and Imp MB, woot), and she was spending a lot of time partying with friends, so...

Level 25: Mind Flay - Rank 1/1 Assault the target's mind with Shadow energy, causing 528 damage over 3 sec and slowing the target to 50% of their movement speed. This ability becomes a staple of the S'Priest's dps.

Level 26-30: Improved Mind Blast - Rank 5/5 Reduces the cooldown of your Mind Blast spell by 2.5 sec. This talent makes your MB available to you more often; since it's one of the few spells we have that can crit, use it as often as possible.

At level 30, you can respec out of Wand Spec in order to get Vampiric Embrace (Rank 1/1 Afflicts your target with Shadow energy that causes all party members to be healed for 15% of any Shadow damage you deal for 1 min). Pick up Spirit Tap, Shadow Affinity, Imp SW:P, Imp MB, MF. Grab Shadow Reach (Rank 2/2 Increases the range of your offensive Shadow spells by 20%) and drop 2 points into Shadow Weaving (Rank 5/5 Your Shadow damage spells have a 100% chance to cause your target to be vulnerable to Shadow damage. This vulnerability increases the Shadow damage dealt to your target by 2% and lasts 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.) Finish it off with VE, another defining S'Priest ability, and your whole play-style now changes. More about this after the spec-talk.

Level 31-33: Round out the rest of Shadow Weaving.

Level 34-35: Improved Vampiric Embrace - Rank 2/2Increases the percentage healed by Vampiric Embrace by an additional 10%.

Level 36-38: Focused Mind - Rank 3/3 Reduces the mana cost of your Mind Blast, Mind Control and Mind Flay spells by 15%. We like using less mana.

Level 39: Drop this point into Darkness (Rank 5/5 Increases your Shadow spell damage by 10%). You'll eventually max it, but right now you just want to make sure that at level 40 you have access to:

Level 40: Shadowform - Rank 1/1 Assume a Shadowform, increasing your Shadow damage by 15% and reducing Physical damage done to you by 15%. However, you may not cast Holy spells while in this form. WOOT. Finally. We can now call ourselves "Shadow Priest."

You're going to notice a few things about Shadowform, most notably that it has its own hotbar. The 1 & 2 keys on this bar need to be PW:S and Shadowform. Why? Notice that you cannot cast Holy spells while shifted. This means healing. If you get into trouble you need to be able to react quickly, shield yourself, shift out of form, and drop a renew while vacating the premises as quickly as possible. This leads me to my next point, that you're about to get a good education on which of your spells are holy. You've probably not really thought much about this, but healing, resurrecting, and curing diseases are all holy spells. Luckily, a recent patch changed the mechanics so that using a holy spell while in SF shifts you out automatically, and the spell is cast.

Level 41-42: Improved Psychic Scream - Rank 2/2 Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Scream spell by 4 sec. This is primarily a PvP talent, and Prin does not PvP. She does, however, like causing trouble, and little is funnier than D's bear tank turning around to snarl at her for turning a 3-pull into a 6-pull. It's really not her fault, though. She drew aggro, and broke a nail, and well, what did he EXPECT her to do? Just TAKE it? Ha. Besides, we're just trying to get to level 50.

Level 43: Silence - Rank 1/1 Silences the target, preventing them from casting spells for 5 sec. Another skill that is good for PvP, but there are times when you want to disrupt a mob's heal or pull a caster into melee range.

Level 44: Drop this point into Shadow Power - Rank 3/5 Increases the critical strike chance of your Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death spells by 9%. Of course, we don't even HAVE SW:D yet. We'll come back to this later for another 2 points, but what it does for us now is open the way to:

Level 45-49: Misery - Rank 5/5 Your Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay and Vampiric Touch spells also cause the target to take an additional 5% spell damage. Extra damage is always yummy, and filling this talent means that:

Level 50: Vampiric Touch - Rank 1/1 Causes 685 to 690 Shadow damage over 15 sec to your target and causes all party members to gain mana equal to 5% of any Shadow spell damage you deal. Not only another source of shadow damage, but this is the talent that gives us that "mana battery" rep. Yeah, baby, sport it.

Level 51-56: Go back and fill in those extra points in Darkness and Shadow Power.

We're done in the Shadow tree, so now we've got some choices to make. Should we skip over to Discipline for some largely useless talents in order to get to the two-three decent ones, or should we bite the bullet and make ourselves more viable (shudder) healers? The choice is up to you, and really depends on how you spend most of your time in parties and whether or not you like healing occasionally. Remember that with a set of healer gear you CAN heal 5-mans all the way up to 70. I wouldn't try to main-heal a heroic, but you can pull off a normal instance with gear and skill.

Let's take a look at the Discipline tree, should we choose to go that route. What you're looking for here is a path to Martyrdom, Inner Focus, and Meditation. Use Inner Focus every time its CD is up, and always before a MB or SW:D. It's free mana and a good chance at extra damage, there's really no need to save this ability for emergencies. Meditation means that some of your mana is regenerating even while casting - yummy. Martyrdom has limited appeal, it's only really useful if you're trying to get a heal off while taking damage.

In the Holy tree we have a few attractive options. Use your first 5 points in this tree for Healing Focus and Improved Renew. Maxing out Divine Fury means a half-second less cast time on your Greater Heal, while Spell Warding reduces the damage you take by 10%. I'd go SW, wouldn't you? Either option opens the path to Holy Nova - an AoE spell! Wait - an AoE spell that damage mobs AND heals party members! AND causes NO THREAT! Sign me up. I think this spell was created mainly for running lowbies through dungeons, but whatever. I'll take it.

We've got 3 points left to spend at level 70. Inspiration relies on two factors, both of them unlikely - a) that we'll be healing, and b) that we'll land a crit-heal. Since we're not speccing holy, I think we can skip wasting points here. Might as well drop these last three into Blessed Recovery. Alternatively, you can go back to the Shadow Tree and see if there's anything there you'd like to play with. Now that we're level 70, and have access to dailies, respeccing is totally affordable.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Griefing: ur doin it wrong

So my hubby's newest toon is a Paladin. He's almost always played a healing class, and so Pally was the only logical choice left for him (after Shaman, Priest, and Druid).


I look up. "What?"

"That $%^&* just trained a ton of mobs onto me."

We've been having that problem, lately. It seems that paladins have this AoE aggro-generating ability, Consecration. The Alliance, having had access to the paladin class since release, are well aware of this. Those of us who've never leveled an Alliance toon past 26 (ahem) are clueless.

Apparently, an Alliance player noticed my sweetie fighting in Dustwallow. The Allie checked out D's class and watched long enough to get a feel for D's style - pulling two or three at a time. Our "friend" rounded up several mobs, waited until D fired off Consecration, and then ran over D's AoE. OMFG, instant 6-pull. Luckily I had my hunter questing just a few yards away, and we survived the onslaught.

These kinds of experiences really bum my honey out. He's one of those players who will step in and help dps an elite for you, even if you're of the opposite faction. He runs around dropping buffs on everyone he passes in Orgrimmar, and will ALWAYS thank you for the buffs you drop on him. He will also nudge me and clear his throat loudly until I thank you for mine, as well. /hugs

As I like to remind him, it's not called "World of Friendcraft," but is he really expecting too much? On a PvE server? Battling the enemy is one thing, but why do some players seek enjoyment by ruining the experiences of others? Yeah, sometimes other players tick us off, either by their incompetence or deliberate asshattery. But not everyone (ahem) is in it for the sole purpose of making your life miserable. Only the warlocks. And they can't help it.

/target Your Mob
/target You

So we continue on, working our way towards the Grimtotem camp at the northern end of the zone. D needs notes off of Elders. We get there, and a dwarf has pretty much obliterated the camp. Only one lonely Elder remains, and that one is evade-bugged.

D sighs. I commented about the ******* dwarf who was killing all our mobs, and D reminded me that he probably had a similar quest. An Elder spawns in a tent, and D snagged it. The dwarf ran up to where they were fighting, and I had a moment to think, "oh boy," and then the dwarf helped D finish the mob off. Another popped behind the dwarf, D tagged, and again, the dwarf helped him dps it down. Our new little friend disappeared over a hill briefly, only to re-emerge with an Elder hot on his heels. Must have been prox-aggro'd because he's not gray to us - D mopped the floor with it. Four Elders - four quest drops - and we're done. D's Belf Pally turned and /bowed to the Dwarf, who sketched us a /wave before chugging away on those plump, little legs, leaving us each with a fresh sense of wonderment at Azeroth and her inhabitants.

"Stupid, dwarf," I say, "he didn't get credit for any of those kills."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I was going to title this post "What I Wish I'd Known," but... having married the man behind a level 70 priest, I can't really say I didn't KNOW. So, we're going to call this

What I Wish I'd Listened To

1. Learn to Party-Heal - and Learn Early. Yes, we know, you want to be a Shadow Priest, /pat. But unless you're willing to possibly miss out on dungeon runs, group quests, etc., for the entire 70 levels, you need to at least be open to the idea. And stepping into Maraudon or even the SM: Cathedral realizing that you don't have all your heals on your hot bar is like pasting a sign on your toon that says "Noob priest - please /kick me, /laugh at me, and tell everyone in trade chat what a moron I am."

2. Keep that wand upgraded. Make sure you always have the best wand possible for your level. It's such a huge part of your dps while you're leveling that you just can't afford not to.

3. Spirit - the Ugly Cousin stat. We laugh at gear with heavy spirit on almost all toons. And then we try to level a priest. Guess what? We, uh, kind of need it. >.>

4. The Strafe - Learn it, Practice it, Master it. Here's how you do it. Get to max range from your targeted mob. Turn to face 90 degrees away from it. Wind up your opening spell and let loose. Now strafe away from your target using the Q and E keys while your GCD ticks, keep strafing while you click SW:P. Why? Strafing is the same speed as running forward, much faster than backing up, and your instants will land as long as you're facing no more than 90 degrees away from your mob. Learn to use the strafe to gain max distance from your mob while dropping instants, stopping only for spells that have a cast time. At level 65, Prin's spell rotation is a Vampiric Touch, strafe away while dropping SW:P and Vampiric Embrace. Stop and wind up a Mind Blast, then Mind Flay until the mob reaches me and interrupts it. She can almost always drop a SW:Death at this point while strafing away again as a finisher.

5. Keep your buffs on. PW:F and Inner Fire should be on at ALL TIMES.

6. Keep a healing set of gear. Don't sacrifice your dps gear when choosing between quest rewards, but there's no reason not to hang on to gear you can switch out to for those times when you gotta - sigh - heal. Keep it as up-to-date as possible. All the way up to Heroics, you CAN effectively party-heal with appropriate gear and consumables. Even while specced Shadow. If you've been following Rule #1, you know this is true and your guild will, too. Prospective PuGs may be doubtful - that's okay. Odds are you won't be the weakest link in the PuG chain.

7. Run TO your tank. Never away. Never. Here's the scenario: Your party picks up an add, the tank is taking double damage and his health is plummeting. You drop a heal on him - and the add, which has not yet been engaged by your tank - heads straight for you. GAH! You instinctively begin backing away from the mob, shielding yourself, dropping a Renew on yourself for good measure, and - you die. WTF? Before you start hammering your "/y Tank you suck! GTFO, NOOB!" macro, let's get a grip on what went down. Backing away from your tank means he has to come that much further to get to the mob that's shredding you. It also means less chance that he's even going to NOTICE that there's a mob shredding you. Using PW:S and heals on yourself generates even MORE aggro with the mob in your face, making it that much more difficult for your tank to pull it off of you.

So how could we have handled this better? Again, if you draw aggro, run TO your tank and jump on his head. If at all possible, hold off on shielding or healing yourself until he's got it. It's helpful to have a /y macro set up to announce your distress to the party, especially if you're not using Vent or voicechat.

8. The Secondary Skills. You need them all. I mean, come on, why not? First aid means you can avoid having to pop out of Shadow or sit and eat if you've taken a little damage. There are some awesome buffs available from cooked food, having both cooking and fishing means you won't have buy them off of the AH. At lower levels Smoked Sagefish and Sagefish Delight are amazing. Once you get to Outlands, you can look forward to Blackened Sporefish, Poached Bluefish and Skullfish Soup.

9. When choosing between two pieces of roughly equivalent gear - choose the piece that's "sexier." Seriously. The point to playing a game is having fun, and if every time you log in to your priest you have to groan over her bright-purple shirt and clashing lime-green pants, you're limiting your enjoyment. Trust me, I know.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Got that "new-priest" smell.

So you've made yourself a priest, have you? Delightful. You're in for a treat.

That's said with just a bit of sarcasm. Just a bit, because while your shadow priest is going to be doing some amazing damage and awesome group utility later on, leveling through the early stages can range from numbingly boring to hair-pullingly frustrating.

Okay, so maybe you haven't made your priest quite yet; you're still thinking about race or faction. What are your choices? For Alliance, you can go Night Elf, Dwarf, Draenei, or Human. For the Horde? Troll, Undead, or Blood Elf. While racial abilities give each its own special flavor, the beginning stats become a moot point very quickly. The Belf abilities - mana tap & arcane torrent - offer a source of free mana and an early Silence. Sold! to an American. That's what I picked. (Side note - If you choose to go Alliance, the Draenei racial "Inspiring Presence" offers +1% hit. That's no biggie now, but will help an end-game raiding priest who's having to stack +hit on gear.) EDIT - as of Wrath, Mana Tap is no more. Arcane Torrent still silences and returns a bit of mana, but note that it's a very small range.

Soloing: At level 5 you can acquire your very first wand; I suggest you do so. Enchanters can create Lesser Magic Wand; at 11.3 dps this is far better than any spell available to you. So, let's see, by level 6 you've got PW:S, Smite, SW:P, and your wand. Select a mob you believe you can pull by itself, get to maximum range, PW:S yourself, and wait a moment for the Weakened Soul effect to partially fade. You should be able to Smite twice before the mob gets to you - now strafe away (in a safe direction, of course!) while dropping a SW:P on your mob. Stop moving as soon as your spell fires and begin wanding your mob. Your shield should last longer than the mob; if not, the Weakened Soul debuff should have worn off which allows you to re-shield. Finishing off your mob by wanding allows you to conserve mana and reduces your down-time; your mana will also start to regenerate once you've gone 5 seconds since your last spellcast.

Partying: What's your role in parties? To heal, for the most part, at least during these early levels. Or course, there are other healing classes, each with their "specialties," and you may have a druid or pally in your party who just WANTS to do it - but don't count on it. Don't lose sight of the positives - every good guild appreciates a capable and willing healer, and most of them will be more than happy to help you level and gear up for the good of all. Finding a PuG (pick-up group) is far easier for you than any dps class, and you can expect several whispers during any given play session asking you to come heal dungeons or group quests.

Later on as you work your way down the Shadow talent tree, you can contribute far more as a dps class yourself. Vampiric Touch and Vampiric Embrace offer group-wide health and mana based on your shadow damage output; if mages get called "vending machines," expect to be referred to as a "mana-battery" on occasion. EDIT: as of Wrath, VT only returns mana when you use Mind Blast. Priests also have two rather limited forms of crowd-control: Shackle Undead only works on - duh - undead, while Mind Control only works on humanoids. SU is by far the more reliable, as MC requires a bit of luck and your awareness of your toon AND your target's surroundings. Run your MC'd target too far from you, and it will break. Screw up and hit one of your toon's abilities (instead of your target's) and MC will break. If you're going to try to MC, choose a healer whenever possible. Double advantage of preventing your mobs from being healed while still being able to drop heals on your group's tank.

Important Stats: So you're starting to see some green gear, and you're wondering which stats are most important to you. Focusing solely on PvE, you're going to want to pick gear that offers bonuses to Int (mana and increased chance to spell-crit), Spi (quicker regeneration of health and mana), and then Stam (more hit points = less chance for a dead priest). Of course, my opinion on stat-prioritizing is just that - an opinion - and others will have different views. In any case, rest assured that you have absolutely no need for Strength or Agility. If Prin catches you stick-whacking a mob (past level 5) like some noob melee-priest she will step out of the shadows and Smite your silly butt. No, wait, she can't, she'll be in Shadow Form and one can't use Holy spells while shifted... Okay, she'll SW:Death you, and damn the consequences. You have been warned.

Weapons: Priests are born knowing how to wield maces. What? Whose bright idea was THAT? *Sigh* whatever, get thee to a capital city post-haste and ask the nearest guard for the Weapon Master. Most importantly you want the ability to wield a staff so do what you must to train in staves. Even if it means dancing for silver on a local mailbox. Yes, yes, we've all done it, you're not too good to do it, either. Most of the best caster-stat weapons in the game will be staves, especially while you're leveling.

Talents: So you've made it to level 10, and you've got your very first talent point to spend. Where should it go? Well, you want a Shadow Priest, so obviously the Shadow tree, right? Actually - no. I'm going to suggest that your first five talent points go smack into Wand Specialization in the Discipline tree. Trust me on this one - you want that extra wand damage. Starting at level 15 you'll want to drop points into the Shadow tree on Spirit Tap. Once you get to level 50 you can re-spec and get Shadowform, dropping the Wand Spec until later - if at all.

Click or Key?: Because most of your spells have a cast time, you'll spend most of the fight stationary. For this reason, I recommend WASD to move and clicking your spells / abilities on your hot bars. While healing, however, I'd strongly suggest the following: Have a healing hot bar set up with PW:S on the 1 key, and your most often used heals on 2-6. I have Greater Heal, Prayer of Healing, Renew, Flash Heal, and Binding Heal. Now while party healing, get yourself into position (within range of the other party members, but at max distance from the mob) and move your left hand up to the 1-6 row. Use your mouse to select party members' portraits and key the heal spells with your left hand. (Extra special thanks to D, who taught me this early on.)

So what final words of wisdom does Prin have for your newborn priest? Practice. Practice everything. Get invited to an RFC run and learn to heal. Head out into the wilderness and try different tactics and each new spell you learn.

Find out where your limits are - and then push them.