Friday, March 29, 2013

Lolsmite First Impressions

As I mentioned last week, something caused almost all of the healers in my guild to quit all at the same time. Because of this, I'm now Atonement spec. Soon™ I'll have a basic DPS guide for Discipline priests up. For now though, I'm still learning the basics myself.

The first thing I noticed about Lolsmite (which is what I'm going to call Disco Atonement builds) is that the DPS rotation is really simple by comparison to Shadow. I can literally do full DPS with only two buttons. One's a /castsequence macro with a timed reset to cast Solace if it's up, and Smite otherwise. The other's just a normal Penance bind. Because it requires so very little attention, I'm free to do things like not die in fight mechanics and watch HP bars in case I need to cast a real heal.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mind Flay Mechanics

I'm not really sure what a naga is doing in the
middle of a forest, but hey, it's Mind Flay.
So, I bet you were all worried about me when I disappeared a week after returning from my winter hiatus. What? No one? Really? I see, you all had faith I'd be back with more advice and theory. Well, there was a bit of a crisis in my guild, but today I do have some theory for you all. It's time to talk about something every Shadow priest should be familiar with: Mind Flay. I've seen quite a bit of ill-informed rambling about it on various priest forums and around the blogosphere in the last few weeks, so it's time to set a few things straight.

As we all know, Mind Flay is the basic filler spell for Shadow. It's learned at level 10 when you pick Shadow spec, and doesn't really change unless you pick Solace and Insanity much later. Mind Flay is a 3-sec channeled DoT dealing a smallish amount of damage every second. For the first half of its duration, you're locked into the spell by the global cooldown, and so you can't cast anything else. After that, unlike most spells, you can cast something else and it'll interrupt Mind Flay. We call this "clipping".

Friday, March 8, 2013


See you all in Trollduar.
Hey, everybody, guess who's back. (Hint: it's me.) Unless you've been under a rock, you all know 5.2 is out. As patches go, this one's pretty glorious for Shadow priests. We've all been a little bit on the wimpy side through last tier, and the couple buffs we've gotten are quite welcome.

Shadow Buffs
  • Insanity redesigned. Details below.
  • Shadowform damage bonus increased to 25%, up from 20%.
  • (Not yet live) Shadow Word: Pain damage increased 25%.
  • Power Infusion now grants 5% damage while active, in addition to its previous effects.
  • Shadowy Apparition pathing is noticeably improved, and the limit is increased to 10 at a time, up from 3. They still fail a lot, but it's a lot less.
  • AoE target cap increased to 20. While this effects all classes, it will bring Shadow closer to specs that can apply DoTs in an AoE in very-many-target situations, and greatly increase the healing of Halo in 25man raids.
Shadow Nerfs
Mind Flay: apply directly to the forehead.
The New Insanity

As promised, let's talk about the new Insanity. The Solace and Insanity talent no-longer grants Shadow priests a spell. Instead, if you start a Mind Flay cast on a foe with your Devouring Plague on it, the cast morphs into Mind Flay (Insanity), dealing +33% damage per Shadow Orb spent. It's an entirely different spell, but I couldn't find it on Wowhead to link it. This bonus damage persists for the duration of the channel, potentially lasting beyond the end of the Devouring Plague DoT itself.

It hits hard. 99% damage may not sound like a lot on such a weak spell, but you can really feel the oomph. Running Solace and Insanity obviously increases the value of Divine Insight, but it also makes sense to use any of the other tier-6 talents with it when they're applicable.

Using Insanity

It is a damage gain (albeit a small one) to prematurely-refresh DoTs shortly before casting Devouring Plague if they would expire during the Insanity period.

Given the option, it is obviously worthwhile to begin an extra Mind Flay (Insanity) immediately before Devouring Plague would expire, allowing you to channel about 2 seconds beyond the end of the effect.

I've read that Mind Blast is higher priority than Mind Flay (Insanity), but by my math, the damage you lose by delaying Mind Blasts (and also the resultant Insanity phases) is approximately equal to the damage you gain from greater Insanity utilization right now. Even so, I believe you should use Mind Blast if it comes off cooldown; the Devouring Plague damage makes that a small damage gain.

Do not cast DoTs during Insanity, and use tier-7 talents only if you would lose the opportunity to do so if you delayed them (for example, AoE targets no-longer clumped for Halo if you wait.)