In truth I don’t think about DPS much when I’m writing for Hots & Dots. I’m much more philosophical about healing, PVP and people, probably because I don’t really understand any them at all. That’s what I tend to write about.
A Q&A for DPS (unnamed) was started by Death Goddess. I thought it was a great idea and it was very sensible of Death Goddess to let the temperamental healers and tanks have their moment in the spotlight first. I refuse to subscribe to a blog written by a Death Knight so I had no idea that this was actually started a couple weeks back.
First off, let me send you round to read some of the great posts that I’ve read in this circle: Spazmoosifer talks about Shadow Priest DPS and Roxxon actually came up with some pretty profound stuff for a Mage.
I’d love to hear Cynwise talk about his Warlock – we have so many raiders entering the discussion and not enough PVPers! I’d also like to hear from Gnomeaggedon since I find myself nodding my head furiously whenever I read his posts.
Note: A heck of a lot of questions in this thing are worded “for your class” but since I play a hybrid healing/DPS class, I’m going to read them as “for your spec as Shadow”.
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dps?
Cassandri, Priest, Shadow
What is your primary dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
25 man raids, preferably on hard mode!
10 man raids, when there’s nothing else to do
What is your favorite dps spell/ability for your class and why?
Vampiric Embrace. I’ve always loved all the little things (and big things) that my Priest can do for her teammates. But there’s something so thrilling about seeing all those little green numbers fly around while you’re dishing out more and more damage that always make me happy.
Can’t take the Priest out of the Shadow, I guess?
What dps spell do you use least for your class and why?
I’d have to say Shadow Word: Death. Really there’s no other DPS Shadow spell that isn’t already part of our regular casting sequence. It’s just not worth wasting a global cooldown for the damage that SW:D deals compared to other spells. It is handy to boost your Power Ups in Twin Val’kyr. It’s also handy to try and keep your health down low in Anub’arak. So it still has its place.
If you looked at Shadow utility spells I would have to say Mind Soothe. Seriously, who ever uses Mind Soothe? I did, once, when I was soloing Lower Blackrock Spire at level 80 and got tired of killing this one patrol. That’s it.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
I think I’d have to say survivability. In raids, that is. Even if you don’t talent into Improved Vampiric Embrace you can come out the other side of an Emalon nobody-killed-the-add “wipe” alive. Dispersion can save your ass if you’re prepared.
In a difficult boss fight you should be one of the last standing. Alongside a tank with Shield Wall active. You may not be in Shadowform, but a victory is a victory.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
Lack of burst DPS. Lack of single target DPS. Lack of DPS.
No matter how much your raid needs you to kill XT002′s heart, or drop a Nether Portal before a second Mistress of Pain shows up, there is simply nothing you can do. Except pray that the other DPS classes can pick up the your slack.
Even Mind Flay’s damage is somewhat dependent on casting Shadow Word: Pain first.
And another one: why is it that I can’t Mind Flay an NPC’s totem or lightwell but I can Mind Blast them just fine?
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Adds. or AoE. Hell, who am I kidding? Doesn’t matter what you assign me I’m going to apply my DoTs to any adds that show up, and I’m going to AoE if there are enough. Who gives assignments to DPS anyway? There is only one assignment:
Kill it all.
What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
I’d have to choose a Moonkin. An Elemental Shaman would come in second, but I don’t really need Heroism or Wrath of Air all that much these days. I’d much prefer to have an extra battle resurrection handy. And I love Moonkin Aura at the moment since my gear is heavy on haste and light on crit.
Did I mention that Boomkins and Ele Shamans are usually played by lovely people? Hybrids unite!
What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
Death Knights. I still haven’t forgiven them for all the grief they caused me last year when I leveled to 80. Until they come last on the damage meters I will be forever screaming “Death Knights are OP!” Horn of Winter is annoying too. The sound. The whole thing.
Or Mages. They’re so selfish about keeping Focus Magic to themselves. And they can out-DPS me so easily. That hurts.
Gnome Mages and Gnome Death Knights are the exception. I can’t stay mad at something so cute.
What is your worst habit as a dps?
Standing apart from the rest of the raid. Or being out of range of heals/taunts. If a strategy calls for the raid to spread out, I will. Too far. That’s not always a good thing – I usually have to run the width of the arena after Icehowl’s knockback. More than one Resto Shaman has complained that I’m unfit for Chain Healing because I’ll be the first and last recipient of the chain.
I probably have other terrible habits. Ignorance is bliss?
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
These days it’s gotta be having adds tanked just outside the range of my Mind Sear. If you could only bring those infernals a few yards closer to Lord Jaraxxus… if you could just bring those guardians a smidgen closer to Anub’arak…
No! Wait! I’ve thought of something even more annoying:
Raiders who can’t stack and instead float right in between 2 groups, thus causing chain lightning to hit both groups, in flights like Lord Jaraxxus, Emalon and Thorim. Oh my god, it makes me so mad just thinking about it. Pick a group and stack!
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dps?
Nope. Shadow Priests need more DPS. More! I do think our DPS is low compared to, well, all other DPS classes at the same gear level. I guess the DPS Shamans give us some company.
Actually if they would just give us some kind of burst I would think us more balanced. Sure there will be fights that feel tailor made for DoT heavy classes (like Shadow Priests) but I don’t think it’s fair that any fight that requires burst, or is just a single target tank’n'spank, should force us to wring our hands and hide under our tables in shame.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a dps’er?
If I get a chance to see some proper statistics I’ll look at my DoT Uptime first, and probably not look at anything else.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
Probably that Priests make good healers, and shouldn’t DPS, ever.
I do think that almost nobody, except Shadow Priests, seem to understand how Mind Sear works. Perhaps that’s because it’s such a new spell, relatively, to World of Wacraft. I’m constantly amazed that nobody else can see the difference between the animation for Mind Sear and Mind Flay. It seems so obvious to me!
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
Shadow Priesting is not glamorous.
On a more serious note, Shadow Priests need to master two things to succeed:
- Knowing when to DoT multiple targets, when to AoE, and when to focus fire the boss. Ok, that’s a trick question. You never want to focus fire the boss if there is another option.
- Managing your DoTs across multiple targets. If you can juggle 3-4 DoTs across as many adds you’ll succeed as a Shadow Priest. For me, this is what keeps Shadow Priesting fun and challenging.
What DPS class do you feel you understand least?
Ret Paladins. Mainly cause I have no interest in understanding them, so I automatically tune out when information comes my way.
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in dps?
I love Debuff Filter and ForteXorcist combined to monitor my DoTs. I do believe that Debuff Filter will be made redundant when Blizzard implement their Interface Options to hide other players debuffs on the target when the next patch. That doesn’t mean I’ll be removing Debuff Filter, though. I have everything right next to my cast bar.
And Quartz Cast Bar. No surprise there.
I could probably play without ShadowGreenLight, but I wouldn’t want to.
What stat to stack, and why?
Spellpower. Seriously, you can never have enough.