So I jumped on Prin this afternoon, having been released from work early (go me), and I thought I take her through the first few Howling Fjord quests. Just, you know, to get an idea on how the Shadow Priest is playing nowadays. I experimented with a casting sequence, trying to decide on whether or not I really need VE on single-pulls while questing – especially now that I have Devouring Plague in the ol’ spell book.
My pre-WotLK cast sequence was VT, VE, SW:P, MB, MF, SW: D. Reason behind it: I could wind up the VT and let it fly, strafe away while applying VE & SW:P, plant myself for a MB, and then MF the mob as it finally walked up to me. SW: D finished it off. Just to get a grip on the class, let’s look at what the Shadow-damage spells do.
Vampiric Touch: Rank 5 causes 850 Shadow damage over 15 sec to your target and causes up to 10 party or raid members to gain 0.25% of their maximum mana per second when you deal damage from Mind Blast.
Shadow Word: Pain: Rank 12 – A word of darkness that causes 1380 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
Devouring Plague: Rank 9 afflicts the target with a disease that causes 1376 Shadow damage over 24 sec. 15% of damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster.
VT now only returns mana with a MB – I can see immediately that this no longer needs to be the first cast in the sequence. Devouring Plague, which is new to my arsenal, returns some health.
Mind Blast: Rank 13 blasts the target for 992 to 1048 Shadow damage.
Mind Flay: Not really a nuke, since it’s channeled. Assaults the target’s mind with Shadow energy, causing 588 Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.
Shadow Word: Death: A word of dark binding that inflicts 750 to 870 Shadow damage to the target. If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.
And of course, the damage from all of these spells is increased by some coefficient of the caster’s spellpower and crit % chance based on cast-times and DOT-length. Please don’t ask me for more of an explanation than that, since I have yet to unpack my Math Goggles. Safety first, donchaknow.
WASN’T THERE SUPPOSED TO BE A CAST-SEQUENCE?
Yeah, yeah, I’m getting there. This is complicated! One does not rush ART, my good man. Anyway – most of the time, the mob dies by the time it reaches me. If it isn’t quite dead, a SW:D to the face solves that problem quite handily. Between the bit of mana I’m getting back from the one MB, Improved Spirit Tap, and my shoddy MP5 stat (don’t ask : (), I’m still avoiding any real downtime.
I played with a sequence of VT, SW:P, DP, MB, MF, SW:D if still alive and averaged about 755 dps at level 70 with only ~700 +spellpower. Not too bad. VE appears to be completely unnecessary for solo-questing / grinding, as the HP return from DP plus Inner Fire are keeping me from having to heal, bandage, or eat. According to Recount, my “mana gained” was all from Replenishment, for about 3400 over a ten-mob session.
Leading off with a MB and then dotting gave a considerable drop in dps. Dropping VT out of the rotation also caused a drop in dps; apparently the included DOT is quite mighty.
In short, it doesn’t appear that there’s much difference in sequence at the beginning LK stages; I’m just dropping VE for DP, gaining some dps from that, and yet not suffering any downtime from the reduced HP return. It’s just not needed. Of course, things may change in group play, dungeons, or raids; after all, it’s not just ME that VE is feeding health to.