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  1. #1

    [Priest] A Simple Guide to Improve Your DPS

    A Simple Guide to Improve Your DPS

    Disclaimer: I want to apologize for any hard to understand sentences or grammatical errors, English is not my native language

    Introduction

    Too many times on this forum I have seen Shadow Priests asking for, in my opinion, irrelevant information. Too many Shadow Priests ask how to improve their DPS and think getting hit capped or reaching a haste plateau is the best way to do so. This does not make you a better player, it just makes your toon better and it does not even improve your DPS in any significant way. To improve one's play is the first thing I believe any player wishing to improve their DPS should do. But even here, most Shadow Priests seem to look for something special. "Should I clip Mind Flay?", "What are the conditions for casting Mind Blast most effectively?".

    What I say to these people is: Keep your DoTs up and Mind Blast on cooldown. I really believe that that is what you should work on first and that is all you should do. Once you have gotten extremely comfortable doing these two things while still avoiding fire and following tactics, you can proceed trying to be awesome.

    An analogy can be made with StarCraft 2. On teamliquid.net I see far too often Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and (Diamond)* players ask things that are unnecessary and they are just wasting their time trying to figure these things out. Most of the top players will just say: "Work on your macro". And this is true, work on your fundamentals(=macro) first before you try to do fancy stuff, because without good fundamentals, your fancy stuff won't even be as effective as they can be. It is funny that I did not even realize this until I actually had good macro and played in Masters. It is not until you have actually gotten strong fundamentals that you realize that much of what you tried to learn when being noob was a total waste of time.

    This is why I am writing this. Players searching for help to improve their DPS have not yet realized this basic concept. If you just manage to keep your DoTs up and Mind Blast on cooldown you will do competitive DPS. It will probably even make you one of the better players in your guild. And I guess that is what you are ultimately looking for when wanting to improve your DPS.

    How do I improve my fundamentals?

    In music, when learning a more advanced song, you usually break up the song into smaller pieces and practise on each piece individually until you really get it. So, how do we apply this to World of Warcraft? By only tracking our DoTs and Mind Blast cooldown and nothing else. This way, you will only focus on that and trying to follow tactics. It will increase both your ability to keep DoTs up and your ability to dodge fire (more awareness).

    The priority system:
    Vampiric Touch
    Shadow Word: Pain
    Devouring Plague
    Mind Blast
    Shadow Word: Death if target below 25%
    Mind Flay

    I have excluded Shadowfiend and Archangel which should be used on cooldown. Those two spells are long cooldowns which you do not need any sense of timing or similar to get used to. Just use them on cooldown, use an addon to track it for you.

    Following this simple priority system is your goal.

    Dummy, dummy, dummy
    Practise your rotation/priority system on a dummy. This is really crucial and will help you out a lot. By just sitting on a dummy for 30 minutes or more, on a daily basis or something similar, your shadow priest play just becomes so much better. When I do boss encounters, I can switch to another target and yet still have a feeling for when my DoTs on my old target are about to fall off without using timers. This is due to practice and experience which has given me a sense of timing. You start to get a feel for when your Mind Blast is ready, about how many spells you can cast before you need to refresh DoTs and such. This is so important. Make sure you keep focusing on the fundamentals though; keeping your DoTs up and Mind Blasting on cooldown. Anything other is just fancy stuff that no one cares about when actually fighting the boss.

    Closing words
    I hope you have found this guide helpful. Improving in the way I suggest takes a bit more time and effort compared to just fixing your toon. However, do not get discouraged by this because the results will be so much better.

    *In StarCraft 2 the leagues are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grandmaster

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    ...and Archangel which should be used on cooldown.
    Meeeh... do we realy want people to think this?
    And to the Dummy part, I agree that you get a feeling for refreshing mutli dots etc etc after a while, but untill then (and after to ofc) focus and a /focus macro is your friend!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by eErike View Post
    Meeeh... do we realy want people to think this?
    And to the Dummy part, I agree that you get a feeling for refreshing mutli dots etc etc after a while, but untill then (and after to ofc) focus and a /focus macro is your friend!
    It is not so much about whether or not AA on cooldown is right but more to keep it simple. Using AA correctly is the step you take once you are comfortable keeping your DoTs up and you can Mind Blast on cooldown.

  4. #4
    Mechagnome Vand3tz's Avatar
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    Nice guide.
    Bumping for sticky-icky
    The wildest priest in the world.

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  5. #5
    The Patient
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    This guide is very simplistic, following the suggestions in it will make you perform fine, not good, not great just on an average level. If that makes you one of the best dpsers in your guild it simply means you do not have much competition - and again, that is fine, not everyone needs to maximize everything, however your guide is misleading to those that care to always try to perform better.

    I do agree that it is not gear that makes a player, however, no skill in the world will give you results without it. Similarly, in depth knowledge of your spec and at least basic math behind it does make a difference.

    Saying you need to blow certain abilities on cd is wrong as well....yes, you should try to maximize the uptime of the whole arsenal of tools, there are however, various circumstances to be considered before doing so.

    You don't just blindly spam MB cos it's of cd when your Empowered Shadow is about to run out and you have failed to generate a shadow orb; you do not blindly spam MB on cd when your Archangel is coming off cd a sec after; you do not cast your Archangel exactly as it comes off cd when you know you will be on the move for the next 5 secs (the ability's full power showcases when static); you do not cast it on cd when you know you are about to enter a burn phase in few secs, especially if it includes hero/bloodlust; you do not cast it on cd if you plan to use your pot few secs later. Same applies to your shadowfiend. Trick is to be aware when actions become usable, then do preemptive thinking and decide if you want to blow them right away or if it's more beneficial to delay.

    There are too many factors to be considered in a fight to make generalizations like that. There is no point of training yourself to blow MB on cd, as you may end up with a habit that you find hard suppressing when needed (your hands acting faster then your brain )

    Train yourself to think as you play, not to perform automated tasks.

    I can appreciate the time and effort put to write this down however I sincerely hope it does not become a sticky.
    Last edited by mag07; 2011-10-29 at 11:51 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mag07 View Post
    This guide is very simplistic, following the suggestions in it will make you perform fine, not good, not great just on an average level. If that makes you one of the best dpsers in your guild it simply means you do not have much competition - and again, that is fine, not everyone needs to maximize everything, however your guide is misleading to those that care to always try to perform better.

    I do agree that it is not gear that makes a player, however, no skill in the world will give you results without it. Similarly, in depth knowledge of your spec and at least basic math behind it does make a difference.

    Saying you need to blow certain abilities on cd is wrong as well....yes, you should try to maximize the uptime of the whole arsenal of tools, there are however, various circumstances to be considered before doing so.

    You don't just blindly spam MB cos it's of cd when your Empowered Shadow is about to run out and you have failed to generate a shadow orb; you do not blindly spam MB on cd when your Archangel is coming off cd a sec after; you do not cast your Archangel exactly as it comes off cd when you know you will be on the move for the next 5 secs (the ability's full power showcases when static); you do not cast it on cd when you know you are about to enter a burn phase in few secs, especially if it includes hero/bloodlust; you do not cast it on cd if you plan to use your pot few secs later. Same applies to your shadowfiend. Trick is to be aware when actions become usable, then do preemptive thinking and decide if you want to blow them right away or if it's more beneficial to delay.

    There are too many factors to be considered in a fight to make generalizations like that. There is no point of training yourself to blow MB on cd, as you may end up with a habit that you find hard suppressing when needed (your hands acting faster then your brain )

    Train yourself to think as you play, not to perform automated tasks.

    I can appreciate the time and effort put to write this down however I sincerely hope it does not become a sticky.
    Please don't insult me, unless you watched my play or checked my logs. I rank myself every week on WoL, having held several rank 1 spots and multiple top 10 ones. It will make you a great player relative to other WoW players. You see, even players in top guilds fail at these basic mechanics such as Mind Blasing on cooldown and keeping their DoTs up when they have to do something else(dodge fire etc).

    All those things you mentioned about situational uses etc, they are all good if you are actually able to keep your DoTs up in the first place. Shadowfiend on specific and beneficial times is good if you know it is ready. Avoiding Mind Blasting on cooldown to get ES is good, if you know your Mind Blast is ready.

    You see what I did here? If you don't got your fundamentals down, you can't do the fancy stuff. My analogy to StarCraft 2 is showcasing this. Professionals have shown that they can go up to Diamond league with just massing Queens, Marines, Stalkers or whatever unit. This is because their fundamentals are so good that they will overcome the disadvantage by not making the optimal unit. Lower league players try to find out the most optimal unit to counter their opponent e t c. And this is good, if they actually had basic mechanics. The same applies for World of Warcraft. The disadvantage with not using your CDs perfectly and not holding off Mind Blast is outweighed by the fact that you keep your DoTs up 100% of the time. This guide is not aimed for people who can keep their DoTs up and who are Mind Blasting on cooldown. This is a guide for people struggling with their DPS.

    I can tell you I can count on one hand the amount of players I've seen have good solid mechanics. You seem to have misintrepeted my guide, which is unfortunate. I am not advising players to never do the things you mention, but I advise them to keep it simple first and then proceed to add those things. When learning guitar and learning taking chords, you don't immediately try to hit all fingers on all strings at the same time. You form the chord finger by finger. As you get comfortable taking that chord, you will adapt as you start trying to learn more advanced songs and your hand will start taking the chord directly instead of one string at a time.
    Last edited by Ariadne; 2011-10-29 at 01:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Constantly building SCVs nets you 85% of potential DPS without anything fancy, dont fail on it!

    Oh and never ever click anything hotkey hotkey hotkey hotkey

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SilentStocket View Post
    Constantly building SCVs nets you 85% of potential DPS without anything fancy, dont fail on it!

    Oh and never ever click anything hotkey hotkey hotkey hotkey
    Exactly. You get my point.

  9. #9
    The Lightbringer
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    Ariadne, don't blame Mag07 for giving your guide a different nuance. Mag07's words were very much needed, since he explained the basics of DPSing (to plan ahead of time during boss fights), which no guide will ever teach you. Instead of defending yourself, I would suggest that you spend some time writing down the different exceptions that causes your statements in the guide to be missleading.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Funkthepunk View Post
    Ariadne, don't blame Mag07 for giving your guide a different nuance. Mag07's words were very much needed, since he explained the basics of DPSing (to plan ahead of time during boss fights), which no guide will ever teach you. Instead of defending yourself, I would suggest that you spend some time writing down the different exceptions that causes your statements in the guide to be missleading.
    I've actually tried to be very clear that this is what you should focus on first. If he pointed out what was unclear about my guide, sure. But he is arguing against my guide, saying it is the wrong way to improve simply because he doesn't understand or because I was unclear. That is why I responded to clear things up.

    Once you have gotten extremely comfortable doing these two things while still avoiding fire and following tactics, you can proceed trying to be awesome.
    I really believe that that is what you should work on first[...]
    Last edited by Ariadne; 2011-10-29 at 01:33 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Funkthepunk View Post
    Ariadne, don't blame Mag07 for giving your guide a different nuance. Mag07's words were very much needed, since he explained the basics of DPSing (to plan ahead of time during boss fights), which no guide will ever teach you. Instead of defending yourself, I would suggest that you spend some time writing down the different exceptions that causes your statements in the guide to be missleading.
    Yeah but knowing what to do, when to do and how to do is advanced. Most people who seek aid are failing on the basics (macro)
    Staying on the SC references if you tell one (who is not good) to micro like crazy, he will never have the units to begin with.
    Last edited by SilentStocket; 2011-10-29 at 01:34 PM.

  12. #12
    The Patient
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    I have not discredited your guide, I simply stated I hope it will not become a sticky as it can cause confusion for the new players.

    I understand your point of learning things gradually, however I don't agree at all with "keep your dots up and mb on cd " approach. Simply because there is more to the base of the play style then this.

    Before you hit endgame content you have 85 levels to become somewhat familiar with the abilities you have. If by then you haven't figured out the basic mechanics of your primary spec there is something terribly wrong with you.

    Nuking the dummy over and over again doesn't really do much...dummy does not hit back, it does not spawn fire under your feet, it does not scream at you like your raid leader might .....the biggest issue you will run into is lack of resources at early gear levels (lack of mana). Again, to successfully nuke a dummy for 20 min you need to be aware of what mana regen cds are available to you and when to use them.

    No matter how you try to look at things, you can not limit your dmg to dots and MB. If you have no issues with mana on a dummy, chances are you are at the least in "welfare" epics and you already know DOTS are THE thing That said there are situation, when you need to focus fire on an add for example, last thing you want is someone popping all 3 dots on a mob that is meant to die in the next 5 seconds. An example from one of my own raids - a lock refusing to switch to spirit kitties on Domo and an argument that he can not put effective dps on it. Now, yes there are classes better suited for the job, however he was asked to do that for whatever reason the raid leader thought is appropriate, and simply did not know how to go about it. He is very good at standing and nuking, he knows his "rotation" inside out, the moment he gets a task, or has to move, he is lost.


    Simplifying statements like the ones you made in your post are dangerous, that's all. You will not improve your dps simply by watching your dot uptime, the game has become way more complex then that, and the better gear you get, the higher your stats are, the bigger role those nuances have in your dps.

    So while your suggestion in learning basics is a valid one, it is not enough on it's own to improve your performance, that is why I find the title of your guide being so misleading.
    Last edited by mag07; 2011-10-29 at 03:50 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mag07 View Post
    Simply because there is more to the base of the play style then this.
    What do you mean with base playstyle?

    Before you hit endgame content you have 85 levels to become somewhat familiar with the abilities you have. If by then you haven't figured out the basic mechanics of your primary spec there is something terribly wrong with you.
    When I mean mechanics, I mean the player's mechanics, not the spec's/class' mechanics. Maybe it is a term only used in StarCraft 2 but by mechanics I mean the way you are able to execute what you want to execute. So by basic mechanics I mean your ability to keep your DoTs up and Mind Blast on cooldown. And as I mentioned earlier, even players in top guilds fail at this.

    No matter how you try to look at things, you can not limit your dmg to dots and MB.
    Why not? Would it mean your DPS would be terrible? You are not limiting your damage to DoTs and Mind Blast. By limiting you would mean that you are already doing max damage with DoTs and Mind Blast and you choose to ignore the rest to keep it simple. This is not what I am saying.

    Simplifying statements like the ones you made in your post are dangerous, that's all. You will not improve your dps simply by watching your dot uptime, the game has become way more complex then that, and the better gear you get, the higher your stats are, the bigger role those nuances have in your dps.
    Overcomplicating the game is what I am trying to tell people who struggle with their DPS not to do. You do not seem to understand. Even if the class is complex, why would you care about such silly things when you can't keep your DoTs up?. Why should you care about keeping ES up when you can't even track and cast your Mind Blast properly? Do you see where I am getting?

    If you are unable to track your DoTs and plan ahead so you can keep them up 100% of the time without trying to keep track of trinket buffs, what are the chances you will be able to keep your DoTs up when you try to account for trinkets?

    You also don't seem to understand my analogy. Don't you think StarCraft 2 is a more complex game than just making a single type of unit while continously making workers and expanding? It does not matter since if you are doing these basic things, relatively to other players, you will be pretty decent.

    As I've told you, I can count on one hand the amount of players that have good basic mechanics. You seem to be under the assumption that most priests got this basic play down. You seem to be under the impression that most priests can keep up their DoTs. They can't. Especially those struggling with their DPS.

  14. #14
    The Patient
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    It does not matter since if you are doing these basic things, relatively to other players, you will be pretty decent.
    You have said it all in that statement - decent, I would think most raiders want to be at the least good, not just decent. Ignoring class/spec mechanics to only get by decently, is effectively wanting to be carried through by others. Also, there is absolutely no point of you trying to keep the uptime on your dots at 100% without paying attention to your Empowered Shadow buff - blame Blizz for giving us yet another thing to keep an eye on. Our base dot dmg has been significantly decreased to account for the buff Emp Shadow/Mastery brings.

    Please don't confuse people. Our dot dmg is not just dependent on the up-time, there is one more very important factor to it in the form of empowered shadow buff/mastery - you will never be anywhere near competitive levels of dps if you choose to ignore this core mechanic from the start - it's plain wrong.

    And lastly, this is a Warcraft forum, not Starcraft, your analogy may be understandable for people that actually play the other game but not necessarily for those that don't. From my experience with original Warcraft/Starcraft games, they are completely different to WoW, different goals, different mechanics, hell, different genre

    Constantly building SCVs nets you 85% of potential DPS without anything fancy, don't fail on it!
    It may very well be the case in Starcraft, when Shadow Priests are concerned even a 100% up-time on all three dots plus MB on cd will not yield such results if you choose to ignore other factors. I would be suprised if it got you anywhere near the 50% mark, in fact semi tempted to do a dummy test to demostrate my point.

    Your music analogy is also very general and not exactly accurate as WoW is just a game, as complex as it is in comparison to various others, it's no where near the difficulty of playing a musical instrument , and btw, I am a pianist, been playing for over 30 years - yes,yes, oldies play WoW too.

    My reply to your thread was not meant to be hostile, it's simply an opinion backed up by what I hope, are valid arguments.
    Last edited by mag07; 2011-10-29 at 05:33 PM.

  15. #15
    sticky pleaseee
    keep makig amazing vids Ariadne!
    !

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by mag07 View Post
    You have said it all in that statement - decent, I would think most raiders want to be at the least good, not just decent. Ignoring class/spec mechanics to only get by decently, is effectively wanting to be carried through by others.
    You don't listen. "Once you have gotten extremely comfortable doing these two things while still avoiding fire and following tactics, you can proceed trying to be awesome."

    And I was talking about StarCraft when I said you would be pretty decent compared to other players. If you got solid mechanics, you get into Diamond league. It has been done and proven by several players. Diamond is around top 2% of the entire player base in that region (Europe, NA, Korea etc). That is what I consider pretty decent. I would assume many players would be pretty happy with being in the top 2%.

    Please don't confuse people. Our dot dmg is not just dependent on the up-time, there is one more very important factor to it in the form of empowered shadow buff/mastery - you will never be anywhere near competitive levels of dps if you choose to ignore this core mechanic from the start - it's plain wrong.
    I did around 40k DPS while only tracking my DoTs and Mind Blast on cooldown on Occuthar 25 man. That was around rank 150 something when I checked. That was without buff feeeding (except DI) and no flask. I nearly doubled the second person(he did 24k), that is not saying much but it is comptetitive DPS nonetheless.

    And lastly, this is a Warcraft forum, not Starcraft, your analogy may be understandable for people that actually play the other game but not necessarily for those that don't. From my experience with original Warcraft/Starcraft games, they are completely different to WoW, different goals, different mechanics, hell, different genre
    But StarCraft has come so much further than WoW when it comes to improving. It is not about being two different games but about how to improve in the most efficient way. The concept in StarCraft is to focus on the basics first, I took this and analyzed WoW and came to the conclusion that it works for WoW too, hence why I wrote this guide.

    It may very well be the case in Starcraft, when Shadow Priests are concerned even a 100% up-time on all three dots plus MB on cd will not yield such results if you choose to ignore other factors. I would be suprised if it got you anywhere near the 50% mark, in fact semi tempted to do a dummy test to demostrate my point.
    You mean you wouldn't do 50% of your potential DPS if you Mind Blast on cooldown and focus on keeping DoT up? That is silly. Really silly.
    Last edited by Ariadne; 2011-10-29 at 08:07 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    I did around 40k DPS while only tracking my DoTs and Mind Blast on cooldown on Occuthar 25 man. That was around rank 150 something when I checked. That was without buff feeeding (except DI) and no flask. I nearly doubled the second person(he did 24k), that is not saying much but it is comptetitive DPS nonetheless.
    You can indeed to good dps just mindlessly refresh dot if the rng gods are with you. And this is what we should hope for in new players as this guide is directed to as, like you said, refreshing dots with ES (let's face it, Dark Evangelism should be up all the time except after AA once every 2 mins) is something pretty complex that should not be looking for while still struggeling with maintaining dots to your primary target.

    Mag07, I think we all know that this guide is nothing for players that want to reach the upper levels of their dps capacity, or perhaps even for those that aim for doing what would be considered enough for us who know all the tweaks and peaks of the spec. But this guide is not directed for those players and I don't think anyone is thinking of doing such a guide as we expect those players to figgure these things out themselfs.

    Ariadne have done a very good guide that can be read as a "What is shadow priests and how do they damage" guide that serves perfectly fine for those wiching to learn where our superb damage comes from, after that you have Kilee25's guide, and if that's not enough, your own brain that should be the most powerful tool you have!

    TL;DR: Let's hope that this guide can help our fellow new priests out there to realise that Mind spike is situational and not to be used as a primary nuke. Let's not read to much into it.

  18. #18
    I support this as if you look at all the requests we get for fixing your dps. 90% of them come down to your dot time is not at 98 and up. Yes ES is incredibly valuable but by just mindblasting on cooldown you are almost guaranteed to have at least an 80% uptime. Yes watching your es and using MB more effectively will yield even higher results and timing fiend and AA will help boost this further. BUT the point of this thread is that dot uptime and MB cast amounts are the biggest chunk of your damage therefore for the majority of players failing with dps issues. This will be the answer.

    Also knowing your rotation like the back of your hand and having fluidity in your basic dot and spell cast application is more of a raid benefit then ES AA and shadowfiend nuances.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by eErike View Post
    You can indeed to good dps just mindlessly refresh dot if the rng gods are with you. And this is what we should hope for in new players as this guide is directed to as, like you said, refreshing dots with ES (let's face it, Dark Evangelism should be up all the time except after AA once every 2 mins) is something pretty complex that should not be looking for while still struggeling with maintaining dots to your primary target.
    Correct. As I said earlier, this guide is not aimed at people who are able to keep their DoTs up. You seem to get who this guide is intended for. Asking people to focus on other things when they are struggling with doing comptetitive DPS is silly to me and that is why I wrote this guide. I want people to build a solid basic foundation which they later have use of when trying to focus on more fancy stuff.

    And for the RNG gods, I got like 4 damn circles on me and lagged like hell during the Mind Sear things=S.

  20. #20
    Astonishing. Using the methods set out in this guide (it was a struggle to resist the urge to refresh my DoTs after procs), my self-buffed dummy dps seemed to be only around 10% lower than my usual dummy dps - ~18k dps rather than my usual ~20k. I had expected it to be considerably lower than that. The implications of this (if my data can be relied upon) are that this guide is certainly what many shadow priests need. We would be so sweet and set if every player in WoW could play at or above even just 80% of their character's full potential.

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