Table of Contents
The Best Gear in 4.1 -- By Twintop
The Guide: and the Introduction
Shadow Orbs and the New Hotness
The Spec:Thoughts of a Lonely Shadow Priest
Gearing: Purple Priests in Purple Gear
Core Mechanics: What Does This Mean?
- Best In Slot List and General Gearing
Keep The Rotation: Pass The Buffs
- Damage Modifiers Applied to Damage Over Time Spells
Does Your Warlock Love You? He'd Be a Fool Not to Love You
- Using Your Spells Effectively
On December 31, 2010, this guide was awarded the spot of 19th out of 20 in the MMO-Champion guide writing contest. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the discussion after the initial posting of this guide in the MMO-Champion Priest forums as they helped make this guide better. It was an honor to hear it helped so many people, and I thought it was fitting to thank all of you for reading it.
The Guide: and the Introduction
I posted this in our guild forums for Shadow Priest information but one of the MMO forums said there was a request for a Shadow PVE guide so I figured I'd throw this in here. Some of the information I use is from popular wow fan sites supplemented by my own opinions and paraphrasing. I will attempt to cite original sources of key information to give credit to the people who did the hard work to figure it out, but also provide links in an attempt to back up my own opinions and assumptions.
Feel free to comment on things I have missed, misinterpreted, or have have stated as clearly wrong. Sorry for the lengthiness, but the explanations I have provided answer common questions asked by many people in the past months and is meant to be not only a guide to the elite, but to new comers and people returning to the game. I apologize for formatting as it was mostly copy pasta from my guild's forums. If the readability of the guide becomes a problem, I'll standardize the format.
Shadow Orbs and The New Hotness
A list of all available Priest spells and talents are available here on MMO-Champion. Albeit some of the information from the link is now outdated. I will cover some of the new spells in detail none the less:
New to the Cataclysm
Shadow Orbs - Our new mastery Shadow Orb Power, results in increased damage from the stacking buff, Shadow Orbs, that we receive for specializing in the Shadow tree. Proccing from the ticks of our Shadow Word: Pain and Mind Flay spells, we gain a stacking buff of up to 3 Shadow Orbs. These stacks are consumed with casting Mind Blast or Mind Spike. Depending on which spell is cast, we receive a 10% damage bonus to that spell for each stack of Shadow Orbs consumed. We receive an additional 1.3% damage to this per point of mastery. Also, we receive the 15 second buff Empowered Shadows, increasing the damage of our periodic damage spells by 10% when our Shadow Orbs are consumed. The percentage of this damage increases 1.3% per point of mastery as well.
The two effects of consuming our Shadow Orbs, buffing Mind Spike/Mind Blast damage and DOT damage, warrant a bit more explanation in their execution. Empowered Shadows is gained by consuming at least one Shadow Orb. The number Shadow Orb stacks consumed has no effect on the % damage increase on our periodic spells and will remain the same whether 1, 2, or 3 Shadow Orbs are consumed. The effect of the stacks is only important in the increase of amplified damage of Mind Blast and Mind Spike. Only these two spells receive higher damage with more Shadow Orb stacks consumed.
Shadowy Apparitions - Through the talent Shadowy Apparition, we now have a 12% chance to proc a shadow version of ourselves when our Shadow Word: Pain ticks. These apparitions will spawn from our current position and will walk up to the target; exploding on contact. Shadowy Apparitions may proc while stationary but they have an increased 60% chance to proc when your character is moving. The maximum amount of apparitions you can have procced at one time is 4. I have additional information regarding how Shadowy Apparitions behave in regards to a Warrior's Spell Reflect ability at the link below:
Twisted Faith - The major implications of how this talent was changed is that now we receive Hit from Spirit in a 1:1 ratio (20 Spirit = 20 Hit). This will lead us to possibly roll on what may be affectionately be referred to as "healer gear". This talent leads to the idea that Shadow Priests may, and more than likely will, gain a part of their Hit rating from Spirit items to maximize their stat weights.
Dark Evangelism - Similar to our old Shadow Weaving buff, Dark Evangelism will act as a new stacking buff on ourselves. Stacking up to 5 times, we maintain this to increase our DOT damage by 2% a stack by casting Mind Flay. Currently, we receive 1 stack per tick of Mind Flay and an inexplicable 4th stack (I assume this is from the actual initial cast of the spell). By consuming our stacks of Dark Evangelism we gain the buff, Dark Archangel.
Dark Archangel - Gained by consuming stacks of Dark Evangelism, Dark Archangel gives us increased damage to our Mind Flay, Mind Spike, Shadow Word: Death and Mind Blast by 4% per stack consumed for 18 seconds. We also gain 5% total mana back per stack consumed. By consuming these stacks, we lose the 10% bonus to our periodic spells until we can gain an additional 5 stacks of Dark Evangelism. Fortunately, Dark Evangelism will continue to stack through the Dark Archangel effect, giving us a DPS cool down we should pop every ~90 seconds.
Mind Spike - Through our talent Mind Melt, our new spammable nuke, Mind Spike, creates a stacking consumable buff. Consumed with casting Mind Blast, each stack of Mind Melt reduces the cast time of Mind Blast by 50%/100%. Casting Mind Spike also puts a stacking debuff on the target, increasing the critical strike chance of our next Mind Blast by 30%/60%/90% with each stack applied (Maximum of 3 stacks). Mind Spike is not meant to be a regular rotation spell for PvE. Casting Mind Spike will extinguish all of your DOTs on a target. It will mostly be used on adds that will die quickly or as utility to quickly stop DPS on a target. This ability is very handy on the Omnitron Council fight if you wish to remove your DOTs on Magmatron when he puts his shield up.
The Spec: Thoughts of a Lonely Shadow Priest
So you have hit level 85, are looking for information while you level, or you're just wondering how to spec and how to glyph. Examples of my proposed spec and glyph choices are provided below:
By allotting your points in this way, you're left with one extra talent point and are presented with some concerns with our level 85 raiding spec:
Phantasm - I feel it is a useful tool on some encounters to break free of some snares/slows as a way to move to a new area faster, thus, maximizing DPS. I would put your free point here.
Masochism - This talent is a must for at least the first tier of raiding. Earlier on, I found that mana was a major concern in Cataclysm raiding. This tends to be less of an issue as you gear and you may remove points in this at your discretion. However, definitely go 2/2 in this talent as you gear up through raids.
Inner Sanctum - While I feel Inner Sanctum may be a better choice than Masochism or Phantasm on paper (purely hypothetical speculation), I feel the added benefits from this talent are not worth while earlier on. Should you choose to take points out of Masochism, this would be a helpful spot to place them to help healers out on damage heavy fights.
Lack of Points Into Utility Talents - In order to achieve a maximum DPS spec, we will be forced to skip utility talents such as Improved Psychic Scream, Silence, Paralysis, and Psychic Horror. However, With your extra talent point, it is now possible to pick up Psychic Horror at the expense of 1/2 in Phantasm. While the other two talents may prove useful in certain situations, it is recommended not to spec into them as a level 85 raiding spec.
The choice of prime glyphs displayed in the link should be fairly obvious as these are the only 3 prime glyphs resulting in a DPS gain. Choices of major and minor slot glyphs are mostly up to personal choice, as there are no major or minor glyphs that result in a DPS gain. I have selected the following Prime glyphs as a general framework:
- Glyph of Shadow Word: Death
- Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain
With the new glyph system in place, one of these prime glyphs may be replaced on a fight-to-fight basis to exploit the usefulness of Glyph of Dispersion as a raid cool down. Major and Minor glyphs may also be changed for personal preference or per the situation.
Gearing: Purple Priests in Purple Gear
With the announcement of Shadow Priest changes in Cataclysm, ample minds developing simcraft began running numbers and theorizing the values of Intellect, Haste, Spell power, Critical strike, Mastery and Hit/Spirit in terms of their increases of our DPS. Initial reports show stat weight priorities have maintained their importance from 3.3.5 but the new stat, Mastery, was seriously undervalued. After several months, Blizzard continuously revamped our Mastery effect; increasing its value as a gear statistic:
Using Best In Slot (BIS) 372 ilevel Items:
*accurate to http://chardev.org/?profile=18129 as of February 10, 2011. Subject to change. Tests are without Focus Magic and Dark Intent.
Int Spi SP Hit Crit Haste Mastery
Scale Factors 3.3311 1.4346 2.5707 1.4433 1.4760 1.7975 1.4218
Normalized 1.0000 0.4307 0.7717 0.4333 0.4431 0.5396 0.4268
Scale Factors - Refer to how your DPS is affected per point of stats gained. The higher the Scale Factor, the more your DPS will gain by increasing that stat versus another one. These numbers are important in determining gear upgrades as they show us what stats are most valuable to us to maximize our DPS.
Normalized - These are numbers derived from dividing a stat's Scale Factor, by the biggest Scale Factor (in this case, everything is divided by Intellect). These numbers are sometimes used because they bit cleaner for calculations but also help capture the relationships of the stat weights in a ratio.
The value of Spell Power has become less consequential as it is removed from all gear except for caster weapons and potential trinket procs. Trinket procs may still need to be evaluated using the spell power coefficient to determine a best in slot list. This leaves our main focus on the use of Intellect, Haste, Crit, Mastery and Hit/Spirit.
Stat Priorities - From these lists, we can see that our best stats are Intellect > Spell Power > Haste > Critical Strike > Mastery in this order. Managing the balance of these stats (in the above order) through your gear choices and reforging will play an important role in maximizing your DPS. Further information regarding these stat weights and their priority is detailed in the post below:
I mostly ignore the factors associated with Spirit and Hit as I feel you should always be hit capped, despite Hit and Spirits supposed subpar value compared to the other secondary stats. More on this in the next section.
Hit Cap or No Hit Cap?
There has been some debate in the past months of whether to be hit capped or not. From the numbers above, you can see that Hit and Spirit are not as valuable as other secondary stats, leading some people to think that the hit cap should be ignored for more Haste or Crit. It is my personal opinion to always be hit capped as whatever potential gains you may make by going Haste/Crit > Hit will be negated by a string of unlucky misses or improperly handling a miss. Simcraft plays "perfect" so the difference in Hit/Spirit and Haste we see is something that is not easily done in practice.
A recent thread written by Gherkin on the Warlock forums helps sum up a lot of the information you need to know about hit rating:
It should also be mentioned again that gathering Spirit gear will allow for greater ease in reaching the hit cap of 17%.
Some Important Numbers
Hit Cap = 1742 hit/spirit (1639 for Draenei) for the 17% hit cap
1% Hit = 102.446 rating
1% Crit = 179.28 rating
1% Haste = 128.05701 rating
1 Mastery = 179.28 rating
Best In Slot List and General Gearing
I won't try to establish an entire Best In Slot list for this guide. However, Mastery/Haste gear, in combination with Spirit/Haste gear will probably reign supreme. With a general idea of stat weights, you should be able to eye ball gear upgrades or consult this list which is tailored to current stat weights:
A list of gear upgrades from shadowpriest.com can be found here. It uses some different numbers, but it is still solid information and is incredibly useful in planning what pieces you wish to pick up:
A thread detailing supposed BIS combination's can be found below:
Your Best In Slot Trinket in all situations will be Darkmoon Card: Volcano. Choosing your second trinket is a little less cut and dry. This is due to a number of factors ranging from fight length, fight mechanics, and perhaps your own scale factors. However, a helpful list behind Trinket updates can be found from a thread on MMO-Champion below:
*I will try to ensure this list stays up-to-date by staying in contact with the author. Thank you to Twintop for creating this list.
Getting the 4-Set Bonus
It is advised to pick up the 4-set bonus as the set bonus is worth around 238-363 DPS depending on the fight. High movement fights will increase the bonus given by this set bonus, as moving will proc more Shadowy Apparitions. Evidence supporting the 4-Set bonus can be found on the 11th page of discussion of the guide at the link below:
Socket bonuses appear to be mostly based on Intellect, and it seems that most of socket bonuses will be worth gemming for at first glance. The desirable gem(s) for each slot are as follows:
Red: Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Blue: Purified Demon's Eye
Yellow: Reckless Ember Topaz
Meta: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond*
Only rare gems exist as a part of Cataclysm. I expect epic gems to make their way back into the game in a future patch. Also, if a unique +20 all stats gem, like Nightmare Tear, makes its way into the game again, it would be ideal for a blue socket. I would highly recommend not gemming for Hit. You will gain more by gemming for Intellect and reforging secondary stats into Hit/Spirit if you need the rating.
You should gem for the socket bonuses if the bonuses are:
Red Sockets = Always 40 Intellect in a red socket
Yellow Sockets (20 Int + 20 Haste) = Intellect > 9. Haste > 19. Crit > 23. Mastery > 22
Blue Sockets (20 Int + 20 Spirit)* = Intellect > 19. Haste > 40. Crit > 45. Mastery > 45
*This assumes you can make up the hit through reforging and avoiding a loss of Intellect by gemming for Spirit
Head: Arcanum of Hyjal - 60 Intellect, 35 Crit
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone - 50 Intellect, 25 Haste
Back: Greater Intellect - 50 Intellect
Chest: Peerless Stats - 20 All Stats
Bracer: Mighty Intellect - 50 Intellect
Hands: Haste - 50 Haste or Greater Mastery - 65 Mastery
Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spell thread - 95 Intellect, 55 Spirit
Boots: Haste - 50 Haste or Lava Walker - 35 Mastery and increased run speed
Main-Hand: Power Torrent
Off-hand: Superior Intellect - 40 Intellect
*Its been debatable for years whether to go with the DPS stat boosting feet enchants, or to go with the run speed enhancing boot enchants. This expansion, we have a run speed enchant whose secondary stat is a DPS boost and not just a stamina increase. Another acceptable enchant for your boots is Lava Walker (run speed increase, 35 Mastery).
I will provide a basic framework of how to reforge your gear. The choices I specify are with maintaining the hit cap in mind. If you do not want to get hit capped, then this framework may not be as helpful to you. Start by looking at reforging your Mastery, then Crit, then Spirit, then Haste on your gear. Then, follow the points of importance in order:
Core Mechanics: What Does This Mean?
Mastery: 1.Reforge to Spirit when not hit capped
2.Reforge to Haste when hit capped on a Mastery/Crit piece
3.Reforge to Haste when hit capped on a Mastery/Spirit piece
4.Reforge to Crit if you're hit capped and it is a Mastery/Haste piece
5.Mastery should always be reforged to something else
Crit: 1.Reforge to Spirit when not hit capped with no Mastery left to reforge into Spirit instead
2.Reforge to Haste when hit capped on a Crit/Spirit piece
3.Leave as is when hit capped on a Haste/Crit piece
Spirit: 1.If you're not hit capped, leave as is
2.If over the hit cap, reforge to Haste until the hit cap
3.If over the hit cap, reforge to Crit until the hit cap
Haste: 1.Do your best to not to reforge Haste whenever possible
2.If you're not hit capped with no Mastery or Crit to reforge, reforge Haste to Spirit
Some discussion on how the game works is important to understand how we can maximize our DPS.
Haste Plateaus exist as a result of what levels of Haste we need to achieve to add extra ticks of damage to our DOT spells. Levels of Haste outside these Haste plateaus will just reduce the duration of the DOT and increase its periodic tick rate. The Haste ratings needed to find out how much Haste you need can be found out in the following way and I will provide an example of how to add 3 additional ticks to Vampiric Touch:
x = Haste rating
1.05 = Mind Quickening
1.03 = Darkness
Base Tick Time of Dot / (Duration of Dot / (Number of Total Ticks You Want - .5*))
*the number of ticks is rounded up through how Blizzard calculates it.
3 seconds/ (15 seconds / 7.5 ticks) = 1.5
So you need 50% total Haste to get 8 ticks of Vampiric Touch (up from its original 5).
1.5 / 1.05 / 1.03 = 1.38692552 - 1
So if you wanted 50% total Haste after Mind Quickening and Darkness, you would only need 38.6962552% worth of haste rating.
x/128.05701 = 38.6962552
x = 4956*
*some rounding errors in the math but this should be the right number in the end
X% = Total spell haste needed after 5%+3% bonus from talents
(XXXX) = Character sheet haste needed
**not calculated with Dark Intent active
+1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Vampiric Touch 10.00% (0220) 30.00% (2588) 50.00% (4956) 70.00% (7324)
Shadow Word: Pain 08.34% (0024) 25.00% (1996) 41.67% (3969) 58.34% (5943)
Devouring Plague 06.25% (0000) 18.75% (1256) 31.25% (2736) 43.75% (4216) 56.25% (5696)
With Dark Intent:
** Mind Flay does not gain additional ticks from Haste
+1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Vampiric Touch 10.00% (0000) 30.00% (2140) 50.00% (4441) 70.00% (6738)
Shadow Word: Pain 08.34% (0000) 25.00% (1565) 41.67% (3481) 58.34% (5397)
Devouring Plague 06.25% (0000) 18.75% (0346) 31.25% (2283) 43.75% (3720) 56.25% (5157)
DPS gains by crossing these Haste Plateaus will be very small (almost negligible), but these numbers are provided as a reference for people who may be interested in what Haste they need for additional ticks of their DOTs. They in no way imply these are Haste caps or imply Haste levels between the plateaus are sub-optimal to your DPS. What they do say, is that if you find yourself in a position to push past one of these Haste levels, doing so should help your boost your DPS, albeit by a very small amount. This DPS gain is by a factor of the additional Haste gained to reach that level, and the potential extra GCDs you will gain by resetting the length of your DOTs back to their original unhasted duration.
As a quick followup to this idea, the damage caused by Improved Devouring Plague increases from additional ticks of Devouring Plague as well. However, it does not round up in its Haste calculation like our other DOTS. In addition, it is not affected by Haste multipliers like Mind Quickening, Darkness and Dark Intent, so Improved Devouring Plague requires different levels of Haste to gain extra damage (besides gains in Spell Power):
Damage Modifiers Applied to Damage Over Time Spells
+1 +2 +3
Imp. Devouring Plague 12.50% (1601) 25.00% (3202) 37.50% (4803)
An understanding of how damage modifiers are applied to our DOTs is a very common question in numerous conversations about DPS. However, in regards to Shadow Priests, the only 2 DOTs we need to concern ourselves with are Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch as these 2 are not affected by a near constant refresh mechanic like Shadow Word: Pain is when channeling Mind Flay.
Changes in % damage modifiers, critical strike chances, increased casting speed, spell power bonuses, etc., are not reevaluated with each tick of Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch. The damaging values of each tick are determined by the stats your character has at the time DOT's cast completion. This means, in order to gain the added benefit of buffs like Dark Evangelism and Empowered Shadows that have procced after our DOT's application, we will need to recast our DOTs to increase their periodic tick damage. This information is provided as a clarification of how DOTs work and is not saying to recast your DOTs immediately upon receiving damage modifiers. Further explanation of how to DPS as a Shadow Priest is provided below.
All classes are only allowed one potion per combat. However, you can take advantage of this potion lock out through creative potion popping. By using a potion right before you pull the boss, you can use a potion and reset its 1 minute cool down as it was used outside of combat. 1 minute later, you will be free to use another potion. This is a very common practice by all classes and can have a good impact on your DPS. Your 2nd potion should be saved for your Heroism/Blood Lust phase; more on this later.
Keep the Rotation: Pass The Buffs
The Priority Action List
Shadow Priests do not have a DPS "rotation" in a classical sense. Instead, we operate on a priority system, determined by which of our spells should be cast at a given time, given its supposed superior damage benefit over other spells. In other words, you cast your highest damaging spells at the right times, neglecting lower damaging spells until it is proper to cast them.
Despite the Tier 10 cluster fuck that lead to the death of Mind Blast in the rotation for awhile, our Cataclysm rotation should remain mostly the same as it has since the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King. Based on a simcraft simulation of a BIS tier 11 Priest, we get the following Damage Per Execute Times (DPET) on our spells:
Devouring Plague: 81674
Vampiric Touch: 65195
Mind Blast: 29821
Shadow Word: Death: 24908
Mind Flay: 11158
Opener:___________Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Devouring Plague > Mind Blast 1-3 Orbs > Mind Flay until first Orb
Target Health > 25%: Devouring Plague > Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Mind Blast 1-3 Orbs > Mind Flay
Target Health < 25%: Devouring Plague > Vampiric Touch > Shadow Word: Pain > Mind Blast 1-3 Orbs > Shadow Word: Death > Mind Flay
Opener - It is beneficial to time a Vampiric Touch cast to land right as the tank pulls. With Vampiric Touch up, use your instant casts to run into place. Following this, hopefully you have gained a Shadow Orb from the initial ticks of Shadow Word: Pain. If you are still without an Orb at this point, continue to Mind Flay away until your first Shadow Orb proc. More on Mind Blast later.
Using Your Spells Effectively
DOTs - In all cases, DOTs should always have priority over other spells for their superior DPET. It should also be noted that DOTs no longer clip in Cataclysm so the early reapplication of dots is now encouraged as a DPS gain in some cases. The ideal time to recast your dots is between the second last and last tick of a DOT to gain 100% up time on your dots while also not wasting any cast time or lost GCDs. If Empowered Shadows has fallen off, then a 1-3 Orb Mind Blast moves to the top of the priority list to reapply Empowered Shadows.
Some further work on dot clipping can be read from reading Gherkin's post on DOT clipping from the Warlock forums:
Global Cool Downs - Using your instant cast spells (or GCDs) effectively, is an excellent way of maximizing your DPS. In almost all fights, you will find yourself needing to move from one point to another. If no spells are cast, the time spent running from one point to another is wasted DPS time. However, by using an instant cast when you need to run, you can make it almost like you lost zero DPS time at all. Timing your need to move with when it is time to reapply Devouring Plague, cast Shadowfiend, or cast Shadow Word: Death, you can use the GCD time to make your dash from one point to another.
Shadow Word: Death - Try not to use > 25% as its damage is severely nerfed until sub 25% target health. You can use it as a GCD to move from one spot to another, and is a quick way to get a fair amount of mana back. However, should mana issues be none existent, reapplying Devouring Plague, even spamming Devouring Plague, would be a higher DPS gain on the run. However, take some of this with a grain of salt. If you're struggling for mana, casting occasional the Shadow Word: Death may be a good way to avoid going out of mana. Casting Shadow Word: Death may be a DPS loss, but being out of mana is an even bigger DPS loss.
Mind Blast - If all DOTs are rolling, you now have to choose whether to use Mind Blast or Mind Flay. Casting Mind Blast on cool down will result in a potential DPS gain, as the DPET of a 0 orb Mind Blast is now greater than that of Mind Flay. However, this strategy could lead to a potential DPS loss if you allow Empowered Shadows to fall off with a bad string of Shadow Orb procs. The general consensus of Shadow Priests is to cast Mind Blast on cool down if there is greater than 6.5 seconds left on Empowered Shadows as to avoid this situation from happening. Choosing to Mind Blast with 0 orbs will be at the discretion of the Shadow Priest.
Dark Arch Angel - Make sure this is popped right after you reapply Vampiric Touch, and Devouring plague has more than 18 seconds left. Doing so will make sure you are only using Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Death while the buff is active (maybe Mind Spike depending on the situation) for the most of the duration. This talent can also be great if delayed for a short while to enter execute range for the added Shadow Word: Death damage during the execute phase. Furthermore, having this cool down available for Blood Lust/Heroism, is essential.
Herosim/Blood Lust - Besides saving your Dark Arch Angel and Shadowfiend for this raid cooldown, it is important to talk about what you should be doing as far as spell casting while under the effect of Heroism/Blood Lust. If you have a Volcanic Potion off cool down, you should pop it as Heroism/Blood List is cast to maximize the gain from the potion. In regards to the spell casting priority, I did simcraft work that shows that maintaining your normal priority spell casting through Heroism/Blood Lust, is the best way to maximize your DPS. It has been discussed that Mind Spike + Mind Blast spam may beat out our normal rotation, but that is simply not the case. Further details on the calculations for this can be found on page 7 of this thread:
Shadowfiend - One of our main mana returns, we get the added benefit that he does a large amount of damage while he is out (~1800 DPS). If you are typically starved for mana, then you will want to be careful in using your Shadowfiend cool down so you don't go out of mana. If you don't have a lot of mana problems, then he can be used as a DPS cooldown. Shadowfiend gains attack power from our spell power, so if you get a trinket proc, that is an excellent time to get more DPS from your Shadowfiend. Furthermore, if you know when Blood Lust/Heroism is going to be cast, it can be a benefit to wait for casting Shadowfiend right before Blood Lust/Heroism is popped (but don't delay too much). If your Shadowfiend is out when Bloodlust/Heroism is popped, then it too will gain the increased attack speed buff, upping its DPS, and by extension, your DPS.
A helpful macro to spam while Shadowfiend is out to make sure it is using its Shadow Crawl attack follows:
/cast [pet,nomodifier] Shadowcrawl
For a more set it and forget approach, simply add this line in a macro for all your abilities to ensure he is using Shadow Crawl:
/cast [pet,nomodifier] Shadowcrawl
Dispersion - This talent gets a lot of bad attention these days. However, I kind of like it. Typically, you want to avoid using this ability as a mana return cool down as 6 seconds of silence = 6 seconds of wasted DPS. There are times you can use it creatively to increase your DPS on some fights (Algalon/Festergut anyone?). Ideal times to pop this cool down would be during a transition phase where you can't DPS, or to save your ass for not moving quick enough. In order to get the best situational benefit from this skill, you should have this macro so if you only need 1-2 seconds of damage protection, you can pop dispersion, then quickly cancel the effect:
Does Your Warlock Love You? He'd Be a Fool Not to Love You
The following is based on solid math, but also personal interpretations of the data:
**Make up your own mind
Dark Intent - With the mechanic of this cast able Warlock buff, we may have to argue with Warlocks in PUGs to give it to us, but our guild mates should know to give it to us. Shadow Priests are the best class for this buff; with the best competition for this buff being Fire Mages, Balance Druids, Resto Druids, and Raid healing Resto Shamans (should healing be a concern). Fire Mages do have more total DOTs than we do. However, with ~74% of our damage coming from DOT damage we should get the biggest DPS gain than any other caster, as well as provide a near 100% up time to the Warlock. If your guild has good communication, your Warlocks should already know this (thank you Gherkin, Ceazzar, Nijel and Chalz, you guys rock), but should you find yourself losing out on this buff in your guild, you can argue your case rather well:
- Mind Flay is considered a DOT in terms of mechanics (yes, yes, yes, it is), while actually being a channeled spell. This gives us 4 total dots and with the highest chance of DOT ticks per second, we also have the highest potential DOT crits per second. A Warlock will want to keep his Dark Intent stacked to 3 on himself as much as possible and with the most DOT ticks per second, we give the Warlock the best possible chance to keep his Dark Intent Buff up.
- A raiding Warlock should always be concerned about the raids success. While Shadow Priests may not do the most damage in your raid, they will still gain the biggest DPS boost by having this buff than other classes.
- By swapping Dark Intent with other Warlocks, the Warlocks will only benefit from an additional 3% haste, but the increased DOT damage will not stack. This leads to a wasted 9% damage to another potential raid member's DOT spells which is a bigger loss than a Warlock's DPS increase with an extra 3% haste. This is loss is increased to 18% DOT damage if the infamous "Warlock swap" should occur.
To further prove this point, please refer to the excellent work done by one of our Warlocks, Gherkin, regarding Dark Intent:
This link will show that Shadow Priests receive the largest DPS gain, and provide the largest increase in total raid DPS, by receiving Dark Intent versus any other class. It goes on to say that in regards to the Warlock's DPS, a Boomkin will increase the Warlock's personal DPS by ~9 DPS (guaranteed crits with sun fire) over that of a Shadow Priest. However, with the idea of raid > self, this buff should always continue to go to a Shadow Priest in any situation where healing is not an issue.
While my overall knowledge of all classes is somewhat lacking, from what I have looked at, DOT % damage will remain mostly the same over time. Thus, the results of Gherkin's Dark Intent work should hold true over time. However, I'll update the post as needed.
I do not give public-domain use for this guide, and do not condone it's reproduction in any way on this or other websites.