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Spiritual Guidance: More shadow priest news from the patch 4.3 PTR


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the darkness to bask in your loving adoration.

Normally, I'm not a fan of beta testing -- it's kind of frustrating to play a game that you know is going to break, leaving you trapped inside a rock, unrecoverably dead, or stuck on a loading screen. But over the last week, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time cruising around the patch 4.3 PTR, trying to figure out what it has in store for shadow priests. The things I do for my fans!

Mostly, I've been keeping my eye on the new patch 4.3 heroic End of Time. Would it be easy, like Cataclysm heroics currently are, or would it be hard, like Cataclysm heroics used to be? And what would be in store there for shadow priests? I grabbed four of my closest WoW Insider friends and decided to find out for myself.

New for 4.3 heroic: End of Time

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of running the new 5-man heroic instance End of Time with a full WoW Insider crew. I was very excited to take the instance for a spin, to see if there were any points of interest in there for shadow priests.

For those not familiar with it yet, End of Time is the first of three new-for-4.3 heroics. It sends you forward to a bleak version of the future where you do battle with the maddened essences of familiar racial leaders -- Tyrande Whisperwind, Lady Sylvanas, Jaina Proudmoore, and Baine Bloodhoof. Ultimately, of course, you wind up fighting internet dragons. The concept is super-cool.

Now, it's hard to estimate how much trouble your average PUG will have with this new instance, but judging from my experience, I'd guess that things will run a little bit more smoothly than they did when the Troll heroics of 4.1 welcomed visitors for the first time. I only died once -- a self-inflicted wound from Shadow Word: Death. So, uh, yeah ... when you get to try it out for the first time yourself, be careful with the spell, OK?

The dungeon is mercifully brief, with a good group capable of clearing it in 15 minutes. There's very little trash, and what trash there is gets Mind Seared down pretty easily. I did find the boss fights slightly disappointing -- most fights had me just standing in one place without need to move at all, save for maybe once or twice. The final boss fight against Murozond is pretty cool, though -- you're given access to an hourglass that rewinds the fight to the beginning, restoring all your health and mana, resetting all your cooldowns, and clearing void zones from the ground. Only the boss's health is unaffected. With a party able to use the hourglass five times during the encounter, you can expect to have all your high-octane DPS cooldowns (Shadowfiend, Dark Archangel, on-use trinkets, and Berserking) up for almost 100% of the fight.

I didn't get to see any cloth loot drop, but thankfully for shadow priests, there is plenty of quality gear in there -- quality pieces like the crit-plus-haste Time Traveler's Leggings and the two-handed caster weapon Jaina's Staff. It's all ilevel 378, the same strength as what currently drops in the Firelands raid, so it'll be easy to gear up for the patch 4.3 Dragon Soul raid without wasting time running old content.

Having run the heroic only one-and-a-half times, I'm hardly an expert on it (yet). But you can expect me and the rest of the WoW Insider crew to be on the PTR full time, learning everything there is to know to report back to you. (Unless, of course, we get distracted by iPhone announcements, trips to major conventions, Disgaea 4, trips to alternate universes, or our own images in reflected back at us by mirrored surfaces.)

A change to tier 13

Last week, we spend a decent chunk of real estate talking about the shadow priest tier 13 bonuses. A key source of distress was the two-piece bonus, which among other things took away the self-damage component of Shadow Word: Death. That's a nice change in theory, but removing that damage also removed our ability to regain mana via the Masochism talent -- a necessary technique in many fights.

Well, this week I do have good news to report: Blizzard realized the downside of the tier 13 two-piece bonus and made an edit. The tooltip now reads:

Patch 4.3: Tier 13 Set Bonuses
Shadow, 2P -- Shadow Word: Death deals an additional 55% damage, and reduces the damage you take from your own Shadow Word: Death when the target fails to die by 95%.

Obviously, I'm thrilled by the news (and you probably are too). The old bonus was too glyph-like -- it forced us to trade something good to get something good. This new bonus is all good. And if you still go killing yourself with that 95% damage reduction? For shame.

There has not, however, been any change to the four-piece tier 13 bonus, nor should we really expect there to be one. Blizzard absolutely loves buffing our movement damage -- if you'll recall, our (boring) tier 11 four-piece bonus did just that.
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? We've got more for shadow priests, from Shadow Priest 101 to a list of every monster worth mind controlling and strategies for raiding Blackwing Descent.

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