When playing on my priest lately, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of whispers that I receive with regards to both "rotation" and gear for shadow priests.  Many of these whispers are from guild-mates who play a shadow priest as an alt or as their secondary talent specialization (or spec).  However, I have also begun receiving whispers from players that I see in PuG raids and even from random priest that I have never met before (but are likely told to ask me by guild-mates).  I am actually amazed by the number of whispers, but I am happy to help as much as I can.

The two major things that people have been asking about are gear (and how to choose which gear to use) and rotation (*).  While both are major topics in their own right, I would like to focus on current gearing for the spriest.

The entire focus of a spriest is to maximize damage-per-second (DPS) while also providing appropriate utility to the raid group.  Much of the utility brought by spriests is in the form of buffs/debuffs that are applied simply by the use of our normal combat mechanics.  Thus, we can focus on maximizing our DPS, which will in turn maximize our utility.

One of the ways to maximize DPS is by properly gearing a spriest, which has changed recently (in patch 3.3) due to how haste now affects certain damage-over-time spells (DoTs).  This change basically allows DoTs to tick faster depending on the amount of haste that you have available. Note, however, that with the current implementation, SWP does not benefit from haste (so you will not need to re-cast it during Bloodlust/Heroism).

Anyway, if you are interested in min/max-ing your spriest, I would suggest stopping by the BRG (Best Raid Gear) forums on www.shadowpriest.com, but make sure you are looking at the information for the current patch (3.3).  If you are not really the min/max type of player, but would rather settle for a general idea of how to gear, just follow this simple rule:

Hit (**) > Spellpower = Haste Rating > Critical Strike Rating > Spirit > Intellect

Keep in mind that is using raw (rating) values, so 1 point of Spellpower would be equivalent to 1 point of Haste Rating (not 1% Haste).

While that is the general rule, you may want to also keep in mind that Haste is a stepped type of stat, where 1 point of Haste Rating may not be entirely equivalent to 1 point of Spellpower.  In fact, depending on what your current haste rating is, it may be significantly higher than spellpower.  If you were to see a graph of the two, it would look something like the image above (though likely more of a curve than entirely stepped).  The idea is to get enough haste so that your spells coincide with your global cooldown, which (if I remember correctly) happens somewhere around the 600 Haste rating and 900 Haste Rating marks (a.k.a. the sweet spots), though I wouldn't quote me on those numbers.

So, with that, I wish you good luck in picking out your new gear, and hope that I have steered you in the right direction.

See you in the Shadows,

* Spriests don't necessarily have a "rotation" to speak of, but should focus on using a priority list.
** When under hit cap.

One of the many challenges for any class in World of Warcraft is determining whether an item is an upgrade when you are running an instance, many people affectionately call this the "Numbers Game".  This is especially true when you get into higher end raiding, where the differences between items is not necessarily that significant.

To assist the world of Shadow Priests out there, I have created a program for analyzing items from the game, so that it is easier to determine which item is a bigger upgrade for you.  The program will allow you to change certain values for items, but is currently only set up to include those stats that are sought after by shadow priests, including Hit Rating, Spell Power, Intellect, Spirit, Critical Strike Rating, and Haste Rating.  Also, while the program does come with pre-defined default scaling factors built in for these stats, which are based off the scaling factors found on www.shadowpriest.com, the program does offer the ability for you to set your own scaling factors (as well as setting values for gems, enchants, and trinkets).

Another thing that you may want to note is that, while this program was designed with shadow priests in mind, the program will likely work well for other casting classes (warlocks and mages come to mind), with a little tweaking of the scaling factors to suit your needs.

The program does have some nice features, such as a search option at the top of the "Dashboard" which will allow you to do a quick search on Wowhead, as well the actual calculator form will do a search for the item information you enter into the "Item Name" textbox, and will parse through the item's data, and automatically fill in the stat information.

Below I have listed some of the pertinent facts regarding the program:
Name: SpriestPPCalc

Author: Spazmoosifer of Khadgar

Cost: Free to use

License: This product is free to download, use, and transfer to other people, however, all rights to the code remain the property of Spazmoosifer of Khadgar, with all other media remaining as the property of their respective owners (specifically Blizzard and Wowhead come to mind).

Warranty: This program is provided as-is, with no implicit or explicit warranties for its use.

Where to Download:  Click Here to download the program

What to do after downloading: This program does not require installation in order to use.  Once you download the program, you can just extract it from the .ZIP file, and begin using it.

Regarding Updates:  While this program is available for use, I am sure that there will be an occasional update, which may or may not include additional features, as well as bug fixes, etc.  If an update occurs, I will try to remember to make a post on this site, but do not make any guarantees.

Please let me know your thoughts about the program, or if you have any suggestions to make the program better.  As a side note, while I understand how much more useful this would be in-game, I do not plan on converting this program into an add-on at this time.  If you have experience creating in-game addons, and would like to have assistance in creating an addon based on this program, please feel free to contact me.

See you in the Shadows,