Rereading my 5SR post reminds me that being smart with mana matters to the shadow side too, though it’s a slightly different viewpoint.
If you go read it again, you’ll notice that I said that if the healpriest is being smart, then the player making the party wait between groups is the mage. Let me be clear, I mean the “I burn mana like it’s tinder at a boy scout convention” classes regardless of actual class. Sadly, this far to often means the shadow-priest.
Now, like the mages (and to some extent the warlocks) as a DPSer you have to be doing something pretty much all the time, making it hard to take advantage of the 5SR. But you can be smarter about the mana you actually spend. Let’s take a specific example.
When clearing trash mobs, how often do you add SW:P? Bets, if you’re like most, is pretty much all the time. Idiot.
Seriously. When the whole party is going to town, how long does the normal trash mob last — 10 seconds? 15 max? So you toss SW:P right off the bat and you’re getting… 3 ticks? 5 if everything goes just right? That’s out of 6 (or 8 if you picked up the talents) total ticks available?
We loves SW:P for two big reasons. First, as a DoT it ticks damage while we’re doing something else, bumping up the DPS. Second, it is just short of being our most mana efficient spell in DpM terms. Now, only using part of it doesn’t change anything for DPS — though why we need high-rate DPS for trash is usually a worthy question. But as far as DpM goes, by halving our damage we halve our DpM. And while it’s really efficient when all the damage goes off, it’s our worst performer if we don’t squeeze everything out of it.
As a general rule, I”d suggest the following: VE, VT, MF till end. When do you make an exception?
When speed of kill matters. When, if you don’t drop it NOW! NOW! NOW! it’s going to be really bad news. And if that’s the circumstance then you’d better not be wasting time with VE or VT – 2.5 seconds (cast time and cooldown) that are contrary to the reason you’re adding the DPS. Note this isn’t the boss. The boss needs your high DPS, but he’s also going to last long enough (whatever you may do) that your VE and VT won’t make that much difference in speed of death — and at the same time contribute to party duration.
I’m going to suggest two patterns for trash, with variations.
Pattern one – ‘normal’ trash – is wand or MF (whichever has higher DPS) till the end of the battle. Add VE and/or VT at the beginning when you have them.
Pattern two – KILL the nuisance NOW (eyes, possessors, that sort of thing) get SW:P/SW:D/MB/MF till D or MB are available again — though if whatever it is is still alive by the time either come back you probably didn’t kill it fast enough.
THINK, and plan ahead. Know that an unexpected undead add may be better dealt with by shackle than trying to kill the rest of the mobs faster – and that if the add is a phantasmal possessor in Auchenai crypts (for example), it’s immune to shackle (but needs killed in 5 seconds or else…) If you start getting in a rut, you can get burned when things go weird. Just… pay attention, think about and work on your options ahead of time, and play smart. You’ll benefit.