Important Shadowpriest Stats

I’m annoyed with the large number of people who declaimed in the Healing Stats threads that “only deaths matter” for healers. I also am aware I’ve slacked on writing for the shadowside. I’m going to kill two birds with one stone, here. What are the important stats for the shadowpriest, and how do you use them to improve? Note they’re quite similar for ALL killteam classes, though some of the details will be different – and you’ll probably spot those places as we go.

The “only stat that matters” for the killteam is whether they killed the mob. That said, we pull a number of stats to see how WELL we did. What we want to do is AS MUCH damage as possible AS LONG as possible. That is three (not two) stats that need measured: DPS; Total Damage; and Participation Rate. While the first two are obvious, you all know I love the sound of my own voice, so…

DPS is quite simply the Instant Damage you’re doing at any given second. Most of the time it’s averaged over the whole fight — and if you fall out of the fight early your overall dps goes down. We’ll get to that. Better tools (such as Recount) can graph your damage over a period of several seconds showing you how you’re doing — is it a sustained, high level of damage, or is it spiky with high surges followed by a stretch of not so much? Depending on the spells you’re casting you can see if this is meeting your expectations, and adjust to increase the total effect.

Total damage is also fairly important. After all, if out of five players – of whom two are the tank and the healer – you are typically doing 10% of the total to the boss…. you probably need to improve. By the same token, if you’re doing 50% you’re probably doing very well — unless you’re running instances that are “under your level”.

For shadowpriests and most other mana using killteam players, a critical issue is duration. If you’re spending third of the battle out of combat – providing no Damage – it might behoove you to figure out why. If it’s because you’re dodging Aran’s blizzards, that’s one thing. But if it’s because you do so much damage you pulled aggro and died, or it’s because you ran out of mana and had nothing with which to recover and continue… maybe you need to re-evaluate your behavior.

What else is useful? Well, it’s useful to see if you’re getting the most out of your spells. This, by the way, is one of the reasons I enjoy using WWS – though Recount (and, I think, SWS) will tell you the same thing. How many times did you cast Mind Flay? And how many ticks did it do? Remember if you’re getting everything it should be three ticks per cast. If not, you’re wasting mana – and quite possibly damage. The same goes for SW:P. And while we’re looking, does it look like you’re getting as many casts of, well, of everything out as you should? Count the ticks of SW:P. Divide total duration of the battle by 3. How many ticks are you short – how many more casts of SW:P should you have managed to squeeze in there with that extra damage stacking on top? And… how was your hit rate? Are you missing more than 1%? If so, you know you have to up your spell hit rate.
You’re killteam. You want to kill the beasties as quickly as possible, but you do not want them alive when you can’t do any more to them — better to take a little more time and get them dead than at 1% and laughing at your helplessness. DPS (damage per second) and Rate of Participation (time you’re doing damage over total time of battle) which tells you total damage are your three Main Stats. And the littler details tell you where you need to tweak to make it better.


~ by Kirk on October 1, 2007.

6 Responses to “Important Shadowpriest Stats”

  1. Very good ideas on how to improve efficiency. Clipping ticks off DoTs is the worst thing you can do. Clipping ticks off of Mindflay, however, is something that I find myself doing frequently when the Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death cooldowns come up. Effectively using these cooldowns (5x improved MB talent) can increase your DPS by as much as 15% as opposed to just straight Mindflay.

    Also, maximizing the benefit of power up trinkets can further increase DPS output by 3-5% depending on the trinkets you use. Always use trinkets just before refreshing DoTs, squeeze in as many MB+SW:D as you can, and always use a Mindflay within the last second of the powerup. Doing this effectively increases the duration of the powerup from a 15 sec to 18+ seconds. The difference you’ll see when you really get the hang of this is huge. (because SPs are the one stat wonder Shadow Spell Damage > all)

  2. Doug,

    The problem with clipping the end of Mind Flay is mana efficiency. Yes, if you’re sufficiently boosted your clip will do more damage than the MF tick. But that’s several hundred points of damage you’ve wasted toward your final result.

    There are times when doing as much as possible RIGHT NOW is really important. But in a lot of fights – Aran, Prince, Gruul (sorta, given growth issues), and so on – being able to keep going can mean more in the end.

    DPS is probably the most important stat. But sacrificing total damage and participation rate and dpm are… not always the right thing to do.

  3. Right now, I’m sporting a 7/0/54 spec to maximize damage output. I see nearly every shadow priest running around with 14/0/47 to get Inner Focus and Meditation. I truly dont feel that these are necessary for fights shorter than 10 minutes. Last night my guild ran SSC and downed Lurker. According to recount (<3 that mod) I was top DPS, with 9.9% of damage done and 995 sustained DPS for the 9.5 minute duration of the fight. I ended the fight with 35% mana. Noone in my group besides me dropped below 50% for the duration of the fight. I decided to stay in the water for the duration of each phase 1 (and rely on VE to keep me up) to eliminate downtime from the spout, and the results were well worth it.

    DPM only becomes an issue when you have to reduce DPS output because of low mana, otherwise its irrelevant (much the same as overheal until mana becomes a problem)

    Another interesting thing to consider is what to do when a warlock gets a Shadow Bolt crit. It is better for raid DPS to leave that debuff up for as long as possible (+20% more shadow damage for 12 seconds, 4 charges each removed by a non periodic source of shadow damage) While its slightly better for my own personal DPS to nuke them off with a quick MB+SW:D, overall raid DPS benefits more when I Mindflay/DoT for that 12 seconds (Mindflay counts as periodic damage).
    On a side note, this is THE BEST time to use Shadowfiend because our little bud deals shadow based damage(20% more shadowfriend damage free…count me in!), and doesn’t eat the charges from the debuff.

    Also keep in mind that Shadow Priests are in raids for the utility they bring, and that utility is 100% DPS based. Based on Vampiric Touch uptime (mine was about 98% due to phase change) 995 sustained DPS converts to just over 240 mp5 for the whole group. Looking at it from this perspectve, the DPS lost in this case from not clipping Mindflay for MB+SW:D cooldowns would mean a loss of about 20-25 mp5 for each member of the party.

  4. First, VERY nice numbers. I think it worth pointing out that how you play will change as you progress – no, let me phrase that better. How you can BEST play changes as you progress. A “new” 70 shadowpriest is not going to be able to sustain clipping the MF and still have mana left as they’re going to be pushing for the magic 500 DPS. Somewhere around 700 dps, though, I suspect you may be right, though where the actual point difference applies is uncertain. My key point, however, is that you have to be able to last the whole fight – burning out too soon may be a really bad idea.

    If I may be so bold, could you recreate your spec on and then link the result so we can look? 7/0/54 is an intersting variation, but also very uncommon. And the chance to learn is priceless.

    And on most bosses I agree about the timing. Though sometimes – I always throw the fiend out when Curator is evocating. Triple damage is triple mana…

  5. Similar to Doug, I have a 8/0/53 spec to maximize damage output, especially for instances and raids. Threat seems to run high at times, but I still manage to sustain DPS. Let me know what you think:

  6. Also, I must mention that I omitted spirit tap from my spec because I have really low spirit. however, I don’t feel that not having spirit tap has been a problem because of efficient use of mana pots and shadow fiend.

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