shadowpriest aggro

In my previous post MK noted that VE is somewhat situational.  While in the context of basic evaluation I disagree, in the overall scheme of things he’s right, and I’d like to dig a little deeper in something I suspect most spriests don’t pay attention to.

To start, let’s revisit aggro and threat.  While we don’t have The Word from Blizzard, we’ve studied this enough almost everyone has a good handle on the deal.  So we can take this as the way things work for now.  What we think that is, is for every point of damage you do to a mob, you generate one point of threat.  Additionally, every time you heal you  do half the healing as threat, which is FURTHER spread about all the mobs in the fight.  (That is kind of important.  It means that when things are really, really busy, as long as everything is getting a love tap your healing won’t get much attention at all.)  One more really important point that’s going to be applicable here – mana restoration is treated as healing.

OK, you’re a shadow priest.  You’ve got Improved Vampiric Embrace (2/2) and Vampiric Touch DoTs running.   You hit the mob the tank is on for 1000 points.  How much threat did you just generate?  Well, there’s the thousand.  The 250 healing you did to every member of your party – all five of you if you all were damaged – is another 625.  And the 50 mana for each of your casters – we’ll assume three of you for 150 – is another 75.  You did 1700 threat for that thousand points of damage.  700 of it will be divided among all the other mobs engaged, if they are present.

Can you say “ouch?”

A shadowpriest who is bouncing against the top of the threatmeter may forgo VE for a couple of cycles.  This actually improves the DPS rate (Instant cast/GCD of something that doesn’t do damage is time you can do damage instead) but puts a little more burden on the healers.  Given time, warning them might be good.  Thing is, the shadowpriest should never forgo VT – which is going to be another 2.5% threat across all mobs.

As an SP you need to be aware of what you’re doing besides the damage that’s affecting threat, and when you should choose to stop healing for better benefit to the whole party.  There are a number of SPs who respec to remove Improved VE so as to reduce the healing aggro by, well, by that 10% healing.  It’s a tradeoff.

Just do it knowingly, aware of all the reasons good and bad, when you do it.  ok?


~ by Kirk on October 9, 2007.

5 Responses to “shadowpriest aggro”

  1. In a raiding situation, if a Shadow Priest has Blessing of Salvation, and a hunter to misdirect the tanks, there should be no reason (aside from aggro dumps) for them to be able to pull aggro, even in cases with AOE damage (VE healing 5 people without overheal). If not, its very likely a severe gear disparity, or the tank isn’t generating enough threat.

    Without Blessing of Salvation (or Tranquil Air Totem) threat is something that must be watched diligently.

    I completely disagree with not using VE (and not having 2 points Improved VE). If a situation arises where VE actually makes the difference between pulling aggro and not, is a situation where it is definitely needed.
    Also, any Shadow Priest that uses Shadow Word: Death regularly should always keep VE up to keep themselves healed, otherwise they become high maintenance DPS which causes a drain on healer mana, but more importantly takes their attention away from their healing assignment.

    As for your “ouch” comment, I tend to “raid face down” on trash alot of times…unless I put on my PVP gear and enjoy 11.5k hitpoints with raid buffs, thus giving the healers time to get a heal off when I decide to tank…

  2. I always seem to generate a lot of threat when I run PUG’s. This is non-heroic 5 mans. If I try to do max dmg I can often pull aggro off a tank during a boss fight. Do shadowpriests in general do more aggro than some other dps classes?

  3. @ RaydenUni, sort of. If you’re running VT and VE you generate that threat on top of the damage threat (as mentioned in the article). But other than that, no.

    As Doug says, in a group with all the help your VE/VT extra should make no difference. And VE is what lets you use SD:D with impunity. But pugs… it depends on the tank you drew.

  4. Excellent information. Since getting my +damage up over 1K I’ve had extreme difficulty managing aggro – especially with a warrior tank. Your post has given me some real food for thought. Kudos!

  5. Something I like to do is wait till the tank and other threat combined is around 4-5k before I case my first sw:p followed up immediately by VE and VT then just kinda stand there watching my meter. If it is a good tank then I start pulling out the stops when the tank reaches 7-8k threat, but if it is just an average tank I end up waiting till the have build 10-12k threat. I also spam my fade every time the cooldown is up.

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