In my spare time I have been leveling my third toon to 70. This time I went with a priest. When I first made him, he was going to be holy so I could heal for my group of friends as we all leveled together. Then I ended up playing more solo than in groups, and found holy to be a dull soloing spec. I dropped the priest completely and leveled a paladin 1-70. Now I have picked up the priest again, and I went with shadow for solo leveling.
For comparison, my main – the rogue – was easy to level. My dps was high so mobs went down fast. Stealth allowed me to pick my fights and avoid danger. Stun abilities kept me from taking too much damage. I could usually fight one mob after another after another for a while before having to stop and bandage or eat. Once I got Vanish then I was able to escape from bad pulls or adds.
My second toon was a prot pally. I had him prot specced from the very start because I wanted to learn the abilities well to make it easy to jump into tanking at 70. Leveling him was a chore. It took forever to kill a mob, and I had to drink to get my mana back after every couple of kills. Except for the few places where I could AoE grind, it was horrible. His survivability was incredible, though. I could accidentally pull 5-6 mobs and between his high armor and his bubble I’d get away.
Now I am leveling this shadow priest, and it has been ridiculously easy so far. My dps is not as high as a rogue, but its high enough to kill mobs pretty quickly. With PW:S I can avoid damage. Psychic Scream lets me manage bad pulls and adds, and Spirit Tap returns my mana to me fairly quickly after a fight.
The difference between the rogue and shadow priest has been how long I can go without eating or drinking. Since the rogue was fighting up-close-and-personal, he inevitably took damage and had to stop and eat or bandage periodically. With the priest, Spirit Tap gives me back mana after every kill so I rarely have to stop and drink.
I was in Winterspring at level 58 and I went into the valley where the 59 elite ice giants wander around. On my rogue I never would have attempted that, because it only takes a few hits to kill a leather-wearing rogue. On the priest – EZ. I pulled, SW:P, PW:S, dps for a few seconds. When PW:S went down I feared it and dotted. Had my PW:S up again before he got back to me, and Mind Flayed him the rest of the way down. I finished the fight with 100% health and still 25% mana. Crazy.
As long as I could pull one at a time, I could take out mobs that were red to me, usually with ease.
Now that I am in Outland it has not been so easy. The mobs hit harder, and their damage has gone up faster than mine has. Vampiric Embrace isn’t keeping me fully healed anymore. Time to do some research. Then again, I keep hearing how badly Shadow Priests are getting nerfed in WotLK, so maybe I should go Disc or Holy.
A nice thing about the priest class in WotLK is that they may be able to use a lot of the same gear for either shadow or holy spec. Since +damage and +healing are being replace with +spellpower, I should be able to switch spec depending on the raid needs without having to swap out a whole set of gear. We’ll see.