Post by Sinespe
Ah, a suitable 1,000th post.
Hi. Before we begin, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm a level 80 Shadow Priest who has (mostly) stuck with the class through TBC and Wrath. Over the years, I've noticed a lot of stuns and melee weapons towards priests and the people who play them, as well as the odd "heal plz": the former, specifically from the PvP crowd; the latter from both PvP and PvE. Often we are accused of not being a "real" priest. In TBC, we had trouble getting into non-guild instances for our lack of CC, and were laughed at for our pitiful damage and ease of obliteration through either overaggro or stuns. This is not valid. Shadow Priests, and indeed priests in general, are a wholesome class played by selfless individuals who have undeniable amounts of skill. Priests are a class played by those who love melting faces and having their fingers at the greatest complexity of healing spells in a single class. They like to be the underdog, and every HK they get and every 4k+ DPS bossfight they achieve has been performed with three times more effort than spamming, formerly, stuns, and latterly SS, SnD and Rupture.
Let me go into a little background to explain why the people who play Priests have gone through many trials to test their skill before getting to 80, the most brutal of them given to them when they were only beginners. To show you just how hard things were on us I'll give you a little recount of my personal experiences, some that happened a long time ago but are still fresh in my mind.
In the Spring of 2007 I created my first character, an Undead Priest on Frostwhisper (EU). I chose facial features that were soft and fair, with bands over the eyes to indicate a once blind faithfulness to the Light being twisted into a darkness in the soul common to all true followers of the Forsaken Shadow. My character had and still has her wiry, grey hair.
I started off in Deathknell, and after accepting my quests and heading off the stone path into a derelict village full of undead I fell in love with the simplistic workings of the Priest. I would run up to within 30 yards of the undead minion and hit my "Smite" button, figuring out that I could destroy mobs with ease in this fashion, resorting to my mace if the blue bar would fall to 0, which happened roughly every 2 kills. I gained Power Word: Fortitude at level 2, having now been given enough money to purchase the skill that would otherwise be "Trainable at level 1", and Shadow Word: Pain at level 4, and while not knowing what use I would have for these abilities at the time I thought Power Word: Fortitude would provide me with an awesome health bonus.
But things would not stay so simplistic and fun.
After leaving the relative safety of Deathknell I came in contact with the crossroads leading towards Brill in the greater area of Tirisfal Glades, and was sent to deliver random packages and other goods to Brill, an amazing, unimaginably huge place to me at the time.
However, also picking up a quest sending me a short way north to a nearby pumpkin patch, I quickly found out how useless a priest's Lesser Heal spell could be.
Level 5, I accepted a quest called "Fields of Grief
". It demanded I collect pumpkins -- or, rather, steal them from the human farmers. I wandered off to the area of my objective, unaware of the difficulty I would have dealing with these now-hated beasts.
Having no other moves than an upgraded Lesser Heal, other than those mentioned above, I decided to approach a level 7 farmer, and waited almost a minute for him to be separated from his compatriots enough for me to attack him without causing too much of a disturbance. As I smote him, I realised I had failed in my task -- a partner in agriculture joined forces! I tried not to panic, but continued to attack this first target, attempting to Shield myself and heal myself when I could, being increasingly aware that my mana was going down quickly. This first encounter was a learning experience, and as I died I noticed that the first of my attackers was almost down to 25% health.
I ran back to my corpse and fled a way back, waiting for my mana and health to fill up to 100% again. I approached the farmer, and waited again for the opportunity to use Smite. before I opened on him, I reasoned that Weakened Soul would wear off faster if I used it before
combat. This I then did, and more successfully attacked the farmer, this time bringing no friends with him, running to his inevitable doom. After I Smote a few times and Pained him, I had to hit him with my mace for seven seconds while my mana filled up enough to use my Smite once more, all the while taking great damage. We fell together, my Pain bringing him to his demise.
This would be my first hard-earned kill as a Priest, one of many, as Priests must put 110% effort into all of their kills, or they suffer death.
I soon figured out that in order to reliably kill a hard-hitting Farmer or, worse-still, a named
farmer of a level even higher than the standard peasants, I would need to have full mana on just about every pull, waiting for over 10 seconds for my blue bar to fill to an adequate level before commencing my attack, knowing that "I need more mana!" would spell almost-certain doom until I could get a wand -- but what on earth is a wand?
This took unimaginable skill on my part and a degree of precision most other classes would not understand. Being that a Priest is a getting-hit-in-the-face-paced class, which is why they have a five-second wait on mana regen, they require near-perfect patience to play correctly, and require this on every kill they hope to get.
Over the course of a Priest's life he will gain new skills, both lessening the amount of effort required to kill a mob but also complicating the Priest's job, prompting he or she to use the abilities, but use them at the right time in the right situation for the right reason. No matter what level a Priest is, he or she must always put in the full 110% effort if he or she hopes to even have a chance at a kill on that Rogue or Death Knight.
Due to a Priest's limited survivability, he is also the hardest class to level, and it seems that no one else understands what a Priest went through to get where he is. Often a Shadow Priest is disliked immediately, without the other person or persons getting to know the honest Priest and often quests alone, vying not away from group quests or instances but being shunned. This is not because the Shadow Priest does not like to socialize with other classes, but because we are afraid other classes will not like us.
And this is why, my <class> friends, that when you are killed in PvP by a Priest or out-damaged on the DPS meters you should not /cry or /spit, but instead /salute because what that player just did took unimaginable amounts of skill and ridiculous amounts of precision.
Spread Priest awareness! Love your Priests! Don't give the Torch of Holy Fire to the holy paladin, give it to the Priest! Don't let the Resto Druid into your group, sure he has Innervate and Mark of the Wild, but against a Death Knight's diseases, what are you going to do? You'll suffer from plagues and fevers, your HoTs dissipating into nothingness. Remember, love your Priests!
I've leveled every class barring priest up to at least 60
That much is plainly evident. Do it without using a wand. I dare you.