Priest is the only class I have never played to end-game. And quite frankly the reason why is because they were god awful boring up to about level 30 pre-Cataclysm. You spent most of your time actually wanding down mobs after dotting them in order to conserve mana. If you attempted to dot then kill with Mind Blast and Mind Flay you would literally run out of mana every pull. The advent of heirloom gear in WotLK changed that somewhat, as the Discerning Eye of the Beast Trinket helped quite a bit. Except where it really mattered most — dungeons — because you rarely got the killing blow and the trinket’s proc requires that. I had steeled myself for the long grind last Fall but unfortunately that project went by the way side as I took my pre-Cataclysm WoW hiatus. Well I’m back at it and I’ve finally reached level 58 today. And I can tell you that Cataclysm changed a lot of things in the priest class, the best of which is no more wanding!
I am really enjoying Shadow Priests this time around — and this is my third go around with the class/spec. Blizzard paid a lot of attention to the game experience of the low level player, with the various changes to mechanics making a huge difference in mana regeneration and longevity. And it does indeed get better the higher I’ve gotten. Particularly when I was able to pick up Vampiric Embrace, Masochism, Vampiric Touch, and Pain and Suffering as talents. Passive mana and health regen increase dramatically, but overall DPS begins to increase dramatically as well when you get Shadow Word: Death. Even though there were plenty of points on dungeon runs in my 20’s and 30’s where I would almost go OOM that’s virtually gone by the wayside as I approach 60. In fact I hardly ever drop below 70% mana now, but even when I was 20’s and 30’s going OOM usually only happened on trash pulls when I used both dots, and used Mind Blast and Mind Flay as well. If I simply Mind Flayed through the pack I was fine.
While I will undoubtedly end up playing this Priest in PVE content when I hit 85 I decided to level it primarily for PVP purposes. Anyone that knows me knows I’m a huge PVP fan. I spend a great many hours each week PVPing on my Druid, and of all of the classes I see day to day, the Shadow Priest is the one I think I hate the most. And I usually don’t hang around very long once one starts dotting me up, so of course Shadow Priest would be one of my choices for PVP alt.