Gonna try to keep this very brief. Everyone's tired of 10-page articles.
Also, I know it always helps to see real numbers to back up claims, but unfortunately I don't really have any. Instead I'll just focus on how things feel. Maybe those correspond with real numbers and maybe they don't.
First off, I'm a Shadowpriest, not a Priest. Just ask my guildies, I am not a healer.
Second, I'm not a competitive PvPer. I dabbled in 3v3 in season 8 and made it to 2400ish but the huge majority of my PvP experience comes from pick-up battlegrounds. I haven't q'd for anything PvP-related since Panda hit.
I raid in a mid-tier guild, and do dailies and heroics. That is the extent of my perspective. I certainly can't argue against anyone saying my experience affects my opinions. But I am a subscriber, and my voice matters (I don't mean that in an entitled, gimme-gimme kind of way), so here I am.
This issue is pretty divisive - many insist that we need serious buffs, while others believe we're just fine. Personally I feel sub-par on single-target fights, shackled because of spec limitations, but I also think that someone has to be the worst; we were at least top three in 4.2 and 4.3, so maybe we're just paying our due. We had our glory days, and they were wonderful. It's hard for me to justify demanding buffs to put us on top again. Let someone else be king for a while.
That's not even to mention that there are several fights where we can definitely do top three-level damage.
I will say that I feel the discrepency between the highest and the lowest might be too much. When the top mages and locks in my guild are doing a good 25% more damage than I am, that just feels kind of rotten. It's probably a nightmare to balance 22 DPS specs to all parse within 5-10% of each other, especially when you have different kinds of fights to manage. But at least for primarily single-target fights, I'd like to not have to resign myself to mid-to-low damage, just because I flat-out can't do better.
So, long story short: Yes we're low on the totem pole, and I would love a single-target buff, but if I don't get one I won't be too upset.
This one is a problem child for everyone. Blizz doesn't like the design of only hitting one button to do great AoE, and we don't like the clunk and mathematical inferiority of multi-dotting. Currently Sear is a fine AoE spell again, and with enough targets we can compete or even eclipse the best of them. But I can already see the first signs of Blizz's design frustration with it. Ghostcrawler has a recent tweet about Holy dps where he thinks they overbuffed Sear. And so I worry.
Here's the thing, Blizz: we don't disagree with you about it. While we like doing great damage, hitting one button every 3-4 seconds isn't terribly engaging.
Mind Sear isn't a question of degrees of effectiveness. It's very binary - either it outperforms multidotting, and we'll spam it and do good AoE; or it doesn't, and we won't use it at all and our AoE will suck. We don't have a mechanic to spread dots, so if multi-dotting is better DPS than Sear spam, all of our GCDs are used keeping dots up and we don't have time to Sear. That is the clunkiness we've been struggling with until Sear got that final buff that pushed it over.
So my suggestion is a redesign. I won't waste time making up specific ideas, but what would be really killer is to make our AoE flexible, unique, powerful, and most importantly: more dynamic and challenging than hitting one button until stuff dies.
I still don't understand why everyone else gets a dot-spread mechanic but we, the second of two iconic dot classes, don't. But I'm not even specifically lobbying for that.