Shadow 5.2 Wishlist

90 Night Elf Priest
13860
With 5.2 announced, and the first set of datamined changes, and with me bored at work I thought I'd write up a short list of stuff that's been on my mind, including a few things I'd like to see as the expansion rolls forward.

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.

Perspective

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.

Single-target DPS

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.

Mind Sear

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.
Edited by Annesh on 12/22/2012 12:23 AM PST
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90 Night Elf Priest
13860
No DPS Cooldown

I'm less concerned about this than other people I've seen. While it does bug me that everyone else in the raid blows me away on the pull, I do always creep up and take my rightful place as the fight matures, so I can't be that upset about it. I won't argue that a strong DPS cooldown would be cool, but I don't consider that a priority.

Movement Talents

This is something that started bugging me while leveling my rogue, and discovered that all roguely movement-enhancers stack with each other, often multiplicatively. Druid talents work the same way, as does Speed of Light for Paladins. Some movement talents don't work like this, but maybe they all should.

Why have we Priests never seen our movement speed mechanics stack with others? Inner Will was supposed to stack with boot speed but it never did. Body and Soul (a Talent) sets your speed to a flat 160% regardless of what other stuff you have (except for the speed buff you get after beating bosses in Temple of the Jade Serpent and probably a couple other isolated buffs). I'd like my talents to not be inferior.

Power Infusion

I doubt many people take this talent. Adding a passive haste bonus would go a long way to make it more compelling.

Shadow Word: Insanity

No one likes this spell. No one takes this spell. The numbers say it's trash, and it is.

And why do we need it? What is its identity? "A spell to blow up your dots for a big hit when the mob is getting low," I think was the official word on its design goal.

Well, firstly we already have Shadow Word: Smiley, and second, a talent whose entire purpose is limited to solo grinding? I mean, it's clearly bad for raid bosses, as the numbers indicate. So how about rethinking that talent slot?

Mobile DPS

I see this issue pop up on forums sometimes and I agree, I feel ghastly weak when I have to move for more than one or two GCDs. I would really love some kind of on-the-move spell other than SWP spam.

Many priests are campaigning for Flay castable on the move. I feel that might be a bit over the top, actually. I'd be really careful with something like that.

My idea (yeah I know specific suggestions are frowned on) is to redesign Mind Spike: Castable on the move, and instead of removing dots it deals less damage to dotted targets, tuned so it hits like a Scorch on a fully dotted target (better on-the-move damage than SWP spam but somewhat less than just standing and Flaying), but hits hard enough on a clean target that it can still be used to quickly burn a weak add. This would have an impact on FDCL, of course, but I'm not even sure it would need a redesign; just a numbers adjustment maybe.

Scaling

There are very frightening issues with how poorly we scale, once again, with stats. The biggest flaw I can cite is that Shadow Orb generation, and therefore Devouring Plague, our heaviest hitting "finisher" move, doesn't scale as it should.

I'm not sure where the decision came from to remove haste scaling from the Mind Blast cooldown, but returning to that model would help a lot.

There are other issues with scaling, but I can only hope an actual smart person will grace my thread and shower me with math to prove it.

Shadow Word: Death Responsiveness

Currently, there's a brief but noticeable delay when a target drops to 20% or lower before SWD lights up. I haven't noticed the same delay with any other execute moves.

That's all I can think of for now. Thank you very much for reading.
Edited by Annesh on 12/22/2012 3:35 AM PST
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90 Human Priest
8320
I really like the Mind Spike idea for mobile dps, and you don't even have to rebalance FDCL with it - just make it so FDCL procs have it do full damage regardless of dots in addition to making it instant. The only potential issue would be pvp - do you want priests casting spikes on non-dotted targets while on the move, adding pressure to multiple opponents?

I can't speak on some of the other ideas, since my gear and experience at ninety are both somewhat lacking (3 days and counting!), but I will say that SW:I sucks, and that Shadow Word: Death not lighting up right away bugs me an awful lot.
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90 Troll Priest
11525
Going to try to address each point you brought up in the order in which you brought them up.

Single-target DPS
If you look at raidbots, Shadow is in a fairly poor spot in PvE.

Using the following Control options for both 25H and 10H for all fights in MSV and HoF:
Data Set: All Parses
Timespan: 1 Month (nearly enough to include almost only data from 5.1)
Sample Period: 2 weeks
Measure: 90th Percentile

Shadow Ranks the following:
25H:
Stone Guards: 14
Feng: 20
Gara'jal: 21
Spirit Kings: 5
Elegon: 4
Will: 13
Vizier: 20
Blade Lord: 23
Garalon: 16
Wind Lord: 20
Amber-Shaper: 13
Empress: 6

10H:
Stone Guards: 10
Feng: 20
Gara'jal: 20
Spirit Kings: 8
Elegon: 4
Will: 10
Vizier: 19
Blade Lord: 21
Garalon: 19
Wind Lord: 19
Amber-Shaper: 16
Empress: 15

That's a total of 7 fights (24 total) in which Shadow ranks in the top half of DPS specs (23 total), also in the top 10. Only 3 of these fights have Shadow in the top 5, with no fight having Shadow in the top 3.

Personally, I'm appalled by our current output. I realize that Shadow was near the top of the pile for most fights in 4.3 and some in 4.2, but it's pretty bad now. Shadow lacks any strong burst. This is in part due to its massive ramp up time requirements and part because of its lack of any significant cooldowns.

Mind Sear
The Mind Sear buff was completely necessary. Although, having a Mind Sear spam rotation for AoE is not fun nor complex game play. However, if Blizzard wants to make Shadow's AoE rotation more complex by having players multi-dot as a priority before Mind Searing, then the uptime of our dots needs to be higher than it currently is and/or Mind Sear needs to do more damage to targets with either SW: P or VT on them.

No DPS Cooldown
I, too, am fine without having another button thrown into our rotation. Shadow feels like a sustained DPS class that should have small spikes rather than large ones. However, that means that our DPS during a non-Lust phase of a fight needs to be significantly higher if it's to balance out our DPS during a Lust phase with that of other classes. Currently, both are pretty rough.

Movement Talents
Each class needs to maintain some unique flavor. Having Rogues, Druids, and Paladins (to a lesser extent) have speed boost cds that stack is fine. Shadow has the capability to spec into Body and Soul or Angelic Feathers and both provide ample movement increases for the class.

Power Infusion and Shadow Word: Insanity
Both of these talents need an overhaul. Neither is ideal for maximizing DPS on any fight - PI might be for Recklessness phases on HM Wind Lord. I like your idea behind PI, but I don't think that's enough to make the talent worth taking over ToF or DI (fight dependent). SW: I is just terrible. Like you brought up, it's mathematically terrible and it's aesthetically clunky.

Mobile DPS
In Cata, Shadow was able to spam Devouring Plague while moving. This was fine because the damage was a slight increase over standing and hardcasting Mind Flay. Because DP now requires 3 orbs before it's a DPS gain, this is no longer possible and we're stuck with spamming SW: P on the move. I'm okay with this, similar to Balance Druids using Moonfire, Mages use Scorch / Ice Lance, etc. However, SW: P's initial damage needs a buff to make this viable. Currently, it feels like we're throwing spitballs at bosses while moving. It's dull and ineffective and needs some changes.

Scaling
We began to see scaling issues with Shadow compared to other classes in 4.3. I don't think the issues have gone away and actually appear to be getting quite worse. I don't have the mathematical data to back this up other than that I've noticed our ranks on fights on raidbots, following the same options as mentioned above, have slowly been decreasing on every fight. This is in part due to changes made during 5.1, but also in part to poor scaling because Haste is so heavily our favorite stat. I believe this issue can be fixed by a change to the way our Mastery works, but I don't have any ideas for a solution to that. I'm sure if Twintop or Woaden show up to post they can pull up some math on this.

SW: D Responsiveness
Noticed this too. It needs Blizzard to take a look at it, with maybe changing it to become active at 20.9% rather than 20.0%.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
5620
I wish SW:I was good so i could take it but its just so bad.
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90 Troll Priest
Rex
14195
even with the idea of PI being good for things like windlord, as long as there are other adds in the fight the other talents on that tier will smash it.

the big thing about PI is that it doesn't help us cast more DP's, and all it does as far as our spec-defining mechanic is concerned is (potentially) give us extra ticks to our DP dot. that's nothing compared to an across the board 15% dmg boost to DP if we can dot/sear/death a low health mob before windlord recklessness, or have SWPs rolling on multiple adds 5-6 seconds before recklessness for extra DPs from DI.

and in the cases where you would theoretically 'want' to use PI as it currently exists, the actual choice would be to log out, log your alt warlock in 25 ilvl lower gear, and do triple your priests dps in that 20 second window with 4 soulshards and a dark soul.
Edited by Snaxattax on 12/22/2012 1:29 PM PST
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90 Pandaren Priest
9520
I found that PI was pretty good in brawler's arena and on challenge mode end bosses. Otherwise, there's no reason to take it.

Liking the suggestions. I definitely think that our single target can be boosted a bit. I liked the old insect swarm idea for moonkins during beta - 30% more damage by dots (play with that number, obviously), can only be used on one target at a time. Keeps our multidotting capped reasonably, doesn't increase our burst in pvp significantly, and gives us that needed boost to single target bosses. Also, some movement mechanic might help. Maybe increase the DD of sw:p? Do it like moonfire?
Edited by Terrortician on 12/22/2012 2:07 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Hunter
13910
i dont play my spriest much good job just your last comment with execute moves hunters have the same problem it dont light up or we get one and not 2(if it dont kill the mob it supposed to reset)
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90 Night Elf Priest
13860
OP here, I have a couple new items for my Christmas/wish list.

Shadow Orb Ramp-up Time

Since we begin fights without Shadow Orbs (unless there was some trash beforehand), there's a 24-second delay before we can cast Plague (unless you take DI and have a bit of RNG). This feels bad and every single boss pull I wish I had something to make sure I had full Orbs to start.

Let's take a look at other classes with secondary resource systems:

  • Death Knight runes automatically replenish every few seconds, in or out of combat, assuring DKs begin every fight at full strength.
  • Moonkins have Astral Communion and can start any fight precisely where they want to be on the Lunar/Solar bar, at zero cost but a few seconds of channel time.
  • Paladin Holy Power is the closest cousin of Shadow Orbs. Holy Paladins can use Holy Shock out of combat to start at 5 Holy Power (only 3 of which can be used for any ability). Ret paladins generate Holy Power faster than we generate Orbs thanks to Haste reducing Crusader Strike cooldown and Exorcism generating a HP. The Holy Avenger talent also causes all Holy Power generators to generate 3 Power each hit, so they can start at full power every fight.
  • Rogues generate CP much faster and can have their first rack of full CP either instantly or within a few seconds. Rogues are also getting a new tier 90 talent to automatically generate 5 CP once every minute.
  • Unfortunately I don't know Warlock stuff, but my understanding is they start with full Shards/Embers any pull.


I understand that not all classes can be the same, but it feels lousy how the thing that separates us from the others is actually design inferiority.

I would love if we had some out-of-combat way to generate Orbs, or if they just replenished automatically while OOC, or if we had a 2-3 minute cooldown that causes a huge surplus of Orbs, or something that meant we could start every fight at our full potential.

Psychic Horror and Shadow Orb Spenders

Like I said, I haven't PvPed yet this xpac, but this has bugged me since I saw it. It's nice that Horror has such a short cooldown now, but having it tied to Orbs is probably godawful. I'd love to see a revamp to how Orbs can be spent. Look to similar systems for inspiration. Typically you have an offensive use, a defensive/healy use, and a third use which could be control or escape. The Orb system then becomes very versatile and fun.

PvPers Please Provide Some Feedback

I can't comment on the subject based on experience; all I know is what I hear and read that makes sense based on my knowledge of the spec. So if you do competitive PvP as a Spriest please post about what you'd like to see.
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90 Gnome Priest
14515
I was going to talk about blahblah balance blahblah talents blahblah shadow orbs. But just to not repeat so much that I've said in other posts and stick to the theme..

Shadow Apparitions

These things aren't actually as weak as I thought they were in terms of total DPS. I think they beat out my Shadowfiend in the end. However, they are soo slooow! Could we speed these buggers up? After that, the worst is when the target dies or goes invisible. Then they just hang around me, staring at me with those cold dead eyes (and stop me from spawning more).
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90 Undead Priest
0
Mobile DPS is difficult, because anything like an instant cast Mind Spike on the run is going to be extremely powerful in PvP. Being able to put out solid DPS, on the run, without risking our shadow school being locked out on a silence is probably too good.
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The only thing that really irks me about spriests this expansion is the idea that late into the expansion, I can just tell we're going to slowly fall behind with the 24 sec gap between DP's. And even then, the gap is more than 24 seconds due to any combination of casting time, having to wait for a MF tick before clipping or having to move.

Call me insane, but I would love to see MF crits reduce the CD of MB. I enjoyed MF reducing SF's CD last expansion and would like to see it back. I understand that most would just prefer haste to straight up reduce MB's cd similar to ret paladins, but I'm not a fan of haste eclipsing every other secondary stat.

The current dynamic relationship between haste, crit and mastery adds an enjoyable top layer to gearing. Past the 8085 haste point, you're in a position to gem however you want with plenty of top end shadow priests gemming for a different secondary stat. Of course simcraft will give you a "clear" winner but even then, there are differences. Haste wins out of multiple targets, crit wins out of single target, mastery is admittedly left behind in both cases.

By making MF's crits reduce MB's CD, this relationship between all three stats will hopefully stay somewhat the same. I honestly think it's kinda cool. Haste will reduce the time in between ticks, allowing for more chances for it to crit; crit will... frankly be crit; and mastery will provide additional MF procs to crit! Tell me that's not cool how dynamic that is.

Finally, this change should have little impact on the PvP side of things. Can't argue with that!

The only other thing that bothers me about spriests right now is the limit to shadowy appartions. Not that it's matters all too much but again, I can see the limit being an issue as our crit rating gets higher.

Overall though, I'm happy with the current state of things. Maybe if I was on the top end raider, I'd be more concerned, but frankly, I'm just an average raider who finally got around to downing all 16 bosses on normal this week.

By no means do I think shadow is perfect right now, it definitely has its kinks. However, I think (in MY humble opinion) that Blizzard should be more focused on other classes and specs in order to keep the game as a whole healthy. If anything, shadow is a good example of balance (at least on the PvE side of affairs). And I don't mean balance as in awesome in every aspect. I mean balance as in shadow strikes a nice ratio considering all aspects of raiding as a dps: single target, multi target (both long living mobs such as wind lord and short living mobs such as will of the emperor) and utility. What we lack in single target, we make up for in multi target and utility (and fun!)
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90 Blood Elf Warlock
17205
12/22/2012 04:45 PMPosted by Annesh
Unfortunately I don't know Warlock stuff, but my understanding is they start with full Shards/Embers any pull.


Affliction starts with four shards and further generation thereof is mostly RNG. Demonology and destruction start with practically nothing and have the longest ramp-ups of any specs by a good deal.
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90 Troll Warlock
11210
Shadow Word: Insanity


I've not run the numbers, but it seems like a really solid boost to this ability would be to simply change it from consuming Shadow Word: Pain to refreshing it. Keep the instant damage the same, the interval of use the same (last 2 ticks), just convert it to a refresh. Suddenly SW:I had gained the entire damage of a SW:P to it's DPCT.

Affliction starts with four shards and further generation thereof is mostly RNG. Demonology and destruction start with practically nothing and have the longest ramp-ups of any specs by a good deal.


This is definitely the case. Demo can use their Fury without building all of it up (in fact, the standard opener involves going into Meta almost immediately to get Doom up), but Destro has a truly insane build-up time. On average, it takes ~20 seconds to build up each Ember, so Destro has about a 60 second ramp time before they can actually get into their Chaos Bolt dump phase.

Honestly, with the advent of Astral Communion for boomkin, secondary resource specs like locks and spriests really could use at a minimum a cooldown-based resource restore. Give it a 1 minute CD, hell even make it only usable out of combat or require a long channel (and unusable in Arena/Rated BG if need be), but give us some method to start boss fights at full resources. Spending the first 30-60 seconds ramping up while everyone else blows cooldowns while all their procs are up isn't fun in the slightest.
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90 Troll Priest
Rex
14195
having a DP on pull or not isn't a huge deal. it's not like that helps us during lust in the same way starting 1 cast from lunar does for a moonkin or having 4 shards and dark soul up does for a warlock.

http://worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-q20cl523vacuprs2/analyze/dd/source/?s=1025&e=1266

click the box next to my name and see how small our opening burst is even *with* a 3 orb DP and a 4 int proc + pot shadowfiend compared to just about everyone else in the raid. whether or not we break 200k on pull all comes down to whether our first DP and mindblast crit, whereas any other class can blow cooldowns with their prepot to spike to 300k minimum.
Edited by Snaxattax on 12/24/2012 8:45 AM PST
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I've not run the numbers, but it seems like a really solid boost to this ability would be to simply change it from consuming Shadow Word: Pain to refreshing it. Keep the instant damage the same, the interval of use the same (last 2 ticks), just convert it to a refresh. Suddenly SW:I had gained the entire damage of a SW:P to it's DPCT.


That's actually a really good idea. It brings back the SW:P refreshing mechanic that a lot of people really liked from Wrath/Cataclysm, and the increase would probably be enough to make it comparable to the other talents.
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90 Troll Priest
Rex
14195
it would probably not be better than mindbender (you're looking at an improvement of SWI-SWP's initial DD once per 20ish seconds) and it still does nothing to improve our bloodlust/burn phase dps. also, unless they were to make its damage a function of SWP total damage it would still scale inversely with haste.

further, it would be massively devalued in fights with any amount of movement, because you would be delaying your next PWI by spamming SWP for its DD while moving.
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90 Troll Warlock
11210
it would probably not be better than mindbender (you're looking at an improvement of SWI-SWP's initial DD once per 20ish seconds) and it still does nothing to improve our bloodlust/burn phase dps. also, unless they were to make its damage a function of SWP total damage it would still scale inversely with haste.


Ok, let's try this then. It does a percentage of the total damage done by SWP. Now it scales perfectly linearly with haste, because you cast it more often as SWP gets shorter, until SWP hits a breakpoint, at which point SWI gains damage but is cast less often again.

Then again, it wouldn't technically scale inversely with haste anyway, just with haste breakpoints.

further, it would be massively devalued in fights with any amount of movement, because you would be delaying your next PWI by spamming SWP for its DD while moving.


This one I can't think of a good way around. Then again, it isn't the design intent for all talents to be useful in every situation. Take Halo for example, absolutely horrible if you need to be leg-humping the boss the entire time, but amazing if you can actually stand at max range on it. Similarly, Twist of Fate is amazing on fights where you can regularly snipe low-HP mobs for the buff, but not as good on a standard Patchwerk. The entire point of the new talents is to be situational, which is why you can change them on the fly.
Edited by Daerius on 12/24/2012 12:48 PM PST
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90 Troll Priest
Rex
14195
yeah, but for standing still single target dps, mindbender will probably be better. and it isn't just heavy movement where a conflag type SWI becomes garbage, it's any fight with really any amount of movement. you have to factor in that you aren't taking FDCL, so the only other proc you could be using is DI MB's which are relatively rare (and not something you hold onto for movement phases like you can reasonably do so with FDCL procs - you have to use your mindblast every time it's active or you are losing lots of dps), and other than DI procs your MBs will always have a casttime. so for, say, 10-15 seconds out of a fight instead of doing 30k (or more if you have DI as well) extra dps while moving you are doing 0, or you are doing that 30k extra dps and you are delaying your SWI from re-applying your dot.

conflag mechanics are generally pretty terrible - it's why warlocks have had glyphs that ignore the dot consumption part for two expacs and they got rid of the baseline mechanic altogether for mop.
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90 Night Elf Priest
13860
12/22/2012 07:53 PMPosted by Multicidez
Mobile DPS is difficult, because anything like an instant cast Mind Spike on the run is going to be extremely powerful in PvP. Being able to put out solid DPS, on the run, without risking our shadow school being locked out on a silence is probably too good.


Possibly. It's probably a pipedream but it just sounds so cool to me to cast on the run, I've always been jealous of post-on-the-move Scorch, even if it hits like a spaghetti noodle.

12/23/2012 10:09 AMPosted by Daerius
Shadow Word: Insanity


I've not run the numbers, but it seems like a really solid boost to this ability would be to simply change it from consuming Shadow Word: Pain to refreshing it. Keep the instant damage the same, the interval of use the same (last 2 ticks), just convert it to a refresh. Suddenly SW:I had gained the entire damage of a SW:P to it's DPCT.


Yeah, what happens when you're refreshing SWP with every GCD because that's our only option while moving? I really think they should just completely replace SWI with something new. The concept itself is flawed.
Edited by Annesh on 12/24/2012 8:35 PM PST
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