State of Shadow, 8.1 Edition

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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With 8.1 having gone live, we of Warcraftpriests decided it would be a good idea to write a document that summarizes Shadow’s biggest problems right now and to create a forum thread for discussion to go with it. If you wish to contribute to the discussion, please do so in a constructive way. Thanks in advance for reading!

EU forum link:

Summary of what’s discussed in more detail in the doc:
  • Shadow doesn’t have enough strengths to make up for the weaknesses it has. Execute and multidotting aren’t nearly as strong for us anymore, and our weaknesses from previous expansions (such as single-target or AoE) haven’t been improved enough to compensate.
  • Shadow Word: Death becoming a talent was a mistake.
  • Too much of our AoE comes from our talents, and they do not synergize with our kit well at all.
  • Baseline AoE is weak, boring, and unintuitive. Mind Sear keeps you in Voidform longer which goes against the goal of getting out more Void Eruptions; the problem is that Void Eruption is tied to entering Voidform.
  • Shadow’s mobility is quite bad right now, with our only mobility options coming from our talents. We don’t really have anything meaningful to offset our weak mobility, either.
  • Shadow’s survivability is not in a good spot right now. Losing our artifact made Dispersion too weak considering the downsides it has.
  • Shadow Word: Void fixes Mind Blast and Void Bolt coming off cooldown at the same time, but we have to invest a talent point to fix it when Fury and Beast Mastery have had this fixed baseline.
  • Void Torrent made sense in Legion, but is in a bad state right now. It needs to be designed with Battle for Azeroth Shadow in mind.
^^^Useful information for blizz
Initial thought based purely off the notes, but the weakened soul debuff change to disc is also applied to shadows shield. This causes two issues.

First it lowers shadows personal mobility as with mania being largely weakened due to general BfA shadow changes, body and soul is our goto. Currently for shadow pw:S is baseline 6 second cd reduced by haste, giving it realistically a ~5 second cd. Weakened soul locks it in as a 6 second CD meaning both our personal absorption and the potential uptime on BnS get reduced.

The second issue is if weakened soul is a global debuff as it was in the past (not confirmed if it is yet) this means disc priests that rely on pw:S to apply atonement to single targets will actually lower shadows mobility as them shielding us will lock us out of our only speedboost for 6 seconds. This seems like a very silly design direction.

I doubt any sane individual thinks shadow is too mobile or tanky at the moment, so I can only assume these changes are not taking shadows pw:S into consideration at all.
Throwing in my support here as well. To briefly add, I strongly dislike that 10 of our 21 total talents could be removed from the game entirely with no impact to the raiding meta.
These are all great and I hope the spriest devs can take a hard look at the problems that spriest is dealing with. Main one for sure is the void eruption being tied to void form. There are so many times where i basically don't want to go into void form in the middle of a fight knowing that next pull i will need the burst and now I have to suffer the flaws of the spec due to void eruption holds. It's not fun.
Good summary. Blizzard, can we expect changes in 8.1?
+1 for my spriest buds, would love to be able to enjoy my priest again.

Any comment is better than no comment @blues.
Throwing in my support for Publik and the others at WarcraftPriests. I am expecting to see some shadow changes in the upcoming 8.1 patch notes (as the first set just barely came out). We need serious help, and if we don't receive it I know that I personally will be quitting WoW.
Nice thread!
Not trying to be pessimistic but these points referenced by OP, although spot on, are not rocket science. To Blizzards credit, they are not idiots, although their decisions may not make sense most times. With that being said, they have to be aware of these issues, as they are painfully obvious. The question is why don’t they do something about it? Why gut the spec in the first place? I until we understand the design philosophy of the developers, we will continue to scratch our heads over Shadow/Demonology/Prot Warrior/etc... “We ran out of time”, is not the design philosophy, there is something we don’t see that causes these seemingly irrational design choices...
Blizz please, we need this.

I would be really great to see the Shadow competitiv again.
    Stronger CDs in PVP

    Be able to cast spell...

I like my Shadow and i like to play again.

Greetings from EU
With Voidform’s current design, the lack of an actual payoff in Battle for Azeroth feels jarring. While simply going back to the way it was in Legion isn’t a solution either, there surely exists a happy medium that doesn’t necessarily involve adding a ton more ramp up to the spec. There are several ways to add rewards to Voidform that don’t involve ramp up, such as a static damage increase like it had in Legion, a Sphere of Insanity/Psychic Link-type mechanic, or a flat haste percentage increase to name but a few simple things.
While i agree on the payoff part, i don't see how any of the suggestions here provide a improvement over the current situation.

Adding more static/passive benefits to Voidform won't make extending it more worth it, nor will it make gameplay more exciting. In the end, you're only looking at shifting more damage into Voidform, and taking that out of either VER or non-Voidform.

The simple truth is: An ever increasing drain needs an appropriate strong ever increasing reward.

E.g. something like: Lingering Insanity - After leaving Voidform, you get Voidform Stacks of Lingering Insanity. Each stack of LI increases the damage of your next VER by x%. (defaults to some stacks out of combat to not start with a wet noodle VER in dungeons)

Idea is that dropping 3-4 secs early will not necessarily net you an additional VER cast per fight, but getting those 3-4 stacks every might need you a 30-40% increase on what's ~8% of your damage (for good players - so the damage variance shouldn't be all that bad)

Regardless of what stacking (or not) benefit you add to Voidform, that will hardly change how boring the gameplay itself is - Legion gameplay was exclusively carried by the (average 30-40%) haste Voidform (and Lingering Insanity) provided. That's gone, and replaced with nothing.

Since i'm just to tired of getting Shadow anywhere, and i personally don't see a future to Voidform/Insanity, here are some quick bandaids that might carry us through to a 9.0 ground up redesign:

- large junk of passive haste
- SW:D (and cloak proc) made baseline
- 2 mindblast charges baseline
- bring back tenta-bro (either in place of SW:V or SW:D or LI/Torrent)
I support my Shadow priest friends +1. Hopefully Blizzard listens
+1 for the visibility

In previous expansions our lack of single target burst has been acceptable because we made up for it with above average execute damage.

In BFA we seem to be in a weird limbo state where we dont have good single target burst - we dont have good execute - and our new niche of burst AOE is tied to abilities that we realistically cant delay, making them slaves to boss timings.

In my dreams we would get some form of controllable burst but I would be happy returning to our execute niche with ToF and SW:D becoming baseline.
I'd like to suggest something that spreads the VT and SWP. If you hit a target with SWP and VT applied to it and you hit them with Mind Sear, all targets hit by Mind Sear now have VT and SWP applied to them. It may sound OP but it's just a thought. Also potentially have dots trigger Instant cast of Mind Blast or Shadow Word Void while in Void Form.
Although I know very well that they don't care, but hope is the only thing we can have.
excellent summary of spriest's issues from warcraft priests. Blizz halp!
The spec is clunky and un-fun with mechanical problems and a mystifying set of horrible talents included. Even if you're inclined to give Blizzard a pass on why it was released in this state after all the feedback they got in alpha/beta (I'm not) not have addressed it by now or at least communicated a plan to do so is really galling.

Apparently if we wanted a fix or even a mention from Blizz we needed better memes like Elemental.
+1 isentropy/publik I love you. There is also a reddit post with more detail based off this exact thread. I hope we actually get a response this time.
+1, patiently waiting for that @blue post.... Give us something Dev team.... Anything.

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