Get Rid of Voidform: How To Guide

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
Voidform is the root of all problems with Shadow right now.
The solution is simple. Kill Voidform.

Issues with Voidform include:

* It adds an unfun ramp-up which we cannot control, we can't delay it like a burst cooldown, but it completely controls our gameplay, removing our agency

* It sucks up a colossal amount of our power budget without adding anything fun to gameplay

* It feels clunky to get into, we have to build up 100 Insanity, then cast a spell, we are a wet noodle without it

* It feels like no dev has ever entered Voidform, we are constantly waiting on Mind Blast and Void Bolt cooldowns which don't align and cannot be delayed, interrupting or not even bothering to cast Mind Flays inbetween these casts

There is nothing enjoyable, fun, or challenging about Voidform. The only redeeming quality is the better cast animations and appearance. The solution to that is simple, replace Shadowform with Voidform animations and levitation: a visually upgraded Shadowform that is persistent.

What would this require?

- Remove Voidform (damage and mass hysteria effect)
- Remove Void Bolt (requires Void Form but just stating this for the record)
- Remove Void Eruption
- Remove Insanity

- Remove Mania (requires Insanity)
- Remove Lingering Insanity (requires Voidform)
- Remove Legacy of the Void (improves Voidform)
- Remove Dark Ascension (enters Voidform)
- Remove Surrender to Madness (empowers Voidform)

Won't this require years of rebalancing damage output?

Nope! I did the math. It's done. I want this to be as easy as possible for the devs to try - and a key part of my proposal is that I have already done the hard work.

Here is the Math:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OJL3V2R93c5Stj-MdeYbvM01xjeBPAC1ZwJ3G6GaSPk/edit?usp=sharing

What this means is that after removing Void Abilities, Voidform damage and haste, the devs should buff all Shadow spells by 54%:

This includes spells like:

- Mind Blast / Shadow Word: Void
- Shadow Word: Pain
- Vampiric Touch
- Mind Flay
- Shadow Word: Death
- Shadowfiend / Mindbender
- Shadowy Apparitions

Is this a sneaky Shadowpriest buff?

No. This would produce the ~exact same DPS we have today. It is not a buff or nerf to Shadowpriests relative to other classes. We would remain in the bottom half of the DPS spectrum.

However, from a development standpoint, I might recommend buffing us only by 50%, rather than 54%. If it appears we're underperforming after a couple weeks, give us the other 4% (or whatever is appropriate).

House Cleaning

The aftermath of the above does have an impact on some talents which require Insanity or Voidform to function. I feel obligated to clean house by offering ideas for affected talents, but I don't want this to be the focus of this post.

Voidform must go, that's what matters here.

Replace Mania with Spectral Guise, one of the cooler Shadow spells ever made, mistakenly deleted, now restored

Replace Lingering Insanity with The Quickening: gain 5% haste passively, and gain an additional 10% for 5 seconds when a target you recently damaged dies (does not stack).

Replace Legacy of the Void with Devouring Despair - Each cast of Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death grants a Shadow Orb. Devouring Despair consumes 3 Shadow Orbs (max 5) to deal damage every second for 6 seconds, and heals the Spriest for 2% of max health per second

Replace Dark Ascension with Dark Archangel - Grants you cosmetic wings and 20% increased Shadow damage for 12 seconds, on a 60 second cooldown

Replace Surrender To Madness with Clarity of Power - Your Mind Blast becomes an instant cast, and your Mind Flay is replaced with Mind Spike. Mind Spike removes your DoTs, but increases the damage of your next Mind Blast by 20%, stacking up to 5 times.
I like Void Form, but I'll take anything at this point that makes the spec less clunky and actually thought out.
09/26/2018 11:32 AMPosted by Waywithwords
I like Void Form, but I'll take anything at this point that makes the spec less clunky and actually thought out.


All the clunkiness of the spec stems from Voidform, IMO.

Visually I agree it's beautiful, but that's why I recommend making the Voidform animations baseline for Shadowform: visually we would permanently be in 'Voidform', with all the animations and levitating that entails.

It always struck me as bizarre that when they announced the Voidform animation update, they spoke about how Shadowform was unimproved since Vanilla: but we still spend the vast majority of our time in Vanilla Shadowform. We're only in Voidform when in combat for an extended period of time, and only a fraction of our combat time.

It would be like giving druids upgraded druid forms, but only when in Incarnation, and still using the Vanilla cat/bear models most of the time.
09/26/2018 11:03 AMPosted by Yvaelle
* It feels like no dev has ever entered Voidform, we are constantly waiting on Mind Blast and Void Bolt cooldowns which don't align and cannot be delayed
Definitely. Here's my favorite dev quote:
[Raging Blow] having 2 charges baseline felt better, as a version with either a 6 or 7.5 sec cooldown but no charges meant it collided with Bloodthirst’s cooldown very frequently, which did not feel good. [And] having a 20% chance to reset itself is the random proc on the baseline spec that adds an amount of unpredictability to the rotation.
Replace Raging Blow with Mind Blast and Bloodthirst with Void Bolt... Nearly identical issue? Yet Shadow has to choose between 2 charges and Shadowy Insight for "an amount of unpredictability"?
09/26/2018 11:49 AMPosted by Ttylol
Replace Raging Blow with Mind Blast and Bloodthirst with Void Bolt... Nearly identical issue? Yet Shadow has to choose between 2 charges and Shadowy Insight for "an amount of unpredictability"?

This is also something I find a bit confusing.

On the one hand, I understand they don't want to homogenize everything across classes.

On the other hand, just like the reasoning in the Fury case, very short CD core resource generators so often have charge system built in for good reason: because they so commonly come into conflict with other parts of the rotation.

Enhance Rockbiter has baseline charge system.
BM Barbed shot has baseline charge system.
Ret Crusader strike has a baseline charge system (well not built into the spell but a level 20 something passive)
Fire Mage Fire Blast *doesn't* but it's off the GCD.

So, while I can respect the desire not to have a baseline charge system, there are very good reasons why every other spec that works on this kind of system always have something to alleviate the frustration of a short CD resource generators that frequently will conflict with other CDs. Baseline charge systems aren't the only solution, as we can see with the Fire Blast system.

But we really need *something* like baseline Shadow Word: Void/charge system or Shadowy insight. Both would be most fun, of course. Something novel that worked would also be fine by me. Just *something* to bring us up to par with the rest of the game.

These are the kinds of shortcomings that make a spec feel unfinished or outdated.
09/26/2018 11:03 AMPosted by Yvaelle
* It feels like no dev has ever entered Voidform, we are constantly waiting on Mind Blast and Void Bolt cooldowns which don't align and cannot be delayed
Definitely. Here's my favorite dev quote:
[Raging Blow] having 2 charges baseline felt better, as a version with either a 6 or 7.5 sec cooldown but no charges meant it collided with Bloodthirst’s cooldown very frequently, which did not feel good. [And] having a 20% chance to reset itself is the random proc on the baseline spec that adds an amount of unpredictability to the rotation.
Replace Raging Blow with Mind Blast and Bloodthirst with Void Bolt... Nearly identical issue? Yet Shadow has to choose between 2 charges and Shadowy Insight for "an amount of unpredictability"?


Ugh. I remember this too.

The most frustrating part of that response is that they clearly understand the same issues apply to Shadow, just as they do to Fury, Enhancement, Elemental, Ret, Beast Master, and Fire Mages: all of whom share the problem.

You can tell the devs know Shadow suffers from the same design problem, because we have had the two fixes they have applied to all other specs for two expansions now: but not implemented into our baseline design.

Shadow Word: Void is the '2 charge fix' that all other affected specs have, and Shadowy Insight is the 'proc fix' that all other affected specs have. Shadow has both of these, but we need to choose between them, or choose neither of them. We also had Mangaza's Madness, AKA "The Bug Fix Belt", which was ~mandatory last expansion to address this problem with an item.

So they have understood these fixes need to be applied to Voidform since at least Legion Alpha: but haven't applied either of them for two expansions now.

It's also annoying that Shadowy Insight doesn't grant an additional charge as it does with other specs, it just resets the cooldown randomly which doesn't feel like a damage proc, it feels like a sudden problem where we need to drop everything and use it to get the ability back to cooling down.

This is not a matter of homogenization of class feel, it's a fundamental design problem with resource-based specs.
Yes please.
110% agree.
Voidform is horribly designed. It was limited to content in Legion, and now that it's feast/famine approach has been negated (just famine now), just shows that is a complete dumpster fire of an idea.

Just remove it, and talents involved.

As Publik had posted on the 8.1 thread, a detailed look into what is wrong with shadow: https://gdoc.pub/doc/e/2PACX-1vQBysx2OmRLU5AicbBZND5C6JCXwoC-ii-Z7Rf181-aMGty00p-pMWR2d4GQ2uAOvZVFfg1bI1WAzVF

It is absolutely worth the read, and in saying that, Voidform and any related traits/talents should be completely stripped from the spec in an effort to bring Shadow to an enjoyable state.

How did Shadow get to the condition it's in now?!? I understand that time was an issue, but for crying out loud, work should have been in progress earlier!!!

Instead, we have a spec that feels completely unfinished and talents are are completely useless. How is this acceptable? Is 8.1 going to bring unprecedented early expansion changes to spec? And is this now going to be the norm in releasing specs in such a state for an expansion release!!! Should it be explained to the developers yet again, that this would not have happened if spec design was considered much earlier before an expansion release!!!
No Cascade? Cahman
Keep Surrender to Madness.
Fun spell, regardless of how useless it, or the spec as a whole is.

09/29/2018 12:36 AMPosted by Riidatar
No Cascade? Cahman

That's a Monk talent now.
What did the shamans do to get heard? Can we do that?
09/29/2018 08:21 PMPosted by Urdu
What did the shamans do to get heard? Can we do that?


Mass exodus from the class, mostly. IIRC there was a blue post acknowledging Shaman are the least played class at 120. Additionally, they ranked consistently at or near the bottom across all three specs in mythic raiding.
I don’t think they should get rid of it completely. I also don’t think it should take the place of shadowform. That would be a little ridiculous to constantly be levitating with tentacles coming out of us. They need to make voidform simply a temporary power boost like Avenging Wrath, etc, on a 2-3 min cd. Shadowform should be static for shadow priests, imo. You shouldn’t even have to press a button to get into it.
I can't possibly disagree enough. Staying in Void Form for the longest possible time was a fun, unique mechanic. The problem isn't that Void Form exists, it's that there is no tangible reward for staying in it for maximum stacks like there was in Legion.

Instead of removing it and buffing our spells by fifty percent (seriously, that number doesn't make you think that maybe it's not the best idea?), they just need to admit they goofed and roll us back to early/mid Legion spriest.

Sadly I don't think it'll ever happen. I can't recall Blizzard even once admitting they made a mistake with class design and reverting the changes. Maybe demo warlocks? But even then they didn't really apologize or fix the class, they just straight up said they ruined the spec to make way for Demon Hunters.
I’m all for Voidform removal. I had a slightly different idea I’ve been thinking about though that keeps Voidbolt and Void Eruption.

The premise is that you have your staple spells (Shadow Word:Pain, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Mind Flay, and Mind Seer) that you cast as you do now but they don’t generate Insanity. You then have Insanity generators Voidbolt and Void Eruption. The idea is you cast Insanity spells but try not to cap Insanity or you get locked out of those spells for a while. Insanity will gradually decay in combat (and quickly out of combat) at a rate that limits the burst of the Void spells. Talents that deal with Insanity could be reworked to adjust the general flow of Insanity or reduce how much or how fast a player loses it.

This does the following:
1. It gives a more stable DPS output making it easier to balance.
2. Allows for early combat burst which Shadow is sorely lacking.
3. It might devalue haste allowing for easier gearing options.
4. It gives a unique mechanic no other spec has and also is in theme that Insanity is bad and not good. Basically Shadow walks a fine line of falling victim to the corruption of the Void.
Boom. This person did the work and designed the class for you Blizzard. You don’t have to figure out ANYTHING except how to code it in. I might actually level this priest as a result.
I'd love to see the 'heat' mechanic given to Shadow. That's a 9.0 kind of change, but one can hope. Spells generate insanity similar to now, except for one or two that reduce insanity, and you do more damage the higher your insanity is. However if you let yourself cap out, you turn into one of those faceless one things for x number of seconds (can move but can't cast).

Rough, but you get the idea. It fits the actual -theme- of insanity perfectly. Just how deeply can I tap into the void before I go insane. Can I toe the line.
10/01/2018 01:46 PMPosted by Ríverdown
I'd love to see the 'heat' mechanic given to Shadow. That's a 9.0 kind of change, but one can hope. Spells generate insanity similar to now, except for one or two that reduce insanity, and you do more damage the higher your insanity is. However if you let yourself cap out, you turn into one of those faceless one things for x number of seconds (can move but can't cast).

Rough, but you get the idea. It fits the actual -theme- of insanity perfectly. Just how deeply can I tap into the void before I go insane. Can I toe the line.


I wrote a post discussing a heat based mechanic. It didn’t gain too much traction, but it has a few ideas on how an overheating system could work. At the very least, no other class has used this type of gameplay yet.
10/01/2018 02:09 PMPosted by Glastian
I wrote a post discussing a heat based mechanic. It didn’t gain too much traction, but it has a few ideas on how an overheating system could work. At the very least, no other class has used this type of gameplay yet.


I've been working on this for some months but never released much. It's still a possibility, and ironing out bugs to prove it works is something I spent a fair bit of beta doing. But ultimately 9.0 is a long way a way for those playing the game now, and honestly everyone elses is time is better spent supporting pragmatic solutions for current problems, and making sure blizzard hears it.

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