Add Void Priest Spec

Another expansion is on the horizon which presents an opportunity for more wide scale class changes. There has been a growing sentiment among the Shadow community since Dragonflight release to separate out Shadow and Void themes to their respective specs. I think there is now ample motive and opportunity for this to happen. While it is my personal preference, I believe adding Void Priest would be best for the community and the overall health of Shadow.

Opportunity

The introduction of Augmentation Evoker was the first time in modern WoW’s history in which a class gained a spec after its release. While it is clear in hindsight that this was the intention from the start for story reasons, a precedence has now been set. I think it is likely more specs will be introduced to existing classes in the near future and Priest is an excellent candidate with two healer specializations and only one dps.

More specifically, Void is a perfect candidate as a new spec for Priest. Dragonflight is setting up a Void heavy story with Iridikron, Xal’atath, and Azshara in the future. Blizzard has stated that when they introduce new classes or specs to the game they want it to be for a thematic reason, and nothing is more thematic for a Void expansion than adding a Void specialization. Priest is also the most appropriate for this since themes of Void already exist within Shadow. This is a perfect opportunity to make that Void fantasy fully realized.

A Void Fantasy

I started playing Shadow Priest at a semi-hardcore level in Legion, although I started playing WoW during Wrath. I was immediately enthralled with the fantasy of succumbing to the powers of the Void. I would spend literal hours on training dummies, first mastering Surrender to Madness, and then just playing my rotation while listening to music. The gameplay of it was so captivating and I had not experienced anything as fun before or since then. My sentiment toward this version of Shadow is also shared by others

But the sentiment isn’t shared by everyone. Just like I am married to the idea of the Void, others are married to the idea of previous Shadow.

A Void in Shadow’s History

What is a Shadow Priest? A question posited which Legion aimed to answer. Before then, Shadow’s identity was ambiguous and mostly up to interpretation. I even remember reading a very comprehensive post by Djriff about what exactly a Shadow Priest is, arriving at the conclusion of a psychic caster. The class fantasy philosophy in Legion had specs reworked to have their identities made cohesive. The answer Legion provided was clear with zero ambiguity—Shadow was a Void caster who teetered on the brink of insanity to gain power. At the time, it seemed like a solid and stable enough identity to continue with for the future.

This sudden change in fantasy, however, was off-putting to a part of the Shadow community. They felt that their Shadow Priest was taken away from them and replaced with something else, something they didn’t enjoy. While true, this was a direct consequence with the goal of Legion. The fixation on class fantasy led to reworks of other specs as well. Discipline, Demonology, and Survival to name a few were all heavily reworked in Legion to be virtually unrecognizable to their Warlords of Draenor counterparts. Reworks whose core designs stand to this day. Like them, Shadow’s identity was irrevocably changed in Legion.

Or at least it was supposed to be an irrevocable change. Due to various factors the design introduced in Legion did not appear sustainable, and after massive community backlash during the Shadowlands beta it was removed from the spec. Voidform, which was a core of the Void fantasy, was converted into a cooldown and its unique effects were removed. After the Shadowlands rework, Shadow stopped feeling like a Void caster. It went back to feeling like pre-Legion Shadow Priest. Even in Dragonflight, with such a major focus on choice with the new talent system, Shadow has had four years of gameplay relegated to a single talent point. There are some new Void themes in the tree with the Idol capstones, but they are shallow and do not capture the same appeal as Legion or Battle for Azeroth. It still feels like pre-Legion Shadow Priest. The Void fantasy has been lost.

Four years of the spec’s history have been lost. Four years that every other specialization in the game has had the opportunity to pull from modern class design for the Dragonflight talents and had iteration on in Shadowlands. Shadow may feel like pre-Legion Shadow, but that version of Shadow was never given the opportunity to have its design fleshed out and iterated on. No legendaries were designed for it, no tier, no artifact traits, not even covenant abilities were designed with the rework in mind. While I mourn the loss of Voidform, I also lament that the version of Shadow we are playing now was not given the same opportunity to grow as the other reworked specs.

Avoid Repeating History

Before introducing a Void spec to Priest, we first need to understand why the Void era failed in the first place, to avoid repeating four years of mistakes. We also need to identify what parts of the design made that core fantasy so compelling so they remain while addressing those mistakes.

The core argument I see against Voidform is ramp. Players don’t want to have to wait to do damage in the future, because that is too punishing. And I agree with them. Where we disagree, however, is what the egregious factors were. The major offenders to the ramping damage pattern were borrowed power. First in Legion with Mass Hysteria, and then in Battle for Azeroth with Chorus of Insanity and Spiteful Apparitions. I can’t prove that without these external factors Voidform would not have been considered punishing, but I think it deserves a chance since it was never given the opportunity to exist on its own.

Another major criticism toward Voidform was its poor viability in dungeons. While I don’t disagree, this issue wasn’t unique to Voidform. Pre-Legion Shadow would have performed just as bad if not worse in dungeons without major adjustments. Mythic+ was a new addition to the game the same time Voidform was introduced, so there wasn’t yet an understanding of what specs needed in this new form of content. Now that it has been pillar content for over 6 years, there’s a good idea of what is needed to excel, which could be retrofitted to Voidform.

So how did this Void fantasy that Legion sold translate to gameplay? As I mentioned before the Void fantasy was about teetering on the edge of insanity for power. With Voidform, increasing haste mirrored the feeling of going insane. The drain mechanic combated this and gave incentive to keep fighting, even though it was ultimately futile. Finally, Voidform transformed the base rotation by introducing Void Bolt which also gave us mobility. After all, what fun is being fast is that can’t also translate to movement. For me the essence of the Void fantasy is Voidform and specifically the three components of it haste, drain, and mobility.

It’s clear from this why Dragonflight’s version of Voidform is unsatisfying and does not do well to serve its fantasy. The haste and drain mechanics have been removed. It is also now a cooldown, so the mobility increase is no longer consistent. The visuals, such as levitating and tentacles, are also ephemeral and no longer provide a core aesthetic appeal. I firmly believe this fantasy could be restored while also addressing its criticisms, since they were not inherent to the design.

An Identity Crisis

What is a Shadow Priest? A question now posited to Dragonflight. And it can’t give a clear answer. The spec has nearly the same gameplay and spells as it did in Warlords of Draenor, back when its identity was still unclear. It also has tacked onto it the last remaining vestiges of the Void era as well as a few extra Void themes. But it doesn’t feel like a Void caster. We have a spec whose core identity was never established while also having elements of a conflicting identity. In an effort to pay tribute to the full history of the spec, the present spec suffers.

I propose these Void themes be removed from Shadow and introduced in a new Void specialization. Make the Void fantasy from Legion fully realized as well as whatever the Shadow Priest fantasy is. I am calling for one last Shadow Priest rework. One with a clear goal of answering that elusive question “What is a Shadow Priest” which arrives at a different conclusion than Legion did. That way the full history of Shadow can be preserved—even if it is between two specs.

27 Likes

I would sacrifice all the Vulpera on Azeroth to get voidform back.

I loved that spec so much. So so much. Ever since it got deleted I’ve felt kind of lost in terms of what to play. I’ve been a warlock, a mage, and even tried current shadow, but it’s not the same.

No spec in the game has that same feel and flow. The rotation and feel of voidform was butter smooth. I just wish if they were intent on deleting it they would’ve left us SOMETHING as an alternative

4 Likes

I agree , give us old shadow and legion void priests so I can enjoy my mobile glass cannon again!!! As is I just don’t care for the game play in the current version or the legion void version.

3 Likes

I don’t think those are good examples to use in order to gain sympathy for the changes Shadow has been through and to propose a rehash again as unless I’m mistaken, all those specs listed have been to the present day met with their own fair share of backlash and discontent.

I honestly see the current talent system to accommodate pre and post legion changes in gameplay styles to be achievable. But in order to do that, blizzard would have to take it seriously and not squander the time away as they have done every time.

I only see a waste of time and effort to focus on trying to make a separate specialization entirely when there was so little to the void playstyle you seem to want to return too as the majority of it was all built into Voidform itself. All the other talents did was prop up Voidform to make it less bad as it couldn’t stand up on its own.

So to make an entire additional specialization out of that core spell would just break out Voidform into multiple bits which would be meet with backlash in of itself and then just more bandaid talents to prop up Voidform as it’s an all or nothing aspect of its game play style.

But you do what you like. I just don’t think it’s got any real traction from a practical standpoint.

Good luck to you.

It’s not an attempt to garner symptathy. It’s an observation of what Legion set out to do for these specs and succeeded. And having not succeeded with Shadow, how far behind those specs it is with design and iteration.

1 Like

Agree with every word. Unfortunately, the depth of their vision for shadow is anchored to random uncontrollable minion summons and making Mindbender mandatory at every possible opportunity. If random minions and Mindbender is the best they can do for modern MOP shadow, there’s no hope they could flesh out void priest. Even so, I wish they’d try.

Where? There are like two people championing this. If anything just go full send on void priest.

And no, voidform should never come back ever. It was a balancing nightmare and awful to use outside of raiding. It had it’s moments, but screwing the rotation up once significantly impacted your dps. That’s just not good gameplay. The theme? Yes, go for it.

Druid has 4 specs No reason priest cant. For me i prefer the measured approach of cata shadow. But i can understand the enjoyment of Legion shadow. The playstyle and talents etc for void spec are kidna alrerady been used in the game so it shouldnt be hard to make an entire new specs with what they already have

1 Like

That’s entirely subjective. I loved the punishing rotation. It forced me to think 2 feet in front of me about how I was going to move or dodge mechanics and not lose dps or drop voidform.

Some of us enjoy a spec that requires or demands efficient gameplay. The spec was also good because it had no CDs to manage. Your sole focus was maintaining voidform. It was simple, straight forward and easy to pick up, but very hard to master

Not to mention, the voidform mechanic was entirely unique. Blizzard ripped a one of a kind gameplay style out of the game and provided no alternative. Everyone who enjoyed that gameplay were left high and dry with nothing else to fill the void Blizzard left with Voidform’s removal/changes

I don’t get why people want priest to have two basically just shadow specs when we still don’t have an offensive holy caster.

1 Like

I was putting together something a few weeks ago, separating out Void spells and Shadow spells to try and get an understanding of how the gameplay might be for each and what separate niches they could occupy. It is obviously very rough, but this is what I came up with:

Shadow Priest

Form: Shadowform
Resource: Darkness
Spender: Mind Spike (instant)

Active:
Shadow Word: Pain
Vampiric Touch
Mind Flay
Mind Spike (spender/instant)
Mind Blast
Mind Sear (spreads dots to other targets)
Shadow Word: Death

Passive:
Shadowy Apparitions
Psychic Link
Thought Harvester
Shadowy Insight
Shadow Orbs (Glyph: Ravens)
Inescapable Torment
Deathspeaker

Idols:
Yogg Saron
Y’Shaarj

Cooldowns:
Dark Ascension (instant cast)
Mindbender

Defensive: Dispersion

Mastery: %direct dmg

Void Priest

Form: Voidform
Resource: Insanity
Spender: Devouring Plague

Active:
Shadow Word: Pain
Vampiric Touch
Devouring Plague (spender)
Mind Flay
Mind Blast
Void Torrent
Shadow Crash
Shadow Word: Death

Passive:
Misery
Surge of Insanity
Mental Decay
Dark Evangelism
Insidious Ire
Screams of the Void

Idols:
C’thun
N’zoth

Cooldowns:
Void Eruption (w/ void bolt)
Voidfiend (shadowfiend renamed)

Defensive: Mental Fortitude (increase effectiveness)

Mastery: %DoT dmg

Again, first pass at thinking how these could be separated into two DPS specs. Shadow is direct damage focused, Void is DoT damage focused. Also thought about trying to make Shadow a support spec:

  • Vampiric Embrace only available to Shadow (remove from class tree/slightly increase self healing from Devouring Plague for Void Priest to compensate for the loss)
  • Bring back some form of mana battery mechanic (restore xx% mana for every x amount of Darkness spent)
  • Twins of the Sun Priestess moved to Shadow tree and changed to mini bloodlust for group/raid (5-10%?)
  • Shadow used to have magic damage reduction built into Shadowform, bring that back but make it an aura that applies to nearby allies
  • Shadow orbs when spent could jump to a nearby ally and increase damage for a short period (grants them shadow orb [glyph: raven] buff increasing damage by x% for x seconds)
  • Enemies damaged by Shadow Priests gain Weakened Mind debuff, reducing damage dealt by x%
1 Like

Splitting periodic and direct damage is not a compelling reason to split out Shadow into two specs. What you are proposing is two specs with different theming but effectively the same gameplay.

A distinct gameplay loop is important, which was the case with the transition from Warlords of Draenor to Legion. Shadow went from an immobile methodical builder spender to a mobile and frenetic rotation with a wholly unique resource variant.

Then Priest would have 3 Light specs and one Shadow spec, and then Priest would be in an identity crisis (arguable to say it already is) and not just Shadow.

Might as well rework shadow and call it void priest then.

Disagree with the immobile attachment with WoD Shadow.

  • With Clarity of Power, Mind Blast was reduced cooldown by 3 seconds and always instant cast.

  • With Shadowy Insight, Mind Blast reset and instant casts (same as it is is the current tree)

  • With Surge of Darkness, instant cast Mind Spike procs as we had access to in 10.0.

  • With Auspicious Spirits, each spirit granted a shadow orb. With 5 max orbs, you can turn out Devouring Plagues like crazy and it practically makes your entire playstyle a dot/rot playstyle as you just casted Vampiric Touch as everything else became instant cast. Thus making you very mobile outside of the rare Mind Flay filler.

Essentially only had to cast Vampiric Touch and Mind Flay/sear.

Which is not to dissimilar to what is happening now.

And compared to Legion, I can only see a massive mobility moment when using the casting while moving with surrender to madness. Outside that, you had the dot extension through Void Bolt.

Now I could see the gamble in the stars aligning and everything goes right with no mistakes and no interruptions leading to not have time in the priority button pushing to get to the point where you no longer needed to cast Vampiric Touch because you can cast Void Bolt often enough to extend it to the point where you no longer need to cast and similar reason to not cast Mind Flay simply because it did not become worth casting.

But the crux to reach that point and become a state at which you are granted so much mobility in the form not dropping casting some spells is what in reality caused that version of Shadow to be known for the broken state it was. That is what separated the difference between being a scrub that can’t perform (quick pace fights like 5 mans and PvP) and break the meters in single target raid bosses. Meaning that the only highlight of the spec is when it got to that god level broken unbalanced state.

Which is why it needed to be reeled in and will never have the tools to achieve such a state again.

That is why Void Bolt just seems like a tacked on ability now because it is a far cry away from what it ultimately became at the height of the constant haste stacking making its cooldown to became near instant which then unlocks the transition to being able to forgo casting Vampiric Touch and Mind Flay.

I’m pretty confident that they do not ever want to deal with that hot garbage mess again in anyform. So if you want to reach that state… good luck.

Anuerysm please, quit being so dismissive. You can disagree all you like, but just stay silent instead of continuously trying to put down what others in the Shadow community want.

I’m not advocating a return of the playstyle I came to fall in love with at the expense of what you and others felt was ripped away from you, in fact quite the opposite. So why do you feel like your preference trumps mine?

You compared WoD shadow with Legion shadow.

I disagreed with your assessment and stated why I disagreed.

Then I simply proposed the reason as to why you may have come to that conclusion and I can only think it was because of what Void Bolt was able to bring to the table, but only once you surpassed a certain haste threshold that allowed the dropping of the need to cast the primary dot and filler spells.

Because prior to that, you were still forced to cast those spells and as such the mobile nature as you claim simply is not true because we still had those spells as we do today and we still cast those spells as we do today.

In fact, with the clunky mechanical issues revolving around Shadow Crash, you could argue that we don’t need to cast Vampiric Touch which then even more so makes Shadow more mobile now than it was in Legion.

The core of the argument is that pre-Legion Shadow and Void era Shadow play vastly different to one another, and current Shadow is most similar to pre-Legion Shadow. There is a desire for both that gameplay and identity that Legion brought, which has since been removed from the game.

I’d really wish if you would argue the points I spent thought on writing instead of errors or different interpretations made in clarifying followups.

Everything I wrote feeds into the gameplay style/feeling/mojo whatever you want to call it in that it is my belief that what you want (that isn’t already available within Void Eruption / Voidform) simply cannot be reached because it will cause the spec to be busted again.

Seems you want 2 major things.

  1. To become highly Mobile
  2. To have a draining mechanic

What I am saying is that in order to achieve both elements, you need that endless scaling element in order to justify the brutal feeling of a draining mechanic which means if you did not have that endless scaling to eventually reach, that draining mechanic you want so bad will NOT grant you that feeling you remember in Legion.

Which in turn will NOT grant that mobility you are claiming as well.

Lets just think about this practically…

If you had to deal with a draining mechanic and be mobile while also NOT having endless scaling, then you will feel the slog and frustration of the gameplay that those of us that did short form content (PvP specifically) had to deal with and as such were forced to come to the conclusion that it was essentially a dead spec in those situations.

I’m saying that you will get the same response in playing a draining mechanic that has a cap just like we did back then with no cap because our cap was artificial through short fights and dealing with CC and your cap would be designed into the spec which just limits the draining mechanic to be frustrating to deal with, with no pay off.

I mean I think that would be the case. I can’t not know for sure. But based on my experience and what you have explained you miss and want back, I can see no other outcome but severe disappointment and constant backlash toward to devs for not doing X when there can very well be a good reason why which I assume would be it’s just not going to work without constant adjustments as we already seen in Legion and BFA with the wild swings.

Can it be done? Sure I guess. Is it worth that endeavor? I would argue no when they already know a similar outcome.

I’m not saying you should stop, I am just pointing out major issues that I honestly don’t think will be entertained again for many reasons by the developers which is why I simply say… good luck.

Edit:

I would purpose this question to you.

Do you think simply adding to the current shadow spec… picking Void Eruption and with that, Voidform… Simply make it so when you go into Voidform, your insanity drains. Would that grant you what you want? Because unless you add in a scaling factor of haste/damage/whatever, it would simply NOT be worth having the draining mechanic.

But that is essentially what you want. You want a draining mechanic and imo the only bit that is missing from current Voidform is a draining mechanic and endless scaling.

We know they can’t bring endless scaling back and if they add a draining mechanic without it. It will not be received well.

What else besides a draining mechanic would be missing if we agree the endless scaling factor is no longer up for debate?

“What I am proposing” is nothing but a rough first take at how the spells could be split for each. I tried to convey that before anyone went jumping to assumptions like you have.

Obviously this split is using what we currently have and each would need to be built upon to make them complete specs with different playstyles. Like I suggested, perhaps Shadow becomes something focused much more around a Support role. Maybe not. Regardless of what they may end up being, they should have some relation to the different iterations that spurred the calls to separate Shadow into two specs in the first place.

I may be misinterpreting what you are saying, but there doesn’t need to be any thinking about how they can be split, the path forward is clear.

What I, and others, want is a return to gameplay and fantasy we fell in love with. The current spec tree fails at this as does from what I can gather your proposal.

Pre-Legion and Voidform Shadow are distinct enough to split out from separate specs. Yes they can and should be iterated on but their core gameplay identity would need to remain. Even recommending that Devouring Plague, simply because it is a periodic spell, be removed from Shadow misses the entire point of preserving the authenticity of the spec’s history.


I realize that what a Void spec is is up to interpretation, so I’ll be updating the OP to give more clarification around what the ask is.