Feedback: Priests

Feedback on the latest tree

In this post I want to go over feedback related to the changes posted to PTR recently, outlined here.

Class Tree

  • Tithe Evasion being moved to the class tree is amazing to see and fits perfectly, love this change
  • Buffing Translucent Image back up to 10% is great to see and makes Fade a nice small defensive for the class now, which is nice.

With these changes and others I didn’t call out I think this tree is looking incredible. There are a few things I’d still like to see iterated on or changed, but largely I’m happy with the tree overall.

General Feedback:

  • Vault of the Heavens, Shining Force, Spectral Guise, and Mind Bomb stun might not make sense for PvP but any of these spells would go a long way in making Priests more viable in PvE environments. Shadow specifically still has nothing that makes it stand out from Holy/Discipline and any of these could provide that.
    • Shining Force as a knockup might be really good in PvP but it never has been in PvE. It feels bad to lose this as an option just because it makes balancing one game mode harder than the other. PvE or PvP suffering from the other is not an old problem but this feels bad nonetheless
    • Mind Bomb stun was removed when lots of classes had an AoE stun yes, but Shadow Priest specifically desperately needs some utility that makes them desirable in Mythic+ and Raid PvE environments. Having lots of specs with an AoE stun is for sure an issue, but I don’t think adding this to Shadow would be the end of the world, and would go a long way in making the spec feel better in pushing PvE content at a high level
  • Sheer Terror generally still feels underwhelming and I can’t see it being used much, would love to see Mind Bomb come back and replace it, especially if its the stun version. This would make it a better choice against Void Tendrils
  • Void Tendrils is still kind of awkward to use, I would prefer if it was a targeted ground effect to make it more clear where and which targets it is affecting. Right now with the way it works it is unclear when used on mobs that are immune to that effect if it was even used at all
  • Still a bit concerned about the strength of Vampiric Embrace, especially compared to what other Hybrid classes like Shaman and Druid have in this department. Would love to see this spell improved on in some way that makes it more unique and fun to use.
  • I’ve mentioned in the past some issues with Halo/Divine Star that I think are still relevant, feedback here.
  • As a Shadow Priest the option in the bottom left and bottom middle section of the tree (aside from Void Shift) are still generally underwhelming options

Having access to an interrupt is not something we view as necessary for all specializations.

If this is your stance, then why is Priest the only specialization that has this mentality? I get the thought but in practice it feels like priests are being left out rather than you saying it isn’t necessary.

Shadow Tree

Before I go any further I just want to comment that I’m happy to see the tree continued to be changed and iterated on. While I don’t think the tree is perfect I think we are heading in a good direction and I’m excited to see what comes next.

  • Hallucinations being baseline is a great thing to see, this was given to Shadow Priests to make pressing our utility feel less bad so it being baseline makes a lot of sense again in Dragonflight.
  • The changes to Dark Ascension are overall positive, I think in addition to these I’d like to see more definition on the choice node with Void Eruption to make it more clear when and where each talent specializes in
  • Derangement increasing Mind Sear damage instead of cast speed is a great change to see and makes the talent easier to understand why/when you’d want to take it
  • Baking in Silence rank 2 to make the range 40 yards again is a great change to see!

General Feedback:

  • Mind Spike changes are interesting, and I think require some iteration to make it really work in the kit. I’ve given my full thoughts on Mind Spike here.
  • Mind Sear consuming Insanity on the initial tick just feels weird. This effectively shortens the amount of time we spend channeling Mind Sear, which I think is good. But when you actually press the button it can lead to a very large amount of Insanity drained in a quick period of time that feels awkward since its a channel spell. For example, if you have 50 Insanity you would consume all of that in under a second. This case specifically makes it feel very odd when playing with it in game and makes me wonder what the benefit of having a channeled resource consumption does for us vs. just making it an instant cast spender. Obviously this is contending with Devouring Plague heavily but the more I play with this the more I wonder if having another Insanity spender aside from DP will play well if it is on a channeled spell.
  • The changes to the bottom right section of the tree don’t feel super enticing at a first glance. At the top level I’m not sure of where I would rather have Damnation vs. Void Torrent in specific situations other than “which one of these does more damage in my sim”. Maybe its pitched as “more dots every 30s-60s vs. ST damage/insanity every 30s-60s”. Each of these by themselves does kind of have a use case but I’m just not clear on why I would invest my points in this section vs. others in this section of the tree. A few nodes were removed in this bottom section in this build, but I think there are still quite a lot of choice in this section that don’t exactly play off of each other as you flow through the tree.
  • The changing in pathing in the middle of the tree leads to an awkward choice between having to get Unfurling Darkness or Psychic Link to get Dark Evangelism. While Dark Evangelism does have use cases in multi-target where having Psychic Link or Unfurling could make sense, it also is valuable in single target where Unfurling Darkness and Psychic Link make much less sense or don’t work at all. I’d love to see the pathing updated to better reflect this as right now it feels like we are forced into picking Unfurling Darkness since it technically does something on pure single target, just to get to the bottom middle of the tree for Dark Evangelism. A simple way to fix this would be to add a straight line from Ancient Madness down, allowing us to build single target without feeling forced into UD or PL.
  • The Void Bolt cooldown going down to 6 seconds is definitely an improvement, although with Hungering Void and Surrender to Madness also being removed I’m saddened at what Void Eruption currently is to what it has been in the past. I’m hoping the answer to Shadow Priests in Dragonflight isn’t to abandon the Voidform playstyle we’ve had since Legion, but rather improve on it in the modern game in a way that is not game breaking. HV and S2M certainly had their issues, but by seeing them just removed and not reworked or replaced with things that could buff Voidform is sad to see.

Things that have not changed in this build

Aside from the changes we did see in this build, I wanted to highlight things that still are points of frustration within the community around the tree.

  • Idol spells need some iteration and clarification on design. I went over this in the post here and this post as well
  • Still unclear when Dark Void makes sense. I still like the interaction with Misery and Shadow Crash spreading to 4 targets, and I’m unsure why I would give that up for Dark Void. The more I think about it and play with it on beta the more I’d rather have Dark Void removed but instead increase the targets that are dotted to Shadow Crash.
  • Even with the changes to the pathing picking any of the utility options in the top section of the tree are a DPS loss. We have so many nodes in the top section specifically that makes it impossible to pick these utility options without giving up damage later in the tree aside from picking Silence OR Dispersion to get Misery/Dark Void pathing opened up. This means there are 3 nodes that picking them up additionally are a DPS loss. While this is a challenging problem to solve I think if the amount of nodes were shortened in this section or later sections we could get the “option” of picking which one to talent into to move onto the next section. The class tree in particular does this really well IMO.
  • AoE is still lacking some definition or a way for the damage to really be competitive. I’m not sure if this means buffing or reworking Mind Sear or tying these spells into our base kit in a better way. A similar problem is with the little damage done with Psychic Link or Pain of Death that could be the answer for AoE. There are some good ideas but it doesn’t feel like they are fitting together into our kit. Below I’ve listed the current AoE ideas present in the tree. None of these are necessarily bad, but they don’t feel like they are focused enough to be competitive and when chained together do not feel cohesive or intuitive.
    • Shadowflame Prism (5 target AoE from funnel spells)
    • Mind Sear (uncapped AoE)
    • Psychic Link/Pain of Death (funnel)
    • Idol of N’Zoth, Shadow Crash, Dark Void, Misery, and Maddening Touch (Spread DoTs = WIN)
    • Void Eruption (burst)
108 Likes

So holy and disc are losing shining force so Resto shaman can get thunderstorm?

147 Likes

Thank you for providing an update

As a Holy Priest player I agree on this issue. We have the most amount of heal + damage buttons on our bar and trying to squeeze in Mind Blast, Mind Games, Shadow Mend, and Power Word Life is a bit too much. Also, you have active abilities like Empyreal Blaze & Divine Word to budget in as well on-top of Apotheosis being actually budgetable now.

Shadow Mend is made entirely redundant by abilities like Lightweaver which makes your Heal do more than Shadow Mend. Holy Word Serenity basically does what Power Word Life does without the 35% hp bar restriction.

I like the approach, but the issue is regarding the math. You get 1 charge of Lightweaver per Flash Heal so if you do 30 casts a minute it’s 15 casts of Flash Heal and 15 casts of Heal.

The way this worked before was you built up your 5 charges of Flash Heal then every 20s you casted another Flash Heal. So overall you’re casting Flash Heal probably twice as much as you did before which leads to a higher mana consumption rate. I’m just afraid without Fae Guardians we’re going to be OOMing super fast if we play Lightweaver in a raid healing environment.

Talents like Crisis Management offering a +15% crit chance offset the loss of HPS since you’re using Flash Heal more often than you did before which does less healing than Heal.

I would prefer it be 1 Flash Heal = 2 charges because it gets a little bit finger tangling to be going Flash Heal, Heal, Flash Heal, Heal, etc. constantly. My mind starts mixing thing things up.

Moving it all the way to the bottom pushes it out of the budget of most Holy Priest players. Where it was before was perfect before you could go Guardian Spirit → Xanshi → Divine Hymn.

Abilities like Lightweaver, Divine Word, etc. are much more important and powerful for raid and dungeon healing than putting a talent into a once a 10 minute self revive.

I understand it’s mainly for PvP balance and I honestly would prefer X’anshi NOT work in arenas.

This really isn’t an apple to oranges situation. You deliberately added an interrupt to every single healer ingame except for Priests when I felt like there was no need to do that.

So from a utility standpoint it’s a bit of an awkward situation when Paladins, Monks, Druids, Evokers, and Shamans all have 15-45s interrupts and Priests have none.

If you want a fair playing field than remove all the interrupts except for Shamans and maybe Evokers.

I honestly was hoping Vault of Heavens would make a come back. It was loads of fun for BG flag carrying.

Leap of Faith is really a one trick pony that rarely gets used in raids. I can see myself using Vault of Heavens way more often to simply save myself.

I don’t really have any complaints about this. I prefer Void Tendrils over Shining Force.

I’m fine with not having Dispersion on a Holy Priest. We have enough buttons as is.

What we want is an actual defensive that can reduce incoming damage. I was pushing keys in Season 3 and once we got to +25s on Tyrannical weeks I was getting smashed in one hit for my whole hp bar by some boss abilities because Guardian Spirit and Desperate Prayer were both on cd and -10% reduction from the Fade conduit wasn’t helping.

A -20% damage reduction for 8s would go miles to help with this issue. Priest survivability in higher keys has been an issue since BFA. I remember doing +25s in BFA and getting obliterated by boss mechanics as well.

12 Likes

In this post it is frequently mentioned about PvP balance when it comes to utility and design but no where in here is PvE utility discussed or highlighted. It feels like this post is lacking perspective on the challenges Priests face in PvE content when it comes to utility and is pushing those issues aside just to make balancing PvP easier. If the reasoning for spells not coming back is just PvP focused I get not wanting to rock the boat, but there needs to be some effort on the PvE side to make up for that.

Shadow Priest still has nothing they bring to a group aside from Silence and Dispersion over Holy/Discipline Priests in terms of utility. A kick and a defensive is something that every ranged DPS has in terms of PvE viability, where is the flavor of it feeling good to have a Shadow Priest in your Mythic+ group or your Raid group?

118 Likes

Yet you gave hunters an AoE stun last week…? Looks like you’re just improvising on the spot to give excuses.

You are taking it away from priests, giving it to hunters and then tell people who main priests “Too bad too many people already have an AoE stun, you can’t have one”

115 Likes

I’m VERY grateful to see a feedback post. Thank you and hope this is an indication of more class and spec feedback in the future!

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This wouldn’t be as big an issue if you applied this philosophy equally across the board. Most melee specs seem to fly under the radar when you do these types of prunes, however.

Edit: I don’t want to be overwhelmingly negative, so I want to add that I appreciate the long post on the team’s thought process for the work being done to the priest talent trees. I may not agree with all the changes, but the dialog is great.

52 Likes

I would agree with what’s presented here, and with some small pathing adjustments (such as moving Unfurling Darkness for example from the center path of the tree) as well as addressing the impact of the bottom capstone section of the tree, I think we’re headed in a reasonably good direction, with a heavy caveat around the disappointing planned timing of said changes around Dark Ascension and Void Eruption.

One major question I have right now is around how Shadow is meant to play on large AOE pulls (10+ targets). In Shadowlands, Shadow had a pretty straightforward approach of slamming cooldowns and spamming Mind Sear and Searing Nightmare, but in Dragonflight our options for hitting a large amount of targets at the same time are extremely limited (Mind Sear, Idol of N’zoth).

I would ask that you consider revisiting target caps on existing effects (Dark Void, and Shadowflame Prism for example) to allow for Shadow to evenly deal damage to a large group of enemies simultaneously outside of just Mind Sear. Even changing Shadowflame Prism to a root-scaling ability after 5 targets would go a long way in addressing this particular pain point of mine.

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The recent update just feels like we’re going to be an afterthought again, to be honest, and that still feels bad.

“Other classes do this, so priest shouldn’t.” I don’t understand that reasoning. All the other healers feel like they bring so much more utility to the table while they also have more mobility. Could it not be made that some things are less effective in PvP so we can have something else to look forward to for PvE?

72 Likes

Dark Ascension was added to the beta 2 weeks ago. To be told now that it is lacking identity and that Void Eruption is not transformative enough and there isn’t plans to make these changes for launch is extremely disheartening. Initial feedback we gave on the Priest tree months ago was delayed for a long time only for this to happen to Shadow again for the 3rd expansion in a row makes me extremely sad and frustrated.

If Dark Ascension is causing problems and can’t be finished properly I would rather see it removed from the tree entirely. The visual is the coolest part of it and this could easily just be a glyph added into the game that changes how Voidform looks rather than sacrificing Shadow Priest gameplay just because we got too close to the launch of the game.

126 Likes

And my biggest fear of two different playstyles cannibalizing one-another (and my biggest argument against the return of Legion/BFA Voidform as a playstyle; so we got Dark Ascension instead) because the rework would inevitably be too close to the start of the upcoming expansion has been made real.

Moreover, the sheer amount of frustration I have about the class losing out on so much necessary utility in an expansion where more classes are getting more utility than ever before, especially in the name of a game mode I’ve never enjoyed even when I had to engage with it for stuff like Conflict and Strife, is immense.

24 Likes

How are you going to improve Voidform’s gameplay? You just removed Hungering Void, the last part that still reminded me of pre-Shadowlands Voidform gameplay with its extension mechanic. We’ve told you what we want from Voidform, it’s now on you to deliver.

What Shadow Priest am I building again? The one that casts Mind Spike? I understand that there are options for those who enjoyed Cata to WoD era of Shadow, but what about those who came to love the new flavor of it? You have relegated two entire expansions of gameplay to a single talent as a cooldown, which is a complete disservice to the history of the spec.

If I want to build a Legion/BfA Shadow Priest, let me build a Legion/BfA Shadow Priest. A completely neutured design that is no longer reminiscent of the playstyle I fell in love with is not a satisfying choice at all.

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Thank you for taking the time to get all of your thoughts on paper - this is extremely helpful for us to understand the philosophy and thinking behind a lot of your decisions! There’s a couple of design themes that seem pretty strong in this thread that I would like to comment on briefly.

Other specs are getting tools, so it doesn’t make sense for priest to have them
This is the theme of shining force, mind bomb, and silence. Across the board, other class trees are being loaded up with the utility historically housed in multiple specs, so players of those classes will have access to multiple sets of utilities like gap closers, crowd control and defensives. In spite of this, the philosophy being applied to priest results in LESS utility available than any individual spec had access to prior to 10.0. This philosophy is being unevenly applied and will likely result in a lot of resentment.

Priest is historically a class with extremely limited defensive ability, mobility, and crowd control in pve situations, and the current philosophy being espoused is that it’s quite natural for even more cannibalization to occur so that binding shot can become an aoe stun and restoration shamans and evokers can get knockbacks.

Powerful options like power word:life and mind games are the low hanging fruit for button bloat
The way I see it, button bloat occurs when there is not enough distinction between the use or effect of multiple spells in a spellbook. Mind games has significant unique utility in a number of situations, and is a powerful ramp tool for discipline. Power word: Life is a brand new, very unique triage ability that two of the three specs really don’t have much access to prior to 10.0. Both feel very good to press and have their own unique role.

When I think of bloat, I think of the fact that discipline priest has a very large number of spells that basically do single target damage with no rotational intrigue beyond the balance in all things talent - to me, solace and mind blast stand out as spells that feel out of place and completely unsupported. It might make more sense if mind games was a talent replacing mind blast, instead of having them be separate entities. I agree with there being too many atonement applicators, though removing shadow mend entirely seems extremely problematic given how little support shadow covenant’s current design already has.

72 Likes

They have made a compromise and you people need to realize they can’t PLEASE everyone here some will hate it and some will modestly support it and some will like it. Because of this they have to find a common ground.

1 Like

While I appreciate the feedback post, I take a bit of an issue with the overall tone of it.

It comes across as very adversarial. I understand some of the community can be entitled and harsh in their feedback and criticism, but there’s lots of us who simply want our class to be fun to play and to get a fraction of the things(or attention) other classes seem to be getting.

Hunters get iterations every 3 days, with a great back and forth dialogue between devs and players, while priests feel like the unwanted step-child, ignored till the last moment and then when we say “thank you can you also address these issues?” you say “No, there’s already too many of X thing” or “we know there are issues but we dont plan on changing them”… What kind of response is that?

Time is running short, and I get that there’s pressures internally, but we deserve to have just as much care and attention and respect as other classes get, and I’m sure many of my fellow players feel disheartened by the response today.

95 Likes

Stop designing around PvP… it’s a very small portion of the community that plays that sh*t. Pvp imo should be removed. My main has always paid the PvP tax… it’s so stupid. Just STOP. PvP is not balanced, won’t ever be balanced and should not be the main consideration for balancing ANY spec or class.

39 Likes

We waited for over 45 days for any type of feedback, we get a new build with a bunch of changes with no real sense of how a shadow priest should play. We then go over 2 weeks without any responses after lots of feedback and now we get this response?

You basically disregarded every bit of feedback you received and still shadow priest has a ton of issues with no real identity.

Having access to an interrupt is not something we view as necessary for all specializations.

Then why was it added to every other spec in the game besides Holy/Disc? Why are you holding back these two specs in PvE content to satisfy some fears due to PvP?

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Why do everyone here want more buttons instead more passives and modest on utility.

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I’m fine with not having silence as a priest healer. But please explain why greater fade was taken away.

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I think in general I agree with a lot of the post and trying to keep an open mind towards priests but I disagree with this part of the post the most.

I do agree that interrupts are not needed on every spec, but as someone who likes to occasionally pug as a healer in M+, not having a kick is often a frustrating experience. Sure, when I’m with a group of friends important spells get kicked, but it’s all to often in pugs (especially around the +15 level) to just not kick important spells (say the goliaths in spires of ascension).

And often times it’s not a big deal until you get to very high keys. You can just heal through it. But sitting there, watching the very obvious, painful cast go off and watching 4 other members in the group not kick it is incredibly tilting.

It is one thing if this is just a curse of healers to deal with, but when every other spec has a kick and you do not, it feels very peculiar.

If there are pvp concerns of having too much control, I would gladly see silence or some weakened form of silence as a choice node with something like mind control.

Right now, the core benefit of a healing priest in M+ is PI (especially with Shining Force gone), and the same groups don’t need a kick on their healer also would benefit the most from a PI. It feels like very much a win more kind of thing when it comes to the healer M+ meta.

I have similar concerns about the chunk on defensive, but willing to give it a shot with fade having a 10% DR. I do worry now that the talent is basically mandatory for all healing specs for the entire expansion, which limits choice.

I haven’t had a chance to test it, but my main fear with Angelic Bulwark is how you could get leap-froged over the benefit (going from say 50% to dead). If we can somehow address that (such as making activated rather than passive), I’d have less of a concern.

14 Likes