I love the idea of Shadow Priests

But man, is it difficult for me to enjoy playing this spec.

Long-time Spriests, which expansion/patch iteration of the spec was your favorite?
If you could change one (or several) things about how Shadow plays now, what would you change?

:octopus:

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I’ve enjoyed Shadow from classic/vanilla to WoD. Once Shadow changed drastically going into Legion did the spec become a frustrating and annoying mess.

I would attribute the enjoyment of Shadow to the simplicity of its playstyle since the beginning with its primary damage over time damage profile slant with dots being particularly strong.

This also allowed Shadow to contribute to its hybrid healing capability and overall priest utility as most of our damage was either automatically being done via a dot spell on the target or gated behind a long cooldown like Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death. Meaning you would not loose much damage by opting out of using the filler Mind Flay and instead help out the group using your GCD’s for spot healing or utility spells.

This type of overall gameplay remained true up until the radical change in legion. Once legion became a thing, your entire gameplay revolved around generating as much insanity as possible as often as possible else you get severely punished and you have little room if at all to recover from which sidelined your opportunities to use utility as often as you were able prior to legion.

This problem gets exacerbated even greater when it comes to the PvP side of things as being a very immobile class in addition to the now any worthwhile spell to use are all shadow spells thus making any interrupt or lockout detrimental because it railroads your entire ability to play and do anything which also in turn makes the insanity generation demand even more starved and thus further increases the punishment for not doing so.

I think with the introduction of the new talent system in DF and a forced analysis on the similarities that each priest spec should have and in turn assist in driving the direction of what shadow can and should be compared to its healing brothers has been a net positive in bringing back some features that allowed shadow to deal with situations that it couldn’t since the legion changes.

However, I think the realization of the amount of work required to make the new talent system work and be brought into the modern age to be on par with other classes came too little too late and once again the changes brought were both half thought and short lived as the multiple reworks and adjustments have shown.

What I would like to see moving forward looking into 11.0 is a way for Shadow to fulfill a damage over time focused talent build and a non-damage over time build or in simple terms a Periodic damage build and a Non-Periodic damage build.

I think Shadow should have both primary gameplay types to fit the core rotational spells we have had where it was pretty balanced up until the legion remake.

I think Periodic damage builds should be slow to start but over time become stronger and eventually deal more damage the longer the fight goes on and
Non-Periodic damage builds should provide quick burst damage ideal for short fights but fall off the longer the fight goes on.

I would like both styles of gameplay to allow Shadow as our single DPS spec to have different gameplay leaning options to both provide interesting combinations as well as to be an answer for multiple different gameplay situations be it solo or PvE or PvP you have a mix of short and long battle situations and shadow would have an answer to both instead of being forced to only excel or just barely be viable in a single type of situation based on design limitations at the core of the spec.

To conclude:

I’ve written up a very detailed post in the 10.2 Priest Feedback thread that goes into specifics of what and how I think would be a possible and positive direction to take Shadow into.

But in short, I’ve added some things and adjusted others to better align Shadow with this idea of Periodic and Non-Periodic damage profile builds while introducing a lot of interesting ways of gameplay that lean into one or the other gameplay type and shoring up dead or boring talents to make them more interesting or better suited for a particular damage profile build type and finally reworked the Idol capstone talents to make them really interesting and build defining.

Link to feedback…

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I agree , shadow sucks to play in its current iteration.

As far as PvP goes, WotLK was by far the most fun for spriest. Loved the vampiric class fantasy, the constant green numbers from permanent 25% VE, the depth of design.

Early DF SP was also very fun, but since then it’s gotten fairly miserable. Taking away all the instants was a horrible idea, having to hard cast everything in this meta is awful.

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Thank you for providing such an in-depth analysis of Shadow’s current predicament, where it’s excelled, and where it’s struggled in the past, Aneurysm.

I agree with every point you made, and I really hope the development team takes a closer look at the spec as we go into 10.2 and 11.0+.

I’ll just also add specifically the era I enjoyed the most for Shadow was during WoD for the singular reason that the new last tier of talents allowed a major shift in play style which changed up your stat priority and other talent picks.

Warlords of Draenor: Shadow Priest game play defining talents/spells

The following are what I see is the true strengths of what WoD offered Shadow that no other expansion achieved and still has not to date.

The ability to radically change your gameplay with just a handful of talents/spells that affect your button priority and weight dramatically between Periodic damage vs Non-Periodic damage flavors of gameplay.

I would like to see this become the core defining feature of Shadows talent tree that will have multiple talents that feed into / lean toward one side or the other.

This is what inspired me to make my suggestions as I have in the 10.2 feedback thread as I never had so much flexibility in playing shadow as I did in WoD.

Non-Periodic damage profile defining talents

  • Clarity of Power (Talent)
    Your Mind Spike, Mind Sear, and Shadow Word: Death deal 40% additional damage to targets not affected by your Shadow Word: Pain or Vampiric Touch. Also reduces the cooldown on Mind Blast by 3 sec and makes it instant cast.
  • Surge of Darkness (Talent)
    Your Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague damage has a 12% chance to cause your next Mind Spike not to consume your damage over time effects, be instant, and deal 50% additional damage. Can accumulate up to 3 charges.

What this build achieves

  • In combination with talents, your damage over time spells acted as a trigger to proc your Non-Periodic damage spells instantly and/or increased damage.
  • Your dots took a back seat in Damage in order to allow your non-periodic damage spells to hit harder.
  • Your difficult to hard cast non-periodic damage spells like Mind Blast and Mind Spike became more accessible via passive or proc based instant cast mechanisms.
  • Typical setup is to cast dots on all targets except your primary target, then load into the primary target with your non-periodic damage spells to burst/nuke it down with little to no risk of Spell interruption and becoming mobile enough to not be forced to stand still and cast.

Periodic Damage profile defining talents

  • Auspicious Spirits (Talent)
    Your Shadowy Apparitions now deal 100% increased damage and grant you 1 Shadow Orb.
  • Shadowy Apparitions (Passive)
    When your Shadow Word: Pain damage over time critically strikes, you also create a shadowy version of yourself that floats towards the target and deals x Shadow damage.

What this build achieves

  • Increased continuous use of Devouring Plague.
  • Stacking critical strike allowed more spirits to spawn which fed into more resources (Shadow Orbs, max 5) which led to a massive uptick in Devouring Plague usage.
  • Increased number of targets with Shadow Word: Pain on them fed into more spirits leading to more Devouring Plague usage to the point where you couldn’t use Devouring Plague fast enough at times.
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I enjoyed Legion Shadow the most, but to be fair I think that was largely due to Surrender to Madness, which felt fantastic to pull off well.

I would change Shadow Crash, or add a talent which just made it targetable with a dot spread, probably dealing zero damage to balance the lack of skill shot.

Boy do I hate Shadow Crash.

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I agree WOD shadow was the most fun I’ve ever had on the spec. This current crap is bad.

Cata orbs SP was my favorite, been playing since end of Wrath. Void Form was fun, but I’m pretty over this spell and it’s build now. Was never into specs that shift forms into another to do more damage. Would’ve played Boomkin if I wanted to do that.

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Completely agree, that’s the biggest reason why I dislike playing Druid and Demon Hunter even though I love the fantasy for each class.

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To each their own, but to me this sounds very, very lame. I don’t think builds rendering part of our kit—especially things that have been around since vanilla—obsolete is good game design. The only time I’d ever voluntarily play a “do more direct damage by forgoing dots” build is when farming extremely low keys or questing out in the world.

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None of the kit is obsolete as you put it.
It just shifts the priority of the damage output to swing from heavily relying on damage over time spells to direct damage spells.

On one hand the damage over time spells deal the majority of damage and on the other hand they serve only to activate direct damage spells to increase use and / or damage at the cost of dealing less damage my either not being used as often or the actual damage value of damage over time spells is reduced at the net level.

The key take away however is that you are still able to deal decent damage output without relying on dots which in a world where blizzard nullifies the effectiveness of dots across multiple specs to where either the damage is pitiful or they are easily countered via a dispel mechanic (with Devouring Plague being a disease spell makes it even more susceptible to dispelling) makes playing Shadow as a whole in PvP quite frustrating when we rely so much on our damage being dealt while we are incapacitated through multiple ways as we lack the tools to effectively remove/counter/avoid getting locked up compared to other classes that can go immune or displacement or are not reliant on hard casting spells.

With the WoD shadow talents, Shadow was given the choice to lean into either build which granted the flexibility to participate in any form of content and have a good answer to the challenges it produces.

Since the Legion remake, shadow was only viable in long form content which really only funneled it into raiding content and left world, PvP and Dungeon content to the wayside because everything was dead or you were before you can ever get shadow to really get going.

We have gained some ground on this front since Legion, but it was and still is a half thought out plan that requires a bit more time to develop and grow in order to get some semblance of its capability it had in its flexibility in all forms of content back in WoD.

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Spriest in its current iteration is doing great M±-edit: I guess we can’t include links, but look up the stats on Warcraft logs for M+ DPS damage stats, this is discounting the utility that was arguably overtuned this season. It is actually less effective in long-form content (raiding): edit: ibid, WCL DPS for Aberrus. I don’t think world content is worth talking about much since its trivial, but Shadow is also fine there, but yes, putting up dots feels like a waste of globals.

I grant that in PVP it is very hard to free cast as shadow, but it is still regarded as one of the stronger specs in e.g. Solo Shuffle (and objectively is the most represented ranged class above 2400 in SS, see e.g. Drustvar and filter for roles above 2400, its also at the top in coordinated 3v3). Its on the player to learn how to play defensively with 1-2 melee training them and to juke effectively. I agree this could be tuned better, as its always wild to me how trivial it is for me to play e.g. my ret pally with no real experience and achieve similar results as I see on shadow where I feel like I work my butt off and have had to learn a ton about positioning, playing under pressure, and using my GCDs well. Dispells also have a CD, so if you are putting them on multiple people they aren’t all being immediately nullified, but again I agree that the dispell protection from VT feels underwhelming compared to what affliction gets (UA did 80% of my health the other day when I was being cheeky).

I guess it seems to me like you are coming at this from false premises when we look at the data, but you are entitled to prefer the playstyle you dig. I wish Shadow was a little less turret-y in PVP as well and not so demanding to play well.

Shadow is doing better now. But that is in-spite of the direction shadow was taken into during Legion, BFA, Shadowlands and not because of it. I already stated as much. But I also stated that the ideas that brought us to this point are still half thought ideas that could be flushed out a bit more by addressing the questionable and boring talents we still have.

I was addressing your point of contention in saying that a part of the kit would be obsolete and I was reassuring you that, that was never nor would I intent or want that to be the case.

I simply would like talent options that lean into one side or the other and let the player choose what type of damage profile they want to play with for the content they want to participate in.

Think of it as a double pan balance scale where you have Periodic Damage spells on one side and Non-Periodic damage on the other. You can pick and choose which talents that would contribute more to one or the other type of damage build.

It’s just taking what we use already and focuses on them. The more you pick one side, the less impacting does the other become.

This will balance out the damage output yet grant the player the choice to deal damage the way that they choose.

So nothing becomes obsolete, only lessens the importance where you are not loosing much if you are unable to get the casts off.

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Yeah shadow pumps, but it’s not fun to play for a lot of people. I quit completely after the rework. It feels like blizzard created precog ( no one used it ) for shadow and then forced precog on the spec by “reworking” the spec. Lock mage hunter are all a lot funner than spriest because you don’t have to bait precog just to be able to play the specs. Even boomy is funner to play now than shadow imo. Just a pvp perspective, I’m sure it’s fine in pve.

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Yeah no argument from me that shadow in pvp is not in a great spot despite seeing success. I am curious about those metrics: if we looked at when the high ranking spriests got those ratings are they still active? Or did they hit them in the first month of the patch and bail after the various nerfs? I know I was disheartened to see stahp abandon his 0-2400 series to play arcane, but I get it. Being arguably the least mobile caster in the current meta isn’t fun. I stopped taking it seriously after one too many triple melee lobbies in solo shuffle in between 45 minute queues.

I’m not really clear what the ideal fix is, but I’m personally not seeing it in this thread. I don’t think going all-in on instant casts is the right move either. During df s1 spriest was undeniably broken imo. Putting up dots and then using stun → silence on a healer while you throw all your instant cast nukes at someone doesn’t scream skill to me, and while I don’t like melee having the mobility they do I think countering that by making every caster build to a bunch of instant casts is an unhealthy long term direction for pvp, personally.

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Which is another reason why I would like Shadow to become a central pivot point of choice between Periodic and Non-Periodic damage builds.

Still have access to both sides, but the potent potential is limited. Meaning if you want strong dots, you will have much weaker nuke spells and if you want strong nuke spells, you will have weaker dot damage.

Then taking it further you can have choice to deal dot damage faster or be stronger for Periodic damage builds and deal Direct damage easier via procs/instant casts or stronger nukes that require casting times still.

I crafted these options within my feedback post.

Which to this point, I would agree that this specific thread does not address the best path forward. This thread is merely a refection of what made shadow good in the past and the suggestions I at least bring up are not a carbon copy of WoD as I only brought up WoD as the example of how well Shadow played during its run with the 2 entire different playstyle options that leans into Periodic vs Non-Periodic damage that can be the core inspiration to cater shadow with moving forward since its proven to be effective and game changing without becoming game breaking as it was in WoD.

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A large part of what I felt the talent trees being reintroduced would have addressed is the flexibility of build that many people loved in Classic- being able to go more heals, more dps or hybrid. I remember that because someone was creative with the druid talent tree is what gave them four specs. For Shadow, having a DoTs Damage, Nuke Damage, also a Vampiric HoT build would have been great. One of the things I really loved for Shadow Priests many expacs ago was getting the HoT spread to the group based off of damage done. (Mostly in Pandaria if I’m remembering right)

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Shadow orbs era was definitely it.

To pick my personal favorite, WoD. (I think the instant mind blast thingy was a really bad idea, tho)

The entire void priest thing is horrible and makes no sense for the people that have played it for a long time.

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I loved shadow all the way up till they make it void based. Whenever that was. Its still nice now, esp with the change to shadowform. But meh. I mainly only like priest cause of MC.

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