I’ve made my thoughts on Mind Spike multiple times across several threads. But I decided to make a dedicated thread to it since I just keep seeing so many mixed directions and misinformed takes on Mind Spike that results in 1 of 2 scenarios.
Since I cannot post on the beta forms and even if I did, would probably get lost in the drama that is filling it up with let’s just say less constructive feedback since the blue post nuke some time ago.
I will post my thoughts here.
People thinking Mind Spike should compete with Mind Flay as a filler in that it should replace Mind Flay entirely.
People thinking Mind Spike should be outright removed.
What I don’t see much of, actually almost not at all is suggestions on how Mind Spike and Mind Flay can work together at the same time in having access to them both as we do now but having a clear defined reason to use one or the other.
First I will address the shortsighted takes from scenario 1 and 2
Scenario 1 shortsightedness…
What I have gleamed is that people should have a choice to take Mind Spike in order to use that instead of Mind Flay. Problem is that at that base level of choice, it offers no reason to pick one or the other aside from the preference of do you want to cast or do you want to channel? That in of itself is not reason enough to choose one or the other.
Simply having the option to cast one or the other just illustrates a waste of a talent point if you gain nothing from Mind Spike.
So that then leads to scenario 2
Scenario 2 shortsightedness…
To outright remove Mind Spike would solve the current issue of confusion in why use Mind Spike over Mind Flay, but would not address the very essence of WHY Mind Spike existed in the first place and what happened during its evolution and eventual removal and now it’s present resurgence. I would attribute its purpose is to have the ability to quickly deal out damage in a short burst. Think of kaioken technique Goku uses from DBZ, it’s not to be used all the time like his punches and kicks or a massive cooldown like spirit bomb, it’s for short bursts to get the job done.
So this leads into the last scenario that doesn’t get much attention.
Mind Spike was first brought into the live game in Cataclysm. It existed alongside Mind Flay. Both Mind Flay and Mind Spike had uses that were clear and effective throughout Cata, MoP and WoD.
What caused the distinction between the 2 spammable abilities was the fact that Mind Spike removed your DOTs on targets.
So then you have to ask yourself why? why was this the route to take for Mind Spike? The answer was clear then just as it should be now since blizzard changed the dot removal aspect (major mistake) into what it is currently. The reason it has the dot removal aspect was to balance the ability. Since it had no cooldown and was not gated behind a resource cost, then it had to have some unique aspect that retained its purpose in having a quick kaioken burst effect without overtaking Mind Flay (as we see today).
Okay, so now we can see WHY Mind Spike removed dots. Now the question becomes, when do I use Mind Spike over Mind Flay if Mind Spike removed dots?
In Cata, you used Mind Spike in 2 situations ONLY. It was not to be touched during your normal gameplay loop with Mind Flay and dots.
You used Mind Spike to either burst down a target that spawned and will die fast OR during your Dark Archangel DPS cooldown on again a target that will die fast but just not as fast without the cooldown. A good example is bursting down the tentacles on Deathwings back in Dragon Soul Raid. Mind Spike was NEVER used on like a single target raid boss encounter where you actually keep your dots up all the time and thus not using Mind Spike.
Moving into MoP, Mind Spike was enhanced with Surge of Darkness, allowing the casting time to be removed from Mind Spike when you got a proc and in that state, not removing dots. So just like it is now. This allowed the ability to use Mind Spike into your normal gameplay loop without removing dots. But it was a choice with other common used talents, just like it should be a choice in the current talent trees.
Going into WoD, Mind Spike got enhanced again with the addition of Clarity of Power talent. This caused Mind Spike to deal 40% more damage to targets without dots on them. This also allowed Mind Blast to be a short cooldown like 4 sec and be instant cast all the time. This caused some interesting gameplay loops like dotless play and dot weaving. But the point was that it worked on the idea that you deal more damage to targets without dots on them.
So this brings us to the present and what to do with Mind Spike. It should once again be used for quick burst moments and therefore it should once again have its dot ripping affect returned. This alone will dissuade people from taking it for normal gameplay loop. This would ease the confusion on when to use it over Mind Flay.
The problem was that when the tree was first reintroduced with Mind Spike in it, Mind Spike was centrally located in the middle of the talent tree and I think because of this, people that didn’t play Shadow prior to Voidform had no idea what to make of Mind Spike and didn’t know that it already existed in the past and how it functioned during that period.
Because of this combination of lack of experience or understanding and it being centrally located, I conclude that the masses thought it was a core tenet of the new talent tree and should not be skipped over thus creating the confusion of it being a core gameplay loop spell. Hopefully now that the talent tree has since been cleaned up and played around with, with Mind Spike off to the side, it not longer creates this veil of confusion thinking it’s a core tenet of shadow when it never should have been and never was prior.
So that’s when you got a lot of people calling for the dot ripping aspect to be removed… and so it did but that didn’t solve the issue, it just made things more confusing.
That is why now hopefully everyone sees how problematic it is in this non dot ripping form vs having the dots removed.
What needs to happen is have the dot ripping affect returned and then amp up the damage on Mind Spike to compensate not being able to use on dotted targets.
Before it dealt increased damage in the past to targets without dots on them. It can do that again passively OR it can simply reduce its damage done to targets with dots on them or a combination of effects.
Point is to make it clear that Mind Spike is simply a tool for a specific type of situation that belongs outside the normal gameplay loop. It was a mistake to ever think it should be apart of normal gameplay and used all the time.