Opinion - One patch in Shadow Priest Changes

Now that we’re about to be hitting chains of domination, I wanted to bring up my opinion on the changes that were done to shadow priests for this expansions. Namely, putting void form on a cooldown and adding devouring plague and PI.

Currently, I have cleared Heroic CN and completed all dungeons as a +15 (not timed all, so no KSM, but at least completed), 218 Ilevel. I wouldn’t say I’m the best player, but I wouldn’t say I’m the worst either.

Going into this expansion, I was incredibly excited seeing the changes that were going to be taking place. Seering nightmare planting SW:P looked fantastic. My dreams of spamming ghosts everywhere like I did in BFA appeared to be coming to fruition. However, as I got to actually play it, I found that it’s not even close to what I expected.

As a preface, I don’t want to discourage Blizzard from trying new things. I think what they tried was super good and I actively welcome changes that are perceived as risky.

With that being said, I really dislike the change to void form as a CD. Part of what drew me to play SP in legion was because:

  1. Unique playstyle - This was dot centered while also keeping clear weakness in mobility but also having a high skill ceiling.

  2. Not CD Based - Instead of having burst windows that were high burst, it was what I considered sustained burst. Yes, there were periods that you would have higher damage (lets ignore S2M, because we all know that was not a good design, but I applaud blizz for taking a chance in making it).

  3. Huge Damage - If you played correctly, you were easily going to be one of the top damage dealers in whatever content you were doing.

As it stands today, I can’t really say the same things.

  1. Unique Playstyle - With void form on a CD, this has been more homogonized like all the other classes. Essentially, we play the same as fire mages, just with a smaller and more frequent burst window. VF=combust, fire blast = VB, Dots=Ignite. We do negligable damage outside of VF and have to wait for our CD to be back to be competitive.
    Additionally, we are not really dot based any more. We are a burst class that happens to have dots. It really doesn’t play the same at all.
  2. Not CD based - See above
  3. Huge Damage - Currently, yes, we are probably the highest single target DPS. However, the question still remains. Why bring a SP if you could bring another dps that is similarly competitive in damage and brings more utility? Why bring SP when fire mage exists is the question that keeps coming up. They fill the same role, except fire mage does bursting better, does AOE cleave better, and has immunes. The only thing SP had was that the damage ramp was so good, that if piloted correctly, we would always be topping the meters and that was the reason we were brought. Long fights or fights execute fights where we can make a good use if ToF.

If it’s not clear, I really don’t like the playstyle of SP currently. I don’t see a reason to play it when fire mage exists. The fixes to make it good are not huge though! I think what we need to do is revert putting VF on a CD base. Change ghosts back to proc on crit chance , but keep devouring plague, reduce it’s insanity cost and make it as a risky spender you can use while you’re in void form. It would still be juggeling abilities to stay in VF as long as you can, but devouring plague can now be added to make it spend your insanity early as a calculated risk if you think you’re going to overcap insanity. Also, remove the ability to share PI. I literally think that’s the only changes that needs to happen and it will be drastically more enjoyable to play.

As the title suggests, this is my opinion. I understand others may not share that and that’s ok, but if you never say anything, nothing will change!

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The shadow that we have now is basically the shadow that we had before Legion shadow existed.

There was a reason most of the community was unhappy with it and there was a reason they have, for the most part, reverted its design.

I would be fine losing some more single target dps for stronger dot cleave. If I could play Void Form Shadow in council fights I absolutely would. But that was the only time I didn’t feel miserable playing it.

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OP, you have your opinions but the only thing that made Legion Shadow Priest good was the Artifact weapons and the synergy of it all for the class. in BFA we saw how bad the class change was because the class change was married to the Legion artifact weapon, which was taken out. Now we are more back to our original design, minus the orbs.

I prefer this play style 100% more than before.

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This is only partially true. Yes, Mass Hysteria made Shadow scale quadratically, but Voidform haste in Legion was more than enough for it to do well without the artifact. And it was halved going into BfA.

The real reason as to why Shadow was so bad in BfA, and why it needed Chorus of Insanity to make it perform well, was because the haste scaling was so negligible, and Lingering Insanity was both equally powerful and antithetical to the design of the spec, that its damage pattern was linear post first Voidform. And you can’t have a ramp spec without sufficient ramp doing good damage.

You may argue with me, but I will die on the hill that all Shadow needed going into Shadowlands was 1% haste scaling back.

I don’t like how messy our cooldowns are in terms of timing / overlapping, and searing nightmare is an utter mess of an aoe spell in both design and implementation. Otherwise I’m pretty happy.

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While it might be the shadow that was there before legion, doesn’t mean that it’s the shadow that is enjoyable to play. There’s nothing enjoyable about giving away your PI or being forced to run NF so you can use your VF better.

I would also like to see the poll that said the majority of the community was unhappy with the design. From what I saw, we all agreed there needed to be changes, we just didn’t know what they were. And while what Blizz put out was optimistic and seemingly daring on paper, it’s just a further homogonized version of existing classes. Maybe that’s why it was changed in the first place with legion?

All I’m saying is, void form is good, I like void form. I hate it as a a CD. I dislike that we’re not truly a dot class anymore. I dislike that we play the exact same way as a fire mage, and I dislike that there is no reason to bring a shadow priest to the raid when literally any other class is available. I mean, really, think about it. Knowing that a disc priest or holy priest is going to be in the raid almost guaranteed - why would you bring shadow? Damage wise, they’re on par with mages but have no immunities. Burst windows are longer, but for less so burn phases aren’t great.

I could go through every ranged class, and each brings something unique. SP is the only one that doesn’t. If it doesn’t have a unique play style, and doesn’t have godlike damage, and doesn’t have any utility, there’s no reason to have them!

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I like the shadow we have now over BFA for sure

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I 100% agree with you, there’s not much that was holding back SP in BFA. I also disagree with Larporil in the sentiment that BFA was not good for SP. BFA was when I really got into playing shadow priest as a main. I got into legion late and had to leave early due to personal issues, but when I played BFA - man that was fun. Multi dotting and then keeping dots running with void bolt and machine gunning ghosts. That’s enjoyable to me. Hitting mind seer with seering nightmare occassionally is not nearly as satisfying especially when the damage is roughly half of what it would have been in BFA with your multi dot ghost explosions.

I prefer by far the shadow that we have now. I understand this is from a raiding point of view mainly, which is the area where shadow exceeded before. But in all other areas I enjoy shadow so much more as it is now, specially in PvP. Having a spec that shines in just one type of content doesn’t seem that nice to me (mostly when your class only has one spec for that role).

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Yes, I also think we need better AoE cleave or something. Searing Nightmare just does not feel good to use.

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I don’t like how messy our cooldowns are in terms of timing / overlapping, and searing nightmare is an utter mess of an aoe spell in both design and implementation. Otherwise I’m pretty happy.

Pretty much this. Would prefer to either reduce PI’s CD to 90s to line up with VF or bake it into VF. Not sure how to solve SN.

Would also like to see a Black Hole-like ability replace Mind Bomb, drawing enemies to the center of a targeted area and slowing them. That would be some nice M+ / PVP utility.

Other than that, my “stretch” wish is to get a battle rez for class fantasy and utility purposes.

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Make SN its own spell that doesn’t require Mind Sear

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I’d prefer Searing Nightmare just be a talent that applies SW:P and boosts the damage of mind sear when it hits 4+ targets.

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I’d prefer Searing Nightmare just be a talent that applies SW:P and boosts the damage of mind sear when it hits 4+ targets.

So like Mind Sear would apply and refresh SW:P on each tick? That would be nice. It would be less bursty, but I’m fine with that.

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Something like, if Mind Sear hits 4+ targets it deals X% more damage and applies SW:P to targets that don’t have SW:P already applied.

Less burst damage but I’d rather sit there hitting DP every once in a while instead of mashing Searing Nightmare during a sear window. It just feels bad.

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Current shadow priest is awkward to play without the nightfae covenant. Most specs in the game have cooldowns that line up perfectly with other cooldowns, that is, maximizing individual cooldown usage and lining up cooldowns is usually not conflicting. But a non-nf shadow priest has to constantly try to line up power infusion with voidform without losing their individual uptime. This is very disrupting to the flow of gameplay.

Searing nightmare is another issue. The talent is awkward to use, and channeling mind sear requires shadow priest to stand still, which makes it even more awkward.
There is also a lack of interaction between the talent and some of the core mechanics of the spec. Searing nightmare does not interact with void bolt, mind blast, and shadowy apparition. It does put shadow word pain on targets, in the most boring way. We mostly interact with dots by refreshing their duration, but we dont even need to do that for searing nightmare because we can just spam the button and ignore the dot mechanic. We wouldnt even care the spell leaves shadow word pain on targets if not for the slight mastery buff. Whenever I spam this spell I feel like I am completely indifferent to what the spec is about, and when I run out of insanity I get suddenly pull back into the reality of playing a shadow priest.

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I think they shouldn’t buff the dots. Instead, they should just buff shadowy apparition. Dots themselves are mostly sustained flat dmg in shadow priest’s kit, meaning their dmg does not scale with cooldowns well. And if they become the primary source of dmg in cleaves it can be a huge issue. If they tune the dmg with respect to sustained cleave fights, the dmg will be too weak in short and bursty cleave fights(basically every big pulls in mythic plus), and vice versa. Because of the nature of sustained dmg, if dots ever become the main source of dmg in cleave for shadow priest(except in cases like mass hysteria), the spec will never excel in that situation.

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Tbh 9.0 prepatch shadow priest has better mechanics than the current shadow priest imo. You have much better cleave, and cleaving itself actually feel impactful in mythic plus. There is no PI drama. And blood of the enemy and condensed life force line up perfectly with voidform.

Searing nightmare is just…wtf.

Can we go back to multidot spread cleave? kthx

Buff Shadowy Apparitions and Psychic Link too

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Honestly, I would love this. Or at least make it that Shadowy Apparitions proc with dot crits and not just when using mind blast and plague.