Shadow Priest Needs Another Rework

Shadow Priest Needs Another Rework


Regardless of what you want to call it, rework or not, Shadow Priest has design issues that are causing friction with playing the spec and keeps going through waves of harmful balancing changes. Priests have enjoyed the unique experience of being sought after in Season 2 of Mythic+ due to the dependence on utility spells like Mass Dispel and Mind Soothe, and Shadow Priest has had our damage repeatedly nerfed to try and compensate for this utility. There are a few problems with this approach but the main one has been the inevitability of these changes bleeding over into the spec’s Single Target damage, since the AoE damage profile is nearly identical.

Psychic Link was changed with the season 2 rework to be the main AoE facilitator for our damage profile. At the start of the season it transferred 40% of our single target spell damage to other targets with Vampiric Touch. At 40% this felt like a meaningful thing for our AoE to revolve around. We quickly became good at doing Priority Target damage while still competing in AoE, effectively a ranged Outlaw Rogue. However, just a few short months later, this spell is now only transferring 15% of our damage. It was repeatedly nerfed to try and balance out Shadow Priest in Mythic+ while trying not to destroy the spec’s ability to deal single target damage. At this point it feels like the spec is at a breaking point, you cannot nerf the Psychic Link value anymore without it feeling completely useless, so the only thing left is to tune the other spells in our kit which will also nerf our single target damage. Psychic Link is now a much smaller part of our AoE damage and we have to find that damage elsewhere to compete in AoE (where possible).

In the most recent hotfixes to try and balance Shadow Priest, the damage kit was adjusted even though dealing high damage is not the reason the spec is so desirable in keys. Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, and Shadowy Apparitions were all nerfed. All of these spells contribute not only to our AoE, but also our single target. This resulted in roughly a 2-3% loss in single target damage and 3-5% loss in Mythic+ overall damage.

Shadow Priest single target damage is now very much suffering in terms of overall raid balance. These changes are directly a result of Priest utility being so strong in Mythic+ and Blizzard trying to reduce the appeal of the spec by lowering our damage. Even if you factor in the value gained by the raid from Power Infusion the spec is not performing that well. This kind of change is not fun.

The other knock on effect these kinds of changes have is with talent and build viability. Nerfing individual spells like our DoTs or Shadowy Apparitions indirectly nerfs the talents that those spells interact with. The last round of changes saw a significant nerf to Void Eruption’s ability to do competitive single target damage, even though it was not directly nerfed. Shadow Priests have changed builds they use this season inside of dungeons and raid 3 different times just because of these specific nerfs to one-off spells.

Issues with Shadow Priest

In this section I’m going to post the gathered feedback within the Shadow Priest community on current issues and frustrations people have with the spec. Hopefully, some of these can be solved so that we end up with a spec that feels satisfying, but is also controllable from a balance perspective so the spec is not nerfed every 2 weeks.

These are the core problems:

  • Certain talents feel underwhelming and lackluster
    • Major cooldowns lack definitions
    • Spec tree is filled with passive choices that hardly change gameplay
  • DoT Management is more punishing than it is satisfying
  • Mobility and Movement feels punishing and restrictive

Underwhelming and Lackluster Talents

Class Talents

  • Void Tendrils
    • Being a melee casted root that breaks almost immediately on damage has extremely limited use cases. If it was similar to Mass Entanglement it would see play
  • Sheer Terror
    • No current use cases, does not reduce the breaking point enough to be noticeable in most scenarios.
  • Healing spells like Holy Nova, Renew, Prayer of Mending and even Flash Heal and all relevant talents are much less relevant to Shadow Priest
    • If these were added to Hallucinations it could open up more off-healing builds for Shadow Priest to go into without losing too much damage in the process.
      • Flash Heal specifically is cast more often as Shadow due to the interaction with the talent Protective Light where Flash Heal is a part of our defensive tool kit.
    • Rotational buttons like these are not meaningful off-healing in their current state to pickup or press
      • The off-healing would be more useful is if it was similar to Vampiric Embrace where it could handle specific windows where you want more healing
      • Ideally we could talent into some options that make sacrificing damage for a small window worth pressing the healing buttons to handle a high damage scenario.
  • Mindgames
    • Feels tacked onto the kit but doesn’t really contribute anything. It’s 4 points that you feel like you need to take for damage but they are so inconsequential it doesn’t really matter and makes the spell feel more like button bloat
    • If this was changed to a pure utility spell that would be more exciting than feeling obligated from a DPS perspective
  • Halo and Divine Star
    • Constant tuning changes to spec talents and spells have pushed these to the point where they’re either not worth pressing for damage or are barely worth pressing for damage and effectively button bloat in terms of DPS
    • They can be decent from a healing perspective but otherwise are just a different filler spell we press sometimes that can just feel like button bloat
  • Angel’s Mercy
    • The change to make this a flat 20-second cooldown reduction makes this talent nerfed going into 10.1.7 where on average with the current implementation we would get at least a 30 second reduction.
    • For something that takes ~3 points to get as a Shadow Priest this talent is significantly less desirable
  • Angelic Bulwark
    • Feels underwhelming and procs in an unreliable way that makes it much less useful.
    • Does not work like Undulating Sporecloak nor does it work on lethal hits (like a sort of Cheat Death mechanic) which makes this significantly less useful and kind of a trap talent for many players.
      • If this worked properly it would shore up the desperately needed passive mitigation problem the spec has, which directly contributes to the amount of deaths the spec sees inside of a raiding environment.

Shadow Priest Talents

  • Shadow Priests lose DPS when trying to take our core utility talents at the top of our tree.
    • You are only able to pick two points of utility in the top section without losing damage. Because one of these choices is Mental Fortitude we are often faced with the choice of getting Silence or getting our Defensive Survivability.
    • If one of Silence or Dispersion became baseline spells or moved into the class tree this would open up the top of Shadow’s spec tree to be a meaningful utility choice that does not feel forced.
  • Psychic Link
    • At 15% damage share this no longer feels playstyle defining, but just another passive part of our kit we don’t interact with
      • Consequently this is now less of a percentage of our AoE damage. We now rely on other things to deal a higher share of our damage in AoE environments (where possible)
    • Being at such a low value removes the small amount of burst we did have in AoE with spells like Void Torrent or even Mindgames which was great to have in that short period it was relevant
  • Cooldown Definition
    • If you cannot give our cooldowns definition perhaps instead of trying to cram 2 specs into one we split this out into 2 specs. Void Shadow Priest that is built around Voidform mechanics, and a Shadow Priest version that is more “classic” priest.
      • Realistically this is not something that will happen mid-expansion, but the current design makes it feel like we are compromising on two versions of how Shadow has played in the past, neither being particularly satisfying.
      • Alternatively we could just pick one playstyle and make that the only option available to make the spec tree feel more cohesive.
    • With the addition of support specs you could even make one of these more support focused like the old mana-battery days of priests. Adding this into the existing spec would choke out anything of the existing Void priest so if they were actually separate specs the development would stop stepping on each other.
  • Void Eruption
    • Feels less like a cooldown and more like a stance activation spell that gives us access to Void Bolt. It needs something more to make it feel like a satisfying cooldown.
      • Specifically on single target fights the Mastery activation does not really come into play leaving the only effect gained getting access to Void Bolt.
      • Since it replaces Shadowform, the 10% damage gain is completely nullified making this one of the few cooldowns in the game that doesn’t directly buff your damage while active. Having the buff put back to 20% would help make the cooldown feel more satisfying as a 2 minute cooldown.
    • Voidform should feel satisfying when getting a long duration of the buff or give it a clear reason why you would want to pick this over Dark Ascension (i.e. Sustain vs. Burst damage).
      • Could be ramping Haste (could replace Power Infusion) each time you extend Voidform
        • Could remove Power Infusion entirely from the game and replace it with some other buff that is trackable
      • Some amount of damage amplification (potentially ramping to a stack point?) on top of Shadowform
    • Would like to see pause interactions come back for spells like Void Torrent and especially Dispersion where when using these spells it pauses the Voidform buff duration.
  • Dark Ascension
    • Lacking definition and clarity as a cooldown.
    • The main benefit of Dark Ascension is its low cooldown. That by itself does not feel like a good enough identity for a major cooldown. Even still, getting that 1 minute duration cooldown has been nice in certain cases.
      • Instead of expanding on Dark Ascension, talenting into this could just change Void Eruption to a 1m cooldown instead with different visuals.
        • Choice Node: 1m Void Eruption or 2m Void Eruption
    • Missing some sort of gameplay loop similar to Voidform
    • Having a cast time but without an animation feels lackluster. The spell would feel a lot better without an animation if it was an instant cast. This would also make it feel more unique compared to Void Eruption.
    • Something could be done with Mind Spike here to make it feel a little more impactful and give it better definition as a talent
      • I.e. Mind Spike and Mind Melt removed as talents and instead baked into Dark Ascension. During the cooldown Mind Flay is automatically transformed into Mind Spike with Mind Melt baseline
      • Give Mind Spike that similar proc-based instant cast gameplay we had from Surge of Darkness (see Mind Spike section below)
    • Part of me just likes Dark Ascension for the visual, maybe instead of being a talent it is just a visual Glyph that changes how Voidform looks
  • Mind Spike
    • As a talent point it fails to offer a meaningful choice as to why you want this instead of something else. This is often compared directly against Mind Flay, but by costing a talent point it feels like it does not stand on its own.
      • Baseline Mind Spike and Mind Flay are effectively the same damage and insanity per second, whereas Mind Spike costs a talent point.
      • Mind Flay inherently feels better as a filler spell baseline and is a much more forgiving ability because of the channel, giving that up should feel like you are gaining something that feels better and has the damage to back it up if it costs a talent point.
      • Mind Flay also offers iconic visuals that people are used to seeing from a Shadow Priest and Mind Spike does not have similar appeal.
      • The real gain of Mind Spike is how much better Mind Spike: Insanity is for the rotation compared to Mind Flay: Insanity. Since Surge of Insanity is more or less a required talent point. This preference towards Mind Spike feels unhealthy. (See the Surge of Insanity section)
    • No real gameplay choice of when you want to take Mind Spike or Mind Melt other than what sims tell you is better. If it was baked into Dark Ascension that would feel like it has a clearer purpose.
    • Feels even more barren when taken without Mind Melt which makes it feel like you need both or neither.
    • Mind Spike felt good on its own when it did not replace Mind Flay specifically because of Surge of Darkness procs. While it was overwhelming for some players to have two filler spells it did provide a lot of flexibility and definition for Mind Spike that is now lost.
  • Ancient Madness
    • Considerably better for Dark Ascension compared to Voidform where it does not scale as the duration increases even though the cooldown is twice the duration.
    • Even with Dark Ascension it feels very lackluster and confuses a lot of players since it does not increase your Character’s stat-sheet critical strike chance.
  • Unfurling Darkness
    • Remains unused in PvE, could be augmented to be more useful or even make Shadow Crash less required in Mythic+
    • Could have a purpose from a DoT Management perspective, the section below goes into detail on that.
  • Surge of Insanity
    • Mind Spike and Mind Spike: Insanity feel like the same spell from a gameplay perspective. They are both casted filler spells, one just hits harder. Mind Flay: Insanity at least shortens the channel duration which gives it a more unique feel when compared to Mind Flay.
    • If the proc transformed the filler spell into something that felt different, especially for Mind Spike, that would make this feel better.
      • Mind Flay: Insanity is more punishing and if you cannot full channel you are losing considerable damage as the proc is consumed.
        • Giving something to this version that makes it less punishing would make it feel considerably better.
        • Could make this proc cast while moving so that you are less punished while handling mechanics
      • Mind Spike: Insanity feels exactly the same as a normal Mind Spike, it just hits harder. However, the proc is not wasted if you cancel mid-cast which is a nice positive in terms of damage output.
        • If the buff made Mind Spike instant that would go a long way to making it feel more exciting as a proc.
    • Ultimately this talent is giving the spec a proc gameplay loop with our spender which feels good, but in terms of rotational feel individually both enhanced spells feel lacking.
  • Tormented Spirits
    • Tormented Spirits scales quadratically as both the chance for a proc and the number of targets that are dealt damage both depend directly on target count.
      • This makes these talents lackluster for Single Target Damage while incredibly powerful as targets scale up.
      • Suggestions:
        • Give it similar target scaling to Maddening Touch/Auspicious Spirits, or make it RPPM while buffing the base chance to increase the talents floor while lowering the ceiling.
        • Just replace it with the current T30 4pc after the tier is over
    • Damage output of this talent is directly related to Auspicious Spirits, which makes it live in a relatively unhealthy spot.
  • Old God Idol Capstones
    • Anyone that plays Shadow instantly falls in love with the idea of Idol capstone spells. Would love to see potentially more of these in the future, or even future visual Glyphs added to really lean into the theme of these abilities.
      • Potentially more Idols? G’huun, Xal’atath, Bwonsamdi, etc
      • A Glyph that lets you put down pillars to the old gods you are talented into
    • Thematically interesting, but lacking in playstyle definition. All of them have some component of cleave damage, which hurts the overall identity of why you would want to take each one. Would rather each Idol spell have a clear niche or playstyle.
      • Would rather have Idols that specifically lean into a part of Shadow Priest’s core design. Some of these are partially what they are going for today, but without clear definition
        • Shadowy Apparitions
        • Funnel Damage while Cleaving (transform Yogg-Saron)
        • DoT Damage (transform N’Zoth)
        • Void Summoner (transform Y’Shaarj)
          • Previous T30 set bonus?
        • DoTless Heavy Burst/Single Target
          • Could be removing the Damage over time component of Devouring Plague
        • Ramping Damage
    • Idol of Y’Shaarj
      • All of the effects are just kind of “nice to have” or passive. None of them really change what we do in PvE or are played around much.
      • While the other Idols have some sort of visual, this one feels lacking.
    • Idol of Yogg-Saron
      • Visually exciting when it procs.
      • Direct tuning of this talent is directly tied to the tuning of Shadowy Apparitions, Auspicious Spirits, and Tormented Spirits, even if these do not directly buff the damage of Yogg-Saron. These points being required to get to Yogg-Saron have a knock on effect any time the tuning of these spells are changed.
      • When it procs it is mostly out of our control, making it awkward to plan around. You can cancel stacks and somewhat game this, but that does not feel great.
      • As we move on from Season 2 this will effectively get nerfed again with the loss of our current tier set bonus.
    • Idol of N’Zoth
      • Having an effective double cap its AoE (limited to 4 debuffs at a time and the damage is soft capped at 5) makes it less than ideal. Not being able to spread this to all targets AND that damage being capped feels too restrictive, would rather have one or the other.
        • In large AoE pulls you actually want to explode the stacks via the on-death trigger so you actually get the damage out before other targets die, which would reduce the overall damage dealt. This means we want it to be on the enemies that will die first since we have no controlled way to explode the stacks outside of that. If there was no debuff cap this would not be an issue.
      • Aside from Screams of the Void, surrounding talents do not have any synergy with N’Zoth
        • The recent tuning to our DoT damage also hurt the value of this talent since Screams of the Void was effectively nerfed. This is a similar tuning problem that Yogg-Saron has with Shadowy Apparitions
    • Idol of C’Thun
      • Visually exciting when it procs.
      • Nothing clearly wrong with the talent in its current implementation.
      • Recent changes and synergy with Void Torrent are fun to play with, but the talent does not cause any rotational changes and just accelerates our baseline rotation.
      • Hard to find a clear reason why you want to specifically take this talent, aside from the raw numbers. You always want more Insanity generation so this is always relevant.
      • Unlike the other idols, this talent is very point efficient to take as the points building into it are powerful themselves.

Unsatisfying DoT Management

The current design makes DoT Management feel more frustrating than it does satisfying compared to previous iterations. Your ability to deal AoE damage with Psychic Link is directly tied to how fast and efficient you can apply DoTs to targets quickly. Right now the only way we have to do that is with the Shadow Crash and Whispering Shadows talents.

With the spec’s reliance on Shadow Crash, all the issues with this spell bleed into issues with our AoE as a whole since it is the catalyst for that Psychic Link damage. Relying on a projectile spell to hit targets means any issues with Z-Axis in the game or just targeting a ground spell in general make Shadow Crash extremely frustrating at times. Furthermore when fighting more than the 8-target DoT cap of Whispering Shadows it means you are at a significant disadvantage. If the pull several small/insignificant adds your Shadow Crash might miss several of the elites meaning you are forced to manually DoT the remaining priority targets.

While a projectile instant DoT applicator does have some benefits, making Shadow Crash a choice node with a version that is targeted at an enemy that still applies Vampiric Touch with Whispering Shadows would go a long way to make things feel better. This alternative version would eliminate issues with Z-axis on a projectile spell. The actual damage of the spell is more or less insignificant now, it is just there for the DoT application. Giving the player the choice between a targeted ground spell or a spell that travels specifically to a target would go a long way to making the spec feel less punishing.

To address the issue of facing many targets and needing to DoT them I think the answer lies in specifically giving the player more options for DoT management. Several talents in our kit could be altered to make Shadow Crash less required to maintain DoTs while leaning on more classic parts of the kit for spreading DoTs. Here are some ways this could work:

  • Mental Decay working in AoE could mean you are less required to press Shadow Crash on cooldown, and only need it to apply DoTs to new targets.
  • Giving Shadow Crash multiple charges would allow you more flexibility with the spell. This not only would help cover up issues with the spell but it would also extend the specs ability to handle various scenarios, especially lower keys where things die faster.
  • Give Unfurling Darkness a better use case in PvE specifically. Instead of being a hybrid on-hit damage instant cast Vampiric Touch every 15 seconds change it to be purely a DoT management talent that interacts with Vampiric Touch to make it an instant cast spell for a short period of time, allowing you to spread the DoT more easily.

Movement and Mobility

Going forward the mobility of the spec is very dependent on the tuning of our instant cast spells and many of the points already mentioned, such as cooldown identity with Dark Ascension vs. Void Eruption. This, paired with the fairly turret nature of Dark Ascension builds, significantly locks down the spec and makes it very proc reliant to handle movement events. This will be exacerbated after the current tier when we lose the 2-set bonus which gives us more Shadowy Insight procs.


  • Change Surge of Insanity procs to have some baked in mobility. Making Mind Spike: Insanity instant cast would go a long way to making the spell not only feel better but also shore up movement concerns in PvE and PvP. The struggle here would be balancing this out with Mind Flay, a potential secondary change could be making Mind Flay: Insanity castable while moving. This would give the player some options on how to handle movement.
  • Give some kind of displacement talent into the class tree (i.e. something like Door of Shadows or a jump type effect). We have two movement talents but nothing that helps with displacement.

Good Things about the Current Design

While the focus of this post has been mostly on the negative aspects of the spec, I think it is equally important to highlight parts of the spec that the community likes in the current design.

  • Overall class utility inside of Season 2 Mythic+. Clearly is a bit too useful in the current top-end meta but it has been nice to be able to move talents around depending on the situation and what is needed.
  • Psychic Link style Priority Target damage AoE can be good if tuned well, but currently impacts raid performance too much when balancing happens.
  • Void Torrent feels great with auto-proccing Idol of C’Thun
  • Voidtouched leaves more room in the opener if you get procs. Also allows some sort of burst depending on the situation.
  • While Shadow Crash does have its issues, having any instant-DoT applicator is crucial to this build working in the current state.
  • Idol of C’Thun is visually a fun spell to see proc.
  • Yogg-Saron is visually awesome to see when it procs, especially if you get lucky with multiple out at once.
  • Mental Fortitude gives us much needed defensive value in our kit. Priests/Shadow Priests are one of the weakest specs in the game handling incoming damage and without this talent we would be devastated in higher end prog content.

Publik doing the (Old) Gods’ work! :raised_hands:


Well said. I don’t think I disagree with anything posted.


Excellent as always. Thanks for helping the spec improve.


Thanks Publik. agree with most of it

I think they’ve done the best with the capstone talents. Thematically I love the Idol choices, and Yogg-Saron and C’Thun both feel really good.

I would do something different with Y’shaarj to really differentiate playing squid build. Something to give it a playstyle that changes depending on AoE or ST rather than just using SWD and mind blast on cooldown.

My biggest problem is maximizing our mastery/dot maintenance, and how unrewarding it all feels. And like you said, VE feels more like a vehicle to just give us access to void bolt/shadowy apparitions than an actual cooldown of consequence

psychic link doesn’t feel nearly as impactful anymore. I just feel like im doing single target damage and maintaining dots in dungeons


Do you have a source or numbers on this? I can’t imagine that if pi damage was attributed to the spriest it would be “not performing that well”. The top specs gain between 10-15k dps from power infusion. I’ll use all bosses as that was the metric you were using, if I look at 95th percentile the gap from top spec to bottom spec is about 15k. So I’m not really seeing where you came to this conclusion.

There are definitely some outliers looking at theoretical data but when looking at the average its much closer to 9k even in sims. Its also important to know that these sims are using Power Infusion when it is best for the person receiving the buff, and not strictly on the 2 minute timer that Shadow likes to use it on, which will lower the value depending on the spec and how you use it. Often times it is not worth to de-sync it to match up with other timers as Shadow specifically. When you translate that into a real fight over time with imperfect play i dont think saying 10-15k is fair to associate to the spell, especially for most comps. The other thing to keep in mind is fight time, which will sway the value wildly depending on when the boss ends relative to the cooldown.

There are definitely cases where the spec is still competitive when you factor in Power Infusion, but even with that in many cases (especially for less optimized groups on progression) the value is lessened.


Understandable and the value definitely can swing for sure, even still at 9k it’d comfortable put shadow in the upper quartile. I think your suggestion of baking power infusion into extending voidform or something similar would be both better for the health of the game and fun for shadow.

Warlock is that way. →

This is a very comprehensive and accurate post.

Psychic Link was changed with the season 2 rework to be the main AoE facilitator for our damage profile. At the start of the season it transferred 40% of our single target spell damage to other targets with Vampiric Touch. At 40% this felt like a meaningful thing for our AoE to revolve around. We quickly became good at doing Priority Target damage while still competing in AoE, effectively a ranged Outlaw Rogue. However, just a few short months later, this spell is now only transferring 15% of our damage. It was repeatedly nerfed to try and balance out Shadow Priest in Mythic+ while trying not to destroy the spec’s ability to deal single target damage. At this point it feels like the spec is at a breaking point, you cannot nerf the Psychic Link value anymore without it feeling completely useless, so the only thing left is to tune the other spells in our kit which will also nerf our single target damage <

Really sums up the disheartening feeling we have.


Publik as always you have great insight on the nitty gritty of shadow, but I think you’re thinking a bit too inside the box. Shadow doesn’t need another big rework. Yeah, a lot of the talents you called out are underwhelming and could be changed or subjectively feel bad, but a rework isn’t the way go about it. In a perfect world where I trusted Blizzard to get a rework right I would agree that they need one, but historically every single shadow rework has just shifted the problems elsewhere. What’s more, every rework means a different population of shadow players that enjoy this specific iteration of the spec. Nobody can agree on what shadow should subjectively be anymore precisely because it gets reworked constantly. Blizzard has the bones of something reasonable. Even if this isn’t the favorite iteration of shadow (Mass Hysteria for life), I think it’s a reasonable starting point to settle into something great.

The crux of the balance issue, which you nailed, is that our AoE and ST tuning are so intertwined. Yet the only solution you offer is in regards to target capping Tormented Spirits. This last tuning pass a relatively small AoE nerf shifted our entire ST talent setup because of just the DoT damage itself.

SW:P, VT, Shadowy Apparitions, and PLink all need to not linearly scale.

Give them square root scaling or something in that line of thinking. Until that happens – or until our DoTs are just irrelevant damage-wise in AoE – shadow will always “need a rework”. Pretty much the entire rest of our kit revolves around scaling those abilities in some way, shape, or form. You can’t duct tape your way out of a shaky foundation.

Subjectively, I agree with a lot of what you said regarding the flow and feel of the spec and talent choices. Personally I think DA can just get thrown into the Maw. But I think there’s just no point in touching anything layered on top of our core spells until the core spells are healthy. That said, here’s my subjective two cents on some specifics of what you mentioned where I feel like I can add something:

I agree wholeheartedly. Honestly I think Blizzard thought that leaving Shadowlands we would want a covenant ability. Mind games was never interesting in PvE for shadow. That said, there’s more than PvE and more than shadow. It might be worth considering making this a PvP talent and/or making it a discipline talent.

I would like to see the breaking requirements for things like this and fear scale with main stat. As-is this talent is just a pathing node.

Absolutely a huge issue with our tree. The fact that we’re basically forced into dropping dispersion for a CC choice node is mind blowing.

I agree with the latter point regarding just picking one and sticking with it. I was much happier playing shadow this tier given that the DA/MB spec looked dead in all content. With the nerf to our DoTs making this spec come out ahead a bit in ST, I’m just gimping myself by refusing to play DA on fights where it’s a bit better. I don’t think it’s healthy to have two specs with wildly different playstyles, especially depending on tuning. Look at frost DK’s problem with breath/obliterate; at any given time, half the population hates the spec. IMO it’s completely unacceptable to have a spec capable of changing so wildly between core builds based on balance.

Obviously, I would much rather see VF stay and DA get thrown into the Maw, but again this is obviously subjective. I understand a lot of shadow players want to see VF go, but even if VF went away DA needs to be completely changed IMO. It is the most boring CD – visually and mechanically – in the game.

Oh man do I have some opinions here. I will start off by saying I 100% agree that the pause interaction should come back for VoiT and Dispersion. Dispersion is such a strong defensive, but it feels horrible to use it during a cooldown.

That said, I don’t agree that VF needs a flat damage amp to feel satisfying. Giving us a flat 10% more damage during VF personally isn’t something that makes me notice when a button is pressed. Scaling haste, scaling damage, “the minigame”, access to VB are what I like and liked about VF. Giving it just a flat damage buff just makes it feel like any other cooldown from any other class.

Also I feel like this next opinion differs a lot from a lot of other (especially CE) raiders, but cooldown cadence feels like such a boring, lazy way of differentiating cooldowns. Bringing one spec (or version of a spec) because its CDs happen to align with a fight is just… bleh. Maybe that’s why I loved Legion shadow so much given that it had a relatively constant damage output after that initial VF.

Again this is obviously super subjective, but I much preferred the Legion version of Voidform getting harder and harder to maintain over just extending it by X seconds per DP cast. Proper use of VoiT and Dispersion offensively was just chef’s kiss. Getting a super long VF in Legion just felt so much more satisfying and impactful than anything since. I would have loved to see an iteration of Legion VF with 1) insanity naturally restored to ~50 out of combat to help with open world/cold starts, similar to astral power, 2) lingering insanity naturally gained a handful of stacks out of combat to help with the spec feeling slow in open world/cold starts, and 3) DoTs scaled less-than-linearly to solve some scaling/balancing issues.

I think most people agree on every point here. I’ll add that the only time Mind Spike ever felt like a successful spell was in WoD with shadow’s DoTless build. For those who didn’t play it, there was a very clear mechanical difference between MF and MS in that MS removed your DoTs, insanity only buffed MF, and MF:I hit like a truck. The gameplay loop was that you built up your shadow orbs without dots, using MS as filler. Then once capped at 5 you put your dots up, procced insanity, dumped a meaty MF, procced a second insanity, dumped another meaty MF as your dots ended, and repeated. Given that shadow orbs are gone and MS doesn’t remove dots, I don’t see any path back to this without a significant rework. Hence MS needs to go.

A lot to unpack here. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that we’re soft target capped at 8. I personally find it satisfying to weave manual DoT application in. The frustrating part for me is more that it’s difficult to keep manual applications up, especially outside of VF. A nice consequence of having square root scaling on our DoTs and PLink means Shadow Crash could become uncapped (since the scaling issue is solved elsewhere). You alluded to this below, but no Mind Sear was such a huge nerf to our ability to keep DoTs up outside of VF that I feel like Blizzard didn’t intend.

I think a better solution than multiple charges (alone) would be to reduce the remaining CD of Shadow Crash when a DoTd target dies. With multiple charges alone you will eventually run out of charges and still be on the same CD cadence, albeit you don’t get punished for not using the charge immediately.

Anyway hopefully that adds something valuable to the conversation. You always have great feedback for Blizzard, and I agree with you that shadow is still “unhealthy”. I just don’t think you’re going to solve the underlying issues with what you’ve said alone.


I’m new to retail, but as a PvPer mobility is already so crazy… I’m scared to add more, personally.

I think maybe let’s give some dev attention to other classes first perhaps?


No. We had our damage nerfed the first few times because it was grossly overpowered. The last nerf, sure, that was probably unnecessary and should’ve just been changes to Mass Dispel and Mind Soothe, but the first ones were absolutely justified.

No? Factoring in PI we’re one of the strongest specs, beaten by the recipients of PI and Aug mainly.

We don’t have DoT management. We’re literally forced into Misery (deletes SW:P) and Distorted Reality is the best option on the choice node on ST, which deletes the actual cool part of Devouring Plague.

Fantastic, they’re finally the offhealing (or bad movement in Divine Star’s case) buttons they should’ve always been.

That’s how it should work. Crit buffs from class abilities should only affect those class abilities, that is consistent with how Blizzard has designed them since BfA where they decided that class buffs should only buff class abilities. Sure they’ve still not gotten all the way there, but it’s very clearly the direction they’ve moved and just didn’t catch them all. Combustion and Recklessness are both only spell crit, nearly all straight damage amps have been whitelisted (Xuen, Tiger’s Fury, Schism etc)

Good, not all talents should be good in all situations. That is the point of the talent tree.

The unsatisfying thing about Shadow DoT management is that we don’t do it. Misery being hard forced baseline is incredibly degenerate. Just make up your minds, Blizzard. Delete SW:P (that’s what Misery does, pressing the button is worse for damage than using PW:S, a defensive button) or make us actually cast it by deleting Misery. Doing so would also improve Shadow’s mobility by adding a movement GCD every ~14-27 seconds.

Nuke Distorted Reality as a singletarget pick. Make the increased DP damage conditional on having multiple DPs active. The mastery/Insidious Ire minigame from DP should be a core part of how Shadow plays, and with Distorted Reality that’s just gone.

Maybe even add talents that do make us manage our DoTs and actively pay attention to them. Painbreaker Psalm (SL legendary and very briefly DF talent), something like the WoD Sub multistrike interaction (filler multistrikes, now I guess crits, immediately consume a tick of a DoT triggering the damage immediately), Internal Combustion (Destro talent, casting big spell consumes partial DoT duration to immediately deal the damage) or Exsanguinate (Assassination talent, make DoTs tick out significantly faster for a short time)

Which is a hilariously broken combination, particularly because Misery is baseline.

Shadow Crash is already too good, it doesn’t need to be even better.

That only makes a difference while moving, which isn’t that commonly useful. M+ if you’re misplaying and maybe mythic Zskarn are the only cases I can think of currently. Maybe that’s what Misery should be, though. A few seconds of VT applying SW:P as a choice node with something for ST so you never pick it there.

Yes please, never another Raszageth situation.

The rest of the post I mostly agree with or don’t have strong onions on, except the idea that we should even get another rework. We shouldn’t (yet). We’ve gotten an absurd amount of dev attention since like… Legion at the very least. Other specs need to get dev time too.

My own idea regarding Psychic Link:

Rework it to be our low target, spread cleave tool (with Auspicious Spirits or even a returning Mind Sear that just scales directly with mastery instead of having the DoT restriction) being our mass AoE). Active ability, you get to apply it to up to 3 targets, which then causes any damage dealt to any of those targets to get split evenly between them (like 65/65 with 2 targets, 35/35/35 with 3). Yes, that’s literally old Storm, Earth, and Fire and it’d fit perfectly both thematically and mechanically.

And of course… just delete Power Infusion. I beg.

Which is just Unholy and Demo, the next 3 specs are perfectly happy just getting it when we want to use it and the gap to those isn’t that big.


I am not sure this warrants another post, but i would like to put more emphasis on the design problems that Psychic Link introduces.

Psychic Link has an incredibly unhealthy design in season 2. The version that we had in season 1 was actually pretty healthy, so what changed?

For one, Psychic Link was moved to the first tier of the tree which means we no longer have to sacrifice single target to gain aoe, except for Shadowcrash talents. It was also changed to benefit from all single target spells instead of specific ones.

This has resulted in both an oppressive, since Shadow does near optimal aoe while in single target build, and difficult to balance, since Shadows single target is directly tied to its aoe, design. A design we have started to see come unraveled the past few nerfs.

I propose a design question: What is Psychic Link meant to achieve? Afterall, Psychic Link is a spell effect toggled by Vampiric Touch and triggered by other damaging spells. We have another spell effect that does the same thing—Shadowy Apparitions. Simply put, Psychic Link’s current design fills the same role as Shadowy Apparitions. Two spells with the same effect and different name.

What I would like to see in season 3 is Psychic Link reworked to fulfill a role different from Shadowy Apparitions. Its role in season 1 as a burst aoe enabler was perfect in my opinion, and I would like to see that revisited.


I should add, as someone who rerolled void elf specifically because of mobility, I don’t think shadow having no displacement is bad. I think fights that force us to rely entirely on another spec to the degree you need one evoker per priest is inexcusably bad. I think a better solution isn’t to make sure all specs are high mobility, but to design fights in a way that reward classes for high mobility without punishing low mobility. IE give high mobility specs a niche. Design a fight where you need a handful of specs with hyper burst mobility to address some mechanic that only those raid spots need to address.

For example, redesign Raszageth to knock you 15 yards, create a storm cloud that makes her untargetable from outside ~10 yards, then begin the winds. 5 interrupts will stop the ability. High mobility classes get a niche to fill by getting back into melee range through the wind, but priest/shamans/pallies don’t just die outright without other people moving them to stay alive.

I will pretty much always advocate for fight design being more creative than for specs to just all have a way to handle a mechanic themselves.

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By no means am I saying this should be done ahead of other specs. I think its important to give feedback on a spec regardless of this point. All specs should get the attention they need.


Everyone is hating shadow priests right now on this forums, none will support this rework sadly

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Delete Power Infusion :slight_smile:

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Perfect and to the point as always, Publik.

I think the only thing I would change is either bring PI back to being a personal cooldown or just completely remove it and tune the class accordingly. I’ve come to hate it and being asked “hey can I get PI?” “hey who are you PIing?” “hey can you PI me when I whisper you?”.

It’s our cooldown and it should be depending on us when we want to use it. Not have everyone deciding over it but me.

Maybe just me but I personally hate being the PI slave to whoever is simming highest with it. Bring us back to just using it on CD during void form or build it into VF/DA, anything, really. The way it works right now promotes toxic behavior.

That and maybe changing Shadow Crash when there’s a lot of monsters or making it less punishing if you miss it cause the tank moved or whatever. Using Shadow Crash for example in Brackenhide Hollow’s gauntlet feels awful because you know it’ll just go on the lashers and you’re just sitting there manually casting dots on the actual targets.

I think the rework was great, they were going the right way, but the last couple nerfs have definitely made this class a lot worse to play (at least for me) and I’m not really enjoying it anymore.