Blizzard appears to be listening to and acting on it’s players feedback much more in recent weeks. I’m looking forward to all the positive changes coming in 9.1.5 and hope to see this continue. In that vein, I figured what better time than to provide a bit of my own feedback. These suggestions are small in scale and specific to Shadow Priests (with one exception), but would be welcomed QOL improvements.
Take Vampiric Embrace off the GCD
VE does not feel good to press. The fact that it is on the GCD deters me from using it as much as I otherwise would. It has no immediate impact and lessons the fluidity of my rotation. To quote your own blue post when you walked back some of your GCD changes at the start of Shadowlands: “We’ve heard clear feedback that incurring a global cooldown to do nothing but enhance subsequent button presses is unsatisfying, and we agree.” I’m sure there remain other abilities for other specs as well, but for me personally as a Shadow Priest, this is the ability that feels bad on the GCD.
Remove Shadow Word: Death damage reflect
This is another ability that feels bad, but for a different reason. I take pride in taking as little damage as possible. I do not want to damage myself and put additional strain on my healers in order to gain a minor damage increase. However, I also do not want to achieve less than optimal damage, as dealing damage is the primary responsibility of my role. It creates negative emotions either way. It is already constrained by it’s cooldown, there is no need for it to be further constrained by reflecting damage. There have even been scenarios where I was simply unable to use the ability. Such as this time in Torghast where I one-shot myself from full health three Shadow Word: Deaths in a row (I was not using the anima power that scales SW:D damage). I ended up simply needing to not use the ability for the rest of the run.
Make Searing Nightmare baseline
This ability is too core to our ability to perform stacked AOE damage. It should be baseline, even if at reduced power. The talent can instead provide a buff to the baseline ability (or something else entirely).
Improve Spread Cleave
Some balance tuning was done at the start of 9.1 to lower Shadow Priest single target damage (nerfs to Devouring Plague and Void Bolt conduit) and improve our cleave damage (buffs to Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain). I think further tweaks can still be made in this regard. I feel like our single target and stacked aoe damage (when we talent into Searing Nightmare) is pretty good. But our 3-5 target cleave doesn’t feel that great. We used to have a great niche of being spread cleave pumpers, but I feel like that identity is all but gone at this point.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of great changes coming in 9.1.5 that I’m looking forward to and I hope to see more of it. These improvements to system designs are great. But in my opinion, more important than any of that, is release cadence. If you want players to pay to play your game month after month, then they need frequent content additions. Legion Timewalking has some awesome additions in this regard. More of that. More raids, more dungeons, and more solo challenges (keyword: challenge, not just monotonous story-driven grinds like the covenant campaigns and korthia).