We’re testing an increase to Soul Cleave damage in the Rise of Azshara PTR, and we haven’t yet fully written developers’ notes on it. I want to give a little context for it, since this is an issue that relates to many class changes.
A common reaction to buffing a certain spell or talent is “you’re buffing something we don’t use much.” That is, when if we buff a talent that’s not the “best” or buff an ability that’s currently a small part of the rotation, it’s not a large increase to total damage. Sometimes the goal of a buff is to increase the total DPS of a spec, and sometimes it’s to better internally balance something about the rotation or talents. In the former case, we usually buff a slate of prominent spells. In the latter, by definition, we’re buffing something that’s not being used heavily or is being eclipsed by other spells.
Currently, Spirit Bomb is very popular and causes a rotation where you want to consume nearly every Fragment with Spirit Bomb rather than in any other way. This pushes Soul Cleave pretty far down in value. This is an issue with Spirit Bomb as a talent, but our intent isn’t to upend this commonly-used playstyle right now. A buff to Soul Cleave makes the button compete a little better in between Spirit Bombs, even at the cost of consuming some Fragments that otherwise would have gone into Spirit Bomb. It’s also a side benefit that this is a straightforward buff for people playing talents other than Spirit Bomb.