I read the Priest Class Changes for Cataclysm (MMO Champion link for when the Blizzard one breaks) right after they were released. I was standing at a target dummy in Stormwind messing with my UI and it was a quiet afternoon when a guildie asked me if I had read the post. I read it. I thought: oh well that’s not great, not too bad either. And went back to making my ForteXorcist Spell Timer match the exact width of Quartz.
I counted myself lucky when, a day later, Lathere totally freaked out that Tree form might be taken away from her. At least they weren’t removing Shadowform or something!
During last night’s server maintenance I started reading what all the blogging Priests, mostly healers, thought of our class changes. I never intended to post on the two or three Shadow Priest changes mentioned. I hate doing news pieces for the blog – I always feel like I’m under some tight deadline to get things out while its is still relevant. But after I left my 2nd lengthy comment I discovered that I actually had quite a lot to say.
And I felt that someone ought to comment on the Shadow Priest changes. And since there are only a couple of Shadow Priest blogs out there… here goes.
I know, not actually a Shadow Priest change. But I’m actually really happy to hear about this change.
I tend to bring abilities out onto my toolbar the moment I learn them, convinced, that at some point, in some situation that spell will the right one to use. The very first time I healed (well successfully) was when I reached level 40 something and healed an entire Zul’Farruk run using Lesser Heal and Renew.
I don’t understand the logic in teaching new players one spell only to introduce them to something else later under a completely different name. Sure you want your heals to become more powerful as you rack up the levels. Isn’t that what Spell Ranks are for?
Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage.
The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn’t have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot.
Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don’t intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation.
It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.
The first Shadow Priest change announced. I know that a lot will change between now and the release of Cataclysm and I really truly hope that it’s the name of this spell. I am willing to pay. Otherwise I’m forever going to be hearing Lord Marrogar saying “stick around!” like some kind of catchy horrifying remix by Mr Voletron.
Also, I don’t think Blizzard took into account that the Shadow Priest abbreviation for Mind Spike “MS” is already taken. Have you ever tried to read an Arcane Mage theory crafting article when 70% of the Arcane spells all abbreviate to “AB”?!
I’m glad that the developers have correctly identified that Shadow Priesting is pretty miserable in instances. Especially when your party brings a truckload of DPS in the form of a Mage or Hunter or Shaman or Paladin or… well you get the picture.
A year ago I would have said “who cares” and that feeling weak in one situation – a dungeon/raid trash – is a fair sacrifice for being so fun to play in other parts of the game. However, if Cataclysm follows the trend set in Wrath of the Lich King we’ll be running the Cataclysm heroics for the entire expansion. And for many players who don’t want to raid, they’ll be spending all their play time in dungeons wondering why their alt Mage still wearing level 80 gear can out-DPS their Shadow Priest.
I don’t really like Blizzard’s solution to the problem here. Partly that’s because Shadow Priests have been promised a new, no cooldown, nuke for Cataclysm. Something that will replace our channeled Mind Flay (with its snare utility) as our go-to spell in Cataclysm. I was really, really, looking forward to replacing the channeled part of our rotation with a direct damage spell that’s not so fussy. No more worry about clipping the spell too soon or being hampered by unpredictable latency. I’m worried that Mind Spike will be this new spell. And that we’ll still be Mind Flaying during boss encounters.
I don’t want Shadow Priests, even with our annoyingly long ramp up time, to change into something we’re not: bursty, with front loaded damage and spammy, benefiting from casting one spell over and over again. I feel that Mind Spike will make it easier to play a Shadow Priest without thinking in a dungeon setting. But I don’t think anybody who chooses to play a Shadow Priest should be happy about that.
Perhaps this spell will be the one that makes all the Discipline and Holy Priests out there no longer hate Shadow spec for solo play? If so, they should have called it Mind Smite.
I just read this as a PVP version of Inner Fire.
Other bloggers are reading all kinds of amazing things into this spell but I think it’s more likely that raiding Shadow Priests will be totally unwilling to loose the spellpower boost even temporarily mid fight – or whatever Inner Fire will give if spellpower is gone – unless they’re in a phase when they cannot cast at all.
Be handy for something like swimming to the orbs in Dreamwalker. But that’s a healer senario.
A lot as been said about this spell already. My initial reaction to this was simple: it’ll never make it to live servers. At the moment it has a 45 second cooldown. I also expect that it will have a nasty mana cost or high threat component but make no mistake: it will come with a high cost so that you, as a Priest, are hesitant to cast it.
Alternatively, I believe it may become in PVE what a Death Knight’s Death Grip has become. Something that the Death Knight uses to help the raid, that everybody fervently wishes they just wouldn’t use it at all. Eventually the Raid Leader snaps and declares that nothing is to be Death Grip-ped in raid. The ability that, if you use it under your own initiative as a Raider Trial, will soon get you gkicked.
On a more serious note, I dislike the notion that a Priest should be that responsible for their raid members. Priests are not baby sitters and even if your raid members don’t expect you to become one, I feel that having an ability like this will slowly change our own thinking about ourselves and our raid. For example, having Hymn of Hope forced me to be aware of other players’ mana. Even once they take that spell away, I’m sure parts of my brain will still be sparking unnecessarily when I see our Holy Paladin get brezzed.
If it does come in I’m going to follow Amber’s advice on how to use Leap of Faith:
Yank some easily movement impaired class to you for no reason other than to fuck up their DPS.
Yank the melee to you after they blow their cooldowns.
This is actually my favourite change announced. I’d love to return to a time when Vampiric Touch was 15 seconds, Shadow Word: Pain was 18 seconds and Devouring Plague was 24 seconds. At the moment Haste is shortening those durations and this can throw off your rhythm a little bit.
Anything that gives us a smoother rotation and higher DoT uptime is something I really favor.
I’d be really curious to see how they manage to pull this off. For as long as I’ve been playing the Shadow Priest Shadow Word: Death has either been a steady part of the rotation (the Burning Crusade) or absolutely not a part of the rotation (Wrath of the Lich King). At no point as the decision to use Shadow Word: Death been affected by the health of the boss.
Quite amusing when you think about it actually.
I’m quite a fan of Shadow Word: Death as it stands right now. It’s an excellent spell to cast when you’re on the move. It has a small penalty so you do need to use a part of your brain before using it (killing yourself is as embarrassing now as it was years ago). It’s an excellent spell to strike down mobs in heroics. If it crits it can feel godlike. PVP-ers still claim that you can use the backlash to break out of CC but this obviously requires a hell of a lot more skill and timing than I can manage.
Perhaps they could do something like make the damage dealt by Shadow Word: Death inversely scaled to the health of the target – like if you cast it when the boss is at 90% it does 10th of its potential damage. Cast it at 20% and it does 80% of it’s potential damage. And I don’t think Shadow Word: Death should ever kill you, it should be capped to bring you down to like 10% or something, but never outright kill you. Getting to 10% health is pretty dangerous all on its own.
Oh yeah. And if you want us to use it, make sure it hits harder than Mind Flay.
Oh my. Do I even want to get started? Replenishment is offered by four classes. Nearly half the classes available in the game. I want to see these raids that don’t have Replenishment. And don’t tell me that your Hunter/Mage chooses not to spec into it, because that’s not our problem. That’s your Hunter/Mage being inflexible. And who doesn’t have a Retribution Paladin hanging around? They’re everywhere.
I’ll bet you’re thinking “of course Cassandri takes Replenishment for granted – she’s a Shadow Priest!”. Well you’re wrong. I don’t take Replenishment for granted. I’m not a healer but I need it all the same. My spell costs and abilities are all factored around the understanding that I’ll be getting mana back from Replenishment. When they nerfed Replenishment you can bet I noticed it.
I love that Replenishment is a buff provided by DPS classes – something that we can give back to our healers. Frankly if they’re going to nerf Replenishment further I wish they’d just remove it from the game. Why bother? I’d like something amazing for my effort, instead of something that forces me to cast Mind Blast on a Vampiric Touch-ed target to keep it up.
That’s what I figured the Mind Spike spell was all about – short fights. I hadn’t really noticed the problem with being locked out of Shadow spells. Must be a PVP thing because any PVE Shadow lock out that I can think of – Lord Jaraxxus and his mistresses? – is preventable.
I don’t really understand the Mastery thing and I’m quite happy to figure that out once I’m hitting level 81. It’s true – our Shadow talents are mostly boosts to our damage under certain conditions: when such and such spell is up, when you’re in Shadowform etc. I’d be really excited to see what else they have in mind.
I’m ambivalent about the Shadow Orbs mechanic that they’ve brought up here. I think of Earth, Water and Lighning Shields as very unique Shaman abilties. Very visual Shaman abilities. They are also really annoying when they lose charges and drop off while you’re busy doing something else.
I don’t mind the idea of having some spare charges lying around, but my primary concern/question is “what is this going look/animate like?”. I don’t want to see a Shadowpriest hovering in the back of the room with 3 black balls spinning around their body. Give us something that complements Shadowform and doesn’t look anything like a Shaman’s shield and I’ll be happy. Ideally they won’t be visual at all and might just be a resource system like a Death Knight’s rune system – something only the Death Knight user can really see and monitor.
I remember when Misery was a debuff that meant the target was susceptible to Shadow Damage from the party/raid. But I can’t find anything to back that up.
Nobody enjoys spending talents to buff +hit anyway. No problem, get rid of it. Now what are you going to give us that is awesome?
- Amber at I Like Bubbles has an absolutely excellent overview/response to the changes. And she doesn’t snub Shadow Spec either.
- Natarumah at Twisted Faith shares his thoughts on the Shadow Priests changes
- DuskNoir comments on the Priest changes announced from a Shadow Priest point of view. He also has a bit to say about the Dispel changes.