The Decline of the Shadow Priest


Mitglied seit


I write this because I have come to break point. For anyone who might not know what that means then I shall expand on the point. Break point for me is the point where I am completely dissatisfied.

Dissatisfied with my spec and that almost everything I choose to do leaves me with a sour, bitter taste in my mouth and nothing but dissapointment. The point where, no matter what it is I choose to do, no matter how hard I try or focus the end result is mild. Nothing excites me about this spec anymore, be it PvE or PvP.

The harsh reality is that I continue to fool myself that I justify my places in raids, in arena teams but the fact is we only just manage to do that.

Nobody needs a Shadowpriest in thier group for mana, the only real thing we provide in terms of utility to a raid is our debuffs. Some people might dis-agree with this point, but I ask you this. Which class/spec raid buffed, in a raid enviroment with an average distribution of classes cannot sustain themselves on thier own? Or at the very least, sustain themselves with the aid of Mana Tides and/or Innervates. If they choose to slack on pots, that is thier decision.

Some people might argue that they will go OOM before the encounter is complete. Potentially this might be the case on healer heavy setups, or raids where all of your DPS are not pulling thier weight. With the removal of a shadowpriest for mana you can insert who should, fight depending, be able to push significantly more DPS than they could, end result? Shorter encounter. I am starting to read up and learn about DPS fights like Brutallus and I am scared, why am I scared? Because I am seeing DPS numbers quoted for killing the boss in sufficient time some 50% greater than what I can achieve fully raid buffed pushing as hard as I possibly can. Mana returns to 4 other people aside, I simply cannot justify my position on an encounter like this and it makes me sick to the bone that I, as an endgame geared shadowpriest have to have my lack of DPS subsidised by the other classes.

Here comes the "But you are a hybrid class with utility" arguement. I am sorry, but no. Our utility is not raid breaking, it is a luxury. I give you endgame Elemental Shamans, Boomkins and Warriors (Yes, they are a hybrid) I give you Protection specced Warriors in DPS gear whom, in equally stacked groups as a SPriest in an Ele Shaman/Boomkin group can push comparable, and in some cases, better DPS than Shadowpriests can.

Shadowpriest, in terms of debuffs are not stackable. 1 does the job. Just where is this utility we provide which penalises our ability to DPS so much. Our itemisation choices, even with the 2.4 changes are pale in comparison to every other class out there who get some tangible return to almost every stat they get on thier gear. Crit does very little for us, haste will only truely benefit our channels while the benefit elsewhere is purely that of a lowered Global Cooldown. VT, SWP, VE and SWD are already on the GCD limit so see no benefit beyond the reduction in time casted/GCD and that of a minimal impact on our casted, cooldown spell's cooldown - Mind Blast.

I am planning what gear to take in 2.4 and it boils down to this - Re Hit-Cap, maximise damage and make intelligent choices on which gear to use to achieve that. Simply put, as much spelldmg and haste as possible while mainting the Tier 6 4-Set. At the end of it all, re-geared to endgame compared to other classes the impact on our DPS will be minimal.

What exactly do I want? I want to see that impact we so very rarely see. I want to be able to compare my DPS in SSC to that of farming BT and think, yeah, this is much much better. I want to scale with my upgrades.

A very big part of our DPS comes from how well Warlocks can keep Improved Shadowbolt Debuff up. The leaked/fake notes included a change that made ISB debuffs apply to the lock who procced them only. Now, they are not official, confirmed or otherwise but I point you to a few items on the leaked/fake notes which are going live on PTR:

Icy Vein Changes
Mystical Skyfire Diamond Nerf
Feral AP (Now AGI) in Catform affecting healing recieved
Lifebloom Co-Efficient nerfs

These changes are not predictable, some are pretty obscure. Giving these notes the benefit of the doubt for one moment and assuming this is internal information Blizzard were thinking of testing on the PTR you have to acknowledge that they were considering putting the ISB changes live. This kind of a change would be devastating to a Shadowpriest. So devastating that you would need full 2.4 gear to even get back to the point you were at in 2.3 in terms of DPS, and even then, I dont know if Sunwell level gear could make up for the removal of ISB debuffs.

Hybrid or not, Mana Return or not, anything or not how is it even conceivable that a nerf like this would go live and completely negate any progression we would of otherwise see from getting new, better and improved gear in the next big 25-Man. I wont do it again, I have done it once. I have made all my upgrades only to see most of the progression reverted through SWP co-ef nerfs, through Weaving and Embrace nerfs.

Some of the changes to our class make me sick, some are simply hypocritical when looking at other class changes. For those who remember we used to have a talent which gave us a lovely few seconds of 100% anti pushback, it got removed for some unknown reason. Latest 2.4 looks like mages Icy Veins gives them just that, 100% anti pushback.

Inner Fire was buffed with a cost, the cost being 20 charges. A skill which now, in all likelyhood lasts shorter than the initial 3 minutes we had anyway. No reason behind the 20 charges except that "There just is". Rogue posions get changed and now have 0 charges, last a full 1 hour and Wound Poison, thier utility poison, gets damage as well as the debuff so that there is "no penality for choosing to use it".

Then we have the useless talents, which alot of classes have had attention for. Hello Improved Fade, sitting alongside Improved Rend competing for the most useless talent award. Shadow Resilience, which applies to spells only, is 2 points for 4% and is weak compared to similar talents in the Disc Tree, or the Druid trees. Our wand spec demands 5 points. Our anti-dispel commands an identicle 5 point investment. Tier 2 in PvE requires us to take useless talents to get to Tier 3, Improved Shield and Martytdom. Shadoweaving, although nerfed to 10% still requires 5 points, as does misery, darkness and shadow power. Our 2 point range talent still only gives us an effective range of 24 yards. The PvE Tier 1 talent, Spirit tap is a cirumstancial ability on encounters with adds, which we still require the killing blow for.

I really do not want to get started on PvP because right now it is just a sad state of affairs. Shadowpriest, some of the largest un-tapped potential you will ever likely see. With my PvP gear granting me 1028 Shadow Damage I am simply unable to utilise any of it effectively. Being almost always the first focus fire target (for obvious reasons) being able to do anything but instant casts is a nightmare. Where your DoTs tick for 300, where partial resists are rife, where Damage Reduction talents and resilience see your Mind Flays being reduced to sub 200 amounts and critical hits only doing 25% more damage than a regular hit.

Shadowpriest potential demands alot. You need to be able to stack 5 points of Weaving, and be clear of pushback to do anything valuable. Our core nuke is a 3 second channel, is fully penalised by resilience and, in the face of pushback you might see 1 tick of its maximum 3. A skill which, since the haste changes is near impossible to use when afflicted by Curse of Tongues or Mind Numbing Poison. A skill which is riddled with bugs. Will be interupted if the target frees themselves of the snare affect - Druid Travel Form, PvP Trinket are 2 examples of ways to interupt the channel.

Mind Blast damage is paltry and SWD is just a slap in the face, quite literally. People mention our ability to burst, but requiring a skill which hurts us for the same amount to get our burst, coupled with some of the weakest defense in PvP is just laughable. It is not like our weak defense and high exposure to lockdown is countered with a potent offensive ability, which are just not that potent anymore.

Our one re-active defensive ability, Psychic Scream. A fear, the CC which has recieved the most reduction in effectiveness since PvP started getting more serious. Nerfs justified under the guise of "Players do not enjoy losing control of thier character". Nerfs to counter the ability to lay on heavy DPS while the victim cannot react. Tell me, how is psychic Scream any kind of effective defense when every person in the game can negate the first use. Then, after 23 seconds (assuming season 03 gloves and a full improvment via talents) can be broken by a large majority of people, IF not resisted or breaking abnormally early, even when no damage is being applied.

Our reamaining defense comes with Magical abilities. Magic, which Blizzard feels more classes should be able to remove and everyone should be able to see. The biggest mitigation to Melee for a Shadowpriest coming from its class defining form, one which needs to be dropped in favour of heals if he or she wants to prolong thier life hoping to escape.

The most frustrating thing about PvPing as a Shadowpriest is the complete lack of options. Lack of options does not give ease of play. Shadowpriests have to stand there and take it and hope to god thier target dies before they do. There is no escape method, there is nothing a Shadowpriest can do which classifys as "Intelligent play". We have silence, a 5 second debuff which activites GCD. A skill with 24 yards (improved) range, when factoring in lag and GCD you can choose to cast 1 spell after its use or a casted + instant combinatio

We have Blackout which with its 10% proc chance we just have to hope lands and when it does gives us 3 seconds of (undiminished) time to do something. Not nearly enough time to escape and only just enough time, after reaction, to cast something.

When it comes to Arena we are a liability. In 5v5 we demand the full attention of healers and will probably end up face down ass up for the the rest of the game. In 2v2 we rely entirely on a partner with Crowd Control and much the same in 3v3. Its easy to strip us of our defense and even easier to stop us from offensively acting. I have been in winning 3v3 matches where I achieved 0 Damage and 1900 healing and that was it. If I was such a pivotal class in the team then they should of lost. The only thing I granted them was time while I ran around in a vain attempt to stay alive.

We run OOM fast and lack a skillset so many other classes take for granted. We either need more control or more defense/ability to escape. 1 ability which might make classes think twice about focus firing us, right now we are the first and foremost target and if nothing changes, we always will be.

I used to be able to accept the weakness in PvP because of our ability to PvE, our ability to PvE is slowly being diminished. The rewards we get and see are slowly being diminished. 2.4 thus far has shown no attention to Shadowpriests specifically, unless you count being able to cast Fearward in shadowform attention. No PvE attention, no PvP attention. 2.4 is not finalised but I bet you this, we will see no direct changes, what you might well see is indirect nerfs because of other class changes. Or a reduction in value for thier buffs. The recent regeneration changes are another reduction in value when looking at the requirement or not of a SP for said mana return.

If you dont play a Shadowpriest, or you are one that accepts your primary (and only) role is returning mana and you will continue to play if you could do that while doing 0 DPS I ask you this. Are you prepared to keep playing if with every patch and every upgrade you see no tangible progression of your character?

Shadowpriest, you take 2 steps forward, then 3 back
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