Shackle undead is a priest's only means of crowd control, and it's a beauty. At max rank it will chain a mob to the spot and prevent them from causing any damage for 50 seconds. The only limitation is in the name — it only works on undead.
Most groups in Sethekk Halls contain at least one undead, so for the first time in Outland I found myself in need for more than just my face-melting abilities. And it made me realise how limited my normal contribution is to a 5-man group. Outland instances are very reliant on crowd control and so you would usually look first to rogues, mages and hunters to fill you dps spots.
Sure, I can buff. Nice to have. I can burn mobs down, but any class can do that. I can restore mana and health to the group, but in 5-mans where the mobs go down quickly, the benefits are marginal. I can even mind control, but the spell is so unreliable and is such a drain on 5-man dps that I don't really consider it viable cc. To be honest, right now my spot in a group could easily go to anyone else.
That's why I am so excited about Wrath of the Lich King expansion. A Scourge theme promises a lot more in the way of undead instances and with it a much-needed utility role for shadow priests in small groups.
And I've been thinking about ways the class could be developed to cement that spot in a group. My ideas so far:
- Shackle could be expanded to cover demons too. It certainly seems to fit with the lore. Why shouldn't masters of light have power over creatures of the underworld? This overlaps somewhat with the warlock banish ability, but I'm not sure that matters. After all, hunters can trap anything.
- Shadowform could include an aura. Don't get me wrong, shadowform is already very sweet, but I like the idea that a priest in shadow form would give off some kind of buff or debuff, perhaps a flat reduction in damage by mobs, or a small spell hit increase to party members.
- Make mind control more like enslave demon, so instead of effectively 'switching' to the mind-controlled character, it becomes a pet with an action bar and controls, leaving you free to continue to dps. The duration could be the same, or even reduced, but the reliability of the spell would have to be improved to make this a viable form of cc.
- Make divine spirit trainable. It's about time. Let all priests carry this fab little buff to the benefit of the whole group. Spec for improved divine spirit if you want.