It was the mage's first heroic. She had been put off attempting them before by some elitist jerk who told her 500 spell damage wasn't enough. Botanica is generally regarded as one of the easier heroics so I thought we'd be fine. And we were; more than fine. We cleared it with only one or two silly wipes on the trash and got all bosses down first time.
The hunter, in very good gear, topped the damage metre as you'd expect. But the mage, with about 300 less spell damage than me, came a clear second place, even while busy sheeping. And she is frost spec. It really did feel like I was a fifth wheel at times. So I wonder, is there really a place for shadow priests in heroics?
There's a chance it's just me, not all shadow priests, of course. I was a bit laggy last night and a bit sluggish to respond at times. And then there's a chance that Bot is simply not very shadow priest friendly: the fourth boss, Laj, actually resisted four consecutive attempts to land shadow word: pain, which seems a bit unlikely given that I am now spell capped.
But I doubt those things were a big factor here. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that shadow priests simply aren't designed for heroics. There are four things I think a group needs going in to a heroic:
- a well-geared, skilled tank
- a well-geared, superb healer
- reliable crowd control
- massive amounts of controlled, sustained damage
Now, with the exception of Sethekk Halls, we bring no reliable crowd control. So our role is clear — we are there to burn things down. And in heroics, where the mobs hit hard and the trash groups are big, you'd better do it quick. The problem is, more than any other class, our burst potential is poor. We rely on DOTs and a channelled spell to do the bulk of our damage. Affliction locks suffer from similar issues, but they have more nukes at their fingers and more cc functionality to balance it out. And they always have a nuke talent tree to turn to if they can't keep up. On trash, I don't always have time to build up steam. While my comrades are unloading at full throttle, I'm still applying spells.
It's a different story on boss fights, which usually last long enough to allow me to reach my full potential. But typically, the bigger challenges in heroics are the trash leading up to them. What do you think? Am I doing something wrong? Or should I accept the limitations of my class and move on? Is burst damage as important as I think it is, and what does that mean for the future of shadow priests if it is?