We have not one but two aoe spells now. It's awesome. To give you an indication of how disadvantaged I felt without one, I was happy when we got holy nova. But now I have mind sear I am ecstatic. Well, for the most part.
Mind sear is a channelled spell that costs 28% of base mana and, according to the tool tip: "causes an explosion of shadow magic around the enemy target, causing 212 to 228 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target".
I've had enough practice with it now to think I've got it figured out. Which is not to say I always use it correctly; knowing and doing are two very different things in my world.
But the more I use the spell, the easier it gets to know when and how to throw it into the mix.
And the more I use it, the more glaring and frustrating its limitations become.
It actually packs quite a punch within a reasonable range, and that mana cost, while significant, is not so huge that you think twice before casting the spell (for comparison, shadow word: pain is 22%).
I'm finding it's doing somewhere around 900-1000 damage per tick — it's like mind flaying multiple targets for two seconds more (which I guess is how they pitched it at design stage).
Situationally, it's great for when a boss summons squishy adds, providing the tank can pick them up; you don't even have to change target. And it's super for packs of one elite and several normal hangers-on. After that it gets a bit tricker.
The number of talents that buff mind sear is rather limited, while the crit bonus remains just 50%. That's a shame given that shadow priests have only just been allowed into the 100%-crit club. I suppose it gives us something to envy in our mage and lock cousins.
What you probably know, but could be forgiven for not realising from the tooltip, is that it doesn't affect the target. This is one of those things that sounds quirky and original on paper but drives short-tempered players like me up the wall.
I know why they did this. It's because if they didn't, mind sear would virtually replace mind flay on trash pulls. And to be honest, if it did hit the target, that's probably exactly what I'd do. Any pull with two mobs or more would get the mind sear treatment in-between dot applications.
Even with this limitation, it's tempting to throw mind sear into the mix on three or four-mob pulls. But you either have to switch targets to mind flay, or else lower your dps on the main target. And while this might improve your standing on the damage metres, in focus fire situations, either option wastes time. It also distracts from maintaining your group utility (you can't trigger replenishment if you're busy mind searing).
You could argue this limitation on the spell doesn't matter. Standard pulls weren't designed for aoe. Six months ago, we would have two or three in each pull crowd-controlled anyway.
That may well be true, but it's not how the game has played out. The fact is, we're only a few weeks into the expansion and already I'm running heroics without crowd control of any kind. Not just with paladin tanks but warriors and bears too. If this was the same time into burning crusade, there's no way the healers would be able to keep up. There's no way, in fact, that tanks would be able to hold agro against aoe. The game has changed.
Does this mean the game is under-tuned? There's a lot of evidence to suggest it is. But if this is working as intended, we might as well get used to aoe trash pulls, and that means finding the best way as shadow priests to contribute.
My Christmas wish list
Mind sear doesn't have a glyph yet. If the Blizzard pixies are reading, I'd like the ability for mind sear to damage the target please — and I'm willing to pay for it.
Maybe a mind sear glyph would reduce damage by 15%, or reduce the range to 20 yards, or increase the mana cost by half, or increase the cast time by a second or two. I think any of those things would be a reasonable compromise. And there must be other possibilities.
But if Blizzard really doesn't want shadow priests to aoe packs down, they might want to start looking at how hard heroic elites hit, how much mitigation tanks have, and how well healers can heal.
But that's a bit off topic. I just want to pew pew stuff. Give me my glyph already!
22 hours ago