This is the patch, remember, that promises to improve shadow performance in pvp, and there are a couple of things in here that might help (a buff to dispersion, for example) but probably won't transform shadow's fortunes. There are some interesting changes for raiding priests too, which we'll go over below. As usual, this is only a test build — we will see more changes over the coming weeks, and much of this is likely to evolve during the test phase.
So in brief:
- Shadowfiend will scale with its master's spell damage and stamina, and will return more mana
- Blackout has been removed (sad face); darkness has been moved to fill the tier one space
- Dispersion now clears snares and movement-impairing effects, and makes you immune to them for its duration
- Shadowform no longer boosts periodic damage by your crit percentage; instead, dots can crit (no, really)
- Silence increased to 30 yards
- Vampiric embrace duration increased (in pve) to five minutes, cooldown removed
- New talent: improved devouring plague; increased period damage by 15% at max rank and deals 15% of total period damage instantly
Guess which bit everybody is zomging about? Yep, dots can crit. But don't get too excited just yet, this may yet sting us. At best, assuming crits will benefit from shadow power, this will result simply in dots doing, on paper, precisely the same damage they do now with the percentage boost (but in real life, being subject to the tribulations of the RNG). The benefit comes not in the damage of the dots themselves but in potential synergies with things that proc off crits. But anything that procs off dot crits would become a near-perma buff even with a modest crit rating, so you can assume a few things, such as improved spirit tap, won't count. And if dots are not covered by shadow power, it will actually mean a nerf. So, over all, while this is a very flashy change, I'm not sure it will mean much for our raid performance beyond, perhaps, keeping glyph of shadow active for longer. Wait and see, I guess.
The improved devouring plague talent interests me much more. It shamelessly nicks a mechanic from the shaman spell book (thank you flameshock and riptide) to give us an instant, direct damage component to a spell that already ticks for a decent amount. By my clumsy calculations, it's going to hit for about the same as a shadow word: death. The question is, where are we going to find an extra three points?
Alex Ziebart, in his Wow Insider column, suggests we'll be waving sayonara to meditation, and that's one possibility. But I don't know that my mana regen could hold up to it. Maybe fully raid buffed in Naxx, but what about 10-man Ulduar? I fear that some of the optional talents in shadow, like improved vampiric embrace, may be better candidates.
Which is a shame, because with the remove of ve's cooldown, suddenly shadow looks invulnerable for aoe grinding. Slap it on three or four mobs while they charge at you and mind sear with a shit-eating grin on your face.
Anything excite you about the patch notes?