I've written and scrapped this post three times already. There is always a slim chance that it's not over yet. It is true that we do not yet have a release date. But when other bloggers start posting their 3.1 survival guides and patch reviews, you know that time is running out.
This then will be my catharsis, a purging of all false hope and tightly knotted expectations. Our aim is to jettison these poisonous ambitions and surrender to our lot in life.
It also rather handily ticks the boxes for my day-two ProBlogger challenge: write a list post. Brace for bullet points!
I shall be balanced, of course. There are some small baubles of delight dangling from the Christmas tree of disappointment. But if you'd rather just rake through my frustrations, feel free to skip to the last section.
Stuff we like
- Divine spirit will be baseline. This is a minor buff in the grand scheme of things, but it's welcome nonetheless.
- The shadowfiend has been buffed. It will return more mana, deal more damage, and take less damage from aoe spells.
- A new improved devouring plague talent will boost the damage of the spell considerably. This will inadvertently relegate shadow word: pain to a thoroughly miserably third place in our arsenal of dots. It feels very lacklustre now, but I guess we can't have it all our own way.
- Dots will be able to crit.
While dots already benefited from critical strike rating, this change will ensure they benefit from things that increase your chance to crit without directly affecting that rating — such as winter's chill and improved scorch. It's a modest buff and slightly increases the value of crit over haste (I think).From what Ho Ho says in the comments, there's no buff here. I don't then understand how people are reporting an increase in dps on the test realms. Perhaps some of the other changes, such as improved devouring plague and mind meld (see below) account for it. If you know better, leave me a note please.
- Mind meld will provide additional critical strike chance to dots, transforming a mediocre talent into a glorious one.
Stuff we don't care about
- Healing stuff. We glazed over.
- PVP buffs blah blah.
- The new hymns. Both are going to be extremely difficult to use, and of almost zero value to shadow priests. This could have been a chance to put the faith back into priesting; instead, write it off as a missed opportunity. I want to say more, but I'll wait till I've had chance to try them out.
- Increases to mana regeneration talents, such as spirit tap and meditation. To all the people who think these changes are a buff: they are not. The amount of mana you regenerate while casting after the patch will be exactly the same as it is now.
- Vampiric embrace increased to five minutes and cooldown removed. Without the improving talents, this spell is almost worthless in raids — but who has the points spare to pick them up?
Stuff they forgot
- Dear Blizzard: why doesn't shadow word: pain pick up shadow weaving stacks when it is refreshed by mind flay (via the pain and suffering talent)? If this is a bug, when will you fix it? If this is not a bug, when will you wake up and realise it is stupid and needs changing? Yours etc.
- Still no baseline 30-yard range on mind flay. I have banged on about this too much already, but this is not a nice-to-have, this is not something that shadow priests should have to cope with in raids. Raiding shadow priests are at a disadvantage as long as this anachronism is allowed to fester.
- WTB decent raid-worthy glyph options. Do you know why the shadow priest community isn't up in arms about mind flay's range? Because they can glyph for it. And we're only happy to do that because there's nothing else to go in its place.
- Shadow priests are still missing an ability to ramp up damage output on bosses. No cooldowns to blow, no executes, nothing. This will become glaringly obvious as encounters in Ulduar get harder and demands on DPS increase. It's not asking for an advantage over other dps, it's asking for the same level playing field.
- Shadow is all so... sterile now, all numbers and balance and business. Where's the spirit? Where's the poetry? Give me a dark prayer, or a hymn of despair, just one core ability that proves I am a terrible, formidable priest, not just the shadow of a warlock, and I will forgive all other sins.
You know, now that it's down on paper, it doesn't look so bad. Only five things Blizzard need to do to entirely satisfy me. Not many people have it so easy :)
If we are indeed out of time now, and the patch is imminent, I will enjoy the buffs and hope that the gods of WoW may hear my prayers for the next round.