8 April 2009

3.1: out of time

It is time to draw a line under the imminent patch 3.1. I had high hopes for this patch, but those hopes have passed. I'm ready to concede that the bulk of my prayers for shadow priests have gone unanswered.

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.

Happy patching!

11 comments:

Crysana said...

Sadly, i wish i didn't agree with you, but some of the 3.1 changes for shadow make me shrug and say 'That's it?'

More than anything, i was hoping for some cooldown to blow, something like popping wings on my pally but no, nothing. It just doesn't seem right - I've been levelling a death knight out of boredom and the amount of toys and buttons these guys have available is amazing. They are so much fun... then i play my priest and it just doesn't seem to do it for me anymore... :(

And don't get me started on duel specs - the second i take one, i know that i will be asked to heal more often than dps. Sigh...

Ho Ho said...

"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"

They already benefit from such things on live, this is no buff.



"why doesn't shadow word: pain pick up shadow weaving stacks when it is refreshed by mind flay (via the pain and suffering talent)? "

Add every single other (de)buff to the list including scorch, malygos sparks, thaddius charges etc.

Merlot said...

Thanks Ho Ho, I didn't realise about the current crit conversion. I thought the damage increase was taken directly (and solely) from our crit rating. I've edited my comments. Still leaves me wondering how and why people are reporting an increase in dps from the test realms. Surely a little extra crit from mind meld and a boost to devouring plague can't make all that much difference?

SolidState said...

As a Discipline priest, I've been debating with myself whether to duel-spec as shadow or holy.

I think I'll go holy, for extra versatility as an AoE healer. Shadow currently seems... weak.

Leigh said...

Yeah i think that most shadow priests will be sent to become healers when we encounter a fight where it's back to the walls DPS and you have to burn something down ASAP. Thankfully my guild is healer heavy and i am the only shadow priest so my 4/5 valorous healing won't be seeing the light of day any time soon :O

Like what Crysana said, I have been levelling a DK on the side and the utility, toys and buttons they have are amazing. So much more fun and when you go back to the shadow priest it all feels a bit meh to me.

Back on topic the list you provided is pretty accurate, the challenges you identify for Blizz to look at for me would redefine the class and push us up to the level of "pure" DPS. It's almost as if the bug's and oversights are there to purposely keep us at a manageable level.

Anonymous said...

I think base divine spirit is a nerf, 80 less spell power to the raid stinks,

Merlot said...

"I think base divine spirit is a nerf, 80 less spell power to the raid stinks"

Improved divine spirit isn't being removed to compensate for the standard spell going baseline. These are two separate things.

I admit it's a small shame for soloing disc priests to loose access to the spellpower buff, but for most raiding priests it's a waste of two points. Just find yourself a shaman or demo lock and enjoy the greater spellpower.

Anonymous said...

Just read official notes at mmo-champion and mind meld is 3/6% crit increase to dots, and the way I read it that's in addition to the 2/4% increase to mb and mf. Thats definitely an increase to dot damage. Along with the dp changes we should be looking better post 3.1 though I'm afraid it still won't be enough with other classes widening the dps gap every day.

feardotwin said...

Yep, I've finally given up and I'm speccing Discipline tomorrow and raiding on my Warlock from now on. Shadowpriests just seem to have gotten overlooked this time and I don't think I could handle the drop in DPS until another content patch.

/throws holy pew pew bolts

Ho Ho said...

"comments. Still leaves me wondering how and why people are reporting an increase in dps from the test realms. Surely a little extra crit from mind meld and a boost to devouring plague can't make all that much difference?"I'm not really sure why but I too am seeing quite decent DPS boost. Sure, the 3% crit damage metagem helps but it shouldn't be too big difference. Imp. DP is ~2k damage every 24s or <100dps. Added crit damage to dots from mind melt shouldn't be causing it either as mage 10% crit debuff got nerfed to 5% so we should actually see a bit of reduction of DPS.


"Shadow currently seems... weak."Well, I was at #1-3 caster* in our first three bosses in 25-man Ulduar, I wouldn't call that weak.

*) Melee took overall places from #1-5, there should be more mobile fights later on where casters show up in better light.


"Yeah i think that most shadow priests will be sent to become healers when we encounter a fight where it's back to the walls DPS and you have to burn something down ASAP"I highly doubt that, decent shadowpriest can relatively easily compete with other casters. On 20-man raid last week I was far ahead of all others on Malygos and #4 on Sartharion, very close to #1. Shadow priests are not at all sub-par compared to other dps classes.


"I think base divine spirit is a nerf, 80 less spell power to the raid stinks,"Only if you don't have a shaman dropping one of the two spellpower totems.

SolidState said...

Well, I was at #1-3 caster* in our first three bosses in 25-man Ulduar, I wouldn't call that weak.First boss in Ulduar is Flame Leviathan, since everyone uses vehicles, you can't measure DPS on that fight...