22 May 2009

A prayer for the flaying

I'm a sensitive soul and generally avoid the forums for fear of getting a right roasting. But in the name of progress, and on behalf of you, my loyal readers, I have thrown caution to the wind and launched an appeal for dialogue on the state of shadow.

I personally feel like our spec has been filed as a done job. I don't know if that's because we don't make as much noise as the other classes or because Blizzard genuinely feels like we're finished. Either way, I want to do my bit, small as that is, to try and raise our profile - and hopefully prompt one of those lovely blue posts I keep reading on mmo-champion :)

All the real developer-player dialogue seems to happen on the US forums, but I have to work with the tools I've got. So here is my post — and reproduced below in case the forums are blocked as you read this.

If you have access to the European forums, please can you pop along and bump the post? You don't even have to agree with me, just give the thread a little boost.

And if you are one of our US cousins and feel willing to either plug the post or reproduce it on your forums, please be my guest.

Wish me luck. I hope people are kind :)

A dialogue on the state of shadow?

Shadow's development as a raid dps spec seems to have plateaued. My impression is that developers are happy with where it's at. It's been a long time since I have seen any real dialogue between Blizzard and the player base over this and I think we'd all appreciate the opportunity to discuss general views about how the spec is performing and where it's headed.

I don't want this post to be a massive qq about the "issues" as I see them. Instead, these are a few possible topics of conversation with developers should the opportunity arise.

  • Most players are aware of the strange way that pain and suffering works to refresh shadow word: pain - ignoring shadow weaving and many other buffs and debuffs. I'm not sure if this has ever officially been recognised as a bug or confirmed 'working as intended'. It instinctively feels like a bug, yet several patches have gone by without addressing it. Is there any chance this might change in the near future?

  • I and many other shadow priests feel the lack of any effective way to ramp up our dps in situations that demand it. We feel (to me at least) like the oil tankers of WoW, unable to respond quickly to changing circumstances. I think we suffer from the lack of any cooldowns (beyond trinkets) or 'execute' mechanics (feel free to count the glyph of shadow word: death if you like, but is it enough?).

  • The argument about mind flay's range is as old as the spell itself, and I won't rehash it here. Suffice to say it comes down to the power of its snare in pvp. We have a perfectly workable 'fix' should we choose it in the way of the glyph. My personally feeling is we are cheated out proper choice for a glyph slot with a ghetto fix to a more fundamental issue. What if mind flay's base range was increased - either inherently, or by an additional talent - at the expense of some or all of the snare? How would that affect people's perception of the spell, and would our remaining selection of glyphs feel well balanced for a dps spec?

  • In Wrath, we lost a lot of the uniqueness of the spec in exchange for increased dps and scalaing. I think it was the right thing to do, but it has left shadow priests feeling somewhat 'generic' and lacking from a roleplaying/lore/flavour perspective (however you want to describe it). My perception, rightly or wrongly, is that all the effort to make the priest class feel 'priesty' goes into healing. Shadowform is wonderful, and I recognise a huge part of the class, but something like a 'dark prayer' or 'shadow hymn' would go a long way to adding more depth to the experience of playing a shadow priest.

These are the things I am most interested in as a raiding shadow priest. More experienced priests, or pvp priests, may have other top concerns. Whatever your perspective, I just think we would all benefit from the chance to discuss them.

Yours in hopeful anticipation!


Avonar said...

Signed - nicely thought out.

candy said...

My only complaint after 4 months of 10 and 25 man raiding at 80 is the lack of "kick it up" options. And it has seemed that the payment Blizz has extracted from all of the heal/dps hybrid classes is you get left out of some other benefit the pure dps classes have. In this case the lack of CDs to burn. Overall my shadow dps has been rockin.

Anonymous said...

Very good post and I was glad to see valid responses that weren't trolls looking for attention.

I agree that we could use an execute type talent. Having to glyph SW:D for an execute is still a loss of DPS according to my recount. It seems the general public also agrees that the short range on Mind Flay is garbage.

In my opinion it should be baselined while the glyph adds the snare and shortens the range to make it a more appealing PVP glyph.. but even so, what other glyph would we replace it with?

Dispersion? I have no mana issues and I've almost done every boss in heroic Ulduar.

SW:D? Again, using SW:D instead of clipping a Mind Flay is normally a DPS loss (for me at least, AND i have the 4pc t7 bonus =\).

I'm really out of options and maybe it's time we had our glyphs looked at.

With veiled shadows talented and already providing replenishment, who really needs the reduced cooldown of Dispersion anyway? Maybe change it to something like..

"After your Dispersion effect expires, your critical strike chance with all Shadow spells is increased by 10% for 30 seconds."


crysana said...

Great post - I wish i had some argument against what you were saying but its all dead on the money. To be honest, i've given up on Shadow. It seems to have been an ignored spec for a long time now - there are issues you've stated that have been going on for a long long time with no comment from Blizzard. Its disappointing to say the least.

I've been playing my DK a lot lately, and its nice to feel like i actually bring something to the rest of the raid... but inside, ill always prefer my priest. So with my account expiring in few days, ive decided to take a break for a while, just until im not so disheartened by the state of shadow...

Akaran said...


Both here and on the forum. Good job, keep it up :)

Leigh said...

Good summation of the last few months posts and comments that have went through your blog.

And what Kunga touched upon, Dispersion is not really used any more and is pretty much gimmicky for me. I will use it to avoid incoming damage (slag pot on ignis) and use it to "tank" adds that are hitting on healers until they are picked up. Other then that the mana regen is not needed and silencing myself for 6 seconds is not wanted.

Signed, Hadur on the forums.