28 August 2009

Holy v Discipline

Without meaning to, my last post seems to have hit a nerve. Who'd have thought there was such animosity between our healing brethren? I love a good cat fight so let's do it properly. Give me your reasons for going holy or going discipline. What do you bring to your raid, what are your key strengths, what are your weaknesses, and how do you overcome them? Basically, which one wins? It's the ultimate showdown, no more whispering behind each other's backs, pointing at that lolwell or scoffing at those holy nova twitches. Spirit of redemption - glorious embodiment of your faith or a great big flashing FAIL sign? Does the sight of a Tauren in a shield fill you with hope or give you the giggles? Let's get it all out in the open...

27 August 2009

Going holy

I've decided to switch my secondary spec to a holy raiding build, ditching my beloved discipline.

I really have grown quite attached to the pew pew of pennance and the site of raiders running round in my little hamster bubbles, and I think I will miss my shields terribly, especially in 5-mans. But I've healed enough on my resto shammy to know it's a crutch I can live without.

I still believe a discipline priest brings a lot to a raid, I just don't think my guild requires one, particularly from an offspec healer. There just aren't enough fights in current raid design to justify a single-target focus for me. With so many excellent main healers in our guild, I'm only ever going to be there to provide raid support, and flash heal spam just doesn't cut it.

I think I probably have enough offspec gear to make the switch now, although it's very low on haste and will probably need regemming. And I might have to plug a few gaps with some entry-level gear. I'm going to try Wynthea's holy build, which emphasises aoe healing, instant flash heals and powerful renews.

But I don't really know how you heal as holy, so would really appreciate your advice. How do you know from looking at grid where to drop your circle of healing, how do you keep track of all the procs and buffs in holy, how do you manage your mana, and how do you pump out big single target healing when it's needed?

Any hints and tips much appreciated!

22 August 2009

A shadow nuke?

From the class Q&A at Blizzcon:

Shadow Priests will most likely get a nuke without cooldown in Cataclysm.

Is mind flay dead?

There's a LOT of other stuff emerging from Blizzcon, check out mmo champion and wow.com for updates.

21 August 2009

More on mind flay

It's been at least a week since I last complained about our appalling glyph selection, plenty of time for you all to prepare yourself mentally for the next assault. This latest bout of crabbiness was triggered by a US forum post from a player named Martya, who asked (rather optimistically, I thought):

Although I'm glad to see in 3.2.2 that you are finally getting rid of the snare reduction component on mind flay, which was a needed change, why did you only half-fix the problem?
This being the US forums, where community interaction counts for something, ghostcrawler actually responded. He could have saved himself the trouble by answering the question properly in the class Q&A, but now I'm just being snippy. Here's what he had to say:

Your weakness in one area (in this case range) is supposed to be made up for by strengths in other areas (say dots ticking while you move). If Shadow priests were at a horrible disadvantage because of their short range, then we’d likely make adjustments. But Shadow does totally reasonable dps on most fights and really high dps on a few. Most raids are thrilled to have Shadow priests. While there are things we can improve with the spec (like we can with every spec), we don't think the range is a huge liability (and you do even have a solution if you can't stand it).

Let’s consider for a moment a glyph that improves your damage. Your class is balanced around the use of that glyph. Why? Because the alternative is you are balanced without that glyph, and then when you take the glyph you do more damage than everyone else. What fun! Yet if glyphs didn't improve damage (or healing or whatever) then they would feel merely cosmetic, like shirts or companion pets. With Mind Flay, you are arguing as if the glyph brings it from a negative number back up to baseline. But that doesn’t really make sense. It is making your spell better – it is a buff.
And finally:

Now, where I think there are some valid complaints are on the topic of glyph choice. For DPS specs, someone is going to prove (or strongly suggest) which glyphs provide the most DPS, and raid-focused players are going to tend to take those. It would be nice if you truly had the freedom to pick whatever glyph you wanted. But it would be nice if you truly had the freedom to pick whatever talent specs you wanted too. We'll try to improve both over time, but I don't really get the "I shouldn't have to take that glyph" arguments.
So here we have an attempt to explain the logic behind mind flay's restrictive range, a deliberate weakness which, we now learn, is an attempt to balance our otherwise overpowered class.

I admit, it sounds reasonable, but this argument really doesn't hold any water. For one thing, range isn't our weakness. Mind flay is the only one of our damage spells without a 30-yard base range. Even mind sear has a 30-yard range, and that is arguably the one spell in our arsenal that ought to have a bigger downside. This isn't a conscious design directive, no matter how convincingly ghostcrawler tries to push it. It's an anachronistic situation that has simply been allowed to fester.

And besides, just what would this idealised super spriest look like? Most raiding shadow priests use the glyph right now, and the ones that don't get very little benefit from the dregs of dps glyphs remaining to them. The fact is, if Blizzard extended the range of mind flay tomorrow, nothing would happen to shadow dps.

Our complaint with mind flay isn't really about dps (although I would argue mind flay's range has a direct correlation). At its heart, the issue is about parity. Ghostcrawler very often talks about how the designers try to avoid things that aren't much fun for the player base — things like healers having to spam non-stop, or dps only having one button to press. Well this is one of those things. It isn't very fun for shadow priests to have to choose between standing in the fire or not doing damage, or taking more time to find range on mobs than other classes. We are the only class that has to make these choices. Valid choices for dps would be choosing between high or low mana spells, long cast times or instants, high damage or survivability, raid utility or dps — all the ranged dps classes have these difficult decisions, including shadow priests.

Ghostcrawler is right in a way, mind flay's range really isn't such a huge issue for shadow priests in isolation, but he is wrong when he says it isn't valid to compare our situation to other classes. It is only in comparison that you see just how stupid it is to restrict us in this way. If the range really isn't that big a deal, why not just normalise it and allow us that parity with the rest of the ranged dps?

My only consolation from this exchange was his final comment about glyph choices. Perhaps he's finally beginning to wake up to just how insufficient our glyph range is for raiding. With or without mind flay's range issues, we do not have a fair selection of choices for raiding as it stands.

18 August 2009

A change for the good

An odd little quest popped up in Dalaran after the last patch. At least, I think that's when it popped up — certainly, I never noticed it before. There's a Tauren hanging around the portals, looking rather shifty. He asks you to deliver a shield to an injured colleague who has returned to Thunder Bluff to recuperate. You trot over to Mulgore, turn in the shield, and wait patiently for the follow up. But nothing comes. That's it. A seemingly dead-end quest that nets you a couple of gold, barely worth the time it took. Except, if you are patient, and can filter out the NPC dialogue from trade spam, something very interesting happens. The injured Tauren turns to a friend and starts talking about this new fangled night elf goddess, Elune...

I can only assume this is a nod to possible future developments within the Tauren culture — laying the foundations, so to speak. If you've read the mmo champion spoilerfest on the next expansion, you'll know what I mean. This post might let a couple of them slip, so stop reading now if you don't want to know.

I got talking about this with a friend, a real lore nerd who played the original warcraft strategy games and can tell you what colour underwear Gul'dan had on when he died. He's outraged by the very notion of Tauren preists and paladins, Troll druids, or Gnome shamen and considers any plans to alter or ignore warcraft lore a dilution and bastardisation of the game. He might even quit if any of these changes come to fruition.

I feel for my friend, I really do. He has invested a lot of time in this fictional world and grown to love it, and he doesn't want it to change. But worlds do change, frequently, constantly; this change is what drives them and keeps their people alive and evolving. Cultures and civilisations thrive on change, even though the people living through it may not always appreciate the experience — anything from a new fashion to a country invasion. And one of Warcraft's strengths is that it recognises this, using change to build a believable environment and story that keeps its inhabitants consistently engaged.

In the next expansion, something terrible may happen, something so monumental that the forces of Azeroth have no choice but to adapt and evolve.

It may not be in the nature of Taurens to wield the light, but it is in the nature of every culture that has ever existed to take what it values (and some things it doesn't) in alien cultures and adopt it for themselves. Taurens have fought alongsides Blood Elves and Trolls, they have fought against Night Elves and Dwarves, and it is inevitable that some of them will grow curious about these other powers and philosophies, and possibly experiment for themselves.

So Tauren priests and paladins may not be in warcraft lore, but it's inevitable that they should feature in warcraft's future.

In fact, in one sense, the next logical stage of evolution for the races of Azeroth would be a hybrid. Not in the sense that we know it now, but in the true sense — a being that has experimented with several philosophies and built a new one from the fusion. Just what kind of super class could you expect from, say, the combination of shamanism and druidism, or a priest with demonic powers? The next hero class, perhaps. Who knows, the future's not decided yet, but it's crammed with exciting possibilities.

14 August 2009

Cloud hangs over face melters as barmaid auctions secret book

DALARAN. A secret code of conduct for shadow priests governing how the dark brethren should behave while away from the monastery has been found by a barmaid in a Dalaran tavern.

The shocking guidelines are said to include advice on exploiting auction houses for profit, safe application of narcotics and sex toys, and basic triage in combat scenarios.

One section procured by this reporter describes the conditions under which it is acceptable to allow other adventurers to die. Of rogues, the chapter says: "don't even bandage the fuckers".

The Modern Shadow Priest Handbook was found abandoned in a dark corner of the salubrious Filthy Animal by Tiffany Gorehound, 23, barmaid and "part-time model".

"It was, like, just lying there," she confided. "I was curious because you don't get many people coming in here to read, if you know what I mean!"
She quickly realised the explosive — not to mention lucrative — nature of the material she found. "It's gonna go to the highest bidder!" she squealed.

If such a handbook exists, it could threaten the very foundations of shadow priesting, and would certainly strengthen calls for more transparency from Azeroth's far-reaching cabal of dark missionaries.
A spokesperson for the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow refused to comment, except to say "we are transparent enough already" and "we are interesting in talking to the blood elf Merlot in connection with our own investigations into this matter."

13 August 2009

The whole 30 yards

Luciano pointed out a recent forum discussion about the glyph of mind flay (thank you!) Somebody suggested the glyphed snare was now reducing movement by 50 per cent (instead of the intended 10 per cent), and ghostcrawler responded to clarify.

I'm almost positive that the way it works is the glyph leaves a 10% snare on mind flay today on live (the glyph didn't change in 3.2). The reason is because we thought it might cause a lot of bugs related to whether a target was officially snared or not. A 10% snare isn't particularly useful but it is noticable.

What we're talking about is changing the glyph to not affect the default snare at all. The glyph would just boost range.
It's simply confirmation of what was hinted at in the class Q&A.

So Blizzard is now happy for us to glyph to extend the range of a spell which they previously thought would be overpowered at 30 yards. Yet they apparently think it would still be overpowered with a baseline increase because they continue to refuse to even entertain that option. I don't get it. I mean, it's not like we're loosing dps by glyphing for the range - because WE HAVE NO OTHER DECENT GLYPHS.

Will someone please remind me why mind flay has a 20-yard range because I've been temporarily rendered braindead by the shaman shock boost to 25 yards.

Edit: changed confirmed in the patch notes for 3.2.2, released today: "glyph of mind flay: this glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the mind flay victim." Which, in English, means the glyph no longer reduces the snare. Blizz, if you're reading, I'm available for translation services, very reasonable hourly rates...

A rare occurence

I'm not cutting edge, not what you'd call an 'early adopter', so the last place I expected to find myself tonight was in 10-man Crusaders' Colliseum; I still haven't finished Ulduar. Healing as well, can you believe it?

I think it will be quite fun when I get over the shock and horror. Among the beasts encounter, only the worms are a real challenge. Positioning is very difficult, particularly as a healer with a need to stay in range of both tanks while avoiding frontal cone attacks and moving around to dispel the poison. If the worms die, you've won.

The second guy, released yesterday, is a demon that throws just about every conceivable evil shit at the lot of you: chain lightning, dots, fires, adds, even volcanoes. This is another fight where staying out of trouble and keeping in range of everyone to heal them is the biggest challenge. The add tank died on a couple of occasions because I just wasn't standing in the right place at the right time. But we got him down on our fourth attempt, which ain't bad for me :)

Interestingly, we took two tanks and four healers into the instance. I've never tackled a 10-man with more than three before, and often only two. I don't know if this is how other guilds are doing it, but it was a good move on our part. The whole raid takes significant damage throughout both encounters and with range being the issue it is I think we would have struggled a lot more just keeping everyone up.

12 August 2009

Four things that are easier when you're drunk

  • Jousting. Don't think about it, don't even try and control it, just mash your buttons and hope for the best. It's the same strategy I used to great effect all those years ago in street fighter and mortal combat. Combos? What combos?
  • Trade chat. Caution and responsibility will do nothing to earn you respect in trade. This activity is best reserved for the second bottle of wine, when your can unleash your snobbery and sarcasm in all their glorious fury, like a verbal paladin.
  • Battlegrounds. If you really must grind that honour, at least inoculate yourself from the worst asshattery first. Really, loosing your fifth AV in succession is much more fun after a six-pack.
  • Levelling weapons. Your ham-fisted buffoonery is ideal for that long, boring slog to level a new weapon — you'll be mashing all the wrong buttons, meaning the mob lives for twice as long. If you pass out on the keyboard, even better. It'll be at 450 when you wake up.

 ...And four things to avoid
  • Fishing. A healthy amount of lubrication will do nothing to improve your aim. If you attempt to land a catch, you're liable to miss-click and run into the water. The only thing worse than a drunk is a wet drunk.
  • Herbing. Have you ever tried to pick a herb but ended up spinning madly on the spot? Not surprisingly, this does not go down well with a brain already pickled by booze.
  • Vent. It's possible to pass your written diarrhoea off on a cultural difference or lack of inflection, but if you're too wrecked to pronounce your own name you will earn no friends by dribbling and belching down Vent.
  • Auction house. You know those people who 'accidentally' post silly 4-figure buyouts for leather scraps and BoE greens? They're little shopping traps for drunks. Selling is even worse: you'll either flog all your raid consumables by mistake or put that epic item on for six copper. For the love of god, stay away.


7 August 2009

The art of politicking

I'll be brief, because I'm aware that I'm at risk of appearing rather bitter on this subject, but I can't let this pass without comment.

The normally well-informed and always readable Alex Ziebart of wow.com has just published his review of the priest Q&A shadow section. His review is articulate, reasonable and balanced, as always. But he makes the mistake of taking the Q&A at face value.

People who work in public-facing roles are often asked questions that they don't want to answer. It is their job to resolve this dilemma, and they have evolved a barrage of decoys and evasive manoeuvres to aid them.

We all like to think we're savvy to such manipulations, but the truth is we fall for them all the time. This is simply human nature, and testament to the skill and ingenuity of the people we are dealing with. Our only defence, which is an imperfect one, is to be aware of the techniques and be on guard for them. Ask yourself: is this the question I asked? Does this answer address my subject? Is this what I want to know or is this simply what they want me to hear?

I like World of Warcraft, I value what community relations we have with Blizzard and I think Ghostcrawler is an extremely talented and likable person in a challenging job. But Blizzard is not in the business of pandering to every emo appeal they receive and sometimes they are asked questions they do not want to answer.

So you can choose to take the priest Q&A at face value. Or you can see for yourself the range of questions put to Blizzard by the community before you judge the output.

6 August 2009

Patch day torment

Patch days are torture. I have nearly 40 addons, 10 characters, four dual specs, and - worst of all - two computers with different screen sizes to update, which even ordinarily are a headache to manage. The pain is usually offset by the excitement of new features and content, but for some reason I just can't get worked up by this patch. Clearly there's nothing good for priests, and even the new raid hasn't got my blood pumping. It's just not that... exciting.

For the first hour last night I was stuck in a logon loop that saw me kicked instantly every time I tried to access any character in Dalaran, like some digital sisyphus. I spent some time on my enhancement shaman Uglybetty instead (female troll, natch), and was very annoyed by the earth shock change. Now I have to hotbutton wind shock too. (Who said this game was getting easier?)

When I eventually did get back on Merlot I went straight into a raid with no chance to test my addons. I discovered the hard way that dotimer had decided to helpfully display EVERY debuff on the boss and EVERY raid-wide buff on ALL 25 PLAYERS, ag_unitframes had given up changing names on target frames and showed the same name regardless of who I targetted, and grid had reset my profile and lost all COLOUR. That's right, my grid is now black and white. There were the brand-spanking new patch day updated versions, too. I had no choice but to continue raiding through the chaos, automatically closing lua error windows every couple of minutes as we went. Badges are badges, right?

We raided so long I didn't have time to look at the problems afterwards. So I have one computer in complete chaos, and all of this to look forward to tonight when I log on to the second.

The patch mess will pass, but I still need to think about how I can simplify the general customisation process. The two-computer setup is a problem, but it's not going to change as long as I spend my weeks at two different locations. What I need is shared network location for my addon settings, or an easy way to sync the two. Is there one easy folder I could backup to the internet, perhaps?

On a more positive note, I also trialled a neat little addon called mind flay timer last night. You probably have this already, right? It's really simple: it posts a raid warning and chimes every time your mind flay ticks, so you can keep track of them. I don't like nochannelling macros so this is a better solution for me to ensure I don't clip my flays. What I discovered while using it is just how erratic my mind flay ticks are. The first two ticks often bunch together, and the third tick quite often doesn't kick in till the channelling animation and cast bar timers have ended. This sounds like a bug that appeared when Wrath first launched, but it's been long fixed. So I am assuming this is either a symptom of my own lag or an issue with the addon itself. I'm guessing it's lag. When I eventually get my timers back I'll be able to spend some time on the dummies to work it out.

All in all, a very frustrating night, but no worse than any other patch day.

5 August 2009

The emergency guide to 3.2

I'm running behind with patch news thanks to the awfully timed priest Q&A. I'm not going to give you a comprehensive overview but if you only have five minutes to spare before patching and want a (very) brief reminder of what to look for when you log in, try this.

Shadow stuff
  • Replenishment has been nerfed. The patch note is rather obtuse, but it simply means replenishment now ticks for 0.2% maximum mana instead of 0.25%. Big thank you to Lodur of World of Matticus for confirming this for me.
  • Psychic horror no longer has a 'travel time', so will take effect instantly.
  • The dispersion cooldown has been reduced from 3 to 2 minutes.
  • Improved mind blast now also provides a mini mortal strike debuff, reducing all healing done to the target by 20% for 10 seconds.
  • Vampiric touch now does twice the amount of damage if dispelled.
  • Glyph of shadow can now trigger from dot crits.
  • The cooldown on devouring plague has been removed; this spell can now only exist on one target at a time.

Healing stuff
  • The amount of mp5 on all items with this stat has been increased by about 25%.
  • Prayer of healing has been nerfed. Its spell power co-efficient per target has been lowered from 80.7% to 52.6%.
  • The penance cooldown has been increased from 10 to 12 seconds.
  • Inspiration now reduces physical damage taken by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target's armor.
  • The heal from glyph of power word: shield can now proc divine aegis.

General stuff
  • There's a new raid and a new 5-man instance in ice crown. The new raid has normal and heroic modes for both 10-man and 25-man versions.
  • The emblem system has changed. Heroic 5-man bosses and all raid bosses up to Ulduar now drop emblems of conquest. Bosses in the new raid, crusaders' coliseum, drop emblems of triumph. You can get emblems of triumph from the daily heroic too. Emblems can continue to be converted 'down' to the lower versions, but not up.
  • Loads of 'quality of life' changes have been made to further improve the levelling experience and general world environment. These include cheaper mounts at lower levels, an orgrimmar-thunder bluff zeppelin, portals to the blasted lands, a flight path direct from the stair of destiny to shattrath and more post boxes in major towns.
  • Loads of changes and improvements to professions.

See mmo champion for the full patch notes and more general information.

And if you know of anything priesty that (like the devouring plague change) isn't listed in the notes, please let me know!

4 August 2009

Priest Q&A: the end of the affair

Health warning: grab a cup of tea and some biscuits, this may take a while.

It has been a long, strange journey, but yesterday Blizzard brought its epic player Q&A series to an end with the priest class.

There's no easy way to take hundreds of questions from hundreds of players and distil them into a comprehensive, digestible response. But to Blizzard's credit, they have at least made this process transparent. We all see the same questions, helping us to form an impression of the most popular concerns — while at the same time, unavoidably, creating a sense of expectation. In short, we thought we knew what was coming.

Things look very different today. I'm not at all convinced that the questions posed by the developers are all representative of the community's submissions, nor am I satisfied that the community's top concerns are all addressed here. In fact, in some instances, it even appears that the question has been crafted to fit the statement Blizzard wanted to make.

The cynic in me can't help but observe a general degradation in the quality of responses as this process has gone on. Am I being unfair to think that perhaps this has proved too time-consuming, or too boring, to allow the same level of effort on each Q&A? Is it a coincidence that the priest Q&A is last?

You may accuse me of expecting too much. It's true that I have placed a lot of faith in the outcome of this process. But I don't think my expectations were too high. By it's very nature, this Q&A event is a significant and exceptional occurrence in Blizzard's community relations. It's not unrealistic to expect the responses to be comprehensive. And while I must admit that in my wildest dreams I imaged a long list of promises, in reality all I ever expected was an acknowledgement of concerns and a stake in the ground from Blizzard on how they saw them. Yes, we know you are worried about this, but don't be — or, I'm sorry, that's not something we intend to address right now. Disappointment is better than apoplexy.

But here we are. Merlot is nothing if not a pragmatist! We have some straws to clutch at, and some deep brooding to undertake. Let's look at what they did say, before grouching briefly about what they didn't say, and finally considering where we go from here.

I'm not going to reprint the Q&A in full here, but if you haven't seen it yet and want to, here's the full horror courtesy of mmo champion.

There aren't many of them, but I'll start with the most revealing and relevant question and spend a little time on that. I've skipped some pvp questions, don't hate me.

Q. Since a lot of damage a shadow priest does builds with damage-over-time spells, are you concerned about them being well rounded enough to do adequate damage in shorter pve encounters, 5-player dungeons, or in the arena?
I don't think anybody gives a shit about shadow's 5-player damage, or even 'shorter' pve encounters. I'm sure there are pvp concerns, but in pve the big issue is target-switching and burn phases. Given Blizzard's recent concerted efforts to tone down burst damage in pvp, I don't think anybody expected a lot of promises, but the big hope was for some cooldowns or executes. These hopes weren't even acknowledged. What we did get was some recognition from Ghostcrawler that our talents are primarily focused around long-term damage via dots:
"Many [talents] say basically "while your dots are ticking". This means in the situations where the dots can't tick (say those very short pve fights, or sometimes in pvp) you are doubly punished since now those talents aren't pulling their weight. The shadow tree could benefit from more talents that affect all damage and not just the dots."
This is confusing two issues — while it's true that a lot of out talents boost the power of dots, and are therefore wasted when we don't apply those dots, it's not true that "many" shadow talents "say basically 'while your dots are ticking'". One or two at most. Our only significant glyph also says this, but that's a different (unanswered) issue. But the point is taken — any class that is designed about dots is going to be gimped if they don't apply them. That's a given, isn't it?

The unsatisfactory but straw-like implication of GC's words is that we may find shadow word: death, mind blast and mind flay getting a few small buffs here and there to compensate. I'll reserve judgement on the final execution, but already I see problems with this approach. How do you buff spells which are a part of a class's single-target damage repertoire without inadvertently increasing their overall damage? And even when you do, how is this a good solution when the class happily acknowledges that dots comprise the core of its damage potential?

I'm afraid GC completely fluffed this answer, which is a shame given that it was his opening gambit. Already, shadow priests the world over are shuddering.

Q. Are developers happy with the functionality of dispersion and is it considered to be an adequately valuable final talent in the shadow tree?
Short answer: yes. This isn't an issue for raiding shadow priests, we've come to terms with it and moved on.

Q. Would you consider removing the cast time for mind blast to make it a more desirable direct-damage spell given that it already has a cooldown?
I'm very annoyed that this question even made it into the final cut. Apart from the fact that I didn't notice hundreds of priests jumping up and down for it (and don't consider it an issue myself), this is simply a proffered solution to the first question — in other words, this is very sloppy work Blizzard. You answered this over all the other questions we had? You wrote two long paragraphs on why you won't remove a spell's cooldown instead of telling us why we won't scale properly with haste?

Q. As many players report that vampiric embrace and vampiric touch lack viability in pvp settings and vampiric enbrace tends to generate too much threat in pve settings, are there any plans you can share to improve the functionality of these spells?
OMG. Every time I read this question I think I'm having an aneurism. Where are all the priests who think their HARDEST HITTING DOT lacks viability? Or the MORONS who can't handle ve's threat? SHOW ME.

Quite rightly GC told these fictitious priests to fuck off. What a waste of a question.

Q. How about increasing the range of mind flay?
No, you've got a glyph, piss off.

Q. Shadow word: death was once a spell that priests used frequently in pve, but has basically dropped off their bar. Are there any plans to improve this?
Well apparently, they think we have enough spells to use so don't want to "necessarily" go back to us using it on cooldown. GC goes on to talk about how they might consider toning down the backlash, which is categorically not something any shadow priest gives a flying fuck about. We don't use it more because it's an insignificant increase on our dps, not because it causes damage. This question, like so many others in this thread, should have been better phrased.

Q. Have you considered providing a talent to increase the duration of shadowfiend as a mana regeneration mechanic for longer boss fights?
You mean instead of a talent to lower the cooldown of shadowfiend? Like veiled shadows? Who came up with these questions?

Black hole
This Q&A is arguably more revealing by what Blizzard didn't address. As mentioned already, when talking about shadow's burst potential, they conveniently side-stepped cooldowns and executes altogether, something which many players called for in the threads.

The issues behind many of these questions are either misunderstood or overlooked. Take mind flay as a case in point. We asked about its range because we don't want to have to give up a valuable glyph slot just to achieve parity of spell range with other casters. So to dismiss the concern because there's a glyph to fix it is missing the point entirely.
Glyphs too were a major concern to many contributors but the topic was skipped.

Pain and suffering bug? Ignored. Out-of-mana regen? Ignored. And the biggest concern of all shadow priests in those two long lists of questions — haste scaling — ignored. Some of my issues could, just, be passed off as marginal; there is no excuse for skipping this.

Shady Pines here we come
I fear this Q&A will leave many shadow priests felling rather insecure and uncertain about their future raiding careers. It didn't address many significant issues, and those it did touch on were not answered to any great satisfaction.

I'll probably continue to melt faces, not only because I've got a blog to maintain, but because my guild still finds the misery debuff and replenishment of some use. But that won't last forever. More and more of the casters are hit capped, and with replenishment so readily available, it may well prove easier to switch a hunter to survival than carry me into the Coliseum.

This is the point where you tell me I'm over-reacting. surely, it's not as bad as I think it is?

P Day

It's live. Go read. Breathe. Come back tomorrow, when I'll have gathered the will to respond.

Edit: you know what, it's not going to take me a day to write this. There's not that much to say. Give me a couple of hours to channel my fury into diatribe.