You have to make some of assumptions when you start a blog. One is that there are a couple of people out there, in the ether, who are interested in what you have to say. The other is that they will occasionally, by hook or crook, find their way to your blog to read it. This poses a problem when you come to write about something that the entire world already knows and is weeks ahead of you on — like patch 3.3. But I'm not one to let a little problem like lack of readers get in the way of a good post. So, to all my visitors who have recently emerged from long-term comas, wipe the sleep from your eyes, have a long hard stretch, and settle down for the most explosive news you've read since you woke up.
Here's a quick summary in case you're at risk of a relapse:
- Pre-coma: mind flay's range is fine, your glyphs are fine, stats are fine, dps is totally fine, stop moaning
- Post-coma: mind flay's range is stupid, you have no glyphs, need a bit of a stat boost, and you've really got to pick up the dps, you slackers
If you're still with me, here's a more comprehensive list of the changes currently on the table. Of course, it's just a test realm, nothing's set in stone yet, but it's joy that Blizzard is even willing to give them a road test.
- Improved devouring plague now deals 10/20/30% of its total periodic effect instantly, up from 5/10/15%.
- Mind flay range has been increased to 30 yards, up from 20.
- Shadowform now also causes devouring plague, shadow word: pain and vampiric touch to benefit from haste, reducing the tick intervals and overall duration of the spells. It has also had its mana cost reduced.
- Vampiric embrace now provides a 30-minute buff that cannot be dispelled, instead of a target debuff, but only generates healing for single-target shadow damage spells.
- Glyph of mind flay now increases the damage done by Mind Flay by 10 per cent when the target is afflicted with shadow word: pain.
- Glyph of shadow word: pain now causes the spell to restore 1 per cent of the priest's base mana each tick.
- Glyph of shadow now causes non-periodic spell critical strikes to increase spell power by 30%, up from 10%, of the priest's total spirit for 10 seconds.
I really have no idea where this came from. People not in a coma may well be nursing whiplash right now at the speed of Blizzard's turnaround from a position of complete equanimity just three weeks ago ("Many shadow priests think their dps is unacceptably low but we don't agree.")
In fact, everything about this patch is a dps increase. I've no idea by how much, and wouldn't care if they turned out to be pretty minor. Because, more importantly than buffing our damage, these changes are helping to level the playing field for shadow, and in so doing, making it much easier for both players and Blizzard to evaluate shadow damage and balance it more effectively within the spectrum of dps classes. And really, that's all we ever wanted, right?
It's early days yet, but bravo to Blizzard for having the courage to test these changes so soon after dismissing them. The haste change is obviously the most significant, but personally I'm most delirious about the mind flay range. It's been a long time coming...