So as we've seen, if the current PTR iteration of vampiric embrace makes it to live, the spell will become a 30-minute self buff, providing its health regeneration effect to our party passively. It's a nice change given the sad state of neglect the spell has fallen into in recent patches, and means it's much more likely to find some use in future raids. But it's not going to fix the spell's two biggest problems — the party-only restriction and the minimal amount of health returned.
One way to put vampiric embrace firmly back at the core of shadow priest design is to push its effect raid wide. It's not as if there aren't already raid-wide healing effects in the game. The most significant is judgement of light, a spell so effective that in some fights it can hold its own alongside the healers, but death knights and feral druids can also provide healing effects through talents.
The healing from these abilities admittedly is only accessible to some or all of the dps, but they have one significant advantage over vampiric embrace: while the utility of vampiric embrace deteriorates as the raid size increases, for these other effects, the benefits actually increase.
In a world where just about every kind of buff imaginable has been dished out and duplicated across multiple classes, healing effects stand out as messy and inconsistent. If Blizzard were to consider all of these effects as a whole, they could easily establish some rules to ensure they don't stack uncontrollably and become overpowered, while giving shadow priests a compelling reason to value the ability and possibly even reconsider the 'improving' talents.
While they're at it, they might also like to look again at healing stream totem, which suffers from similar problems. I could say a lot more about water totems, but this is supposed to be a priest blog :) It's also not a good time to start comparing classes unfavourably to paladins, given the recent assault on our holy brethren. Our prayers are with you guys.
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