8 April 2010

Merlot feels whelmed

Chastity: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
Bianca: I think you can in Europe.

— 10 Things I Hate About You

Good job I went to bed instead of waiting up for the priest preview: it turns out there wasn't much to wait up for after all.

Brief shadowy summary (and the full thing for those who haven't see it yet — thanks, as always, to mmo champion):
  • New spell: mind spike, learned at level 81, which deals 'shadowfrost' damage and debuffs the target to increase the damage of the next mind spike. Short cast, spammable, and will not be locked out with other shadow spells.
  • As per the warlock preview, confirmation that all hots and dots will benefit from crit and haste innately, and that haste will not reduce the duration of the spells but increase the number of ticks. Unlike the warlock preview, though, no hint that we'll be able to stop worrying about clipping.
  • Devs are determined to give shadow word: death a place in the shadow arsenal as an execute spell (good luck to that).
  • Shadow should be better equipped for short fights and less susceptible to school lock out.
  • Shadow talents are in for a bit of an overhaul to strip out all the passive boosters.
  • The misery hit debuff will go.
  • The shadow mastery bonuses will provide spell power, crit and a chance to create 'shadow orbs' — which boost spell power and may interact through talents with other spells.
  • Lots of noise about healing, power word: barrier's back on the table, but you're all going to be ooming every five minutes.
These few statements of intent are fair enough — and the noises about burst and spell lock out should be cautiously welcomed particularly by pvp priests, I think.

I'm struggling to see at this stage how dots can scale smoothly with haste if their length doesn't vary, but no doubt this will all become clear over time. And I wish the developers had a consistent view of how dots will behave for shadow priests and warlocks — if locks can't clip their dots, surely priests shouldn't be able to either. But it could be an omission, or indeed a very sensible distinction. No need for nerd rage yet. Edit: an enlightening, if not emphatic, clarification came from Ghostcrawler later, to the effect that they'd like to prevent dot clipping in general.

Mind spike doesn't interest me. No doubt it will have its uses, but it just doesn't grab my imagination. The shadow orbs, however, could be very cool, if only visually. I hope they resemble the old troll priest racial, like our very own purple water shield.

Of course, it's just a very early preview. We don't have enough information to speculate about shadow performance or talent builds or any of the things we're itching to hear about. The fact that we are loosing the misery debuff might worry priests who rely on their utility to secure raid spots. But I say it's too early to panic.

In fact, this preview exercise leaves many questions unanswered — and raises a few more than it answers. I got pretty excited about the shaman preview, so why do I feel so underwhelmed by this?


Leigh said...

They are certainly hinting at a lot without showing their hand which to be fair is expected considering we haven't seen a Beta yet.

I really like the Mind Spike inclusion, this makes medium health add DPS viable. It gives PVP viability as well which is nice considering some PVE fights have spell lock outs as well as spell school immunities.

They raised the issue of an execute yay!!! SWD is the obvious contender based on our current arsenal of spells yet they could easily ramp it into a talent to increase say MB or something else. 3 things need to change to make it viable and usable:
1. Remove the backlash or make it minimal regardless of how hard we hit for.
2. Make it hit like a truck or be a guaranteed crit (like Lava Burst) when a mob is below 25%
3. Lower the cooldown. 12 seconds on a boss fight with the boss below 25% how many do you reckon we could cast? 3 maybe 4?

SWP getting buffed via haste!

DoTs keeping their duration time rather then having haste lower that. It's not fun reapplying VT every 9 seconds or so during heroism and this also makes add switching a nightmare because you know your DoTs will drop off the main target.

All in all a good preview and they appear to be addressing some of the core problems raised by the community.

Etti said...

Can I ask a question?What do you think about the changes regarding to mana,how will it affect the shadow dps in pve?

Merlot said...


There are two answers to your question, pick the one you prefer :)

1. It's too early to tell how much of an impact this could have on shadow's mana efficiency, we'll have to wait and see what the full talent trees look like.

2. Blizzard has said it won't affect dps because we'll have other ways of managing our mana, so we'll be fine.

I tend to think it will all be balanced near enough to fine for us in raids. But I'm not confident they intend to fix mana for levelling priests, and I think that's a real issue, if only for all the goblin and worgen priests that we'll roll. Watch this space.