Two patches? In three days? Blizzard is really pushing themselves! Here’s a breakdown of the changes that will have an effect on Shadow Priests from this latest build:
- Two talents have been changed. Divine Insight now refreshes the duration of Shadow Word: Pain on ticks of Mind Flay, exactly how the current Cataclysm talent Pain and Suffering works, except with a 100% proc rate. This should appease those players who were not a fan of having to recast Shadow Word: Pain every 18 seconds and should also free up (roughly) 3 GCDs per minute of fighting, or, 18 GCDs over a 6 minute boss fight.
The second change involves From Darkness, Comes Light, which now has the same basic utility that the old Divine Insight had in causing Shadow Word: Death to behave as if the target was below 20% health. This effect now procs off of Shadow Word: Pain ticks at a 15% proc rate rather than Mind Blast at a 40% proc rate. Considering that you will have 3 ticks of Shadow Word Pain every 9 seconds and Mind Blast is on an 8 sec CD + 1.5sec cast time (not factoring in any procs from Mind Surge (NNF), via a Vampiric Touch tick, resetting the cooldown of Mind Blast early), the probability of getting at least 1 From Darkness, Comes Light proc is 38.39%, roughly the same as before with Mind Blast. If you have Shadow Word Pain cast on two targets, this proc chance jumps to a whopping 62.29%, and with 3 targets it rises to 76.84%. This seems like a fair trade to me.
- Speaking of Mind Surge (NNF), its proc rate has been reduced to 10%. This is purely a balancing and flow change as the frequency of procs was causing our rotation/casting priority to become too much like whack-a-gnome.
- Our Shadowy Apparitions still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up! They’ve now been capped at 3 and have a 20% chance to spawn per Shadow Word: Pain tick. Oh yeah, they also spawn 1 Shadow Orb when they reach their target —
no big dealvery big deal. It is easy to see why the cap has been reduced to 3 Shadowy Apparitions at any time. If they didn’t, in any multi-DoT situation we would only need to worry about 4 things: 1) keep Shadow Word: Pain up on all targets, 2) cast Mind Blast on CD, 3) cast Devouring Plague whenever we got an orb, 4) win.
With that being said, in multi-target fights we’ll be able to use Devouring Plague almost in a rotation fashion because of how frequently Shadowy Apparitions will spawn, even if we can only have 3 up at a time. Shadow Priest positioning during fights might actually impact DPS now since we have a true resource dump with no cooldown. In the same vein, the former Glyph of Vampiric Touch has been repurposed in to , as expected. More self-healing is always a good thing.
- Our self-mana battery capabilities have been cut down by 33% with Vampiric Touch’s mana return per tick being dropped to 2% from 3%. This means it will cost 3% to cast and refund 12% over the course of the DoT (assuming no extra ticks from haste, clipping, or dispels). 3% was a little too high for a baseline and should make Mindbender a more attractive talent choice in some fight scenarios.
- Shadow healing is still being tweaked with changes to Desperate Prayer becoming castable in Shadowform and Glyph of Dark Binding no longer affecting Binding Heal or Flash Heal, and now affecting Prayer of Mending and Leap of Faith (with Renew still in tow). This change seems two fold:
First, this changes the purpose of the glyph from an active healer role to more of a ‘fire and forget’ role, especially with Prayer of Mending when raid damage is coming in — use 1 GCD to cast it on yourself and keep on rolling with the face melting.
Second, this corrects a big gripe that Shadow Priests have had about Leap of Faith since it was introduced in the Cataclysm beta (and lends further proof to Blizzard changing their design ideology in relation to Shadowform across the board): using utility abilities that should only take 1 GCD to cast, but instead costs 1 GCD to cast + 1 GCD to return to Shadowform…sucks.
I would also like to take this chance to point out a post that Althor, of SimulationCraft fame, recently made a post on a thread over at HowToPriest.com noting that he has updated SimulationCraft’s Mists of Pandaria codebase to reflect the changes in patch 15657 (the patch earlier this week). He has noticed some peculiar behavior, specifically tell-tale signs that the damage scaling values and proc rates on some abilities are placeholders to test functionality and have not been balanced yet, and, that a lot of spells are not behaving as many believe they should (proc’d damage on Mind Flay from our new mastery not reducing the cooldown of Shadowfiend for example, proc’d damage on Vampiric Touch not removing the cooldown on Mind Blast as another). It is unknown if this is intentional or an oversight at this point! More to come soon.