Analysis of Talent Choices, DPS, and Stat Weights (5.2 PTR Build 16650) – T15 Heroic Edition

Important: there has been an important bugfix in SimulationCraft relating to the maximum number of Shadowy Apparitions allowed out at any given time. Sims are being rerun and this post will be updated when more correct data is available on Sunday 3/3.

Update 3/4: Blizzard has made more changes on the eve of 5.2’s release, specifically increasing Shadow Word: Pain’s damage by 25% and increasing the RPPM of the Legendary Meta Gem from 0.56 to 0.933. Because of this, these results are not valid and should be viewed in a historical manner only. A new post will be made once these changes are in game and it appears no more hotfixes will be made. I apologize for any confusion or for getting anyone’s hopes up. — Twintop

Usual disclaimer: the following information is as of the Mist of Pandaria 5.2 PTR build 16650, released on February 27, 2013, and may not be accurate once future patches are released.

With the 5.2 PTR winding down, it is once again time to take a look at how each of our nine combinations between our Level 45 (From Darkness, Comes Light; Mindbender; Solace and Insanity) and Level 75 (Twist of Fate; Power Infusion; Divine Insight) talents. There have been a few changes to our talents when comparing them to 5.1 including a minor nerf to From Darkness, Comes Light by way of Glyph of Mind Spike no longer triggering off of instant-cast Mind Spikes. The most notable increases are Power Infusion now not only stacks with Bloodlust but it also grants +5% damage for the duration, and, a complete redesign of Shadow Word: Insanity in to Mind Flay (Insanity) via Solace and Insanity. On top of these talent-specific changes, our Shadowform has also received a 4.16% damage increase by going from 20% to 25% damage done. With all of these changes, which talents are superior in given situations will surely be mixed up.

The following simulations assume a few things that are different from the 5.0 set of data presented:

  1. The race is neutral – Night Elf. This is to avoid any skewing of data because of extra Haste interactions from the Troll or Goblin racials.
  2. The professions are neutral – Blacksmithing/Enchanting. Just like with the neutral race, this is to avoid any on-use/proc bonuses from skewing the value of other stats.
  3. Assume optimal raid. This is to cover all buffs/debuffs/etc. to give a better idea of how the specs will behave in a true raid environment.
  4. No Shadow Orbs at start. It is unrealistic to begin a bossfight with 3 orbs.
  5. This profile uses the new Legendary Meta Gem, Sinister Primal Diamond, instead of the regular Meta Gem, Burning Primal Diamond.

With that being said, lets have a look at 1-target encounters first:

DPS Relative to Encounter Type and Talents

  Highest Lowest ? ?%
Heavy Movement 139,945
27,200 19.44%
HelterSkelter 146,254
10,398 7.11%
Light Movement 169,420
11,971 7.07%
Patchwerk 173,933
13,689 7.87%
Ultraxion 166,658
11,252 6.75%

One trend that sticks out immediately is that the combination of Mind Flay (Insanity) and Power Infusion is a very powerful combination in all encounters that aren’t non-stop movement. Another surprising (or not so surprising) change is that Twist of Fate has lost it’s edge as the go-to Level 75 talent choice. This is largely because Power Infusion‘s +5% damage done is applied to ~19%+ of the fight duration, whereas Twist of Fate‘s +15% damage done has an uptime around ~17%; this is only part of the story, though, since Twist of Fate grants only increased damage while Power Infusion also provides a 20% Haste buff, meaning when used in conjunction with the refreshing of DoTs and casting Mind Flay (Insanity) you are able to pump out more damage overall.

For the hectic/high movement encounter types, Divine Insight still reigns supreme with Mindbender of From Darkness, Comes Light round out the talent choices.

What does this mean for our stat weights in a 1-target situation though?

Pseudo Point Value of Shadow StatsPseudo Point Value of Shadow Stats Table

Looking at the ‘Best Two Per Fight’ line–the average PP values of the top two DPS talent combinations for each of the five fight types–we can see that the value of Hit/Spirit is much higher than it was for 5.0/5.1. This can be directly attributed to having our damage bonus from Shadowform being raised from 20% to 25%, meaning that missed damage opportunities are much costlier now than they were before. This increased importance on hit and being hit-capped can also be indirectly attributed towards Mind Flay (Insanity) being such a valuable talent with a limited casting timeframe, meaning that if you cast Devouring Plague and waste a GCD (or potentially multiple GCDs) trying to cast Mind Flay (Insanity) but end up missing, you’re leaving a lot of DPS on the table that cannot be regained through quick reaction times. For the other secondary stats, they are tightly bunched up with Haste barely squeaking out ahead. I would like to take this time to note, however, that this profile has over 15,000 Haste rating from gear. Even at this extreme point it is still the top secondary stat, displaying that Haste stacking is a viable if not the optimal gearing strategy for Shadow Priests, assuming you have the Legendary Meta Gem.

Now lets move on to the 2-target results:

DPS Relative to Encounter Type and Talents - 2 Targets

  Highest Lowest ? ?%
Heavy Movement – 2 DoT 184,308
11,501 6.24%
HelterSkelter – 2 DoT 180,250
4,167 2.31%
Light Movement – 2 DoT 199,054
4,785 2.40%
Patchwerk – 2 DoT 204,021
6,112 3.00%
Ultraxion – 2 DoT 196,678
4,049 2.06%

The difference in damage done with two targets from the highest and lowest DPS talent choices is much, much closer than it is with just one target — 2.06% – 3.00% delta (4,049 – 6,112 damage) vs. 6.75% – 7.87% delta (10,398 – 13,689 damage) for non-Heavy Movement sim types. Tying back to the points made above on the 1-target results, this shows how much more potent our DoTs are since the Shadowform and Power Infusion buffs have occurred.

Mind Flay (Insanity) and Power Infusion still have the strongest showing across the board, sans Heavy Movement encounters where having procs to burn while on the move (via From Darkness, Comes Light and Divine Insight) still trump other abilities.

What does this homogenization of damage mean for stat weights, though?

Pseudo Point Value of Shadow StatsPseudo Point Value of Shadow Stats Table - 2 DoT

There aren’t a whole lot of differences here between 1-target and 2-target for stat weights. Hit/Spirit is very important, Mastery barely sqweaks past Haste in value with Crit coming in a relatively close third. Since most of our damage in multitarget situations comes from our DoTs ticking, it makes sense to see Mastery neck and neck with Haste for the top secondary stat spot.

Now lets put these two sets of data together to create a set of composite stat weights that encompass both single target and two target encounters:

Pseudo Point Value of Shadow StatsPseudo Point Value of Shadow Stats Table - Combined 1 and 2 DoT

Not surprisingly, the composite still shows Hit/Spirit being the most important secondary stat, followed by Haste, Mastery, and Crit.

Let me make this painfully obvious and excruciatingly clear: there is absolutely no excuse to NOT be hitcapped. Our spells do more damage per cast in 5.2 than they did in 5.1 by a wide margin. Between the increased importance of being hitcapped and having more secondary stats to play with thanks to entering a new tier with an extra 15-35 ilvls on gear, there should not be a compelling reason to avoid getting 5100 Hit/Spirit.

With all of this being said, here is my recommendation for gearing priority for 5.2 once you have the Legendary Meta Gem:

Int > Spell Power > Hit (to 15%) > Haste > Mastery > Crit

It may behoove you to strive for one of the Haste breakpoints that matches your race and talents, but with Haste being the most valuable secondary stat if you stack it you should be fine.

This also means that my recommendations for what gems to socket also change slightly from the past:

Red Sockets = Reckless Vermilion Onyx
Blue Sockets = Energized Wild Jade
Yellow Sockets = Quick Sun’s Radiance

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking over these same 90 simulations but from a Tier15 Normal point of view (~522ilvl) without the Legendary Meta Gem equipped.

Notes and Resources

Raw SimulationCraft Data
Heavy Movement – 1 Target
Heavy Movement – 2 Target
HelterSkelter – 1 Target
HelterSkelter – 2 Target
Light Movement – 1 Target
Light Movement – 2 Target
Patchwerk – 1 Target
Patchwerk – 2 Target
Ultraxion – 1 Target
Ultraxion – 2 Target

Each of these SimulationCraft sims were run with 25,000 iterations.

These sims were for fights that are single-target. Multi target fights may (will) have different results.

These sims are as of Mists of Pandaria 5.2 PTR build 16650, released on February 27, 2013. Once a new build comes out, these values will no longer be 100% valid!

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