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Class Feedback, Part II: Shadow Priest September 19, 2011

Posted by Stormy in Classes, General Whinging.

Today, Part II: My “Main”, the Shadow Priest

What type of content do you focus on? PvE. I do not PvP. Ever. Period.

If PvE, what type of PvE? Mostly soloing as I am currently working on Loremaster. Occasional heroics.

If PvP, what type of PvP? I do not PvP. Ever. Period.

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? Shadow priest quality of life is, in general, pretty good. One of the (few) benefits of replaying older content is that I get to compare the playing experience of various classes, and I always find myself particularly appreciating the large and fairly useful toolbox shadow priests have to play with versus other classes. I have read a number of responses on the forums asking for Shadowform to go away, and I think perhaps it would be worth considering a minor glyph that deactivates Shadowform so that raiders can let everyone see their precious, precious purplez.

What makes playing your class more fun? Five words: Mind flay laser death turret. It’s what drew me to the shadow priest to begin with (well, that and Shadowform itself). Running around dropping SW:P and Devouring Plague on a series of mobs and cackling maniacally while they all wither at my feet. Swimming somewhere to complete an underwater quest (which I hate, BTW…the swimming mechanic is the pits), then swimming to the surface, popping Levitate, mounting up and flying away–my absolute favorite priest trick ever. Periodically popping a set of wings that give you mana, make you stronger, and give you FRICKIN’ WINGS. Watching the Mind Flay and Mind Blast spell animations assault your target’s mind with shadow energy and imagining the terrible pain they’re in as you’re quite literally melting their brain with shadow magic. Losing a tank in a random and quickly bubbling yourself, fading, ramping up your DPS and finishing off that boss while he’s feverishly attempting to eat your nose.

What makes playing your class less fun? Trash pulls are…not fun. SW:P doesn’t tick fast enough to make it really all that worthwhile to cast on a trash mob–they’re generally dead one or two ticks in. Mind Sear is great, but not mana-efficient for less than a half-dozen mobs or so. Truly excelling at shadowpriestery requires monitoring shadow orbs, trinket procs, shadowfiend and Archangel cooldowns, Empowered Shadow and seventeen other procs, cooldowns and buffs, which gets a bit overwhelming.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? I love the spriest rotation in a general sense. It’s what keeps me playing a priest. When I switch from the instant-cast face-melting destruction of a shadow priest to the clunky, interminably-long Starfire casts of a balance druid it feels like someone’s tied a rock around my waist. I love that it’s enough of an actual rotation that I can DPS fairly mindlessly while a larger part of my brain is engaged in boss mechanics, being on my toes with utility spells/interrupts/etc. and Not Standing In Bad. I appreciate that the priest class is largely rotation-based rather than reaction-to-cooldown-or-proc based like some classes (*ahem* hunters), and that’s what keeps me around. I am rather annoyed that the focus of our damage has been steered away from DoTs and back to direct damage spells, and I’d like to see our DoTs re-buffed and direct damage spells nerfed to even our DPS back out.

What’s on your wish list for your class? More effective crowd control. We can’t all be mages and rogues, but I always feel a little guilty when I zone into a random and I’m The Guy Who Can’t CC Anything. Also, I’d like to see some tier armor that’s a little more…priestly. There’s something subversive about putting on a priestly-looking vestment (something on the order of Tier 5), dropping into Shadowform and killing ALL THE THINGS.

What spells do you use the least? Mind Spike…what on Earth are you for, little spell? Your damage is not super-awesome relative to your friends Mind Blast and Mind Flay, you cannot be used as part of a rotation because you wipe DoTs, and you cost a shit-ton of mana. Why do you exist, little friend? Why?



1. Rush - September 19, 2011

My number one complaint about the current state of the Shadow Priest right now: Mana. Managing my mana consumption and strategically using my mana-regeneration abilities while doing daily quests is annoying.

Stormy - September 19, 2011

I respectfully disagree. While there’s certainly a limit to the number of times I can cast SW:P and run, if I use my cooldowns in the way they were indended (i.e. I don’t get lazy and whiny because I can’t keep running indefinitely) I find myself literally drowning in buckets of mana. While I can’t exactly chain-cast Mind Sear to my heart’s content, in a PvE setting such as a heroic it’s damned difficult to run a spriest out of mana.

Rush - September 19, 2011

I think this is a case of “good ol’ days” syndrome. I remember that all the way through Wrath unless I was spamming Mind Sear, I could and often would end boss fights (even in raids) at close to full mana. Dispersion was as often used as an “oh-shit-I’m-about-to-die” button as a mana-regen cooldown, and Shadowfiend was a part of the rotation because he provided a modest dps boost (when he didn’t get one-shotted the second after he appeared). And this was a problem, because while running out of mana isn’t fun, having endless mana kind of defeats the purpose of the resource. But now that that blue bar on my screen actually means something, I’ll admit to being feeling a little nostalgic.
I’ll give you that in a dungeon enviornment it’s different, and I like the mechanic of it in dungeons (Dark Evangelism/Archangel is one of the neatest things they added to my toolbox) but when doing daily quests in the Molten Front I felt that I was constantly at a loss for mana unless I was remembering to be throwing SW:D every time it’s off cooldown. Mana should be something I’m concerned about in dungeons, and I just wish that it wasn’t as much when I’m doing my dailies. Other classes don’t have the issue, why should I?
As for Mind Spike, while I agree that it’s a mana-hog and pointless to cast in dungeons, It’s great for killing things that my DoTs are just too slow to take care of.

Stormy - September 19, 2011

I think more than a trip back to the Good Olde Days, it’s just a simple matter of two intelligent people–or in my case, a slackjawed mouthbreather–playing the same class two completely different ways. While I understand that it’s not generally the “accepted” way to play the class, I hit SW:D every time it’s off cooldown no matter what. The damage it causes to me is a non-issue, and 9,000 free mana is nothing to sneeze at. I know from talking to you that you don’t generally do that…which is okay.

In that vein, I’ve looked at both of our specs and see some differences between them, and yet I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that we’re both playing our classes correctly. I have Silence in my spec and have no idea what I’d ever do without it. You don’t. I hit SW:D like it’s going out of style. You don’t. You have mana issues. I have scuba gear to swim through my endless mana pool. We’re still both uncommonly good-looking and extra fabulous.

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