Sneak preview: Shadows in MoP

Blizzard just released a new talent calculator, showing us quite a bit of the new design philosophy and changes to be expected for the various classes. As could be expeected, this will cause quite some hubub as there will undoubtedly be some controversial or unloved choices. Check it out for yourself here, while I try and highlight some of the big changes for ourselves, as Shadowpriests.

Almost no healing – cause we don’t heal

As I have talked about before when discussing the philosophy of class design, an easy way to distinguish the Shadowpriest is to remove some or all healing spells. And it looks like this is indeed what is happening. Greater Heal, Binding Heal and Prayer of Mending have been relegated to “spec-specific spells”  for Holy and Discipline. We will also lose Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope to Holy and Discipline respectively, meaning that we also will lose our raid utility cooldowns. Hot damn.

So – do we get something in return?

For losing all healing spells except Flash Heal, we get Silence and Psychic Horror baseline. It also looks like Holy and Discipline will still keep access to SW:Pain, SW:Death and Mind Sear. As the Mind Blast spell will require Shadow Orbs, it is now Shadow-specific and can’t be used by the healing specs.

But…it’s pre-beta right, so perhaps some changes in the talents?

Nope, unchanged since the unveiling as far as I can see, but I will go over them with a comb today.

Edit: yeah, it’s nowhere near complete, or even fully thought out.

The following spells were not listed even though they are critical: Devouring Plague, Mana Burn.
Twisted Faith wasn’t in there, nor was there any mention of the Spirit > Hit conversion. This could indicate we are supposed to grab Hit gear now, or they decided to drop the healer to DPS conversion.

While leveling, a Shadowpriest cannot heal him/herself except through Flash Heal. This becomes especially bad because Vampiric Embrace seems missing, and the last-tier talent that makes a mockery out of it isn’t cutting it, sorry. It seems more than ever that the concept of the specs is simply missing, and needs to be rethought from scratch. We used to be the DPS that drained enemies and empowered allies, I’d suggest working with that.

If the planned removal of Replenishment goes through, and Vampiric Embrace is watered down to an ability all specs can get, Shadowpriests are effectively a homeless spec. Out abilities are like those of an Affliction Warlock (Dots, Fear, Dispel Protection) but without the pet and the additional raid utility (Soulstone, Healthstone, Summons) or even the self-healing.

Conclusions

It’s still very early, and the warning that all is subject to change is printed in big letters at the bottom. That is sound judgement, because so far we Shadows only lose out on it. We lose 75% of our healing ability, all raid utility except for PW:Fortitude and Leap of Faith (which is still Holy) and the healers lose nothing except Mind Blast. Unlike some of the cooler classes (warlock and death knight, I am looking at you) there are also no new spells listed.

I can only say that this is the perfect time to brainstorm about what would be needed to fill the gap in our spells and talents, and see if the beta allows us to be part of the cool crew.

Edit: This post is one of those evil quic-update things where you see new things every five minutes. The next post, I am going over the the abilities we have currently (as planned for MoP so far) and see where things could be designed to fill existing gaps.

2 Responses to “Sneak preview: Shadows in MoP”

  1. I understand how removing Shadow’s healing distinguishes us from healing priests, but, to me, it further blurs the lines between Shadow and warlocks, and removes what’s left of our spec’s identity.

    Moreover, while other classes (like warlocks!) have been given several new, interesting spells, the best choices for almost all of our talents are the spells we already have.

    I’m thankful that there are many changes to come, because I’m very unsatisfied with what we see right now.

    • It is obvious the Warlock design team is on the ball – each spec now has a unique resource and spec-specific filler spells. In addition, there are unique gameplay options in the Demonic Teleport, Demonic Portal, Hand of Gul’dan and Mannoroth’s Fury.

      Whether it’s corrupting an area, group mobility, or splash damage, your fel friends have you covered. It’s not that I would deny them their toys – I think they are brilliant. I would like the same sort of fresh experimentation to be applied to Shadowpriest design.

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