Shadowpriest (unofficial) Q&A

inv_offhand_stratholme_a_02Purplecadet, a Shadow Priest, has been posting some of his concerns and questions on the forums here. While initially ridiculed for “fishing for blue posts”, GhostCrawler did deign to respond to his questions. Below is a transcript of the questions and answers, after which I will be giving my thoughts on this.

Question 1: What does blizzard see as shadow priest roll in pvp or pve situations?
PVE: I dont pve much but from my understanding there are aoe monsters is this the niche you intended them to fill in pve? I once saw a blue saying that they didn’t want anyone filling that niche!
You’re a dps class that focuses on dots and “stealing energy” from opponents. I’ll write a prettier version for the official Q&A. Shadow priests can do single target damage and now in LK can do AE damage as well.

PVP: As you all may know Priest are the only class with TWO healing trees. Did you want our dps tree to also have a strong healing component through Vampric Embrace? I often hear shadow priest refered to as the Pre-BC caster tank, are there any intentions of turning shadows priest back into this role anytime soon?
Yes on the VE part. “Caster tank” as a role is a little risky. It basically means that melee have to close the gap to finally do damage to you, yet once they do… they still have trouble hurting you. I know that makes you want to say “But melee are crushing us right now!” That might be a problem, but doesn’t mean the right answer is to have non-fragile casters. You are probably tougher than mages, and still have decent escape mechanisms with Dispersion and fears.

Question 2: Was mind flay always intended to be our “filler,” damage spell instead of a nuke or was it ment to be a mainly pvp spell? If it wasn’t are you intending to give us a nuke? I ask because to my understanding shadow priest scale very poorly with haste which brings me to my next question.
We don’t really design every caster around nukes. That’s kind of a mage deal where they emphasize one main spell. We want the other casters to feel differently, to have rotations. Mind Flay is part of that.

Question 3: Does blizzard intend to make haste effect dots? As you all may know this would help with some scaling issues and I don’t see why they couldn’t do this, they already did it with crits!
It’s something we’re talking about. Haste is a problematic stat for a number of reasons. It isn’t always good for example if you don’t have enough room in your rotation to fit another spell. It isn’t good if you’re GCD capped. Now, it’s okay — in fact preferable — that stats aren’t equal for everyone. We like that not all casters would look at say a ring with haste, crit and spirit the same way.

Question 4: Does blizzard think that dispel protection is a problem for dot heavy casters? If you do what are you planning to do to fix this? If you don’t why not? I understand that vampiric touch has a penalty for being removed but I just don’t feel like it is strong enough or even compares to it’s much stronger version unstable affliction.
We think the whole dispel protection game needs to be overhauled. Buffs should be valued for their buffs, not for whether or not they can protect other buffs. We need to change this whole system to something more sane. Whether or not you have a dispel, and whether or not your target is vulnerable to it has just become way too important. You are right that the VT penalty is so low as to be silly, and that’s something we would like to boost for 3.2.

Question 5: Alot of players feel as though replenishment should belong solely to shadow priest, we understand that you would like to “bring the player not the class,” but honestly could you say that having a unique class/spec ability is such a bad thing?
Yes, it’s a bad thing. It’s good if you’re a shadow priest wanting a raid slot. It’s bad if you’re the druid or warrior who can’t come because the raid leader feels like they must bring the shadow priest in order to raid. We want the challenge to be the encounters, not the logistics of building the group.

Question 6: It takes shadow priest significantly longer to set up our damage than other classes. Would it be in your intentions to add an initial damage component to vampiric touch and make it instant cast to help alleviate some of the wait-time for damage?
I think there is something to the set-up-your-damage issue, but at the same time, dots also have a lot of benefits over direct damage spells. We would not want any spell that Shadow priests felt like they could just cast instead of doing their rotation, and if the instant-damage spell was weaker than the rotation, it would likely see only situational use (though maybe that’s a fine niche).

Questions 7:Are you planning on implementing a snare/root for shadow priest? Shadow Priest is currently the only caster that has no snare/root abilities. These types of abilities are essential when we are not able to tank damage and wear cloth.
We don’t want to give every mechanic to every class if we can help it. Just above you asked if it was a bad thing to have some unique mechanics. Saying no isn’t the same as saying everyone can have some mechanics. We intend for the Shadow CC to be things like Psychic Horror and Silence, and to a much lesser extent, Mind Control.

Question 8: Shadow priest are always triggering our global cooldown but have no way to make it shorter. Are you planning to implement maybe a talent to reduce our global cooldown?
We wouldn’t do it through a talent, but we might let haste do it. Remember, the global is there for a reason. Having too many abilities short-circuit it will ultimately have consequences.

Question 9: : As you may know shadow priest have a fair amount of mobility issues, are you planning on adding a short immunity to snares after fade is used? ( Improved Fade ofcourse.)
No. We would be more likely to nerf snares. We don’t want to have an arms race of snares, then snare immunity, then the snare that can’t be made immune, and so on.

Question 10: Are you planning to add Body and Soul to the shadow tree?

Question 11: The fear/blind DR has severely destroyed a lot of synergy shadowpriest and rogues shared, are you planning to revert this change next season?
No. The game needs more DR on crowd control, not less. Using your crowd control at the right time is awesome. Chaining different forms of CC together to keep an enemy from ever being able to move is a lot less fun.

Question 12: Dispersion a lot of people feel the abilities strength does not merit it as a 51 point talent, are there any plans to move this to a lower tier in the shadow tree? Will there be any plans to remove the silence effect it applies in the future?
We don’t want to remove the silence for the reason we’ve never wanted to remove it — we want Dispersion as an escape mechanism, not an offensive cooldown. We might lower Dispersion’s cooldown though. We want it to do it’s job, not get marginalized in the tree.

Question 13: Was the disarm on Psychic horror intended to occur after the “horror,” or during? Is there any intention of removing the travel time on Psychic Horror, If not will you add an animation?
What do you mean by animation? To the projectile or the target? The disarm was intended to occur during the horror.

Question 14: Psychic Scream is a very powerful spell for getting attackers off of you, but there are various ways to counter it. Would it be reasonable to add a penalty for removing this spell early, maybe a 2 second stun or a snare.
We do the dot / hot penalties because its a weakness of dots. We’re not crazy about going down the road of making all CC have a kiss / curse element with its removal.

Question 15: Most damage over time spells just tick with no special effect with an exception to a few. In order to help us damage better could we get more “effects” on our damage over time spells such as ticking hard initially and damage slowly wearing off.
This might be something we’d consider. I understand the concern.

Question 16: From my understanding there is a cooldown on Devouring Plague to keep us from putting it on multiple targets. Couldn’t you just make Devouring Plague only usable on 1 target at a time and remove the cooldown?
Yes. I’m not sure many players would consider that a buff though.

Question 17: Mind Control although this is a fun spell it isn’t very useful in pvp situations because it leaves your character immobile for however long and randomly breaks. Could mind control make the controlled target your pet but movable by using the same mechanic used to place a death and decay?
We might do something like that for pets in general. Mind Control however is a really powerful ability. Not only does it prevent the target from doing anything, it also lets you use their abilities against their allies. It’s going to be hard for us to remove too many downsides from the effect.

Question 18: Are you planning on giving spriest a new 51 point talent?
No. We want the 51-pointers to be very attractive, but not necessarily the most powerful talent in the tree. A great number, if not a majority, of Shadow priests have Dispersion so it’s hard to argue it isn’t attractive. I understand some players want the 51 to be a big damage spell for damage-dealing specs, but that just isn’t always what we think the tree needs. I’m not saying we are going to take the talent trees to 61 or 71 points soon, but if we did, just think of the expectation. Does the 71 pointer need to blow all of the previous talents out of the water? Do deeper talents need to become more powerful at the same time the character gets more of them? That leads to a lot of power inflation. We think talents probably account for too much of a character’s power already.

Natarumah’s thoughts

There are some interesting points made, but nothing really shocking. My pet irk is that GC claims we have a rotation, while we obviously have a priority. We have too many cooldowns and DoTs ticking to rotate them properly.

As for the Haste part; our scaling of Haste is indeed bad on our DoTs, since they will not tick faster. If there would be some talent akin to the Druid’s Gift of the Earthmother (which reduces their global cooldown on certain HoTs) it would certainly make me happy, but also devaluate Haste even further. We’d be gearing more and more like restoration Druids.

The part where we have to take some time to properly set up our damage also has an up side; because of this, we may lack initial output which limits our use on trash, the longer a fight lasts the more damage we will effectively deal. We have some serious mana regeneration, replenishment and Shadowfiend to keep us going for quite some time, so we slow start but are pretty heavy hitters overall.

I have to laugh at calling Silence, Mind Control and Fear our CCs. While they may have their value in PvP, they are limited in PvE content. Silence is a necessity on Hardmodes to be able to interrupt properly, yes, but it also requires us to dump 2 points into Improved Psychic Scream, which is not helping us. I know I’d probably get a stern talking-to if I decided to use Fear as a CC. And Mind Control…well…unless it severely makes the encounter easier (or is required, such as Instructor Razuvious) I’d avoid it. It is easy to break, and the aggro we get from it is quite impressive.

Mind Control in PvP is such a double-edged sword. You trade your damage potential for the gimped potential of the one you MC. It is extremely strong if opponents are alone, but most PvPers I know will geek your stationary, helpless ass if you try this to their friends.

Dispersion actually is quite a bit more useful than I had given it credit for before Wrath. Even though the silence means our damage stops for a short while, it has saved my bacon quite often, and it is easy to pop it when you can’t do anything anyway (such as in Ignis’ flag pot) and get some precious mana back. If they lower the cooldown, I think my mana would never run out again…

There is a suggestion to make out DoTs tick harder in the beginning and more weakly as the spell progresses, similar to how Wild Growth’s HoT mechanic works. One word:


For the love of god, no. Not only will this mean that we will be having tons of theorycrafting calculating the exact moment to refresh the DoT early for maximum damage uptime, followed by the discussion of “5 stacks of Shadoweaving then refresh Shadow Word: Pain early then Mind Flay to keep it up 2 times but no longer except when you have gain a Crit buff because then you have to refresh again…” and such drivel which will make our role a chore and about as much fun as having your tongue pulled through your intestines and used as a midnight snack at our rear end.

Also, if this was done, we’d be slapped with cooldowns on our DoTs to prevent this from happening (like Wild Growth) which means our rotation gets even more complex. If this were to happen, I’d go bonkers.


I will reserve my judgments primarily for the official Q&A session for priests, but it seems than we are actually in line with GC’s expectations of our class. We provide Replenishment as one of the few, we have good survivability and deal adequate damage. Sure, we´re no mages or warlocks, but we have our place and are appreciated.

While Purplecadet puts forth some interesting notions and valid concerns, I believe that if these suggestions would be implemented, we´d be a class that could only be played by people with chronic OCD.

4 Responses to “Shadowpriest (unofficial) Q&A”

  1. Pugnacious Priest Says:

    “Question 16: From my understanding there is a cooldown on Devouring Plague to keep us from putting it on multiple targets. Couldn’t you just make Devouring Plague only usable on 1 target at a time and remove the cooldown?
    Yes. I’m not sure many players would consider that a buff though”

    I’d consider it a small buff because it means I can cast it before it falls off, and not have to wait for the cooldown.

    Dispersion at the moment for me is a “lets pee off players in Pvp for 6 secs so they can’t kill me.” It doesn’t stop all stun and snare effects, ( like the tool tip says it does), and so Im am still stuck getting smacked around, but as a ball of Shadow helpless in my silence caused by dispersion. So I survive 6 seconds longer in PVP – and its my Oh crap lightening tentacles on me in council move.

    As as offensive cool down I like it more for its mana regen.

    I use Shackle as a DK pet CC in Bg’s


    • Well, if we could recast it on another target if the first target dies, it would be a small benefit on trash. So it would be a very small increase in DPS. However, it would probably require a clunky mechanic to implement.

      I am just very glad that they changed the T9 2-piece bonus from “increases the duration of Devouring Plague by 6 seconds” into “increases the duration of Vampiric Touch by 6 seconds” which will smoothen our casting a bit more.

      • Thinking about this “no cooldown but only on 1 target at a time” I came to a possible use for this change on Devouring Plague: Dispels.

        Priests in PvP cast DP at a target, and it is dispelled off, you now have a chance to put it back on, rather than having wasted a Cooldown. Also, because 15% of its damage is done immediately, you still had some benefit from it.

        I probably hold to the idea that spamming it in PvE would be rather silly, even for 15% of the full damage.

        Babysteps, perhaps, but still.

  2. flash-player Says:


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