More talent previews

MMO-champion has released a new look at the talents here, and although all of this is still subject to change, it is both interesting and worrying. A lot is subject to change, and I do hope a bit a lot will actually change, because the direction the talents are taking still has a few glaring holes.

Spirit Tap (Redesign)

Spirit Tap will, triggered on a kill, provide 30% increased Mana Regen and will instantly regenerate 15% of our mana. Lovely at low levels or in PvP, and it’s certainly more fitting now that Spirit will not be our stick anymore, but in raids this is likely to do not much for us. I kill 1 in 5 adds or so at most, so this is a very unreliable (RNG) source of mana. But hey, we need to stick our points in something.

Dark Thoughts (New talent, replaces Improved Spirit Tap)

This talent reduces the pushback suffered from damage while casting Shadow spells by 35%/70%. This effect used to be in Improved Shadow Form (who now has our “crit aura” effect instead). A bit of a strange move to place this here, since while leveling as a Shadowpriest, you actually don’t use Mind Blast or Vampiric Touch much. And while we use Mind Flay, you should be shielded and thus not lose any casting time by damage as long as the shield holds. This will likely be one of those talents we leave until we are about level 50, as we then have Vampiric Touch.

Improved Shadowform (Redesign)

In addition to its normal effect of removing snares by using Fade, it now increases the Spell Critical chance of party and raid targets within 100 yards by 3/5%. This is interesting, but we were promised a Haste aura, which is actually useful. We get Crit talents, a Crit Mastery and now a Crit aura – more Crit than any Shadowpriest needs really.


Looking at the current setup of the talent trees, we see a lot of Crit, removal of Improved Spirit Tap and the like. This seems to me like a really weird design setup, since we love Haste much more than Crit. Critical strikes used to give us the Improved Spirit Tap, which it no longer does, so the value of Crit has lowered even further (it is not only damage, nothing more). And with the Crit value going down, we get even more bonuses to Crit. Why? It’s like giving nothing but Parry bonuses to a Protection Paladin. Sure it’s useful, but not needed and not really in the spirit of the class.

Also, my concern is with the amount of talents we have. Looking at level 85, I filled in the talent tree a bit, as you can see here. With our dependency on Discipline severely reduced, we now need to put in at most 11 points (granted, the new Martyrdom reducing Interrupt effects s pretty badass, so I put it in). Which means we can take every friggin’ talent in the Shadow Tree except useless threat mitigation. And if Threat becomes an issue, I will just put points from Fear and Silence into it, and done. We need more stuff to put points in – cookie cutter will now be 11/0/65.

And finally, mana regeneration will be a major issue for us by the looks of it. Replenishment is still in there, but that’s probably going to change. If we actually kill stuff we get a lot of mana from the new Spirit Tap, but in raids that’s not very likely. We don’t get mana regen from Meditation anymore, nor is it in our masteries. Our old standby Shadowfiend and the judicious use of Dispersion should now cover it, I guess, but until we get our mana pools up after just hitting 85 I think we will be struggling hard for a while.

My initial Feedback

As Ghostcrawler asked for feedback in the forums, I see that as the liberty to voice my opinion regarding the current talents.

  • Because two of our trees are healing trees, and only one (Discipline) has any use for us, we simply have no need to spend more than 11 points out of Shadow from a raid perspective. In PvP, I can see a Disc/Shadow Hybrid going much deeper into the other tree. Otherwise, the Shadow Tree is simply too empty, and you simply get to pick (almost) everything, including talents that are for PvP, without having to make any real choices.
  • The Shadowy Apparitions are a very interesting talent, and has the proper feel for a Shadowpriest. However, depending on how slow they will actually be, it is possible this talent will be skipped simply because it never reaches the target in time (we are ranged, after all) or the boss is moved too far away, or (in PvP) someone sidesteps them.
  • Mana management will be an issue if replenishment is altered. It is currently a large portion of our personal mana regains, as well as part of our Raid Utility (the other, Misery, having been removed). Unless spells at level 85 will be considerably cheaper for us, or we get more options to get a reduction in the mana cost, we are going to go out of mana hard until we have enough raid gear to support us.
  • Our aura (from Improved Shadowform) was rumored to be 5% Haste. We rejoiced. Now it is Crit instead, which does not make us very happy. We gain damage from Crit, but not as much as from Haste. In fact, when coupled with our Crit bonus Mastery, we will have gained so much crit we likely will always pick Haste gear over Crit gear. Unless of course the intention is for us to stack Intellect now. A Crit aura will give us back some raid utility, but I can’t get over the feeling raid leaders would much prefer it when it was tacked on a person with Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp. ‘Nuff said.
  • I agree that the Shadow Tree is looking solid, but it’s “100% complete” only with regards to the Alpha. It needs to be fleshed out and thought over again for the Beta. Remember the maxims “Haste>Crit”, “We need Replenishment too” and “Don’t make us pale warlock copies”.

I am anxious to see what the next iteration of the talents will be, and how our Glyphs will be altered to fit in with the new scheme.

7 Responses to “More talent previews”

  1. Note: The WoWHead calculator shows different stats.

    Here, the Improved Shadowform aura gives Haste (gods, let it be true!) but Improved Spirit Tap is wonky. I’d say take the Spirit Tap talent as released by MMO-Champion, and the Improved Shadowform from WoWHead. Then we’re golden.

  2. I’m trying to avoid reading the Cataclysm information but I couldn’t skip past this in my feed reader.

    I think all the Critical Strike bonuses are perhaps to bring us up in line with other DPS casters. Mages and Moonkin started in Tier 7 gear rocking 30% Critical Strike and Shadow Priests are only now reaching that mark. I’m not saying their way is better (I don’t think being “crit capped” is a good thing) but I think Blizzard are trying to make us more even.

    It’s a really shame that they haven’t given us more “fun” talent choices. Isn’t that the point? That we decide between two utility type talents or effects and not just choose the +5% spell damage or +5% critical strike?

    The Shadow tree was pointed at as one of the trees that didn’t work in Wrath (compared to say the Paladin talents which were overhauled) simply because there was no decision making involved. Nothing to customise. You picked the PVE talents and you didn’t notice much difference in your playstyle at all.


    “Shadow priests should not be able to pick up every point in Shadow without giving up anything else attractive. That’s not how we want talent trees to work. It just looks like that for the time being so that we can get the priest playable. “- Ghostcrawler

  4. Weatherlight - Runetotem EU Says:

    Just a quick note, Mind Spike will be the spammy spell for shadow. Maybe Dark thoughts has that in mind for a leveling in shadow spec?

    For the rest of your post I agree almost word by word. It’s a dull tree. No choice what so ever.

    “I am Disapoint!” (and hopefully all will change soon…)

    • I am not sure Mind Spike is actually a low-level spell. Since it is more damage than a Mind Flay with an application of SW:P on the target, it stands to reason we should get it after we get Mind Flay, or we’d never use Mind Flay again. I envision it to be at least a level 60 spell, so you’d have 25 more levels to go with it to learn the ropes.

      • Weatherlight - Runetotem EU Says:

        Shame on me for not checking the facts before I start writing… You’re absolutely right, actually you’re too generous even: “Mind Spike (level 81)”. So no, Dark Thoughts is not intended for it.

        Just one more thing to add to my dislike over the *preview* tree. To be honest, except for the haste change on the way DoTs work (and that’s an overall change not just SP), there wasn’t a single thing so far that got me actually excited about what’s to come for our class.

        • It’s not all that bad, because Blizzard specifically asked for feedback on the trees, and they immediately reacted that the trees were not meant to be this easy to fill, there had to be room to play with them.

          So I imagine we will have a lot to look forward to in the previews from the beta.

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