Holding my breath for Patch 4.0.6

The patch notes duplicated on MMO-Champion.com show a lot of improvements to the game as a whole – some class retuning, improvements to professions, and general fixing of quality-of-life issues. There are also (very sparse) Priest changes, with the changes to us as Shadowpriests being the most…rare.

Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear’s damage has been increased by roughly 15%.

The buff here is really in that we can channel it on friendly targets, such as the tank or the healer (to draw mobs off). It also means that we could use mouse-over macroes and cast it on party and raid members via our unit frames. It’s something we’ve been asking for since the spell was designed, but never got it until now. This change means that we have the only mobile (smart) AoE spell in the game which can emanate from friendly targets.

Now my only questions is – can we channel it on ourselves to make us living Death zones?

The base damage has been increased by 15%, but don’t get your hopes up. This is a buff from 100 damage to about 160 damage (with a 29% coefficient), which does add up when you have a lot of targets but still isn’t a real dangerous AoE. In comparison, Holy Nova deals about 300 damage average (30% coefficient), Rain of Fire deals 150 damage per second (33% coefficient) and Hurricane slightly over 300 damage per second(13% coefficient).

This means that Mind Sear is about comparable to Rain of Fire – so I am hoping this means that Mind Sear will be of some use in the future.

Edit: some people do read it as a 15% damage to the spell as a whole (including scaling) if this is the truth: Welcome back Mind Sear *hugs*

Shadow Orb Power now increases the damage done by your Shadow Orbs by 21.6%, up from 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 1.5%, up from 1.3%.

Yes, it’s a damage buff. And I am guess it’s still not very good.

Take a good look at the Unholy DK mastery, which was in a similar state. Their Mastery increased the damage of diseases which, while a good part of their DPS, was still inferior to strikes, Death Coil and their Ghoul. So what did they do? They reforged away from Mastery.

Blizzard changed it so that it now provides a flat bonus to Shadow Damage. This means not just their diseases, but also Scourge Strike, Death Coil and Death & Decay. A major buff that will force the theorycrafters to recalculate and re-evaluate their Mastery.

What does this do for us? It makes it from “about as good as crit” to “probably still as good as Crit”.

Currently Mind Blast is about 9% of my damage done, and I have a little bit of Mastery I couldn’t get rid of. This buff increases the contribution of Shadow Orbs to Mind Blast by enough to push it to…9.5% of damage done? Not impressed by this.

Ideally, Mastery should be a stat we all want – that’s what Ghostcrawler stated as the intended design. So what would we want to stack?

  • An increase in damage on targets with our DoTs on it is an option
  • Straight-up increased DoT damage without the clunky Shadow Orbs would be good
  • An increase in haste, perhaps?
  • Shadowy Apparitions would also make a good Mastery, in effect. It’s nothing more than a triggered, walking Mind Blast anyway

Basically, anything else than a bonus to direct damage for a DoT class. Because that’s just wrong. Warlocks get good Masteries from what I saw, why not borrow from them? Resto Druids have a good Mastery, why not transplant it, converting HoT to DoT?

Our Mastery, no matter how much it is buffed, will still be akward, strange and underwhelming. If Blizzard persists in buffing its damage because they want us to use it, you can bet it will become overpowered in PvP and we’ll be nerfed for it. It’s a bad concept, it’s flawed and needs to go.

Was that it?

So far, yes. But remember that more things can be added, and the results of testing in the PTR might be wildly different from what is reported now. So fingers crossed, log in to the PTR and give proper feedback! Show Blizzard that we care, and that we offer valid input for the improvement of our class.


11 Responses to “Holding my breath for Patch 4.0.6”

  1. Calandris Says:

    My biggest issue with mastery isnt that its not as effective as crit or haste one a boss. Its that its mostly only used on a boss. All off the sims done on shadowpriest.com are based on boss fights. i only figth bosses about 3% of the time. when im farming or donig daily quests its pretty useless. When im in a dungeon run its mostly useless unless one of teh mobs has 600K hp or more.(meaning ill use dots instead of mind spike or mind sear)

    So ya its probably equal to crit now, but only on a boss fight, so for me its still worth much much less. crit and haste affect all of my spell no matter what rotation im using.

  2. The mind sear targeting change is nice. It’s probably as close as Blizzard is going to get to acknowledging that it was pretty silly not letting it damage the targeted mob (interesting idea that didn’t translate well to reality). As a tab targeter, it’s going to give me a bit of a headache, and will probably mean some kind of mouse click to use on a friendly targets, but that’s easy enough with a clique binding or similar.

    The mastery change is disappointing, but I disagree that our mastery needs completely overhauling. All Blizzard has to do is allow our mastery to affect the dot buff from shadow orbs as well as the direct damage part. Problem solved, no?

  3. Channeling through friendlies is HUGE. There is nothing that pissed me off more than having to do the mental math of “ok, now we’re down to 3 mobs, but I’m really only hitting 2 with the sear, because the one I’m targeting doesn’t get hurt…” It makes mind sear for sure viable with smaller groups of mobs.

    • When the groups are that small the lower damage from Mind Sear probably still makes Tab-dotting better. The fact that Mind Sear has the same radius as most tank AoE also makes that we can safely AoE by targeting the tank. In PvP, we can turn our friends into living shadow bombs.

      That’s all very nice, but it also needs to be effective too. If I can do these nice tricks, but would’ve done more damage with Holy Nova, why would I not use Holy Nova when spamming AoE?

  4. “Ideally, Mastery should be a stat we all want”

    Well, technically this has always been true. Yea, it was a tiny bit weaker than crit before this change and will be a tiny bit better after it but in the end we still will want items with haste+something on them. What that something is won’t really matter much as everything provides roughly similar DPS increase.

    Though I’d like to see them work on making hit rating from worst to somewhat better stat. No clue how to do that though. Only thing I can think of is to make X hit give higher hit percentage than it does now but that would mean we need even less of it for cap and that wouldn’t really be that good. Making individual dot ticks be able to miss could be another option

    • Technically Mastery increases DPS. But technically, I should also see a quantifiable benefit from paying taxes. As you yourself say, practice and reality are not the same.

      When I get Mastery on gear, I reforge it into Haste or Spirit (or Crit if the piece had three stats). This is because these stats provide more stable DPS, less burst.
      An important thing to note is that during most trash pulls, our Mastery has too large a build-up time before it becomes powerful (3 orbs, which require DoTs to tick and so on).

      This means that the effect of Mastery is most visible on Boss fights, which skews the picture painted of our DPS. We “may seem to be a little low” according to Ghostcrawler, but I suspect that means he may be looking at Boss parses with long fight times. There our longer ramp-up time for Mastery (and damage in general) is less visible. If you look at trash, I start every pull from scratch, while others can continue on from pack to pack.

      • I agree that our DPS on 5-man trash with a slow moving group isn’t the greatest but if you do pulls faster than every minute so you can keep orbs from last group or even better, every 10-15s so evangelism and emp. shadows doesn’t drop it’s pretty good. Yea, it’s not as simple as for others but it kind of gets the job done.

        In raids our trash DPS is good enough I’d say as the fights generally last quite a long and we can usually multidot.

        To be honest the whole shadow orb business wouldn’t be nearly as bad if we had a guaranteed way to generate orbs on a relatively short (30s?) cooldown. Even better would be if dots would gain benefits from self-buffs per-tick but that would probably put a “bit” too much extra load on servers and would make it impossible to drag mastery proc effects waaaay longer than they themselves last :)

        • The situation’s not unlike Paladins who are generating Holy Power; stack to 3 to get the full effect. But unlike us, Paladins have guaranteed ways of stacking, and sometimes even maintain, a certain amount.

  5. The changes to Mind Sear are exciting! I’m looking forward to channelling that off tanks.

    It was stupid that we had to drop out of Shadowform and use a holy spell to try and do AOE damage.

    • Latest changes on the PTR (possibly in error) list Mind Sear damage to be back to the levels at Live, same as with our Mastery.

      Either this means Mastery will be getting an overhaul, and its effects would also buff Mind Sear, or this means all changes were undone and we’re back at current levels.


  6. Latest update increases the damage of Mind Blast “significantly” – The point here is to make it around 50% more powerfull than Mind Spike. This suddenly makes both Mind Blast and mastery a little more interresting within our rotations, as Mind Blast will be alot more visible on those damage-logs.

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