Even PvP received a few good buffs, but while it's a step in the right direction, it simply isn't enough. It feels as if they're trying to approach some of the big issues carefully, when they really do need to go in there and start making pretty sweeping changes to the PvP-centric talents of the Shadow Priest. A lot needs to change to make the Shadow Priest relevant in PvP again without strapping a Warlock to their hip at all times.
Enough of that, though. Let's look into the changes, shall we?
- Shadowfiend: Health scaling increased. Now receives 30% of the master's spell power. Mana return increased to 5%, up from 4%. The Shadowfiend now receives mana when its melee attacks land, rather than when it deals damage. Movement speed normalized to player movement speed. Tooltip revised.
Well, Shadowfiend needs serious buffs in some situations, and while this will help a bit, I think it's too little. One of the big issues with Shadowfiend is that it's so easily juked in PvP. Absorption shields on the enemy won't totally hose you anymore (since the attack just needs to land, not do damage) and that's a good thing, but it's still going to be able to be kited around. It needs to move faster than players, not as fast as players. Against someone who's playing smart, the Priest simply won't get a mana return from the Fiend.
It's not going to do its job in PvP until that happens, period. It's a little better, but still not so good.
PvE, the bugger might be a lot more reliable if that HP buff is substantial. Having him die to random things makes me facepalm each and every time, there's no reason he should be able to die at all, so if they can prevent the gibs I'm perfectly happy with him. It also looks like he'll be doing more damage, so that should be neat.
- Blackout: This talent has been removed.
- Darkness: This talent is now in Tier 1, moved up from Tier 6.
- Devouring Plague has a new icon.
- Dispersion: Now clears all snare and movement impairing effects and makes you immune to them while dispersed.
- Shadowform: Bonus damage from critical strike chance removed and replaced by the ability of those periodic damage spells to generate critical strikes.
That's angels singing.
- Silence: Range increased to 30 yards.
- Vampiric Embrace duration increased to 5 minutes, up from 1 minute. PvP duration is now 60 seconds. Cooldown removed.
- New Talent: Improved Devouring Plague (Shadow): Increases the periodic damage done by your Devouring Plague by 5/10/15%, and when you cast Devouring Plague you instantly deal damage equal to 5/10/15% of its total periodic effect.
My big concern with the addition of this talent? Previously, a PvE build totally ignored Blackout, picked up Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap, and worked down the tree. Now a PvE build will be picking up the Spirit Taps, then Darkness, and then start working down the tree. That's going to be more talents spent in the tree than we were previously, and most Shadow builds barely scraped together enough points to pick up Meditation in the Discipline tree for our mana regen.
Now, will this be a problem? Potentially, but perhaps not. My Shadow Priest doesn't run out of mana at all at this point, but I have Meditation. Does Meditation make that big of a difference? Will the buffs to the Shadowfiend make up for a potential loss of Meditation's mana regen? Or will we need to gloss over some of our DPS talents to get those points into the Discipline tree?
I suspect that we'll be fine passing over Meditation. Hopefully Improved Spirit Tap, Replenishment, and the Shadowfiend buffs will keep us in the green. We'll find out sooner or later.
There are a few other changes coming for Priests in patch 3.1 that aren't aimed directly at the Shadow tree, but will help us out a bit anyway. Divine Spirit, as we've mentioned before, is becoming baseline. Every Priest will get the first rank at level 31. It won't be the fancy improved Divine Spirit for us Shadow Priests, but additional Spirit always rules and we'll be able to buff it ourselves now.
Improved Fortitude is getting a secondary effect as well, it's going to grant the Priest an additional 4% stamina with two points in the talent. Priests can always use a bit more survivability, both in PvE and PvP, so if they're going to add on some extra health to a talent I was investing in anyway, I'm really not going to complain.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.