Blizzard has announced a massive round of Shadow Priest changes in a blue post today. Huge changes to Voidform and how it works were announced, and many talents and spells were altered to reflect that.
The changes are being met with mixed reception on the forums, where players are divided about what Shadow Priest should be. As forum user Vampyral put it “it’s unfortunate that those who love what Shadow has become has to lose what they love about the spec while those of us who loved what shadow was finally got what we feel we lost back.”
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We’ve heard your feedback on Shadow Priests and spent some time performing more extensive changes to the spec – including changes to baseline skills and talents. Most importantly, we’ve taken a deeper look at Voidform.
Along with Insanity, Voidform was introduced in Legion as a central component of a Shadow Priest redesign that explored the fantasy of tapping into dark, mind-twisting void magic for temporary power. From a gameplay standpoint, this was expressed as building up Insanity, entering Voidform, then battling against decaying Insanity to prolong your time in this powerful state. This design has not been a clear winner for several players as we often receive feedback that people do not enjoy fighting the resource decay in order to inflict reasonable damage. On the other hand, we also hear from people who enjoy Voidform but feel it is not transformative enough. Over time, the design has proved problematic and Voidform uptime has dominated the spec, going far beyond our original intention. Now, any talents, items, legendaries, etc. that do not feed into Voidform are considered undesirable. We want time in Voidform to feel more impactful and as a result, we are limiting the time you can undergo the transformation by applying a cooldown. By default, the ability will no longer have the decaying resource mechanic, but that gameplay will be more appropriately placed in the redesigned talent, Legacy of the Void, so that players can have the option to choose the “legacy” feel of Voidform.
Feedback suggested the duration of Devouring Plague was too long. While we reduced the duration from its historic 21 second duration to 12 seconds, we agree this still feels too long so we’re reducing it further to 6 seconds. We’ve also fixed bugs that prevented Devouring Plague from scaling with Haste or Critical Strike and we’ve also increased its damage.
We’re introducing a new passive called Dark Thoughts that adds a baseline proc in the rotation which we feel spices up the general rotation. We want damage over time effects to matter to Shadow Priests, so we’ve made it so Dark Thoughts and other mechanics interact with that core theme.
We’ve gone through a number of talents and made adjustments in an effort to make choices a bit more competitive in a variety of situations. Unfurling Darkness and Psychic Link support Shadow Priests multi-dotting strength, while Damnation and Surrender to Madness provide tools for Shadow Priests to quickly burst targets down when the encounter demands it.
Lastly, we want to spotlight the new talent, Searing Nightmare. Searing Nightmare can assist Shadow Priests in situations like Mythic+ where higher sustained AOE could be useful.
Thanks everyone for your feedback and your unending passion.
- Void Eruption’s cast time is reduced by 40%.
- Mind Blast (Rank 2) reduces cooldown of Mind Blast by 7.5 seconds (was 7 seconds).
- Shadow Word: Death no longer generates Insanity.
- Shadowy Apparitions re-designed – When you use Mind Blast, Devouring Plague or Void Bolt you also create a shadowy version of yourself that floats towards all targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch dealing Shadow damage. Critical Strikes will cause two Shadowy Apparitions to be created.
- Now has a 90 second cooldown and now increases damage by 20% and lasts for 15 seconds.
- Voidform no longer reduces the cooldown of Mind Blast, but now refreshes the cooldown of Mind Blast and you gain 2 charges while in Voidform.
- You no longer gain Haste every 0.5 seconds while in Voidform.
- Devouring Plague
- Devouring Plague’s duration reduced to 6 seconds and damage increased by 50%.
- Developers’ note: Lowering the duration of the damage over time effect to make it punchier so that sequential Devouring Plague’s don’t overlap (accounting for potential overflow).
- Devouring Plague will now properly critically strike.
- Devouring Plague is now a level 20 spell.
- New Spell
- Dark Thoughts (Passive) (Level 16) – For each of your damage over time effects on the target, your Mind Flay and Mind Sear have a 2% chance to instantly add a charge of Mind Blast, causing it to be instantly cast, and allowing it to be cast while channeling Mind Flay or Mind Sear within 6 seconds.
- Dark Thoughts can stack up to 5 times for situations where the Shadow Priest will proc many in a short time.
- Tier 15
- Shadowy Insight has been removed.
- Shadow Word: Void has been removed.
- Death and Madness is now available on this tier.
- New Talent: Unfurling Darkness – After casting Vampiric Touch on a target, your next Vampiric Touch is instant cast and deals 155% SP Shadow damage instantly. This effect cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds.
- Tier 40
- New Talent: Psychic Link – Mind Blast deals 60% of its damage to all targets afflicted by your Vampiric Touch within 40 yards.
- Tier 45
- Lingering Insanity has been removed.
- Dark Void has been removed.
- New Talent: Searing Nightmare – Instantly deals Shadow damage to all enemies around the target and afflicts them with Shadow Word: Pain. If the enemy is already afflicted by your Shadow Word: Pain, Searing Nightmare deals double damage. Only usable while channeling Mind Sear.
- New Talent: Damnation – Instantly afflicts the target with Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague free of cost. 45 seconds cooldown.
- Void Torrent – No longer pauses your Insanity while used, but now refreshes the duration of your Shadow damage over time effects on the target while its channeling.
- Tier 50
- Dark Ascension has been removed.
- Legacy of the Void re-designed – Voidform no longer has a duration. However, during Voidform your Insanity will drain increasingly fast until it reaches 0 and Voidform ends. Voidform increases spell damage by an additional 5%.
- Surrender to Madness – Reduced to a 90 second cooldown.
- New Talent: Ancient Madness – Entering Voidform increases your critical strike chance by 30% for 15 seconds, reducing its effect by 2% per second.
- New Talent: Lasting Plague – Increases the duration of Devouring Plague by 6 seconds.