Thanks for the candid and constructive post. We read tons of feedback, and these kinds of posts, where the community is working together to provide constructive points, are exactly the kinds we like to read and discuss internally. So much so that we thought it was worth offering a reply based on some of the thoughts and discussions we've had since reading it.
First, let's talk about talents. In general, most of these concerns are ones which we can work to improve through number tweaks. As a caveat, I'd remind that it's not fair to look at talents purely from a raiding and min/maxing point of view (for example, Surge of Darkness
is about as dominant in PvP as
is in Raiding). But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to improve things in the raiding context.
- Level 45 talents are a more skewed than we'd like, but all of the talents do see some play. Surge of Darkness vs is largely a question of whether you want more mobility. Highly skilled players in top raid guilds tend to min/max their movement better, and so typically find the raw DPS of Insanity more valuable. We're hoping that Mindbender sees a bit more play, in part due to the Legendary Ring, and in cases where cooldowns are valuable. Overall, a row that could certainly be more balanced, which we plan to place greater emphasis on in the future.
- Level 60 talents are similar; Twist of Fate is dominant amongst top raiders, but isn't completely exclusive. Power Infusion and Shadowy Insight both do see some play. Power Infusion may go up a bit for the same reasons as Mindbender. Additionally, Twist of Fate requires some gaming of its proc to get the maximum theoretical value out of, leading to the row being more balanced in general for the average player. That said, Twist of Fate is likely the ideal one to be dominant, since it's a good talent for both experienced and inexperienced players.
- has ended up being somewhat ironically named, because it's actually rather unclear how it's supposed to work. In fact, when we designed it, the DoT-weaving style that has emerged was never intended. It's a good example of how players can use tools we give you in unexpected ways, and eek more performance than we expect out of something. Late in beta, it became clear that it wasn't just a crazy idea, and was actually a significant performance boost to do. We opted to just let it go at that time, and see what happened with it. Unfortunately, it ended up overly dominant, without a clear/elegant solution to change it. In 6.1, we opted to just buff the other two talents on the row up to be competitive with the unintentionally overpowered . That leaves CoP in the unfortunate situation of being the best, if you know the unintuitive trick to it, which is a poor situation for players who are new or not ‘in-the-know'. is also probably a little undertuned still; it's just quite niche right now.
Next, the Shadow class trinket (Repudiation of War
). It is, indeed, very punishing to use if there is a target swap. The intention is that it's a tradeoff to use, but that in a good situation, it's very strong, and I think the numbers reflect that (perhaps too much, based on PTR testing, but we're still evaluating that). In general, the class trinkets are more situational effects. Being on trinkets, they're more optional and swappable, than something like a set bonus is (which has few alternatives). There are exceptions on both sides of that, of course, but it's a general case. Finally, there is one improvement coming that will help; it'll reach max stacks twice as fast in the next PTR build.
Many other classes have the option to swap specs for any given fight, to switch to a spec more suited to that fight. Having only a single spec, Priest
s have no such option. Instead, we tried to position Mastery as an option that they could tailor their gear toward or away from based on the fight. I think it's fair to say that that hasn't worked out as well as we'd hoped, but hasn't been a failure. I think one of the extenuating circumstances here is that raid fights this expansion have had more multi-target focus than single-target, leading Mastery to be quite niche indeed.
In terms of AoE, Shadow is intended to fill the role of a multi-DoTter. Different classes are different, and we don't want to make them more homogenous by giving them strong burst AoE options like certain specs of Mage
s or Warlock
s. That said, Shadow should excel at the situations they're suited to, more. If the fight calls for sustained damage on 3 spread out targets, that's a case that Shadow should be favored on, and I'm not sure if they do enough right now, to make up for the more common case of clumped/burst/many-target AoE. It's something we're looking at improving in the future.
Each raid tier, every spec gets new set bonuses. Sometimes their effects are more passive, sometimes more active. We try to make things exciting and feel rewarding. With any case like this, where there are so many bonuses, and they have to try to fulfill so many goals simultaneously, there's bound to be some varying degree of success at that. And that's generally OK; it adds texture to the game when how much you interact with your set bonuses varies between tiers. Your criticisms are totally valid, and we'll take the feedback into account when designing future set bonuses, for sure.
Finally, I'd like to talk a bit more about Shadow in general; the big picture, not so much about these specific concerns. We've been retrospective lately about where Shadow has come, and how much it truly fulfills its intended fantasy, gameplay style, role, etc. Shadow Priests should be the masters of the shadows cast by the light from the Holy Priests. In terms of lore and fantasy, they should focus on the powers of the Void. However, they're still Priest
s; they know that what they're dabbling with is dangerous, and have to try to go as far as they can without going *too* far. Pain,
, Surge of Darkness
… These are the tools they use on their enemies, and even a bit on themselves. For the future, we're looking at ways that we can adjust their gameplay to feel more viscerally “Shadow Priest”. We think some things have worked well (like their DoTs), and other things have worked not so well (like
). It's too early to announce anything specific at this point, but we can tell you that there are very significant changes coming to Shadow in a future patch, that we hope will better capture the fantasy, while providing unique gameplay. We're reading all of your feedback, and taking it into account when making these changes.
Again, thanks for the constructive feedback, and we look forward to more in the future.