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Shadow Priest changes in patch 3.0.3

Patch 3.0.3 is going up on live realms today, and with it comes changes. Shadow Priests manage to get by without a massive list of changes and balancing acts, but the changes we do get are pretty good ones, I think. If you're interested in what you'll be seeing this afternoon, read on!
  • Devouring Plague: The bonus coefficient has been increased to be on par with other DoT spells. Base damage on ranks 7,8,and 9 decreased to partially compensate for better scaling.
This is very, very nice. Devouring Plague's damage was pretty pitiful for awhile there, right after they spread it to all Priests. It was sometimes even questionable whether it was actually worth using in raid situations because of the GCD and debuff slot. It needed this buff, and I'm glad to see it. The healing from it will be nice now as well, because every little bit helps with Shadow Word: Death around.
  • Shadowform: Devouring Plague, Shadow Word:Pain, and Vampiric Touch cast in Shadowform deal increased damage percentage equal to the player's chance to get a spell crit on their target. This is in addition to its previous effects.
This is absolutely huge for Shadow Priests and part of that whole scaling with Crit thing that we've needed so desperately. It's only the first in a couple of big changes Shadow Priests are going to see soon to finally put us on the level with the other DPS classes. Ideally, after Blizzard's latest round of buffs we're pretty close to where we should be, but time will tell if our scaling actually does work out as we hope. Regardless, this is an amazing, amazing change and I'm very glad to see it, even if it makes crit rating not actually mean crit anymore.

This change also made me wonder: Is Shadowform the most powerful talent in WoW in terms of how much it changes a class? I think so.
This is a nerf, and a substantial one. I won't hold any illusion that it wasn't absolutely necessary. Shadow Priests were doing disgusting amounts of healing with our new, higher DPS. It was just unreal. Nerfs never feel good, but a DPS spec really shouldn't be #2 or #3 on the healing meters in a 25-man raid on an AOE heavy encounter. Pulling it off feels awesome, but it really shouldn't be possible. I wonder if this nerf was perhaps too severe, but maybe not. It was needed one way or another. The only problem is that nerfs never feel good, even if they're needed. It breaks my heart to see my insane healing go away, but it had to happen.
  • Shadow Word: Death: The self-damage from this spell can no longer be reflected or redirected.
This is a pretty interesting bug. It doesn't have a huge impact either way, I imagine it was just an unforeseen side effect of adding Improved Spell Reflection and Divine Guardian to the game. No big deal. I didn't even realize it was there, and it's pretty hard to take advantage of it. I'd call this a fix, not a nerf or anything like that.
  • Vampiric Touch: The Spell power coefficient has been doubled and no longer triggers Replenishment when other Priests cast Mind Blast.
Like the Devouring Plague and Shadowform changes above, this is another huge step forward for Shadow Priests. Vampiric Touch actually seems to be doing more damage than Shadow Word: Pain now. It's ticking high enough that Shadow Priests are worried we're going to get Ret Paladin'd sometime soon. After all of these changes, things are really looking up for us at level 80. I'm going to remain a pessimist about being a Shadow Priest because good things never seem to last, but I must admit things seem much better than they were just a month ago.

Glyphs
  • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain now increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. (Previously reduced the mana cost of Shadow Word: Pain)
This is fantastic compared to what it was. Since Mind Flay extends the duration of Shadow Word: Pain now through Twisted Faith, you won't be casting it very often at all. The mana it saved you was negligible. Multi-casting DoTs on multiple targets used to be a big tactic for Shadow Priests, but with Mind Sear on the way it's not such a hot tactic anymore. The new version of this glyph expands upon the new synergy between Pain and Flay and I kind of like it!
  • Glyph of Shadow - While in Shadowform, your spell critical strikes increase your spell power by 10% of your Spirit for 10 seconds. (This glyph replaces Glyph of Mind Soothe)
Again, this is great. Anything that helps a Shadow Priest's scaling is fantastic. Like Vampiric Touch, this is one of those things that has us afraid of getting Retribution'd by the devs. At level 80, gear is absolutely slathered in Spirit. This Glyph has a substantial effect in PvE. Much better than that silly Mind Soothe thing. The only downside to this glyph is we have to wait awhile to get our shadowy paws on it. It requires Northrend materials to make.

That's all for us Shadowfiends in this patch, and if you're interested in the full patch notes, we have those as well. Overall, I like these changes and am happy to see them. I hope you are, too!

Wait, did I just call all of us incorporeal tentacle monsters?

Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

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