Regional Flag[Feedback] Shadow Priest ChangesSource
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#1 - 2016/12/01 06:35:00 PM
1. Surrender to Madness

Since Legion launched, most of the changes we’ve seen to Shadow have revolved around the balance of Surrender to Madness (S2M). The main issue with S2M is the amount of damage happening at high stacks of Void Form (VF). This gives Shadow a significant damage lead over other classes when played in the top 10 or so percentiles. This is illustrated in the WarcraftLogs analysis I made the week after the Mythic Emerald Nightmare opened: The top percentile players are able to extend their S2M the most, allowing them to spend a significant period of the fight at 100 stacks of VF, which wasn’t the intention when designing the spell.

S2M DPS definitely needs to be addressed. However, the methods being utilized right now are not only affecting top end players but also those at the lower ends of the spectrum. The drain formula change in the 7.1 hotfix (8+0.55 per stack) and the proposed change on the 7.1.5 PTR (6+2/3 per stack) "fix" the issue of the top end damage of S2M but also make S2M more difficult to play. This means that players who were struggling before may now find it impossible to reach decent S2M uptimes and as a result the gap between top performers and the rest will widen.

A different approach, to address the exponential growth of damage between the two groups without negatively affecting gameplay, would be to limit the stacks from Mass Hysteria (MH). Consider Mythic Emerald Nightmare gearing over a 300s fight, using the 7.0 drain formula (9 + 0.5 per stack). A change to MH’s cap from 100 to 50 stacks would reduce overall S2M single target damage by around 5% while reducing the peak DPS (100 stacks of VF and PI) by around 16%. The PTR proposed drain, and leaving MH capped at 100 stacks, reduces the overall damage by around 16% but only reduces the peak DPS by around 4%. This happens because, while they won’t be able to maintain 100 stacks of VF and MH for very long, high percentile players will still be able to reach that point and, combined with PI, they'll reach a similar peak DPS.

Bottom line, increasing the drain rate has a larger negative impact on VF as a whole than it helps to curb the extraordinarily high DPS achieved at high stacks of VF.

2. Void Bolt

The changes to Void Bolt (VB), having it interact with an area rather than only one target, are long overdue but they hurt Voidform's gameplay more than help in the current state. The main issue here is that by making it possible for DoTs to fall off during VF, you're stealth nerfing VF's average duration. When they fall off, we have to replace GCDs that would be used by Void Bolt, Mind Blast, or Mind Flay with Vampiric Touch or Shadow Word: Pain, both of which are poor insanity generators.

DoTs will fall off during VF with the current design because VB is only extending all DoTs in the area by 2 seconds. In order to keep a DoT duration the same, VB would need to have a 2s cooldown, which only happens at 125% haste [( 4.5 / 2 ) - 1 ], a value virtually unreachable at low stacks of VF.

For spread targets, Council-style fights (the ever famous niche of Shadow), the situation only gets worse; now we're having to refresh many different sets of DoTs, making the whole idea of VF being a "burn" phase a fallacy because we’re spending most of time inside VF refreshing DoTs instead of using nukes.

A possible solution would be for Void Bolt to refresh the duration of DoTs on the main target while increasing the duration of DoTs on nearby targets by a flat amount. That way we would have an improved version of today's multidotting for Dungeons and stacked groups, but wouldn't be punished on single or spread targets.

3. Legacy of the Void

Right now Legacy of the Void (LotV) has no feeling around it. It’s just the talent that you pick when you don't want to S2M; it offers nothing special and gives an almost negligible benefit. As a lvl 100 talent it needs to be spiced up and should offer the player something noticeable. In addition, prior to the 7.1 drain change, LotV was more of a trap than a benefit because if you entered at 70 insanity in a non-execute or multitarget situation you would likely never reach 100 insanity, effectively reducing your VF duration.

Community Manager
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#65 - 2016/12/05 08:34:00 PM
Thanks for this. Some great feedback here.

Overall, our goal in 7.1.5 is not to nerf Shadow's damage across-the-board, just the extreme cases that can occur with Surrender to Madness. Some of the mechanical changes will likely mean you're weaker or stronger in certain situations, but our intent is not to make Shadow "worse."

To speak more directly to your points:

1) Not sure we agree that capping Mass Hysteria is the right approach. It would feel pretty artificial, and while we'll make those sorts of changes when absolutely necessary, we don't think that's the case here. Also, we don't agree that the change to Insanity drain makes Surrender to Madness more difficult for lower-end players; keep in mind that Insanity drain is actually lower for the first 18 seconds than it used to be.

2) We had several issues with the way Void Bolt fully refreshing DoTs was working out. In multi-target encounters, it required you to constantly switch between targets to refresh (which gets highly APM-intensive during Voidform), and there was a high penalty for accidentally letting DoTs drop off before you could Void Bolt. Changing it to add duration to all nearby DoTs helps resolve both of those issues.

Conversely, in single-target situations, you were able to extend your DoTs pretty much infinitely. We want to move away from that. As a DoT-based class, you should have to re-cast them from time to time.

However, we do agree that you're probably having to re-cast them more than is necessary in the current build. We've increased the duration of Shadow's DoTs for the next build, to reduce how much time you actually have to spend maintaining them.

3) We think it works well as a passive option in that row, and expect its DPS value to go up as a result of some of the other changes in 7.1.5. Depending on how much that is, we can buff it further if necessary.

4) The new Mind Spike is an experimental change that we're not entirely certain is going to work out. We put it out for testing with the knowledge that, worst case, we can pretty easily revert it to how it is in 7.1. We'd ultimately like to rework Mind Spike in some fashion, but the version currently on the PTR might not be it.

5) It's true that multidotting presents some challenges for balancing Shadow, but we don't see that inherently as an issue. We want you to be strong in certain areas (for example, Shadow excels on multiple spread-out targets, such as the majority of the Odyn encounter), which in turn means you'll be weaker in others. As long as the variance between those areas doesn't get too large, we see that as a good thing.

6) We think that hard “drop” is a good thing – it provides a stark contrast between how the spec feels inside and outside of Voidform. When dropping out of Voidform has such a noticeable impact, you get a much more direct sense of just how much you were getting out of it before. That said, we did recognize that some players might disagree, which is why we reworked Lingering Insanity into a talent.

7) This is an interesting suggestion. It should still be pretty effective as-is, but we’ll talk about this idea some more.

Community Manager
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#189 - 2016/12/06 11:05:00 PM
To clarify on the 18 seconds thing: The changes to Insanity drain are obviously an overall nerf to Surrender to Madness. That's intentional. We just disagree that it is proportionately more of a problem for lower-skilled players. If you weren't pushing Surrender past 100 stacks already anyway, the difference for you won't be as substantial. If anything, those players are likely to see an increase in duration of their non-Surrender Voidforms.

That said, there's obviously a lot changing for Shadow in 7.1.5, and once things stabilize, we intend to take another look at the rate of Insanity drain to make sure things end up where they should be.

Couple other notes for you:
  • We're planning to increase Void Bolt's DoT extension to 3 seconds, up from 2.
  • We're also increasing Shadow's damage across the board in the next build.

Community Manager
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#197 - 2016/12/06 11:25:00 PM
12/06/2016 03:09 PMPosted by Adíos
Having to recast dots in void form wouldn't be SO (still awful but meh) bad if we didn't have to die during STM lol.

The intent is that, within reason (e.g. you didn't go into Voidform with 1 second left on your DoTs, or forget to actually cast Voidbolt), you can keep your DoTs active during Voidform without having to re-cast them.

Community Manager
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#271 - 2016/12/07 11:52:00 PM
Wanted to drop a note in here based on the other post I just made:

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, this build has some fairly substantial buffs for Shadow in it. As of this moment, it looks like all that's been discovered so far (aside from the Void Bolt DoT extension going to 3 seconds) is a 10% reduction to Voidform's damage bonus. Which is probably not what you were expecting.

So, here's what's missing: a 25% flat damage increase to Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Void Bolt, Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, Shadow Word: Death, Shadow Word: Void, Shadow Crash, Void Eruption, Mind Spike, Mind Sear, Shadowy Apparitions, and Void Torrent.

End result should be a pretty substantial across-the-board damage increase in this build, with the effects being slightly more noticeable outside of Voidform.

As I mentioned in the thread I linked above, we're planning to iterate on these numbers pretty rapidly, but I wanted to make sure you guys were aware of the less-apparent changes.

Community Manager
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#273 - 2016/12/07 11:57:00 PM
Now when you say mind you mean mind sear as it currently is on live, or is the plan to still remove it in favor of newer iteration?

I'm referring to the splash damage caused by Mind Flay when cast on a target with SW: Pain active.