1. #1

    Shadow Redesign for Fun (a bit long but worth it)

    Okay nobody got through my first try, but that's my fault, too much wall of text/ranting. Forgot that other people have lives, lol.

    Apologies for the entire new thread, I'd just edit and bump the old one if I could change the title.

    So here's try two, with all the ranty crap cut, down to bare bones ability reporting with a couple notes here and there.

    If you have a question or something doesn't make sense, please keep reading. Chances are it'll all make sense by the end. If it's still a question, post comments and I'll be happy to answer.


    This post aims to present a new design concept for the Shadow spec, especially in PvP. More specifically, instead of Shadow designed to take damage to the face, under this redesign a Shadowpriest is more mobile, slippery, and hard to pin down. It prefers to escape, rather than tank.

    VERY IMPORTANT: Please remember this was done just for fun, and is not a serious suggestion for WoD or any other xpac. It's just fun to dream and I have no life, that's all.

    New/Baseline Mechanics Changes

    AoE Interactivity

    Spamming Mind Sear is boring. Part of this redesign is to implement some ways to make Shadow AoE more interactive and interesting. Specifically, you can Blast while channeling Sear to build orbs, then spend them on a big AoE finisher that changes with spec.

    Shadowy Apparitions

    These are removed from the baseline Shadow kit, and reimplemented in place of the Auspicious Spirits talent, see below.

    May need new mechanic to replace the crit scaling.


    Mental Anguish: Increases the damage of Mind Flay, Mind Blast, and orb-infused spells by X%.

    Couple things to talk about here. I removed Spike from the mastery (CoP adds it back on) so that Spike can be used for a different purpose. I also added in any spell that you blow orbs on, including DP (renamed below) and the two new AoE finishers.

    This means our Mastery is no longer a purely single-target stat, which is something I haven't really liked much. But it also still doesn't scale up our dots; I can understand Blizzard's reluctance to let our dots scale too well.


    Enhanced Mind Flay: Your Mind Flay deals damage 33% faster.

    Enhanced Shadow Orbs: You may have a maximum of 5 shadow orbs. No spell or ability will consume more than 3.

    Improved Shadow Word: Pain: Your Shadow Word: Pain spell now has a 1.0 second global cooldown. (This might be way too much/impossible to balance but I like the idea of it)

    Improved Mind Sear: You can cast Mind Blast while channeling Mind Sear [a la mistweavers]. If you do, its damage is spread evenly over all targets within 10 yards.


    Slip into the shadow realm and move unseen except by those closer than 10 yards. Your own sight is hindered as well, reducing the range of your spells to 20 yards while shrouded. Taking any actions but movement betrays your location, ending the effect. Cannot be used in combat. 2.0 second cast, 10 second cooldown.

    Shadowpriest stealth. Worse than rogue and druid stealth, par with Hunter stealth because full movement but cast time, visible at longer range, and priest's own range reduced.

    Shadow Infusion

    Consumes up to three shadow orbs, empowering your next shadow ability.

    This is a new spell that's used to dump orbs and “infuse” that energy into the next spell you cast. Shadow Infusion is off the GCD and has no cooldown. When you use the Shadow Infusion spell, it consumes up to 3 orbs and temporarily transforms some of your spells into their infused/empowered versions. Once you have used one, they all transform back to their regular versions. It can't be used/grayed out if you have no orbs.

    Visually, the Infusion spell itself ought to have a neat animation, dark but distinct, during which 3 orbiting orbs energize and suck themselves into the priest's hands which will glow with black energy similar to old Inner Focus. The size of the glow depends on how many orbs you infuse, and it will remain until you use an infusion spell.

    Here are the spells you can burn your orbs into:

    Vampiric Hunger (infused VT): Instantly blast your target for up to (300% of your spellpower) shadow damage and then 100% of the initial damage over 6 seconds. Redirect 100% of the life destroyed back to you as healing. This spell is a straight rename for Devouring Plague.

    Psychic Horror:Unchanged.

    Mass Suffering (infused Mind Sear): Unleash the power of Shadow Word: Pain, causing each of your active instances to erupt with shadow energy. Each second, each instance has a [33/66/100%] chance to tick once and deal X damage to enemy targets within 4 yards. Enemies suffering from this spell move 15/30/45% slower. 5 second channel.

    Stand and channel for 5 seconds; all your active SWP spells tick every second and cause small shadow explosions around them. You don't need LoS or range to any of your targets to use this spell, giving you a neat but not OP edge when multi-dotting in PvP. The extra explosion makes it exponentially stronger with more stacked SWP targets (a la enhance shaman Fire Nova) but has a built-in cap because you can't have that many SWPs rolling at the same time (especially if you're spec'd into Shadowy Apparitions and have to also have VT rolling, see below). The spell should be tuned so that its DPET and damage per orb exceeds Vampiric Hunger/DP when you have 3+ SWPs rolling. Finally, these extra ticks don't have to count as real SWP ticks for damage numbers and procs; they can show up as a different spell in recount.

    Also note that the spell uses the Omni channel animation, not the targeted one that Mind Sear does.

    Dark Shell (infused Power Word: Shield): Wrap yourself in a bulwark of shadow energy, absorbing X damage. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. If the shield is broken by damage, it causes an eruption of shadow energy, knocking back all enemies within 8 yards and slowing them by 40% for [2/4/6] seconds. 1 minute cooldown.

    This spell absorbs no more or less than a normal PWS, the knockback+slow is the infused part.

    Core and Movement Mechanics

    Shadowform: Assume a form of Shadow, increasing your Shadow damage by 25% and base movement speed by 15%, and increasing all party and raid members' haste and multistrike by 5%. However, you cannot cast any Holy healing spells.

    Spectral Guise: Momentarily slip into the shadow realm, leaving behind your true form. As a shadow you are invisible, can cast non-damage spells, and move 60% faster, but you remain in combat. Lasts 6 seconds or until your true form is destroyed. 15 second cooldown.

    This spell becomes baseline for Shadow and replaced by a new talent that's more purely about defensive survivability, like the rest of that tier. The “true form” would have a decent percent of your health, but low enough that 2-3 GCDs or so worth of focused DPS pumped into it should bring it down. And dot ticks don't kick you out, that's important.

    Shifting Shadow (OPTIONAL): Slip through the Shadow Realm and reappear in the shadow of another creature within 30 yards. 2 charges, 30 second cooldown each.

    This ability functions like rogue's Shadowstep, but you can use it with allies as well. It is an additional form of mobility, if it's needed (it very well might be).

    Dispersion: Disperse into pure Shadow energy, increasing your movement speed by 30% [stacking with the increase from Shadowform] and lasting until canceled. You cannot cast spells while dispersed.

    This functions as a “movement mode” for Shadow, and can be dropped or raised at will. It provides no damage reduction.

    As a visual note, while dispersed you don't just look like a purple fart cloud. The gaseous effect is there, but muted somewhat, with a prominent shadowy trace of your character at its center that moves with a unique floating/hovering animation more involved than the stiff, unappealing way a levitating character currently moves.

    Glyph of Reckless Dispersal (minor, replaced Glyph of Dispersion): You gain an additional 60% speed while dispersed. This bonus will not be granted if Dispersion is activated in combat, and is disabled in battlegrounds and arenas.

    Fade (priest baseline ability): Fade into shadow, freeing you from movement-impairing effects and temporarily removing all your threat for 10 seconds. 30 second cooldown.

    Deep Fade (Shadow replacement): Fade into shadow, allowing you to move unhindered [immune to slows and roots] for 5 seconds, and temporarily removing all your threat for 10 seconds. 15 second cooldown.

    Glyph of Fade: Your Fade and Deep Fade abilities now also reduce all damage taken by 10%, but their duration is reduced by 5 seconds.

    Defensive and Utility Spells

    Power Word Shield: Shadowpriests retain this spell, and as strong as on the beta, but to compensate for the spec's new mobility it becomes more of an emergency defense, in that it triggers a 30 second Weakened Soul (and Shadow no longer has the perk)

    Leap of Faith: Many shadowpriests would want to keep this ability, and I am one of them. However, instead of the Glyph of Renewed Faith (which provides an ability already granted by Shifting Shadow above), I'd go with a Shadow-only new glyph:

    Glyph of Doubt: Your Leap of Faith transforms into Scourge of Doubt: Overwhelm your target's mind with self-doubt, reducing their movement speed by 75%. The target's resolve returns over 5 seconds, regaining 15% movement speed every second. 30 yard range, 1.5 min cooldown.

    Mass Dispel: This spell is a problem I'd say, because the ability to dispel CC off your healer is uniquely powerful. If we're giving Shadow the ability to defend itself I'd say its utility here should be nerfed. Options can be discussed but an increase of the cooldown to 30 seconds or longer for Shadow may be a good place to start.

    Dispel Magic: Spammable offensive dispels are neat, not especially powerful anymore (where everyone's major cooldowns are undispellable anyway), and something Shadowpriests should keep.

    Other Spells

    Living Shadow: Split your psychic essence and cause your shadow to come alive at the targeted location. Your shadow stands still and casts shadow damage spells on nearby enemy targets afflicted by your Void Chill effect [see below]. Once per use of this ability, you can switch places with your shadow. Lasts 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown.

    This amounts to a DPS cooldown (and replaces Shadowfiend) that offers a bit of PvP mobility. Your shadow has all your gear and uses your character's model and animations, as well as the absence or presence of the Glyph of Shadow. It can cast Mind Flay, but it doesn't slow its target. If you are spec'd CoP it spams Mind Spike instead. It can be attacked and killed but it has plenty of HP and is usually not worth it.

    Glyph of Vengeful Shadow: Your Living Shadow lasts half as long, but its Mind Flays and Mind Spikes slow their target by 50%.

    Vampiric Embrace: Redirects the life energy destroyed by your shadow damage, healing your allies for 10%, and yourself for 25%, of any single-target shadow damage you deal. Lasts 15 seconds, 3 minute cooldown.

    Glyph of Vampiric Embrace: Doubles the healing you and your allies receive from Vampiric Embrace, but reduces its duration by 5 seconds.

    Crowd Control

    Psychic Horror: Causes your target to cower in horror (incapacitate) for 4 seconds. Instant cast, 35 second cooldown (old glyph baked in).

    Glyph of Psychic Horror: Increases the duration of Psychic Horror and Psychic Scourge by 2 seconds, but reduces its range to 10 yards.

    This makes Horror a fairly powerful defense against melee, but harder to use offensively.

    Silence: Unchanged

    Glyph of Silence: Also unchanged.

    DPS/Rotational Spells

    Mind Flay: Unchanged

    Glyph of Mind Flay: Your Mind Flay no longer slows its target, but heals you for 10% of the damage it deals.

    The existing Flay glyph is poorly designed.

    Glyph of Psychic Subtlety (minor): Your Mind Flay's appearance changes to leave no visible trace.

    Essentially this erases the purply beam from the Flay graphic but leaves the little glow on the priest's hands and the target's head.

    Mind Blast: Natively causes a debuff called Void Chill for 8 seconds, reducing healing received by 25% (Mortal Strike debuff).

    Glyph of Mind Blast: Your Mind Blast slows its target by 30% for 2 seconds. A critical strike increases this effect to a 4 second root.

    Shadow Word: Pain: Initial hit reduced to 22% of spellpower (down from 44%). There is a new, more elegant solution for what Shadowpriests will do on the move (see below).

    Vampiric Touch: Each tick heals the caster for 1% hp (can't benefit from more than 3 rolling instances at once). Also, the horror from the dispel backlash increased to 4 seconds.

    Devouring Plague: Name becomes Vampiric Hunger (see above) but otherwise unchanged.

    Shadow Word: Death: A word of dark binding that deals X Shadow damage to the target and adds a shadow orb, but 5% of your health to you if the target does not die. Deals 10% damage against targets above 20% health. 8 second cooldown.

    Brings back the self-hit for some skill-ceiling anti-CC. Also, instead of the awkward double-tap mechanic, the base spell just does more damage. Fewer orbs in execute range? Good, more damage outside of it.

    Mind Spike: Blast the target for (45% of spellpower) Shadowfrost damage. 1.5 second cast, can be cast on the move.

    Spike is redesigned to be a Shadow version of Scorch – move-castable but low damage (equivalent to the old SWP hit so we don't actually gain any moving DPS, just a more interesting way to do it).

    Note that for CoP shadowpriests, Spike becomes a rotational spell that takes longer to cast (read: scales better with haste) and hits like a true nuke if you cast it without moving.

    Finally, I'm not sure if this functionality ever made it in, but Mind Spike would be truly separate from the Shadow school, allowing you to Spike when locked out of Shadow, and vice versa.

    Glyph of Desperate Vampirism (replaces Glyph of Mind Spike): Whenever one of your Shadow damage spells is interrupted [by a kick effect], your next Mind Spike will heal you for 100% of the damage it causes.


    First Tier – General Defense/Survivability

    2nd: Void Shift: You and the currently targeted party or raid member swap health percentages. Increases the lower health percentage of the two to 25% if below that amount. 3 minute cooldown.

    A lot of people are sad to see this ability go, so here it is in talent form to replace Spectral Guise, on a tier where it makes sense. Adjust the other two talents to make it a compelling choice.

    Second Tier – Mobility

    This tier presents a particular challenge for this redesign, because Shadow would already be super mobile. My best idea to fix this is to say the existing talents are the talents Priest healers get, and change the talents for Shadow to be more about self-healing.

    Second Tier – Healers

    1st: Body and Soul: Unchanged

    2nd: Angelic Feathers: Unchanged

    3rd: Holy Word: Celerity: Allows the friendly party or raid target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating the target gains 25% increased move rate. Lasts 10 minutes. Replaces Levitate. (This and Levitate would use the unique floaty animation I already made up for Dispersion)

    Second Tier – Shadow self and off healing

    1st: Nurturing Darkness (active, direct, and defensive): When you or an ally within 40 yards suffers a critical strike, your next Flash Heal is instant cast, can be cast in Shadowform, and heals for double the amount. This effect can happen once every 10 seconds. (May need further tuning)

    2nd: Twisted Intent (helps ability to apply primary self-healing while under pressure, added mobility): Your Vampiric Touch spell is now instant cast.

    3rd: Hungry Shadows (anti-healer offensive utility): Your Vampiric Hunger absorbs up to X healing its target receives for 5 seconds and redirects it to you.

    Third Tier - Damage

    1st: Surge of Darkness (Adds a random proc event to the rotation): Unchanged

    2nd: Recurring Nightmare (Narrows burst window): Reduces Living Shadow's cooldown to 1 minute and duration to 10 seconds, damage adjusted accordingly. (Note the place swap ability has a 3 minute cooldown, so this talent adds no mobility)

    3rd: Insanity (Adds interactive, stationary burst): Unchanged

    Fourth Tier – CC

    1st: Psychic Scream (AoE CC): Unchanged

    2nd: Sleep (Single-target CC): Put an enemy humanoid, beast, or demon to sleep for 50 seconds (8 in PvP). Any damage will wake the target. Allies of a sleeping target can interact with them in melee to deal 1% health in damage. 1.7 second cast, no cooldown. This spell is something priests have never had, spammable CC! But it does come with an interesting limitation. It basically makes the sleeping target “gearable” to allies with one of those little hands, and they can click to smack the target [with an unarmed slap animation!] and get them out.

    3rd: Phantasm (Anti-CC): Your Fade and Deep Fade spells can be cast while stunned, and break such effects. However, their cooldown is increased by 30 seconds.

    As an alternative possibility, there could be a talent that dramatically buffs Psychic Horror, similar to the way a paladin's Fist of Justice talent doubles the frequency of his stun.

    Final note: Both of the talented CC options would be “Disorients,” DRing with Cyclone, fears, Blind, and warlock seduction.

    Fifth Tier – Damage


    Sixth Tier – Damage Spells

    Also unchanged.

    Final Tier – Playstyle Choices

    1st: Clarity of Power (Direct Damage spec): Mind Spike now removes your Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch spells and its base cast time is increased by .5 second, but your mastery increases Mind Spike damage, and Mind Spikes you cast without moving deal X% additional damage. Your Mind Blast is instant cast and its cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds. Finally, you learn the Vampiric Rage spell.

    Vampiric Rage (replaces Mass Suffering/infused Mind Sear): Blasts your target and all others within 8 yards for X (based on orbs used) Shadow damage, reducing their movement speed by 15/30/45% for 1/3/5 seconds, and healing you for [1/2/3]% of your max health per target struck. 2 second cast, no cooldown.

    2nd: Focus of the Void (Single-target DoT spec): Your Shadow damage spells do X% less damage, but you learn the spell Void Entropy.

    Void Entropy: Cause the void to embrace one target of your choice for one minute. When used on your Void Entropy target, your shadow spells deal Y% more damage and heal you for an additional 5% of the damage they deal. Your Void Entropy target deals 20% less damage to you, and is visible to you despite stealth or invisibility effects. Void Entropy cannot be dispelled, but can only affect one target at a time. 1.5 sec cast, 20 sec cooldown.

    3rd: Shadowy Apparitions (Greater orb generation/multi-DoT spec): Your Mind Blast and Vampiric Hunger deal X% less damage, but your Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain each last 6 seconds longer and gain Y% additional benefit from your critical strike and multistrike. Whenever your Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain are both on a target, a dark presence watches closely, granting a Z% chance each tick to draw life from the target, dealing (45% of spellpower) shadow damage and granting you a shadow orb.

    Notes: And here they are, the new improved Apparitions. Visually, I'd want there to be some kind of subtle but visually clear indication on or around the target that both dots are present and potentially generating apparitions (kinda similar to how Unstable Affliction has a persistent visual effect on its target).

    As for the apparitions themselves, I'd want them to be kind of opposite how they are on live – when an apparition spawns it moves from the target to the shadowpriest, and instead of a weird floaty ghost I'd prefer a projectile similar to that of the Spirit Towers from WC3.

    PvE Notes: The way these specs would need to be tuned is that CoP is best at pure AoE and has strong ST and decent multi-dotting, and its core design is as a massive, overhauled playstyle alternative that is still decent at everything. VE has the best ST but weak Multi-dotting and almost decent AoE. SA has the best multi-dotting and very good AoE, but its ST is far behind both specs, particularly because its Mind Blast and Vampiric Hunger don't hit as hard.

    PvP: All three specs are mobile and elusive. CoP has powerful burst and can still off-dot, especially to provide instant proc nukes for better mobile, bursty instant damage. VE is stronger than both other specs in 1v1 (especially against stealthers) and can be very scary if permitted to focus one target, but telegraphs said target and loses much of its spread pressure. SA does not excel at single-target but its spread pressure is strong (though not that much better than CoP's), and its greatly increased orb generation adds power through versatility – go ahead, blow 3 orbs on Horror or an infused Shield, you'll be getting them back soon anyway.

    Other Items

    Set bonuses: PvE set bonuses are hard, and honestly I'm not too concerned with them. Those I'd leave that to smart math people.

    PvP 2pc: If your Spectral Guise's true form is destroyed, you instantly gain 3 shadow orbs.

    PvP 4pc: When you summon your Living Shadow, you can swap places with it one additional time.

    Final Thoughts

    Balance: If, after reading all this stuff, you're convinced Shadow would be the most ridiculously OP spec of all time in any game, or even just moderately OP, well you know what? You could be right. I lack the very deep insights into the nuances of the highest levels of PvP that multiple gladiators have.

    However, I'd say to look back over the post and try to identify the defensive stuff. It's really flimsy! There's no damage reduction, no bonus armor, and no emergency cooldowns at all unless you count the various escape mechanics. The ultimate irony is I've loaded the spec up with a bunch of awesome-sounding stuff like stealth and moving Mind Spike, but I could actually see it still being kind of gimped in a real-world setting.

    Random Problems: I'm aware there may be any number of ways something wouldn't work as stated, be impossible to balance or tune, or just flat out be wildly, hilariously OP or UP. In working on this whole thing I've already caught a number of these issues and at least tried to fix them. I'm sure there are plenty more.

    But once again, just keep in mind this whole thing was done for fun, and not as a serious suggestion that needs to be picked apart on a numbers level. If I'm looking for feedback at all it's really just on the core design, on how we can imagine it “feeling” in practice, and on the individual ideas.

    And that's it! Thank you for (miraculously) getting all the way through!
    Last edited by Annesh; 2014-08-30 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Czech Rep.
    Sear with MB, that blow me.
    You, sir, you deserve to design the spells!

  4. #4
    Moderator Yvaelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Vancouver, Canada
    Good redesign, I really want a Shadowstep like that - I put a similar one in my redesign thread somewhere back at the start of MoP - where void shift would have a much shorter cooldown for Shadow and exchange your position with an enemy or ally - allowing us to drop our melee partners into the enemy melee, or swap ourselves in for Psy Scream - or switch kill targets LoS of their heals, etc I still very much like that idea ^^

    I really like Shadow Infusion - I suspect they would say it's too Soul Burny, but that also means it's a mechanic they are comfortable with - and it would bring a lot more variety to our spell list

    Mass Dispel could be nerfed if we were more mobile - I'd be tempted to even say, make it 1m CD but make it instant again - or even just give us Purify but 1m CD instant - if they don't like that it's an AOE dispel?

    Edit: I do want to say I did get through your original post, but I'm a speed reader - and then I was too sleepy to respond - just in case you thought nobody actually read it
    Youtube ~ Yvaelle ~ Twitter

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Yvaelle View Post
    Good redesign, I really want a Shadowstep like that - I put a similar one in my redesign thread somewhere back at the start of MoP - where void shift would have a much shorter cooldown for Shadow and exchange your position with an enemy or ally - allowing us to drop our melee partners into the enemy melee, or swap ourselves in for Psy Scream - or switch kill targets LoS of their heals, etc I still very much like that idea ^^
    oh wow, could you imagine the trolling and overpowered-ness this would have in BGs? Jumping off cliffs and swapping position? would be a lot of fun, but everyone would really hate priests. haha

  6. #6
    Moderator Yvaelle's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Vancouver, Canada
    All things we can already do via Dominate Mind and Leap Of Faith
    Youtube ~ Yvaelle ~ Twitter

  7. #7
    And really, seeing the herd of ele shamans trundling up to the flag in EotS and to LM in AB, stiff with the thought of all the "noobs" they're going to thunderstorm to their deaths, I'm not sure what's so wrong about us having some fun too.

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