Haven't seen many threads like this, so just going to post findings based on my raid experience from tonight (Full 8/8HC clear)
First and foremost, Shadow PvE DPS is currently in a good place at 85. Whether this will change at 90 due to things like Ascendance (among others) coming into play will have to see, but Shadow is still very competitive at 85 (for a hybrid class), so I wouldn't expect *much* to change come 90.
- Mind Sear does, indeed, hit like a wet noodle. However, on enough mobs (thinking Spine HC Bloods and DW HC Bloods) it still does decent DPS and while we'll no longer be top of AoE, we're still not bottom, not by a long shot.
- We are still very much viable on HC Spine. Weirdly enough (at least, this was my experience, others can feel free to chip in) I found that, using ToF, Bottled and preserving 3 orbs to get immediate DP onto the tendon found that I was very competitive DPS-wise. Not to mention VE in it's current form (with the glyph) is very, very strong, so is useful for clearing healing debuffs if your raid should so require it.
- There is (currently) no such thing as ramp-up time. If you preserve 3 orbs pre-pull from the trash (or even 2 so you can pre-cast Mind Blast) you'll find that opening with a 3-orb DP into SFiend/Mindbender and normal rotation actually nets you disgusting burst damage - I was outbursting everyone in my guild and peaked at 100K DPS. I understand that the new Mastery scaling and some FDCL procs probably played its part but I was never bottom of DPS during openers and finished every fight bar Spine HC on top of the meters.
- However, I did experience a slight bug/glitch (at least, I think it's a bug) with some FDCL procs where my DoTs would actually get removed, has anyone else experienced this? 100% sure it wasn't actually hardcasting Mind Spike unless I wanted it to.
- Due to low procrate on DI, I would think that ToF pulls ahead on all fights bar Morchok, Zon'ozz and Warmaster; my reasoning being that these are the only 3 fights where you can constantly have DoTs rolling on multiple targets with ease. Yor'sahj doesn't work unless you have a group that's bad for AoE and can thus DoT up all the adds which spawn (sadly I don't), Spine you'll want the ToF buff for tendons, and Madness has a large proportion of the fight at sub-20% health on mobs so you can proc a lot of extra damage here.
All in all, quietly optimistic for MoP. I agree it doesn't really feel like the Shadow of 4.0-4.3, but it's not as bad as I first feared (*can* get a bit clunky with DI and FDCL procs, but nothing unmanageable). I'm fairly confident our DPS will be in a competitive place come MoP, so if you were thinking of re-rolling for the pure DPS viability, I think you'll be OK.
These are my opinions, I'm not trying to state them as fact and feel free to disagree with them and post yours here.