I can't speak for any other shadow priests, but as I watched the Warcraft Legion systems panel, I started to get nervous when I saw shadow priests as the third bullet on the Immersion slide. I'm already quite immersed with playing my shadow priests, thank you very much! And I haven't forgotten just how recently Blizzard wanted to "improve" our gameplay by taking away our Devouring Plague, a spell that many Forsaken shadow priests such as myself consider to be a cornerstone of our repertoire and story.
That said, I kept an open mind as we heard their initial comments on the class changes for Legion:
- Shadow priests in Legion will no longer be the "poor cousin of the affliction warlock".
- We gain our powers by tapping into the power of the void.
- The void is controlled by the old gods, and we all know that spending too much time with the Old Gods drives one to insanity
- Thus, the new resource for shadow priests= insanity. No more mana or shadow orbs.
- As your insanity increases, your shadow form gets darker. You grow tentacles out of your body. And you ultimately end up in void form.
- "Ultimate but fleeting power" because no one can harness insanity forever.
All of the above sounds interesting in theory, right up until I sprout tentacles and end up in a void form. That's where I start to worry. Worry that this will feel like I'm watching the terrible Blade 1 CGI animations come to life. Only happening to my beloved shadow priest. And then there's the maturity level of my fellow players. I still remember the incredibly crass and insensitive Big Wigs raid warnings that went out in AQ that some teenage boy somewhere thought was amusing. Am I going to get that every time I tentacle out in an LFR? Blech.
Today, Blizzard released more information on the priest class changes, including a narrative around our new insanity affinity. Here's their intro to our class story:
The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.
The blog post goes on to discuss how our key talents will generate insanity, with one notable spell missing from the line-up: Devouring Plague. Was this an oversight? Or is this another run at removing it from our spellbook? Only time will tell. Another interesting decision is removing our healing spells, which makes sense, and giving us a dark mending (which sounds a lot like how we used to be able to use our Cascade to heal), and keeping our Power Word: Shield. But despite the emphasis on making each spec unique, they're also giving Discipline Prests the Dark Mending too. I should also note we'll now have a significant, powerful cooldown: oblivion. Every 2 minutes we can trigger it to gain 100 insanity.
I'm hoping to get my hands on a BETA invite so I can do some significant poking around with the shadow priest changes and provide feedback. I think the vision Blizzard has presented sounds like it has some great potential. But I'm also concerned it may not really work for me. And as someone who has had a shadow priest main since the end of Burning Crusade, that's a real concern. For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned.