In the intricate tapestry of the Season of Discovery, the role of Priest DPS takes a unique stance in Phase 1. Without the pivotal level 40 talents like Shadowform, Priests find themselves in the realm of general DPS, rather than specifically Shadow Priest DPS. This opens up various avenues for exploration, allowing Priests to embrace diverse DPS strategies.
By harnessing the power of new Runes, Priests can tread the path of a versatile DPS/Healer hybrid. Spells like Penance, combined with talents such as Holy Fire and Holy Specialization, create a unique blend. Alternatively, some might embrace the daring role of a Smite Priest, heedless of the desperate pleas of group members.
For those who choose the shadows, focusing on Shadow Weaving becomes paramount. With even just one point invested, Priests can inflict a 15% increased Shadow damage taken debuff. New instant spells like Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death amplify the shadowy onslaught.
Unfortunately, Priests grapple with a challenge—two healing-oriented trees and one dedicated to DPS. This skews the availability of Runes towards healing, limiting the pool of effective options. A remedy is anticipated in later phases.
In Phase 1 of the Season of Discovery, Priest DPS can effectively venture into any of the three talent trees, each offering unique specializations and diverse playstyles.
Discipline: Discipline provides valuable talents in Meditation and Inner Focus, ensuring some mana sustainability for prolonged fights. While this allows for extended staying power, it limits the potential for augmenting actual damage output.
Holy: In the Holy tree, players focusing on non-Shadow casts can benefit from significant damage options. Talents like Holy Specialization, Divine Fury, and Holy Nova add substantial additional damage to Smite and Holy Fire spells. Holy Nova provides an AoE option without sacrificing a Rune slot.
Shadow: The Shadow tree, typically dedicated to DPS, surprisingly doesn't offer much for directly enhancing damage output. The most valuable talent is Shadow Focus, providing an additional 10% Hit chance with Shadow spells—a considerable boost in a phase with limited Hit gear. Additionally, Mind Flay serves as a filler spell instead of Smite, and investing one point in Shadow Weaving offers a damage boost.
In Phase 1, Priest DPS faces hurdles reminiscent of regular Classic challenges. Mana sustainability remains a concern, potentially leading to scenarios where Wanding becomes a prolonged necessity. The scarcity of talent points also hampers access to key abilities like Shadowform and Power Word: Fortitude. Despite the drawbacks, certain Runes, such as Mind Burn and Shared Pain, attempt to address AoE deficiencies, even if the overall effectiveness remains debatable.
1. Versatility: Priest DPS can seamlessly transition between Healer, DPS, or Support roles using Runes alone.
2. Diverse Playstyles: Multiple approaches are available even within the DPS realm, accommodating various preferences.
3. Unique Debuff: The Shadow Weaving talent introduces a distinctive debuff, setting Priest DPS apart.
Mana Sustain: Priest DPS struggles with inadequate mana sustainability, often resorting to Wanding during extended encounters.
Delayed Damage: Spells like Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Pain necessitate time before dealing substantial damage.
Challenge in Pure DPS: Being solely focused on DPS in Phase 1 poses challenges, demanding a more versatile role.
Racial Considerations: The importance of racial abilities cannot be overlooked.
1. Keep Shadow Word: Pain and Mind Flay active on all targets.
2. Cast Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death on cooldown.
3. Fill time with Mind Flay.
1. Pre-cast Holy Fire as the boss is being pulled.
2. Cast Smite.
1. Keep Shadow Word: Pain active.
2. Keep Mind Flay active.
3. Cast Mind Blast.
4. Cast Shadow Word: Death.
5. Cast Mind Flay if talented.
6. Cast Smite.
For targets not surviving the full duration of Shadow Word: Pain or Mind Flay, skip these spells. If you have Mind Flay, you might not cast Smite, as you likely have Shadow Focus. Exercise caution with Shadow Word: Death, as mistiming it can be fatal.
1. Spell Hit
2. Spell Power
3. Mana Per 5
Staff of Shadow - A BoE drop from Razorfen Downs, offering exceptional strength. Consider its value in proportion to Auction House prices.
Hands of Darkness - Crafted easily with Tailoring, tailor-made for Priests, especially those embracing the Shadow specialization.
When it comes to Priest races, each brings unique Priest Racials, often outweighing standard racials. For the Alliance, Dwarf and Night Elf stand out.
Dwarf: Known for the classic powerhouse, Fear Ward, allowing Priests to negate a Fear effect on a single player every 30 seconds. However, with the Season of Discovery, the Paladin Rune, Exemplar's Inspiration, surpasses Fear Ward. It dispels Fear and Sleep on nearby party members, offering group-wide protection. The reduced value of Fear Ward and the niche Stoneform make Dwarf less attractive for DPS players in Season of Discovery.
Night Elf: Night Elves have the potent Starshards spell, capable of replacing Mind Flay entirely, serving as a strong filler for Discipline DPS. For Shadow Priests, talents like Shadow Focus, Shadow Weaving, and later Shadowform and Darkness may make Starshards less impactful. The main racial, Shadowmeld, is niche but useful for ambushing the occasional Horde in Ashenvale. Humans do not bring notable advantages for Priests.
Horde Priests face a tough decision, as both races offer excellent tools with damage-increasing options.
Trolls: Trolls gain Shadowguard, retaliating with a small chunk of Shadow damage when hit. Useful for countering AoE hits, and in PvP, it can trigger Hex, potentially stopping a Rogue ambush. Berserking is a potent racial, especially when combined with Shadow Word: Death for a full 30% boost, though it accelerates mana consumption.
Undead: Undead Priests receive Devouring Plague, a 3-minute cooldown DoT that heals the caster. Its hefty mana cost can be mitigated with Inner Focus, but losing the increased critical chance is a trade-off. Will of the Forsaken is strong but not a game-changer for PvE.
Engineering remains unmatched in Classic and Season of Discovery. Despite the level cap of 25, Engineering provides incredible value. Bombs like Heavy Dynamite offer significant AoE damage without mana cost. Goggles like Shadow Goggles provide solid headpieces in a level range with limited options. Engineering also grants access to Trinkets like Minor Recombobulator, valuable in a level 25 Trinket-scarce environment.
As the Season of Discovery unfolds, Priest DPS ventures into uncharted territories. While facing challenges reminiscent of Classic, Priests wield the power of adaptability and unique debuffs. The shadows conceal both trials and opportunities, inviting Priests to master the delicate art of balancing DPS and support.
As we conclude this exploration of the Priest DPS role in the Season of Discovery, the shadows beckon, harboring mysteries yet to unfold. Embrace the ebb and flow of the shadows, weaving your destiny within Azeroth's ever-evolving landscape. Until our paths converge again, fellow adventurers, may your spells find their mark, and may the shadows guide your every step. Safe journeys!