Shadow Word: You should give Shadow Priest PVP a shot in Legion
Wait, no, don’t run away! Just because this article has “PVP” in the title doesn’t mean it’s not for you. In fact, in my ongoing efforts to
mind control convince you of the usefulness of the more “out there” aspects of the game, I’m going to do my best to draw you into the new Legion PVP system. Because, really, it’s a big improvement over the previous honor system and has some decent surprises if you stick with it — including new spells and the return of an old favorite.
With the new PVP system, you’re not squishy anymore
Okay, that heading might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s a lot closer to the truth than it’s ever been in the past. You see, in instanced PVP (i.e., not world PVP), you’re now given a normalized set of stats based on your spec. For instance, if you look at the image above, the stats on the left side are my normal stats out in the world while the stats on the right are my stats adjusted in a PVP instance. Notice that there is no correlation between the distribution of stats before and after; I normally have far more Critical Strike than Haste but they were made even for PVP content.
Now, these stats do change slightly based on your average item level, but the difference really is very small. As a test, I took off some gear and dropped my average item level down to 779 while in the battleground. A 51-item-level difference only brought each of my stats down at most 2%. Not only are you on an even playing field, but also if any spec — not class, but spec — gets too powerful, Blizzard can easily adjust the base stats without having to tweak specific abilities themselves.
In practice, this works surprisingly well. I’m not exactly a hardcore PVPer, but it’s something I’ve dabbled in during each expansion. To put it simply, I got used to dying. A lot. On a new character with no PVP gear and quest greens, I used to watch my health drop from full to nothing faster than I could process. With the new system, I was almost shell-shocked the first time I survived a Rogue’s series of stuns with more than half my health left. It felt a lot better, and made me feel like I could actually compete with anyone if I put in the effort.
This is the new PVP system, and it works very well. But if that’s not enough to convince you, there’s more to look forward to!
PVP talents offer a better, more interesting talent progression system than PVE talents
If you haven’t taken a look at your PVP talents yet — and for PVE players, why would you? — the above image might be confusing if you’re used to the standard PVE talent system. In PVP, Honor gained increases your rank, and increasing your rank unlocks new talents. Unlike PVE talents, you unlock your PVP talents one at a time and work down a column rather than an entire row of three at once — though you still choose one talent per row, just as you do in PVE.
While this at first means you don’t really have a choice in what talent you want to pick, it also means that you consistently have a goal to look forward to. In fact, you never go more than three PVP ranks without unlocking a new talent, which is a stark contrast to having a new talents every 15 levels. The Honor required to increase your rank will grow the higher your rank is, but at least for the first good bit of PVPing, you rank up often enough to bring back that old-school feeling of gaining talents while leveling.
It’s honestly a more enjoyable system than the current PVE equivalent and I’d be happy to see it implemented if old-world leveling content ever gets a revamp.
PVP talents also offer fun new spells and mechanics
Do you miss Void Shift as much as I do? If you’re a newer Shadow Priest, then probably not, because it was only around for one expansion. But if you played during Mists of Pandaria, you may have found it to be one of the best utility spells ever (I did, anyway). Well guess what! Void Shift is back, baby!
For the uninitiated, Void Shift would swap the health percentage of you and a friendly target, but never below 25%. In raids, this sometimes meant the difference between a wipe on Heroic Garrosh and an epic, tank-saving comeback. It was incredibly niche, but I personally had the ability macro’d to both of my team’s tanks and used it on several occasions to bring the tank up from 1% health to 100% health. In short, it was invaluable and pulling it off successfully was one of the greatest feelings I had as a raider in that expansion.
Granted, Void Shift isn’t something you can grab until Honor Rank 46, but it’s also not the only talent that is worth chasing. See that guy in the image above? That’s a Psyfiend, and he’s awesome. He’s fun to summon and he does a suped-up version of Mind Flay against your target. The best part? He only requires Honor Rank 10 to use. But again, he’s not the only PVP talent that’s more than a little interesting. Going down the line of some of our talents, we have…
- Mind Trauma, which has a 100% and 25% chance to apply Shadow Word: Pain when you Mind Flay or Mind Sear (respectively) and is the envy of many PVE players.
- Void Origins, which makes Void Eruption instant cast.
- Edge of Insanity, which changes your gameplay by encouraging you not to enter Voidform.
Before you flip out in either excitement or anger, it’s worth noting that none of these will work in PVE content. They’re awesome mechanics but PVP isn’t something you’ll need to do if you only want to be the best at PVE. However, if they sound at all interesting to you — they certainly do to me — then check out the full list of PVP talents available to us. It just might be your time to give PVP a try.
Even if you hate PVP, it offers Artifact Power and a new Artifact appearance
Maybe I’ve convinced you to give PVP a try. Maybe I haven’t. If you’re still adamant on not stepping foot inside a battleground or arena, it’s worth pointing out that the PVP world quests are a good source for Artifact Power and technically don’t require any actual PVP at all (assuming you don’t run into enemy players). Plus, the PVP gear rewards work just fine in PVE thanks to the new Honor system.
Not only that, but the PVP world quests are an easy way to earn 300 Honor, which will grant you a few Honor Ranks right away and can add up over time. With enough dedication, you might even earn enough Honor to unlock my personal favorite Artifact appearance, the purple Vision of Madness appearance.
I hope that, at the very least, I’ve piqued your interest in Legion PVP. It’s not the same PVP you’ve experienced before — the rewards and talent system make for surprisingly satisfying progression. If PVP still isn’t your thing, then you only have two weeks before brand-new raid content is out.
Until next time, always remember: No matter whom you face, Shadow will always get the Last Word.
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