Thanks for this. Some great feedback here.
Overall, our goal in 7.1.5 is not to nerf Shadow's damage across-the-board, just the extreme cases that can occur with Surrender to Madness
. Some of the mechanical changes will likely mean you're weaker or stronger in certain situations, but our intent is not to make Shadow "worse."
To speak more directly to your points:
1. Surrender to Madness
Since Legion launched, most of the changes we’ve seen to Shadow have revolved around the balance of Surrender to Madness
(S2M). The main issue with Surrender to Madness
is the amount of damage happening at high stacks of Voidform
(VF). This gives Shadow a significant damage lead over other classes when played in the top 10 or so percentiles. This is illustrated in the WarcraftLogs analysis I made the week after the Mythic Emerald Nightmare opened: http://imgur.com/a/B84cl
The top percentile players are able to extend their Surrender to Madness
the most, allowing them to spend a significant period of the fight at 100 stacks of Voidform
, which wasn’t the intention when designing the spell. Surrender to Madness
DPS definitely needs to be addressed. However, the methods being utilized right now are not only affecting top end players but also those at the lower ends of the spectrum. The drain formula change in the 7.1 hotfix (8+0.55 per stack) and the proposed change on the 7.1.5 PTR (6+2/3 per stack) "fix" the issue of the top end damage of Surrender to Madness
but also make Surrender to Madness
more difficult to play. This means that players who were struggling before may now find it impossible to reach decent Surrender to Madness
uptimes and as a result the gap between top performers and the rest will widen.
A different approach, to address the exponential growth of damage between the two groups without negatively affecting gameplay, would be to limit the stacks from Mass Hysteria
(MH). Consider Mythic Emerald Nightmare gearing over a 300s fight, using the 7.0 drain formula (9 + 0.5 per stack). A change to Mass Hysteria
’s cap from 100 to 50 stacks would reduce overall Surrender to Madness
single target damage by around 5% while reducing the peak DPS (100 stacks of Voidform
and PI) by around 16%. The PTR proposed drain, and leaving Mass Hysteria
capped at 100 stacks, reduces the overall damage by around 16% but only reduces the peak DPS by around 4%. This happens because, while they won’t be able to maintain 100 stacks of Voidform
and Mass Hysteria
for very long, high percentile players will still be able to reach that point and, combined with Power Infusion
, they'll reach a similar peak DPS.
Bottom line, increasing the drain rate has a larger negative impact on Voidform
as a whole than it helps to curb the extraordinarily high DPS achieved at high stacks of Voidform