Patch 9.1 is going to be hitting PTR in 2 weeks and will bring a lot of class changes as well as a brand new raid and brand new dungeon season. There’s going to be new mechanics for us to play with when it comes to bosses. And different mechanics to play in mythic pluses as this is going to be a new season for World of Warcraft. The new season also comes with a new meta. Certain classes that are really good right now in the current raid and in current season of mythic plus could potentially become not as good next patch. And with the new seasonal stuff comes the choice of a class that you want to play for that season. Let’s talk about some of the factors you should consider going forward into patch 9.1 and some of the DPS specs that have potential to have the biggest step up going forward into the next patch.
When you look at WOW logs, have you ever wondered why the classes on top are there on the top and why do classes at the bottom, always at the bottom? Week by week no matter how many buffs or nerfs Blizzard applies. Why won’t Blizzard just buff the specs that are underperforming? And that is because with the new patch, new seasonal stuff as we get better gear and scaling is going to come into play. There’s a reason why Blizzard does not over buff certain specs that are underperforming knowing that they will end up doing really well in the future raid tiers. As we get into the future raid tiers and get higher item level gear will naturally get more secondary stats. And classes that can utilize those secondary stats will end up scaling harder than those that don’t utilize secondary stats as efficiently.
The idea for future patches is to find the spec that scales well for future content. Expect that will eventually become really good or will continue to get better as we get into further raid tiers. There are factors to consider because scaling is not going to be consistent like it was in BFA. Blizzard, for Shadowlands, wanted to make sure that there are some stop gaps so we don’t have corruptions 2.0. They are now going to be in Shadowlands’ DR’s to secondary stats. Basically the more you stack of one stat like critical strike, haste, versatility or mastery, up past a certain percentage point it will actually start having diminishing returns. The more of that stack you stack, the less efficient it will become in terms of how much of that stat you need in order to get one extra percent of mastery, crit or versatility.
So you are looking for specs which can utilize all four stats efficiently as possible. And the ones that scale the best for those specs. Another thing to consider in Shadowlands is how good primary stats are. Primary stats in Shadowlands are a lot stronger than they were in BFA. They are important but not completely the most important thing ever as certain classes with crazy amounts of intellect or agility could be good even if they don’t have good secondary stat scaling.
5:08 SHADOW PRIEST
They are, right now, far from a bad DPS in the game. However no one thinks of Shadow Priest as overpowered compared to at least Battle for Azeroth. Shadow Priest has a very versatile toolkit of how they deal damage, able to deal well with single target, cliff fights or AOE. Even going as far as having an uncapped AOE which gives them certain advantages that other classes do not have.
In the past expansion of Battle for Azeroth, Shadow Priests were scaling super high. Blizzard had to nerf him every single patch. And no matter how many nerfs were stacked on them they were still really strong DPS. They were a monster inside of the raid tier. Granted the raid tier had a lot of cleave fights where you could multi DoT multiple enemies but they were still extremely strong for the majority of that expansion. Even in mythic pluses if you played around the Shadow Priest, you really had yourself a solid DPS. Going from BFA into Shadowlands, Shadow Priests got a great rework, in my opinion they are objectively one of the better design classes overall.
They had an awesome rework during Shadowlands Alpha and Beta. They basically took the Shadow Priest to BFA that relied on corruptions and essences and removed the reliance by making a spec that stands better on its own two feet. They took away a bit of RNG with your play style and added you more guaranteed damage, especially in the multi DoT department. They gave you the ability to get insta-cast and baked in certain talents that were so core to the play style that are now just part of the gameplay in general. They took the community feedback of making void from a cooldown and brought back DP which a lot of players liked. Also a massive revamp to the mastery which makes a lot more sense. And turns mastery from bad to good stat. The one strain that Shadow Priest lost a bit going from BFA to Shadowlands is the ability to multi DoT as now you have a third damage over time ability to weave in. The one that utilizes your sanity bar in order to put up the DoT being DP. DP or Devouring Plague, is a strong DoT and is necessary for your mastery set up. Where the more DoTs you have on the enemy, the more damage they take. Maintaining all those DoTs on more than one target is difficult and mostly comes down to not having enough stats like haste in order to be able to get your resources out. However that should be easier in patch 9.1 as we are getting better gear with higher item levels and more stats, haste and critical strikes in order to maintain all those DoTs and get you to cast out faster. So multi DoT should return and be more powerful in the future patch.
8:16 ENHANCEMENT SHAMAN
Off the bat, Enhancement is interesting compared to the other specs because it has the Windfury Totem which could have potential for raids and groups to have more auto attack based play style which always will have potential in the future World of Warcraft to at some point get better in case stats somehow align. Besides that Enhancement Shaman has a history of Battle for Azeroth where you utilize all your stats fairly equally. So you got benefit from just about everything and with the secular stats, this could go a long way.
You also have a wide array of really strong legendaries, there is not a single bad legendary for Enhancement depending on how you build your character. Your secondary stats are not terrible that goes for both haste and crit. Mastery also gives you multi-faceted features of either getting more procs or even more raw damage. Versatility benefits magic damage as well as physical damage so theoretically none of the stats are really bad.
I feel like there is always a kind of error of potential with enhancement. And maybe it will be a while before we really unlock it or before it becomes a meta spec. There’s a lot of unknowns to consider but on paper the spec should be pretty future proof when it comes to content, gearing and scaling.
10:02 FROST MAGE
Frost Mage do have some of the highest potential sims. On the website simulation craft which sims some classes in terms of their single target output inside of a raid tier, Frost generally hovers towards the top. Either number one or in the top five. Take a look at the sims they are producing from there, Frost needs a lot of crit in order to become good. And it makes sense because of the way the chatter plays into the Frost play style. Right now we do not have the most amount of gear unless you are really specific in terms of which pieces you can get for your Mage but you cannot just get enough crit but you could in the future patch. Once crit capped, you can get more haste. Once you have enough haste, you could be funneling into mastery which is also not the worst stat. It is a little bit better, in my opinion, for single target uses and has uses in AOE but definitely far from bad. Not like Mages need help in AOE as right now in Stone Legion Generals they are dominating.
With plenty of crit and haste there’s quite a bit of opportunity for you to stack a bit of mastery. And versatility not being completely a terrible stat that gives you negative damage, it does put Frost Mage in a position where you actually could get fairly equal value from all the stats. It will take you quite a while before you can reach that crit cap and then start filing secondary stats to all the other outlets. That’s just going to make the spec play better and stronger.
Right now in simcraft they do need a little bit of assistance from other classes. However in future patches with all the gear and all the secondary stats we need, I think it’s going to be far easier for Frost Mages to really reach their potential. We’ve seen Arcane Mages doing well and Fire Mages too but from BFA we know both of those specs benefit heavily from mass stacks and certain stats. And with how DRs work on secondary stats, stacking too much of one stat is not good for you. So being more even in stats and the way that Frost can benefit from the even stats, theoretically there could be a really strong caster that people are sleeping on until the next future raid tier.
12:19 FERAL DRUID
On simcraft, they are literally the highest sim in character, they are little under 2,000 DPS ahead of everybody else. They have been doing incredibly well over in the simcraft. The amount of damage they can do to a single target is actually quite absurd. While not the easiest class to play at all for PVE, they are pretty strong and they definitely have potential to get strong and continue being strong in the future patches.
What helps out Ferals are secondary stats. Their secondary stats are good all across the board. Crit gives them more resources, more common points so you are spending less time building common points and more time using finishers to maintain damage on the enemy. The more bites the easier you have up time with your rip and the more damage you are going to put out. So crit is going to be a stat that will never have enough of. Haste is not a great stat for Ferals. They do auto attack quite quickly so haste does benefit them a little. It also gives you more ticks of bleeds in between so while not the worst stat, there are some classes like Outlook and Mastery that’s a far worse combo than a Feral in haste. Ferals and mastery produces big bite damage and big bleed damage. Finally versatility, you are going to shred the enemies, swiping them and versatility benefits all physical damage. And all those abilities not empowered by mastery. So they are really safe when it comes to secondary stats.
Ferals do have a little bit extra advantage, the Owl Weaving. You get caster based abilities from time to time that kind of flips things on its head.
The spec could scale incredibly well going to future patches having access to this whole other play style as part of its base toolkit with all the changes Blizzard added to Druids in Shadowlands.
15:17 FROST DEATH KNIGHT
Stats are really strong. Haste is great in terms of research generation, auto attacks give you more procs for your killer machine procs. Crit strike where killar machine procs give you more value on those big obliterates so you are getting that extra mastery usage out of it when you do. Which ties into your mastery binaural frost damage. And quite a lot of your damage is frost damage through talent or even through the obliterate based play style. Then versatility which is not a terrible stat either. They also have a decent benefit of weapons in terms of they can play a double wield or a two-hand play style. Sometimes the dual play style is a little stronger, other times two-hand play style is a little stronger. However for future patches it does give Frost DK this playability of you can go from one play style that makes certain towers stronger. Or you can go for another play style that makes other towns stronger. If you are focusing more on single target burst potential damage, you could go for obliteration build.
Not all specs have this viability to be able to switch the play style based on weapons and for Frost having this use of change weapons you slightly make certain aspects of your play style stronger. I think it does give him that future proof protection. You are like Unholy in terms of the raid utility, anti-magic zone, decent mobility but they are also starting to sim a little bit ahead of Unholy. And with how well they use the secondary stats, they could be incredibly good for future content as well.
These are the five DPS specs that probably have the most potential in the future of Shadowlands. That being said, as long as Blizzard does not make some crazy huge sweeping changes to how we play all of these specs and classes because they totally could. They could adjust and alter how all of these guys play and they could also change the way the gear and scaling is going to work in future patches. We’ll just have to wait until the patch 9.1.