By now I'm sure almost everyone has seen the new talents that were datamined from the WotLK Friends and Family alpha client. I will start off by listing these talents in their current state since there will certainly be a great deal of confusion should these talents undergo future changes.
Vampiric Touch - "Causes $o2 Shadow damage over $d to your target and causes all party members to gain mana equal to 2% of any Shadow spell damage you deal."
Growing Pains - "Converts 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus healing into bonus spell damage. In addition, your Mind Flay has a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to refresh the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain on the target."
Shadow Focus - "Increases your chance to hit with your Shadow spells by 1/2/3%, and reduces the mana cost of your Shadow spells by -2/4/6%"
Shadow Power - "Increases the critical strike chance of your Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death spells by 2/4/6/810%, and increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death spells by 10/20/30/40/50%."
Improved Shadow Word: Pain - "Increases the damage of your Shadow Word: Pain spell by 5/10%."
Dark Spirit - "Increases your Shadow damage by up to 10/20/30% of your total Spirit."
Improved Spirit Tap - "Gives you a $h% chance to gain a $49694s1% bonus to your Spirit after gaining a critical effect chance from your Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death spells. For the duration, your mana will regenerate at a $49694s2% rate while casting. Lasts $49694d."
Shadowform - "Assume a Shadowform, increasing your Shadow damage by 15%, reducing Physical damage done to you by -15% and threat generated by $49868s1%. However, you may not cast Holy spells while in this form."
Improved Shadowform - "Your Fade ability now has a 50/100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects when used while in Shadowform, and gives you a 25/50% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage when casting any Shadow spell while in Shadow form."
Dispersion - 5m cooldown - "You disperse into pure shadow energy, reducing all damage taken by -90%. You are unable to attack or cast spells, but you regenerate 6% health and mana every 1 sec for 6 sec."
Psychic Horror - "Causes your Psychic Scream spell to have a 100% chance to Fear the target in horror for 4 sec."
Shadow Resilience - "Reduces physical damage taken by -2/4%."
The new spells:
Mind Sear - Level 75, Instant Cast, 545 Mana - "Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the enemy target, causing 481-519 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all targets within 10 yards."
Nightmare - Level 68, 1665 Mana, Instant Cast - "Assault the target's mind, causing a powerful nightmare that deals 306 Shadow damage to all enemies within 10 yards of the target. Lasts 8 sec."
Upon announcement of these new/revamped talents I immediately started work on hacking together an updated version of the Shadow Priest Gear Spreadsheet. Here's what I came up with:
DPS Spreadsheet with Current 2.4.2 Talents
DPS Spreadsheet with WotLK Talents
Please note that for the spreadsheet edited to include WotLK talents I did not evaluate if there were any changes to the best-in-game gear set, though I believe any item changes would have a minor (if any) impact on the comparison between talents. Also at this point the WotLK spreadsheet is inflexible and only intended to show a comparison between talents, don't expect accurate values if you start switching things around, there are a couple things that could bug it out due to the haste at which I put it together.
WotLK 2253 dps
2.4.2 2000 dps
With WotLK talents we see a DPS increase of about 12.6%.
Net Mana Out (both using Destruction Potions)
WotLK -25 MP5
2.4.2 -168 MP5
At the high end gear level we still have infinite mana without using Super Mana Potions, note that I did not include the WotLK talent Improved Spirit Tap as the proc rate, % spirit increase, and % regen while casting are all unknown to my knowledge.
Vampiric Touch Regen
WotLK 225 MP5
2.4.2 500 MP5
VT regen has reached a much more reasonable level, perhaps it may be too low at the low end gear level however.
My preliminary thoughts were that the new changes would provide just the DPS increase the class needed and balance out the insane VT regen. Upon closer inspection it appears we may run into problems with mana regeneration for both ourselves (dependent on the Improved Spirit Tap mechanics) and our party, with not enough of a DPS increase to balance this out. On the other side of the argument with regard to mana regen, the fact that in the transition from 60 to 70 dps more than doubled for every single class, while mana costs increased by a comparatively smaller amount, if this trend continues in with the transition to TBC to WotLK our mana regen may be nearly as imbalanced as it is now. It is necessary to know the mana cost and dps scaling that occurs during the transition to level 80 before we can see the whole picture. At this point one thing seems certain however, Blizzard seems to have missed the mark with the new Shadow Priest spells, while there are certainly no problems with Shadow Priests gaining an AoE spell, two AoE spells that appear to have nearly the same mechanics seems to be wholly unnecessary.