Power Infusion: Community Frustrations, Concerns and Possible Solutions
15.08.2022 um 05:00
The Priest ability, Power Infusion, has been a controversial topic throughout Shadowlands. With this ability returning in Dragonflight, we wanted to discuss the current state of Power Infusion, why players are frustrated with the ability, and some possible solutions that could help alleviate these concerns going forward!
This article is written by our Shadow Priest Writer,
, and guest writer and Warlock expert,
With the release of Shadowlands, Blizzard added several new and returning spells which focused on increasing the strength of an ally. Of these external cooldowns, the most iconic and most powerful was Priest's
Seele der Macht
. Now two years on, we've seen how the spell has impacted both the meta throughout Shadowlands, as well as the playerbase as a whole. Here, we'll go over that impact, as well as what changes are planned with the release of Dragonflight.
Power Infusion In Shadowlands
Power Infusion was at its best in organized group content, be that Mythic+, Arenas, or Progress Raiding. Being able to use Power Infusion on other players opened up a lot of options for how it could be used, beyond just empowering the Priest. It could be used to to empower a specific group member during their most potent cooldowns, allowing you to handle a particularly dangerous mechanic or phase on a raid boss. It could be used in Mythic+ to enable massive AoE pulls that you'd otherwise struggle to finish off before they overwhelmed your tank. It could also still be used by the Priest, either as the best recipient for damage in the case of Shadow, or for raw healing output should that be more important to your group. Power Infusion's greatest strength was absolutely its flexibility in Shadowlands.
Frustrations with Power Infusion
Giving away power infusion caused frustration for Priests because it's fun to be under the effects of it. Haste is often a valuable stat, as well as the fact your own performance is tuned around the assumption that you're going to use it on yourself, which is especially true for Shadow. Haste is also not just a stat that affects damage. It provides additional resources, might make your cooldowns reduce faster due to interactions with spec mechanics, and also just makes gameplay faster. If a Priest wanted to use Power Infusion on another player, they were either giving up their own Power Infusion, or the choice of a legendary other than
Zwillinge der Sonnenpriesterin
Zwillinge der Sonnenpriesterin
On the flip side of this, not receiving Power Infusion caused frustration for non-Priest players because it often meant certain playstyles or strategies were significantly less effective or not options at all. The most obvious example of this is if the additional haste reduced your major cooldown enough that it could be used at a more opportune time during a raid encounter, or lined up better to produce more compelling and natural gameplay. Power Infusion being something that a Priest could only provide to a single player meant you often had members of your raid who benefitted a lot from it missing out. This also made it harder for players without a consistent source of Power Infusion to learn from or compete with those who did.
Looking at Power Infusion values for specs like Demonology Warlock or Fire Mage (which are considered to be the “top” Power Infusion targets in 9.2), it is not hard to see how much certain specs benefit from a hasted effect compared to others. Both Demonology Warlock and Fire Mage were sitting right around the 10% raw damage gain threshold when given Power Infusion, while other specs like Frost Death Knight and Elemental Shaman gained less than half that value. This does not also necessarily take into account cooldown reduction (CDR) and what it may mean for the encounter. While Destruction Warlock might not be as valuable a target as Demo or Fire, the haste Power Infusion grants allows the player to have their Infernal cooldown reduced even further due to simply casting more Rain of Fire or Chaos Bolts. Classes that don’t have any kind of CDR effects to pair with Power Infusion are (at times) disadvantaged compared to classes that have a cooldown reduction and can make good use of the hasted effect. Mages and Warlocks have also seen significant amounts of representation throughout raids and Mythic+ in Shadowlands and while this isn't anything out of the ordinary as both classes have been consistently desirable, Power Infusion has given players one more reason to consider them over other specs. Demonology especially has been able to stand out as one of the top DPS specs both with and without Power Infusion in 9.2.
Demonology was in an odd spot before the nerfs that came mid 9.2. The damage profile that it brought was exceptionally strong in single target due to both its consistency with tier bonuses and it being a 1 minute cooldown thanks to CDR effects. When given Power Infusion, it allowed for more resources to be put into your Demonic Tyrant (via pet summons) which also meant additional CDR. When summoned, your Demonic Tyrant would then also cast faster due to the haste that Power Infusion granted the player. Whether it was Demo’s tier bonuses, the 1 minute damage profile, Wilfred’s CDR or a mix of it all (which is most likely), it is pretty easy to see just how much power PI granted the spec, and why Blizzard felt the need to tone it down a little.
Power Infusion in Dragonflight
The Shadowlands legendary
Zwillinge der Sonnenpriesterin
has been made into a single talent point accessible in the Priest class talent tree. This means that Priests will always receive the full benefit of Power Infusion, even if they cast it on an ally.
This change removes the major point of contention for Priests regarding Power Infusion, they no longer have to give something up to use it on an ally. This is great because it removes the negative feeling for the Priest surrounding Power Infusion and also potentially gives Shadow a much needed reason to be included in a raid composition, as long as their own damage isn't reduced as a result.
With the question of 'if' a Priest provides Power Infusion now solved, we have a new question, "
" For healers this is likely going to depend on the encounter as their cooldowns are already planned out with the group's success in mind. For Shadow however, there might be a problem if the spec you're supposed to give Power Infusion to wants it at a different time when you would yourself. If you want a Shadow Priest's Power Infusion, you're very likely getting it on their terms.
For those receiving Power Infusion nothing has really changed. In fact, with the addition of yet more party based damage buffs in Dragonflight, we might have some new problems.
Party Buffs returning potentially making Power Infusion more powerful, this could cause even more problems when stacking it on top of these new party buffs and create feast or famine playstyles.
These Party Buffs could very well make Power Infusion even more favourable on classes that benefit more from reduced CDR, such as Warlocks and Fire Mages.
They could lead to more complicated scenarios based around CDR for certain specs/fights.
As the issue is now more one of timing, it could impact if Power Infusion is even valuable for a given spec due to their cooldown timings changing because of another group member.
It puts much more pressure on the Priest to “make the right choice” each time they cast Power Infusion.
For Warlock specifically, Power Infusion already provides a large amount of cooldown reduction based on spells being cast. While the class does benefit greatly from haste it is sort of a “best of both worlds” scenario where you are getting extra casts and faster cooldowns from Power Infusion. With the addition of
in Dragonflight, this could become a larger issue with more classes than just ones which have passive CDR. It now becomes an issue of figuring which specs benefit the most from both the Rogue CDR effect and Power Infusion on top of that.
Talent in Dragonflight
Most damage based specs in WoW currently have profiles where they hold their CD’s for one another and then deal the majority of their damage in small windows, whether it is 2, 3 or 4 minutes etc. Working in the possibility of granting them a 20% haste buff on top of a CDR effect could drastically alter the way that groups are built heading into Dragonflight and further complicate class tuning.
This is obviously all speculation, with Dragonflight still several months away and plenty of time for things to be iterated on. There are a variety of ways Blizzard might choose to alter how Power Infusion is handled.
Potential Changes to Power Infusion
Throughout recent discussions surrounding Power Infusion, several ideas have been consistently been floated by members of the community. The first of which is to shift Power Infusion from being an individual buff to a party buff, similar to
which spreads its value across four other players instead of one, and the other is to change the thing Power Infusion provides another player into a flat damage and healing buff.
Party Wide Power Infusion
ProsPI will benefit more targets, just on a smaller scale like Windfury Totem
Takes the pressure away from the priest to pick the right target every time
Reduces the risk of potential balance concerns caused by large amounts of secondary stats going to a single player
Aligns better with the "buffing your group" fantasy that's being pushed by other utility effects across the expansion
Less interesting / impactful for an individual player
Likely to be buffing people who don't have their cooldowns active and aren't going to make full use of the buff
Worse in smaller group content where you don't have a full party, such as PvP.
With focus shifting away from buffs that affect a single player, such as
, it's somewhat odd to see Power Infusion remain a buff on a single player. Making it a group buff with the effect spread across the party massively reduces the difference between those who have Power Infusion and those who don't whilst still keeping the desired player fantasy.
Power Infusion as a Damage Buff
PI's value from spec to spec will be a lot closer, reducing the odds the same specs receive it all the time
Much simpler to balance, as there's no spec specific interactions to worry about
Makes it possible to allocate the damage provided by the buff to the priest
Potential confusion between PI giving haste to the priest and damage or healing to someone else
Potential problems in PvP as flat damage buffs are more likely to be abusable by burst classes
Changing the buff into something less nuanced and impactful than haste mostly affects balance concerns, whilst still keeping the ability as a single big buff to give to someone to increase their output. With lots of iteration coming to the priest class in the coming weeks, it's possible we might see more changes to Power Infusion.
Logs, Parsing, and Community Solutions
, Ion Hazzikostas gave his thoughts on Power Infusion and its effects on players throughout Shadowlands.
There are two games being played in a raid group. There is game 1, which is the game that we built, which is beat the raid boss, clear the dungeon in the time limit. Then there’s game 2, which players have largely created for themselves, which is win DPS meters...
With this in mind, as well as Blizzard's previous comments about Power Infusion being a community issue that requires a community solution, player's focus has shifted towards finding that solution.
Warcraft Logs has announced
that in Season 4, it will be experimenting with excluding logs which have an excessive number of external buffs, this is similar to how many fights which enable excessive padding are removed from all-star rankings as tiers progress. This change might players incentives to stack multiple externals on the same person for the sake of parsing.
Whether you agree that Power Infusion is a problem or don’t see there being an issue at all, Warcraft Logs experimenting with this speaks volumes. While this does go back to there being a “Game 1” and a “Game 2”, parsing is a part of the game that many players look forward to every tier. Power Infusion makes that part of the game something that players who aren’t receiving the effect can't partake in. While you might be able to execute a near perfect rotation on an encounter, another player who receives Power Infusion and maybe played slightly suboptimal, will still (likely) boast higher performance than yourself.
There is also the issue of attempting to find logs for your spec when not receiving Power Infusion, in a sea of external parses. It is not just that Power Infusion increases your haste but also can affect cooldown timing on different bosses if guilds are trying to allocate damage at a certain point. A great example of this is Mythic Jailer. Demonology Warlock are often given Power Infusion on the fight due to the specs strong damage profile and what it also does for the spec CDR wise. Having your Tyrant cast be even 5-6 seconds late could often mean that he gets LOS’ed by pillars in phase 1 or you are dodging a knockback in phase 2, but thankfully Power Infusion solves this. At that point is Power Infusion's impact on Demonology Warlock a Game 1 or a Game 2 problem? You could argue when it affects gameplay that noticeably it becomes game 1. Issues continue when a player begins to look for logs of a Mythic Jailer kill for Demonology Warlock. In 9.2 you would have to look all the way back to rank 724 to find the first non-external kill, which was also over 5,000 DPS less than the rank 1 kill.
Obviously the highest non-external Demo parse being rank 724 is a bit excessive compared to other specs, but that's how things are with Power Infusion and higher end progression based settings. Nine times out of ten the best recipient of Power Infusion will get it. There isn’t much reason to give PI to a Frost DK or Elemental Shaman when another class gains 5-7% more effective damage and you are progressing in a competitive environment.
Overall, it feels like Power Infusion is here to stay, and with the changes to it in Dragonflight Blizzard do recognise there were issues with its initial implementation. While most issues from the perspective of the Priest have been solved, there are still questions surrounding how such a potent external buff on a single player should be handled by both players and Blizzard alike. Power Infusion often impacts players beyond just increasing their damage, it improves their spec's gameplay and in some cases even unlocks new playstyles and options in their rotation. While it's arguably a good thing that Power Infusion makes specs play better than without it, people shouldn't feel like it's a necessity in order to have their spec firing on all cylinders. One would hope Blizzard learn from how Power Infusion has affected a few unique specs throughout Shadowlands and aim to mitigate the feeling of needing external cooldowns to function effectively, or replicate proven encounter strategies.
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