patch notes which MMO Champion have published and a few other sources that I've been reading.
On the face of it, not much has changed, the shadow priest specific changes are a measly two lines, looking at the general changes there are a couple more that affect shadoo and a glyph change, but that's it, so same old same old then yes? No.
Mind Blast now does 18% more damage than mind spike, now this seems to be a cack-handed way of describing what a spell does, basing it on what another spell does, but what does it actually mean. Well not much really, I suspect, for boss fights anyway; I'm yet to see the cold hard stats in the light of day, but I suspect this will still keep MB as a buff for other spells rather than a direct source of DPS. It will however increase your numbers on trash if you're using MS / MB / SW:D combinations because they go down too quickly to warrant a full rotation. Nothing to write home about really.
Mind Sear damage increased by 15% AND (and it's a big AND) you can now target it on a friendly player which is an even bigger DPS boost. Stay with me here… being able to target it on a friendly player is a DPS increase because it gives you one extra target to hit (it doesn't damage the target). Here's why; let's say you average 1000 DPS (for the sake of argument) using Mind Sear alone on a group of 5 mobs (i.e. you're targeting 1, and damaging the other 4) now you target the tank, and damage 5 mobs so 1000/4 = 250 dps per mob = 1250 DPS for 5 mobs which is a 25% increase. An additional 15% on top of that and you're up to 1437.5 DPS. That's a massive 43.75% damage increase (for 5 mobs, it varies depending on the pack size). Searingly HOT.
Shadow Orbs benefit from mastery increased by 16% this is a BIG change, I'm seeing on twitter and the occasional US based blog (who've already got 4.0.6) that this means that mastery is now more important than Haste! Did I not tell you it would be? Yes I did, right here.
Vampiric Embrace now lasts until cancelled. Finally! Do the same to Inner Fire please.
Glyph of Mind Flay no longer requires SW:P to be on the target, flay away boys! Given the mastery increase this may mean that you flay first, get an orb and then DoT up, this sounds dangerous to me, I need to do some nasty maths (or steal someone else's) but I don't have time at the moment. It may also make MF viable as a trash melter as a replacement / augmentation to MS / MB.
And that's it! Well, that's it for the patch notes, there is one more, potentially massive change to the way you'll need to stack stats. I'm hearing on the grapevine that Hit, or more specifically, the Hit Cap is back as of 4.0.6, there's nothing to indicate directly why this is in the patch notes, perhaps as a consequence of the Mastery buff. If this is the case, then there will be a lot of Shadow Priests breathing a sigh of relief, there was no definitive "you must have x% Hit" prior to 4.0.6 which left lots of muppets making totally unsubstantiated statements about it. If there is now a hit cap then it makes things a lot more cut and dry, get 17%, reforge and regem immediately. I won't tell you again. It might even make smelly Spirit more desirable.
I'm still trying to dig out some hard evidence for this, and have run out of time for the moment (some of us have work to do….) but I'll post an update as soon as I have anything.