Slightly Less Unbearable: Beta Build 8962

Posted in Feral, WotLK on Sep 18, 2008

There’s one thing in beta that I haven’t heard any Bear Druids complaining about: damage dealt. We’ve been handed a cornucopia of talents and multipliers that dramatically increase how hard we can hit it and for how long (i.e. Rage generation for dodging)—and who doesn’t like an animal who knows how to get it on strong? Maybe that’s another story. But Druids, by and large, have been concerned about surviving. This latest beta build pulls a few more tricks out of the developers’ hats, but doesn’t quite provide the security we wanted. I’ve divided the updates into three categories—damage dealing, survivability, and PVP—for ease of reading.

Hit It Like You Mean It (Damage)

  • Shred: effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Shred damage.
  • Maul: effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Maul damage.
  • Faerie Fire (Feral): now deals damage and causes extra threat while in Bear form.
  • Glyph of Swipe has been removed and has been replaced with Glyph of Maul, enabling Maul to hit two targets.

Briefly: none of these are negative changes. Anything that increase damage dealt increases our ability to aggressively hold aggro and therefore raises the threat cap your DPS have to manage. It’s pertinent to note that the language for Shred and Maul can be a little confusing—Shred and Maul are not becoming bleed effects (bleeding, remember, means damage over time) but rather have their damage boosted by effects that normally increase bleed damage (i.e. Mangle and potentially the Warrior Arm’s talent Trauma).

Faerie Fire is already a staple ability that generates a minute amount of threat, and converting it to a damage ability, however small, is a welcome addition to the TPS arsenal (and will certainly encourage some forgetful ferals to apply it).

I also don’t see the removal of the Swipe glyph as any sort of nerf. Swipe already hits 4 targets. Removing one and allowing us to utilize one of our largest threat/damage attacks on two targets is pretty stellar, in my opinion, even if Maul is a “next attack” spell (think: Heroic Strike).

Keep It Stronger Longer (Survivability)

  • Barkskin: now usable in all forms.
  • Predatory Instincts: reduces the damage taken by area of effect attacks by 3/6/9/12/15%.
  • Improved Leader of the Pack: in addition, you gain 4% of your maximum mana when you benefit from an Improved Leader of the Pack heal.

The Barkskin change was already anticipated. No complaints here. I’m actually more excited about the change to Predatory Instincts, which I had finally decided to max out over Shredding Attacks. The previous Predatory Instincts offered a “chance” to avoid AOE; here, we’ve been given a 15% flat damage reduction from AOE. Marry that to the critical strike bonus, and I think we have a winner.

The Improved Leader of the Pack change is most definitely a survivability change—now, the entire raid group will receive a small mana refund every time they’re healed by LotP, reinforcing the reason you might want to take a Druid over another, similar raid buffer. Aren’t we the clever little fur-batteries?

4 Fite (PVP)

  • Bash: now interrupts spell casts for 3 sec. and stuns for 4.
  • Brutal Impact: now reduces the cooldown of Bash by 15/30 seconds in addition to its previous effect.
  • Feral Charge (Cat): causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds. 30 second cooldown.

Most of the changes affect Bash. I slotted these changes into a PVP section, because I fail to see how useful the spell interrupt function is in a PVE environment. Why? If you’re using Bash to stun a mob in PVE, you’re stunning it. If the mob is stunned for 4 seconds while simultaneously being silenced for 3, you’re already accomplishing the same purpose, right? In a PVP scenario, your target can immediately trinket out of Bash and find him or herself unable to counter immediately with a defensive or offensive spell. The cooldown reduction is obviously complimentary to this function.

What’s the difference between Cat and Bear Feral Charge? The cooldown and on-charge effect. In Bear Form, Feral Charge sits on a convenient 15 second cooldown and immobilizes and interrupts your target. In Cat Form, we now have a longer cooldown and a daze effect. A carefully timed Feral Charge in a PVP environment can considerably slow your target, and in some cases, increase the damage your comrades can deal to said target (i.e. a Warrior’s Heroic Strike, however useless in PVP, or a Hunter’s Steady Shot).

Blizzard is seemingly taking a few steps in the right directions in regards to Feral Combat, but will the survivability changes assuage the wary community?

For a brief analysis of the Restoration changes, check out the latest posts at Resto4Life and The Nyxes.

19 Comments

  • At 2008.09.18 13:22, Faerun said:

    Someone on EJ said that the Protector of the Pack is just a tooltip typo. You still get 1%/2%/3% from party members based on the number of talent points you put into it.

    Also, the 60% bonus AP (AP not damage) is just on the AP you get from bear form (not AP total), so it’s like an extra 72 AP.

    • At 2008.09.18 13:57, Runycat said:

      When I get home from work, I’ll have to check it out.

      I realize more and more that any time I don’t use pointedly specific language, someone calls me on it.

    • At 2008.09.18 13:36, Kal said:

      *

      Most of the changes affect Bash. I slotted these changes into a PVP section, because I fail to see how useful the spell interrupt function is in a PVE environment. Why? If you’re using Bash to stun a mob in PVE, you’re stunning it. If the mob is stunned for 4 seconds while simultaneously being silenced for 3, you’re already accomplishing the same purpose, right? In a PVP scenario, your target can immediately trinket out of Bash and find him or herself unable to counter immediately with a defensive or offensive spell. The cooldown reduction is obviously complimentary to this function.

      The interrupt will work on immune mobs though. Or at least it should. If it doesn’t work like that, it’s pretty stupid.

      • At 2008.09.18 13:55, Runycat said:

        That’d be nice.

        • At 2008.09.18 13:57, Runycat said:

          And would therefore be useful.

          • At 2008.09.19 11:26, Oustedian said:

            So could this be considered a “kick” type ability for feral druids? If so, that’s a damn handy change.

            • At 2008.09.19 11:30, Runycat said:

              At the time of writing, I had not yet ventured on to the beta to test it out. If it is a “Kick” or “Shield Bash” type ability, it’d be a welcome change.

              • At 2008.09.19 15:19, Kal said:

                According to blues, it’s a shield bash type ability that is supposed to work against immunes, and the new points in brutal impact are supposed to lower its cooldown to something reasonable.

                • At 2008.09.20 07:24, Runycat said:

                  So I see. I like the new talent spread this build; as soon as I have some time to sit down and screw around again, I’m going to post some addendums.

            • At 2008.09.23 19:20, Flaime said:

              The interrupt will work on immune mobs though.

              I saw something on WoWInsider mentioning that Bash will now interrupt immune mobs. So it’s useful for raid bosses now.

            • At 2008.09.18 13:51, Thalium said:

              I think the mana refund is only for you on the Imp. LotP

              • At 2008.09.18 13:55, Runycat said:

                Well that would be largely pointless, and I hope that isn’t the case. I was excited for about 2.5 seconds.

                • At 2008.09.18 15:22, crimxona said:

                  With the movement to rogue gear (less int), mana’s going to be an even bigger problem for powershifting or just feral PVP in general.

                  At least this change compensates a bit for that. Maybe.

                  • At 2008.09.21 15:49, Oni said:

                    Powershifting isn’t really that useful anymore, with the changes to Furor. And I’m not sure if you actually benefit from mana recharge abilities while shapeshifted (since you don’t, technically, have mana at that point. e.g. you cannot be mana drained either).

                    If the mana regen only benefits the druid himself, it’s quite pointless since mana isn’t really needed for ferals, outside PvP at least, in the expansion. Powershifting as cat doesn’t work, and bears can pot / use health stones and such anyway, so they don’t need to shift either. So I really hope this is to make ferals work like mana batteries for hunters, non-healing shamans and retribution paladins.

                    • At 2008.09.21 16:19, Runycat said:

                      ^ This.

                      Thanks for getting to the comment before I did. They made some changes to Paladin base mana, supposedly (about 3k more), so maybe we’ll see some of that ourselves.

              • [...] » Read Runycat’s impressions of the Feral changes [...]

                • At 2008.09.19 06:23, Rusco said:

                  I managed to get on PTR the other night and at one point tried out feral charge in cat form. It was only against really low level mobs but I never pulled out of stealth. Do you know if it holds true to mobs that are more inclined to pull aggro?

                  • At 2008.09.24 08:15, Yggdrasil said:

                    According to your text, the Bash effect is an Interrupt, as opposed to a Silence, to which PvE instance bosses are immune, along with stuns. Many are still immune to Interrupts, such as Kick, Earthshock, and Counterspell, but all (as far as I know) are immune to Silences, such as Silence (the aptly named Priest talent/spell) and Silencing Shot. So it seems logical to me that this is a Druid equivalent to Shield Bash for Warriors (although the Improved Shield Bash talent DOES cause a Silence effect in addition to the Interrupt), otherwise it’d be fairly worthless as a change.

                    • At 2008.09.24 08:28, Runycat said:

                      All of these changes are already dated, and explanations/new talent structuring has been implemented; I just haven’t written about it.

                      It does look like Bash will be functioning as a Shield Bash effect. I recommend checking out Kalon’s write-up for the latest news. Hopefully I’ll be able to provide a more detailed explanation of the latest revamps by the end of the week. Work is really heating up.

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