Good News! Patch 4.0.3a is hitting live servers today. Despite all the doom and gloom and sky-is-falling mentality of a lot of bears, I am quite excited about this patch. The whole of Azeroth looks absolutely fantastic, and those of you that haven’t seen it will (hopefully) be floored by the change.
Time to hunt the skies for Deathwing.
Down to business. As most of you are aware by now, Bears are getting a significant health nerf with this patch. Swipe’s damage is being reduced and the Savage Defense change might be in as well (can’t find evidence to support this at this time).
Do not freak out, but here’s the changes:
- Bear Form now provides 10% bonus health, down from 25%.
- Leader of the Pack now heals for 4%, down from 8%.
- Survival Instincts now provides 50% damage reduction, down from 60%, and its cooldown has been lowered from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.
- Swipe (Bear Form) damage has been reduced by 20%.
- Vengeance is no longer cleared on exiting Bear Form, and instead is cleared upon entering Cat Form.
- Heart of the Wild: the Bear Form Stamina bonus from this talent is now 2/4/6%, down from 3/7/10%.
I cannot stress enough how much the stamina nerf does not hurt us as a viable tank option. Bears were unbelievably overpowered. So much so on Beta, that Blizzard had to damage-tune bosses to be able to challenge bears (who were absorbing near-full hits), and at the same time practically two-shotting the other 3 tanks. And if you’ve followed the Dev mission statement for Cata encounters, 2-shotting tanks to challenge healers, like it was in wrath, is not a well designed encounter.
The stam reduction will only sting a little. And if you tell me “but we only have our stam armor and dodge! We don’t have parry or block!” so help me… I can’t finish that sentence in a nice way. Bears have higher avoidance than the other 3 tanks at 85. We do have less armor, correct. Our block mechanic was slightly over-nerfed, but still completely good. We have higher stance damage reduction. We are the only tanks with a static magic damage reduction on top of it all.
You should also never forget that Bears tend to scale obscenely well throughout the tiers. It’s exactly why we’ve had huge armor nerfs in BC and again in Wrath.
The swipe damage reduction, while at least not 50%, will most likely make aoe tanking obnoxious for the next two weeks. I honestly can’t say if swipe should still be used in single-target, or not. The spreadsheet I use has yet to be updated properly. I’m fairly certain the rage cost was brought down to 15, but again, I’m not positive.
Vengeance not disappearing unless we enter cat form is <3. Popping out to thorns or powershifting will no longer be detrimental in that regard. Hurray. :)
Savage Defense, if it changes, is undocumented for now. If it goes through, then your healers will probably notice a larger intake of damage. Nothing game-breaking. Yes, Mastery should still be stacked.
That’s pretty much all I have. There have been reports of a ridiculous armor buff right before Beta went down. I have no way to confirm this, though it is most likely an unintended bug. (Aka, bears with 54k armor in 359s and other tanks with only 34-36k; Thick Hide talent in game reading 120% of armor.)
Happy Deathwing Hunting.