Introduction:

I really like a lot of the changes that were made, and I will explain why in subsequent sections/posts. There are still some areas that need work, but overall it’s a vast improvement over the previous iteration. It’s pretty obvious to me that you (Blizzard) took the time to read and understand not just my feedback, but the feedback from the roundtable discussions I’ve been conducting over the past several months. When representatives from all Druid specializations agree that something doesn’t work, it’s pretty obvious that it needs changing.
In this series of posts I will only discuss the things that have been changed, or things that probably still need changing. Anything that is still the same as the previous iteration and can probably remain that way will be skipped.

Section 1: Specialization/Class Abilities

Savage Defense:

  • Duration increased to 6 seconds. This addresses one of the concerns I had about the previous iteration of this ability – having to install a swing timer to actually make any use out of it. I think 6 seconds should be enough to receive the appropriate use out of it when activated.
  • Reduction decreased to 40%. Good. It might even need to go down a bit more to be in line with similar abilities from other classes. Alternatively theirs could also be brought up to match.
  • Cost v Duration: This is a pretty crazy juggling act you have to pull off. On the one hand you don’t want it to cost so much that someone never has enough resources to use it. On the other, you can’t make it cost so little for the duration that you can simply regain the spent resources quickly enough to have 100% uptime. This largely depends on what happens with Rage generation, about which we know almost nothing so far. Honestly this is way easier to control via resource generation than ability cost. Just keep that in mind.

Lacerate: Looks like a 3 second cooldown was added. That means it will definitely 100% no longer be our GCD filler. That’s okay as long as there’s something else to take its spot. It’s an easy enough to maintain bleed, and it’ll be extremely punishing on Rage generation if you’re stupid enough to let it fall off.

Bear Hug: So they took the talent and made it a core Druid ability. From a PvE perspective I suppose it could be used as an alternative stun. However I’m a little concerned about what it does to your defenses in the meantime. Are you considered to be casting? Are you stunned yourself? I guess those are the sorts of things we won’t know until Beta.

Berserk: Duration changed to 10 seconds. It’s basically a 10 second version of Incarnation. The problem with it is that the 3 minute CD is only really justified when you are able to hit 3 targets at once. Otherwise it should be closer to 90 seconds, or 2 minutes tops.

Growl: Causing it to activate Bear Form when pressed is a nice change for tank swaps. I like it.

Maul: This is still a problem, and Warriors have the exact same one. Maul as it is designed is an outdated skill. It no longer serves a function by being a damaging ability that costs survivability resources. Instead it could fill the role of something that is currently missing in our toolkit: A GCD Filler.

Right now Swipe is the only ability that would fit the “GCD Filler” role as a non-bleed, no cost, no cooldown ability. But having Swipe as the filler is what we had in Wrath, and that was boring as hell. Keep Swipe as an AoE only ability, keep Thrash for both AoE and single target, and move Maul into the hole left by the redesigned Lacerate. All problems with it are suddenly solved.

I noticed that based on a post from Kaviax in the main feedback thread that this is intended. I’m going to warn you right now. It will never work. Warriors and Druids will just remove these abilities from our bars and never use them. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I don’t want to see anything saying this was not predicted when it actually comes true.

Faerie Fire: With the cooldown removed I’m worried this is intended to be our filler. It makes a great ranged puller and kiting tool, but just leave it there. I hope you also understand how angry we are right now that it’s on the spell hit table. Leaving it there and making it our filler would be rage inducing.

Omen of Clarity: Gone. Makes sense since our only damaging ability that has any cost right now is Maul, and that should be changing.

Section 2: Talents

There have been a number of changes to the talent tree. The vast majority of the problems got fixed, however there are still a few outliers (in T6 surprise surprise).

Feline Swiftness: Now 15% passive movement speed regardless of form. Good choice that reflects similar options for other classes.

Displacer Beast: Now basically a Blink that puts you in stealth. Hopefully we stay away from the similar terrain glitch problems of Blink, but I guess we won’t find out until Beta. With the “Cloak of Shadows” effect removed I don’t think it justifies a 3 minute CD. Still not entirely useful for Bears, but not unpredictably lethal anymore either.

Wild Charge: Moved to T1 and is now a viable alternative to FS, unlike what TP was.

Nature’s Swiftness: Got a huge CD reduction. Depending on the spell coefficient for Healing Touch this could actually be useful. I like it on paper.

Mass Entanglement: Suddenly got a whole lot better. Castable in forms and now for a real duration. I like it as an AoE CC tool.

Soul of the Forest: This will generate some interesting conversation and theory on what is better for a given encounter. I like how it accomplishes the same goal as Incarnation but in a different manner. However until we have a better idea of how Rage generation is going to work, and what FoN does, we don’t really know if it’s effective or not.

Mighty Bash: Which is basically Bash as a talent instead of a class ability. It’s solid for sure, and provides a decent choice when compared to the other two options in its tier.

Dream of Cenarius: Fasc mentioned in another thread that this synergizes really well with Cenarion Ward, and I agree. It also works well with Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch. I like the new implementation a lot, it’s much less clunky than the original.

Unfortunately, now we come to the still broken talents.

Disentanglement: The self heal is still there. It really needs to get blown away. You have tried very hard for many years to get rid of power shifting, and with one talent you suddenly add it back in for only one spec: Guardians. If this remains I can guarantee that this sequence of events will become the norm for all high level Guardians:

  • Pool enough rage to pop Savage Defense and/or Frenzied Regeneration in succession.
  • Powershift between melee swings to gain a 20% heal.
  • Repeat.

The problem is I don’t really know what to put in its place.

Heart of the Wild: The problems with this talent also remain. Since we know now that non-caster specializations of hybrids will be stuck with base mana, there are two problems:

  • The mana regeneration component is not high enough to support Healing Touch. At a 45 second duration, we have enough time to cast 18 Healing Touches. However to do that we will burn through over 5x our base mana pool. At 2% base mana every 5 seconds, we’ll regenerate a total of 18% base mana for the duration of the talent. Obviously 1.18 < 5 by a pretty huge amount.
  • The hit rating increase is too ineffective for Wrath. Currently Hit Rating is only above Haste in terms of our stat priorities as a Guardian (with what we currently know in MoP). That means our Hit rating is going to be pretty darn terrible. We’d have to be at least hit capped to be partially effective at ranged DPS with the talent’s current design. Since that is an effective reduction to our survival, it won’t happen.

The talent is supposed to encourage us to use other combat roles. Unfortunately the boosts we get to be effective at those roles (other than Feral) are too small to be of any tangible use.

Summary: Overall there have been quite a few positive changes. The only glaring outstanding problems are Maul, Disentanglement and HotW. Hopefully those will be adjusted in future iterations.

If you’re on the US forums I strongly encourage you to post your comments in this thread: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3595675354. Otherwise you can of course post them here.

21 Comments

  • Viray says:

    Was the bear mastery changed earlier or is it a new thing?

  • Warscreamer says:

    Hello Arielle,
    got few questions.

    Tier 1:
    I cannot see charge on ability list, so if I’m correct picking up Wild Charge is the only option to get charge back (oh how I love to charge instead of running on my pala tank)

    Tier 2:
    You missed Renewal, 2min CD, free (no mana cost) insta heal for 20% of max HP. usable in all forms.
    In my opinion this is currently the best option for guardian, therefore I should prepare simulation of usage Healing Touch with Nature Swiftness buff vs. bears base mana. Sadly instant HT cast from NS CANNOT(!) be affected by Dream of Cenarius buff (if I understand correctly)

    Tier 6:
    Disentanglement 20% healing or 30% from Renewal. Anyway, I guess tier 6 will be rebuild. I don’t think blizz will introduce power shifting again.

    • Arielle says:

      Yes, charge is now the Wild Charge talent.

      I didn’t “miss” Renewal, it just didn’t change from its previous iteration. Dream just says the healing spell is increased. It does say it will not increase the damage of our next melee ability….but who really cares about that?

    • Warscreamer says:

      OFC! you can get the buff from melee ability as well. My mistake, I was before my morning coffee.

  • Bhambham says:

    I didn’t see a CD on Mangle.. wouldn’t that make Mangle our Filler?

    • Arielle says:

      Mangle will definitely have a cooldown given Lacerate and Berserk. Probably an oversight that it was removed from the tooltip.

  • AsgardFM says:

    It does seem like there are a few too many % heal and health options available to druids right now. Pop Might of Ursoc for a bonus 30% hp, then Renew and a quick powershift for 50% of your hp back. And that option isn’t even limited to Guardians.

    Personally I’d rather see a bit more variety there, two abilities would seem about right but that above combo seems a bit overboard. Maybe change Renewal into more of a HoT style could be nice for less of a burst recovery.

  • Xanbek says:

    I noticed that Lacerate has a 12% chance on tick to reset the cooldown on Mangle, but Mangle no longer has a cooldown? What are your thoughts on this?

    Will they just take off the ’12% chance to reset Mangle cooldown’ clause or do you think they’ll make another side-benefit to keeping lacerate up? Unless I’m missing it, Pulverize is gone right?

    • Arielle says:

      Nah, Mangle will have a cooldown otherwise resource generation will just be imba.

      Pulverize is definitely gone.

  • Gads says:

    From the recent Blue post on the February 15 Update to Mists Talent Calculator, they clarified on some of the Shared Feral abilities.

    Mangle: 6 second cooldown, Generates 5 rage, which can also be reset by a proc from Lacerate and now Thrash ticks.
    Swipe: 3 second cooldown, and is free.
    Thrash: 6 second cooldown, and costs 15 rage.
    Faerie Fire: 6 second cooldown, and is free.
    Lacerate: 3 sec cooldown, and is free.
    Maul: 3 sec cooldown, and costs 30 rage.

    The Big Change is Thrash resetting Mangle. If it is around 12%, which is what a 1 stack of lacerate is, then we should almost have no CD on Mangle on large packs. This will enable us to have extremely high uptime on Savage Defense.

    For Rage Free Fillers it seems were stuck with Swipe, Faerie Fire, Lacerate. We still want to keep Thrash up for its chance to proc Mangle and providing the 10% melee Debuff, though it might be better to only do it every 30 secs since it wont provide more Rage that it Consumes. Swipe has moved into a more Single Target roll with the change to Thrash. Lacerate vs FFF is going to be whatever does more Damage unless your stack is getting close to dropping.

    From some quick napkin math and a little speculation regarding base rage from normal auto-attacks(assuming around 16 rage as it is now, and 25% crit) it seems we can have a very high uptime on Savage Defense(80%+).

    Regarding Maul, it needs to change. No one in there right mind will ever use this ability on a normal boss. There’s a lot they can do to make this a interesting and fun ability. Make it our Main single target filler by providing a extra chance for lacerate ticks to reset Mangle. Make it have a unique interaction with Mangle or Savage Defense. Unless it hits like a truck and your facing a boss that is nearly pure magic damage its going to have a nice home in our spell books.

    • Arielle says:

      Thrash/Mangle: Not really. At most you would get 2 extra Mangles out of it, which wouldn’t even be the cost of the Thrash you just spent. Current state Thrash will only be used for debuff maintenance and nothing else.

      Lacerate is not filler since the damage has been shifted back to the bleed (correctly). You’ll want to keep it up, but you won’t be spamming it. Thrash as previously stated will be for debuff maintenance because of its prohibitive cost vs return. “Filler” will end up being Swipe vs FFF unless they change Maul to not be useless.

      As for Savage Defense, you have to remember that you will also be expending Rage on debuff maintenance (Thrash), interrupts (Skull Bash), and other utility such as Stampeding Roar. I agree that autoattack Rage generation is the big unknown at this point but regardless of how much the base is, because it’s on a single roll cobmat table it will make getting Crit EXTREMELY important.

  • Gads says:

    I forgot about them shifting Lacerate back to Bleed. I also really hate FFF (sure i’m not the only one), and using Swipe on Single target feels wrong.

    The other thing to consider is that Primal Fury will give an additional 15 rage on top of the 5 for a Mangle Crit. It still wont break even, but you could get Lucky. And with our current filler options I think sacrificing a small amount of Savage Defense uptime(unless Bosses end up more towards 25 LK H) for more Mangles, as they should hit harder than FFF or Swipe, will be a large DPS increase.

    Overall i’m looking forward to pick tanking back up.

  • Skruff says:

    A couple of topics that I hope you can give some insight on:

    Regarding lacerate, I see you mentioned that the damage was reverted back to the bleed DoT. The tooltip indicates 3730 damage and then 71 damage every 3 seconds. I imagine there’s some AP coefficient tied in there, but it sure looks like the bulk of the damage is still on the front end. I’m sure I’m not understanding something here; can you elaborate a little how this works? Also, the tooltip says that the ticks have a 12% chance to proc the Berserk/Mangle effect. This is in the same sentence as the part about the bleed damage. The next sentence says this stacks up to 3 times. I would interpret that as applying to both the DoT and the Proc chance, so a 3 stack would mean a 36% chance to proc the free Mangle and cooldown reset. Is that correct?

    Next, I did not see you mention Frenzied Regeneration in this post. I’m not sure if it changed from the last iteration or not, but I find it rather interesting. It now has a 1.5 second cooldown, which means it’s always available. So our active mitigation tools are an absorb (SD) at a cost of 60 Rage and a pretty strong (5%/sec) HoT (FR) at a cost of 10 Rage/second. And then we’ve got our variety of short, medium, and long cooldowns (Disentanglement, Barkskin, Renewal, SI, etc). It’s looking pretty interesting to me, with Bears using a form of the generate/consume resource model, using Mangle (and autoattack) to generate Rage and then consuming it with SD and FR. What are your thoughts on this model? What are your thoughts on the new version of Frenzied Regen?

    • Arielle says:

      Yeah, you’re right about the Lacerate damage. There was a period in the tooltip that I somehow missed when I was reading it. Regarding the proc chance for Mangle, yes. That’s pretty close to what it is now actually.

      FR didn’t change from the original iteration, that’s why I didn’t mention it. I actually kinda like it. On something like Rag where you continue to take DoT damage after swapping you can pop FR to heal yourself up with the excess Rage.

      I’m a little concerned about their concept of how rage generation is going to work, and I can’t see it being practical without either completely gimping the ability of other specs to use Bear form at all, or changing how rage gains from autoattacks work for just Bears. I’m doing some more investigation on this with a custom rage generation calculator I’m making. Expect more in a week or so.

  • NONtoxic says:

    Personally, I don’t feel that Maul in it’s current form would be as useless as you’re suggesting. You might be surprised how often you would rather the extra damage over survivability. There is always going to be bosses with burn phases or taunt swaps, and sometimes you’re just going to overgear the content. Bears are not going to need a GCD filler, we have enough abilities to keep us GCD locked, both single target and AoE.

    • Arielle says:

      You’ll just go Cat during swaps, so that’s out.

      Having Swipe as filler is terribly, terribly boring. We tried that in Wrath, it was terrible. Why are we going back to it?

      You don’t design around overgearing content. You design around having the appropriate gear for the content.

      And you’ll never pick damage over SD while tanking progression content, unless the boss does basically 0 physical damage. But in that case you spam FR instead.

    • NONtoxic says:

      There seems to be a bit of contention as to how much damage Lacerate does, but it has a short enough CD that you could weave it between FFF and Mangle procs without ever missing a forth ability on single targets.

      Consider Maul as utility; you don’t need it in your regular rotation, and some may never use it in progression, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit a purpose.

    • Arielle says:

      Nobody knows how much damage anything is going to do. It’s pretty much a given that Mangle is going to remain on top. Other than that, it’s entirely possible that Swipe will be better than Lacerate in the end. Not only that, but you want to avoid spamming Lacerate so you don’t clip the ticks, which results in less Mangle chances.

      I could say Soothe is utility because it’s useful for one trash mob in one raid. Doesn’t mean anyone is actually going to put it on their bars.

      Maul is just never going to make it to the actionbar unless we have > 105 Rage every six seconds (SD+Thrash+Maul). But that’s just as bad as full CTC for Paladins/Warriors right now. Can’t see them making the same mistake twice.

  • Unheilvoll says:

    Guys, did you see that Sejta is sporting a full agility set gear for tanking now? Stamina defenders crying in 3, 2, 1….

  • Drazroz says:

    ok first i want to say i dont theorycrfat, but i was thinking about all the Disentanglement problem and was thinking that what they will make to prevent the “rotation” you mentioned is just make you lose the savage defense and FR buff when you leave bear form so you would only use it for OHSHIT moments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *