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
- 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.
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.