Introduction

Hello Guardians! Earlier this evening Blizzard posted a first cut at their alpha patch notes. In this post I’m going to dig deep into them and dissect the changes as much as possible. As per normal (even more so) remember that these changes ARE ALPHA AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE. That being said, let’s get started.

Some of these changes we’ve already seen at Blizzcon, but a lot of the Guardian specific ones are new.
 

General Mechanics Changes

Agility no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities. The base chance to critically strike is now 5% for all classes. There are no longer different chances to critically strike with melee, ranged, and spells. There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%. It is learned by all Rogues, all Hunters, Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shamans.

Removing dual-Crit scaling makes sense really. It was just really messy in reality to have to worry about multiple sources of Criticals. In return we get a baseline increase to make up for the difference. That’s fine.

Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before. Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 20%. Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power). Attack Power, Spell Power, or Weapon Damage now affect the entire healing or damage throughput of player spells.

I’ll be honest, the whole Attack Power and Weapon Damage thing was just getting really confusing for a lot of people. 1 AP per point of Strength or Agility just makes everyone’s lives easier, and I like the conversion of 3.5 AP to Weapon Damage as well. The nerf to weapon’s damage is likely just to accommodate the removal of base ability damage.

Celestalon later confirmed in a tweet that only the appropriate classes will benefit from Strength or Agility. That means we won’t have to worry about wanting Strength items after this change, or vice-versa.

The amount of Dodge gained per point of Agility has been reduced by 25%.

Nobody cares about the Dodge gained from Agility nowadays anyway. But it makes sense that they’re reducing the contribution of passive mitigation stats in favour of more active mechanics.

All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included). Thick Hide now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.

We’ve known this was coming for a while, but now we know exactly what the changes are. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, and everyone is happy to see these stats gone anyway.

Weakened Blows was a debuff that mattered almost exclusively to tanks, and that every tank automatically applied. We removed the debuff and reduced creature damage to compensate.

Yay! It was a stupid debuff anyway that was a relic from Vanilla. Good riddance.

Weakened Armor and Physical Vulnerability were effectively redundant, both filling the role of increasing Physical damage taken by the target. So, we removed Weakened Armor and widened the availability of Physical Vulnerability a bit.

Yay! The difference between these two was actually quite annoying, and it was very critical to have both.

As part of a push to combine the different types of Haste in the game as much as possible, we merged Spell Haste and Attack Speed into just Haste, which benefits everyone.

And there was much rejoycing! Plus it’s an actual haste effect, which means GCD reduction (more on that later).

We like that tanks can provide meaningful DPS to their group, however, it swung wildly based on the fight, even surpassing the dedicated damage dealers occasionally. To solve this, we’re going to remove the offensive value of Vengeance, but preserve the defensive value, by making it increase the effect of your active mitigation buttons, instead of Attack Power.

Nobody saw this coming. Nope. Noone. Not a one. /sarcasm

In all seriousness this is a good change. Vengeance cheesing was probably the most common thing to take advantage of this expansion, and Druids mostly got the short end of the stick on that one. It’s a great boon to tank balance overall.

Resolve: Increases your healing and absorption done to yourself, based on Stamina and damage taken (before avoidance and mitigation) in the last 10 seconds.

Cool. Neat buffs to survival with a shorter window, which means more responsiveness to changes in incoming damage. Sounds fine by me.

Druid: Revive, Monk: Resuscitate, Paladin: Redemption, and Shaman: Ancestral Spirit now cost 4% of base mana (down from between 10% and 50%).

BEST CHANGE NA.
 

Perks

Guardians have gotten a bit of an overhaul in the latest set of patch notes. Mostly good changes, but a couple annoyances here and there. Let’s start with the perks as seen on WoWHead. Note that apparently these are earned randomly while you level, but you will have all of them by level 100:

  • Enhanced Tooth and Claw: Tooth and Claw now also makes Maul free, and can accumulate 1 additional charge. This pretty much solves any problem I ever had with T&C. In ToT you heavily modified your rotation around whether or not you had a proc, and if the next swing of the boss was already capped out or not. This outright solves that problem by removing the Rage cost, which means it’s always an advantage to press the button. The extra charge meanwhile basically makes it impossible to waste procs, given that they take so long to generate anyway (on average).
  • Empowered Berserk: Increases the duration of Berserk by 5 seconds. What’s not to like about this? It now becomes an even 15s (10 GCDs with no Haste), rather than the silly 10 seconds we have now. Great change.
  • Enhanced Bear Hug: You are no longer immobilized by using Bear Hug. Again, nothing not to like about this change. That was the single most annoying thing about that button in the first place, and now it’s gone.
  • Improved Mangle: Your Mangle deals 20% additional damage. Uh, sure. I guess.
  • Improved Maul: Your Maul deals 20% additional damage. Weeeeeeeeeeee.
  • Empowered Thrash: Increases the periodic damage of your Thrash by 50%. More damage. ALL THE DAMAGES.
  • Empowered Bear Form: Bear Form grants you an additional 20% Stamina. More EH? Sure, why not?
  • Improved Barkskin: Barkskin provides 10% additional damage reduction. It’s important to note here that there’s no reference to removing the buff to Barkskin’s cooldown that we received in 5.4. But it’s more likely to be a difference maker now.
  • Improved Frenzied Regeneration: increases the healing from Frenzied Regeneration by 10%. Can’t say no to more healing.

 

Mastery

One of the changes mentioned is something I’ve alluded to for a very long time, both here and on various forums or podcasts.

Mastery: Primal Tenacity causes the Druid to gain a Physical absorb shield equal to 16% of the attack’s damage when they are hit by a Physical attack. Attacks which this effect fully or partially absorbs cannot trigger Primal Tenacity. Mastery: Primal Tenacity now also passively increases Attack Power by 12% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.

Obviously our +Armor Mastery was very boring, and to be quite honest, mostly worthless. Our new Mastery gives us a shield of (2*Mastery)% of the last physical ability that hit us. It’s not clear what specifically qualifies as a “Physical Attack”, but I suspect the wording is general enough to imply that anything Stagger works on, our new Mastery would work on. This makes it very effective at smoothing out incoming damage not only from melee swings, but abilities that plagued us throughout this expansion (Blood Rage, Snapping Bite, Triple Puncture…..). The benefit is also low enough that it won’t be effective to stack pure Mastery or anything, but getting a little bit here-and-there will most certainly be beneficial….depending on the encounter of course.

The extra DPS bit is just to make it do something offensively, and therefore have tank DPS keep pace with your real damage dealers.
 

Rage Generation

Another one of our sore points this expansion was the almost complete passivity of our Rage generation. This has been significantly overhauled.

  • Auto-attacks now generate 5 Rage (down from 10.9 Rage).
  • Lacerate now generates 10 Rage, has no cooldown (down from a 3-second cooldown), but no longer has a chance to reset Mangle’s cooldown. and apparently still resets the CD on Mangle.
  • Thrash now generates 2 Rage every time it deals direct or periodic damage, has no cooldown (down from a 6-second cooldown), but no longer has a chance to reset Mangle’s cooldown.
  • Faerie Fire no longer has a chance to reset Mangle’s cooldown.
  • Primal Fury now generates 5 Rage (down from 15 Rage) when you dodge or non-periodically critically strike (up from only Auto Attacks and Mangle).
  • Mangle now generates 30 Rage, and its cooldown is reduced by Haste.
  • Bear Form no longer increases Haste and Crit from items by 50%, but instead causes Haste to reduce the global cooldown.

So close. Oh, so close. Each of these changes individually is a great change. Less reliance on Crit, a GCD that scales with Haste, more control over Rage generation, and AoE Rage generation. All good changes. The teensy problem is that our “rotation” is now even more boring than it was before. With the removal of FFF and proccing Mangles, our rotation is now 100% fixed – which is bleh. The only thing that changes is that you get to spam more Lacerates between applications of Thrash at higher Haste levels. /barf

You’ll see why I’m so salty in a second when we get to talents.
 

Ability Pruning

A number of buttons that we kind of expected to die have in fact, become deceased. These are:

  • Enrage: Not surprising. Became mostly irrelevant after T15 and was annoying to use anytime other than the start of a pull because it costs a GCD.
  • Innervate: YAY! I was sick of seeing this button my bar. For srs.
  • Swipe: I don’t particularly care about Swipe. We’re gaining AoE Rage generation anyway, plus this button would just feel absolutely horrible to press with the other Rage changes.
  • Symbiosis: This one I wasn’t expecting, but am not surprised by. I’ve previously referenced a tweet from Holinka indicating that it was going to be changed to be defensive CDs only. But think about that for a second. How would a Guardian having Cloak or Deterrence not be the most fucking overpowered thing in the universe? It was impossible to balance, and I’m glad they finally figured that out.

In return for losing Symbiosis, we gained something else:

Survival Instincts is now available to all Druid specializations. Survival Instincts now reduces damage taken by 70% (up from 50%) with a 2-minute cooldown (down from 3), and for Feral and Guardian specializations can have up to 2 charges (up from 1).

I literally have nothing bad to say about this. Literally 0. I actually think it’s probably way too overpowered to be completely honest. Of course that 100% depends on encounter design, but taking that at face value and putting it into SoO mechanics I’m like “welp I guess I literally just never die? mmmk”. We’ll see what happens though.’
 

Talents

I’ll admit, there’s some doozies here.

Heart of the Wild no longer provides an increase to Hit chance or Expertise while active, and no longer increases Stamina, Agility, and Intellect.

I don’t have a problem with this change, at all. We were always the ones that benefited the least from the “main role boost” to begin with, so that’s not really a loss. We also retain the best parts – the ability to assume another role for a period of time when we’re not tanking. Fine by me.

Dream of Cenarius – Guardian: No longer increases the critical strike chance of Mangle.

This is now way way way way way too expensive. You’re essentially costing yourself 10 Rage every time you use an HT, and since they’re no longer boosted by Vengeance/Resolve (except when you use them on yourself) there’s actually 0 incentive to press the button except when you’re not actually tanking anything at that very instant. It remains to be seen how it specifically ends up being balanced against Frenzied Regen, but I just don’t see that happening. This talent is basically dead to me until the HT becomes off the GCD.

Nature’s Vigil, while active, increases single-target damage and healing caused by healing spells by 16% (down from 25%), and all single-target damage spells also heal a nearby friendly target for 35% of the damage done (up from 25%).

Once again Nature’s Vigil will probably turn out to be the clear winner in most encounters. Splash healing with no extra thought required. Granted it won’t be as “smart” as it is now, but at least you can use it while tanking something.

Guardian of Elune – Savage Defense now lasts 4 seconds, and increases your chance to dodge by 100%.

I actually think this is pretty neat. Imagine how awesome it would be if you were guaranteed to dodge every single Snapping Bite? That would be really awesome. Obviously this will purely be a choice made based on encounter mechanics, but it’s a pretty neat talent that plays into our active mitigation. I like that.

Bristling Fur – You bristle your fur, reducing all damage taken by 50% for 3 seconds.

Much improved over the previous incarnation (huehue) for sure. Having an extra major cooldown is nothing to shake a stick at, and I would be very surprised if this doesn’t see at least some use.

Pulverize – A devastating blow that consumes 3 stacks of Lacerate on the target to deal 500% weapon damage, generate 30 Rage, and reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec.

And now you understand why I’m so salty. This is literally the perfect missing piece to the new rotation. I expect most Guardians will end up with this purely for the rotational engagement, when there’s no very specific reason to pick one of the other two. It’s just so terribly disappointing that Pulverize is a talent, when it should quite clearly be part of the core rotation. Heck, you could even scrap the damage reduction if you wanted. Just please please please please please make it a rotational ability.

And then Celestalon had to go and tell me they re-added the chance for Mangle to reset on Lacerate hit. Ok. The entire previous paragraph is worthless now :|

It actually makes Pulverize more tricky to use than first appears, since you have to balance Mangle procs vs Pulverize uptime. I almost think that the duration should be extended to maybe 12 or 15 seconds in order for you not to feel like you’re in panic mode when trying to manage Rage generation and Pulverize. In any case, I feel significantly less negative about it now.

24 Comments

  • Ahanss says:

    “Enhanced Bear Hug: You are no longer immobilized by using Bear Hug. Again, nothing not to like about this change. That was the single most annoying thing about that button in the first place, and now it’s gone.”

    Bear hugging the wind-guards in proving grounds and watching them helplessly try to knock me back was very fun. Now, if it changes to no longer root you, but still make you immune to knockbacks (I mean, you’re still hugging the target, so you can hold yourself in place), THAT would make my day. I understand I might be alone in this opinion… but I still want to get it out there.

    On mastery: I would prefer it if it didn’t arbitrarily miss every other attack. If an attack was going to give me a 1k shield, I don’t want having 10 leftover absorb to stop that from happening. What I think would be nice for it to do, is instead of that 10 absorb outright preventing the next attack from giving a shield, it simply reduced it by up to 10: an attack that would give 9 absorb still gives no shield, an attack that would give 1000 absorb instead gives 990. It would mean much more attacks are absorbed, with typically smaller shields.

    The risk there is it adds some complexity to the calculations. If vengeance has taught me anything, it’s complexity=bugs. Regardless, that mastery BETTER BE THE HIGHEST PRIORITY ABSORB EVER, I’d rather it keep proc’ing and getting used up if I have a good string of absorbs.

    “I actually think this is pretty neat. Imagine how awesome it would be if you were guaranteed to dodge every single Snapping Bite? That would be really awesome. Obviously this will purely be a choice made based on encounter mechanics, but it’s a pretty neat talent that plays into our active mitigation. I like that.”

    I actually like that talent a lot too. Even if the hit itself isn’t dodgeable (e.g. Froststorm strike), it means we can use SD and have no risk at all of taking melee hits around it. Shamans is actually a great example because you can see the effect in game: If the boss casts right before froststorm strike (and thus pushes their swing timer back until a second or two after the strike), it’s noticeably easier to deal with than having to put up with melee attacks around it. It’d also be handy for any fight where the damage varies significantly, the obvious example being Will of the Emperor, though any tank swap fight, and several other regular fights like spoils, blackfuse, etc. all fit that bill.

    It’s such a shame that there’s no way that’s going live as-is. SD charges need to be nerfed, recharge time nerfed, dodge reduced below a guarantee (making it rather useless), guaranteed dodge reduced to once, or something. As-is, you could rotate 3 bears, burn 4 charges over 16 seconds, and tank a boss forever without ever being at risk of taking a single melee hit or causing taunt DR. Even without that ridiculous scenario, it more or less prevents them from making any effect triggering on-hit that important, because we just become the obvious choice. I really don’t see a way they can make 100% avoidance available to a tank class that often, and still have it be good for the game.

    Though come to think of it, “Savage defense now also causes you to dodge the next attack” would be kind of cool itself.

    “And now you understand why I’m so salty. This is literally the perfect missing piece to the new rotation. I expect most Guardians will end up with this purely for the rotational engagement, when there’s no very specific reason to pick one of the other two. It’s just so terribly disappointing that Pulverize is a talent, when it should quite clearly be part of the core rotation. Heck, you could even scrap the damage reduction if you wanted. Just please please please please please make it a rotational ability.”

    As-is, it just replaces every 4th lacerate with a different button. I don’t see the “rotational engagement” of that, or at least it’s definitely not perfect.

    That it’s effectively 20% perma-DR definitely doesn’t help, though that of course needs to be toned down. My assumption would be a cooldown, 30-60s?

    • Ahanss says:

      Well.. that turned out more wall-of-texty than intended. Sorry folks!

    • Buraan says:

      I agree with the bit about the mastery, I mean I can kinda of understand maybe if it fully absorbs a hit that it won’t trigger, but it could still trigger based on the damage that isn’t absorbed by the mastery or something.

      100% dodge is pretty amusing and may/may not get balanced. I kind of like that the 3 100 talents allow some flexibility in our active mitigation strategy, so as long as there are fights where you’d want to use them all, and that none of them is significantly overpowered, It should be fine. I’d have to look at what the other tanks are getting to see if it would be reasonable. I also don’t think it is particularly reasonable to take many many bears just to get 100% dodge on the boss all the time as there isn’t much advantage to that other than being able to drop healers maybe, but even then, you won’t be able to drop as many healers as you are increasing tanks. (I.e. drop 1 healer, gain 2 tanks) That also disregards the fact that often there are 2 things to tank or other mechanics that would just make that rather unfeasible. So I’d say that I agree it presents a potential problem depending on encounter design, but providing the devs keep it in mind, it may not be a problem.

      I’d say that the SI change could be more of an issue (2 charges…70%…2 min cd???? (or more like 1.5 with malk trinket))

      The other lvl 100 talent is alright also, it is a short duration and a medium cd, but I’d say it is quite encounter specific, and made just for those execute type mechanics, as opposed to blood rage soaking type mechanics (speaking of which…2x SI charges…70% dr for 24 sec…ye ok JK BLOOD RAGE NP)

      Pulverize I quite like, and if left as-is, I’d imagine all guardians taking pulverize unless either of the other two talents are required for the specific fight, or if you were abusing 100% dodge with a “many druids” tactic. If it had some way of limiting how often you used it, (like a cd) it may feel more balanced. Or if there was some drawback like if lacerate generated rage from its ticks depending on how many stacks it had (or even ONLY at 3 stacks) then you’d lose out on some rage in order to cast pulverize, so you’re trading off pre-emptive vs reactive mitigation.

      Last thing that I thought whilst reading these was…hmm malkorok trinket needs to be nerfed in WoD or it could be BiS at 100.

      In all though, it really depends on how the other tank classes are balanced, (which they’ve been getting better and better at bringing tank balance closer together) and how fights are designed. It may be that none of our stuff is overpowered at all, but some other tank’s abilities could be. They also have to be careful to not give lots of fancy abilities to all the tanks, and then be super limited in what they can do as boss mechanics for fear of favoring one specific tank’s ability.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      “On mastery: I would prefer it if it didn’t arbitrarily miss every other attack. If an attack was going to give me a 1k shield, I don’t want having 10 leftover absorb to stop that from happening.”

      I’m having trouble of thinking of a situation where this could happen, and be relevant to tank balance (i.e. not soloing). Can you be more specific?

    • Ahanss says:

      Exaggeration, primarily.

      Thinking something like Durumu, that tiny bleed from arterial cut could give a tiny shield compared to his melee swings (the bleed was like 1/10th of a melee swing per tick).

      Of course, it could just as easily have a massive shield from the melee swing for every tiny bleed tick. Bonus points if that bleed eats the shield every time so you’re suddenly getting shields from every melee swing instead of every other one.

      We’ve dealt with worse RNG in the past, I’m just not thrilled about it missing every other attack.

      There’s also minor issues with it potentially flipping in value past a point. Get to 101% mastery and a bleed is now only giving an absorb every 3 ticks. Of course, you A: need like 20k mastery in current values to do that, and B: Have 100+% mastery already so you’re too concerned, it’s just something to think about.

      On 100% avoidance: The 3 bears thing wasn’t meant to be some crazy thing you do every boss. It’s more if the boss had some mechanic based entirely on melee hit (like something doing aoe damage to the raid, think Feng-fire or Jin’rohk), or just about any berserk timer (though you can’t taunt there, you still get 16s/bear, probably more like 20 since you can just stack t&C and cooldown until SD comes back up). Other stuff like massive attacks on spirit kings becomes completely ignorable, Baleroc’s blades, etc would all have to be unavoidable, lest they become trivial (making SD nice and useless anyway).

      I don’t think anyone should have these 100% avoidance things. I DEFINITELY don’t think we should be able to bank up to 16s of guaranteed 0 melee hits.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      “Of course, you A: need like 20k mastery in current values to do that”
      100 – 26 = 74. 74/2 = 37. 37 * 600 = 44400. So. Yeah.
      I’m a dummy.

      “I don’t think anyone should have these 100% avoidance things. I DEFINITELY don’t think we should be able to bank up to 16s of guaranteed 0 melee hits.”
      Yeah, I think this talent could potentially be really overpowered too. Definitely far superior to Bristling Fur.

    • Ahanss says:

      44400 is 74*600. 22200 is 100% mastery.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      Wow. I am a horrible person. Clearly I have no idea how I missed that :(

  • Buraan says:

    One example of our 100% dodge not being TOO broken:

    Riposte has been redesigned.

    Riposte: After getting a Critical Strike with an Auto Attack or Rune Strike, you gain +100% Parry chance until you Parry an attack. This can stack up to 2 times.

  • Helistar says:

    Hmmm so what happens to the AoE rotation? Spam Thrash and the odd Mangle every time it’s available?
    And even if I understand the problem, too bad about Symbiosis, it was a nice “skill” providing an excellent versatility and a compensation for the total lack of raid-wide cooldowns that plagues druid guardian (and feral).

    • Buraan says:

      don’t worry, prot warriors can’t rally or skull banner and prot palas can’t devo

  • Raysere says:

    “Last thing that I thought whilst reading these was…hmm malkorok trinket needs to be nerfed in WoD or it could be BiS at 100.”

    As I understood it, 6.0 will replace the CDR effect with Readiness rating (to approx. the same magnitude), which will then decay as normal during levelling. Will dig up the source Tweet in a bit (was ages ago).

  • terminalmanfin says:

    I like the additional knobs they have to tune with Tank masteries also granting 12%ap scaling with mastery. No more buffing individual skills which can throw planned rotations/priorities out of whack and end up in nerfs, or heavy handed across the board changes like Vengeance got.

    New system if one tank is an outlier, adjust their ap from mastery until they are in line with expectations. That also means less people being disgruntled when their favorite ability gets singled out and nerfed.

    Most of the leveling perks seem to have the same intent behind them, additional tuning points.

  • terminalmanfin says:

    @ Buraan. Don’t see a reply option for your above, but in regards to Malks trinket.

    I am almost positive that behind the tooltip it is implmented as +x Readiness rating. Those trinkets along with the Multistrike and Cleave ones are likely tests for those stats in WoD, and it would be easier to implement them that way if the stats were “live” in game now.

    Going with that assumption they should scale down with level just like all other ratings so the BiS at 100 shouldn’t happen.

  • Casa says:

    Two things I’m concerned about:

    1. The way it’s worded, there are times when it would be beneficial to click off the Primal Tenacity buff. Specifically, if you have a very small amount of shield (to take it to the extreme, let’s say 1 HP), you should click it off so that you can take the full attack and get a brand new shield one attack sooner. I’m not sure what they should do to fix this. Making it a debuff (so you can’t click it off) would sort of solve the problem, but then instead of “I have to click this buff off”, it becomes “I really wish I could click it off”.

    2. Haste is going to be RIDICULOUSLY good. Like the only stat we care about. Hopefully they can balance this.

    And a less important request: Let us Bear Hug stun-immune targets, for the damage!

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      I’m have trouble coming up with a scenario where (1) could actually happen that doesn’t involve a pretty big damage reduction cooldown that would already reduce the damage before or after the hit that would generate the “tiny bubble”, thus meaning you weren’t taking much damage in the first place and weren’t being gimped by a small bubble.

      (2) is a problem if you take Pulverize, less-so otherwise since our base Rage generation is already going to be so high.

    • Casa says:

      The main time I see it coming up is when we’re taking large and small hits at the same time, like a boss and adds, or a boss who dual wields. Primal Tenacity procs on a small hit, giving a small shield, then you take a big hit (which is only reduced by the small shield), and don’t gain a big shield. Or, take a big hit, gain a big shield, take a small hit which doesn’t quite wipe out the shield, then a big hit with a small shield, again no Primal Tenacity proc on the big hit. In either case you would be better off clicking off the small shield so that you could get a big one instead (or more realistically, have a weak aura to let you know when you have a shield too small to bother with, and hitting a /cancelaura macro).

  • Skruff says:

    “Enhanced Tooth and Claw: Tooth and Claw now also makes Maul free, and can accumulate 1 additional charge.”
    It should also reset the cooldown on Maul. If we get two lucky T&C procs in a row, we should be able to use it right then, especially since we can stack up an extra charge.

    I did not see any mention of a raid cooldown for us. I was hoping we’d get a little love in that regard. /sadface
    Oh, and HotW->Tranq doesn’t count. The 45sec duration and 6min cd on HoTW still sucks.

    FFF now puts 4% physical damage debuff. Is this one of those that has to stack up 3 times? It seems kinda like a nuisance now to maintain every 30 secs. Or do we just tell the melee dps to keep that one up? It’s still a ranged pull. though, so I guess it’s good for something.

    We still have our main AM tool, SD, being binary. I was really hoping for a change there. The buff to T&C helps us smooth this, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that our main active mitigation button doesn’t mitigate anything: either we get lucky or we don’t. Although I do like the Rage refund on successful Dodges. Is that new, or do we already get Rage from Dodges?

    The SI uber buff is so much mo betta than Symbiosis (which I always thought was kinda stupid anyway). I’ll miss you Lightning Shield… but not that much. Hello 70% dr x 2!

    I really, really like Pulverize. And I agree that it should be baseline and part of the rotation. It gives us an extra layer of gameplay. We’ve got Lac stacks to build up and consume with Pulv. Pulv buff to maintain. Thrash debuff to maintain. Rage to build and SD to maintain (or FR as needed). Mangle and T&C procs to watch for. And, of course, cooldowns to weave in. Seems like a pretty full plate, with just a little rng in there to keep you on your toes. I’m not sure I understand why you say “our “rotation” is now even more boring than it was before.” Seems more interesting to me. Maybe I’m missing something?

    I still want to brez in bear form. :-p

    Oh… and awesome write-up. Thanks Arielle, along with everyone at TiB. You folks help make me a better bear.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      Resetting the CD on Maul isn’t necessary. It’s not realistically possible to gain procs faster than you can spend them now that they’re free.

      It’s been alluded to that all non-healer raid CDs are dead.

      Physical Vulnerability is just one debuff of 4%. Does not stack. All of the plate DPS still have it too, so not a maintenance thing for us (at least in Mythic).

      We do not currently generate Rage from Dodges (and the 5 we will get in Warlords won’t amount to much).

    • Skruff says:

      I’ll trust you on the Maul reset. It just feels now that sometimes I get a T&C proc and I look down and Maul is on cooldown, but that could just be me. The cooldown is just a nuisance when you don’t need to use the AM abilities, i.e. questing, farming, etc.

      As for the raid CDs, it’s a little disappointing, but at least it’ll be consistent across all tank classes.

      Good news on the 4% debuff.

      I think the 5 rage from dodge is still a good thing. Rage gen seems to be moving to a lot of sources giving small amounts of Rage, little things adding up to a lot. 5 from a dodge, 5 from an auto, 5 from a crit, 2 from a Thrash tick, etc. And then of course the 30 from Mangle (and Pulverize) is the biggie. I’m kinda liking these changes.

      Anything on the charges for SD? It always seemed like such a lame way to restrict uptime. I understand they had to do something, but the charges seem so forced and artificial. I hoped they might come up with a more… what’s the word they like to use… elegant way to further govern SD uptime (besides Rage, of course).

      With the SI glyph, we’ll now have 70% dr for 6 secs on a 1 min CD. And can get a full 12 secs if you use both charges back to back. Is it me, or is that too good to be true? Or should I just shut up now and hope nobody notices?

  • Doko says:

    My only real problem with the changes is the mastery Being really weird and nearly worthless if you are tanking a mob that hits really hard and some other add that might not hit nearly as hard. Small mob procs your mastery and next hit from big add gets nothing, where as if the reverse occurs you actually gain a decent benefit out of it.

    Its like a shitty version of dodge unless im missing something.

  • Mandi says:

    Thing is after all, we didnt get the guaranteed active mitigation button. Not in the current talent and not in the mastery. I was wondering if we got something we “can control” to prevent damage from the blood rage, horridon punctures or snapping bite, things that go through the armor and can’t be dodged. The mastery accomplished the same thing as armor in reality which makes me sad, but it’s a better version of it, but as many people have mentioned b4, it has big flaws. As it is right now, either we are forced to take pulverize to have guaranteed active mitig, or the bear model now is a combination of damage smoothers, along with multiple cooldowns to hold on to dear life, and heal the rest up, and I don’t know how does that change from the MoP model, other than tuning up our current tools.

  • Kamayari says:

    These changes are really cool but still imo i think we need some movement additions, tbh the only thing we have is charge and then skull bash if the target was near, if they add a extra charge like what the warriors have it will fix it.

    I am into the idea that we should collect haste at next expansion cause thats obvilously will be he best stats so far unless they change it .

    Crit has been reduced greatly i think thats a bit refreshing, imo a Tank should focus on tanking and not horing vengence, but i belive blizzard said that tanking should be more fun? i don’t see any changes so far, they said somthing about its not going to be Tank A takes 3 stacks then Tank B takes the boss, any one have news on this ?

    I dont see why blizzard thinks Bears have issues with Rage, for now they are right we don’t use it except we want to use SD or Maul or FR, the thrash buff is OP though xD each tick 2 rage think about 15 mobs stacked 2*15= 30 Rage Each tick… xD AMAZING!, However, i like the idea that we need to be smart now with using rage.

    The mastery buff i don’t know if Absorb Damage is the way to go, it was only for increasing armor but when they added the ATP buff as well to mastery i think we should try to increase it as well regardless, and it will be incrasing the damage absorbed as i understood from the mastery.

    Talents are meant to be nerfed for about 30% of what they are now, thats from observations throghout WoW expansions they never stick to what they say xD so i don’t want to get exsited about it. but all talents to me are great except the brstling fur i don’t know i think they could have done somthing better rather than a new CD…i mean look at other Tank classes Warriors for example one of the Talents gives you a new Stance!

    This is my first post here sorry for my bad language, Trust me when i say Blizzard is closely viewing this web site, sad to say that Blizzard fourms is dead now thoguh only for Gurdian Druids not a lot of disccusions about the new exapnsion there so the more we discuss the greater input we give to Blizzard.

    Thank You for adding all the changes to the Gurdian Druid, and Cheers ^^

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