Prominent World of Warcraft YouTube content creator Preach as released a short video about his thoughts on Feral Druids in Warlords of Draenor. In this post I’m going to give my thoughts on some of the comments made by Preach in the Warlords of Draenor Feral Druid video.
Watch this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPuP-eyN5wA&list=UUXJL3ST-O0J3nqzQyPJtpNg
Who is Preach?
Preach is a former world first heroic raider, raiding with guilds such as Method. This high-end experience gives him some authority when it comes to creating the guides for all classes and specs. What makes his guides stand out is that they include a dungeon run which allows him to showcase a particular specs difficult to quantify roles and abilities such as movement, positioning and utility.
Preach opens the video gasping at the difficulty of the spec, he can’t understand why people are drawn to the spec and many things that go against his knowledge and experience with playing DPS.
Feral Druids are a unique class in that we are not GCD locked and our gameplay revolves around resource management and damage over time affects. Thus the approaches and attitudes used on a Retribution Paladin for example are going to feel unnatural on a Feral Druid. This is a fundamental concept that is key to getting in tune with the spec.
His next comments are directed at the hybrid “birthright” or “legacy” that is being “forced” on Ferals, yet the spec doesn’t have access to Tranquility and the only utility worth mentioning is Stampeding Roar.
I agree that it feels like to me that a certain amount of hybrid utility is being “forced” on us, even more so now with the removal of any on-role throughput from the level 90 talents. But as far as general utility goes, Druid’s are a class that offers a lot. What a Feral Druid brings to the raid is often overlooked but it is our job as good players to use all of our spells to increases the success of the team.
We bring combat resurrection (Rebirth), interrupts (Skull Bash), 2 baseline crowd controls & 2 whole talent tiers of additional spells of varying types (Stun, knockback, disorientate, snares/slows), 3 dispels (poison, curse & enrage effects), raid-wide movement speed (Stampeding Roar) and with Heart of the Wild the ability to take on any role as required for 45 secs (in theory). In addition the new level 100 talent Claws of Shirvallah gives Feral’s access to more raid utility than anytime before.
This is one area where I feel that Preach’s lack of specific class knowledge lets him down and he undersells the spec.
Currently in the beta Travel Form has been modified to automatically pick Travel Form or Flight Form depending on the situation. You are also unable to shift straight from Travel Form to another form, you have to first unshift and then shift into the desired form.
I agree with Preach in that I don’t fully understand this change. There was some mention that it was reducing button bloat but I can’t find the tweet or Blue post. I have not yet been onto the beta personally as of yet but I believe that Aquatic Form has been combined as well. The Travel Form + Aquatic Form combination makes sense but adding Flight Form seems to causing lots of problems with the conditions that cause it to trigger. There is a good thread discussing it on the Official Forums. They go into more details about the new “mutual exclusivity” glyph design and indoor/outdoor conditions as well.
Preach makes reference to lots of “downtime” when playing the class, especially outside of cooldowns – “oh the downtime, OMG” & “Warlords of Draenor is the king of downtime and Feral’s reign supreme” (Just a bit of hyperbole).
This is a real issues with Feral’s at the beginning of expansions when secondary stats are low. Having low levels critical strike effects our ability to generate combo points from Primal Fury and having low levels of haste effects our energy regeneration. These two factors combined stifles the pace of our rotation, contributing to a lot of down time. However this is significantly reduced as gear levels increase throughout the expansion. The class isn’t designed to be GCD locked or constantly spamming spells.
Incarnation (Woooo!~) appears boring to Preach as it’s a straight damage increase and is on a 3 minute cooldown.
Incarnation is looking like a very viable choice in Warlords of Draenor for several reasons. Being on a 3 minute cooldown it synchronises with Berserk for maximum throughput, just macro them together. The “allows the use of Prowl while in combat” feature of Incarnation opens up opportunity for improved Savage Roar management and up-time with the NEW Glyph of Savage Roar – which grants a 5 combo point Savage Roar when you use Rake or Shred while stealthed. Preach didn’t mention this. The synergy between the talent and the glyph has potential to be a competitive choice, if not the strongest choice after a numbers pass. Let’s not write off Incarnation as a dud talent just yet.
The problem with Incarnation on live is that Ravage’s high energy cost doesn’t provide damage output comparable to Soul of the Forest and Force of Nature. In addition for the 15 secs after Berserk has expired but Incarnation is still active, you are left energy starved, have reduced combo point generation and less throughput. I discuss this in more detail in my Why do player choose Incarnation as Feral post.
“Alright let’s go into our level 100 talents. Oh dear. Oh dear….”.
Lunar Inspiration – “Who at the Blizzard office was like ‘You know what Druid’s love? Fucking Moonfire!‘. “.
If you didn’t pick it up from the quotes, Preach was being extremely sarcastic. He went on to say that giving Feral’s Moonfire was redundant because Rake does the same thing and that he doesn’t get it. But the thing is that this talent has two interesting features. Firstly it gives players a choice to opt into increased complexity. Secondly it provides a ranged combo point generator. This is a great option for encounters where there is an air phase e.g. Atramedes in Cataclysm, or generating combo points when moving between targets. It means we have an alternative or compliment to Heart of the Wild and could possibly keep Savage Roar up and damage rolling while not on the target. Not all bad.
Claws of Shirvallah – “You’re a renegade Druid, you’re against the rules man, you’re thinking outside the box and you become shapeshifted into a half-man half-pussycat, ThunderCats type shit”.
I’ve already given my initial thoughts on this talent in my last post. I disagree with Preach’s assertion that it is a “pure PVP talent”. I think this talent will be very useful in Mythic raiding as those encounters are being designed to focus more on off roles, utility, crowd control and other things not directly related to your main roll. What’s been overlooked is that the talent serves as the counter-balance to Lunar Inspiration providing a passive option in the talent tier. Complexity should be available through opting in, not by default. There is some discussion on the talent at the Fluid Druid forms. The form looks even more bad ass since its update. It was mentioned on the Team Waffle Podcast that the form is based off High Priest Thekal’s Tiger Form from old Zul’Gurub which is cool.
Bloodtalons – “But this is an old level 90 talent, right? That’s been moved to level 100!”.
Well he’s pretty much correct. Bloodtalons is the damage component of the current Dream of Cenarius talent. He goes on to say that players will be feel “pigeonholed” into this talent which I disagree with. The other talents will have their uses – Lunar Inspiration for ranged / target swapping fights, Claws of Shirvallah for Mythic progression and Bloodtalons for farming and leveling. Though some existing players will feel comfortable with this talent as they will have had experience with it.
While I feel that Preach is a very knowledgeable and experienced player, I think he is beginning to suffer from his own form of hybrid tax; jack of all trades, master of none. He may be able to pick up any spec in the game and play it to an above average level, but I feel he will lack some of the nuances and particularities of specs. I’m not saying that he is a bad player or “doesn’t know what he is talking about” rather that there is a lot of depth in the specs in WoW and that it would be a tremendous task for a single person to know every little in-and-out factoid about every spec. I still recommended that people check out his content and consider the suggestions he has to offer, but I also recommend to supplement your learning with sources tailored specifically to your class and spec e.g. The Fluid Druid and The Inconspicuous Bear for us Feral / Guardians.
I’ll finish with this quote from Preach;
“I find this whole spec really giggly cause it just doesn’t make any sense. It’s all fucking all over the place for me anyways. Some people love this right and your gonna think ‘Preach you sarcastic bastard I love my Feral Druid’, all kudos to you man, all kudos to you. I don’t get it, this all makes no sense to me. Reading this is counterintuitive to everything I know about being a proper DPS. Is the damage good? Yes, the damage is fine. It’s irrelevant the gameplay is backwards-arse as fuck and it makes no god damn sense as far as I’m concerned”.
~Preach, Feral Druid – WoD Quick Look – Do I Drink from a Saucer?
What do you think about Preach’s comments? Did you subscribe to Preach’s channel? Have you played with Feral on the Beta and do you like the changes so far? Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment on the post, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or like and comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.