Player suggested changes to Druids

The other day Jaymz (author of last weeks post) directed me to a post on the official forums titled “5.3 Druid Suggestions“. The post was discussing player changes players would make to Druids if they had the power. Jaymz suggested that I “take up the call”. So after some thought I posted some changes that I think would be great as well as replying to a few other people in the thread. Everyone should head over and have a read, there are some interesting ideas being tossed around. Since the thread was about all Druid specs, I threw in some thoughts on Guardians as well. Here is my reply. Quotes from other people are in italics.

Ferals
04/28/2013 09:35 PM Posted by Wildspirit
One main thing I’d like to address about the upcoming changes is the 3-minute wait on Druid cooldowns.  Yes, I know, Incarnation is very effective and can help us throw out insane amounts of damage, but a lot of other melees have shorter cooldowns than us, especially Death Knights.  They can burst 3 times in 3 minutes while we can only burst once.  Paladin’s have a much lower cooldown on Avenging Wrath, etc, than we do on Incarnation.

You can’t really compare two class abilities in a vacuum like this. Class abilities are considered with the whole toolkit in mind. Paladins also have GoAK + talents they can line up for bust as well. Classes also need their own flavour, if you start comparing abilities and requesting spells from other classes tool kits you risk homogenization.

RE: Incarnation. I don’t like this talent. 1) It’s on the GCD which is clunky 2) it’s only useful while Berserk is up – The Ravage energy cost is too high. After Berserk ends you are wasting time waiting for energy to regeneration. These two factors severely limit the potential burst capabilities.

As mentioned Ferals suffer from poor scaling, are weapon dependent for dps increases and don’t get the full benefit from RRPM trinkets from poor interaction with haste. I agree with Jaymz that these issues should be looked at and/or fixed to stop the current “band aid” solutions. The 5.3 SR buffs makes SR an even higher priority and dps will suffer even more if it drops off while also increasing the learning curve and skill cap (and dependance on the spell. I forgot to add that in on the original post).

Feral, yay, basically a 10% direct buff to damage!  I just wish they’d fix the root cause being our scaling, instead of slapping a bandaid on it that they’ll probably just take away again at the next expac.

Feral needs a reason other than RPPM to get haste. The return on energy gain is paltry, and extra white hits aren’t that useful with more and more of our damage coming from bleeds.  I’d say increase the benefit from haste to energy gen, so there is at least the option to go and get GCD capped — or otherwise, remove haste from affecting RPPM trinkets for everyone (guess which one would be easier to balance).

Buffing our direct damage is an option, it would devalue mastery and possibly increase the desirability of haste (depending on scaling). This was done during Cataclysm. However, I feel this diminishes some of the spec flavour, I like having dots be a high proportion of my damage. Whether this addresses scaling issues or benefits from RRPM items I can’t say.

RE: haste / energy regeneration. There is a fine line with haste and energy regen. Too little and it makes no difference, too much and you become GCD locked / regenerating faster than you can use it, especially with the SotF talent, Heroism and high gear levels.

Feral highly needs either true cleave, or a baked in Redirect / Soulswap. Thrash we only really use if there’s a lot of targets, or OoC procs, otherwise we’re reduced to double-dotting and managing combo points on 2 targets.  It’s already a pain enough to manage the CP with 1 target, and we’re the only melee without a primary target + secondary nearby target ability (it’s either all single target, or all AoE; no middle ground). Even Monks got Storm Earth and Fire to be their cleave.

It would be nice get a Soul Swap / Redirect, but it would just be a clone and I don’t want that. Symbiosis gives us flexibility by having a multi target option available to us. The SR glyph, using CP off dead targets, Symbiosis, and high maneuverability reduce the need for an ability like this.

** Thrash – Giving Ferals a version of Thrash was unnecessary. It’s high energy cost and situational usage (OoC procs and bleed to buff Swipe) make it feel half hearted. With Swipe now granting a CP on your target, I feel that was enough of an improvement to our AOE dps. It allows us to keep SR up while continuing to AOE.

** Symbiosis – The spells gained from Monks and DK’s (Clash and Death Coil) are poor options. Clash shares a similar niche with Wild Charge making it less useful. While the stun utility is useful, there are better options. Death Coil’s energy cost is too high, making it a dps loss to use over a regular ability. The ranged utility is inferior to the HotW talent.

** Boss spell casting – It is a pet hate of mine when bosses are constantly turning around to cast spells. Ferals are the only class in the game that have to be behind the target to do competitive PVE dps (accept for maybe sub rogues). The constant turning severly affects overall dps, spell up time and rotation. I understand that mechanically it is required, but it is quite annoying. As are bosses that can’t be attack from behind at all (Rag, Ultraxion etc…). Improvements have been made with Tortos and Megera but it is incredibly frustrating. However, I feel that attacking from behind adds a lot of flavour to the spec, so I don’t want to removed.

** DoC – IF DoC could be redesigned to be used with other types of heals (CW or Renewal) it means you wouldn’t be pigeonholed into Nature’s Swiftness. There is also no way for Guardians to currently use DoC.

Guardian
** As with Feral, Incarnation needs to come off the GCD as does Enrage. These spells are important in our tool kit for survivability, having them on the GCD forces difficult and unnecessary decisions. Cenarion Ward could also benefit from not being on the GCD.

** Utility – There has been discussion about guardian utility, specifically around Tranquility and Innervate. Now that spec specific affects are working, there is talk of buffing Guardian Innervate; to be more powerful and castable in form. Similarly with tranq; castable in form and reduced cool down – to bring in a similar line to the other tank CD’s. Making the Glyph of Stampeding Roar (increases range to 30 yards) baseline would also improve Guardian utility.

There are some abilities that I feel should be baseline for all specs;
Feral/Guardian – Wild Charge & Bash
Resto/Moonkin – Nature’s Swiftness

The SR and Cat Form glyphs should be made baseline too. These two glyphs are mandatory to any raiders leaving only 1 glyph slot available to customize. These two glyphs are so important that to not having them puts you at a distinct disadvantage.

That was my post. Additionally I’d like to add to Guardian changes is the Symbiosis gained from Rogues. Feint costs 20 rage for 5 secs of 10% damage reduction. With the new active mitigation tanking model, no Guardian is going to use this ability. Barkskin has no cost, 1 min CD and gives 20% damage reduction for 12 secs. Alternatively, a Frenzied Regen for 20 rage would be a better option. I think that there would be a better Symbiosis option from a Rogue, so many good spells; Blind, Evasion, Cloak of Shadows, Vanish. As a tank, Evasion and Cloak would be amazing.

I think this will do on this topic. Feel free to head over and check out the rest of the posts in the thread and let them know what changes you would like to see to Druids. Would you like the positional requirement of Shred to be removed? Would you like to be able to cast Tranquility in form? Do you think Symbiosis is all it’s cracked up to be? Do you agree / disagree with any of my points? You can let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment on the post, sending me an email at fileunderferal@gmail.com, following me on twitter @Elamari_ or you can liking the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.

~Elamari
<Naenae> Proudmoore, US

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2 thoughts on “Player suggested changes to Druids

  1. I kind of feel like warlock/rogue symbiosis was an attempt to answer our problems at changing targets, which is good in some ways. But we are still one of the worst specs for changing targets without this, and symbiosis on a warlock (or rogue) is pretty much mandatory for any multi-target encounter. For people who do not have a warlock in their raid, they’re at a considerable disadvantage. I agree with you that we don’t want to just be handed an ability that another class has, but the matter still remains that target swapping is still painful and some sort of meeting halfway solution is needed. Even if it’s just a glyph for rake that affects a nearby target for 50-75% damage. Then this rolls back to the glyph argument that we already have 2 mandatory glyphs making the glyph choice really only one.

    I’m very torn about shred – in my mind the positional requirements separates the average from the good players, and it’s kind of the theme that surrounds the spec (to me). But, no other class has to deal with it the way that we do. Even sub rogues have 2 other dps agi specs which shares the same gear if not the same secondaries. Going feral to say, moonkin is just not practical or possible. Fights where you cannot get behind the boss are just painful, and it brings to mind Ultraxion, which was extremely frustrating to have a DPS race fight with a tight enrage where you could not do your optimal damage, unlike every other DPS (excepting the ones on soak duty). To get him to a few % and wipe when you know you should be doing more damage felt like you were letting the raid down. Similarly, bosses who frequently cast like Spirit Kings are nearly impossible to do proper damage on. So we have the choice of doing sub-optimal dps and keeping the flavour of our spec, or not struggling but losing some class identity.

    I’d really like to get something useful from DKs, but I really like Clash (monk) for pvp. And some of the benefits we give to other classes are just “…”.

    • All valid points. Glyphs are an option like making Rake into a cleave for 50% damage like the Maul glyph could be interesting. I’m a fan of spells that interact / get spread around via another. Warriors with Rend + Thunderclap and Enh Shaman with Flame Shock + Larva Lash. If something like using Ferocious Bite spreading Rake to nearby targets would be a interesting mechanic, but given how tight / complex our rotation is at the moment with SR, 2 dots, Thrash on OoC procs and Doc adding Healing Touch’s and Nature’s Swiftness in, trying to squeeze a FB in there for some cleave would just be a nightmare.

      It is quite difficult because like you I enjoy the flavour and the skill behind playing Feral effectively. While I feel that the Shred issue could be easily solved through changing the way bosses move, I highly doubt Blizzard would agree. I could see the devs saying something like “Bosses need to turn for mechanics and fantasy reasons, you have a glyph to help and not all bosses do it”. But like you, I feel that we are at a major disadvantage. I didn’t consider rogues being able to change spec to deal with it, that’s a good point.

      Symbiosis has so much potential that was wasted in my opinion. With the DK there are so many options. I think something with out dots would have been good, to help with the multi target issue – Outbreak & Pestilence. Giving us Chains of Ice or Death Grip would have made is too OP in pvp, given our high maneuverability and kiting tools already.

      Thanks for the comment.

      ~Elamari

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