Commentary on Preach Gaming’s Warlords of Draenor Feral Druid Quick Look

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.

Twitter: @PreachGaming
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/preachlfw
Website: http://www.preachgaming.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mikepreachwow/

Comments
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.

Incarnation in Warlords of Draenor.

Incarnation in Warlords of Draenor. [Modifed from WoW Head]

*-*-*
“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.

Claws of shirvallah updated

Updated models for the Claws of Shirvallah talent. Clockwise from top left; Night Elf, Worgen, Troll and Tauren. [Image modified from WoW Head]

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.

Final Thoughts
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 fileunderferal@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or like and comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.

~Elamari

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8 thoughts on “Commentary on Preach Gaming’s Warlords of Draenor Feral Druid Quick Look

  1. I always love watching his videos. So I’ll cut him some slack!

    I feel like this is a topic with roots. My feral is my main, the first character I’ve ever created, and the one I enjoy the most. When I started playing, I often hit you tube for feral topics. You know, how I should work my rotations, etc.

    I was immediately overwhelmed with how extremely complicated everyone made it out to be. Like there was one video that sticks out in my mind (not sure if I could find a link, but you’ve probably seen it); where the guy was talking a mile a minute, and he had this flow chart of every possible situation and what you had to do. Lots of zooming in and panning, it made it feel like there was one specific way to play a kitty cat, and hardly anybody really understood it. (gulp)

    Even on the more humorous side… we have the John F’ing Madden rotation.

    http://coldbear.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/john-ing-madden/

    Which is probably more accurate! =)

    End of the day, I often try selling feral to the guys I play with. None of them like it. And you know what? I hate playing hunter! I hate it! But they are extremely viable in a lot of situations. I just don’t like the play style, and for that reason haven’t played on one long enough to really fully grasp it.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your responses to his review. I haven’t had a chance to watch his video yet, but I’ll check it out when I’m done work!

    • Hi galaispera thanks for your reply. I’m glad you liked my responses. Preach is a knowledgeable guy but I feel he gave Feral’s the point of the stick at this point in time. Remember it is still beta and plenty of room for change. Make sure you watch Preach’s video.

      The extreme “complexity” came during wrath when Savage Roar was added and Rake and Tiger’s Fury actually became useful. During BC the rotation was
      1. Mangle
      2. Shred to 5 combo points
      3. Rip
      4. Repeat.
      The Mangle debuff only lasted 15 or 30 secs (I can’t remember exactly but it was really short) Rake only lasted 12 secs (not 15) TF + Berserk + Faerie Fire + weaving in FB’s. Hectic. Then there was the whole amour penetration thing as well.

      I haven’t really played Hunter extensively but I know some really talented Hunters and when they are kiting or soloing stuff it looks really fun.

      I remember watching a 20 min video back in Wrath of the Lich King that was explaining Feral DPS. It might be the one you are talking about but I can’t find it at the moment. I’ll keep looking. Cheers,

      ~Elamari

      • Hey Elamari!
        Yes, I did end up checking out his video last night. It’s rough hearing someone dis feral.. but he has a few valid points. I ended up commenting on his video directly.
        For example, I 100% completely agree that a spell called ferocious bite should have more kick. I think he used the words, “worth casting”. I agree, I would love it to do more damage! Or perhaps cause bleeds to do more damage.. But he completely ignored the real reason I think we (or at least I) have it on our (my) bars still…
        I can’t really speak authoritatively to raiding etc. And I don’t consider myself a PVP genius.. I’m happily learning! That said, the primary reason I use ferocious bite is to refresh rip. When a boss is nearly down, 1 combo point spent on ferocious bite will refresh that rip to its original strength. (it is kind of tricky to pull off really efficiently, as it can consume quite a bit of energy as well)
        Other points he mentioned, I think your right. He plays a lot of classes, and I personally don’t want a feral to feel like a fire mage, or paladin or anything else really. I find feral is really fluid by design. 5 mans and scenarios are absolutely a ton of fun as a feral. So is PVP!
        I also don’t understand how he considers feral to be contrary to everything he knows about DPS. He mentioned the damage is there, the play style is really weird. I primarily do my damage with bleeds! That’s at technically similar to Shadow priests, affliction warlocks, assassination rogues… (isn’t it?)
        I find a great deal of people complaining about a lot of the changes. Of course there are going to be some implied things that affect everyone. Gear scaling for example. I’m a little disappointed to hear that it’s making our class feel slower paced.. I had hoped the engine would be adjusted to make the gear scaling still have a similar feel..
        I’m a little worried about the shape shifting changes. “Double clutching” is going to take it’s time to get used to. And I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to pull off some of the things I do currently; or at least as fluidly. I feel it’s going to be really inconvenient in arenas. Though that new form is going to ease it a bit.. but I love my bear form!
        I feel like the travel form changes may help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.. but it still kind of sucks.. no more stag rides through Stormwind….=(
        I’m also worried that the unshift ( /cast !Cat Form ) trick won’t work as it does now. (guess we’ll see)
        I’ll have to check out the video link you supplied after, server is down (perhaps related to maintenance?)
        I really should give hunter more of a shot.. I just feel so disconnected with my target (which I understand is the point).. but it kind of feels like proxy fighting. I feel more connected with a mage even. But that’s one of the things I really like about feral.. it’s very free style, lots of movement etc… (I’d like feral even more if symbiosis awarded death grip, lol)
        I don’t know if you have a post on the topic.. I’ll have to browse through more, but I’d really like to take up a discussion of proper rotation, and how we can improvise to so many situations. In raiding, we clearly have an optimal DPS rotation when we have healers and tanks to manage a lot of things for us… but feral is so versatile.. I play it dramatically different in scenarios, dungeons, battlegrounds, arenas, world pvp and questing.
        For example, the cookie cutter rotation while raiding is what everyone talks about, and I see so many ferals spend more time trying to get the perfect opener on trash.. or when NOT raiding… it kind of takes some fun out.
        I rarely spend more than 3 combo points on anything when I’m soloing. Even on rare spawn mobs.. When soloing, I can take on quite a few enemies at once, without resorting to Thrash/Swipe spamming (I find that hard to pull off without “waiting for something to do” as Preach put it, it’s more like open with thrash, tab rake spam a bit, Savage roar, healing touch on procs, Swipe, rip etc (there’s no real rinse repeat going on); and I often don’t hang around until things die, the bleeds are overkill; and I back track for loot. I find this way my energy is almost always between 45 and 75.. I’m always able to react.
        Battle grounds I play quite a bit differently as well.. I find ferals great at D, and great with zerging and assists. A lot of battle grounds I get through without dying once, even while zerging, it’s just the combination of having a passive speed increase in tier gear, and things like mangle reducing speed. The unshift trick for snares and roots.. You can just fly around putting moderate bleeds on things, and hardly ever get caught long enough to kill. (bad stuff still happens sometimes… like I won’t zerg in warsong glutch)
        Anyways, I’ve ranted enough… =) I’ll let you know if that video was the one I was thinking of!

      • Hi galaispera thanks for your comment.

        FB is the worst energy > damage spell we have. Direct damage is not necessarily what Feral’s are about, but I do agree that it does feel very weak even when used in execute range. Thankfully it has been buffed in the beta (BREAKING NEWS – it appears according to WoW Head that FB no longer refreshes Rip – I and checking this out).
        As far as I know the dot / resource management is similar to Affliction Warlocks but not actually having played one, I can’t say definitely.
        Feral’s aren’t normally slow paced and I don’t think it’s a scaling issue; it’s more to do with just the amount of stats. At the beginning we have low amounts of stats and as the expansion progresses we get more stats. Critting more speeds up our combo point generation meaning we go through the rotation quicker which makes it feel faster.
        The shapeshifting changes really, really annoy me. Shapeshifting is meant to be fluid, jumping between forms in 1 GCD. Having that extra GCD in there slows us done, makes us vulnerable and reduces our throughput.
        The rotation is pretty much the same all over the place, but there are slight modifications. While levelling or doing dailies it might be better to Rake, Shred and FB instead of Rip if the mob will die before you get more than a couple of ticks of Rip.
        I can’t really comment on PVP or battlegrounds and that is a whole different ball game.

        ~Elamari

  2. Pingback: Commentary on BellularGaming Legion Alpha Feral Druid Spec Overview | File Under Feral

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