Single Target Buffs
Feral single target damage has dropped off as other classes have geared up. Ferals have historically not scaled well with gear increases and often need buffs as the expansion goes on (Savage Roar was buffed to 40% from 30% in Siege of Ogrimmar). To help address this we see some buffs to Ferocious Bite, Shred and Rip.
There is some concern from the Druid community that this minor buffing of direct damage abilities is the beginning of shifting our damage away from primarily dots and that it will lead to changes in the damage niche that it occupies. I’m not as concerned as this section of the community but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. From a class balance perspective, it’s important to remember that “middle of the pack” is perfectly fine. We don’t need to be at the top to be considered ‘balanced‘. This is a common argument point on the forums but is not the way the developers approach class balance.
AOE / Cleave Buffs
The state of Feral AOE damage is pretty poor and a common complaint amongst the Druid community. However I would like to point out that our burst AOE is not as bad as people claim when properly planned for – knowing the fight mechanics & energy pooling, though it’s not fantastic either. However there are some encounters were some sustained burst is required, Imperator Mar’gok & Beastlord Dramac for example. Swipe is receiving a much needed buff along with Thrash.
- Moonfire (Feral) damage increased by 5%.
- Thrash (Cat Form) damage increased by 20%.
- Swipe damage increased by 20%.
I’ve included Moonfire because it’s for the Lunar Inspiration talent, which is mostly for 2-3 target fights. There is some discussion here about how the buff to Moonfire interacts and its potential damage loss / opportunity costs. Personally I’m not a fan of the talent and I’m happy to stick with Bloodtalons. The 20% buff to AOE is great, though not fantastic. People complain that Swipe hit’s like a wet noodle, but I feel they are forgetting Swipe’s other benefits; it generates combo points now and is affected by Primal Fury. Swiping multiple targets can net several combo points which can be good for keeping Savage Roar up and getting Rip on multiple targets. Also something to note, Thrash isn’t worth using single target yet as it was last expansion.
There were a few tweaks to talents for other specs, but the only one that remotely applies to Feral’s is the buff to renewal. That said, it’s a talent not taken very often by PVE Feral’s, it may see more play in PVP but I’m not really qualified to comment.
- Renewal now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
It has been buffed back to it’s original percentage value. It was nerfed it Patch 6.0 along with all other percentage based heals due to the damage and healer redesign. The purpose behind most of the talent changes in this patch was to make each talent in it’s row more competitive rather than their being a clear cut choice. However I don’t think this enough to make it a more competitive choice with a passive smart / raid heal and a strong on demand preventive shield.
That’s it for Feral changes. What do you think of the buffs, were they enough? Do you think that Feral’s niche should move away from dots to a more direct damage style? Let me know what you think. You can leave a comment on the post, send me an email at email@example.com, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or you can like and / or leave a comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.