It was announced at Blizzcon 2015 that after the convention, the Devs would be releasing a series of blogs about each spec indicating their design direction. These blogs were to come out on a schedule in the days following Blizzcon, with Druids being published on the 11th November with Warriors and Monks.
“In the coming days, we’ll be sharing more details about the direction of each class in Legion, discussing their updated designs and sharing a look at their core combat abilities. It’s important to note that the base spells of a specialization represent a foundation upon which talents and Artifact traits will be built. Talents in particular will add a tremendous amount of depth—in Legion we’re quadrupling the number of spec-specific talents, which reinforce the distinction between specializations giving players interesting ways to customize their characters to suit their play styles.”
These are blogs are in addition to the information already released about artifact weapons, which I have already written about.
The blog post begins by discussing the fantasy of Druids. It is this fantasy and the fantasy of each spec that is going to be the driving force behind the development gameplay decisions for Legion. They then introduce “Affinity Talents” which allows every Druid to choose an off-spec from the remaining three specs.
Affinities provide two benefits: first, a passive ability that is useful at all times, even to your main role; second, access to multiple key abilities to use in associated shapeshifting forms. To give you a sense for how choosing your Affinity will impact gameplay, regardless of what form you’re in, here’s a look at the passive abilities they grant:
- Balance Affinity
- Astral Influence: Increases the range of all spells, abilities, and autoattacks by 5 yds.
- Feral Affinity
- Feline Swiftness: Increases movement speed by 15%.
- Guardian Affinity
- Thick Hide: Reduces all damage taken by 10%.
- Restoration Affinity
- Ysera’s Gift: Constantly heals the Druid, or allies when the Druid is at full health.
Unlike Heart of the Wild, Affinities are not temporary buffs. This enhanced access to an off-spec, delivered through a cleaner game mechanic, empowers Druids of any specialization to make interesting situational combat decisions.
This section starts out similar to the general section discussing the fantasy of the spec first and how it will reflect in the development of the spec. The core fantasy according to the devs is:
“Feral druids become ferocious, agile stalkers—ripping, biting, and bleeding their enemies dry“
Moving onto core abilities, the Devs said that Feral Druids have a solid gameplay foundation and that there will be little change to the core combat abilities but greater choices in the talent tree.
One big change was the Devs saying that Savage Roar would be an optional talent to cater to different playing styles. This is similar to the current Glyph of Savergy that lets players opt out of complexity – but instead of a penalty there will (hopefully) be compelling choices. This begs the question whether Incarnation will get tweaked. Part of the reason it’s been so strong this expansion is it’s interaction with Savager Roar. Hopefully the additional talents will give us more throughput choices.
They then list our core combat abilities which remain unchanged. However Tiger’s Fury is notably absent from the list. This doesn’t mean that it’s being removed, but it is worth noting. There may be some changes for it coming. Personally I’m happy with Tiger’s Fury as it, it provides the energy boost to help our rotation be consistent and the snap-shotting component adds depth and raises the skill cap, but I’m also open to changes. Also Thrash and Swipe are missing. This is interesting because if you read the Guardian section Thrash is mentioned but it’s different:
- Instant, 6 sec cooldown
- Strikes all enemy targets within 8 yards, dealing minor Bleed damage and applying Lacerate for an additional moderate Bleed damage over 15 sec.
Normally the dot component is Thrash is its own debuff, but instead this says that it applies Lacerate, which is a Guardian only spell. Could this mean that Thrash is going to be Guardian only? As for Swipe, if there was one spell that I could force a make over of, it Swipe would be it. It could be that it’s not mentioned because it IS getting a make over… Or it could be that they are not listing every single spell the spec has.
The last thing mentioned is an example of a Feral specific talent that would build on the core combat spells:
- Jagged Wounds
- Your Rip, Rake, and Thrash abilities deal the same damage as normal, but in 33% less time.
This is interesting. It looks like a viable option for encounters with short lived targets, effectively reducing our ramp time and buffing our target switching capability. Rip reduced by 33% would now be 15.8 secs instead of 24 secs and Rake would be 9.9 secs instead of 15 secs. Not so great for sustained cleave, unless you want to relive the frantic Wrath of the Lich King days – good ol’ 12 sec Mangle debuff and 9 sec Rake O_O
For more discussion check out the Fluid Druid forums.There have been a few tweets answering questions since the blog post. There is a summary on the first page of the Fluid Druid Thread.
What do you think about this developer blog? Are you happy with the way Feral Druids are or would you rather more major changes like Rogues or Hunters? Does making Savage Roar an option “dumb down” the class or give more choice?