Feral Druid Changes in 7.3.0

Blue poster Seph has just posted about some upcoming changes for Feral. I’ve got the post below, but you can also see there original on the official forums – https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20757496609#1.

My Thoughts
Remember to keep in mind that these changes proposed and may not make it to live as it. And don’t be fooled by the 33% straight buff. It is simply to offset the nerfs to Savage Roar and Bloodtalons, however it should still be a net-positive buff.

Back in my Legion Talent Review post, I mentioned the amount of micromanagement that is required with certain talent combinations. It appears that Blizzard has also acknowledged this and sort to address with the duration increases to Savage Roar and Jagged Wounds.

Really happy with the quality of life changes to Prowl and Rebirth. There have often been times where I’ve had to battle rez a raid member and I’ve been unshifted from Cat Form. The game as moved on from the days of being pigeon-holed into roles and poor game design. This will greatly improve the way we execute this raid utility function.

*-*-*-* Blue Post *-*-*-*

Hi Cats,

We have a number of changes to Feral Druids coming soon. The general goals of these changes are:

  • 1. Reduce (but not necessarily displace entirely) the dominance of the big three complexifying and powerful talents: Savage Roar, Jagged Wounds, and Bloodtalons. Each of those talents is (on live) winning by a large margin in terms of throughput against other talents on their rows.
  • 2. Balance out the power level of the last 3 talent rows, allowing more talents builds to be viable.
  • 3. Increase the skill floor and reduce how punishing it can be to error when playing the rotation.
  • 4. Compensate for power-level-reductions of talents with baseline damage increase to the spec so that at the highest level, performance isn’t really affected, but the bottom of the spec is brought up.

The most major changes:

  • All damage done increased by 33%.
  • Jagged Wounds reduced to 20%. (down from 33%)
  • Savage Roar duration increased by 50% at all combo points. Damage bonus reduced to 15%. (down from 25%)
  • Bloodtalons damage bonus reduced to 25%. (down from 50%)

Looking back at the development of Feral Druid in Legion: when Savage Roar was moved from a baseline ability to the talent tree, in order to bring the power level of the ability closer to most talents (+25% damage to everything for a long duration is far stronger than most talents are), rather than reducing its damage bonus, its duration was significantly shortened instead. This contributed greatly to the overconstrained and overly punishing Feral rotation that you see on live today. Additionally, Jagged Wounds was added as a new talent, reducing the amount of free combo points Ferals had available to finishers such as Ferocious Bite (which was basically pushed out of the rotation entirely). Both talents probably would have been fine on their own, but taken together (because they were the strongest) at the live tuning values led to a more pressured Feral rotation than we felt was right.

Additionally, a few talents are being rearranged in the talent tree:

The primary gain here is moving Brutal Slash to a sort of multitarget/AOE lvl 90 talent row along with Sabertooth (which can be well-utilized in a sustained low-target situation), giving the lvl 90 row a solid talent for dungeons. For now, we want to go with an arrangement that keeps Jagged Wounds, Savage Roar, and Bloodtalons on separate rows so the current most common live build is still possible.

Other less major changes include quality of life and tuning adjustments to some talents to balance out the rows:

  • Prowl cooldown reduced to 6 sec (down from 10 sec) for all Druid specs.
  • Rebirth is castable in all forms, and consequently, is no longer affected by or consumes Predatory Swiftness.
  • Sabertooth damage bonus to Ferocious Bite increased to 20%.
  • Incarnation: King of the Jungle energy cost reduction reduced to 50% (down from 60%) and only allows the use of Prowl once. This it to balance out that talent row with the new Jagged Wounds and to reduce the frequency of Rake stuns in PvP while still allowing Incarnation: King of the Jungle to function as an effective Vanish.
  • Moment of Clarity now causes Omen of Clarity to trigger twice as often and increases the damage of the affected abilities by 25%. This is to better space out what is essentially a large energy proc and reduce slightly the impact that a single talent has on the resource income and pacing of the rotation.
  • Elune’s Guidance cooldown reduced to 30 sec (down from 45 sec) and combo points granted reduced to 5 + 5 over 5 seconds (down from 5 + 8 over 8 seconds).

Overall, with these changes, balance for the last 3 talent rows and consequently overall should be better in general. We expect the current most common build/playstyle of Jagged Wounds + Savage Roar + Bloodtalons to still remain one of the strongest builds, but it should no longer win by a huge margin over other competing talent builds and also should be a little less strenuous to play.

These changes should be available in an upcoming PTR build. As usual, we may make further adjustments – especially tuning – as PTR progresses.

~Elamari