There's such a massive amount of negativity being generated en masse in the blogosphere. I guess thats just human inclination.
You know, my posts recently have been negative. Really negative. I've not been all that happy with the way the beta has been showing ferals, I've not been happy with their vision, and I have been pretty vocal about it.
But you know what? There's a ton of good that's coming down the pipe for bears, and it's about time I really acknowledged all of that. Without further preamble, here's the awesome for bears that's currently in the beta!
- No uncrittability problems! This is honestly the thing I'm most looking forward to. The amount of time I spend balancing my gear so that I can remain uncrittable with various shifts, enchants, gemmings, trinkets and sets is ridiculous. I currently have 10 different tanking setups in ItemRack. I have 3 full bags of gear. Almost all of these are juggled around so that I can remain uncrittable in some way, and it's never a good time. It's gotten to the point where I've started spending badges on gear I already own so I can have a second set that is enchanted a separate way - one for when I need that for uncrittability, one for when I don't. It's ridiculous. With the new change to Survival of the Fittest, there's no need for suboptimal defense or getting gear with resilience. We can focus on getting mitigation, threat and avoidance gear at all times. Right off the bat, at level 70, this should result in about +20 agility, 20 stamina, some extra armor and another 2% of dodge. That gear can be swapped around without worrying makes it even better.
- No crushing blows. This doesn't get enough mention or shakeout. Crushing blows in BC were one of the only ways bears remained balanced, especially in T4-T5 content. Remove those, and bears got crazy good. You can see that on fights where there aren't crushings - feral druids are almost always the preferred tank for them, and it's not a surprise at all; they simply take so much less damage. The removal of raid bosses' ability to crush removes one of the barriers to bear tanking while also making fights more consistent.
- Berserk rocks. There's actually a fair amount of complaint on this, but the fact of the matter is that this is a great ability for bears. Combining higher threat and an oh-shit button, it's better than last stand. It's an ability that bears have been wanting for years, and have up until now only been able to simulate via bad consumables and trinkets. Give us more abilities that let us wreck opponents and live longer, and we'll be happier bears.
- More drops! While I'm really skeptical that the rogue gear will work for ferals without some tweaking, the fact is that the idea that all rogue gear should be usable by a feral for tanking means a good deal. It means that ferals will suddenly have a ton of usable gear for them in every instance, every raid, every quest reward. And it won't just be for cat, either. Sure, some things will be better than others, but no longer is it completely useless or only useful when you're DPSing. This idea is a really good one, and one I hope they can pull off.
- I can has tank. The stated goal for the developers is to have a druid be able to be a MT for every single encounter in the game. While I don't think that's going to be the case - I think there will be gimmick fights just like there are in BC that require a specific class - I think that the vast majority of the fights will be tankable by a druid tank, and that if you choose you'll be able to have good progression with said tank.
- Expertise! One of the hardest things to get for a feral was expertise in any form. It came only rarely, and it came on gear that was best for cats, not bears. The feral tier set is loaded with expertise, and if that wasn't enough there's a low-end talent that has more expertise. Finally bears aren't going to get parry-gibbed, or at least they won't as often.
- Consumables/interaction in forms. This really should've been addressed a long time ago, but it's a very good thing that they've added the ability for bears to use potions and other weird things in form. This takes away a really large annoying aspect of tanking as well as removing that split-second chance that you accidentally change form and die a horrible death...in caster form.
- Entangling Roots works everywhere! More of a 5-man fix than anything, being able to pull with entangling roots and having it, ya know, root stuff is pretty awesome.
- Revive! An out-of-combat battle res? Oh, yes. Gimme gimme gimme. Another one of those that is better for 5-mans, but it's still great.