Monday, April 12, 2010

[Druid] Druid Cataclysm preview thoughts

By now most of you will have seen the druid cataclysm preview at WoW, and seen countless takes on it. I'll try and not rehash it all, but instead point out some interesting bits you might not have seen. This (and the emphasis) is by GC and was brought to you by the fine folks at Darksend:

We do want to make sure that 10 player raids can get all of the major buffs a little easier. You should feel like most reasonable comps (3 warriors and 7 rogues is not what we'd consider reasonable) give you all of the major buffs and several of the more minor ones. There will be a little more consolidation than what we've described so far.

We are scaling back the magnitude of some of the buffs, as we did with Sunder Armor. We want you to feel awesome when you have strong good synergy, but we don't want the buffs to overwhelm say your gear or skill.
We're also planning on getting rid of any talent that buffs a buff. Any buff that is earned solely by talent needs to have a selfish component thrown in so that you don't feel like you should respec if someone else with that buff comes along.

Obviously things like Rebirth can't just be handed to out to more classes unless we did something like a second exhaustion mechanic for battle rez or whatever.
For now we're going to try the cooldown at 30 min again. In Icecrown's world of limited attempts, a 30 min cooldown likely meant you just cooled your heels until the cooldown was available again. In Cataclysm the hope is sometimes you'll have the benefit available but not every time, which scales back on how much of a game-changer it is.

Interesting, no? Battle rez going back to 30 minutes implies all sorts of things. It implies that limited attempts are going away (which they've mentioned as something they want), it implies that other classes might get a battle res, and it almost implies it'll show up in forms.

It's also implied that improved demo roar will be going away too. Which...awesome. Finally.

Anyway, I don't have a lot to say about the changes announced. They're useful, they get the job done, but they excite me not one bit. At least for feral; I'm excited about mushroom and treeform going away for different reasons. The changes that were announced that are concrete amount to:
  • A new AoE attack that does bleeding damage and has a longer CD (Thrash)
  • An interrupt off the GCD for cats and bears
  • Maul not a next-attack ability
  • Vengeance, which might not actually happen for bears at all
  • Stampeding roar, a raid speedup on a 3-minute cooldown for all druids (I expect there to be stampede rotations for certain fights, and guilds with 4-5 druids winning fights they shouldn't)
That's really it. The mangle change might make it in, but that's not likely to affect much. Bleeds being easier (likely a longer debuff) will likely make it in, but who knows?

There's really not a lot to go on. Nothing earthshattering like catform becoming a cooldown, or bears getting bloodlust, or ferals getting the ability to thunderclap while leaping.

The only really 'exciting' bit of news...which isn't that exciting, to be honest, is this set of sentences:
We want to add tools to cat form and depth to bear form. If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools -- primarily a reliable interrupt. Bears need to be pushing a few more buttons just so the contrast between tanking and damage-dealing is not so steep.

And that's really it. I love the idea of cats getting more utility; right now, cats are essentially a single-target DPS sponge that has a couple of decent raid buffs. They are...well, they're basically rogues in TBC. And that's really funny, honestly. Bears getting more buttons is all well and good too, so long as pressing those buttons is a decision point and not a cast sequence macro.

So...yeah. That sounds great. I was really hoping for more information on how bears' threat woud be balanced now that maul is gone from being 70% of our threat. I was hoping to hear more about other offensive and defensive options bears might have. I was hoping for more than 'interrupt' as a utility piece. I was hoping to hear more about how savage defense would be retooled in the face of all static blocking removed, and how it would scale with offensive abilities.

Now, of course, I am hoping for one and only one thing: wild mushroom in bear form. Think about it - wild mushroom (assuming it scaled with bear stats) would suddenly become one of the things bears have wanted for a while - a ranged aoe pull. And unlike consecrate and DnD, it's an AoE pull that does a lot of immediate damage to a group. It requires finesse and positioning, and does something no other tank has - ranged, burst threat to a whole pack. It would be an awesome (if totally hilarious) ability for a bear, especially compared to thrash.

Please, blizzard - let the bears have shrooms.


Darksend said...


Could have at least unbolded what I bolded to make it appear like you weren't :)

Kalon said...

Yeah, yeah, blah blah write your own blog.


Harvest said...

I suspect that i'm going to be starting every single trash pull with the shroom even if we don't get it in forms. Even if it does little damage. Even if... well anything.

Cuer said...

Another GC quote later in that thread: An alternative to a longer cooldown for Rebirth is something where one druid using it would trip everyone's cooldown for a few minutes. That it's a bit gamey, but might solve the problem. It looks like they just don't want Rebirth to be around enough, especially with multiple druids, to change the outcome of a fight.

A lot of classes are getting +movement buffs in one form or another. Given that the preview mentioned a possible talent to allow bears to reduce the cooldown on Stampeding Roar, they want it to be right in there used regularly, if you have a Druid tank. Presumably some boss fights will be designed accordingly.

For Savage Defense, it will be directly "improved" for bears based on their Mastery, so it's likely to use the same mechanic as the new Shield Block -- the more Mastery you have, the higher percentage of damage will be absorbed. This should tie in nicely to Vengeance as well (which is mentioned in the preview, so it's definitely in for druids, just possibly at a lower percent than the other tanks); with the increased AP from Vengeance, Savage Defense will be boosted a bit, if it is still based at least somewhat on the bear's AP.

justthisguy said...

My main worry is that mashing swipe gets replaced with mashing '/castsequence thrash, swipe, swipe, swipe'. Other than that everything looks pretty much awesome.

Rahl said...

Im not liking the 30 min cd on rebirth 1 little bit if im being honest.

I understand that multiple druids can chain rebirth which can be an issue but that kind of punishes those runs with only 1 druid in the group.

besides how do i justify myself wisping another dru saying "Res me pls, my rebirth not on cd" ;)

Mitch said...

@Cuer: It would be impossible to design a fight solely based on having a druid tank. Blizzard has already commented on how few there are =P It would make many fights easier, sure; imagine using a stampeding roar for a defile that happens right after valkyr (OP).

Cuer said...

It's not about designing a fight solely around a druid tank. Quite the opposite, as many different classes are gaining +movement abilities. Presumably some new fights will be designed around people moving more, in general. If Stampeding Roar is highly useful in PVE, so are all those other new abilities.

Alternatively, the designers just thought +movement was one area they hadn't covered with a lot in class abilities, and since it has use in both PVE and PVP, they decided to toss it at a lot of classes. Either way, it seems premature to assume that there will be "guilds with 4-5 druids winning fights they shouldn't".

Any new fights in that vein will no doubt give the Priests an excuse to start "Holy Gripping" people around the room, though. :)

Vallen said...

I am all for increasing the forgiveness of the feral rotation in exchange for greater utility

There's no way you can have awesome utility if all you're doing is trying to avoid screwing up your rotation.

That's really the next evolution of the kitty kat, everyone should be very familiar with the mechanics by now and its time to add new challenges.

To add to Kalon's comment: Blog more Darksend =p

Anonymous said...

Where: Dalaran central fountain
When: Every Saturday at 12pm (your server)

Goal: Save the Trees

Objective: All horde and alliance 1-80 players meet at the central fountain at noon for a gathering of the Trees. If you have a druid please spec into TOL to show support for this Symbol of Nature. Mages and Warlocks please assist by making portals in the 3 major cities for your faction to Dalaran and summoning players to the central fountain for this weekly event.

Pass the word for this event so it can gain momentum in the coming weeks before the release of Cataclysm.

Ironhyde said...

When I first saw the preview, I was excited. Mostly because it could have been far worse. Some things that I hope they do fix is Cower or possibly some other form of a threat dump, ie. possible vanish of some sorts. Having to rely on pallies for a salv is getting tired and I fear it screws up the Holy pallies in my guild a little. Would also love some form of cloak of shadows. If they really want to bring us more in line with rogues then I think those are two core abilities that we should have.

Starpaw said...

I posted a suggestion to the forum for a poop ability. half joking but still possibility given Blizzard's tendency towrds fecal humor.

Much like muchroom but would act like a taunt trap. When a mob step on it, it get taunted and attacks the bear that made it.

From what I read about the mushroom ability there will be a balance talent that improves it, however I think it just might be available to bears, even if it isn;t a turd :)