Monday, July 19, 2010

[Druid] Feral Druid Intentions

This is a copy of a forum post I made on the beta forums. I'd love to hear more feedback about it. Note that I didn't make it with the idea that this should be a bitch fest; I honestly don't know what the intentions are of the developers, and this makes it a lot harder to figure out what's going on. I think that if I have a better handle on what the goal is and where they're going, I can make more reasonable suggestions and start tweaking numbers to show where they need to be. WIthout that, it's basically 'that rules' or 'this sucks', and that's not that useful.

One of the problems I've had testing as a feral is that I'm not sure what the intent of a lot of the changes are. Without knowing what the goal is, it's hard to say whether or not something is working, not working as intended but needing tweaks, or simply broken and needs entire revising. I realize that a lot of this is opinion and subjective (whether or not you actually like something is different than whether or not it's working as intended) but I feel like it would be greatly helped if some answers along these lines were provided.

With that said, here's the questions I have.

1. Innervate: Is it intended that innervate is based on the druid's mana? This is a reversion from live, and it effectively nerfs innervate for ferals. That might be the intent, and that's fine, but it would be nice to know.

2. Skull Bash: is it intended that to interrupt, bears and cats back outside of melee range and charge in? This seems like a clumsy mechanic to me (it's like feral charge) but it isn't horrible, just annoying.

3. Primal Precision : is it intended to have 10 expertise baked into the feral forms?

4. Is it intended that berserk remain on the GCD?

1. Pulverize: How should pulverize fit into the rotation? Currently it is not worth the loss of lacerate applications to do a pulverize; you would gain about 30% more threat and 50% more damage simply by keeping your lacerate stack up and doing mauls/lacerate/thrash instead. The buff for damage and tanking is not particularly high. The actual damage is pretty low; lower than mangle and significantly lower than maul. Is pulverize intended to be used without lacerate stacks? With them? Should the goal be to keep the pulverize buff up at all times?

2. Lacerate: Lacerate scales very poorly with AP and does not scale at all with weapon damage. Is this intended? It has a high static threat component, but this makes it scale badly at all levels.

3. Swipe: is it intended to be doing about 1/4th the damage that it does on live, currently? As it stands it is usefess as a threat tool, even if thrash boosted it.

4. Maul: is it intended that maul remains the #1 threat tool for bears? Maul still does 18-20k damage compared to a mangle's 6-7k, and the best rotation is still to maul on every possible opportunity.

5. Mangle: is mangle intended to be just used for putting up a debuff? It is very weak, especially compared to maul.

6. Berserk: what is the intent of this ability? As a 31 pointer, being able to do multiple mangles when mangle is so very weak is quite lame. Bears can entirely skip berserk and only essentially miss a fear break. Is that the intent - that berserk is so weak compared to live?

7. Faerie Fire (bear): it costs 45 rage and 18 seconds to put up a full armor debuff. Is this the intent, or will there be a shortening of the cooldown for FFF?

8. Armor: what should the armor values for a bear be? Currently armor values are about 25% lower than a similarly geared and specced warrior at the same level. Is that the intent?

9. Savage Defense: is it intended to be a static reduction of damage, or will it be changed to a percentage reduction?

10. Endless Rage/King of the Jungle: is this intended to be a useful bear talent? If so, is the armor reduction going to be removed from enrage?

1. Swipe: is swipe intended to be doing about 25% of the damage it currently does on live?

2. Improved Feral Charge: is it intended that feral cats get out of melee every 30 seconds or so, pool energy and ravage 3 times? Or is this intended as an opener but not a constant part of the rotation?

3. Damage in general: my lvl 82 feral in the same gear as on live (a mix of 277 and 264 gear) does about 10% less damage than live. At 80, they were doing about 50% less damage. Is it intended that damage is reduced so significantly? I believe this is mostly due to the loss of armor pen combined with bad scaling, but I don't know whether or not that's the intent.

4. Energy refund: is it intended that cats lose their energy refund on finishers? There is no talent for it any more, but because PP did exist I'm still getting it. I don't know if this is a bug or a feature. It could be an intended design that makes ferals want to gear for hit and expertise more highly, but I don't honestly know.

5. CP transfer: it was mentioned that there was going to be a way for ferals to transfer some CPs around, or at least remember the CPs on other mobs and not lose them. Is this still intended?

6. Ferocious Bite: Is it intended to be used only as a refresher for rip at 25% or in burst situations?

7. Endless Rage: is this intended to give an extra 20 energy?


Eglador said...

Regarding your #1 general: Innervate on live restores 225% of the casting Druid's base mana, and has been that way for quite some time already, so that is no beta change. Regarding the other stuff, I hope they will change it for the better.

Anonymous said...

Re: Eglador

It looks like Cata currently has Innervate based on max mana, not base mana... meaning that it give more mana for casters than ferals:

Kalon said...

Correct, Anon. And yeah, Eglador - I should have said 'max' mana there. My bad. Right now in beta innervate is almost entirely useless as a feral ability. I'd love it if it were put to base mana instead and done at 225%.

Mitch said...

Not in beta nor am I really paying attention that much, so I can't really comment on a lot, but:

I would bet they plan on innervate being almost useless for ferals. While I hate becoming a little less useful I imagine they did it so it scales better with gear for the casters. The only way they could fix it would be one of two ways: 1) Have it work on the target's total mana or 2) Take a percentage of the user's base mana and a percentage of the user's total mana and use the greater of the two.

How exactly does skull bash work? We have to physically get to a specific range for it to work? That would be awfully lame.

Berserk should definitely be taken off the GCD. If warriors have berserker rage off the GCD (I think it is, not 100% sure) we should have berserk off too. Mostly for pvp reasons more so than pve.

Vallen said...

Similar to Mitch, not in beta so hard to really comment on anything (Blizz if you're reading this, feel free to give me a Beta Key)

Gen Pt #2: "You charge and skull bash the target" I assume you're ferring to the charge portion of the talent description. Since I haven't seen it do you really have to back out and charge to bash someone? If so then you're right it doesn't make any sense. Ex. How could you use that on Gen Vezax?

Gen Pt #3: While it seems that this talent no longer exists, my guess is that gear will compensate for Expertise so that it is not longer required.

Bear Pts: Skipped b/c I iz cat 4 lyfe

Cat Pt #1: Is the 25% less damage with or without 3/3 Feral Instinct taken into account on live?

Cat Pt #2: I'm of the impression that ravage is a PVP talent, allowing for burst dmg on targets. I don't think its intended to be used in a PVE situation (or at least not outside of the first 10-15s)

Cat Pt #4: Energy refund loss + extra CP's on crit's were both removed but as per the latest twitter chat the dev's did say the CP talent was a mistake and will be readded so perhaps the energy refund will be readded as well. If not, then perhaps similar to expertise, gear will compensate us to the hit cap aka less energy lost on misses.

Cat Pt #5: Wasn't this a rogue thing?

Cat Pt #7: I think its intended to extend your maximum energy to 120, not necessarily give you 20 energy.

Anonymous said...

#2 cat: I haven't had access to beta, but it seems to me that Ravage is largely intended for PvP, largely because trying to get behind an opponent twirling around on their mouse is asinine; in PvE, the damage from 3 Ravages doesn't beat out a regular rotation right? I can't see it being intended as anything more than an opener in PvE, if that since so much Energy is devoted to initially setting up Mangle/Rake/etc. anyways right?

#6: To me, FB will probably function the same way it does now largely, in that we use it whenever we have excess CP, but now with the added caveat that we use it over new Rips when the enemy is under 25%. It's still great extra damage whenever you don't have to use a new Rip.

Rauxis said...


I guess the real reason for this change are healers. Too often it was announced that healers running out of mana will be the big concern (as opposed to tank dying within 2GCDs). This change makes innervate useless as raid utility, but keeps it unchanged for PvP.

@Improved Feral Charge

I see this mostly as PvP - but interesting in PvE with target switching (slimes at Putri...)

most of the rest I'd wait until they bring out the first real Feral overhaul. At the last Twitter event they stated pretty much the current tree is a placeholder. Expect they'll shove in another 6-10 talents (Cat DPS builds will not even be valid off tanks).

Many talents currently do not make any sense. It would be my expectation that using Pulverize will become a MUST USE ability to have high threat. Remember the promise to make "tanking more interesting".

So for best threat it might end up in something like: mangle debuff, build up FFF, build up lacerate stacks, use pulverize, at that point maul and then rinse and repeat

The main problem I see here is build up time. Build up time of threat for all tanks has to be almost identical.

So we might end up with a 15s CD on mangle while at the same time increasing it's threat multiplier - this would give the frontload and force bears to specc into and use pulverize.

I've also thought about another scenario. Leave things as is - but ensure that for maximized threat output you'd need to go down the pulverize route. "Endgame guilds" than would rely on bears (or tanks in general) to maximize threat to beat enrage timers. Joe "casual" Bear would then have no need for it, but the experts will find a more complex rotation challenging.

Rauxis, chosen of CAT

Kalon said...

All: currently skullbash has no minimum range and works like a mini-charge + an interrupt for both cats and bears. The tooltip, however, says '8-18 yard range' which is where I'm confused. It's great for a mini-mobility rush and adds another great tool for bears to deal with casters, but I'm not sure that's the intended goal.

Vallen: the 25% less damage was with a prior build which had all the damage boosts still in it. Really, as soon as you logged in you were doing less damage overall.

The CP trading thing was a rogue thing - but CP persistance was a druid one too. I thought.

On Ravage: theorycrafting says that pooling energy + TF + 3 ravages in 6 seconds is actually a big win compared to shredding and staying in melee, provided you don't lose more than a couple seconds of melee DPS time. At the very least it's competitive - which is why I was wondering. Can't test it because Ravage is broken.

Bokonon said...

Kalon, I agree with many of your points. I'm in the beta, so I'll make sure I bump your thread. Could I kindly request the link to your post?

I posted a rather long (and probably boring) thread of my own, and received zero comments ( ). The gist of my post was that they really need to bring bears/cats inline with modern design philosophy and if they're planning on nerfing our ability to cat/bear with one spec, they sure as hell better make those specs as robust as a rogue or warrior spec.

Rivendael said...

I think you're reading too much into the current beta situation. Blizz has already said that the talent trees (and prob everything else) for druids are still in major development.

Many of these issues that you brought up relate to loss of threat/DPS/armor values, and these are numbers that can be tweaked easily.

If this is what makes it much closer to live (i.e. in 2-3 months), then yes I'd start getting worried. But to demand answers from Blizz at this stage when they have not said, "there, this is your final product", feels to me like jumping the gun a little.

That said, I do agree with the Ravage, Skull Bash, PP and KOTJ questions - very pertinent indeed.

Vallen said...

I don't think that is a fair statement to make in regards to worrying about it too early into the Beta.

Kal is in the beta and he is advocating on behalf of all of us. Contrary to popular belief, being in the beta isnt to just play and have fun its to look for gaps/holes so that they can be addressed.

Last thing you want is to not worry about it and 2 week sbefore rls realize there is a massive problem.

That being said, thanks as always kal for making sure our concerns are heard.

Kalon said...

Rivendael, thanks for coming by. Yes, it is very early in the beta - but at the same time, it's the beta. We've had cracks at what the feral tree is going to be for months now. And the numbers can be tweaked - but my question is whether or not they want them to be tweaked. For instance, it's perfectly valid as a design to want to have maul be the big threat dump move for bears. Is that what they want? Do they want more equitable threat?

I don't know. No one does. We heard some design goals early on in the alpha, but how they actually match up to the actions are unknown.

Note that I'm not trying to balance things relative to other classes or even say how things are broken; I'm simply trying to figure out what they actually want to accomplish. Until I know that, it's really hard to give any useful feedback for the class. Now, I do think a lot of that will be ironed out as we get more refined trees, but I also think that a lot of that does get put off until the last minute. It did in WotLK with ferals as well; after WotLK released ferals were one of the biggest changed classes in the game, and a lot of that was because they weren't designed early on.

So while I agree - I shouldn't condemn anything early (and I wasn't trying to, honest) I don't think it's at all too early to ask questions about the overall goals and values, and compare those goals to what the reality is.

Bokonon said...

To echo Kalon's point there: What's worried me most about the current state of feral in the beta is less that the numbers are off, or that things don't work, but more that I haven't seen very much progress at all in regards to their stated design goals with bears. Furthermore, I see really neat ideas, like the Shadow Priest conversion of Spirit to Hit, and I think "boy, wouldn't that work great for bears with parry/block to dodge?"

Kalon said...

Oh yeah, Bokonon - before I fforget the topifc is here:

Anonymous said...

Talents r out yet again still feels gimped. But seem like Tiger's Fury will get in our rotation... hint more buttons to press...

V said...

I've pretty much been wringing my hands every time I look at the available information, since I'm not in the beta myself. It's never, ever to early to start asking questions.

Just think about when Wrath came out. Cats were silly business, and bears were ridiculously OP, even though the beta testers were saying so for months. Blizz just ran out of time on us, I guess.

And as it stands right now, it looks worse. In an "I don't feel much like playing because I wouldn't reroll to not be a drain on my guild" kind of way. So I'm really glad you are back to ask these sorts of things for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Regarding feral faerie fire -- if it costs rage we lose our ranged pulling tool. What other options do we have?

Dabeasty said...

One thing not mentioned here (I dont think) is the intention to 'improve' cower to a 10% threat redx?

I dont like this plan. Dont get me wrong, its better than we have now but in my experience kitty threat is a problem near the start of a fight where 10% of not much is even less than not much. Later in a fight it may be a decent threat dump but typically the tank has a good lead by then.

Much better they made it a self-salv like ability so we could reduce our threat output when we berserk :)