Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Great Druid Hubub 2011 aka Patch 406

You're doing WHAT?!?!
So here we are, patch time. People have been talking about this patch for ferals for quite some time now. I'll be honest, I just don't see the big deal. I've been reading QQ on the Wowhead forums for like the last month and even from some of the more regular druid posters. Who knows, maybe this patch could be more impactful than I think. I guess that would be my former hunter self talking. Until they take the top spec and make it a giant joke for 2 expansions running (ahem, I'm looking at you BM hunter w/ kitty companion) - I consider anything else lackluster. I will say that when I was on my shaman they continued to buff us to high hell. I guess GC has a soft spot for Resto Shamans. This patch I feel is a comfortable medium, and for once I find myself agreeing with some of the adjustments. I'll go over the changes in reference to feral tanking one ability at a time. Let's talk about the gloom and doom "day the druid died" after the jump.

Lacerate - Damage has been reduced by 20%. Now I'm no brainiac but I never remember seeing lacerate up there on the top of my damaging abilities. Why they would reduce the damage by 20% is honestly a total mystery to me. This is not really needed unless for some crazy go-nuts reason feral cats were shifting into bear and laying down a lacerate stack. I don't even know if lacerate stacks are effected by the feral cat mastery but I can't image even with a percentage boost to damage lacerate was overpowered. I guess I'll just have to take their word on this one. Or drunk dial Ghostcrawler and complain.

Mangle (Bear) - Damage from mangle is down to 235% of weapon damage, from 300%. This one is confusing to me as well. It's basically a slight nerf to mangle. That in itself is totally fine, what is confusing is the actual numbers. The tooltip for mangle currently states 360% (plus the glyph which adds 10%) bringing the mangle attack to 396% of normal damage. This is currently accurately depicted in game for me. The patch notes claim it's down from 300%, and that is the confusing part. Either they are stating it's down from a previous PTR version, which was 300% or they have lost their minds. Either way, threat isn't a real issue for me (granted my gear is fairly good) so this would only be truly impactful for those ferals who are just stepping into tanking. Given the awesome amount of damage mangle does, a small reduction is alright for the tanking population at large methinks.

Maul - Damage reduced by 20%. This 20% reduction is a trend for this patch. Maul is apparently hitting pretty hard, especially in combination with Vengeance. I don't think a 20% reduction in our abilities is too much for us to handle. There are a few changes that I question are really needed but in true knee jerk reactionary methods, Blizzard has responded. Along with mangle, I think the damage reduction will be less than noticeable on practical applications, but more so on gimmicky situations. For instance, when doing the Halfus encounter he can hit me like a brick shithouse. That in turn causes me to hit him like a brick shithouse and makes the DPS secretly resent me when I do 15k dps in addition to tanking the boss. When a tank is one of the top DPS, there is something wrong.

Flight Form - Birdie form now benefits from the guild perk Mount Up. Annnnnnnnnd the people...er.....druids rejoice. It's also worth noting that trolls and wogen get new flight forms.

Berserk - The lacerate induced berserk spell indicator is getting a face lift. This is a nice cosmetic change IMO. The current one is very light colored and when compared to the OOC spell indicator, it needed a change. Another change to berserk that I'm moderately.....annoyed.....with is the change to fear immunity. Berserk will no longer break fear and create an immunity to it. I fully understand the change from a PVP point of view. Being able to pop berserk (and doing a metric buttload of damage to multiple targets) and not have other players be able to fear you away is very overpowered. For the sake of PVE however, it is clearly a slight nerf. Like I said before, it's more like an annoyance than anything. They want us to be like warriors (who can break fears) but we have no ability to do so. Even before this change, our fear was not comparable considering the long cooldown but now it's even worse. I will say this, not many fights in T11 induce fears, but it's a tool in our arsenal that we no long have.

Pulverize - Damage from this attack is now 80% weapon damage, down from 100%. So basically you take a limp noodle and you make it limper? Yeah. Pulverize is one of my least favorite spells basically because it has such potential to be fun and instead it's just an annoyance. I would love to see them change the ability to hit much harder but place a cooldown on it or make it a bit more expensive. I could talk for days about pulverize but I won't.

Root Shifting - Here is the mack daddy cause of all the DURID QQ. Shifting no longer clears root effects. It will still continue to break movement slowing effects but not roots. People are all up in arms stating this is a pinnacle of the druid paradigm! This makes who we r! How dare they change it? Well I can see two downsides to this change. The first is in a PVP application where it just may be a very detrimental change to pvp ferals. I won't discount those people and I'm sure Blizzard is watching to see the overall effect. The second group are those trying to grind rep / the mount in Strathome. Damn you cryptkeepers! Anyway, regardless of people being all up in arms I see the impact radius being small - if any.

Barkskin - This can be cast while silenced. I would say this is a nice change.

Racials - I would say that I'm the most excited about these changes. First of all, Night Elf druids can use Shadowmeld while shapeshifted. It's about time and that make it that much more fun (and OP). Tauren druids can now use War Stomp in forms. This is GREAT for an emergency interrupt. We now have two on a long cooldown and one on a short cooldown.

In Closing
This patch....I dub thee Patch Annoyance. All the "negative" changes are not ground breaking, they are just moderately annoying at best. Perhaps that makes it a good patch, I don't have the resources that Blizzard has in the aspect of being able to know what is needed and what is excessive. Maybe they should take a lesson from Rift and have separate specs just for PVP, removing the need to balance PVE around PVP potential. Who knows. There are also tooltip changes to reflect the new damage amounts but I won't list those. Until next time....

Enjoy and fight on fellow bears!

1 comment:

Goreblades said...

Great info. Though, like you, I don't see what all the commotion is about. Will there be changes made -- yes. Will they be game altering and (dare I say it) cataclysmic -- no.