1. #1

    Feral Druid in WoD: Trading Complexity for Depth

    Although the title of this thread might imply a broader argument that addresses ability pruning, I'm focusing instead on something entirely different and more focused:

    Originally I was very disappointed when considering that Combo Points would now be stacking on the player instead of the target, because I figured this was abandoning the most defining limitation of the system, and would have rather seen the mechanics the player can utilize to mitigate it improved. This sort-of blinded me to the important implications for better gameplay that the new take on combo points implies: mostly that of an increased lateral thought process. That is to say, whereas originally combo points by their very nature previously supported a very tunnelvisiony approach, now with them easily transferable that's eliminated. Of course, there was a significant amount of forethought utilized by very good feral players in how they were going to overcome the loss of combo points when situations necessitated target switching, the new system encourages the player to be constantly aware of other targets, and opening the possibility of rolling our complex finishers on multiple targets is not making the game easier for us, but expanding the depth of the spec rather significantly.

    Pvp might be the area in which this is most important. The ability to CC other targets through Maim is hard to oversell. Not only does this mean everything stated above but in the control environment as opposed to merely the damage one (which also is immensely useful in pressuring healers in pvp), but has a very neat effect on the value of some talents, namely increasing the value of feral charge in order to accommodate maim's short range, but also, more importantly, maybe toppling the king of the level 75 talent tier. And lastly, it gives invigorated purpose to the inherent mobility of cats.

    The second best criticism I originally had for this change in how Combo Points functioned was their increased similarity to other resource systems like rage, holy power, and chi; however, I neglected to consider perhaps the most important distinction between these systems, which is not how they fundamentally function on their own, but instead the abilities they allow the player to use. Combo Point finishers are simply much more versatile and powerful. This shouldn't mean that allowing rogues and furls to wield these abilities with the same flexibility as warriors, monks, and paladins is overpowered, but instead it's important to realize the immense impact it has on how we play these specs, and the shifting of the focus when doing so. In MoP, indisputably, the most powerful utility of the feral druid was being the king of single target dps; stick the feral on anything that needs to die fast, that doesn't die too fast. In WoD, expect this to be completely shifted.

    That all is to say that while on the surface, the loss of things like snapshotting might appear to be a dramatic caving-in of the proudly-touted roof of this spec may be preventing you from noticing an equal obliteration of its floor.

    Also important to note: the natural downtime in our spec's rotation has never been better defined now that instant cast healing from the spec has never been more powerful. Rejuv from cat form and better healing touches expands the player's focus not only to more enemies in the case of combo points, but to his entire raid.

    There are two more ideas I'd like to bring forth. The first is a short argument for putting Entangling Roots back into Predatory swiftness. Let's just bullet point this one (I think I'm getting a bit wordy):
    • Retains the formerly most-laterally-thinking ability we had in expansions prior to WoD.
    • Eliminates the lackluster and overly-complex qualities into Predatory Swiftness that its limitation in the next expansion to merely healing touch embeds.
    • Perhaps a weak enough CC that it justifies its instant cast quality despite the game-wide reduction in these.

    Finally, a suggestion. Instead of Cyclone, Ferals would use Hibernate. Hibernate would have a reduced range (to maintain the importance of the druid's spacial awareness and continue the emphasis on cat-mobility that cyclone does), but would work on all living targets, and it would not be tied to predatory swiftness. This would bring perhaps some additional identity to the spec, but more importantly support a distinct counter to the combo point change. Although ferals can now spread bleeds and multidot like never before, it would limit the number of targets for our crucial CC; obviously you can't hibernate a target with dots on it, so you would have to be careful.

    The loss here - and the biggest counterargument I can conceive - is the unique gameplay value of cyclone. Unlike many other CCs, cyclone can hurt your cause as much as it can help it. And while I adore this system, I'm not sure if it's best suited to feral, and maybe the hibernate idea is more defining of cats - not only in aesthetic, but fundamental gameplay.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of this, and I apologize greatly for the wall of text.
    Last edited by hullaballoonatic; 2014-07-14 at 07:28 PM.

  2. #2
    I'm not entirely sure what kind of response you're going for as it sounds like you're just expressing your opinions. The change to combo points was long overdue. Ferals have had class-specific limitations for years, weak target switching did not need to be one of them. Could good ferals switch targets? Yes, that doesn't mean it wasn't more debilitating for us than for other classes and there is no good reason for one class to be significantly weaker in such an important area than others. There are places in this game where niches work. Having one healer be strong in HoT healing and another strong in big heals is not game breaking imo. However when one or two dps specs are at a significant disadvantage in an area there is a problem. I've played my Druid since early vanilla, the "flavor" differences between us and other classes have always been bs excuses to separate hybrids from pures imo. You can make classes function differently from one another without limiting one.

    As to your comparison of resource systems, combo points have existed in the game since well before Holy Power or Chi were ever thought of and I can't really see any comparison between CP and rage. CP increases the power of your abilities, Rage would be more comparable to Mana in that it allows you to use your abilities. Having more rage doesn't improve your abilities (save for Execute and Frenzied Regen) whereas having more CP obviously does improve your abilities.

    Not sure why you think HT is going to be more powerful in WoD than it was in MoP, but I do not see Ferals becoming raid off-heals again. We still have an extremely small mana pool and Rejuv is an expensive spell. If you're looking for dps offheals, you're better off turning to Shamans who still have access to Healing Rain and Healing Stream totem.

  3. #3
    Ferals have had class-specific limitations for years, weak target switching did not need to be one of them.
    You clearly viewed the CP change from the opposite direction that I did, and I think you're in the more populous group. I would like to point out, that as i assume you're partially aware by your entire response, it is perfectly fine for specs to be specialists, and in a meta where minmaxing has always been king, if spec A is 5% better at single target damage than spec B, but 20% worse at target switching, spec A can - and is in many cases - be far more valuable than spec B.

    I don't want my case to seem like I'm making the case that feral should excel in all areas. The important points I should make is that Feral is switching specialties/identities in the raid/pvp environment.

    In regards to healing, unlike Shaymins, Ferals have a natural downtime in their rotation which is very much complimented by the instant cast healing options we have. I presume an improvement in our healing model because of the emphasis on it that the 91-100 spec bonuses we're receiving as well as the focus of the glyphs and talents in this regard.

    Finally, although this isn't particularly important, Rage is immensely parallel to Combo points. For both, you use some moves to build a resource that other moves spend, and like you pointed out, each system has spenders that change in their throughput depending on the amount of the resource spent. Meanwhile, energy is equally comparable to cooldowns in order to build their respective resources.
    Last edited by hullaballoonatic; 2014-07-14 at 05:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Not sure why cp on player needs a counter or why our 'crucial cc' needs to run against our specs dot theme. Feels like you're just trying to add completely unnecessary weaknesses for the hell of it.
    Last edited by Kojo; 2014-07-14 at 05:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Having weaknesses is equally effective at giving a spec a clear definition as its strengths. You would still be able CC targets that you have dotted by using your stuns, but given their limitation, you would need to be smart with their usage. Overcoming the weaknesses of a spec is primarily what provides its challenge, and for many players (especially the feral community) the challenge is the stem of the entertainment.

  6. #6
    I never thought of it like this before. I'm still pretty disappointed about the changes, but this is very interesting. I'm sure that part of my unwillingness to look at these changes optimistically is because I would like to use them as an excuse to switch to the (more entertaining) role of healing.

  7. #7
    CC points on the player is 4 years overdue. Losing Hibernate is about the only thing Blizzard did right. The level 90 and level 100 talents are still a mess.

  8. #8
    CC points on the player is 4 years overdue. Losing Hibernate is about the only thing Blizzard did right.
    Not to sound like a dick, but doesn't the first statement contradict the second? The purpose of this thread is optimism.

  9. #9
    CP's on target certainly never promoted tunnel vision. If an add needs to die and you need to swap you still would, and you would think about how to set it up so you lose the least amount of overall DPS by swapping.

    Having CP's on target now allows us to be rewarded for playing well, rather than having to play well to minimize losses. If you know an add is coming and are prepped with 5cps you can get a Rip up asap and speed up the ramp-up time on that target significantly. This means no more explaining to the raid they your add damage sucks because it takes at least 4 globals to actually get your dps going on that target.

    Feral dps is always about maximizing the process in which you convert energy into damage and, as a consequence, Feral's weakness will still lie in killing single low HP High-Priority adds. These adds have to die fast and thus our bleeds will disappear when they do die, ultimately limiting their potential damage output.

    I won't speak about CC because I haven't enjoyed organized PvP since Wrath, but overall I feel the feral dps changes, as small as they are, put us in a good place for WoD and beyond.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hullaballoonatic View Post
    Not to sound like a dick, but doesn't the first statement contradict the second? The purpose of this thread is optimism.
    It's not like Blizzard has spent lot of time on Feral in the past 4 years. Unless you count stripping out tanking and replacing it with nothing. In the past 4 years Feral has gotten Thrash and Symbiosis. Compare that to any other sec. Now they are removing more abilities from Feral than anybody else. Yes combo points on the player will be a huge improvement but that has been obvious for years. The players have been asking for it year after year. I have trouble envisioning how a game that brings in over a billion dollars a year manages to get so little done. In any event if Blizzard wants to make another small change that will be a bi improvement for Feral they should look at making Ferocious Bite to real damage. The 20% buff in the leveling perks gave me a good laugh. 200% would be the minimum reasonable buff.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by teddabear View Post
    200% would be the minimum reasonable buff.
    Why stop there? Let's demand a 500% buff on other abilities.

  12. #12
    I don't think feral has been lacking on being given new things. This is the first expansion we wouldn't. In BC we got mangle, in wrath feral charge: cat and savage roar, in cataclysm we got thrash and stampeding roar, and in mists we got symbiosis. The purpose of Warlords of Draenor, especially, is not to be handing out new things to all the specs, and if this is what most interests you, then I apologize. The horizon probably doesn't look that exciting to you. But consider that WoD will bring on perhaps the biggest shift in how this spec is played since perhaps BC.

    We're even finding a resurgence in our ability to tank come Mists of Pandaria. Without throughput pieces to the level 90 talents, you are now free to choose HotW for precisely this purpose. Glyph of Ursol's Blessing makes offtank bear thicker than ever, the removal of base health makes bear healthier than ever, and survival instincts is exceptionally powerful. No, you won't be able to be the offtank as feral, and then switch over to dps when you want. That's too much power for one spec, but we will be able to spot tank much better in WoD than MoP.

    Finally, I feel it must be restated: Ferals in WoD may be the kings of supplementary spot healing. In some ways it's built into our system, and if you're a feral who is sitting there doing nothing waiting for energy regen or debuff durations to drop low enough to justify re-applying, then you're doing something wrong.... throw out a rejuv!

  13. #13
    They are modernizing this game a little bit. I'd prefer not but they do so doesnt matter anymore.
    Right now ferals ignore many boss mechanics and have been doing so for very long time. Combopoint change will help with that, it's pretty simple what it is and what it means.

    The snapshotting ugh.. So if I understood right they remove snapshotting? Well right now it's so complicated for the UI I had to change from TMW to WA and damn I couldnt make that complicated strings. Having addon that tells how strong your next bleed is mandatory and way out of blizzards UI.
    It makes sense but damn it's biggest fun and part of feral..

    I'd like to point out taht atm feral is simplest dmg bot spec in arena tunnel vision only. AND they are making it more simple in wod.
    Last edited by Ryndika; 2014-07-16 at 02:51 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Exigent View Post
    Why stop there? Let's demand a 500% buff on other abilities.
    You do realize that if you buffed Ferocious Bite in MoP by 200% it would still only do less than Feral's other finisher, and that's not counting Rune where it gets really laughable.

  15. #15
    Stood in the Fire
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by teddabear View Post
    You do realize that if you buffed Ferocious Bite in MoP by 200% it would still only do less than Feral's other finisher, and that's not counting Rune where it gets really laughable.
    I have to agree. I went over to FFR on my druid to do some PvP with the horde. So shred is my hardest hitting ability, doing something like 3k at 92. Obviously a big part of our damage is from our fast white attacks and bleeds, but nevertheless some big hits are good to have, particularly in PvP. Fights against casters and light melee were kind of even. Fighting plate wearers is something else. I was getting hit for 20 -25k from their main abilities. My FB on the other hand would crit for around 5k if I was lucky. Hopefully its just a tuning issue.

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