Well fellow Kitties, the big news is here! On Friday Blizzard posted a snippet of what’s in store for us in Cataclysm. I decided to wait a few days before giving some thoughts because as we’ve seen with the previous class updates, Blizard has taken the time to answer questions and give further insight on what they’ve previewed. A lot of additional information has been since released and its time to take a step back and try and understand their bigger picture for kitty kats. Remember, this is a kitty blog so I will not be discussing any of the changes related to bears, chickens or trees. After all, all we care about is FITE!
- Official Blizzard Druid Preview
- MMO-Champion Highlighted Blue Info
- MMO-Champion complete Blue Tracker
Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.
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.
We will be buffing the damage of Mangle (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot Shred, they are not at such a damage-dealing loss.
We want to make the Feral cat damage rotation slightly more forgiving. We do not want to remove what druids like about their gameplay, but we do want to make it less punishing to miss, say, a Savage Roar or Rake. The changes here will be on par with increasing the duration of Mangle like we did for patch 3.3.3.
We plan on giving Feral cats and bears a Kick/Pummel equivalent — an interrupt that is off the global cooldown and does no damage. We feel like they need this utility to be able to fill the melee role in a dungeon or raid group, and to give them more PvP utility.
Lack of new spells for Feral cat and Restoration specs
We didn’t add new rotational spells to Restoration or Feral cat because, good lord, you have enough buttons already. We tried hard with Cataclysm to not add new spells just because. The specs that got new spells were ones we think had big holes in their rotation. You’ll still get new talents and mechanics so I expect there will be a lot to learn when the big game-changing patch rolls around. (Source)
Cat/Bear forms level requirements
It won’t be super low level, but we might switch the levels at which you get cat and bear. (Source)
Feral cat changes
The recent Mangle change is a good example. Other candidates include letting Rake last longer, changing Mangle’s damage such that it’s not such a gigantic dps loss not to Shred, and / or changing the bonus of Savage Roar so that it’s not such a crippling dps loss if it falls off. Using Savage Roar after a target with cps on it has died will help too.
We still want the John Madden crowd to be able to try and maximize their dps. We just want players not playing at that level to not be so far behind (though behind is fine). (Source)
First off, I try not to put any ideas into my head before previews because I’m generally wrong and I try not to level set myself into thinking of awesome ideas and getting let down. After reading it all (several times) I’ve tried to think about the direction that Blizzard is trying to take with feral dps. I mean sure I could go through each line and say “cool” or “not cool” but whats the bigger picture that they are moving towards. With that, this is what I am taking from the preview:
- Greater Utility: If we are supposed to truly embrace the “bring the class, not the player’ philosophy then yes this is the direction that needs to be taken. Trying to interrupt as a kitty kat is brutal, trying to keep dots up while leaving a spare combo point and pooling enough energy to apply the maim (which has a cooldown) is absolutely ludicrous. If anyone thinks this isnt a challenge feel free to try and interrupt on General Vezax and dps at the same time you’ll know what I mean. As for the new ability (Stampeding Roar) its an interesting idea which could be used specific situations. Its something that no other class has that can continue to increase the value of a feral druid in raid compositions. Good ideas on how it could be used in ICC could be running from Marrowgar Bonestorm, Rotface Unstable Ooze Explosion, Blood-Queen Lana’thel Bloodbolt Whirl, Lich King Defile. Those are just a few situations that it could be useful, but the more interesting point for me is that its another complexity into feral dps mechanics that require you to manage your energy and cp’s effectively to maintain your dots while providing this additional buff to the raid.
- Buffing Mangle Damage: This is a dangerous idea. A significantly buffed Mangle with a Glyph of Mangle with 10% increased damage has the potentially to cause a complete change of feral dps mechanics. The fear is suddenly the damage output is so high that you can completely ignore Shred (and its challenging positional requirement) and just mangle spam, essentially simplifying feral dps for the same results and creating crazy discussions like trying to use 4pt6 just to up your damage. There are few and far fights that have positional requirements that force you to mangle spam exclusively. The only fight I can think of off the top of my head is Kologarn. So while it may be a nice change to avoid dropping our dps significantly, is it really worth all the trouble for such unique situational fights?
- JOHN FUCKING MADDEN: Even with the potentially devastating buffing mangle damage idea, I am taking away from this preview post positive vibes for several reasons. First, they are making the rotation more forgiving but at the same time, adding new utility that will add new challenges, which will keep gameplay challenging but through new challenges. Secondly, they aren’t adding new abilities because they understand how challenging feral dps already is and how delicate it would be to suddenly introduce new talents. This also gives me hope that they will understand how to address point 2. Finally and most importantly JOHN FUCKING MADDEN, yup they get it, help casuals but keep challenging progression raiders. Right on Blizzard.