- March 10, 2016, 8:50 a.m.
I agree that the core gameplay is looking really good right now (especially once the T18 set bonus is gone), and we don't want to change that.
I don't think the gameplay will change much due to stat balance tuning, though. (At least, I'm not looking for it to change). In fact, unlike many of our rotations, I think the Feral one is fairly resilient to change. In many other specs, it can be a 'house of cards', where it's challenging to adjust tuning on one thing, without risking breaking the rotation when you consider some other talent setup or ability. Feral, however, is fairly elegant in its mechanics. To break it you'd have to really push some ability so far that Ferocious Bite beat Rip or something silly, which is easy to avoid doing.
Regarding the commonly suggested change of making bleeds tick faster with haste, we see that as solving the stat balance problem, while actually making a bigger problem worse. The fact that the direct damage is so much weaker than bleeds is a problem that we need to fix anyway. If Feral bleeds ticked faster with Haste, that would just be doubling down even further on "Bleeds are all amazing, DD is terrible, it hardly matters if you Shred/Bite well." The gameplay works best when you care about both sides of that situation. Making bleeds tick faster with Haste would just be pushing even more weight onto that side of the table. Making them balanced isn't going to change that gameplay about caring about bleed uptime. In fact it will increase the skillcap. The more unbalanced that equation is, the less skillfully balancing both of them matters.
EDIT: Had some further discussion with Tinderhoof and Purrowl and a few others in their chat. To summarize that:
Unlike Mastery, Haste affects your gameplay feel. You actually use more abilities, and your ratios of abilities changes. Mastery just makes your existing ability usage stronger. It's more passive.
Yeah, the T18 set bonus really hurt Feral gameplay, no question. And really really hurt the value of Haste.
Super simple illustration of what's wrong with Feral tuning right now, and why it's a tuning problem: Consider your finishers. Rip and Ferocious Bite. Haste gives you more Bites (and it does so at greater-than-linear rate; a little Haste significantly increases your Bite usage). But that's not valuable, if Bite is weak. Rip needs to be stronger than Bite for the rotation to work, but the larger that difference, the more Mastery beats Haste. Right now, in Legion raid gear, a single Rip cast will likely do ~1.2million damage. A single Bite cast will likely do ~300k damage. That's an astoundingly massive difference. With a difference like that, it's no wonder that Haste sucks. But if that Bite did ~1.0million damage, nothing about your rotational priorities would change, but you'd value Haste more, and you'd value efficiently generating and using your combo points more.
The same can be said about Rake and Shred. Rake currently does ~500k, and Shred does ~130k. Again, no wonder Haste sucks, when all it gives you is more of those ~130k Shreds, not more Rakes.
Looking forward to how we might solve this... Energy regeneration will likely look something like what it was in early Warlords, before T18 set bonuses gave you too much energy to know what to do with. The simplest starting point is to literally triple
the damage of Shred and Ferocious Bite. I don't know offhand if that's too much or too little, but it's something in that ballpark.
The goal for Rip vs Ferocious Bite tuning is that Rip is "clearly stronger", but that can be achieved with a difference of 15%-30%. It doesn't need to be 300% stronger. Same goes for Rake vs Shred, or Moonfire vs Shred.
I hope this helps clarify things. We hope to be on the same page as you all, especially for theorycrafting collaboration.