Feral Druid Overview/Suggestions - 7.2.5

#1 - June 14, 2017, 11:10 a.m.
Blizzard Post
Sigma replied to this thread on page 3, and I am modifying this thread so that he and other devs can review it as they wish to better communicate with us Feral Druids.

For this post, I will do my best to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the spec, as well as what I think could use some tuning and how it could be tuned to benefit Ferals. Keep in mind all of this is my opinion, so if you agree or disagree with anything here, or just have something to add, feel free to list it here in this thread.


Feral Druids are good at:
- Single target damage
- Long sustained fights
- AoE (only with the right talents)

1. Feral Druids are okay when it comes to single target damage. Our damage can shine when bleeds can be maximized on a lone target. However, we don't really compete with most other classes in single target damage, leaving us decent at most. While single target damage is one of the things Feral can better handle than it can others, it still falls behind and is often beaten by other damage specs.

2. Considering Feral takes time to ramp up on abilities, we obviously excel on fights that last for a long time. One of our advantages is that we aren't very reliant on cooldowns. If we can keep a sustained assault on the enemy, then we can do somewhat impressive on long fights, however, in most cases, we are still beaten by many other damage specs on these types of encounters.

3. The AoE that Ferals can put out is good, but mostly dependent on what talents are taken. Without talents like Brutal Slash, our AoE is okay, but it only really shines on sustained AoE fights. With Brutal Slash, our AoE becomes much better, especially burst-wise. Considering most AoE fights are short lasting, burst is often the preferred damage type in that scenario. Ferals are okay with AoE, but only really begin to shine in AoE with Brutal Slash.


Feral Druids lack:
- Non cooldown burst damage
- Balanced talent system
- Smooth rotation

1. Our burst as Feral Druids is rather poor in general and lies entirely in our cooldowns. Our biggest burst ability is Ashamane's Frenzy, our artifact ability. We do have the legendary, Fiery Red Maimers, which takes our burst further, but it is tied to Ashamane's Frenzy. Almost all of our burst comes from cooldowns, and even the damage of that burst isn't great.

2. Feral Druids have lacked a balanced talent system for a while. We rely too much on our talents for damage, and talents like Savage Roar and Jagged Wounds are way too powerful as they are. Our talents are so unbalanced that there is only one optimal road to take, which eliminates any choice we might have there. Also, unfortunately, the current optimal build has very mixed receptions, with the majority of people disliking it.

3. Our rotation isn't bad in general, but because of the talents we have to take (Savage Roar, Jagged Wounds), our rotation goes from tolerable to extremely constrained. These two talents have such an affect on our rotation, that it can make it punishing and even unappealing for many people to play.


Possible tuning/mechanical changes:
- Longer uptime for Savage Roar + reduced damage impact
- Reduced bleed duration for Jagged Wounds + small passive damage bonus or counterbuff

1. Savage Roar takes up a lot of our time with Jagged Wounds and has us going back and forth between Rip and Savage Roar, pushing Ferocious Bite out of the rotation until the execute phase. Personally, I believe a longer uptime of Savage Roar would help significantly in freeing up more space in the rotation. It could, in turn, take a small nerf to the damage increase, taking it down a notch and ensuring the change won't come out as a potential buff to an already overpowered talent.

2. Jagged Wounds, alongside Savage Roar, is the biggest reason our rotation is strained. We lose any opportunity to use Ferocious Bite until the execute phase with these two talents. The idea of reducing the talent's impact on bleed duration was brushed over during the AMA, and I personally agree with it. Reducing the duration impact to 20% will help wth the rotation and either a passive damage bonus (like SotF) could be added or the spec could receive direct counterbuffs. That would ultimately make the spec more comfortable, less punishing, and bring Jagged Wounds down to allow Sabertooth to have a chance to compete as the go to talent for sustained cleve.
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Game Designer
#47 - June 21, 2017, 11:34 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Something that's on our radar is how constrained the rotation is with both Jagged Wounds and Savage Roar. The lowest-priority finisher (Ferocious Bite) gets pushed out too much with the combination of those two talents, which also currently happen to be too favored for DPS purposes. Both of those talents likely have too much of an impact on the pacing of the spec's rotation (for what a talent should do). In both cases we should probably reduce the talent's impact on pacing (that is, on GCD/resource usage) and either A) increase its DPS in some pacing-neutral fashion, or B) let the talent value sink if it's currently dominating its row, and counterbuff the spec some other way.

This is a broader issue that we've started looking at more often since 7.0, when the number and complexity of spec-specific rotation-modifying talents/bonuses increased dramatically. Problems like having too many or too few open GCDs, or resource starvation/flooding, spring up a lot more often when 5 rows of talents + legendaries/traits can be potentially moved in and out of the same rotation. And because talents already have a tuning constraint (they need to be DPS-balanced within their row), the pacing effect can't always be easily tuned on its own. I'd expect a more common trend of talents having a simple added effect that boosts DPS so the talent can be tuned without introducing an overly large pacing swing (seen already with many recent redesigns: Soul of the Forest, Legacy of the Void, Boulderfist, Reverse Entropy, and so forth).