Feral Druid Changes in 7.3.0

Class Development
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Hi Cats,

We have a number of changes to Feral Druids coming soon. The general goals of these changes are:
  • 1. Reduce (but not necessarily displace entirely) the dominance of the big three complexifying and powerful talents: Savage Roar, Jagged Wounds, and Bloodtalons. Each of those talents is (on live) winning by a large margin in terms of throughput against other talents on their rows.
  • 2. Balance out the power level of the last 3 talent rows, allowing more talents builds to be viable.
  • 3. Increase the skill floor and reduce how punishing it can be to error when playing the rotation.
  • 4. Compensate for power-level-reductions of talents with baseline damage increase to the spec so that at the highest level, performance isn’t really affected, but the bottom of the spec is brought up.

The most major changes:
  • All damage done increased by 33%.
  • Jagged Wounds reduced to 20%. (down from 33%)
  • Savage Roar duration increased by 50% at all combo points. Damage bonus reduced to 15%. (down from 25%)
  • Bloodtalons damage bonus reduced to 25%. (down from 50%)

Looking back at the development of Feral Druid in Legion: when Savage Roar was moved from a baseline ability to the talent tree, in order to bring the power level of the ability closer to most talents (+25% damage to everything for a long duration is far stronger than most talents are), rather than reducing its damage bonus, its duration was significantly shortened instead. This contributed greatly to the overconstrained and overly punishing Feral rotation that you see on live today. Additionally, Jagged Wounds was added as a new talent, reducing the amount of free combo points Ferals had available to finishers such as Ferocious Bite (which was basically pushed out of the rotation entirely). Both talents probably would have been fine on their own, but taken together (because they were the strongest) at the live tuning values led to a more pressured Feral rotation than we felt was right.

Additionally, a few talents are being rearranged in the talent tree:
  • Jagged Wounds moved to lvl 75 row. (from lvl 90 row)
  • Savage Roar moved to lvl 90 row. (from lvl 75 row)
  • Brutal Slash moved to lvl 90 row. (from lvl 100 row)
  • Elune’s Guidance moved to lvl 100 row. (from lvl 90 row)

The primary gain here is moving Brutal Slash to a sort of multitarget/AOE lvl 90 talent row along with Sabertooth (which can be well-utilized in a sustained low-target situation), giving the lvl 90 row a solid talent for dungeons. For now, we want to go with an arrangement that keeps Jagged Wounds, Savage Roar, and Bloodtalons on separate rows so the current most common live build is still possible.

Other less major changes include quality of life and tuning adjustments to some talents to balance out the rows:
  • Prowl cooldown reduced to 6 sec (down from 10 sec) for all Druid specs.
  • Rebirth is castable in all forms, and consequently, is no longer affected by or consumes Predatory Swiftness.
  • Sabertooth damage bonus to Ferocious Bite increased to 20%.
  • Incarnation: King of the Jungle energy cost reduction reduced to 50% (down from 60%) and only allows the use of Prowl once. This it to balance out that talent row with the new Jagged Wounds and to reduce the frequency of Rake stuns in PvP while still allowing Incarnation to function as an effective Vanish.
  • Moment of Clarity now causes Omen of Clarity to trigger twice as often and increases the damage of the affected abilities by 25%. This is to better space out what is essentially a large energy proc and reduce slightly the impact that a single talent has on the resource income and pacing of the rotation.
  • Elune’s Guidance cooldown reduced to 30 sec (down from 45 sec) and combo points granted reduced to 5 + 5 over 5 seconds (down from 5 + 8 over 8 seconds).

Overall, with these changes, balance for the last 3 talent rows and consequently overall should be better in general. We expect the current most common build/playstyle of Jagged Wounds + Savage Roar + Bloodtalons to still remain one of the strongest builds, but it should no longer win by a huge margin over other competing talent builds and also should be a little less strenuous to play.

These changes should be available in an upcoming PTR build. As usual, we may make further adjustments – especially tuning – as PTR progresses.
Prowl CD reduction: Gold, I understand why rogues get shorter, and i'm very happy to see it reduced a bit

Truly free rebirth: Awesome, glad to see parity for cats here, especially when using Bloodtalons.

Talents

Savage Roar - Good change, now competing with BrS/Sabertooth, allowing us to use BrS more frequently, especially for Mythic+ dungeons.

Moment of Clarity - Great Change, less risk of overcapping on energy, a little worried about frequently wasted procs now though since it only affects shred/swipe/thrash. Possible to add an ability for the proc to stack twice with the talent?

Overall i'm glad to see talents shifted around while maintaining the ability for folks like me to use the SR/JW/BT build that I love.
I welcome the change to Prowl and Rebirth but can quiet honestly leave the rest. I don't like those changes.

I like the way the spec plays currently with a heavy focus on SR/JW/BT > nearly anything else for ST. Sorry if that's an unpopular opinion.
Some good looking stuff. Hopefully it doesn't get too undone like the Disc 7.2.5 changes did from the original presentation of those changes.
I don't play a Feral, but it's good to see them getting some love.
Was excited to see all those neat cat forms this expansion and disappointed to find out they were so low on the charts. Hopefully I'll see more now.

Congrats, Feral players!
07/07/2017 11:25 AMPosted by Seph
Prowl cooldown reduced to 6 sec (down from 10 sec) for all Druid specs.


Thank you!
You Seph, have my upmost thanks. This is one of the best changes we have received for the spec in ages.

--

Savage Roar: THANK YOU SO MUCH for increasing the duration, that will help IMMENSELY. The damage reduction is fine, but I'm glad that it will be decent to play when taken.

Jagged Wounds: An obvious change, gaining QOL in exchange for less damage. Very much worth it. And letting it compete too. Makes it less impactful and nicer to play with if chosen.

Bloodtalons: This was a needed change. It may be more competitive with the other talents now in a variety of situations.

--

Prowl CD reduced to 6 seconds, thank you, this was well needed.

Rebirth change is very nice, great change.

Sabertooth will now be a bit more competitive in cleave situations. Good change.

Incarnation's change is an odd one, but maybe it can compete with Jagged Wounds still.

Moment of Clarity needed a change, and this is a great one. Far better as it is more reliable and prevents you from getting energy capped as much as the live version. Incredible change.

Elune's Guidance probably won't see much use, even after the rearranging and the changes to it. It's an incredibly situational talent that doesn't really feel all that rewarding, but it may be able to compete. That will obviously be up for testing.

--

Overall, I, and likely the whole Feral community, could not be happier with these changes, Seph. The QOL here is much better than live and the major damage increase should offset these changes, most likely going further and coming out as a buff (not like we don't need one as it is).
The rearrangements are very interesting and I look forward to testing them out on the PTR when the are available.

Incredible changes Seph, you guys certainly have my gratitude.
We still need baseline thrash combo point generation please. Reliance on t19 for aoe situations should not be a thing. You guys purposely nerfed other t19 sets to avoid people from getting high forges and using that tier into ToS. For example some people thrash 80-100 times on Mistress Sazz'ine. Without baseline thrash combo point generation that's 80-140 combo points you aren't getting if you were to not wear T19.
I'm not sure how I feel about BrS and Savage Roar being on the same line yet. BT + BrS is going to make Pouncers almost mandatory for AOE, which I don't think is a good thing.

Other than that, thank you for taking a look at feral and making meaningful changes. I think Jagged Wounds was a complete mistake design wise and this looks like it's sort of backpedaling off it even if just a little, finally.
Gotta love how Blizz makes a post about one of the most neglected specs since forever, and everyone else starts complaining about theirs.

Ferals have been making threads upon threads about issues with the spec since Legion drop, and we're an EXTREME minority, so to get any love is almost unheard of, other than the usual aura buff.

Go make your own posts and rants, begging for help. >:(

PS: Thanks for finally listening, Blizzard.
Can some of this get hotfixed in before 7.3? We need at least some of the base damage buff, Prowl & Rebirth changes ASAP.
I love how we're getting attention, however these changes will not take effect for a few months, we're bottom of the pack currently and need some love now with some balancing. Any plans to balance us out until these changes take effect?
07/07/2017 01:09 PMPosted by Bearnakked
I love how we're getting attention, however these changes will not take effect for a few months, we're bottom of the pack currently and need some love now with some balancing. Any plans to balance us out until these changes take effect?


7.3 "should" be sometime in August. It sucks we're talking potentially two months away, but at least we'll have it for part of ToS progression and future raids. I'm not going to complain too much, since we also have legendaries right now that at least make the rotation bearable (Archdruid ring is BiS in many situations and eases the rotation a lot - wish I had it though). While being legendary dependent right now does hurt, at least we're getting attention in the semi-near future. Just gotta sit tight and wait, unfortunately.
Well, those changes look like a number of concerns were listened too, but I'm not really happy about moving Brutal Slash and BT around. I thought those competing against each other was actually a good thing.

My initial reaction is that this will amp the average feral's dps, but that the top end is going to remain roughly in the same place, which is going to leave a number of people who just want a raw dps to the spec increase feeling unsatisfied.

We'll see when it's finalized, and the theorycrafters get their hands on it.
07/07/2017 01:11 PMPosted by Solushunz
7.3 "should" be sometime in August.


7.3 was just released to the ptr last week, will not be in august, late september would be my guess.
Grats, ferals! It's great to see such big changes that are so well-received by the community. Bodes well for all of us. Getting more and more hype for 7.3 by the day.
Not to sound elitist, but all I ask is that you try to not make the rotation as simple as the other melee dps. My one concern is specifically in ferocious bite's use in the rotation. I feel like it really does not need to be an integral part of the rotation, but these changes seem to be trying to force it in. That's fine from a reworking standpoint, but all I ask is that sabertooth never ends up being the best choice for dps. It takes away all complexity from the spec and removes one of the most important choices you have to make.

Please listen to the feedback of the community as a whole on these changes (and I don't just mean my considerations, these changes are a large point of contention in the feral discord right now), but overall thanks for communicating changes beforehand and listening to everyone's concerns!

Edit: I feel like I should specify as well that I am a fan of these changes and think that tweaks will make them very positive overall.

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