BFA Feral Feedback

Battle for Azeroth Items and Classes
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Posted on behalf of Guiltyas from the Dreamgrove discord.

Feral Druid feedback- BFA

Feral seems to be little changed from the baseline Feral in legion other than in a few areas, It’s little secret that my preference for Feral is oriented more towards the slower bleed focused playstyle of early legion and latter expansions so bear in mind my feedback will be coloured by this.

Talent Layout

A recent dev watercooler introduced an interesting idea, that talent rows which are choices between AOE and ST aren’t good design.

I agree with this, it’s not particularly interesting as it makes talent rows very binary. This is something the current Feral talent tree suffers from (Brutal Slash and Predator as the biggest culprits).

Having talked about this with other respected members of dreamgrove we have a proposed idea for a new set up talent tree (Big credit to Xanzara). We assumed blizzard wanted to keep a passive in each row so it’s set up that someone can choose an almost entirely passive set of talents or a set where almost every talent gives an extra ability. Obviously this is just something some people discussed and put together but it would be interesting to see blizzards take on it. It really is something that i think would improve the specs talent options and it would be interesting to see more discussion about this.

https://i.imgur.com/nSd8RXn.png

Underperforming talents

Tiger’s Dash and Renewal are the talents here that I think would most be considered underperforming.

I can’t think of any fight this expansion where renewal was a good choice and it really doesn’t make sense on the row its on, It is the only healing talent competing on a row of mobility talents. With the changes to Regrowth it isn’t even a comparatively strong healing option, It is approximately twice as strong as an average regrowth on a 90 second cd. This talent existed through legion and stayed underwhelming. I’d like to see this changed or replaced.

Tiger’s dash is a new addition for legion replacing displacer beast, it replaces dash. As it is at the moment it appears to be strictly worse than Wild Charge. The ability itself is ok though a little weak but the opportunity cost for taking the talent is enormous as it replaces dash and also means you miss out on Wild Charge. It makes no sense that the talent is on a 45 second cd compared to the 15s cd of Wild Charge while also meaning you no longer have dash as baseline. Feral mobility is a luxury, unlike many classes we have extremely high base move speed, tiger’s dash just doesn’t seem like a good option in a world with Wild Charge. I like the talent but it needs a buff

Boring Talents

Blood scent might be the most boring talent ever created. For all intents and purposes it is a talent that gives you 10% crit. And that’s it. It’s extremely boring and hopefully it can be changed or replaced. We’ve seen other classes get legendaries baked in as talents, potentially behemoth could fit in blood scent’s place? It remains a passive but makes the talent not criminally boring!

Sabertooth is another example of a boring talent, while the talent is semi interesting in cleave scenarios in single target it is a talent that actively removes thought from your rotation. This talent existed throughout the entirety of legion as a new addition and outside of PvP has seen almost no use. It’s not a strong talent and its not an interesting or enjoyable talent.

Incarnation, this is entirely my own personal opinion, but incarnation is an extremely boring talent for Ferals. There are a few reasons I think this, to start with I believe that overly focusing throughput into long CD abilities that have a big impact on damage (which incarnation certainly does) makes the rotation outside of the cds far more boring as it becomes less impactful. Incarnation in particular doesn’t make you play differently, it just becomes 30s of spamming.
Predator

This section might be dedicated to Predator specifically but it’s more about the GCD changes in the context of Predator. The GCD changes on other talents are liveable for me, I don’t like it at all and think it’s stupid and unfun, but as a Feral i can live with them. We played through wod with incarnation the GCD after all so it’s nothing too new. With the Predator talent and Tiger’s Fury being on the GCD however it seems awful. What should be a “moment of glory” and feel good as Predator resets start rolling in becomes a moment of “this feels really awkward” as the Predator resets are either wasted (no bueno) or disrupt the rotation, increasing the number of abilities you’re pressing that do no damage while also being at a point that should increase damage output. It seems contrary to the talents purpose. The recent QnA talked about how they would continue to review the abilities put on GCD to see if any should be taken back off, I’d implore the dev team to look strongly at tiger’s fury being one of these abilities.

Savage Roar

For those of you who follow the Dreamgrove discord #Feral section you might know we recently launched a podcast discussing Feral, the opening episode discussed 7.3 changes and one particular point was regarding Savage Roar. I make no secret that I don’t mind this ability. When its at its best it gives more stuff to think about, when its at its worse it’s 7.3 Savage Roar (or WOD Savage Roar). One particular thing I would like addressed is a QOL point. For MOP, HFC, and to a lesser extent Legion we had ways of getting buffs and debuffs up quickly in the opener (Glyph V1, Glyph V2, Ashamane’s Frenzy). Currently in BFA nothing like this exists (outside of talenting for it with Feral Frenzy) and it makes Savage Roar feel (and i hate to use this word) clunky. In order to open and get ramping we need to get Savage Roar up, Rip up (Preferably with a Bloodtalon’s buff if this is talented). I’d like to see (preferably) the MOP version of this glyph implemented, allowing you to cast the ability at 0 cp for a reduced duration. We shouldn’t have to take another talent to make a talent feel smooth.

Affinities

I do not think affinities have been an enormous success this expansion. For the most part they’re glorified passives, immense QOL in the form of balance affinity, but still a passive. Feral affinity has been a gameplay definer for Resto Druid damage and Guardian Druid damage and this i think was the high point for affinities in legion. As it is however I do not like losing my previously baseline abilities to being locked behind talents and think this should be reconsidered. Maybe moving this talent to a more CD related tier with Balance affinity being a CD similar to Aspect of the Eagle, Resto affinity akin to Heart of the Wild and Guardian affinity being a strong defensive CD while also potentially retaining.

General

It’s no secret that I do not enjoy current Feral playstyle, It isn’t the Feral i’ve played over the last god knows how many years, It’s bland, it’s spammy and it lacks depth. BFA looks to be addressing a lot of this. From what i’ve seen of Feral it looks broadly positive and I’m looking forward to moving away from Feral as it exists now in Legion.

Stats

Haste/Mastery scaling issues we’ve complained about for years have been addressed with the addition of hasted bleeds (Insert meme spreadsheet here). Feral has always had strong crit interactions with the additional combo points and this remains the same which is good! Vers is still the most boring stat ever created so hopefully that can be revisited.
Azerite

I was originally (and still am) a little cautious about the Azerite system, the system is supposed to replace a lot of gameplay impacting effects, Legendaries, Artifact traits, and Tier sets. I thought that it was far too ambitious. I’m still cautious yet now I think cautiously optimistic. The idea behind recent Azerite traits seem interesting with their purpose seemingly being too introduce new buttons into our rotation (Iron jaws for Feral or Sharpened Blades for rogue). I hope that they are not too RNG or proc based as while i think procs are enjoyable to a certain extent in a rotation if they are too big a portion of your damage it becomes far less enjoyable. I hope these are done well and look forward to seeing more.

AOE

I’d like to see Feral’s AOE gameplay looked at, I don’t think the current Feral aoe playstyle of spamming Thrash in between casts of Brutal Slash is a positive solution, but I also don’t want our AOE to be entirely consisting of Tab Raking and Ripping. I don’t have a good answer to solving this but I think it warrants some attention.

Stampeding Roar

Unfortunately for our bear friends their nerf is our indirect buff. Guttural Roars removal is a good thing for Feral as it indirectly buffs the value of Feral stampeding Roar so yay for us.
AOE is personally my biggest concern, as someone who does m+ a lot and tries to make feral work in high keys even the current play style of brutal slash being “overpowered” to fix our lack luster aoe is not a very good solution as it just tends to make it also a good single target alternative to savage roar which is definitley not the direction I hope blizzard was trying to take feral, on beta at the moment our aoe playstyle is just tab rake tab rake and use your brutal slashes which do very little damage, now obviously feral has a class fantasy of being a bleed base specizlization but there has to be a balance between 0 upfront aoe burst and full rot playstyle like there is from live to beta
To continue on the aoe topic, at the moment in beta you have this dynamic of having to multi dot and do bleed damage on AOE but you have the “fixed” Brutal slash which doesn’t feel like it belongs at all in beta feral, but live feral it makes sense because bleed damage isn’t your main source anymore. Brutal slash while has become a staple of our aoe probably is better off being removed and make swipe actually useful, In doing this you could make swipe do something with bleeds such as making them tick instantly on each swipe hit or extending bleeds even so it doesn’t feel punishing to press your ability that was designed for aoe.
Another thing would be thrash, at the moment it just feels bad to press since you have the removed traits such as shadow thrash and reduced swipe/brs cost on thrash useage, while I don’t have any immediate ideas on what to do with thrash something probably should be done to make thrash feel better as an aoe bleed ability.
05/04/2018 06:54 AMPosted by Snuffly
Posted on behalf of Guiltyas from the Dreamgrove discord.


Fairly certain this means he isnt in the beta, so I will respond like he isnt.

05/04/2018 06:55 AMPosted by Snuffly
Haste/Mastery scaling issues we’ve complained about for years have been addressed with the addition of hasted bleeds


I had hopes here too. Unfortunately, at the moment, the best build is LI/SotF/Saber/MoC. This was tested with numbers more indicative of mid to late game than starter. I am still hoping it is just a balance issue and that bleeds will get a buff, but I have a feeling it is a push by Blizz to make certain bleeds do not pull an ArP stunt.

Many players are now showing the build is with their comments more and more. It is annoying, it is easy, and yes, boring to no end. You just need to renew MF and Rake, then do FB as often as you can.

05/04/2018 07:17 AMPosted by Hippopotamus
feral, on beta at the moment our aoe playstyle is just tab rake tab rake and use your brutal slashes which do very little damage


Actually, from what I have seen of damage, you do more SINGLE target dps from the above build than you do AoE using BS. You can do more AoE dps if you spread Rip. That is how weak BS is right now. I personally put it under the heading of useless.

I may need to swallow my horde bias and make one so I can get access to test dummies. I could use them before the beta because I could get to class halls and they had 110 and 120 target dummies. Now in the beta, I cannot. It is really annoying, especially since Boralus still doesnt have any, but the horde side does.
I completely agree. Thrash is extremely weak right now. With how they tanked the Predator talent by putting TF on the GCD, I don't even want to cast Thrash anymore; it feels pointless. Sure you get more crit for your Brutal Slash if you're running Bloodscent, which I have been doing because rest in peace Predator, but that's not something I can actually feel. All I feel is that 45 energy gone for a spell that feels more like a maintenance debuff than an actual dps ability.
I had hopes here too. Unfortunately, at the moment, the best build is LI/SotF/Saber/MoC. This was tested with numbers more indicative of mid to late game than starter. I am still hoping it is just a balance issue and that bleeds will get a buff, but I have a feeling it is a push by Blizz to make certain bleeds do not pull an ArP stunt.

So this is just wrong, those talents aren’t the best at all and I have no idea where you got his information, atm li/jw/sr/bt is the best with some variation with feral frenzy, please don’t spread misinformation.
05/04/2018 07:39 AMPosted by Tenshirou
05/04/2018 06:54 AMPosted by Snuffly
Posted on behalf of Guiltyas from the Dreamgrove discord.


Fairly certain this means he isnt in the beta, so I will respond like he isnt.

05/04/2018 06:55 AMPosted by Snuffly
Haste/Mastery scaling issues we’ve complained about for years have been addressed with the addition of hasted bleeds


I had hopes here too. Unfortunately, at the moment, the best build is LI/SotF/Saber/MoC. This was tested with numbers more indicative of mid to late game than starter. I am still hoping it is just a balance issue and that bleeds will get a buff, but I have a feeling it is a push by Blizz to make certain bleeds do not pull an ArP stunt.

Many players are now showing the build is with their comments more and more. It is annoying, it is easy, and yes, boring to no end. You just need to renew MF and Rake, then do FB as often as you can.

05/04/2018 07:17 AMPosted by Hippopotamus
feral, on beta at the moment our aoe playstyle is just tab rake tab rake and use your brutal slashes which do very little damage


Actually, from what I have seen of damage, you do more SINGLE target dps from the above build than you do AoE using BS. You can do more AoE dps if you spread Rip. That is how weak BS is right now. I personally put it under the heading of useless.

I may need to swallow my horde bias and make one so I can get access to test dummies. I could use them before the beta because I could get to class halls and they had 110 and 120 target dummies. Now in the beta, I cannot. It is really annoying, especially since Boralus still doesnt have any, but the horde side does.

A couple of points for you here, A) minimal tuning has been done so any opinions made about the strengths and weaknesses number wise of talents at the moment is just flat out silly. B) even considering the current state your suggested build is incorrect. MOC is certainly not stronger than BT for example, with the shift in damage profile towards bleeds gaining additional damage here rather than more shreds and a smaller % increase from MOC is easy to see its superiority.
You can see looking at logs from decent ferals from raid testing that bleeds are a far greater portion of damage than currently and that will naturally increase the value of talents that boost bleeds.
We can also have the speech about how awful dummy testing is especially when you’re testing short duration, low repetition. But i would hope at this point in the game i’ve made that speech to enough people enough times that i don’t need to anymore.
For what it’s worth sabertooth could potentially be a viable option in ST or cleave but it scales poorly. Suggesting that doing st does more damage than doing aoe is a really stupid statement btw. (This is all from guiltyas an extremely vital person in the feral community who does sims and theory crafts and is a top end raider, don’t discredit someone for not having beta)
05/04/2018 08:05 AMPosted by Hippopotamus
Suggesting that doing st does more damage than doing aoe is a really stupid statement btw.


Yeeeeeeeeah, I've yet to encounter a situation in either the alpha or beta where I could do more single target dps than aoe dps. Even with how clunky our aoe feels at the moment, it still puts out fairly comparable damage to other melee specs (disregarding the fact that, again, number tuning has not been finalized).

Also wasn't Tenshirou the guy claiming that autoattack was our highest damage at max level? I think he might be playing the spec incorrectly.
All good points from Snuffly, especially regarding the TF GCD with predator and aoe. While all GCD changes feel bad, TF in particular feels quite awful to play with.

Also:

05/04/2018 06:54 AMPosted by Snuffly
Posted on behalf of Guiltyas from the Dreamgrove discord.
Fairly certain this means he isnt in the beta, so I will respond like he isnt.


https://imgur.com/a/J8xaSFK
Very nice post snuffly! Couldn’t have said it better myself.
05/04/2018 08:34 AMPosted by Grizlee
Very nice post snuffly! Couldn’t have said it better myself.


Thank you! But the first 3 posts were all written by Guiltyas, so all credit goes to him; I am simply the messenger.
Yeah I know but I’ve seen you in all of the other feral threads giving good feed back.
Well thought out position from guiltyas.

I went through the post with notepad nearby ready to write up counterpoints. All I could do was agree.

A few things are, worth emphasising though.

Renewal is a wasted talent. I dont think I have seen anyone take it. Ever. In terms of ability usage it does the same purpose as rg. When thinking it over I tossed up a few options to give it more flavour.
- replace with a dmg mitigation (but we have SI).
- remove it, and put something from current lego system in its place. (though on this I wonder if they arent looking to to bake some of the lego system into that new system). Though there are definitely current lego abilities (esp behe) which would fit well as a talent.
- got nothing, but you need to do these things in threes right? Hopefully someone else can think of another use for this slot.

Tigers dash currently feels underwelming. I honestly cannot see it being a go to talent in BFA as it stands. But that was clearly outlined in the OP.

The GCD change is not terrible. Dont get me wrong, this doesnt mean I like it, rather that I notice it less than I had expected to
EXCEPT - with pred and aoe. In that context it is clunky on a gameplay level, and not even extending out tf uptime will fix how it plays on aoe. Thing that worries me the most in this context is M+. Pred is super important in aoe there, and having our abilities gated behind getting up TF is more than detrimental.

I am a huge fan of what was said in the OP about affinities. At the moment they are bland and feral really just takes bal affi, but giving them some depth, could help out with our raid utility significantly.

As for the comments about what specs etc do more damage, well at this stage talking balancing is distracting to the more important issues of gameplay.

ps. I am a big fan of SR. Guiltyas' post sums up everything there. I do hope bliz dont cave to the folks who dislike it and do away with it in favour of simplicity.

pps. I am fairly hopeful of the azurite system, and a recent vid by taliesin sums that up fairly well, though mentioning him on forums is always a risky action ;).
I don’t think anyone has ever used Renewal in the history of its existence. Only thing I can think of to replace it with is maybe some kind of damage reduction talent? Since Blizzard likes putting survivability talents in competition with movement talents. Maybe Ashamane’s Protection could be a talent on that row. Situational but so much more useful than a weak heal on a long cd.
Feral needs AoE finishers and has for some time. ST we are fine in gen/spend, AoE builders are fine (thrash/swipe).

BrSl is a reasonable way to add burst damage (esp AoE) to a spec that lacks it (true for any DoT heavy spec). I'd be sad to see it go or lose its place in the talent tree (but there needs to be an AoE row unless BrSl is tuned to be a parity talent on a STDPS row). It's needed in today's M+ reality.

I like the 'spammy' DD version of Feral in live, so sorry to be a counterpoint to the slow and methodical ST focused bleed versions. Hyper ST focus isn't going to cut it in today's game (ask shadow priests how they feel about M+ all Legion). I agree having both be balanced would be swell though as long as the talent placements make sense (ST vs AoE).

Blood Talons and snapshotting generally speaking I've never been a fan of, so again hate to be a debbie-downer there. Inserting a heal to be able to do target DPS just feels like a GCD 'clunk' tax similar to lifetap or any short duration maintenance buff (looking at you, Savage Roar!).

Violent agreement on the GCD for TF feeling absolutely awful, and more or less wrecking the fun that is Legion Predator.

Also agree about Affinities being boring, and not justifying the removal of base abilities and utility for forms.

I'd also like to get flight and stag travel forms at least separated again.

Gold star if power shifting came back, that actually made me feel like a druid. Not a fan of the current GCD on shapeshift.
05/04/2018 08:05 AMPosted by Hippopotamus
minimal tuning has been done


They're like 25 working days away from launch. When do you expect all this tuning to happen, right before the Golden Patch?
Blood Talons and snapshotting generally speaking I've never been a fan of, so again hate to be a debbie-downer there. Inserting a heal to be able to do target DPS just feels like a GCD 'clunk' tax similar to lifetap or any short duration maintenance buff (looking at you, Savage Roar!).
I'll literally never understand this viewpoint, quit playing feral if you feel this way.

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