So I got a TON of comments on my “state of feral” post (75ish, at last count) and 80% of them are focusing on one thing- where ferals are on the meters. I’d like to clarify a bit.
- Feral is not “broken.” Obviously, this depends on how you define “broken.” Several commenters have pointed out that “I’m always in the top X for DPS in my guild’s raids” and “I haven’t seen any problems.” Well, yeah. I’m pulling top5 DPS for my decidedly non-hardcore guild as well. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m a better player than they are, which makes comparisons like these somewhat less valid. (Protip: If you read blogs about WoW, then you are probably a better player than average.) Feral DPS can complete all normal-mode content and pull competitive numbers; or, from a PvP perspective, can hit high ratings, so I don’t think they’re “broken.” For 90% of people, that’s all that matters. (90% is roughly the number of raiders that have not completed any heroic raid content to date, according to GuildOx.)
- Feral is currently weak in PvE, compared to other classes. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, first we need a method to fairly compare class DPS. Happily, the community has created several resources for us to draw information from. The one most commonly used is the World of Logs DPS rankings. While this tool was created purely as an online scoreboard competition, it stores the top 200 results for each spec. This is enough information to allow us to compare spec for spec in similar situations. Several second-order tools, such as State of DPS and Raidbots (Hi Seri!) have been created to parse this information into fancy graphs that we can argue about. :) Now, several valid criticisms have been made about how well this dataset applies to the problem; unfortunately, it’s the best tool we have for comparative purposes, and I don’t think any of the criticisms substantially devalue the comparison. Looking at both parsing sites, we’re very low on the overall numbers. Of course, overall numbers don’t tell the whole story; let’s look at specific fights. (Note that when I compare classes, I assume that top players will switch to the best DPS spec available to their class and gear; so I only count the top DPS spec for every class except shamans and druids, which I count individually.)
- Pure Single-Target DPS: Very Poor. Looking at Argaloth (I think it’s safe to say that the top 200 are moving to stay behind him at this point), ferals are the lowest class. The difference isn’t that pronounced for single-target, though; assuming MM comes back to the pack a little bit after the recent nerf, I’d say feral is about 5-10% behind the top class. (What about Chimaeron? Well, I’m of the opinion that Chimaeron numbers are untrustworthy. Top DPS’ers will be the first to die in the burn phase, which skews their numbers downward.)
- Two-Target DPS: Poor. It’s hard to find a fight that has just two targets without other things going on; Valiona/Theralion and Twilight Council are the closest. We are the second lowest spec on VT (just ahead of ele) and third-lowest spec on TAC (just ahead of ele and ret). Admittedly, most melee has troubles with TAC, but we’re significantly behind the ones with decent ranged ability; unholy and enhance.
- Burst AOE: Poor to Average. Looking at normal-mode Maloriak, we beat out three specs (ele/enh/ret) and are very close to fury. That’s not bad, but that’s the closest to the top we’ve got.
- Sustained AOE: Very Poor. Heroic-mode Maloriak features an extra phase with nothing but AOE. Ferals come in 11 of 12, just ahead of enhance.
(If you think I need to look at a certain fight besides these, let me know.)
- Feral is currently underrepresented in PvP, compared to other classes. Since we don’t have performance data for arena teams, the best we can do is look at the top-rated teams and see how many have ferals on them. Unfortunately, I don’t know of an automated tool that does this (anyone else know?) Looking at AJ numbers for the top 100 3v3 teams, roughly 40 of them have druids. Of those 40, all of them are Resto/X. Most have second resto or boomkin offspecs; maybe 3 or 4 have feral offspecs. None are logged out in feral PvP gear, as far as I can tell.
Feel free to comment. I’m having a very long and difficult week, so I’m not participating as much as I would be normally.