…is, frankly, not good. I’ve been holding this post for a while, waiting for something, anything…but Yawning’s departure for many of the same reasons has spurred me to action. Let’s list, shall we? Rant inc. (Oh, and thanks to all who wished me good luck on the CISSP. I have good feelings…just have to wait now.)
-Our finishers are too simplistic. During WOTLK, the importance of Savage Roar and the strength of Ferocious Bite worked well as a risk/reward CP dump; it felt like you were making a conscious decision every Rip cycle whether you had enough energy/time to get off the FB and get back up to 5 cp’s to refresh Rip/SR. The mechanic worked well, was pretty forgiving (you could skip FB’s entirely and still have competitive DPS), and offered a way to excel. With the reduction in importance of SR in 4.0, and the buffs to Shred in 4.0.6, all that is gone. Rip is still great, but the options after that are lackluster; Savage Roar is just a buff (which you can put up with any amount of CP’s, no risk/reward choice there) and FB is simply not powerful enough to be worth using, except for Blood in the Water. That doesn’t really add any decision-making; we just swap FB for Rip sub-25%. Rogues have 3 finishers (SnD/Rupture/Envenom(or Evis for combat)) as part of their rotation, and several others for utility. Can we have something like that, please? I’d love to be able to Rip/SR/decide between saving CP’s, FB for a bit more DPS, or pop a Druid version of Recup. Aren’t we the HoT class, anyway? Another interesting idea would be to rework Nurturing Instincts so that the buff to healing spells cast scales with the number of CP’s; so if I sit and try to chaincast heals as Feral, I’m effectively useless, but I can put out an occasional very strong heal. (If LOTP healing has to be nerfed or made Bear-only, do it.)
-For that matter, can we keep our Rip ticking at the same value, even if we shift out? I love losing 10k damage off a Rip tick because I’m rezzing someone. (I assume this behavior is still around, haven’t tested in a while.) Oh yeah, and our 4T11 buff fades when we shift out of form. Awesome.
-For an expansion which was supposed to herald the end of AoE, there’s quite a few boss fights which feature it. Our AoE is extremely weak; enough so to warrant benching on fights which center around add damage (Hi Maloriak!).
-Rip refresh behavior is frustratingly inconsistent. Sometimes I can refresh it; sometimes I can’t. Just treat it like Rake, and let me refresh it when I want, even if I’m refreshing it with less AP. If Atramedes is taking off, I want that Rip up NOW.
-Stampeding Roar is mostly ineffective, in it’s current state. I’d like to see either a range increase, or at least make it a targeted effect (which doesn’t really pass the common sense test, but eh). I’ve had SEVERAL occasions where I want to buff someone’s run speed, but if I’m not right on top of them, why bother?
-Skull Bash is a lot of fun, but has a high cost compared to other classes, and has significant lag. I hate being put on interrupt duty, simply because of the lag thing. (I have combat logs where my client records a successful interrupt, but *surprise* it wasn’t!).
-Primal Madness is still useless. (Yes, you can get a small DPS boost out of it by going to 0 energy and hitting a /cancelaura macro, but that’s ridiculous design.)
-Cower should not be avoidable. (Again, ridiculous design.)
-We still are pretty poor at target switching, since we don’t have a Redirect-type ability.
-For skilled players, our damage is low compared to other classes. (Currently fighting the shamans for last place, if you leave out alternate PvE specs like Arms, BM, sub, frost/arcane.) I don’t mind being at the tail end of the meters…if the tail end is 5-10% below. Right now, we’re at 15-20%.)
-For unskilled players, our damage is low compared to other classes, due to players learning the positional requirements of Shred. We’ve gone ahead and simplified everything else; might as well dump Shred and replace it with Mangle.
So, low AoE damage, low burst damage, low top-end damage, at least we have decent utility, right? Innervate! Battle rez after the shaman pops! Instant-cast roots for adds! (…okay, I’ll stop now.)
I understand that melee uptime on casters was too high in general (Warriors got similar nerfs to feral druids in terms of mobility). However, I think, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Druid DPS in PvP has always been balanced around having at least a reasonable uptime; if we can’t at least get off a Rip, than we’re functionally useless as a damage class. The damage rebalancing in the patch decreased this uptime requirement somewhat, but it neglected to note one key thing; survivability. We were essentially the “melee glass cannon;” we kept ourselves alive with a combination of relentless pressure (forcing defensive cooldown usage instead of damage cooldowns) and short-range Cyclones. By decreasing our mobility, we lost both of those. If this is the new paradigm, that’s fine, but melee classes either need greater survivability, or ranged classes need damage reductions. I don’t have much more to add; I think the issue has been discussed extensively already.
While the above stuff is annoying, it’s the communication issue that is the most upsetting. All of these problems have been raised repeatedly on both live and PTR forums, with no response. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about now the new technology enables quicker adjustments (hotfixes) to resolve issues. I’ve seen blue posts on both Warriors and DK’s discussing developer opinion on how the patch affected their classes’ mobility. Equal representation; that’s all we’re asking. Even if the answer is “Sorry, we’ve considered all of these issues and don’t see them as a problem at this time,” it’d be nice to hear SOMETHING.
(okay, /rant. Let me know what you think…I may clean this up a bit and post it in the WoW forums.)