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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Starbreeze » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:14 pm

I have taken the plunge and changed my offspec to balance. Its going to be tough to learn/gear in time for BRF but right now i dont really see what choice i have as i cant afford to be dead weight in certain encounters or i will be benched if im as far behind in aoe as now.

Its sad but ive decided to no longer be angry/wait around for a fix. Its not coming anytime soon and so hopefully if i act now i can save my raid spot :cry:

Been Feral DPS since end of 06 to now, its been a good run. :)

Anyone know the moonkin equivalent of this place? :D

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Futatabi » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:29 pm

The worst thing about soul of the forest is getting energy capped during Berserk+BL/Hero. Even if you delay berserk to 5cp you still get almost energy capped with 1-2 OoC procs. Imagine having 20 energy refunded every finisher used in Berserk+BL. So much energy wasted. I think they should do something different with that passive. Or maybe the energy cap is due to me having 1400 haste and 1300 crit in HM gear? ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/d ... rtshifter/ <-- check if you want to laugh) :D . Yeah if i crafted some item pieces i would have smaller, but i am very poor kitty :(.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Grif » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:03 pm

I think the feral community just needs to speak up. The reason hunter's get all these changes is because they draw a lot of attention to themselves. I would argue that blizzard really doesn't know what to do with feral, maybe they're scared of how feral was in SoO, but that was only the case cause of RoRO and abusing snapshotting.

I feel like feral no longer has a niche in the raiding scene. Feral used to feel like a physical, melee equivalent of an affliction warlock. THAT was a true and unique niche!

I just want to see some changes, we need them, I love feral but it's current state makes it very hard to keep interest. Go out there feral players and speak up! Make blizzard see the state of feral. But do so with facts and legitimate points.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby aggixx » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:19 pm

I did tweet at Celestalon earlier asking for some communication, feel free to politely respond and show your interest and maybe it will bring it more to his attention. Just make sure to not be hostile or ask loaded questions or anything because he's not going to respond if he feels like he'll be instantly crucified for anything he says.
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby TheLOOGE » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:41 pm

aggixx wrote:I did tweet at Celestalon earlier asking for some communication, feel free to politely respond and show your interest and maybe it will bring it more to his attention. Just make sure to not be hostile or ask loaded questions or anything because he's not going to respond if he feels like he'll be instantly crucified for anything he says.


At last. And you're right. Mob mentality isn't going to win us any additional favor (although it does work - please see Warrior/Rogue communities) but I think we can at least establish a dialogue while being moderately civil.

Guys please, let's rally and get this noticed. Retweet, comment, favorite whatever you have to do.

Thanks for starting this P. This is a step in the right direction.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Stenhaldi » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:47 pm

Here's a piece of feedback I wrote a while back.

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There are two main issues with the present design of the Feral Druid class. The first, and more serious, involves its desirability for raids. The second is the lack of choice in its talent options. I will discuss the desirability problem first.

Overall, I consider Feral Druid to be a viable class for raiding. In sustained single target damage it performs competitively, and this is at least a relevant capability on most raid encounters. However, while it's a viable class for this reason, it's certainly one of the least desired classes to have.

The main problem with the Feral Druid is that it's a highly specialized class that isn't even exceptional at its specialty. Feral Druids are good at two things: sustained single target damage and sustained 2-target cleave. At the former, they are strong but not exceptional. Feral Druids perform sustained single target damage at about the level of Shadow Priests, Ret Paladins, Rogues, and others -- below Warlocks and Mages. At the latter, Feral is merely above average; Feral Druid 2-target cleave is decent, but no match for the likes of Monk, Warrior, or even Warlock or Rogue.

There would be nothing wrong with being merely "good" at these forms of damage dealing if the class were also competitive in other scenarios. But it's not. For one, Feral Druids have no viable AoE -- something about which we've likely seen many complaints. Less obviously, the class is also weak against short-lived targets.

That the Feral spec lacks viable AoE is certainly obvious to anyone looking at damage statistics from Highmaul, though this deficiency is perhaps less crippling than such statistics may suggest. Many fights have an AoE component, but usually it is not necessary to have the whole raid assist with this AoE role -- whether because only a small group can help with the AoE (Kargath), because the AoE targets have low priority (Mar'gok or Darmac), or because the AoE targets have little health (Ko'ragh). That said, there are fights (like Tectus) where it is of the utmost importance that every member of the raid do as much AoE damage as possible, and there the lack of viable AoE can be a real handicap. Overall, it's not essential (at least for raiding) that Feral Druids be able to put out competitive AoE damage, but the absence of this capability certainly reduces the versatility of the class.

The more insidious deficiency of the class is its weakness against short-lived targets. Examples of such targets include Ko'ragh's mind controls, Mar'gok's Aberrations, Darmac's spears, Kromog's pillars, or various opponents in the Blast Furnace or Operator Thogar encounters. This deficiency essentially arises from the Feral Druid's reliance on the periodic damage from Rip and Rake, which often cannot tick fully against short-lived targets. I should clarify, however: Feral Druids do have the ability to burst down a single priority target by pooling resources for Ferocious Bite, but such preparation is expensive and typically costs substantially more damage to other targets than what it gains on the priority target. So for example, Feral Druids must give up overall damage in order to deal competitive damage to the Aberrations in the Mar'gok encounter. In contrast, there are other classes that actually gain damage from focusing a short-lived target: Shadow Priest via Shadow Word: Death and Twist of Fate; Monk via Touch of Death; Marksmanship Hunter via Kill Shot; and more. While the weakness of the Feral spec against short-lived targets is not quite as obvious to the casual observer as its weakness at AoE, it's likely more important. Raids are rife with short-lived high priority targets -- as the previous examples indicate -- and it is a great blow to the class's viability in raids that it cannot cheaply and effectively prioritize them.

As I see it, there are two approaches to the versatility problem. One option is to embrace the specialization of the class and to simply make Feral Druids exceptional at what they can do. This was the design of the class in Siege of Orgrimmar: Feral had most of the same weaknesses it has now, but was carried by its exceptional single target sustained damage. In the present case, the options would be to raise Feral Druid single target damage to at least the Warlock/Mage level, or to improve Feral Druid 2-target cleave (likely by buffing DoTs). That path is simple enough. The alternative option would be to make the class more versatile, and I wish to discuss options for accomplishing this.

To address the spec's weakness against short-lived targets, one minimalistic attempt at a solution might be to change the Glyph of Savage Roar to trigger when you Rake or Shred a target above 80% health (instead of triggering when you use those abilities while Prowling). This would add a benefit for switching to a fresh target, addressing the problem of the cost of such a switch. It would also make it easier to prepare a Ferocious Bite for the target (due to not having to ensure Savage Roar stays up), addressing the problem of the class's effectiveness in such a switch. This change would maintain the flavor of the glyph in that it grants a free Savage Roar when you open on a fresh target, while also removing the weird synergy between this glyph and the Incarnation talent. Note that such a change would amount to a 1-2% DPS loss in a pure single target encounter (depending on duration), so adjustments may need to be made to compensate this. I would emphasize again that this is a very modest solution: in the ideal case where the player is able to maintain Savage Roar via this glyph alone, the overall DPS increase is still only 3-4% over what it would be today (or about 5% after the aforementioned adjustments).

Other solutions might involve making Ferocious Bite refund some resources if the target dies within some duration. This makes a certain amount of sense thematically, but as an entire new mechanic, it's likely outside the scope of any minor patch or hotfix.

Addressing the spec's weakness at AoE is pretty simple, but some care must be taken. First, any increase to Thrash's damage per energy makes it worth using against a single target. I'm not convinced this is a bad thing -- it's interesting to maintain another DoT, especially when it's a major resource dump and you have to worry about whether it'll prevent you from landing Bloodtalons on your next finisher -- but it does reduce the number of Ferocious Bites you cast, and Ferocious Bite is a fun ability to press. Swipe is a bit more straightforward; its damage could be as much as doubled before it overtakes Shred, and note that Swipe is in no danger of overtaking tab Rake for cleave damage: even with Swipe doing double damage, it would take 5 targets before it was worth casting over Rake. However, at this damage level Swipe becomes DPS neutral (or possibly even a gain) relative to Shred for single target damage when there enough other targets, owing to the way Primal Fury triggers if Swipe crits any of its targets, and this may be undesirable (although it's not particularly unusual for a class to have free AoE).

Another comparatively easy option might be to make the Force of Nature treants cast Thrash (at some appropriate tuning) instead of Rake. This spell would then function as a sort of mini-Bladestorm, and such a change could have other benefits too. A minor utility of the Feral spec is that it has powerful cooldown damage -- useful for burst phases in fights, like Mar'gok intermissions -- and putting a large portion of the Feral Druid's AoE damage into the Force of Nature talent would prevent the spec from having both strong AoE and strong cooldown damage. It would also be possible to tune Force of Nature below Incarnation for sustained single target damage to compensate for the added AoE capability. Finally, this would give a niche to the Force of Nature talent and make it an interesting button to press. I would note, however, that there is a strict upper limit to the amount of AoE damage that the treants can contribute. With Incarnation being worth ~11% of our DPS (~8% if the Glyph of Savage Roar interaction were removed per the earlier idea), the treant Thrash must contribute less DPS than this against a single target (even accounting for trinket proc gaming), lest it become the new top single target talent.

This leads us to the other issue with the Feral spec: its lack of talent choice. Feral has two talent rows relevant to damage output. In the level 60 row, Incarnation is the only viable choice. In the level 100 row, Bloodtalons is almost always the best choice, with Lunar Inspiration holding a small niche. Talent options for other classes are often a major contributor to the class's versatility -- for example, the Serenity/chi Explosion (Monk) or Bloodbath/Bladestorm (Warrior) choice offering the ability to specialize for single or multiple target damage -- and improving the Feral Druid's talent selection could be one route toward boosting the versatility of the class in raids.

In the present design, it's probably a good thing that Incarnation is the only viable level 60 talent, because it's the only one that is interesting to use. I was hopeful for Force of Nature in Siege of Orgrimmar, with the gameplay of dumping your treants on temporary stat increases. However, the ability still never felt interesting to use, as trinkets were the only real consideration for how and when to use it. There are ample options for making Force of Nature interesting, but most would involve adding a new mechanic to the ability (some sort of interaction with the resource system, for example). However, one very simple way to both make the ability interesting and give it a clear niche would be to make it deal AoE damage -- to make the treants cast Thrash instead of Rake, as discussed above. As for Soul of the Forest, I don't know how to give it a niche in serious play without a mechanics change, but with a bit of upward tuning (or perhaps none at all, if the Incarnation-Glyph of Savage Roar interaction were removed), it could serve as a viable beginner talent.

The level 100 talent tier is a bit better. Claws of Shirvallah will never be used in raids, but it's a strong PvP talent, which is enough for now. The main objection I have to this talent tier is to how small Lunar Inspiration's niche is. It performs marginally better than Bloodtalons at sustained 2-target cleave, and performs substantially worse in just about every other scenario. My suggestion would be to raise the Moonfire's duration to 20 seconds (from 14) while maintaining its damage per tick. This would make the talent stronger against multiple targets -- especially more than 2 targets -- without substantially strengthening it against a single target. Moreover, this change only makes sense: the ordinary spellcaster Moonfire also lasts 20 seconds.

I hope I have successfully conveyed my objections to the present state of the Feral Druid class. The main problem is that it's a highly specialized class that isn't strong enough at its specialty to justify it. The class needs either to become stronger at its specialty or to become more versatile. I have offered some suggestions toward accomplishing the latter.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Brutus » Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:15 pm

That's a great post, Stenhaldi, and I genuinely hope some people of importance see/saw it.

Like others have said, don't throw in the towel just yet, dudes. This ship can turn around.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Nayni » Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:40 pm

Couldn't have worded it any better then that Stenhaldi.

Alhtough I have a few doubts about the whole Savage roar glyph thing it still brings the point accross which is important:
Put us in a niche, and make us good at that niche or give us all the tools we need like any other class.

Great read, hope it gives insentive to devs to fix some issues.
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Tremnen » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:03 pm

an idea for another time / topic perhaps but I was thinking of SotF reworks and came up with an idea. what if you did more damage the higher your energy was on top of the energy regen mechanic? This would solve the beserk in bloodlust and SotF energy capping issue and would further push that talent to be about pooling energy. Maybe it would only work for FB, shred, and swipe?

very similar thematically to arcane mage mastery.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby DomGF » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:32 pm

What I believe is the issue is that they would have to partially move away from the force ferals to tab/dot idea that Celestalon claimed that is the way we are designed, in the current raiding world that idea just does not work. Since we haven't heard a word from them, the question to me is where do they want to go with the spec, as in have they realized that is not going to work? I believe the answer is they are not sure, hence the lack of upgrades and more importantly information.

EDIT: By the way, really like the FoN Thrash idea, if it truly gets the numbers right and becomes the go to talent to be an AoE machine and Incarnation is our solo machine....as long as numbers are right, you could say thats better balance and design than other classes that have become masters of everything.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Guiltyas » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:37 pm

I've actually voluntarily sat myself from my raid team, I'm getting really busy with school and with the way feral is now its just going to be too hard for me too aid my guilds progress going forward, I've seen the fights coming up in BRF and none of them are going to be fights where I can excel and aid my raid with damage, I don't have a raid cooldown that its worth bring me for. So I'm in a position where I can dedicate the time to attend the raids and perform in them but my use in the raid will be minimal. Up until now I've always had the time to dedicate to help my raid in other ways, with analysis of raids/leadership and helping of less well performing members of the raid. I used to raid lead for this group and lead them through 14/14 soo hc (mythic).
Now I can't dedicate the time to do what i've always done (already stepped down from leadership going into wod due to ramping up of school work) and i'm not excelling in any fight I feel like I have to step down for A) My mental health (its just so frustrating putting in the best you can to a fight and still coming out middle of the pack in 90% of the fights) and B) for the good of the raid.

Edit: I've realised that this might seem really whiny and their are other reasons behind me stepping out of the raid team but its incredibly frustrating.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Teags » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:58 pm

It's k bro, I stopped playing wow completely after repetitive benching due to my spec not being able to keep up in the later encounters in Highmaul mythic.

Brilliant feedback from stenhaldi, I really hope they manage to fix feral. The community here is so unlike any other I've seen, no outward shouting about how we are shit, more just disappointed discussions about how it could be improved. For the sake of all involved (and probably my own abandoned chars) I hope it gets fixed :-)

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Neonjoe » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:11 pm

This couldn't be added in a hotfix I imagine since it would require some more intensive coding but what about this idea:

Scrap the Lunar Inspiration talent (when we spec feral we're embracing the physical, throwing in magical damage doesn't make sense) and instead make that talent have rip/fb work with an 8 yd aoe. That would definitely make us very strong in sustained cleave situations, and pooling CP for ferocious bite on a need to die now add pack would also be very viable. It would lower our single target damage leaving Bloodtalons as still the clear choice for those types of encounters.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Thandorr » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:23 pm

Good job, Sten! I appreciate you writing that. Where can we bump that!?

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Stenhaldi » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:27 am

Thandorr wrote:Good job, Sten! I appreciate you writing that. Where can we bump that!?

I haven't posted it anywhere else, actually. Had a friend pass it to some devs last week, but I haven't heard anything further about that.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Sibylle » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:31 am

So so so spot-on, Stenhaldi, good work!
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Polihayse » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:47 am

Dwade wrote:
Krafti wrote:With all due respect, whos going to take a feral to BRF over a Monk/Ret/Rogue ?
Whos going to take a feral over any ranged ?

I'm sure there are some demented raid leaders out there but the truth is... this situation SUCKS and shows a huge lack of respect and understanding.


If you are a good player they have no reason not to take you. Maybe its because I play on a very low population server but I am never asked to sit from a raid. I am consistently in the top 3 for damage expect for imperator where I drop down to 6-7 which is not terrible. We have a lot of utility in the form of off-healing, allowing your group to get by with fewer healer potentially. AoE does suck and it is unfortunate that there is only a few different talents worth taking. If you are someone who loves to play feral though its not like it can get worse. If you want to play the top sim spec then you should reroll. I'm pretty confident they would not just completely ignore our spec. You only have to look back to the 6.0 pre-patch to see that they will buff us if we are under-performing by a significant amount.


I'm in a top 10 US guild and they could easily ask me to play a different class. I don't want to play another class. =(

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby inseedious » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:18 pm

I agree with your disappointment because of the total lack of tuning our AoE damage before a very AoE friendly content is gonna be released. The only good thing is that, except you are in one of the top EU/US guilds, you still can score top DPS with your own skill (ofc if the encounter is single target/sustained 2-3 cleave). For real AoE fights, there's no hope at the moment. To me, both Rake and Trash are powerful AoE wise, but the biggest problem is that Rake tab dotting, especially in fights like mythic Tectus, is really hard and slow compared to other classes' AoE solutions. And don't forget that Rake is still a melee ability, so it's totally another thing than ranged tab dotting (for example, demo lock).

I think that Swipe is the ability to work on, cause it's clear Blizz didn't mean to make it only useful in 10+ target situations. The aim should be: use Swipe instead of Shred if there are 2+ targets. It would:
- greatly buff our AoE damage, making Swipe better than tab Rake in 4+ encounters (to be honest, having to Rake more than 4 targets is quite a bad joke to us);
- still not interfere with our 2-3 target sustained cleave, where Trash, Rake and LI Moonfire will still be the best choices, leaving us no energy for Shred/Swipe;
- improve our ability to deal with low health adds with high priority. The best example is Imperator's Aberration: we can Swipe it just after Rake, so having to damage 2 targets instead of one for short time will finally increase our damage.

Little adjustments are needed to make it work: maybe a slight Trash nerf to avoid making us OP AoE wise, and some more range for our Swipe AoE (like 5 additional yards).
Last edited by inseedious on Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Rayen » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:43 pm

Stenhaldi wrote:
Thandorr wrote:Good job, Sten! I appreciate you writing that. Where can we bump that!?

I haven't posted it anywhere else, actually. Had a friend pass it to some devs last week, but I haven't heard anything further about that.

Thanks very much for that input Sten. You have some good idea!
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Cantor (Shredable) » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:20 am

An excellent post from Sten of course. I assume our frankly pathetic AoE damage is going to be looked at in 6.1 (remember, these are just initial patch notes, although it was surprising to see no Feral changes at all in there); lovely idea about swapping Treants to use Thrash rather than Rake – the level 60 tier is near-enough all single-target, so there's always going to be a clear winner, and Incarnation is as far ahead for Feral as Pulverize is for Guardians on the 100 tier.

The short-lived, high-priority adds are a huge problem, and always have been for us. This could perhaps be remedied through a glyph that forces Rip to act like Rupture – having the duration rather than the damage modified by CPs (ie, it deals the same amount of damage per tick at 1CP as it does at 5CPs, but lasts for significantly less time), maybe with a penalty to overall duration so that the glyph doesn't become mandatory. This allows you to drop a 1CP Rip on short-lived adds than only lasts, say 8-12 seconds.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Whitepaw » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:04 pm

Great post, Sten!

What's up with the long faces, guys? We might be trailing on a few boss fights with multiple adds, but I don't see that as justification for completely scrapping the spec.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby TheLOOGE » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:45 pm

Whitepaw wrote:What's up with the long faces, guys? We might be trailing on a few boss fights with multiple adds, but I don't see that as justification for completely scrapping the spec.


I think we have a problem. The issue isn't necessarily black or white. There's a ton of gray area between the two extremes "Oh the spec is complete trash" and "Hey we're perfectly fine!" I think most people reside in the gray zone, albeit it leaning heavily toward the former. They understand that we're not where we need to be single target in order to justify having the worst AE in the game by a wide, wide margin as well as just simply being above average in 2 target cleave situations. They also understand that mechanically speaking, we have many crucial deficiencies. These deficiencies have been illustrated throughout these forums and in this post (e.g., being utterly incapable of target swapping to low hp targets without potentially losing enormous amounts of damage). The problem then becomes, "Well what does the future hold for us?" Highmaul already offers many encounters that exposes our weaknesses. The bad news is, Foundry encounters aren't any better. In fact, I would argue that it gets worse for us and I think most here would agree with me on that.

A lot of people would rather raid than show allegiance to a particular spec and be ok with being benched. So they will do whatever it takes to secure that raid spot. If that means swapping specs or classes altogether, then that's what they have to do. I suspect if nothing changes for 6.1, we're going to see much more of that happening, unfortunately.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Ferealz » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:21 pm

Good Post Stenhaldi. Also as a Feral in a top 10 US guild during progression I noticed that yes feral was weak in certain aspects that were listed by most people but we were not completely useless. I think in BRF we will be pretty much one of the worst classes to bring because of heavy target swapping and multiple AoE encounters, but majority of the time on progression there are few times where you need everyone to AoE some adds and a good feral will still be brought. I think the DeVs at Bliz need to decide if they want feral to have a real niche or let us be more versatile and to do that they either need to buff our single target or buff our AoE.
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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby Thandorr » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:04 am

I think the worst part of all of this isn't even necessarily the numbers because as has been said, we are still worth bringing in the majority of situations if we are skilled. The worst part is the complete lack of acknowledgment by the devs. Feral has been moved to the back of the bus in the devs eye and attention has been given to every other melee spec over us. It really us puzzling and discouraging. :( But, I'll keep on keeping on, no plans to swap specs at all, but may be backed into a corner if my single target is mediocre and im dead last in aoe because we are untouched in this tuning pass. In that event, I've got a DK and Rogue that need some dusting off.

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Re: 6.1 Patch Notes

Postby TheLOOGE » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:42 am

Thandorr wrote:Feral has been moved to the back of the bus in the devs eye and attention has been given to every other melee spec over us.


We were discussing this exact issue on Pawket's stream (a very high quality stream I MIGHT ADD ;) ) about Ferals being treated as sort of a lower priority class if that makes any sense. Anyone can see how quickly DK, rogue or warrior changes come down the pike, I mean, they're regularly tweaked as we've seen. Yet it seems like we're kind of always waiting for our turn to get the love we need. It basically comes down to player population. There's an enormous player base that the aforementioned classes have and by comparison, that population dwarfs ours. So the "noise" is a lot louder and thus the attention is focused there. Again, this isn't concrete science, but just a theory as to why things are the way they are.

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