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Class Balance Q&A

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Class Balance Q&A

Postby Tinderhoof » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:31 pm

A few druid tid bits (mostly feral) from the Class Balance Q&A today:

Comment From Christina Thomas
I noticed in a sample of the druid talent tree coming up in MoP, that there seems to not be many restoration-specific talents. In fact it seems a lot like hybrid-esque talents. Is this intentional? Will the lack of restoration talents be made up for in the spells they get?

Wradyx:
The overall philosphy of the Druid talent treee is to bring some hybridization back to the Druid class. The 4 Druid specs have become very focused on never using the forms that they do not specialize in. We would like to bring the whole class back together more. So, interesting functionality themed around the different combat roles has been introduced. Some players have objected that they aren't good at the other roles, and those abilities aren't worth the global cooldown they cost. To address this, we are making the existing Nurturing Instinct talent baseline to both Feral and Guardian Druids, and making a new talent which grants attack power based on Intellect for Restoration and Balance Druids. That will make the occasional use of core class abilities that require other forms useful even to the Restoration Druid. In addition, the combination of talents may let a Restoration Druid do things like use Demoralizing Roar, which cc's nearby enemies, triggers an instant heal (from Disentanglement), and increases armor and health all in a single gcd. That capability is useful to Restoration Druids even in a raid setting.


I like the idea of being able to be more flexible with different abilities I wouldn’t normally use. However I don’t see a lot of caster abilities that are useful to a feral druid even if they get buffed. Same with melee abilities to a resto/moonkin. I don't really see a situation which a resto druid will want to go into bear for because they have an armor boost. If its PVP, wouldn't healing be better, and PVE, why the hell is the healing being hit by melee? In addition the way shifting mechanics work right now cause a lot of headaches that make it not worth it. Shifting causing a GCD is a big one. Also moving from one form to another is really shifting out to caster and into the new form which is clunky and can get screwed up by lag and encounter mechanics.

Comment From L
In the old talent trees, a lot of the talents gave players spec-specific gameplay mechanics that are core to its gameplay, such as the Mage's Hot Streak talent. Others, such as Infected Wounds for Druids, also provided important benefits/mechanics, but might not be necessary to take depending on raid composition (i.e. if another player brought the debuff). With the new talent system, how are these mechanics going to be incorporated into the classes? It would seem overwhelming to players to roll all of the core spec mechanics into the "Level 10 Pick Your Spec" decision, and are talents like Infected Wounds going to be made choices of some sort, or are they also just going to be rolled into the spec?

Ghostcrawler:
In most cases, if it's a fun mechanic, we give it to your spec. All Fire mages get Hot Streak at a certain level. Feral druids (but not Guardian druids - the new bear spec) learn Infected Wounds. As with every expansion, we are taking a close look at buffs and debuffs, simplifying the matrix a bit, and making sure you don't feel like you are locked into a certain debuff.


Well I wouldn’t exactly call Infected Wounds “Fun” but hey it is nice to have baseline for PVP. For PVE it’s a mixed bag. It’s great to have for the damage reduction to the tanks (if Guardians don’t get it anymore I doubt the other tanks will get to keep their versions) or if they have to kite the mob around. However if you need to move a mob to a new location quickly this can be problematic and would be nice to turn off.

Comment From Clayton Nash
Are there any plans to simplify the feral cat druid dps rotations or are you happy where they are right now?

Wradyx:
The Feral rotation has been simplified slightly in 4.3 by renaming the Glyph of Shred and allowing it to trigger off Mangle instead. In addition, in 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff and so no longer be required in the rotation. At that point, the two abilities will be interchangeable, changing only by whether a Feral Druid can attack from behind or not. That will make Feral easier to play in high movement encounters and encounters with facing restrictions. The current Feral Charge and Stampede talents are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage. Past that, we are pretty happy with the rotation and feel there is a strong Feral community that enjoys the current rotation.


True the rotation has been simplified in Cata, however the glyph change won’t make the rotation any different. It just slightly reduces the penalty for being a feral when the designers won’t let you get behind the boss. Don’t get me wrong the glyph change is a good one and needed. It doesn’t make anything easier, but it will help us suck less on boss mechanics that with our class design.

As for 5.0 and removing the +bleed debuff from mangle will make the rotation less interesting. If the only difference between Mangle and Shred is the positional and slight damage difference why have 2 abilities at all? Having to guess if the server thinks I am behind the target or hoping the boss won’t make a sudden turn is not an interesting choice and doesn’t make for compelling gameplay. I mean why not make 1 ability that will just give you less damage if you are in front. At least that way good players are rewarded for being in a good position, but we aren’t penalized because our screen said one thing and the server says another.

Comment From Monopedia
With the previously mentioned removal of the +bleed debuff will Feral druids have Mangle taken away to become Guardian only and Shred lose its positional requirement. Without the bleed debuff and its obvious lower damage output than shred, Mangle is extremely situational especially when somebody else is already providing the ability. Or will Mangle debuff on the target just increase the feral druids bleeds and shred damage?

Celestalon:
Mangle and Shred will both exist for Feral (cats). Mangle will no longer apply a debuff, but will be usable from any facing, whereas Shred will offer slightly more overall DPS if you are able to stay behind the target. Guardians (bears) will have Mangle, but not Shred.


See above.

Comment From Michele
I think this is the main question that feral druids seems to have right now: when you said that Shred will do "slightly" more damage than Shred, did that mean that mangle is going to get buffed a little to provide less penalities in the several encounters we can't Shred? Because the difference between those skills is pretty big currently. ^^

Wradyx:
Our own internal numbers show that once the Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).


This doesn’t feel right to me. Last night on Baleroc, a fight with no enhancement mechanics my average mangle hit was for 13k (23k crit) and my average shred was 18k (38k crit). Now those averages are going to be affected by the potions. Can the 10 energy cost difference really make up damage difference? Leaf or Yawning can you tell if I am full of crap here?

Going forward if Shred isn’t boosted by having a bleed on the target (and the now missing Mangle debuff) I can sure see the two being much closer together damage wise.

Comment From NateDosMil
As a Druid, I feel that the level 90 talents feel too much like work. You guys put so much effort into making the Moonkin unique and more complex, so why force us to shift more often to "fill other combat roles?" Poor kitties are going to have a nightmare of a time dealing with this...

Wradyx:
The level 90 Druid talents deliberately come in 3 different levels of work required. Heart of the Wild is perfect for an encounter where there is a period where increased healing is needed for a short time, and dps is not the need of the encounter. Something like the Chimaeron encounter where more healing is needed at certain times, and dps is less important. Master Shapeshifter targets the Druid who is willing to do a lot of work shifting back and forth or occasionally needs to heal or damage, such as Blood Queen Lanathel, where a Tranquility boosted by the talent would help your group a lot during her air phase. Disentanglement is there for the "lazy" Druid who doesn't want to do that work, but still gets some benefit from a well-timed shapeshift.

Comment From Bellajtok
A lot people are worried that with druids being able to do well at our other roles, we'll see the return of the "hybrid tax". It's the same old story: if we can perform any role when needed, raids will stack us, unless we don't do as well in our specific roles, in which case we're bad at what we most want to do. What assurance can we get that we won't have this problem?

Celestalon:
We are very interested in opening opportunities for more hybrid gameplay in druids, as you can see in the level 90 talent tier, while still allowing an option for players who want to never do anything outside their role. We don't intend for that added hybridization to be offset by any sort of DPS nerf. While DPSing, a druid's DPS will be entirely competitive with other DPS. We hope to see druids that do things like, "DPS in Cat Form most of the fight, but during one phase, when healing is super difficult, pop out of Cat, hit Heart of the Wild, Tranquility, and spam heals on the raid to help top everyone off, then go back to Cat and resume DPSing." In that sort of the situation, the Cat will have spent less time DPSing than other DPSers, but his/her DPS while DPSing would have been competitive, and in exchange helped save the raid when healers were falling behind. You can probably think of many situations where this would be useful in raid content, or in some 5man content, and frequently in PvP. To clarify a bit further on how the druids will perform at their off-roles: Ferals and Guardians will have Nurturing Instinct, which increases spell power based on Agility, and Balance and Restoration will have Killer Instinct, which increases attack power based on Intellect. They will have a smaller toolbox of spells for their off-role, but the strength of those spells will be competitive, when under the effects of those hybrid talents.


I combined the last 2 answers because they are closely related. Again I like the idea of having to shapeshift more often. But the examples they are using don't make me feel like they are taking this idea in a good direction. They mention more then once needing to swap out and heal for a big damage period of a fight. The examples given of stopping dps to drop out and "Spam heals on the raid" doesn't seem like a good use of a DPS's flexibility. If the raid is going to take that amount of damage that it requires a DPS to blow a 6 minute cooldown to save the raid why not just bring another healer? The only reason would be a very serious DPS check that requires fewer healers. If the DPS check is really that hard, and healing that critical, that would pretty much REQUIRE the raid to bring a Feral Druid (or Balance may even better at raid saving). As no other classes are seeing lvl 90 talents that let them "Save the raid" in this fashion a DPS druid becomes either requirement for a specific fight, or a talent that will never be used. Now this isn't going to be the only use of the lvl 90 talents, and we are likely to see MANY rewrites of them. However when they bring that specific situation up two times it really seems it's their major focus as opposed to one possibility. I hope this isn't the case.

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Re: Class Balance Q&A

Postby shinryu » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:49 am

Lol, I made a topic over in the general forums figuring it'd get more views, though it's not as nice since they didn't have all the proper spacing up yet when I posted my thread when the Q&A was done. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=583

To summarize my rant though, I disliked just about everything they answered regarding ferals; I dislike the ideal of having to shapeshift more (as having to continually shift to get a benefit instead of just attacking is rather poor design I think), dislike they're trying to force more hybridy things onto us despite finally trying to move from that model after TBC (if I have to drop form to pick up someone else's slack healing or tanking, someone else is fucking off, even big healing phases are designed to be able to be handled by healers unless you're talking like progression attempts, and it's not very melee-ish if I have to drop form to spam wraths at something far away instead of running closer to hit it), and I dislike their cop-out of still having us mangle shit in front and shred in back, which is such a ridiculously outdated and retarded mechanic considering no other class/spec (besides Sub Rogues w/Backstab, and at least Hemo throws on a dot) has to actively substitute a good attack for a worse one just to hit something that's facing them in the front.

So yeah, in my usually pessimistic view, I'm not looking forward to feral in MoP, yes it depends on what changes since it's not in beta yet yada yada, but I am looking at other classes to main for MoP for now, just in case...put it this way, I was a lot more excited for Cata in general than I am atm for MoP, besides Monks and Pandas.

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Re: Class Balance Q&A

Postby Rarge » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:00 am

The thing that annoys me is that Mangle will become even more redundant than it is now. It's only use is when we're forced to stand in front of the boss. This doesn't add "interesting" game mechanics IMO, it's just a source of annoyance eg when the boss is spinning to cast a spell or something. Heck it's like having a spell that will only work on green bosses but you lose 5% damage than if you were fighting any other coloured mob. I don't get why they're so desperate to cling onto the positional requirement.

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Re: Class Balance Q&A

Postby Yawning » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:20 pm

Comment From Clayton Nash
Are there any plans to simplify the feral cat druid dps rotations or are you happy where they are right now?

Wradyx:
The Feral rotation has been simplified slightly in 4.3 by renaming the Glyph of Shred and allowing it to trigger off Mangle instead. In addition, in 5.0 Mangle will no longer cause a bleed damage debuff and so no longer be required in the rotation. At that point, the two abilities will be interchangeable, changing only by whether a Feral Druid can attack from behind or not. That will make Feral easier to play in high movement encounters and encounters with facing restrictions. The current Feral Charge and Stampede talents are becoming part of Wild Charge, so you can select not to have that complexity with Ravage. Past that, we are pretty happy with the rotation and feel there is a strong Feral community that enjoys the current rotation.


Not sure what about the Glyph change simplifies things since Mangle is used approximately once per 60 sec. The glyph change has come 6 tiers too late (it should have been done correctly in the first place and it was introduced at the start of T8).

Now, they did simplify the priority list somewhat in that in gear relevant for pushing hardmodes (unless you're Paragon), you'll have a dramatically extended BitW duration, and most likely won't be using the Glyph formerly known as Shred in the first place (GoTF is better in 4T13 see the posts I made in the Tier 13 set bonus thread for details).

I'm somewhat amused that (unless they changed it for 4.3 PTR) GoShred has been and still is somewhat buggy and gives an inconsistent extension that no one has been able to nail down exactly yet.

Tinderhoof wrote:
Comment From Michele
I think this is the main question that feral druids seems to have right now: when you said that Shred will do "slightly" more damage than Shred, did that mean that mangle is going to get buffed a little to provide less penalities in the several encounters we can't Shred? Because the difference between those skills is pretty big currently. ^^

Wradyx:
Our own internal numbers show that once the Glyph of Shred works from Mangle as well as Shred, the difference between a Mangle and a Shred rotation is actually fairly small (in the 5% range).


This doesn’t feel right to me. Last night on Baleroc, a fight with no enhancement mechanics my average mangle hit was for 13k (23k crit) and my average shred was 18k (38k crit). Now those averages are going to be affected by the potions. Can the 10 energy cost difference really make up damage difference? Leaf or Yawning can you tell if I am full of crap here?

Going forward if Shred isn’t boosted by having a bleed on the target (and the now missing Mangle debuff) I can sure see the two being much closer together damage wise.


It's approx 7% assuming all you do is switch out your CP generator with 4T13 for a tank and spank using GoTF/GoB/GoRip. Naturally that's an added penalty on top of "parry, parry, parry, parry, parry, parry, parry *smash hole through monitor*", so it's still inexcusable.
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."

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Re: Class Balance Q&A

Postby ShmooDude » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:39 pm

This doesn’t feel right to me. Last night on Baleroc, a fight with no enhancement mechanics my average mangle hit was for 13k (23k crit) and my average shred was 18k (38k crit). Now those averages are going to be affected by the potions. Can the 10 energy cost difference really make up damage difference? Leaf or Yawning can you tell if I am full of crap here?"


Shred hits exactly 56% harder but costs 12.5% less energy for a 36.5% increase in damage per energy.

On Baelroc last week, I did ~9.8 mil damage on Baelroc; Shred makes up ~24% of that (~2.3 mil). If I convert all Shreds to Mangles (ignoring extra CPs) then it comes down to ~1.7 mil.

Mangle rotation becomes 93.6% of Shred rotation, not quite 5%, but closer to 5 than 10, so "about 5%" would be accurate imho considering I didn't take into account extra combo points.

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