Thursday, October 14, 2010

Field Report - On Feral Cats, Smite Priests and Prot Warriors

I think I speak for all of us when I say I feel like I've been flushed down a toilet and landed on the strands of far, far away. Where am I? This isn't my char! These aren't my skills! Ahhhh!

Ok, take a deep breath. Everything will be ok. Nearly none of my addons work, and that makes me really cranky. I might just take a week off playing WoW and wait for all my addons to be updated. I just can't play without Dominos, Grid, Xperl and Clique, at least! Here are some inital random thoughts on some of the classes I've tried so far.

Disc Priest
Smite healing works well. I did 4k dps on a boss dummy and that means 4k hps on the melee group, single target. That isn't shabby at all. In a 5-man instance my smites did between 6k-12k damage with 1,58 sec cast. That's pretty decent. And spamming smites didn't make me loose any mana at all. I didn't even use Archangel. The damage in a heroic instance is really low however, so things could be alot tougher in a raid setting (and for Cataclysm I expect them to be). Use this time to practice the rotation, before knowing the rotation becomes crucial for survival. I have some questionmarks regarding Holy Fire though. The dot isn't up as long the cooldown of the spell, which means there is a gap where the dot isn't applied and the spell still isn't available. Also, we don't have any hit affecting this spell which means we might (and probably) miss with this spell alot. It makes me wonder if Glyph of Smite is worth taking. But as I argued in my post about glyphing, it's more of a bonus than anything else, and there really isn't much of an alternative either.
Another odd thing about smite-healing is that threat might actually become something to watch out for while healing. Never thought that day would come again. I pulled aggro several times from the tank we had in my heroic run, and he wasn't particularly badly geared. We'll see how this works in raids. I doubt we'll be the ones making the most threat after all. If it turns out however that smite-healing isn't raid-viable I'll probably be throwing in the towel on disc healing since it doesn't seem it has much else to offer. Zinn the shadow-priest! Hah no I'll go holy before that happens...

Warrior Tanking
WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO MY PROT WARRIOR?! Ok, everything has changed. Unlike with my priest, where I at least feel like I am doing the same thing, only slightly different, with my prot warrior it feels like every skill I press isn't the same anymore. Let me take you through some of the changes.
Heroic Strike is instant instead of on-swing. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. Since it has a cooldown it is about as "spammable" as always, which means you can basically use it every cooldown to dump rage.
Bloodrage is gone. WTF! It was the perfect way to start a fight without having to charge. Now initial rage will only come from charge.
Enraged Regen and Shield Block cost rage to use. WTF!? Enraged Regen I can accept. But why put rage cost on Shield Block? Now that we don't have Bloodrage for initial rage I thought we might at least use Shield Block instead. But nooo. They didn't put rage cost on Taunt though, but it wouldn't have suprised me if they did... UPDATE 14/10: Seems we're supposed to use Battle Shout for initial rage, but that has a 1 minute instead of 30 second cooldown.
Vigilance doesn't transfer threat anymore. Instead it transfers damage. Pretty much damage actually, a whopping 20%. It still won't save someone from dying in a raid setting though.
Victory Rush and Rend now seem to be part of our standard rotation. I'm not sure if they have to be, but they can be and they're pretty good. Since Rend is part of the Blood and Thunder talent it would seem we're supposed to rend before our inital thunder clap. That would only work if dps waited with doing damage for 1 gcd, which they don't. Rend is too slow a threat to be valuable in the instances we have today, so I just didn't feel like it worked good enough to "waste" a gcd on. This seems more like something for Arms warriors tbh. Victory Rush is now usable in all stances and has become a healing feature as well. With Impending Victory talent we're supposed to mix Victory Rush into the mix of skills we're already using. Blizzard, I've already got three bars filled with skills to use. And you want me to use more? Suppose I just have to take the bull by the horns and accept it.

Feral Cat Druids
Love is in a corner crying right now. Feral Cat Druids have apparently taken a big hit from the nerf bat. Not only Love, but a feral druid I did an instance with today said his dps has been cut in half and he was seriously thinking about quitting the game. Melodramatic sure, as most feral cat druids are, but maybe there is something to it. As for the dps-loss, time will tell and maybe Blizzard will make things better. Apparently alot of melee classes are having issues right now which probably has something to do with all the changed stats and whatnot. Some things that are just straight nerfs to feral cats however are the changes to Innervate and Combat Res. Combat Res now has a 30 minute cooldown that is shared raidwide. That means there isn't much gain from bringing more than one druid for combat resses anymore. Overall I think this is a good thing, since druids sometimes got raid spots just because they had the OP combat res (this change is unconfirmed however). But innervate has gotten a change too. It now gives mana equal to % of the casters max mana. That means an innervate from a feral druid (bear and cat) will be bad. An innervate from a resto/boomkin druid will be good. That would also be ok, if only feral cats had something else to offer. If you have a feral druid (which often happens to be a bear) there is now no reason whatsoever to bring a feral cat. Not only is their dps shite (which might change), but their Innervate and CR is pretty much worthless too. It's just sad that after every major patch like this, feral cat druids have to take a month off from playing till Blizzard realize the class sucks and no one is playing them anymore and make them work again.

Everything is very overwhelming, and we'll see where we end up in a couple of weeks.


  1. I agree on your points and I cry for Love. I hope all this annoyance will be fixed soon or I'll leave aswell ...
    Mr Z

  2. For those interested in the how's and the why's about feral druid's suckiness, Yawning wrote a great post on the US forums explaining to the dev's what they did wrong (Again... As with every major patch).
    Worth a read if you were a feral dps (I say were, as most cats are probably going tanks, trees or on vacation)

  3. "1) We think Fury, Arms, Feral cat and Retribution dps is too low and we will be buffing them. " - GC

  4. Would the new druid thorns buff help warrior aggro/rage?

    I bleed with feral cats. I really do hope things will get better soon. I was thinking, addons help my dps a lot and right now none of the nessesary ones work. I know addons cant help up the huge nerf but I cling to faint hope.

    I will stay healing for now even thoguh I miss my beloved treeform :'( I feel weak and fragile without it. My manapool is a brimfilled bottomless pit... even though it's a good thing with loads of mana it feels like a waste of stats.

  5. Regarding druids.. I also heard that motw is now overwritten by kings.

  6. @ Anon A, Rage has been "normalized" (something Blizzard always say when they do changes to rage generation). This means it will be based on hp and fixed amounts instead of the bad scaling system we had before which was based on damage taken and dealt. Thorns won't help with rage generation :/ As for threat however, every little thing helps! Eventhough thorns has become a big buff in damage, its still relatively small, but using it on the tank is recommended!
    On a side note, thorns damage seems to still be based on spellpower which means thorns from a feral druid is less good than one from a caster druid. Funny ^^

    @Anon B, Apparently Kings and Motw do the same thing, so the one cancels the other - whichever is thrown last. Same thing with Fortitude/Blood Pact/Commanding Shout for instance. Although I think whichever buff has the shortest duration has the lowest prio as well.