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#1 Yes

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:17 AM

Hey everyone. Let's take a look at the recently released 4.06 patch changes and see how they will affect druids. Let's get the big ones out of the way.

Posted Image  General

      
  •   Bloodlust, Heroism, Time Warp and Ancient Hysteria can no longer be cast while in Arenas.
This is an immense buff to most (Resto) druid teams. Unless you were playing with a mage or Enhance shaman, you did not have heroism effects. This is going to make druid/warlock synergy and teams that are more about forcing cooldowns, keeping up pressure and forcing PvP trinkets more viable. This will make training the druid a lot less viable too. However, the few opportunities for Boomkin druids to have viable wizard comps are probably put on the back shelf for now.


      
  •    Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
  •     Berserk no longer breaks Fear or makes the druid immune to Fear.
Let's talk about what made the community feel that Ferals were broken. It was the unstoppable damage. Unless you were Dwarf or had a BoP effect, the damage a bleed opener could do, along with the followup damage during berserker was enough to blow through about 300k worth of health in the duration of the first Rip. Bleed damage has been reduced. Burst from shred has been increased. However, I think that removing roots on shapeshift should be put on some sort of a cooldown, like 30 seconds, and Resto should get infinite shifts. For example, if a mage uses two novas, he should indeed root the Feral. But otherwise druids will join rogues as the least mobile class, as DKs are getting a major mobility buff. The change on the fear for berserker gives less opportunities to land a kill on many teams that have warlocks, druids or warriors, as the PvP trinket might even be needed for roots now. This means that berserker can only be used as a damage cooldown now.



  •    Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
This is a long overdue change that will mostly help Resto druids being dispelled dry out of fear and spam dispelled. Feral and Balance druids will also see some love from this change, though not as much as Resto. Apparently, barkskin is going to be usable while silenced as well, giving a huge buff against teams that swap and blanket silence, but taking a lot of the enjoyment away from predicting a real burst and barkskinning before.



  • Entangling Roots now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Hibernate now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Nature's Grasp now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Infected Wounds now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Glyph of Entangling Roots redesigned. It now reduces the cast time of Entangling Roots by 0.2 seconds, rather than making it instant cast.
As part of the comprehensive crowd control rehash, these change makes sense. However, nerfing the Root duration does not make as big of a difference as the glyph change. If a melee or a feared target sits a root for 8 seconds, it is still quite a worthwhile cast. We're going to have to readjust to casting roots or using instant procs on them to follow up on CC, but the fact that the roots will be now cast will mean we won't be as likely to overlap CC as we were before. The fact that cyclone is not changed still means that for Resto druids to follow up on other's CC will happen earlier. The infected wounds change does not hurt druids as much as it hurts warriors, as our slow is practically automatic.


  • Soothe is now instant cast, down from 1.5 seconds.
This change is pretty insignificant. I'm sure we'll see it in Diziet I highlighting pro Soothe dispels on Unholy Frenzy that was casted to break blind/sap/poly, but other than that the only time you'd use it is to break enrage on warriors and prevent the inevitable 100k burst fury warriors in 4.06 can provide. Oh, and more warlock/druid synergy for fearing warriors. Yay!



Posted Image  Feral

  • Lacerate damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
  • Mangle (Bear Form) weapon damage (at level 80+) has been reduced to 235%, down from 300%.
  • Maul damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
  • Pulverize weapon damage percent has been reduced to 80%, down from 100%.
It seems that these changes are a part of a PvE based Nerf. While a Feral druid in that somehow got a large vengeance stack could do some damage while in bear in PvP, that was not in any way a problem or an issue for Ferals. Apparently bear tanks did too much damage.




  • Shred weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 450%, up from 350%.
  • Mangle (Cat Form) weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 460%, up from 360%.
  • Rake damage has been reduced by 10%.
  • Rip damage has been reduced by 10%.
  • Skull Bash's lockout time has been reduced to 4 seconds, down from 5.
Okay, so what we see here is a move of damage from DoT effects onto direct attacks. The issue with Ferals, most of all, was that a Feral opening with bleeds, even if peeled did quite a bit of damage. I think the previous mastery and rake nerfs along with everyone's resilience climbing toward 4,000 are going to slow down bleed damage to fairly acceptable levels.


The overall Feral changes seem to hint towards Feral being still damage oriented vs finesse oriented. The Shred changes make for fairly strong burst, but the utility loss of being able to swap targets easier or stay on targets with a mage in the game takes a lot of the more fancy kind of playstyle away from Feral. We won't ever come to the point of Feral gameplay where it is an interesting balance of DPSing in cat form, using utility Feral spells in bear form and casting/healing. Sure, Feral druids are going to cast more often now... while sitting in roots waiting for a dispel! That's just a cumbersome way to provoke a unique playstyle. But without a doubt the direction is this: If you maximize your time on target, you're going to do more burst damage via shred, etc. But if you get peeled, bleeds won't solo people.



      
  •   Prowl is no longer broken by enemies using Demoralizing Shout or Demoralizing Roar.
About time! I wonder if piercing howl breaks stealth still.



Posted Image  Balance


  • Typhoon mana cost has been reduced by 50%.
  • Moonfire mana cost has been reduced from 18% to 9%.
  • Sunfire mana cost has been reduced from 18% to 9%.
  • The Shooting Stars buff duration has been increased to 12 seconds, up from 8 seconds.
  • Total Eclipse (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 33%.
  • Glyph of Wrath now increases damage done by Wrath by 10% and no longer requires Insect Swarm on the target
  • The PvP Balance druid 4-piece set bonus effect has been increased to 20 Solar Energy and 13 Lunar Energy, up from 5 and 13. The effect will also now be more intelligent at choosing whether to give the druid Lunar or Solar Energy (it checks the Balance Power to determine which to give depending on which energy is higher at the time).
Interesting mana buffs for Balance and Resto druids that moonfire. It will put typhoon at roughly 3k mana and moonfire at 1600. Is it enough for Balance to be viable? No way. The Shooting Stars Buff will make you more likely to get back into LoS of enemies when they run from you and you get the proc, and the PvP set change might give a Balance druid some options in terms of longevity. However, due to the horrible itemization and relatively low item levels and stat budgets, Moonkin druids are nowhere near being able to get the benefit from Mastery while having enough Crit or Haste. Furthermore, while the overall CC rehash benefits Cyclone, the range and pushback on cyclone still makes Moonkins the bottom of the pack. The Wrath Glyph change is irrelevant as it's hard enough to fit it in between almost mandatory glyphs like Starsurge, IS and MF.



  • Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 30%.
          
  • Fungal growth duration has been increased to 20 seconds, up from 10. In addition, it should now be much more responsive when detonating Wild Mushrooms.

Wild Mushrooms still remain completely pointless for restoration and Feral druids. The chances of predicting ahead of time when your enemy would walk into a specific 6 yard range radius, and having the time to set up the mushrooms is so minuscule, we'll only see it be used by Moonkins in Arena and BGs for the slow it provides. The graphic is very rough on the eyes too on most Arenas, being a simple thing to avoid.



  • Moonkin Form now grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor.
Out of all the Balance Changes, this one will have the most impact. It makes wizards (and magical damage dealing/armor ignoring melee, which is all of them!) crush Moonkins a little less. Too bad the 3/2 set bonus isn't going to be as viable next patch, as playing a high resil DoT damage moonkin is a somewhat interesting approach.


Posted Image  Restoration


  • Purge now dispels a single effect instead of two.
This is a significant buff against any teams with Restoration shamans. Enough said!

  • Rejuvenation mana cost has been reduced from 26% to 20%.
This has been patched up on live already. Healing aoe pressure became a bit easier, but the mana issue of self healing on the druid still remains. When focused, a Resto druid in tree spamming regrowth still defines the meaning of going OOM.




  • Empowered Touch now also affects Regrowth. In addition, after Tree of Life is no longer active, this talent will only refresh the most recently cast or refreshed Lifebloom, and will not refresh other copies of Lifebloom.
  • Glyph of Regrowth now causes the heal-over-time effect to refresh itself on targets at or below 50% health, up from 25%.
A Regrowth Nerf and a Regrowth Buff. Because of the nature of Lifebloom, we want to control when it blooms, especially staggering our spells to let our Bloom finish on one target before swapping it on another. The Regrowth change makes controlling lifebloom in PvP even harder, and target swaps even stronger. The Regrowth Glyph change is interesting as it might give another tool to heal against strong AoE pressure such as Warlock or DK teams, but the decision between dropping either Glyph of Lifebloom or Rejuv is a very tough one. It would be awesome if they made it in a Major glyph instead, giving druids the option of switching FF/Root glyphs for Regrowth.
      

        
  • Natural Shapeshifter has been reduced to a 3/6-second increase to Tree of Life's duration, down from 5/10.
  • Tree of Life duration has been reduced to 25 seconds, down from 30.
Tree of Life goes to 31 seconds from 40. You're still avoiding the same amount of DR cycles of CC as before (because of the CC revamp), but remember that the Tree makes Entangling Roots instant cast. So Instant roots are not quite gone, they're actually going to be more powerful while in Tree as they won't have a 5s coooldown.



  • Nature's Bounty no longer affects Swiftmend, but now has a new effect. When the druid has Rejuvenation on 3 or more targets, the cast time of Nourish is reduced by 10/20/30%.

This brings Nourish to roughly 1.5 second cast if you take Naturalist, but the mana efficiency of druid heals makes me question how we would get the time to cast a 1.5 second heal when we could be cycloning someone instead. The amount of damage stopped by a 6s cc is a lot greater than the minuscule 8~k nourish heal. Once again this seems to be a great PvE change with no PvP usability.



  • Symbiosis (Mastery) benefit from mastery increased by approximately 16%.
Resto Mastery still remains the most horrible PvP mastery out of all the healers. The buggy way it does not count a 3stack lifebloom towards itself, and does not buff the original HoT in some cases still remains (the last time I tested it on the patch). This slightly buffs our healing output on the target we've got a lifebloom stack on, but 16% on a stat that gives 10% benefit is a whole lot of 1.6% more healing in some situations. Yet another PvE oriented buff.



  • The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
  • The tauren racial trait War Stomp can now be used while shapeshifted.
And lastly, we've got the changes allowing racial use in forms.
Both are nice but minor buffs, giving night elf Feral druids the ability to use shadowmeld as a nice way to avoid spells once in a while (and sometimes to regain stealth), while taurens can do something about getting fakecasted in form of warstomp.


Overall Verdict:
     The druid class came into cataclysm with high hopes for both Resto and Feral druids. The damage potential of Bleeds, and the strong defenses against polymorph and hex, along with magic dispels, made Feral and Resto druids quite powerful in the first couple of months of arena gameplay. However, the overall design of the class as taken as a whole in Cataclysm remains somewhat perplexing. While we received possibly the largest amount of new abilities (solar beam, mushrooms, starsurge, magic dispel, skull bash, pulverize, stampeding roar, thrash), the overall amount of usable spells in arena for each spec was underwhelming. Feral druids got an interrupt, Restoration druids got a magic dispel while having to now play a GCD game with hex/polymorph, and Balance Druids got a whole bunch of weirdly designed spells that will take a lot of time to get buffed to be usable. There simply isn't a time where a Restoration or Feral druid says "Oh, I've got a prime Pulverize/Thrash/Stampeding roar/Solar Beam/ Wild Mushroom coming up" because those spells simply have no arena usage for the currently viable specs. Where as any spec of a rogue can use recoup/combat readiness/redirect/ smoke bomb, the new abilities we got were simply too situational or PvE oriented. That is the curse of having three completely different arena classes rolled into one :(

     This patch saw a big nerf in Feral mobility and unstoppable damage. These were mostly rightfully deserved changes, but nothing was given to Feral druids to compensate from taking away their preferred playstyle of killing someone in the opener (except bigger shred crits?). The opportunity to shine as an exceptional Feral druid with great game awareness doesn't seem to be there.

     Moonkins have received some buffs as the spec was abysmally absent and nowhere in sight in Arenas. I still doubt the changes will be enough, as dispels and being tunneled will plague the spec no matter how many cool toys we get. The lack of an off-the-gcd interrupt, along with the shortest range CC makes the moonkin an inferior choice in the wizard echelon, tying Elemental shamans for last place.

     The Restoration druid still remains the most versatile and mobile choice for competitive arena gameplay for a druid. The basic design of the class with instant cast abilities and the opportunity to provide CC yields to that, however our healing output remains a little bit questionable when the opponent knows to target switch based on lifebloom stacks.

Overall, I see only Restoration remain a viable top tier Spec for druids. The synergy with DKs and Warlocks continues to grow, however strong Wizard comps still can make quite a dent at the very top ladder positions. The Feral nerfs will make Feral druids even more reliant on finishing the game early by outputting sheer damage, and the buffs to Moonkins just aren't enough. It will be curious to see how some spells scale when we have, say, 10,000 spellpower or the equivalent ilevel of agility. I see Feral druid damage once again hit a very respectable level of pressure, I see lifebloom HoT scaling fall behind while the mana regeneration would give us the opportunity to gem/reforge haste for stronger CC, and I see Boomkin survivability and mana regeneration hit a point where we can pretend to be mini affliction warlocks and rely on strong Starsurge procs for damage while playing an AoE DoT pressure game.

Edited by Yes, 08 February 2011 - 03:08 PM.


#2 Irunfast

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:39 PM

Resto and balance druids (moonkin form only) can still shift out of roots.

wearing 2x 2piece bonus can still be worn until next season. They aren't taking that out in the patch.

#3 Alzu

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:41 PM

View PostYes, on 24 January 2011 - 07:17 AM, said:



      
  •    Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
  •     Berserk no longer breaks Fear or makes the druid immune to Fear.
Okay. At the current state of the game, Balance druids certainly need to be able to shapeshift out of roots, so the lack of shapeshifting for Balance makes me cry.
Umm, balance druids can shapeshift out of roots with moonkin form. This is taken from the 4.0.6 patch notes

Quote

# Moonkin Form now grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor. In addition, shapeshifting in or out of this form now breaks roots. Note this is not stated in the tooltip.

Edited by Alzu, 08 February 2011 - 02:42 PM.


#4 Yes

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:09 PM

Thank you for the moonkin correction, I hadn't noticed that. The 2/2 comment is about the next patch, not 4.0.6 :_)

#5 Jorge

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:11 PM

That insta root nerf hits moonkins the hardest, leave it to blizzard to drop it even lower  B)

#6 Ynxeu

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:02 PM

View PostJorge, on 08 February 2011 - 03:11 PM, said:

That insta root nerf hits moonkins the hardest, leave it to blizzard to drop it even lower  B)
Actually, it doesn't nerf them quite as much as you think. Root into Solar beam will be much more ez to accomplish because of not having a GCD between them. Where the new change -0.2 sec on root cast makes this process even faster

#7 Faro

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:40 PM

I think you forgot:

Wild Growth healing has been increased by 30%, and the cooldown has been reduced to 8 seconds, down from 10.

which is also quite nice :-)

Edited by Faro, 08 February 2011 - 04:41 PM.


#8 Tarukimo

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:44 PM

Feral already had an interrupt in the form of bear charge (15 sec cd usable in bear vs 10 second cd usable in bear/cat). Another important thing to note is that skull bash cannot be used while rooted.

Also, with berserk no longer removing fear effects, your comments about feral druids relying on finishing games quickly (which I agree is often the best path in todays environment) leave me even more worried. Some of our biggest problems already come from fear (prepatch it was because our partner(s) were often aoe feared along with us, but now we won't have the option of berserk'ing out of early fears(or later)), and with no way out of them outside of dispell/trinket, it seems that any team with a fear/mage will be a near auto loss for feral teams. I cringe to think about fighting teams like mld/wld/rls with these changes...it was already too easy for me to get aoe feared slightly out of position and then put into a stun/stun+smokebomb and forced to use nearly all of my defensive cds/killed.

I guess I'll have to wait and see, but I think it is obvious that feral will need some form of survivability buff with these changes going live.

#9 DiZzyBonne

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 05:49 PM

View PostYes, on 24 January 2011 - 07:17 AM, said:

      
  •    Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
However, I think that removing roots on shapeshift should be put on some sort of a cooldown, like 30 seconds, and Resto should get infinite shifts.
I lol'd. Funny how you just randomly throw that in there. Anyway, aside from this, good guide.

#10 NiceSmeagol

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:53 AM

Is it just me or is disentanglement not working as intended. I've been able to shift out of snares (such as frostbolt slow, hamstring, crippling poison) but not out of root effects (such as nova, hunter trap root proc)

Wondering if I have to respect into resto again for the change to take effect or if its just bugged. :(

#11 Yes

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:26 AM

Yep today I couldn't shift out of roots/frost novas randomly, yet other games I could.

#12 Pacmanyo

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:40 PM

I have some real doubts about Empowered Touch. 10% bonus to regrowth seems awesome, but the refresh thing of lifebloom is really really crappy imo. Is anyone considering taking this talent ?

Zilea said:

Making cyclone dispellable would definitely make the game more balanced.


But seriously. Yes, cyclone needs to be dispellable (DEFINITELY the feral cyclone, that's for damn sure). That doesn't mean druids wouldn't be compensated elsewhere, which is what I hope druids defending undispellable cyclones understand. Making cyclone dispellable would definitely make the game more balanced.

#13 Roflade

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:29 PM

View PostYes, on 24 January 2011 - 07:17 AM, said:



  • Soothe is now instant cast, down from 1.5 seconds.
This change is pretty insignificant. I'm sure we'll see it in Diziet I highlighting pro Soothe dispels on Unholy Frenzy that was casted to break blind/sap/poly, but other than that the only time you'd use it is to break enrage on warriors and prevent the inevitable 100k burst fury warriors in 4.06 can provide. Oh, and more warlock/druid synergy for fearing warriors. Yay!



Soothe is amazing for shutting down a fury warrior(which im seeing more and more of) A fury warrior requires enrage effects to allow use of raging blows, also as you said- removing beserker rage so they can be feared.

also, an arms warrior does gain an enrage effect every now and again grants 10% increased damage. dispelling this along with demo shout lowers his damage down to 90% of his effective damage instead of 110%.

Edited by Roflade, 09 February 2011 - 04:44 PM.

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#14 Chaloo

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:29 PM

i played as moonkin last night in arena and i noticed that the instant root removal hurts moonkin extremely hard. also until u get a full bar of solar energy, you really can't do any damage. You go oom extremely quick, if you have to heal yourself. The only way i see moonkin being viable is where the enemy team doesn't go on the moonkin so you can free cast. Also, wild mushrooms are still completely useless and do no damage.




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