Feral Changes Looming in Cataclysm

I’m not normally doom and gloom about major class changes, but right now I am too tired to think and am seething with anger at the same time, so this post is anything but rational.

Zarhym recently posted up and coming changes for tanks, both in terms of mastery, avoidance, cooldowns and health.  These were the bear changes:

Savage Defense is massively overpowered on beta and has been dealt with accordingly. Many of the reports of beta raid bosses two-shotting tanks were because that was how much damage the bosses needed to do in order to challenge Feral tanks. With less damage absorbed, the boss damage can be adjusted downwards. We’ve reduced the multiplier for attack power on the absorption effect (from 65% to 35%, still modified by mastery) and it no longer procs from periodic critical hits.

Survival Instincts — Damage reduction changed from 60% to 50%. Cooldown reduced from 5 minutes to 2 minutes. Duration still 12 seconds.

Bear Form — Stamina bonus lowered from 20% to 10% and Heart of the Wild health bonus from 10% to 6%. Bear health should be close to plate tank health with this change.

65-35% is fine.  I get that.  SD with mastery with vengeance becomes ridiculously OP.  Periodic effects no longer procing SD?  Bull.  Fine, you want thrash out of the rotation because it is AoE.  Take the SD off of thrash’s ticks, but ffs, keep it on Lacerate’s.  We fought long and hard to even get lacerate dots to proc SD and they took it off again.  Not to mention, Glyph of Lacerate is now royally… bad.  Woohoo.

Survival instincts has less of a CD.  Fine.  I actually like that change.

Our health nerf… Holy (hide your kids) shit.  Really? Sure it’ll stop the whining from the other tanks, but c’mon.  That feels excessive.

(Source)

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17 Responses to Feral Changes Looming in Cataclysm

  1. Mavik says:

    Why don’t they just take away bear form and give us a sword & board? We are slowly morphing into warriors. Well let’s keep our heads up, it’s still early and things will change again. Let’s hope they change for the better.

  2. Tappin says:

    Most of the changes seem reasonable and other tanks got a similar treatment.

    Having about the same armor and health as plate tanks bothers me, though. I’ve always liked the flavor of bear tanking. They seem to be moving away from that. We’ve always been the high health, survivable tank that was pretty good at role-swapping too. For most of our history we took a little more damage, but that was OK because we took that damage in a smooth manner.

    Sure things are easy to balance if every tank has the same armor, health, cooldowns, interrupts and avoidance. But then what’s the point of having different tanks?

    Granted, our survivability at 80 in ICC (and apparently 85 on beta right now?) is excessive. But they seem to be taking us from the high armor, high health, ‘takes it on the nose’ tank to, well, just another graphic on generi-tank.

  3. Wildpaw says:

    Less then thrilled about this. I don’t think both the SD nerf AND the health pool nerf were needed…and SD proccin on crits going away…really? You better be giving us a glyph to restore it to Lacerate, Blizzard, jeeeeez….

  4. Demosthanes says:

    While I hate to just be another one jumping on the bandwagon, it looks to me from the direction of the changes that Bears will likely end up underpowered as tanks for the first tier or two of content. While Blizzard has done some to give us more buttons to press, which I like, we still don’t have all the available tanking tools of a Paladin, DK or Warrior, we never have. Instead, we were balanced with a simple model, we were soak tanks. We had massive health, and decent passive mitigation that made up for our lack of tools. Now we’re losing the massive health, and still don’t have all the tools, and it looks like our passive mitigation will be balanced to the other classes. So, end result is Bears will end up underpowered.

    • Deandre - Dalaran says:

      That sums up my thoughts perfectly. Ultimately I can live with tank homogenization, but ONLY if our tool set isn’t also based on what we can do outside of bear form. Having to have the off tank pick up the boss so you can combat rez is no fun.

      I do miss the Burning Crusade days at times. I was a Paladin tank then, I was the master of trash and made sure our raid could get to the bosses faster. Our Warrior was the best for any boss that required gimmicks, and our bear was the best for those bosses that hit like a truck and you needed someone that had the health and armor to survive those hits. Each tank had a niche where they could shine, and each change strips away a bit more of that and stuffs us all into the same mold.

      • Droih says:

        ay, this is something that I miss as well, I played as a druid back then, sitting at a whopping 22k hp while our warrior & paladin sat at 19k, and I remeber when we hit Mount Hyjal how impressed I was with the idea of AOE tanking as an paladin using spell power to get conc. to tick harder. So I went on and leveled my self an paladin on my off time from raiding, getting it to 70 just to the launch of wrath and paladin’s where changed forever, jaiy.

        That made me drop the paladin at 70 while focusing on my druid only for quite some time, even got a warrior up to 80 before it. Now that I play 3 different tank classes, except DK, I feel that even if we are a lot more homogenized it still is quite a good difference between the classes.

        Let’s hope they keep that feeling in Cataclysm as well, Sorry if this is a bit off topic from your post Reesi.

    • Etherwind says:

      Bears Are supposed to be soak tanks, we only have dodge which has deminished returns and a large health pool. Sure they gave us Savage Defense, however, it was a crummy return on our “investment” for sake of worse words that could be said. Now gimping our health further, weakening savage defense to which we honestly need to compete and also gimping our threat means we get hit for the same, unable to mitigate as well (underpowering us), and giving us nothing for a light of hope. Blizzard should evaluate each decision one by one testing before they just go out and do it. If they want to gimp us and make us like other tanks then I want my PARRY! The Bear mobs you kill parry, so why not us, if they are going to make us toothless teddy bears. I have feral tanked since we could tank and I am completely angered by this and don’t know if I can deal with this. I might as well go full time cat until they take the teeth and claws.

  5. Satrion says:

    The sky isn’t falling. All reports from the beta are that bears were WAY to good. A nerf was needed and bound to happen. Anyone tanking at 80 could see it even. Reesi you said it yourself from an earlier post:

    “Compare, for example, my logs from this week(and last week), to the week before 4.0 came out: This week – Pre-4.0 Keep in mind, that my avoidance was higher, and that the Pre 4.0 fight was slightly longer so I had 1, maybe 2 more soul reapers slapped on me, but… Overall, 2+ million less damage taken? That’s not even fair! And yet it’s so beautiful I could cry.”

    As for the health nerf, that was bound to happen too. Being the high health and armor tank was fun for us, but it was never balanced. If we were to keep a significant health advantage we would need to take more damage overall. Dropping our health to the other tanks level makes it so our only options aren’t to be totally OP or a mana sponge with a big health pool.

    As for tools, I’m not exactly sure what you feel warriors have that bears don’t now. The only thing I can think of is an aoe stun. Otherwise bears have arguably better CDs, about the same mobility, better aoe threat tools, and we even have a fear break. The only reason people feel like they are entitled to higher health and armor is that we have had it for so long.

    I’m not a big fan of homogenization. I think they run the risk of making all the tanks play much to similarly to have fun tanking on different toons. That is the bad thing coming out of these changes. Remember the last time they nerfed our health and there was a huge uproar about how druids were doomed? How did that turn out? Bears were still one of if not the best progression tank choice. Take a deep breath and let’s actually try things out before you decide how just or unjust these nerfs were.

    • Etherwind says:

      Most of that was because they didn’t have plans to give us anything at that time. The uproar calmed down once they eventually gave us something, Savage Defense.

    • Broh says:

      and actually, DKs have more armor than us now on live, because of talents and runes and agility not giving armor anymore….and all the cooldowns are the same for all the tanks across the board once 4.0.3 hits in november which is major homogenization.

  6. Shadowshift says:

    I was under the impression that Bears had lower armor at level 85. Is this still true? Does this change mean that we have same hp as plate tanks but LESS armor?

  7. Demosthanes says:

    My concern comes from the tanking tools, and the lack of parity between different classes in that, particularly as health and armor gets evened out between tanking clases. I’ll list off what I consider tanking tools in one way or another for each class:

    Death Knight:
    Icebound Fortitude (survival instinct with stun immunity)
    Bone Shield (proactive damage mitigation)
    Rune Tap (self heal, short cooldown)
    Mind Freeze (interrupt, short cooldown)
    Strangulate (interrups, longer cooldown)
    Dark Command (taunt)
    Death Grip (compel + pull)
    Will of the Necropolis
    Death Strike (self heal & absorb shield)
    Vampiric Blood
    Dancing Rune Weapon (threat & avoidance boost)
    Anti Magic Shell

    Warriors
    Taunt
    Shield Bash
    Pummel
    Disarm
    Challenging Shout
    Shield Wall
    Berserker Rage (short CD fear removal)
    Spell Reflection
    Intervene
    Enraged Regeneration
    Vigilance
    Last Stand

    Paladins
    Word of Glory (self heal + absorb + holy shield activation)
    Hand of Reckoning
    Lay on Hands
    Hand of Protection
    Divine Protection
    Righteous Defense
    Divine Shield
    Hand of Salvation
    Hand of Sacrifice
    Guardian of Ancient Kings
    Ardent Defender
    Divine Guardian

    Druids
    Survival Instincts
    Barkskin
    Frenzied Regeneration
    Growl
    Challenging Roar
    Skull Bash
    Nature’s Grasp
    Berserk

    This has just been listing off largely activated abilities for each tanking class, and just tanking tools. Just from the sheer number, druid’s don’t have the same available toolbox to work with as other tanks. At least on live, druid avoidance ends up pretty comparable to other tanks, as does armor, and it seems like that will continue. Savage Defense, on live, is pretty minimal. While it may have been overpowered before, its sounds like its going to be back to being a fairly minimal thing, especially considering the uptime is going to be cut drastically from live. Both Death Knights and Paladins have effective self healing as a tank, which we lack entirely. We’re much closer to the warrior model, but again, we lack the variety of tools that they have available. The fact that we bring a battle rez which is really hard to use while tanking, espeically if we are MT, and second rate dps if we go cat doesn’t really put us on part with other tanks. Thus, it reads to me like despite the increased emphasis on specialization, Druid’s are still being heavily penalized for being the ultimate hybrid. On live, this was balance by our having a massive health pool, we lacked tools, but it didn’t matter because we could survive and do our jobs without them. Now, it looks like we are going to lack the tools, and also not have the health to fully do our jobs without those tools. Hence my concern that in the first tier or so of raids, we will be underpowered compared to other tanks.

    • Satrion says:

      First of all, saying SD is not a big deal on live is completely false. It mitigates an absurd amount of damage already and it scaled WAY to well with vengeance. A nerf of some sort needed to happen. If you want to argue it was nerfed too hard, we will have to see. The numbers from simulations right now put Druids right on par with Pallies and Warriors and all three behind DKs. However, DKs are very hard to model with their mastery so we will need to see more empirical data before we know more about them. Odds are they will get some nerfs, but time will tell. I’m not saying balance is perfect, but right now it looks like the nerfs were spot on. If it turns out to be too much they can always tune it back up as needed.

      As for the druid toolbox, why don’t you think of situations where we don’t have a way of handling it while other tanks do instead of just listing a bunch of abilities. Druids get self healing from LotP, we have plenty of mobility, we have a very short CD medium strength ranged threat move, all tanks have basically the same CDs now. Other tanks do have some situational advantages, but different tanks are different. I know I don’t want to see a game where the only difference between the tanks is the art. If you can think of a scenario where druids are at a big disadvantage because they don’t have a certain ability, I would love to hear it.

      • Demosthanes says:

        Probably should have clarified on SD better. When I said live, I meant 3.3.x and prior. During that time, it was minimal. You’re right in that it needed to be nerfed, my concern is that it has been nerfed too much, but I’m not in the beta, so can’t check numbers.

        I actually don’t like all tanks having the same survival cooldowns, certainly its easier to balance, but it makes the tanks too similar. While we do have some ranged threat, its nothing compared to what a DK or Paladin has. I don’t want it to be. Bears don’t feel right throwing around a bunch of range threat moves. Skull Bash should make handling pesky casters easier, and any bear thats tanked much of WoLK should have kept up their skill at doing LOS pulls, something I’ve seen a lot of other tank players forget.

        More and more, bears seem to be becoming warrior-lite. We have the same basic tools, without the extra utility.

  8. Rustafur says:

    While I did defecate straight into my pants when I read about the health pool reduction (and that SD proc is horse shit), I reminded myself of this when it comes to Blizzard class balancing techniques: They tend to SEVERELY nerf a stat/ability they feel is OP, and then return it to a more reasonable, “balanced” state. This has been stated before in blue posts in the past. The reason for this is they already know what is “too high” for a stat/ability, and they want to explore what the basement looks like for that same ability. Then once they have an idea of where the two extremes are, they can better assess where the middle ground should be. I’ve seen this done several times already with the Hunter’s recent class overhaul. Shots that are too powerful get nerfed to the point of uselessness, then are returned back to a reasonable damage amount.

    But, don’t overlook the HUGE buff that Survival Instincts just got! Durring the course of an 8min boss fight…

    Old SI: 60% damage reduction, 24sec of uptime, or 10% of the fight
    New SI: 50% damage reduction, 48 sec of uptime, or 20% of the fight

    Twice the up-time and only a 16% reduction in the amount of damage absorbed. I’ll take that!

  9. tbot says:

    The reduction of uptime for SD combined with the double hit to absorb side (reduction in hp affects this as well) is going to make bears the biggest yo-yo of a tank around and we don’t even have the health buffer to justify it.

    For those that are currious, the changes amount to an uptime of about 35% for SD after the changes. With a full vengence block being 9k. They went WAY overboard on these and being under 50% uptime is going to make druids the most annoying tank to heal.

  10. Pingback: The Fluid Druid » Blog Archive » Savage Defense is OP

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