Feedback for Ferals (I am speaking primarily about PvE):
Please do not remove “Survival Instincts” in favor of Barkskin. Survival Instincts is a stronger, more satisfying skill to use as a Feral. If removal of Survival Instincts is written in stone, Ferals need a non-convoluted way to temporarily empower Barkskin in their kits.
I am surprised at how perfect Survival Instincts is as a Feral player. I do not want to see it removed from Ferals. Ever.
I was under the impression classes weren’t getting pruned. I cannot put into proper words or articulation how disappointing this change would be. I am no expert Feral player, but I would definitely classify myself as a passionate one.
I also apologize for the format in which this post is. All I have to go by are my own personal experiences. I feel like people who don’t play Feral don’t realize how massive this change would be. This would be like Rogues losing Cloak of Shadows or Paladins losing BoP. Maybe because Feral isn’t played much outside of PvP, though, not much attention gets paid to it.
But Holinka (?) Did say at Blizzcon 2019 that “I’m worried/unhappy” is legitimate feedback, so here goes.
In Legion and BFA, I would disagree when people would say “Feral has bad survivability in PvE” - we can, without interrupting our rotation, constantly self-heal during our rotation (even if BT wasn’t taken). We have Bear form for transition phases if we cannot DPS temporarily, and the biggest middle-finger(claw?) we have to dying is Survival Instincts. 50% damage reduction for 6 seconds (2 min CD, stacks to 2 uses).
This cannot be overstated - Barkskin is a much weaker replacement with less-satisfying player input. 20% mitigation will not save a feral who has had an entire group of enemies turn on them due to the death of a tank. 20% mitigation will not save a feral who has been cornered by poor puddle placement from fellow raid/party members. 20% mitigation will not save a feral trapped in an imminent cone AoE from the boss because someone else stood in the wrong location. 20% is not going to cut it in PvE. We don’t have Displacer Beast from Legion to get out of sticky situations, either.
Survival Instincts has saved me from situations like these on numerous occasions. If it was Barkskin, I’d just be a cat-shaped stain of burnt guts on the ground on those fights. I’d reroll something with more mitigative “middle-fingers,” like Paladin. I don’t have passive armor buffs like what moonkins have. Ferals are also in melee range, which means they have even less time to react to sudden shifts in the battle - and therefore need stronger instant cooldowns of mitigation than ranged classes/specs.
Duration vs Mitigation %:
Barkskin has twice the duration time of Survival Instincts, which sounds amazing on paper, but I can promise you this extra duration will go largely unused. When you are about to take a huge hit, or two huge hits, or dash through a poorly-placed puddle to reposition, you need mitigation percentage, not duration of effect. A single second can make a huge difference in this game (looking at you, GCD). Math aside, anecdotally, 6 seconds of 50% mitigation is way more useful than 12 seconds of 20% mitigation in all situations, except for ones where the healers are going to save you anyway.
Survival Instincts isn’t just powerful, it’s a satisfying skill to use and is perfectly-made for risk/reward, and player choice/consequence as it currently stands. You can allow it to gain up to 2 stacks. You can frontload both of the SI cooldowns into a 12-second chain if you wanted, but be unable to use it for another 2 minutes. This can get you killed later if some bad luck arises, but it was your choice to take the risk.
Landing SI on an otherwise life-ending attack is like landing a shield parry on a mechanical guardian’s laser beam in Breath of the Wild, Aegis-blocking a knockdown in Guild Wars 2, or Parrying an attack in Dark Souls. Satisfying snap-reaction moves like this are rare in MMOs and are more often found in Action RPGs. Most WoW classes have one or two of these death-cheating skills. SI is Feral’s only one.
You can use SI in creative ways as pseudo-utility as well. as one M+ example, mitigating enough damage to bait Sweete’s cannon-barrages into hitting you a few times before moving, giving the rest of the group more space to work with (if you skipped final trash packs in Freehold).
SI can protect you from bad luck and random-targeting boss mechanics. In this way it serves as a Bad-RNG mitigator.
SI takes practice to use well - it doesn’t protect you from CC, and it has a tiny duration window which means you have to know a burst-damage was coming and react. When I first started in Legion I didn’t even have it on my bars, and I died a ton. I learned to love it and now use it frequently.
SI fits the theme of cats being capable loner-survivors, and having multiple lives.
Barkskin is a “Spray and Pray” skill that won’t save you in late-game content if a boss or trashpack decides it’s your time to meet the Arbiter. You will put it up when you think you will need it, and IF (big if) you survive the big thing the enemy does, you get to watch the other 6-10 seconds of its duration go to complete waste. If the boss targets you again, well tough luck, Barkskin doesn’t stack to 2 like SI does. You get to die.
This change feels like yet another PvP-centric nerf in a series of PvP-centric nerfs that spill over into Feral’s PvE QoL. As someone who adores the Fangs of Ashamane Transmog forms and loves the idea of playing an all-in-one class that can be good at overworld farming and raiding alike, this breaks my heart. Everyone sleeps on how great and fun Feral is to play, and it’s a shame. There is no other class in any MMO quite like Feral. I even tried outlaw and assassin rogue specs and disliked them compared to Feral. Feral spec is my main reason for playing this game. If I can no longer survive basic hiccups in end-game content, I’m going to have a bad time.