I just want to share my thoughts and feedback on Feral’s lack of desirability and how Shadowlands is looking to widen the community perception issues.
Some smaller things I’ll start with - firstly Rebirth is weaker and frustrating as Feral, it takes you out of cat form (doesn’t for Moonkin for some reason), and also as you’re in melee range if a tank dies it’s very easy to instantly be killed before getting the cast off, resulting in wipe, whereas it’s supposed to be a wipe preventer (another reason why the survival instincts nerf also really hurts). Bal/Resto can safely BREZ tanks from range. The same goes for Cyclone, why does Feral lose form yet Balance doesn’t? It’s not just a waste of a GCD, but it feels awkward and clunky to play; this being baseline while benefitting both specs, is stronger for Balance/Resto, and will have a lot of niche use in mythic+ I imagine. Particularly bad for Guardian.
Suggestion: make Rebirth instant cast with Predatory Swiftness, & make Cyclone castable in cat/bear (remaining unaffected by predatory swiftness for pvp reasons).
As many have pointed out, we don’t have access to Innervate and Treants (Balance), but beyond these, it’s questionable that Balance gets Typhoon (previously a talent) baseline and then the option to choose another ability (in this case opening up the possibility of Ursol’s Vortex + Typhoon, a strong combo). Perhaps an actual Balance ability should be added for their affinity, like Solar Beam? Instead they now get 2 new abilities, while specs like Feral only gain 1 of these. This is further widening the utility gap, but an even bigger issue is Guardian losing access to both of these – this alone should be enough to address the issue of Typhoon now being a baseline Balance spell.
Of course these specs now gain access to our utility (Stampeding Roar), so add that to the list.
Heart of the Wild is a massive bonus for Resto with catweaving. Basically useless for Feral, we’ll be using Balance affinity because the range is a dps and survivability boost; obviously very limited scenarios where we’d benefit from going Moonkin + HOTW. Resto is already a dominant spec in mythic+, and HOTW feels like something unpruned almost exclusively for them. I don’t see HOTW being taken over Bash for PVP either unless it gets a shorter CD.
So with that begs the question, what was unpruned for Feral? Many Feral’s dislike the huge Survival Instincts nerf to get the much weaker Barkskin. Cyclone I addressed above. Talent tuning is not what will fix our utility and perception issues. Shadowlands increases the gap between Feral and the desired Druid specs, particularly our DPS counterpart (Boomy).
Indeed you might say Feral has decent mythic+ utility, but if that’s the case then you should consider the fact Balance and Resto may simply have too much; even the feedback at the start of this thread months ago suggested as much, and an optimal group would only want 1 druid so why bring Feral? Our group utility also can’t compete with DH or Rogue, the later who can now dispel enrage in all specs (one of the things we’re even considered for). DK’s anti magic zone is a strong raid/group CD, warrior gets spell reflect which is likely to be crazy for mythic+, and while I’m not going to list great things unpruned for all specs, please consider the question: what was unpruned for Feral?
My suggestion is quite simple: just bring us in line with other Druid specs. There’s no reason why Balance, the other Druid DPS, should be able to do everything we can yet so much more. You don’t see such utility gaps between different Rogue or War etc specs, so I think Feral/Balance could be treated like a pure DPS class in regards to utility; without such it will result in more kitties kicked for not being the right spec when joining a mythic+ group. Equality for Druid’s, or give Feral something unique if you wish to diversify the class. It’s a simple solution that would also actually give something ‘unpruned’ to Feral, like every other spec in the game going into Shadowlands.
Lastly regarding rotation/mechanics, as Psybear mentioned BT is awkward to use on AOE. I sincerely hope this does not lead to Moment of Clarity (MOC) being the choice for AOE, as my impression of this talent always was the ‘newer player’ mindless alternative to BT. I look forward to testing this more when tuning is done, and hope BT will still be viable for AOE, but I think including Swipe would be a great addition. Furthermore upon testing BT only seems to buff the Rip portion of Primal Wrath, but not the instant damage (whereas old BT buffed it all), further adding to my concerns. BT could possibly include Primal Wrath in its entirety, therefore change BT from ‘Rip and Bite’ to ‘Finishers.’ Also Scent of Blood is seemingly the only dead talent left for Feral, besides maybe Heart of the Wild. Recent talent changes were fantastic overall, the emphasis on dots is welcome and what makes Feral fun and unique over other melee.