FEEDBACK: Druid Class Changes

This is just my idea on a possible change to how Feral functions. I am not a game designer so feel free to dislike it or point out issues.

I think it would be cool to change rip to act more like old (BFA) Lock UA where you can have an unlimited amount of them on a target and then have bite either scale with the number of bleeds on a target or have it act like death bolt where it does a percentage of the remaining bleed damage.

I think this change would keep with the feral fantasy of bleeding a target to death while moving feral into something more interactive then the current build (and very different from feeling like a discount rogue). The rotation currently is start encounter getting the best rip possible then using saber tooth to never have to reapply it again and just biting on repeat. With this build saber tooth could stay the same refreshing your lowest time remaining bleed on a target. It would make the gameplay style more engaging as you try to stack up as many rips on a boss as possible and snapshotting windows to get big bleeds going and trying to get as many out as possible.

Affliction had the problem of being bad at AOE but with the addition of our aoe rip this problem is solved and being able to stack bleeds with it would be extremely satisfying.

Overall I just want to hear from a Blue on whether Blizzard is doing anything more for Feral. Even a simple “yes we are working on it or no we are satisfied here is why…” would reinforce the idea that Blizzard is listening to feedback and communicating which they have said countless times during BFA they were working on improving. Ion’s interview where feral was brought up and him saying “They got a change to BT” when the interviewer made a joke about feral did not give me confidence that Blizzard intends to do much to fix the Feral is a Meme meta it has been stuck in all of BFA.

25 Likes

So. Some quick background on me. I’ve been playing feral for as long as I can remember and is almost always at the cutting edge. So far the changes to feral overall just feel very bad and a few other things feel clunky. Bloodtalons is going to get its own section.

  1. You’ve given us back Barkskin, taken a charge away from Survival Instincts, and put it on a 4minute cooldown. While it feels nice having barkskin back, its just nowhere near as good as the current Survival Instincts in live. The 4min CD feels more obtrusive than the loss of a charge honestly.
    Part of the fun of Feral was always this feeling of a pseudo-self sufficiency in group content. The passive regrowths and ability to just manage yourself skillfully to survive where other classes might not (or just be more aggressive) played into that. This feels greatly diminished and I don’t feel like we got much back out of it.

  2. Lets talk utility. “Why Bring a Feral”. Its a question that the spec just struggles with to no end. To begin, one of the unique utility pieces that Feral/Guardian have always provided was Stampede. When we lost innervate in Legion, a split was put into place where Resto/Balance got innervate and Guardian/Feral got Stampede. With the entire class getting Roar now, Feral is losing YET ANOTHER differentiating factor. The question of “Why bring a Feral” just becomes harder to answer.
    Everything Feral does utility wise can now be provided elsewhere and with some better core functionality provided. Ion once said that Feral should be the “Kings of Single Target”. This promise wasn’t really kept, and even when it was, balance is tight enough that utility is more important.
    DKs and Resto druids are ubiquitous enough that a raid will usually have bres covered via one of them (don’t forget the engineering tool now).
    Stampede is now provided by Resto and Boomie, and Shamans can easily spec into it. Spirit Link is important enough of a CD that most raids will bring at least one.
    Other melee/tank hybrid classes at the very least provide raid buffs. DH/Monk give 5% damage. Warrior gives Battle Shout. DKs have a valuable Grip along with their Combat Res. Pallies have their Auras back now and blessings. I’ve argued for Leader of the Pack in the past, and maintain that it should there for parity with utility. Resto/Boomie could probably give a modified Moonkin Aura. This would be preferable to MotW honestly but I wouldn’t turn that down too.

  3. Time to talk about the problem child that is now Bloodtalons.

  • The survivability provided by it is noticeably missed. That was part of what felt cool about playing a hybrid class. We had a way to sustain ourselves with minimal loss of damage. Maybe tossing on some leech with this would help address the issue.

  • Downtime is FAR more punishing and feels unfun rather than an opportunity to prepare to go back in. I used to be able to Regrowth during key moments of downtime to facilitate reopening or just pump a little bit extra. This piece of planning/puzzle feels missing.
    To add onto the issue, your target jumping away while you are trying to activate your BT is incredibly punishing and forces you to waste a lot of resources. You want to be at exactly 80 energy and 0CP to activate BT. If you use 2 globals and lose target. Suddenly you’re sitting around regenning energy and know you’re going to overcap on Combo Points. This feels even worse if you just used Tiger’s Fury to fill your energy bar.

  • There’s this feeling of ‘weaving’ your Bloodtalons into your rotation that exists in live that just feels missing as well. Its hard to pin down, but the ‘flow’ just feels wrong.

  • It makes the opener awkward, and punishes you in multi-target situations. We go back to the interaction with Sabertooth which removes all thought from the rotation. This makes that issue worse.
    Regarding multi-target. You often DON’T want to shred in these situations. If you’re going to INSIST on keeping the current activation requirements, please include swipe in there. Also. Bloodtalons does not interact with the instant damage of Primal Wraith. This just feels bad. The talent as a whole just feels bad.

  • My suggestion is to try something like this. Turn it into an actual ability that uses energy and gives a combo point.

Bloodtalons: 40 Energy. Awards 1 Combo Point. 30second Cooldown. Deal 2xShred damage to the target and increase the damage and leech of your next two finishing moves by 30%. Using a finishing move reduces the cooldown of this ability by 10 seconds.

  1. Lets talk affinities, Heart of the Wild, and our level 35 row. Heart of the Wild just feels very out of place in that row. It also feels like something Druids have had historically that was removed from them. I understand the desire to separate out the CCs across the three affinities. Giving them all baseline is just too much control packed into one class, especially with our level 35 row. The issue is the Typhoon/Vortex combo. You’ve broken out an incredibly fun combination of abilities and locked them behind talents that might not fit the playstyle of what someone is trying to do.
    Consider maybe either having Heart of the Wild also grant the remaining 2 CCs from the affinity row, or just have Heart of the Wild be baseline to bring back that ‘Hybrid’ feeling that Druid has been losing over the years.
    Oh, and there are also 2 talents named Heart of the Wild. The PvP talent and the PvE one.

  2. Feels great to have Cyclone back, but it feels out of place that PS doesn’t make it instant. This was more understandable when it was a PvP only talent, but now that its back in our hands in PvE, I would like that back. Also, if Bloodtalons is being uncoupled from PS, there’s no reason not to have it allow instant cast Rebirth.

In summary.

  • Defensively Feral just feels worse and incredibly squishy. The Survival Instincts change is key here along with the loss of passive healing from Bloodtalons.
  • We need to answer the question: “Why bring a Feral”. Stampede is going to Boomkin/Resto but Guardian/Feral is not getting Innervate. Other melee classes bring core raid buffs. LotP and a Caster Aura for Resto/Boomie would address this. MotW back would just be the cherry on top but likely overkill. Boomie/Feral need differentiation.
  • Bloodtalons just sucks in its current iteration. It just feels bad and way worse than before, punishes downtime rather than rewards skillful play, and is anti-synergistic in AoE. Window is too small. Swipe is missing from activation. Does not interact with instant damage of Primal Wraith. Sabertooth is still boring and too good.
  • Affinity CC and HotW feel like they break the Hybrid feel. HotW feels out of place in a CC row. Either tether the other two Affinity CCs to HotW, or make HotW baseline and add the option to pick up the other two from there.
  • Predatory Swiftness feels like its less fun and interactive right now with very edge case uses. In practicality it just allows you to burn a global to heal occasionally. There need to be more opportunities to interact with it. Cyclone and Rebirth are good places for this.

Right now Shadowlands it feels like Feral lost, either directly or by giving it to other aspects of Druid without reciprocity.

Oh. A secondary aside. Incap roar forces me out of Cat Form where the others don’t. It would be nice if it behaved like Stampede where it left me in cat when used.

72 Likes

I feel like Starsurge should be a level 10 ability.

Just played through the new intro area and spec’d Balance at level 10. So now I’m running around building Astral Power with Wrath, Moonfire and Starfire, but I’ve got nothing to spend it on. Just a bar that fills up in combat. Would be kinda confusing for a new player.

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Thought for the week: Started Mythic N’zoth this week. Kiting Psychophages as the only tank in the game without a slow is pretty rough. And it’s still not fixed in Shadowlands.

(Also, entering the Psychus realm still shifts you out of bear form, dumping our rage bar and requiring a GCD to get back into shape. Would be nice if these kinds of irritations could be permanently avoided, and there are suggestions for doing so, like taking bear form off the GCD or having rage persist through forms like energy does. But because these are persistent problems, every bug like this - which often go uncorrected for months - cause continuous problems. Instead of stamping these things out 1 by 1, wouldn’t it be easier to just eliminate the gameplay flaws that cause them to be problems in the first place when the bugs do happen?)

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You may already know this, but you can shapeshift back in on your way down. When you land, you’re stunned again, but still in your chosen form.

I believe both of these are already the case on alpha.

5 Likes

Confirmed:

That’s pretty neat.

But HOTW is still on the GCD, I really don’t feel it should be.

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Huh! The build prior (or the build prior to the build prior? I am not sure!) it would not let me use Innervate on myself, nor did my form shift. So, this is exciting to hear! It really makes me happy to see you all responding to feedback.

I would agree with Cyouskin that HoTW should be off the GCD for sure. Being able to macro it together with Innervate for example and just go to town emergency healing be GREAT.

3 Likes

Just tested:

Baselined or not in using HotW, one thing which has become an annoyance to me is the fact you have to waste a GCD to swap forms before using it. To that end perhaps it could automatically move you to the form matching your Affinity as part of the ability itself. This would match the enhanced shape shifting jack-of-all-trades vibe this talent seems like it is intended to invoke.

This is correct. It will even ignore the shapeshift lockout. So if I am in resto spec, go cat, drop form, and during the powershift lockout activate HotW, it will change you to cat form again.

@Sigma. While this is overall correct, the annoyance here is specifically related to Resto affinity. Most druids from a gameplay perspective take advantage of the bar-swapping that comes from shapeshifting. So in most cases (Guardian, Feral, Balance) you will swap to the correct form, and therefore the correct bar.

With resto however, you maintain your form. You don’t TECHNICALLY burn a global honestly. I’m currently addressing this with a fairly complex set of macros that are specific to the spec. I actually have to do the same thing to get the kind of comfortable functionality from the Affinity CCs.

Affinity

#showtooltip
/cast [talent:3/1] Typhoon
/cast [talent:3/2] Incapacitating Roar
/cast [talent:3/3] Ursol's Vortex

HotW

#showtooltip
/cancelform [talent:3/3, talent:4/3]
/cast [talent:4/1] Mighty Bash
/cast [talent:4/2] Mass Entanglement
/cast [talent:4/3] Heart of the Wild(Talent)

It would nice if you insist on tethering the CCs to the Affinity talents, if they would change much like the level 35 Row already does.

Each spec needs its own Macro Set. That’s 8 Macro slots needed… On live neither are bound to a bar that swaps with form, so in its current state, I would need to reshuffle a lot of things on launch.

HotW when in Resto affinity should drop form to caster since that’s what my form should be (Or you could FINALLY give Resto back some baseline version of Tree Form for some flavor, but that’s a separate discussion). Either way. When I press HotW to heal, I want to go into my “Healer Mode”.

1 Like

@Sigma

Are you in charge of Druid changes? Just wanted to thank you for being communicative with the Druid Feedback thread. As far as I can tell Druids are one of the only Class Thread that has a developer posting in them. I know you don’t have time to reply to all feedback but seeing a blue post in Druid feedback thread feels good. So kudos.

18 Likes

Why does this matter? The moment you cast a resto affinity spell you automatically shapeshift out of any form anyway.

Unless you don’t main a druid, then it looks like the other classes’ feedback is disappearing into the void. I applaud Sigma for his communication, but a tad bit of feedback for other classes (from him or other devs) would go a long way to hamper the idea of developer bias towards classes and that the player feedback in those classes is heard, etc.

4 Likes

Did you read the whole post?

While this is overall correct, the annoyance here is specifically related to Resto affinity. Most druids from a gameplay perspective take advantage of the bar-swapping that comes from shapeshifting. So in most cases (Guardian, Feral, Balance) you will swap to the correct form, and therefore the correct bar.

None of my heals are on my Form bars outside of Regrowth. They only show up in caster form. F inturrupts in all forms except Caster, where it is bound to wild growth. If I want to WG currently, I have to

  1. Hotw
  2. Manually Drop Form
  3. Cast WG

That or my first cast with every HotW would HAVE to be Regrowth.

I’m not sure how much Druid you play. Its unneeded Keyboard Piano that won’t be uncommon for people to deal with. Its minor, easily solved with a macro, and doesn’t matter in the big picture, but from a gameplay perspective for the core druid community, its something noticable.

Its a User Experience concern that I’m talking about. Clean UX lives and dies in the details most won’t notice. My real world Job is literally centered around it. That’s what I’m talking about here.

Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing that a Boomie popping HotW as a defensive and spamming Regrowth against a melee in PvP would be negatively impacted by this because they would lose the armor/Boomie benefits (since Regrowth is castable in Boomie form). That’s very much an edge case however.

6 Likes

Actually my UX is probably cleaner than yours since I don’t put target casted spells like heals on my bars. I use vudho and just have click cast combinations so I didn’t think about heal spells on the bars. So yeah what you said makes sense for someone that keybinds the heals I guess instead of click-binding.

I mean, this isn’t an e-peen measuring contest. Don’t make presumptions about me.

I do the same, however I also have Wild Growth bound in caster form to allow me to cast while moving with my mouse in PvP and center it on myself, but if I’m mousing over a frame it will center it on them. Swiftmend, Rejuv, dispels. All of these are dual bound to both clique as well as self cast with hard keybinds.

Its mostly instant casts. This allows me to more effectively kite without having to stop what I’m doing with my mouse

Not that any of this matters. Keep in mind that this is Alpha, and the feedback is intended to be without Addons right now. I’m talking about the UX of somebody that plays without addons. What you and I do specifically, with addons, on live, is a pointless tangent.

20 Likes

Crossing my fingers for some decent Guardian changes this week.

I’ll keep beating the “we don’t have a snare” drum until it gets resolved or Sigma decided to say ‘Guardians are never getting a snare because x’. :slight_smile:

30 Likes

Trust me. I’m with you on that one. I beat that drum all through BfA Alpha/Beta along with many of the Feral Drums that were issues at launch.

I’ve been on the “Bears/Cats need LotP back” drum for years now. No luck.

That said. Generally calling a dev out saying you want a response is the best way to NOT get one honestly. Its this weird duality. Sigma seems to be the Dev in charge of Druids in general this cycle, but I’m sure there are others he’s working with.

Sigma likely reads this entire thread, and responds where needed. However simply saying “I’m doing this until I get a response from Sigma” puts him in an annoying situation.

Maybe what you said deserves a response. Maybe it doesn’t. Personally I’d love the thinking behind why some of the feedback we’re giving is put to the side vs what has been useful. However if a Dev responds to a post because they were called out to do so, it creates a dangerous precedent.

Suddenly other people expect responses just because they invoke the developer’s name.

If I had to give you an answer, it would be related to how Druid already has a TON of CC built into it (mass entangle/typhoon/etc) along with a lot of mobility. Adding a snare into the mix crowds the toolkit a little bit.

The real design that should be addressed is the reliance on tank snares. In THEORY you would bring a bear and get the snare elsewhere. Honestly that’s what happens in 99% of the top end groups that would even use a bear. In practicality, just less top end groups use a Bear.

That’s kinda the big issue I have with how design has been over the last few years since BfA. There’s been this concept of differentiating classes, which is great and all, but it hasn’t been done well. What happens is that the classes that are good get used, and the classes that aren’t just get left behind.

The practicality behind the theory doesn’t feel like its accounted for. I agree with a lot of what Ion says… In theory. In practice with some more scrutiny, things just feel more and more off with each patch since Legion pre-patch.

21 Likes

Personal feedback from doing 5 hours in normal/heroic torghast solo this last build as a bear:

  • Anima Powers:

    1. Lycara’s Sash is amazing and really ramps up the survivability and movement speed of your clear as a solo bear.

    2. Moon-Spirit Essence has a tooltip error but other than that is a very nice if plain power increase

    3. Oath of Druids is a fun-ish ability. Having Heart of the Wild sounds great, but in solo play as a bear I found only very niche uses for this.

    4. Lycara’s Twig is probably my favorite anima power that exists for bear right now. It enforces swapping forms in order to empower abilities that increase your survivability or damage in quick succession and a few of these really contribute to getting to a very powerful place.

    5. Sylvatican Charm did not seem to function with Frenzied Regeneration and I believe it should, as it is a periodic heal.

    6. Grasping Tendrils should proc each time any enemy hits the druid for the first time. Right now it only procs for the singular first ever attack into Barkskin or Ironfur and makes this anima power significantly less useful. If Sylvatican Charm is changed it would synergize well with Curious Bramblepatch/Rootwood Scarab.

As of right now I can only see one really good build and not much diversity for a bear as solo, I would love to find more and look forward to any tweaks that come!

I feel like without getting either Lycara’s Twig or Sash on a run in heroic I would struggle greatly compared to a run where I did get one of these abilities. Especially Sash.

2 Likes

I do see the problem on Resto Affinity+HotW. But since Resto doesn’t have a native form, changing this would amount to saying “simply cancel any form when you press Resto HotW.” That feels like an odd thing to force on the player, when they can already cancel form at any time. In the current setup, a player who presses HotW and then decides they want to use another Bear or Cat option before starting to heal has the option, and that seems worth preserving–even if it probably makes you want to keep a Resto button accessible from your form.

Made Sylvatican Charm work with Frenzied Regen. It was designed with Resto HoTs in mind, but this is a neat interaction for people playing Guardian. Its uptime will still be much better if you keep Resto HoTs on yourself.

In general, Torghast powers have very little balance so far, so I want to be a bit careful about feedback over what build is strongest. The Druid synergies around shapeshifting (capped by the epic power Lycara’s Sash) are definitely strong, and that might distort the feeling of other builds until balance of Torghast a whole is further along. Our goal would be that something like Grasping Tendrils could play into a winning run, in a situation where it shines due to the presence of, say, Sylvatican Charm and Rootwood Scarab.

6 Likes

So I’d like to say again thank you for being so communicative with us, Sigma. Feeling like your feedback is actually being read makes you want to be more proactive in testing. That is not something I have much felt in prior alpha testing I have done.


Ok! A bit of secondary feedback for the Balance druid that has occurred to me during play. It feels like it is WAY easier to hold a Solar Eclipse for any period of time than a Lunar Eclipse. I would say either Starfire needs to be even faster to cast during the window, or more likely Stellar Surge needs to give 4 seconds during lunar eclipses?

The whole mini game loop of the eclipse mechanic is trying to keep the one you are aiming for going as long as possible, and as it is it feels like you just cannot keep it up. That’s not fun.

One of the problems I have had with Eclipse is it feels like it does not really do much to significantly impact your play. While playing Torgast it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps what it needs actually could be found in the anima powers. Bare with me here, but what if:

  • Solar Eclipse gave roots a damage component that is tied to the eclipse rather than the root directly.
  • Lunar Eclipse caused the target of your 20th Moonfire tick during the Eclipse window to be hit by Full Moon.

This gives Lunar Eclipse more of a function than spamming starfire, instead you are trying to hold your lunar eclipse long enough for your full moon to proc. This also gives Solar Eclipse an interactive mechanic to play around with and pulls in some of that Malfurion-burying-orcs-alive feel which is a REALLY COOL druid fantasy.

1 Like

Starfire is less AP/sec than Wrath, and that’s a major factor.

It mostly comes down to planning your Eclipse states, extending is easiest in Solar, and Solar happens to be the stronger of the Eclipses for single-target.