Ah, thank you!
We’ve made the following changes to Kindred Spirits (Kyrian class ability) in the next build:
• Visual effects have been updated.
• Kindred Spirits now casts a solo version of each buff when bonded with yourself, called Lone Empowerment (Balance and Feral), Lone Meditation (Restoration), or Lone Protector (Guardian). These effects are weaker than when you pair with an ally, and grant simple buffs to damage, healing, or mitigation.
• Kindred Empowerment (the “damager” buff) no longer gives ramping primary stat to your partner. Instead, 30% of all damage dealt grants the partner a pool of Kindred Empowerment, which gets expended to increase their damage, healing, and mitigation until it runs out.
Please continue writing us your feedback. We’d love to hear your thoughts on how the ability plays out in various content, and anything else that comes up while playtesting.
Cool, any actual Guardian changes coming, ever?
Can we touch on some old bugs that have existed in Soulshape as long as it has been in the game.
Pressing Soulshape while shifted drops your form entirely. While this might seem at worst a QoL inconvenience at first glance (you can always go back into Cat/Boomie for just a GCD), this does cause issues in Bear Form. Trying to Soulshape will just have the boss Chunk you for 3 seconds while you wait for the Shifting CD to come off.
Soul Shape and Travel Form interact very oddly together. Trying to Soulshape while in travel form does not actually change your form. Trying to travel form indoors while Soulshape is active will deactivate Soulshape.
Activating Soulshape while in form in a rest area, then leaving the rest area will cause your game to crash when Soulshape expires.
Is it in anyway possible for the New Moon druid ability to be baseline, it was first added in legion as a major ability for the artifact weapon and it now feels so iconic yet it is only available as a talent. The problem with this is that most places are telling players that the other talents greatly outperform it. This is a shame for New Moon and many visually pleasing Talent abilities. It would be great if it could be baseline and in its place, perhaps a talent which makes it on par with the other talents in its tree. I think this should be the case with a majority of visually amazing talents for classes. Not being able to have fun with them due to the community of raiding or dungeons ect shunning you over choosing them, makes it feel like a wasted beautiful asset.
Oh. To add onto this. Activating Moonkin form does NOT deactivate soulshape. However leaving moonkin form drops soulshape when you re-enter moonkin form.
This post is the long-read feedback from the administration of one of the biggest Russian-speaking discord communities, Dreamgrove. We want to thank one of the Blizzard community managers, Roberto, who were in touch with us, letting almost all of the Russian discord community opinion leaders and theorycrafters to get their alpha invites. This feedback is the compilation of the feedback reports given by several active members who got alpha, each of them is playing this game many years, and have some decent PvE experience, including high keys, almost every Cutting Edge achievements, e.t.c. We tried to make it as rational as possible, focused on the current design flaws we’ve found playing the alpha version of the new expansion, that is why we won’t be talking about balance issues in numbers: they aren’t final now, and we didn’t see any dungeons or raids yet, so it would be hard to discuss is unless we see encounter design and final ability numbers.
Please also be aware that the majority of the players who worked on this report (actually, everyone, but one person), are not too active or experienced PvP players, so all the information below, won’t consider the PvP aspect of the game. We only represent the hardcore and semi-hardcore PvE audience in this post.
Spec utility balance
Druids, among with Demon Hunters, are two unique classes, who’s spec defines the role you’ve been doing in the group. While many other classes have some several options (you may choose one of three DPS specs if you play warlock or mage, or one of two specs if you’re healing priest) within the same role, druids don’t have this option, so issues the player may encounter, especially finding the group to play, couldn’t be solved with respec button.
Restoration druids are pretty strong in 5man dungeons, and even if in raids, they are certainly not the preferred spec, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be declined from the invitation for having the wrong specialization. More or less, it’s the same for balance druids, who have no issues anywhere except some extremely high keys. For feral and guardian druids, the situation is much worse: since the amount of tank and melee spots are quite limited in a group, often due to encounter design, people often prefer to choose some other player of another class to fill the spot.
With last affinity changes, which include the core spec utility abilities into affinity, this utility disbalance did only grow further: while restoration and balance players may now take both Ursol and Typhoon (which is a pretty strong combo in mythic+), Feral and Guardian players don’t have this option available to them. Since Stampeding Roar is now available to the druids of every spec, this lowers the chance of the Guardian or feral druid to finally get the raid spot when you need it, since most likely, this requirement will be fulfilled by the Moonkin who’s already in the group. At the same time, while Guardians and Ferals lost the part of their uniqueness, they didn’t benefit anything from these changes, since even Innervate is still available for Restoration and Balance druids only.
The overall issue with these changes is that they getting away some part of the uniqueness from specs, who are struggling to find a group, giving it to other specs, who don’t have this issue. Restoration druids, who are kings in mythic+ runs will get even stronger utility now, cats and bears will stay with the same amount of the useful spells than before.
Balance druid changes
Eclipse, which was firstly introduced in Wrath of the Lich King expansion, and grown to become the core design mechanic in Cataclysm is getting back in Shadowlands. Honestly, I don’t see any issues with getting back something which was the core for years, but the real issue is how this system was implemented in the new expansion.
The first issue is the DPS cycle. For 15 seconds after you activated the solar phase, the only two buttons you’ll be spamming are Wrath and Starsurge. Since this happens a lot, especially in the solo play, which is all about short fights and using single-target DPS spells, it makes the gameplay feel quite boring at times. More than that, it’s hard to explain it to players: since they already have some spec mechanic which is working fine, and now it’s being replaced with something simpler and straight-forward like spamming 1 button for 15 seconds. It gives us the wrong feeling of core mechanics being intentionally replaced with some worse implementation, which is not feeling you want to get while reading your class changes.
Another issue is the way eclipse works at the moment.
In dungeons, to do competitive amounts of damage to several targets, we have to do some preparations: get some astral power, then multi-dot all targets, only then do the final third cast to activate the eclipse state and use Starfall. These preparations take a lot of time, and sometimes, you even have to start them while finishing the previous pack. Some sudden target switching (e.g. to finish the enraged target, break some shield, e.t.c) could be a serious issue if you were unlucky enough to get into this situation without an active eclipse state. In raids, most likely will have to time eclipse for most important battle events (preparations to do burst damage, or aoe down an important set of adds), so players will have to play without eclipse for a long time to time it. We’ve seen it before in Cataclysm on Ragnaros fight, where moonkins had to spend two transition phases and all the entire phase 2 without shifting the eclipse state because we had no time to shift it to lunar and back to solar before another set of adds comes.
We think that the most issue now is that we have pretty much no control over the eclipse bar. This overall system gives us a feeling, that Eclipse state is not the benefit you’re happy to get, but a set of limitations you have to struggle with to be productive. We think that some better control over the eclipse bar would solve most of these issues.
Another issue with mythic+ dungeons is that balance druids, right now, are experiencing serious struggle with the ability to interrupt, which could create serious troubles in dungeons like Shrine of the Storms. Since high mythic+ content heavily depends on interrupt, we believe that giving players an ability to change AoE Silence effect of Solar Beam to cooldown reduction could make a great help, allowing players to choose in between great AoE control capabilities, or better kicks, if your party is struggling with them.
Twin Moons and Stellar drift talents are both designed to make a great help in dungeons, and ideally, you want to take both for comfortable mythic+ gameplay, yet they in the same talent row. Perhaps swapping one of them to the last row where all the options aren’t that strong anyway could be another option to solve current issues of new balance druid design in mythic+ dungeons.
Restoration druid changes
Honestly, the restoration spec is one of the well-designed specs in the game: there’s a room for every spell in the journal in both mythic+ and raids, for players, who want to dive deeper and be extremely efficient, there’s a way to master some of the cat abilities for helping the group with some extra damage. Due to this versatility, and lots of helpful utility spells, restoration druids are the kings of 5man content for several expansions already. It’s actually hard to introduce changes to the spec which doesn’t really require any changes. Yet, we still think that these little adjustments, which still were made, are having a little bit wrong focus.
Right now, the most issue of restoration spec, is that even if it’s extremely effective in mythic+, in raids druids are not that welcome. They do have spots, but usually, it’s the spot of that third healer you took after discipline priest and spirit link totem, because the encounter requires 3 healers, and you had to take someone. So raid players, who were hoping for some little buff, which would help them to be more useful in raids, only got their healing versatile due to Swiftmend change. Yes, we’ve also got some Innervate buff (which still has some weird design, since even if now you’re saving more mana to your raid giving it to someone, for a player playing restoration druid, personally, new Innervate feels like a nerf).
In the same time, in mythic+, where restoration druids are extremely powerful, and maybe deserve some nerf, we’ve got pretty much nothing, but small changes in the spec mechanic (even Swiftmend change, again, probably wouldn’t affect class in mythic plus, because, in a five man format, there’s a high chance of the player who requires healing to already have Rejuvenation on them), due to new Heart of the Wild, Stampeding Roar, and Typhoon, Ursol, and Mass Entanglement could be taken all together, which gives restoration druid just an insane amount of CC spells, specialization is only receiving even more buffs in the format, where we’ve been doing just great already.
So our feedback, again, just like in the situation with spec balance, these changes right now are making the druid even more powerful in the format where the spec is extremely popular already, and have quite less impact on raiders, who are hoping for little changes which could make them be more useful in raids.
All tanks except bears are having some kiting possibilities, yet right now bears are the only tank spec that struggles with it. Right now it could be fixed using the Typhoon + Ursol combination, yet in Shadowlands, this combination is unavailable for tanking druids.
There are no active defense abilities available to Guardian druids at pull. Before we can pop the first Ironfur, we need to spend 2-3 global cooldowns, which could be a big issue in mythic+ dungeons where some creatures hit really hard. Doubling the rage gain from shifting to bear form could resolve this issue.
Another issue with bears is that historically, we’re quite vulnerable to the magic damage. This comes from TBC/Wotlk era when all tanks were different, but right now, all other tanks are having some tools to deal with magic damage, while bears don’t, which is another issue putting bears low on the priority list.
Some talents are dead. Lunar Beam should be replaced with good old artifact ability Rage of the Sleeper with Nightmare’s embrace upgrade. Guardian of the Elune should be completely passive to compete with Earthwarden. Survival of the Fittest can be reworked to something like Adaptive fur: each stack of Ironfur reduces incoming magic damage by 10%. This can solve the previous problem with magic vulnerability.
Galactic Guardian seems a bit illogical. Since our abilities proc Moonfire on target, and give us an ability… to empower another Moonfire, which you’re going to most likely use against the same target.
Feral druid feedback
The first thing we’ve noticed during questing is that currently, feral druid has some real issues with survivability. The only unless many other specs, ferals cannot avoid damage either by standing in range zone/kiting, or using AE effects. The only healing spell, Regrowth, heals only 10% of hp bar, and you can only cast it 4 times in a row. We believe that using food during questing is an outdated design, so it would be nice to address this issue (perhaps double Regrowth healing if cast via Predatory swiftness? Could affect the PvP aspect too much tho).
Just as it was said earlier, feral druid doesn’t really have any viable unique effects, which he could help the group with. Demon Hunters are having AE stun, perfect burst damage, and 5% magic damage debuff. Rogues have Cloak of Shadows and perfect survivability, Monks have 5% irreplaceable physical damage, and AE stun, Warriors gives AP buff. While adding new buff into the game is questionable topic (yet maybe we can get back to the idea of Cataclysm model with some buffs being shared among several classes?), we think that adding Solar Beam to Balance affinity could make a great change for 5-man dungeons (yet, it would buff restoration druids to an insane utility level): having both Solar Beam and Skull bash feral druid would have great interrupt capabilities, which could help him some niche in high keys. Actually, here we see another issue with feral talents: too much of them are overlapping with other specialization. It’s hard to balance this spec without affecting the others.
Bloodtalons is a great talent but feel like needing an AE trigger like Swipe or Brutal Slash as a quality of life increase, as for now, we’re forced to use Shred while doing AoE damage.
Berserk in its current form is weak to a point of being not worth wasting GCD for such a low impact on our DPS.
Another issue which is worrying us is how dependant the specialization on critical strike as a stat. This could both give us some issues at the beginning of the expansion, as we don’t have too much of it on the gear, and it could create the situation, where the spec is constantly requires tuning as gear go up after.
The final thing which some players are worried about is their artifact forms given to other specs as a part of barbershop redesign: while the nature behind this change is understandable (feral and guardian druids still have their unique weapons, just like any other specializations in the game), these special forms were something which distinguished those rare specs in the game world, so now, as these forms are being allowed for others to use, these players are now feeling like they lost part of the most important of their spec special bits and uniqueness.
Heart of Wild
Heart of Wild is back after a few years of absence, which is something we’re happy to see. Yet, right now the design of this talent works for restoration druids only. Healers could take cat affinity (which they doing a lot), or maybe balance affinity if it would work better in some situation, and empower it with Heart of the Wild, a great deal. Yet, for other specializations? Well, playing a feral you may have an idea to use it with a bear form to be able to tank the boss for some time to reset the stacks on Main Tank, and use only one tank in the situation where two are required, yet… I don’t think that it would work, since, in reality, you most likely won’t survive.
You may take restoration affinity and toss some heals? Well, again, restoration druid HPS is based on the synergy of some abilities, e.g. you’re tossing some Rejuvenations, put Efflorescence on, and use WG + Flourish once some major damage was done to the group. Having no access to these spells, it is unlikely that other druids could put a lot of effort into group healing.
For DPS specs, the current Heart of Wild design doesn’t look any good. Considering how weak this talent is comparing to the others, perhaps moving it to the baseline abilities, and get Ursol or Typhoon back on this row is something most of Guardian and Feral druids would love to see. Or, some improvements to HoW + Guardian Affinity / HoW + Restoration affinity could be made, so the talent could feel like an option you’re happy to trade your mass roots for.
The feedback from Russia is great and echoes what we’ve been saying. The part about Heart of the Wild particularly needs to be looked at, since although it’s been marketed as a “druid buff” in reality it’s just a Resto boost.
I had thought of this myself as well, but one of the things to consider with this is that it creates a pretty obvious single-target talent choice and rotation. Thrash does less damage on single target than Shred, even if marginal by comparison of a Shred vs. Swipe in AoE. The numbers are something like Thrash = 86 + 280, vs. Shred = 480, including the bonus damage from bleed, just from numbers I’ve tested on the current build, so even using Thrash in single target, while not terrible, is still worse than using another Shred for the same energy cost.
However, my suggestion is as follows:
Bloodtalons: When you use any three of Rake, Shred, [Swipe/Brutal Slash], or Thrash within 5 seconds, the damage of your next 2 Rips or Ferocious Bites is increased by 30%.
This way, the core idea behind Bloodtalons design stays the same, where you’re trying to use different skills in succession. What this does is that it opens up the opportunity for a straightforward, clear single-target build, where you can use Brutal Slash, a skill normally designated to replacing Shred in single target when possible, and burst AoE otherwise, would make it into the ST rotation very cleanly to help proc Bloodtalons, where as Thrash would no longer have to be used in ST.
An issue I, and other Feral druids, wanted to bring up with the current Bloodtalons design, though, is playing around with it, yes it requires quite a bit of planning ahead, especially when you’re trying to line up Tiger’s Fury to snapshot DoTs. However, the inherent design of the talent causes us to sometimes overwrite Tiger’s Fury snapshotted Rakes and Thrashes in favor of trying to get a Bloodtalons proc to buff a Bite. (I’ve noticed that in general when I’m doing the early part of the ST rotation well, my finishers end up being Rip, Bite, Bite, Rip, so not always alternating. And this is without Sabertooth as well!) Because of this, sometimes we want to power up our Bite, but we overwrite a snapshotted Rake, (30% extra damage on a Bite is definitely gonna be better than the rest of a snapshotted Rake and not powering up Bite) which doesn’t really feel good since our entire spec is based around snapshotting (and we love that!). Adding Swipe/Brutal Slash to the list of skills that can be cast to activate BT would alleviate this issue as well, since I don’t think many people are that worried about overwriting a Tiger’s Fury Thrash as opposed to a Rake in single target. In AoE, you likely have a target you need to refresh Rake on anyway, and you could use Swipe/Brutal Slash, followed by a Shred if you didn’t want to overwrite a snapshotted Thrash.
Overall, I think the suggested change would help Feral be a bit more free in their rotation both on ST and AoE, and it would help us with avoiding messing up the core part of our rotation while using Bloodtalons, which is trying not to overwrite our bleeds when we don’t have Tiger’s Fury up.
That’s exactly what I’ve wanted to say in this part of our feedback: add swipe/brutal to talent activation sequence. Just use any 3 different spells from given pool.
I am really trying to figure out how to make Soulbinds work for Druid in general. Let’s make the following assumptions:
- Druids have 4 specs.
- It should be reasonable for a player to want to spec out their character/covenant/soulbinds in such a way that they can reasonable play all 4 specs at their pleasure. Yes, they will have to wait a while to unlock all the soulbinds and all of the legendries, but there is a reasonable belief that the end-state of being able to play all 4 specs is attainable.
- Conduits are both spec-specific and semi-permenant choices that you make when speccing out a Soulbind.
- There are only 3 soulbinds.
So how am I supposed to kit my 3 soulbinds such that I can reasonably play my 4 specs? Is the idea that 1 of my Soulbinds will have a “feral” path, and the other will have a “moonkin” path? This doesn’t seem feasible, because every soulbind has conduits that are “universal”, where every path goes through that conduit. If every conduit is spec-specific, it is impossible to make a single soulbind work for multiple specs.
So as it stands, in seems impossible to reasonably kit the conduits of my 3 soulbinds such that I can reasonable play all 4 druid specs. without having dead (or at the very least extremely subpar) conduit slots.
Mine is real simple.
I am just curious as to why Druids don’t get the Journeyman riding speed until level 24 for their Travel Form, yet you get that speed on your regular mount at level 20. Thanks!
With Druid legendaries still not fully finalized, I created a video on my Balance Druid legendary wishlist.
Some of the favorites are;
Impeccable Fel Essence
Echoing Stars / Lunar Shrapnel
The Torghast Orbit Breaker
and more linked in the video below.
As for conduits, I think an interesting conduit could be to give Balance a 24s interrupt but to remove the blanket silence component to it.
I absolutely agree.
If the encounter design team wishes to continue to create fights similar to that of Vol’zith where interrupt management across the group as a whole is critical, then Balance druids and Shadow priests need some form of adjustment of their interrupt so that it aligns with other casters.
I’m personally all for encounters that make a player think about their toolkit and maybe forces you to use a spell that you might not often use; that’s good game play imo; however, when an encounter is clearly designed without the thought of certain specs or group compositions in mind, then I believe we’ve diverged off a good game play path.
A dungeon should not be designed where a group feels compelled to take an all melee or all ranged composition, anything but spec X b/c of something so silly as interrupts. There are far better things to design advantages around than that.
Long time balance druid here; dabbled in vanilla and mained since BC. After toying with the new Eclipse, I just wanted to post a few observations for the devs.
Firstly, I actually really like the fluid feel of the new rotation, and I like that it only takes two casts to get back into Eclipse. The rotation feels very smooth and the high uptime is very nice.
On the other hand, I will say that it lacks some umph. The rotation being on rails doesn’t really feel that rewarding. It’s smooth, and it’s fun because it’s chill and smooth, but the linear way of casting makes me fell like… well, what’s even the point of Eclipses?
I’m one of those weirdos who actually enjoys BfA Eclipse because it has a lot of choice and keeps me on my toes. I’m still in control of it, but the way I react to Astral Power and Empowerments is fun. Sure, we have to cast specific spenders to get rid of Empowerments and whatnot. But the order isn’t set in stone. We have a general map of priorities, but the way those are carried out can be varied.
With SL Eclipse, it just feels dull and kinda of useless in a way. I just keep thinking “Wow this smoothness is fun… but why is this even here?”
Feral Beta Thoughts
When playing Blood Talons (BT) Ferocious Bites during Convoke the Spirits (CtS) window will consume BT procs but thrash, rake, shred used as part of the CtS window will not generate BT procs.
Therefore you end CtS window with 5 combo points and 0 BT charges so have to use an unempowered finisher.
Using Thrash on ST and Shred on AOE to proc BT feels really inefficient as Thrash does very little damage for the energy cost and is only worth using to propagate BT.
Shred on large AOE does not compete with Thrashing or Swipe spamming and again is only used to propagate BT.
Changing BT to “Shred/Swipe, Rake, Thrash” is a more ideal solution.
Another issue with BT is when you leave combat you want to ensure you have as many combo points as you can and have BT procced so you can re-enter the next segment of combat with an immediate BT snapped finisher. However, this becomes an issue as that means raking and thrashing a mob on sub 10% health which is not good. Failing to do this instead results in entering combat with 5 CP and no BT or always starting combat with no pre-generated CP so requires higher ramp up time - this will make us look awful especially in lower level keys at the beginning of the expansion where things die before you’re done ramping.
Jagged wounds would help alleviate the need to refresh bleeds midway through their uptime in order to reproc BT - an occurrence that will become more prevalent as we gain more secondary stats (specifically haste/crit).
Shred deals 20% increased damage to bleeding targets. Could improve Shred without Wild Fleshrending (WFR) via 20% increase damage PER bleed. Encourages Thrash on ST. Change Swipe to function in the same manner.
CtS is casting Feral Frenzy. Balance casts Full Moon. These are not included in the tooltip but must be added flavour?
The damage of Feral Frenzy in this scenario is very poor.
Sabertooth/Rip need to be rebalanced around the new Sabertooth effect as we’ve just lost a number of Ferocious Bites over the course of a fight.
Adaptive Swarm can jump to allies that aren’t engaged in combat with you (jumped to nearby players when near a target dummy testing). If Adaptive Swarm is active on a friendly player and they target a mob that you aren’t engaged in combat with, Adaptive Swarm will jump to that enemy target upon expiration (fun ninja pull scenario ensues).
With the recent AOE cap Scent of Blood (SoB) has now lost value on an already dead talent. It would be nice to see this talent revamped. A passive talent works well for newer Ferals.
Berserk still feels like a useless CD as it’s effect is reduced during Bloodlust. And it has little to no effect on AOE. All that on a 3min cd :(. Please do not nerf Tiger’s Fury to compensate a Berserk buff.
Cyclone + BR usable in cat form - via predatory swiftness? I personally feel the instant cyclone is too strong but BR is a must.
Balance: Gain Stampeding Roar + Ursol’s Vortex
Resto: Gains Stampeding Roar
Feral: Stays the same
Guardian: Loses either Typhoon or Ursol’s Vortex.
This is an issue as Resto and Balance retain innervate and Balance retains Treants. Guardian luckily has the benefit of being a desirable role - Tank. Feral does not have anything to allow to compete with Balance. Treants + Innervate would at least cause people to say “we want a Druid dps” rather than “we want a Balance Druid”.
Leader of the Pack (LotP) is a big point of contention for me. I personally feel if LotP was implemented, as many Ferals desire, then we’d be guaranteeing ourselves a raid spot. Is that necessary? Is that fair? However, for the average guild trying to progress through Heroic raiding and potentially a few bosses of Mythic at a slower pace than World First Raiders composition is way less likely to be an issue. Therefore, being able to bring a few warm bodies that can benefit your team the most could be a welcome solution to Feral’s inclusion?
Barkskin can be surprisingly nice to have. It’s ability to act as a minor defensive and be used whilst incapped/stunned/sleep/feared etc makes it beneficial to have.
Survival Instincts should still be on a 2 minute CD - even with 1 charge. It in no way is comparable to an outright immunity nor is it as powerful as say DH darkness - so why the long CD?
Currently without legendaries implemented all we can do is speculate.
I’m quite happy to receive near enough any of the Legion legendaries should that be the case.
An interesting choice could be a “Ferocious Bite deals the remaining damage on Rip to the target (without consuming the Rip)” could throw in a “can only occur every ‘x’ amount of seconds”
“Ferocious Bite deals x% of it’s damage to surrounding enemies (capped to 3 / 5)
Jungle Fury Azerite Trait could be reintroduced via a conduit.
Legendaries centered around improving bleed damage/reducing bleed time are favoured by many.
It’s that situation now, where we’re in Eclipse all the time, so why even have it.
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.
Time for a moonkin post. The context for this post is having done every dungeon, some M+10 keys, and the four bosses that were recently tested.
This is also from a PvE/PvM-er only point of view. I don’t dabble in PvP very much and will not pretend to do so. I will leave that to those much more qualified than I.
The spec from a game-play perspective feels pretty good. Barring number tuning and looking at solely how the spec plays, it’s good. Not great, but good. Starfall feels rewarding to hit, having interactions between abilities (Starsurge extending active eclipses) feels good. The concept of timing eclipses or modifying your opener to hit different eclipses at different times.
Generally, the spec feels okay. I don’t want to spend much time on things that shouldn’t have action taken against them, so let’s jump right into the nitty gritty.
I have to thank that you’ve seemed relatively receptive to feedback for balance, thus leading to my post in hopes that we can see some more positive refinements before release.
What can be improved (from my experience)
For easy navigation, main take-aways are located in bulletpoint lists. Scroll for those and look for bold if you care only about the takeaways.
Numbers feel a little low on the ST side (for extended fights, short term burst is fine). This is also directly connected to the next issue: talents.
This was one of the most annoying parts about BfA: talents had such a minor impact on performance. This is especially the case for the level 50 row.
Shooting Stars vs Fury of Elune vs New Moon
I think most balance players can agree the Shadowlands (and BfA) version of this talent row feels really pointless. You can take any 3 of the talents in any situation and do almost the same damage (barring maybe 5+ target stacked cleave for FoE), within a margin of about 1-2%
What is a solution? Give them roles. This row screams “situational” but doesn’t deliver. Each talent realistically only needs one small tweak.
- Shooting Stars - Remove or lessen the effect of multiple targets on its proc rate.
- Fury of Elune - buff its damage by like 30-40% so that it can compete with shooting stars’ generation on multi-target.
- New Moon - Make the cooldown scale with haste (or just reduce the CD) so that this talent is in line with the prior talents.
This will also help ail ST issues because you’re allowing for a greater astral power generation in cases where SS is likely your main ability, while keeping AoE generation in tact (as to prevent overgeneration of astral power for endless starfall) – I’m aware that the main concern with changing this row can end up enabling Starfall too easily, it’s thin ice to walk on for tuning these.
The level 15 row also feels a bit clunky after the NB nerf, but it’s less impactful than the level 50 row from my experience. Pressing Fury of Elune, a “beam of pure celestial energy”, should feel impactful.
- Next up, eclipses don’t feel like eclipses. I word it like this because it just feels like a trigger to spam an ability for X seconds. There is nothing special about them and are just means of an end to a rotation. In my and many others’ opinion, they need something.
- Some examples I’ve seen thrown around of what could be done (not necessarily should be done)
- Entering Lunar Eclipse summons a full moon on your target. Entering a Solar Eclipse summons a pack of treants to attack your target.
- Bring back “Blessing of the Ancients” from Legion but the two forms are our eclipses. So in Lunar Eclipse, spells generate 25% more astral power and in Solar Eclipse you passively generated 2 AP per 3 seconds.
- Solar eclipse increases damage to enemies (or reduced damage dealt by enemies) within 20 yards by X%. Lunar eclipse does the same, but for enemies greater in the 20-45 yard range.
- Entering Lunar Eclipse enables the trait Orbit Breaker trait from Torghast (every 20 moonfire ticks spawns a Full Moon), this trait would only increment during lunar eclipse and would pause when outside of it. Entering a Solar Eclipse enables the Soulborne Clasp trait from Torghast (enemies that die have their DoTs transferred to a new target nearby) – I’m a huge fan of this approach, as it gives additional reason to enter the opposite eclipse (e.g. solar during aoe, lunar during ST) and can make timing eclipses even more interesting
(removed minor min-max part as it’s ultimately minor compared to other things I mention here)
Now we’ll talk about the Primordial Arcanic Pulsar legendary effect. If we had BfA AP generation, this would be a really really solid legendary. However, because our generation got cut a lot, it feels a little bit weaker than it should be (or at least, Oneth’s feels much stronger). There’s two changes I would propose:
- Reduce the cost to activate from 400 to 350 or, what I think is the more preferable change,
Make the effect activate on damage instance NOT cast
- So many people are making a ratio comparison to BfA Pulsar that is slightly incorrect. They compare 9 SS for 6 seconds of CA, so a 1.5:1 ratio. We currently have a ~13.3 SS to 9 seconds of CA, so 1.47:1 (better than BfA). On paper, this is a cool. However, due to my main point above, we actually lose 1.5 seconds (or gcd equivalent) in the buff! So it’s actually 13.3 SS to 7.5 seconds of CA, so a 1.77:1 ratio (about 18% less efficient than BfA). And no, the SS that would hit after the buff is active does not gain eclipse benefit, unlike in BfA where it would have given a streaking star hit too. Altogether, this makes the legendary feel a bit underpowered since we’re losing effectively 1 of 6 GCDs in the duration.
Lastly, some scaling issues.
- Make Starfall scale with haste – enough said, really. This will deal a flat 11 ticks per cast regardless of haste level. No partial ticks like regular DoTs, nor does it have bonus ticks at haste thresholds.
Let Celestial Alignment duration be arbitrary again – However, cap it’s duration gain (and potentially even reduce the extension to 1.5 per starsurge instead of 3 for double eclipses). Just like you did to the MW Rising Mists haste corruption build in the current tier, cap it for CA’s extension mechanic.
- This was one of the most iconic parts of using SotF/Starlord and also starts to allow for mini-breakpoints in haste. This should hopefully prevent any sort of crazy scaling issue down the line and also provides an interactive point for stats (though in the negative direction here, to make you want to gear away from haste if you meet this threshold).
- This change also enables Convoke the Spirits to fill a gap that a low amount of haste exposes, since we can use Convoke’s starsurges as a “steroid” to get us a large amount of the way there when we lack the haste to do it ourselves.
tl;dr – fix the level 50 row to be impactful and situational, add an additional layer of functionality to eclipses, some minor minmax stuff, pulsar legendary should have lower proc threshold or proc off hit not cast, make starfall scale with haste, revert CA change but cap the extension,
These have likely been reported many times by myself and others. But just in case,
- Casting Celestial Alignment while an eclipse is active will consume the eclipse, not grant the buff, and put it CA on cooldown. This is making playing anything but Incarn too sub-optimal to bother with.
- Convoke the Spirits, if cast between 41-45yds from an enemy unit, will cast ONLY healing spells. Despite Balance druids having a 45 yard range on moonfire and starsurge, it will only cast healing abilities. This feels REALLY bad to think you’re about to pop a damage CD only to start spam healing the raid. You don’t even cast starfall to enable yourself to move back in range of the boss during the cast to get some benefit.
So we currently have two legendaries left that are unreleased. Here’s some things I would like to see:
- If not introduced as part of another system, the Orbit Breaker trait could make Twin Moons a viable choice on AoE instead of pretty much strictly Stellar Drift due to how powerful Starfall is.
- Some sort of CA/Incarn reduction legendary would be really cool. Whether it’s a flat % like VoP minor or we re-introduce Impeccable Fel Essence from Legion, being able to adapt your major cooldown for different fight timings would help us remain relevant on different types of fights.
- A generic extra-talent legendary would also go a long way. Particularly for the first or last row to give extra astral power generation.
- Dark Star and Star Shower are A+ conduits, keep these 100%. Dark Star especially pushes the earlier point on making eclipses feel more impactful
- The other two are pretty unimpactful and bland. Instead of Chase the Sun, I would love to see a Dark Star variant for Solar Wrath, basically enabling us to use eclipses as a way to refresh DoTs, mostly useful for ST, if we have both equipped.
- For the last, instead of “every 3rd SS is 30% increased damage” make it “every 3rd SS gains #% increased benefit from mastery” so that it scales with a stat and has gains scaling potential later into the expansion – this also punishes starsurging outside of eclipses, reinforcing good habits.
Other side notes, mostly minor ramblings:
- A pipe dream, but I do hope to see New Moons go baseline and a talent replace it that can enable that row to be balanced as a heavy DPS row (it’s hard to balance with moons being a decently high generation talent)
Some quick thoughts on Covenant abilities. First, the Kyrian ability feels pretty bad when you’re solo, since a 10% DPS buff for 10s on the GCD is practically not worth pressing. I honestly think it could be moved to 20% (still worse than when bonded) and should have its visuals upgraded again. My ideal world would have it be akin to GoaK or Wings, with a Kyrian angel coming down to infuse you.
Next, the Maldraxxus ability feels really good on single targets, both as a healer and as a feral DPS, but falls off completely in AoE healing and DPS situations. Because it’s not tuned to be a big button all on its own, the oomph seems to come from the 20% HoT/DoT amp. If that amp applied in a small radius around the target, so that even while it was in its “alternate” form you still got the bonus regardless of your role, I think it would feel much better.