Guardian Druid Feedback

(Naros) #842
10/08/2018 08:24 AMPosted by Yime
Anyone want to make a nice comprehensive post on the subreddit, btw? Might get more results than this 800+ comment thread that some blue clearly set to "hide".

Not to derail this topic, but frankly we shouldn't have to resort to things like reddit, twitter, or any other media source in order to interact with Blizzard. This is their official forums and should be the best place to vocalize our concerns and receive feedback from them on their direction and plans for our spec.

If we have to go elsewhere to accomplish that task, then what's the point of these forums in the first place.

(Pinehardt) #843

Piggy backing off of Prime, here are my thoughts on how Guardian currently stands and some ideas on how we can go forward.
(With some fun Bear trivia thrown in for class fantasy)

Is a strength and should be. Optimizing ironfur stacks is a good part of bear gameplay and is both powerful and enjoyable. (Ironfur is great as is, please don’t mess with it)

Bear trivia: Bears are basically wearing body armor. Their thick hide and outer layers of fat are difficult to penetrate, and are known to be able to stop bullets from reaching vital organs.

Self healing/recovery
Not a strength but also shouldn’t be a weakness. We are still Druids in bear form so it would be nice to have access to some of our magic. I would love to see a Guardian version of Predatory Swiftness or maybe even have Dream of Cenarius make a return (Old Talent that gave mangle a chance to proc an instant/free/castable healing touch. Obviously a modern version would use regrowth). This would also give Bears their off-healing utility back. (Which Prot pallies are able to enjoy still thanks to hand of the protector)

Bear trivia: During hibernation, Bears are able heal surface injuries and fight off infection with little to no scaring. (Impressive considering that in other species, lack of nutrients and lowering of body temperature usually makes it much harder to heal and fight infection)

Damage output
Not a strength and shouldn’t be. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing damage, but I don’t think this is a particular area where we need to shine. We still need to do enough damage to be able to do our jobs effectively, and that is where we are struggling at the moment (we desperately need a threat buff). We don’t need to top meters or anything, just do enough damage so that we can actually tank and stay competitive with other tanks. (Which we definitely are not doing right now)

Bear fact: A Grizzly Bear has the bite strength of around 1200 pounds per square inch (one of the strongest in the animal kingdom.... and yet none of our abilities are bites)

Support utility
Not a strength but should be. Rebirth and Soothe are a great start, but I feel like Druids should be near the top when it comes to support and the best part is we are almost there. We have the support kit, but most of it is locked to caster form, and being forced out of bear form is not an option during most fights. (Plus Paladins don’t drop their shield when cleansing, and Monks don’t stop staggering, so why do we have to lose our tanking abilities to cleanse).
Here are some possible fixes: let us cleanse in bear form, increase the range of stampeding roar but leave the cooldown at 2 min, give us some proc that will let us cast regrowth in bear form (Dream of Cenarius or a Guardian version of Predatory Swiftness that lets us regrowth and root in bear form)

Bear fact: While Bears are indeed strong enough to rip car doors off, they are also smart enough to just open the door normally (if the door is unlocked)

(Pinehardt) #844

Control utility
not a strength but absolutely should be. One of the key class fantasies of Druids that has been missing for a long time is Plant Magic/Nature Manipulation. Yet that pretty much only happens with our level 60 talents. That row (particularly typhoon) is a fantastic example of what we should be capable of. Some possible fixes: adding Bloody Paws back (thrash slow), making entangling roots castable in bear form (via a Guardian version of Predatory Swiftness), giving bears access to Ursol’s Vortex (seriously it’s named after one of the BEAR ancients).

Bear trivia: Bears are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. Some species may trend towards one extreme (Panda bears eating mostly bamboo and Polar bears eating mostly seals) but they all have the ability to digest and take nutrients from both types of food. (Polar bears are known to eat berries in the summer and Panda bears occasionally will eat fish)

Kiting potential
huge weakness that needs to be addressed. Currently our lack of slow is a massive problem in M+ that forces a group to plan around our weaknesses instead of taking advantage of our strengths. The main fix to this would be to give Druids our thrash slow back. Another possible fix I would love to see is to turn Wild Charge into something that is useable without a target (maybe like the Highmountain racial Bull Rush, but without the knockdown)

Bear trivia:
Bears are amazing runners. Bears can maintain a 25 mph pace over two miles without breaking a sweat, and in a short sprint can reach speeds close to 40mph.

Magic defense
Is a weakness, but should be for all tanks. In Legion (after Mark of Ursol was removed) we relied on our HP pool and plentiful cooldowns to deal with magic damage and frankly I’m okay with that as an idea. Unfortunately in BFA our health was nerfed dramatically so we no longer have that much more health than the other tanks. Possible fix: either re-scale up Guardian’s base HP or increase the effect gained from our Mastery. Having a massive health pool was both a key part of our strength as a tank, but also part of our class fantasy. It’s genuinely depressing to see Vengeance demon hunters with similar amounts of health.

Bear trivia: Some archeologist believe that Bears were worshipped as deities as far back as the Paleolithic era (50,000 years ago)

This is my own addition but I also want to bring up the fact that how they adapted the transmog system from legion is FAR from ideal and in many ways is more restrictive. Legion was the first expansion we got true “Bear transmog”. Now in BFA if we want to use any of those transmog we are also forced to used the Claws of Ursoc transmog as well. The best fix for this would be to simply add another appearance tab in the wardrobe for “class features” and completely separate them from the weapon. This would allow us to transmogrified both our bear form and our weapon, and hopefully make it easier to add new bear forms that we can unlock. (Seriously every other class gets new transmog options every tier. It would be nice to see some New Bear form options every once in a while)

Bear Trivia: Bears are remarkably hygienic and have been observed using tools (such as barnacle encrusted rocks) to exfoliate their skin and groom themselves.

Hopefully a Blue will come along and at least discuss these issues.

(Prime) #845
Excellent posts Pinehardt. I particularly agree with needing our slow back on thrash, and dream of cenarious returning so that we could use regrowth/roots in bearform.

One thing I enjoy doing is finding the opportune moments to shift out of bear, throw a beefy swiftmend and wild growth on the party, then shifting back. The only issue with this is that our damage is already on the low end, and playing this shapeshifter style makes it even more difficult to deal damage and maintain threat.

I wish we had more active self healing. My top two self healing spells are yseras gift passive and earthwarden absorbs. Frenzied regen is 3rd normally. Kind of boring when we have the potential to be proccing in bear regrowths or maybe even getting back cenarion ward.

(Prime) #846
I also loved the bear trivia lol.

(Shiftable) #847
I'm really curious if we'll ever hear anything back from Blizzard on this.

(Naros) #848
10/08/2018 12:45 PMPosted by Shiftable
I'm really curious if we'll ever hear anything back from Blizzard on this.

I hope so too, but if past expansions when Guardian was this bad dictate things, I don't expect any Guardian changes until 8.2 at the earliest.

If I were a betting bear, I would wager that class designers will deal with addressing the shortcomings of Protection Warriors and potentially make some small tweaks to bring the upper outlier tanks more inline with others.

They'll let 8.1 shake up a bit and see how things fair and realize that Guardian is now bottom of the barrel by a mile, buffing them possibly to a point where they swing the pendulum too far.

Then we'll pay for that in 9.0.1 again and the cycle continues.

(Brokenclaws) #849
Cool thing is that there is a post about a 5x blood dk finishing a +12 in time. Doubt bears would be capable of such things.

I also enjoyed the bear trivia.

(Kozuk) #850
The shadow priests feedback thread has less comments then ours and already has a blue post about it...
And we are here left to dry.

Sometimes i think Blizzard have nerf us to the ground so they can just remove the guardian spec without so much feedback because no one will be playing it.

(Prime) #851
10/09/2018 05:48 AMPosted by Kozuk
The shadow priests feedback thread has less comments then ours and already has a blue post about it...
And we are here left to dry.

Sometimes i think Blizzard have nerf us to the ground so they can just remove the guardian spec without so much feedback because no one will be playing it.

That blue post literally said that they extended the cap. I wouldn't count that...

(Arbs) #852
Legion Bears were perfect in what was our "Class Fantasy", but every other Tank complained & we got nerfed.

Pinehardt brought up great examples, but Bears should atleast get back Mark of Ursol & maybe some to Kite while in Bear form. Maybe allow Dash to be used in all Shapeshift forms without being switched to Kitty.

(Dyzfunktion) #853

Hopefully a Blue will come along and at least discuss these issues.

Pine, dude, LOVED it. Amazing ideas there, one of many to come along that I've had the pleasure to read within this forum. Especially loved the trivia and facts. It still baffles and blows my mind with so many great comments that no one at Blizz as even acknowledged this topic yet.

At this point i'd be content with a Blue popping in and commending y'all for you're creativity and ideas.

(Prime) #854
So incase anyone doesn't know, certain classes like paladin have senior theorycrafters that communicate with specific class dev's. I learned this on a paladin discussion stream today.

I honestly found this incredulous, because I also learned that not all classes have that. Does anyone know if druids have a theorycrafter that presents info to blizz or communicates with them?

(Naros) #855
10/09/2018 12:20 PMPosted by Prime
Does anyone know if druids have a theorycrafter

I assume that may have been both Arielle and Katelyn who both participated quite heavily on the old "The Inconspicuous Bear" forums ages ago.

I'm fairly certain that Arielle parked his bear in favor of something else this time around and I'm not sure about Katelyn.

Beyond that, I know of no one.

Even Faidex that did the write ups on icy-veins afaik is now raiding as Boomkin.

(Duskhawk) #856
I would love some kind of spec feedback, even if it was "too many people played guardian last xpac, so we're letting them stay on the back burner part/all of BFA". Something to let us know what is in store for us.

(Pinehardt) #857
Glad you all loved the bear facts! I'll try to add more in every post.

Here are a few more thoughts I would like to add:

Mark of Ursol
A lot of you might disagree with this, but I think removing Mark of Ursol was a good thing and we should NOT get it back. Magic mitigation is designed to be scary for every tank now, and we are supposed to use longer cooldown abilities to manage it. Hell, we actually deal with it reasonably well at the moment. Between our mastery, barkskin on a 1min cooldown, and saving a Frenzied Regen charge to bounce back up, Bears have a pretty decent toolkit to respond to magic. Yes it's not as strong as Anti-Magic Shell/Death Strike but honestly, how tanks respond to magic damage isn't the main cause behind the unbalanced tanking meta.

Bear Trivia
Bears are extremely common in cultural stories and folklore. Some examples are the Inuit story of the Nanurluk, a giant polar bear the size of an Iceburg, and the Greek Legends of Callisto and Arcas who became the Bear constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

The Loss of Theorycrafters
This is something that is rarely brought up, but is a major consequence whenever a spec stops being viable. Theorycrafters, in a way, are a final step of development that helps a spec become complete. For example, in Legion, it was community theorycrafters, not Blizzard, who created the Laserbear build that used the Guardian Cloak Legendary (Fury of Nature), and the Balance Shoulder Legendary (Lady and the Child). This build was one of our best in M+ and added enjoyable gameplay by turning Moonfire into a spell we were excited to push, rather than just another maintenance spell. When a spec looses its niche, and becomes "non-viable", a lot of theorycrafters will either lessen their work, or move on to another spec. Theorycrafters put an immense amount of love and work into the specs, and if the rewards are lackluster (i.e. if the spec played at its highest level doesn't have a niche or do anything special) then they don't really have much incentive to continue crunching those numbers and trying new strategies. This then leads to a bit of a slump, where there are fewer people giving high quality feedback about the spec, which likely leads to it taking longer for Blizzard to notice the issues.

(I purposely avoid giving credit to Blizz on the Laserbear, because the Shoulder Legendary that made the build possible was on the Balance Loot table and not the Guardian. This forced us to farm offspec legendaries for a chance to complete the set and added an additional hurdle to the already frustrating legion legendary acquisition system)

Bear Trivia:
There are only 8 species of bear in the world: American Black Bear, Asian Black bear, Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Giant Panda, Sloth Bear, Sun Bear, and Spectacled Bear. The Kodiak Bear and Grizzly Bear are in fact both Brown Bears, just different subspecies.

Community Opinion

This is something that I think Blizzard underestimates when it comes to their class/spec balancing. Even if a spec is performing amazingly in Blizzard's internal testing, if the community believes that spec is weak, then it will not be played as much, and often times will be actively ignored in favor of other specs. This happened to Brewmaster monks at the start of Legion, and seems to be happening now with both Prot Warriors and Guardian Druids. In M+ in particular, there are groups that will flat out reject Warrior and Druid tanks, simply because we are perceived as not viable, even if the player in question is extremely skilled and able to manage a specs weaknesses. Luckily this isn't too common yet, but it can develop into a very real problem for Bears trying to learn higher keys.

Bear Trivia:

(Blackstannis) #858
09/12/2018 06:44 AMPosted by Eldermoomoo
Cleanse/decurse, regrowth, swiftmend (w/ Resto infinity)

Woah woah slow down there... do you have any idea how completely overpowered a tank that can heal would be?

It would literally break the game... you could just stack 5 of them and stomp out Mythic +11's and 12's ...

(Pinehardt) #859
@Blackstannis. Not quite. Prot Paladins have both a cast time heal (Flash of Light) and an instant Heal (Hand of the protector), and they are nowhere near overpowered. Regrowth and Swiftmend are pretty similar to those two paladin spells, so letting us cast them in bear form wouldn't be an unprecedented power spike. Being able to offheal if needed is good utility, but rarely makes a tank overpowered. Besides, like prot paladins, we also have a tank mana bar that will let us cast maybe a half dozen heals before we go oom. (Granted we also do regain it in maybe 15 seconds or so)

What is more scary are tanks that heal so much on their own that they don't need healers at all. A full party of Blood DKs for example has already cleared a +12 Atal'dazar in time.

(Tewa) #860
10/09/2018 08:42 PMPosted by Pinehardt
A full party of Blood DKs for example has already cleared a +12 Atal'dazar in time.

Pretty sure that's what he was referring to. :)

(Blackstannis) #861
10/09/2018 09:05 PMPosted by Tewa
10/09/2018 08:42 PMPosted by Pinehardt
A full party of Blood DKs for example has already cleared a +12 Atal'dazar in time.

Pretty sure that's what he was referring to. :)

Yeah it was a tongue in cheek jab at how undeniably unbalanced the game is right now.

What is worse is its not unprecedented for the class and they specifically designed, tested and balanced around DKs and their ability to trivialise content. I seem to remember several blue posts saying they were keeping that in mind... yet hear we are end of tier 1 and its happening to such a degree.

As to druids offhealing, I still think it would be too much... especially pairing them with DKs in raid DK main tanks druid offheals, taunt swaps off debuffs gives a raid waaay too much of a leg up vs all other tank combos)... however what I would suggest is give a cooldown based on affinities.... give tranquility in bear form for resto, tree ents for balance and beserk for feral.

(For reference I have a 120 DH, bear and DK).