[Shadowlands ]Give your Feedback: Guardian

I do.

General aoe damage capacity is generally strong, making it one of the easier specs to do certain quests with, and it can handle up to mid-level end game pretty easily. It is my go-to spec for my Druids unless I’m queueing for DPS in an instance I’m unfamiliar with or someone asks for healing help.

Not entirely. In Warcraft 3, Druids of the Claw had the highest armor of any regular melee unit in the game, and were generally became sacks of health with Vanilla WoW due to a general lack of mitigation options, such as Parry or Block. We don’t have the highest HP of Tank classes any more, being only mid-range, when I have a similarly equipped Blood DK having about 20% more health than I do, that should be addressed, especially when we lack mitigation options that Blood DKs have.

Lack of option to specifically counter magical damage. We only have a universal mitigation, such as Barkskin. Skull Bash doesn’t work often enough to provide a potential counter, either.

Speaking of Barkskin, it and Survival Instincts do the same thing, but at different levels and different timers. It might work to allow Survival Instincts to take on the role of magical protection specifically and adjusted accordingly.

There are others, but I think that it would be more that Guardian form tends to be less interesting due to a largely more simple ability set up.

Right now, the pattern of skill arrivals has our counter-spells coming at a very late stage of the game. Skull Bash comes in at 70 and Solar Beam comes in at 80. Paladins get Rebuke at 35, Warriors at 24, for example. I put this under minor because Shadowlands will be changing that aspect, and once you get to “current” content, all of a class’s skills will be complete.

There are other minor issues, but they can go elsewhere or are more reliant on tuning by someone who isn’t afraid to have Bears lead a charge in to a Raid.

The Affinity Talents have the most potential, but seem to backfire terribly. They help bring us back to our swiss-army knife days, but do so quite horribly when compared to what they could do. The spells and attacks are generally useless while tanking, as shifting out leaves us vulnerable, so we use them for their passive affects, which leave Balance only showing use in situations like the Mage Tower.

Generally easy. It is a great spec to learn to tank with and players have most of the tools they need to handle content up to mid level quite handily. They just generally lack fun tools like Monk warping and Death Knight’s Death Grip which can make certain encounters much easier.

Very little, actually. I might actually use Maul more or less often depending on the rate of damage loss I’m experiencing at the time. Having Swipe as the filler is partly what makes this spec easier to play and have little difference between multi-target and single target experiences.

I rather miss the Rage of the Sleeper ability from the Claws of Ursoc. Getting a damage reduction which then reflects the damage back stronger was a fun and interesting ability to use on occasion, especially in fights against Elites, Rares, and Bosses. I know we lost it “recently”, but it was still quite memorable and I’m disappointed we didn’t see it back in the Talent Tree like a lot of other Artifact powers.

Impact of abilities often seem a little low and not very spectacular, though I find Frenzied Regeneration to be better healing than all but the Paladin’s.

As noted before, Guardian form is probably the easiest, least complex of the tanks in the game. Of course, that lack of complexity can be considered rather boring to some players.

I enjoy playing the Guardian class, and is one of the 3 tanking specs I enjoy playing even in regular questing environments, the others being Brewmaster and Paladin Protection. Blood I sometimes do in questing environments, but I do enjoy Unholy a little more. I can tank with Vengeance, but Havok is a lot more fun when playing Demon Hunters. I found tanking with Warriors to be less enjoyable as of 8.1.

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I would refer you to the existing threads on this topic.

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Guardian is cool. It’s fun to be a bear and hit things and be a huge damage sponge.

However…

There are no ‘fun’ abilities.

Fun abilities are abilities which have their own unique animation which only your class /spec has. And have a interesting helpful use, be it dps, healing or utility.

Guardian has 0 of the these.

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Yes.

I enjoy the big meat shield playstyle, as opposed to DH/DK being reliant on self-healing. I also enjoy the mix of utility (cleansing, battle rez, stampeding roar) and the simple yet balanced kit (good mix of CDs, a bit of self sustain, and an easy to understand rotation that allows always having something to do).

I feel like the changes of 8.1, allowing some Druid utility abilities to be cast in bear form, helped make the spec feel more like a Druid shifted into a bear rather than just a bear, but I feel like they could further improve this by adding Galactic Guardian as a baseline passive.

There’s very little synergy between rotational abilities. Mangle/Thrash build Rage; Rage is used to Ironfur and Frenzied Regen. Swipe fills globals. That’s the gameplay loop. Gore is nice but uninspiring and not incredibly impactful.

I thought the Gory Regeneration azerite trait was interesting: Mangle extends Frenzied Regneration by 1 second. This would be a fun passive that wouldn’t be insanely overpowered while giving druids pushing challenging content something to manage and play around.

Druid’s talents are a bit atypical as 2 rows are taken up by utility/cc talents. There are some clearly defined niches (multi-target vs single target) in a number of rows, but some talents seem left behind in the dust.

Interesting

  • Pulverize - changed to be stronger for a single target; a good shake up to bring some distinction to the last talent row
  • Galactic Guardian - big fan of this talent and I loved it in Legion with the legendary shoulders that would duplicate moonfires.

Too Strong

  • Rend and Tear - an easy 6% damage and damage reduction has been too strong for most cases in Legion & BFA. New changes to Pulverize look to make it more competitive in raids but this Rend and Tear still looks to be overwhelmingly strong in M+ and questing/solo play.

Too Weak/Lackluster

  • Soul of the Forest - competes against an interesting talent that shakes up the rotation (Galactic Guardian) and big cooldown that synergizes well with Earthwarden (Incarnation). Now that Berserk is baseline, I don’t see a situation where I’d not talent GG, outside of organized M+ where I could make the most out of Incarnation’s longer duration. Could be redesigned to increase Mangle rage/damage and allow Gore to auto-cast a Thrash when it’s consumed.
  • Lunar Beam - hasn’t scaled well and even if it did do great damage, the positional requirement is a tough sell for one of the more mobile tanks.

New Talent Ideas

  • Sharpened Claws - adding Thrash/Mangle damage after using Maul (PvP talent)
  • Lunar Beam - re-design to deal a burst Arcane damage, apply Moonfire to all targets within 10 yds, and let X% of all Arcane damage done by the druid to be converted to healing for 15 seconds on a 1 minute cooldown (inspiration from legendary cape in Legion)

Being honest, in M+, I have a macro that’s /cast Ironfur /cast Mangle that I spam because I never see a need to use Maul. If I’m raiding and tryharding (and without Twilight Devastation), I’ll swap to Cat form with Feral Affinity before I sit in Bear hitting Maul while offtanking.

It’s a forgiving spec as I’m always able to keep up Ironfur without having to pay much attention to rage (especially with Blood Frenzy or Layered Mane).

I’ve been running Vision of Perfection + Earthwarden + Incarnation and it’s a bit mindless yet incredibly strong for both DPS and mitigation. When Incarnation is active, I spam Thrash and apply Ironfur. I’ll Moonfire a big add or boss and pop Frenzied Regen when needed, but otherwise, I spend huge chunks of the dungeon essentially just pressing 1 button.

I feel like Guardian is on the easier side of tanks (I have extensive experience with BDK and BrM, and a little experience with VDH and Prot War and Prot Paladin).

Low
For comparison, I’d rate BDK as High as there are times when not banking Runic Power for a Death Strike after a Spirit Breaker will mean death. Obviously there are moments when not popping a Suvival Instincts will result in death but that’s a common tank experience.

Low
The fact that I can macro 2 major rotational abilities (Ironfur/Mangle) together and not suffer much in terms of damage or survivability just demonstrates the lack of complexity of the spec.

Mid/High
Sometimes I don’t want to live on the edge of my seat the way I do for BDK when doing challenging content. Guardian allows me to have a casual experience where I don’t have to think much about my rotation while still being fairly tanky. I think adding a small degree of additional complexity would benefit the spec though.

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Give back Thrash snare and Rage of the Sleeper, thanks for listening to my Ted Talk.

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My contribution to the community

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Bumping this so more people can contribute, sorry

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Reading that 1200-post BfA Beta thread is a good lesson, though, because Blizzard never responded to any of the concerns in that thread (or post in the thread itself), and still hasn’t. It’s Exhibit A about how Blizzard doesn’t care about feedback.

And now things are only getting worse in Shadowlands. Far, far, worse. (And they won’t even mention Guardians in the Shadowlands thread.)

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Credit where credit is due. Blizzard has been much more responsive to feedback in Shadowlands than they were in BfA. Just not on this specific issue. I wonder if they just don’t know what to do with bear.

Remember when they said “Frankly, we’d rather you just not play Demonology”?

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I made this thread to get targeted feedback that was easier to compile. I’ve kept up to date on the state of Guardian, but a lot of these questions are focused on topics that aren’t commonly talked about.

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Which of them do you think are not commonly talked about?

Seriously?

And why are you compiling feedback? Is this to feed to Blizzard?

Has Blizzard just not read the feedback we’ve been giving for the past 2 years? It sure feels that way, but if you can provide confirmation, that would be terrific.

Have they not read the Alpha feedback? The feedback they keep asking us to give, although it doesn’t do any good?

Bears are super frustrated, at this point. Asking us to regurgitate the same damn feedback we’ve been giving for 2+ years now is like a poke in the eye. If Blizzard wants feedback, tell them to read the damn feedback.

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I have an interest in the druid community. I still have contacts within Blizzard I can feed this to.

I’ve talked with devs in the post. I am offering the community focused questions that I know devs want to see. Not everyone has the ability to post in the Alpha/Beta forums, hence I created this thread here.

I get why you’re frustrated, but there’s more to feedback than one voice. I want to do what I can to help. Honestly, it’s not helpful when you’re using an aggressive tone with your comments. You’re taking this way too personally dude.

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I think Affinities with Heart of the wild are the biggest opportunity Blizzard has to improve on Druid design overall.

Making affinities much more impactful to class design, and even changing Heart of the Wild to be the chosen affinity’s major cooldown on a row of talents competing with utility only could put Druids in a much more engaging state. Seeing a Bear go cat at the right time for damage sounds exciting.
Since all Druids have affinities, why not lean into them, make them integral, especially during the expansion of un-pruning.

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I know this is about bears but those Feral Druids need a lot of help too if your able to talk to Blizz in any fasion.

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A strong boost to affinity’s across the board could actually benefit feral and guardian pretty well in the utility/“bring me because I can do this” department. Feral has 2 main issues at the moment (aside from gcd shifting which should have it’s own independent gcd).

  1. Utility
  2. Rotationally a large portion of feral is unhappy, myself included, BT, sabertooth, and roar not being much of actual fixes

Changing the affinities would at least address issue 1 for feral as well as changing heart of the wild as in my previous post: giving you an affinity cooldown if you choose but also dedicating that talent row to utility, pairing it against 2 main spec utilities would give fantastic coverage options.
So it would be one talent row, where you could select to have your affinity’s cooldown, OR as a Bear you could see 2 warrior themed utilities, maybe a snare and a rediculous ranged challenging roar that works like gorefiend’s? Feral, 2 options of rogue-esque utilities and so on.

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Sorry, but we (Guardian) don’t need any more utility, they need to figure out a way to make that utility more fluid-like instead of using up 1 GCD to shift out of form each time we want to perform a utility ability.

What we need is a revamp of the class itself, just as Brewmaster is getting.

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Going to post a summary of the first 100 posts out of 1,000 posts from LAST expansions feedback thread.

Guardian Druid Feedback

“I strongly suggest that everyone become much more vocal, in many other threads, on the other discussion areas.

And also email blizzard directly.

Because despite Blizzard’s statements that they like “constructive feedback”, our polite little sewing circle here hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans.”

• Unanimous consensus that Lunar Beam is not ever considered taking and needs to go back to the drawing board. Still considered underwhelming due to the loss of RotS/FoN. Either a) change to % based ability or b) nuked.
• Mangle and Moonfire needs to be more impactful in why we use those abilities, especially when both have triggers that can proc for an increased effect.
• Frenzied Regen on GCD is also warranted as something that’s been disfavored among the forum posts
• One user posted about the transition into Legion and after Legion:
“I think this is the core of the issue with the class for legion. We lost that thing that makes us special, shifting and meeting alternative needs. Legion was very fun, but we felt like these 4 tiny little classes under the heading of ‘DRUID’ not one class with 4 aspects that played off each other.”
• Arielle posts about Affinities, another topic that is continuously brought up that is in sore need of rework to make affinities feel more impactful.
“The “actives” need to be worth using. Taking an entire affinity just for a passive effect is really bad. We’re shapeshifters. Make us want to shapeshift.”

• Lack of passive slow in the form of “ Infected wounds”

• Pawsitive Outlook was a good passive talent.

• Lady and the Child was the single best Legendary designed for Druids in Legion, as it was usable by all specs, and role defining for several of them. Lady and the Child being stolen away into a Balance talent is pretty disappointing to see, as someone who used it both in Bear and Resto. The Moonfire babysitting is one of the worst parts of Bear right now, and Galactic Guardian not providing reliable refreshing is definitely not helping. The double hitting Moonfire and GG procs would help this immensely in BFA.

• “In my opinion, having forms on the GCD makes the entire level 45 talent row fairly useless other than for the passives. As a tank or healer, I am probably never going to waste a global changing into another form to do some dps or throw a quick heal, and as a dps I would only ever make that change if some kind of emergency happened - in which case I wouldn’t be strong enough to really make a difference anyway.”

• From user Arceval: “Brambles: The base damage reflect on it is ending up being the largest contributor to my damage on melee focused trash packs and second on most bosses. Doing 1500 per hit taken. The activated bonus is pitiful, barely even registers on the meters. What I don’t like about this design is having ~30% of my damage dealt by just being a punching bag, this feels horrible. This further cements bear’s uselessness at tanking any casters(or ranged mobs), as this damage is only relevant when struck in melee. The damage absorb was absolutely fantastic while leveling, but almost immediate became irrelevant upon reaching 120 where mobs are hitting much harder. I would expect raiding this talent to be worthless defensively in comparison to the others on this tier. Brambles suffered in legion from terrible scaling, and assuming this hasn’t been addressed, this talent would quickly be rendered obsolete as the expansion progressed.

  • Galactic Guardian: The proc rate is atrocious. There have been times where I have pulled up to 5 mobs, cleaved them all down over 45 seconds and not seen a single proc during this period. I would have expected the proc rate to increase with the loss of the Moonbear legendary combo from legion, instead it dropped to levels where it frequently doesn’t maintain itself. This talent at it’s core should always cover Moonfires once they are up on the mobs, anything less and it is just frustrating. The nuke portion feels good, but nothing compared to the fantastic legion cleave.

  • Affinities: This has been said numerous times in this thread, but lets look at what is desired here. In legion these were almost exclusively passives, with the obvious choice being balance as it was a fantastic quality of life improvement. The move speed and heal of the other two affinities were minuscule bonuses compared to this. The glaring flaw in these talents was caused by the extreme tight-casting of roles in legion, it is virtually unheard of to shift. Cat weaving died completely for bear, I doubt you could find a top 100 parse on any fight where someone took Feral Affinity for damage. Legendaries had a part in this, as did the artifact weapons, but Azerite talents looks to be following a similar trend. Shifting and taking advantage of lulls in combat to heal or dps is a major part of the optimization that a bear player can do, this is where the fun lives and breathes, give us back the fun!

  • Lunar Beam: The low hanging fruit of Bear. No one like it, no one takes it, it does nothing. It is a bad mashup of Sunfire and Frenzied Regen put on a way too long cooldown. Someone ran the numbers in another thread and had it an order of magnitude less value in dps than Rend and Tear. This is an easy win for the developers.

Abilities:

  • Frenzied Regen: This is probably the most painful change from Legion. Frenzied Regen was a fantastic ability in the previous expansion, not because it was some OP self heal, but because it enabled player agency in our damage and damage taken. Let me explain: because of the design of it to react to the damage taken, we could ignore Ironfur, to eek out more damage through Maul, with the idea being that Frenzied Regen would allow for recovery of the majority of that damage taken, with a minor impact on the healers. The cost of Frenzied Regen being much lower and lack of a GCD meant that this was a vector to improve dps, while still functioning as a viable tank. The five changes: duration, heal amount, charge count, cooldown and GCD have worked together to basically remove all agency from this ability. It no longer allows for scaled recovery based on damage taken with the flat amount, it is slower and therefore less reliable, the loss of a charge and the increased cooldown has it as a far rarer tool to use, and the GCD added to it is a flat out loss in DPS when used. This skill is no longer fun, it has no nuance, no agency, you use it when the healer can’t keep pace and you are below 75% health, that is it.”

  • Swipe: This has been a sore spot for me for the entire expansion, the skill just feels bad to use. It is like a punishment for missing a skill that I don’t actually have. Swipe provides no generation of resources, has next to no synergy with other skills(chance for GG procs is it), and does awful damage single target. When it ends up in my single target rotation, I audibly groan at my lost dps. On aoe it is functional, but just completely lacking in any nuance, (Thrash, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe)^n when there are 4 or more mobs.

  • Rage of the Sleeper: This was probably the most interesting skill in the Bear kit last expansion as there was so much choice involved in it. As it was 5 major components, damage reduction, damage absorb, thorns, damage buff, and CC immunity, there were so many options of what to do with this skill on a given fight. Do you throw it out during heroism for some stacked damage, do you pull a larger pack to optimize the thorns, do you save it for the big CC to immune it, or countless other options. This one is sorely missed in the BFA beta, and I hope it makes a return in some form.

Class Synergy: There are far too many abilities, effects and bonuses that apply bonuses only in one form or spec, or while remaining in that form or spec. For example, our Legendary Cape in Legion, was a “while in bear form” bonus to Arcane and Nature damage, which pushed players away from utilizing their affinity forms. Rage of the Sleeper only was active while in Bear form, providing no bonus if you shifted out, Frenzied Regen was similar. The Incarnations and damage cooldowns from the other specs are another. Cat Thrash is overwritten by Bear Thrash. It just feels like the specs and forms are designed to be a segregated from each other as possible.

  • Consistency: There are several abilities and effects in the class that are just confusing when going from one spec to another. Why are Moonkin locked spells for Bear and Cat available in caster form for Resto spec(Wrath and Sunfire)? Why are spells from our base caster castable without a GCD to shift, while non-caster form abilities require a shift first? Except, there are several that don’t and auto-shift you(Dash, Tiger’s Dash, Stampeding Roar). Moonkin using mana instead of Astral Power is frustrating as it eats into our meager healing pool if the fight allows for it.

-Suggestions-

  • Shifting: The fundamental aspect of our class just spent an entire expansion being relegated to a trick healers used to get out of a bit of damage. We need our affinities to play a major role in the top end of our class. Sure this isn’t for everyone, but I could see a place where we were competitive with the other tanks in single target (we are current ~70% of the top end of the best tanks in legion) by utilizing our moonkin or cat affinity, or be a function spot healer with our resto affinity (our mana/healing saw very little scaling over the expansion).

  • Casting: Related to Shifting, one thing I would love to see is some equality how abilities are used between forms. Currently on live, if you are in a form and press a spell available in caster form, the active form is dropped and the cast is started, in one press. I would like to see this extend across the whole class, so if I am in bear, and I press Shred, given I have enough energy, I am shifted to Cat and I shred. This already exists for many abilities, all the available caster abilities as listed above, Dash, Tiger’s Dash for Cat, and Stampeding Roar for bear. I feel that this change alone would drastically improve the shifting gameplay for druid, and enable a lot more nuance than currently is available. I see this as a fair way of allowing off GCD shifting, without making us infinitely spammable to clear roots/snares. This has a huge benefit for Moonkin as well that it solves the “Oh hell I just spent half the fight in caster form without my Moonkin buff” problem.

  • Active Damage: Brambles is a great stopgap in our damage right now, without it we would be in the dumpster - with it we are decent in some circumstances, leveling primarily. But it is not a fun or sustainable option. When the mobs get harder hitting, you end up losing value out of the talent as your pulls get smaller and you spend more time crowd controlling mobs. This is a glaring flaw I foresee with us for M+. On live we are far from competitive for high level M+, I don’t see the kit changes helping this right now. Our damage should be tied to our active abilities, if thrash, moonfire, swipe or some other ability ended up replacing Brambles on our damage meters, it would do much improve our gameplay experience. I would love to see less basic Swipes in our single and multiple target rotations, if there was something as simple as Mangle charges your next swipe, causing it to deal double damage, it would be miraculous for the engagement of our two rotations. This also solves our threat problems.

  • Cooldowns: Frenzied Regen in Legion enabled some of the more entertaining gameplay of the expansion. I would hate to see the current iteration make it to live, there just isn’t any depth to the ability as explained above. It has to be taken off the GCD, that is just too brutal a change to go on. I would love to see it return to a damage taken = some amount healed as this gives the most play options, and the cooldown and charges is not the most devestating changes, but they do hurt. If for some reason Frenzied Regen is mandated by some Blizzard executive to stay as a the current no-fun-allowed version, add a damage component to it, give us the choice to use to as a nuke, or save for healing emergencies. This is where the fun is for tanking. To expand on this, we need a baseline offensive cooldown, having nothing in this slot gives no incentive to go for the big pulls and makes running with a Bear tank less fun than say a Paladin. I really enjoyed the design of RotS being so multifaceted, and I would love to see that return in some fashion, whether it means Barkskin gets an offensive components or Survival Instincts gets CC immunity or some new ability fills the gaps.

Just looking purely at baseline buttons that can be pressed (and excluding rotational spells and a few utility spells that don’t have a significant impact on tanking), warrior has:
• Active mitigation/self-healing spenders: Shield Block, Ignore Pain
• Mass CC: Shockwave, Thunder Clap, Intimidating Shout (sort of)
• Offensive cooldowns: Avatar
• Minor defensives: Demo Shout, Spell Reflection
• Major defensives: Last Stand, Shield Wall

Guardian has:
• Active mitigation/self healing spenders: Ironfur, Frenzied Regen
• Mass CC: Incap Roar
• Offensive cooldowns: None
• Minor defensives: Barkskin
• Major defensives: Survival Instincts

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GCD on shifting should absolutely not be a thing as shifting should be encouraged, I did suggest shifting should have it’s own internal cooldown, a “SCD” shifting only gcd off of the normal gcd, and I think any revamp should focus more into Druids using their non-main spec abilities more effectively and with them actually having an impact.
For Bears, the simplification of that goal: use non-bear abilities in an integral way, without sacrificing survivability, and without inconvenience (like current shifting)

As someone who’s played more feral than guardian, you do know more than me for sure.
What if on top of current bear kit, affinities offered with
Balance affinity: Moonkin form, shift into a Moonkin increasing armor by 400% and Stam by 25% for 20 seconds, increase spell power by 75% of attack power, maximum Mana increased by 50%, after 20 sec Moonkin form persists but armor is reduced from +400% to +150%

Feral Affinity: Upon shifting into cat form, gain 100% Chance to dodge for 8 sec. Gain 100 energy. Can only occur once every 45ish sec?

Resto affinity, you also learn treant form: Take the form of a large ENT guardian increasing healing by 40% and Mana by 100%. Upon first shifting into treant form, reduces spell damage taken by 25% for 8 sec. Can only occur once every 2 min

Farrrrrr from perfect, numbers are off for sure, but plays with adding mitigation, makes you more than a discount warrior by adding other forms into the mix, playing with their strengths, makes you a druid again, could choose* which one you prefer, and tac on some healing or deeps

Idk that sense of “druid” just isn’t there currently like it could be

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Maybe I’m just greedy but imo,

Balance affinity could be “Your spells have 5 yds more range, and have a chance to proc your Moonfire on an additional target after using a damaging ability.”

Feral affinity “You run 10% faster, you avoid/dodge “X” more, and your claws are just a little bit sharper. Ouch, bad kitty!”

  • After all, cats are known to be agile and have amazing reflexes.

Resto Affinity: "Your presence heals allies etc etc. Your leech is increased by “X” more

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