It has been a while... it seems like I have lost the fervor required for daily posting due to either lack of interest or lack of news. Sadly, I fear it is the former. Oh well, we have news and the want to post, so here goes!

We have been slowly climbing the ladder as feral+disc. We have gotten to 1850ish this week and shown no signs of stopping (except for last week when we went 4-6 against a slew of counter-comps... I hate healer+hunter so much). This week we played against:

disc+rogue x2
feral+disc (first ever mirror match on this team!)
druid+warrior (a classic comp)
druid+ret (...wat)
uhdk+bdk x2 (...wat)

We lost to the hunter+shamang team, obviously. The first match against the disc+rogue, the rogue sapped me out of stealth which was bullshit given that I have the same stealth level as him IFF he has the cloak enchant AND I have the goggles, so if he picked up Heightened Senses in Subtlety, we should have the same stealth level and steath detect. That match was just a cc-train for me, but the second time we faced them, I caught the rogue in stealth and killed him in pounce+maim as the disc priest just bubbled him (which was promptly dispelled). Honestly, people complain about feral's burst capabilities, but against that team, everyone will burst the rogue as he was wearing zero resilience... he's just going to explode to melees. We beat the double dk team, but it was pretty dicey in the first match. I chose poorly and picked the blood dk to target instead of the unholy (still not really sure how I am supposed to tell the difference). So, I was basically peeling the entire match and attempting to keep it 1 vs. guntir until I could ghost one. It got to the point where guntir was silenced, rooted, at 2000 hp, and limping away from a dk that had gone immune to cyclone while the other (within range of death coil) was waiting for guntir get into LoS. I ended up using tranquility and all their interrupts were on cooldown. At that point, we got guntir back up to ~75% between his healing and my own paltry healing, I finally killed the blood dk, then we won. The second time we faced them, I picked the OTHER dk, and basically kept him locked down while guntir kited the blood away from the unholy's pets.

We lost the mirror match... their druid was just much better geared than I was. He had Black Ice and all PvE gear (he FB crit guntir with Pain Suppression up for 4k...), and the last match we lost was against the classic comp of druid+warrior. Now, this warrior was fury, but that doesn't make it any worse than the old-days version. I was furious over this loss because we really should have won... I mistook guntir's calling out "druid is completely oom" as "attack the druid, he's oom." Not that I heard him wrong - I just hear that a healer is out of mana and my vision goes red and the target changes. The worst part was that we had the warrior at 50%, and guntir and I were at full with guntir at around 2000 mana. If I stuck on the warrior and FFF'd the druid to keep him from drinking, it would have been a win. The other thing about this comp is that warriors do not take enough damage from me.

Which segways me nicely to my next paragraph. Patch 3.1 is bringing change; more specifically, 3.1 is bring balance. Feral druids are having their situational burst damage lowered, but their sustained damage increased. The devs have decided to do this in a few ways. Firstly, they have decided that getting 10k Shred crits when people are stunned is not exactly fair... and to be honest, rogues were nerfed for this exact reason, so they have changed the Glyph of Shred from "20% additional damage against stunned/inc'd targets" to "increases the duration of Rip by 2 seconds, up to 6." This will definitely make the PvE rotation easier to use as cycling these periodics will be less cumbersome. Secondly, they have changed Maim from a 7 second incapacitate that will break after a set amount of damage (usually 1 Shred crit will do the trick), to a 5 second stun that currently shares diminishing returns with Pounce, and while this will pose an interesting problem in PvP (having a talented 5 second stun and then a 5pt finisher stun for 2.5 seconds each of which are reduced by talents of most target classes >_<), it will actually be beneficial against warriors since they could zerker rage out of my incapacitate. It will, of course, be less helpful against mages as they can now blink out of it... but I don't really have much problem with mages anymore.

Well... that's basically it for the nerfs. Let's talk about buffs, since I am so damned upbeat about losing 20% damage to Shred. Firstly, they are adding in some more glyphs for ferals (a welcomed change). Glyph of Berserk will add 5 seconds to your Berserk, which is awesome, and Glyph of Savage Roar... which I'll get to in a moment. Secondly, they have changed the way Savage Roar works: instead of a 40% attack power increase, which has led to some amazing 15k attack power screenshots, SR will now provide 30% increased damage for the same duration. Whoa... 30% increased damage?!? Is this not just another multiplier to be tacked on to Shred!? Indeed, this 30% multiplier will replace the 20% multiplier from the Shred Glyph and then some... and it will be up against all opponents, not just stunned/inc'd, so long as SR is up. Additionally, the Glyph of Savage Roar increases SR's damage bonus by 6%... yeah.

On top of these glorious additions and changes, there is a new addition to the feral tree: Primal Gore. Primal Gore, and I quote, "grants the periodic damage from your Rake, Rip, and Lacerate abilities to critically hit." While this might sound like a luke-warm change, it's actually quite hot below the surface. For one, it increases my overall bleed damage by an amount equal to my critical strike rate, which is about 40-45% in PvP and about 50% in PvE. For two, it actually increases my damage by more than that, as the critical strikes from the bleeds are affected by talents and abilities which increase critical strike damage (such as Predatory Instincts and the meta gem). After some light testing on the PTR, I have seen my Rake (which until November 2008 was the worst of the feral druid abilities) critically tick for 4.5k and my Rip critically tick for 4k. This is going to bring some insane damage in the PvP scenario since it seems like we only face teams with high armor values.

To top all the changes off, Blizzard has decided that bears have too much survivability from talents, so they have reduced their armor gained from Survival of the Fittest from 66% armor additions to 33%, and they have reduced the amount of stamina gained from Heart of the Wild from 20% to 10%. Now... I always take Survival of the Fittest because it gives me 6% crit avoidance in PvP... it's just good. Also, it provides 6% additional stats for 3 talent points... it's just GOOD. However, HotW has ALWAYS sat out like a sore thumb to me. It it 5 talent points that gets you about 1000 extra mana, 10% stam in bear form, and 10% attack power in cat form... it's just NOT that good anymore. 10% attack power is good, but we will be switching to agility-stacking next patch because of the critically striking bleeds... so we will not be stacking attack power anyway, we will be stacking crit. So, because of the nerfs to Bear Form's mitigation through stamina and armor, Blizzard has decided to give us Savage Defense, which is "when you critically strike, you are protected for 1 hit by a shield which will absorb 25% of your attack power." Now... as I have stated before, in PvP I currently have between 40 and 45 percent crit. If I go Bear Form, I can basically keep this up every GCD against most classes who it would matter against (rogues/dks). Also, it will absorb ~1000 damage for 1 hit, which is a healthy chunk of damage to mitigate.

All things considered, given the patch progress and the way that Blizzard is talking... we can probably expect to see 3.1 go live around April, and that will be a glorious day... dual specs going live will make me smile... regardless of these other changes.