My writeup to come shortly after lunch.

Okay... let's talk turkey!

Balances across the board:

Bloodlust, Heroism, Time Warp and Ancient Hysteria can no longer be cast while in Arenas.
This is an awesome change that has been a LONG TIME coming. It is by far and large the most game-breaking buff in PvP and it is finally being removed from competitive play. HORRAY FOR ALL!

The night elf racial trait Shadowmeld can now be used while shapeshifted.
The tauren racial trait War Stomp can now be used while shapeshifted.

Kittystomp is going to be awesome.

Feral Changes:

Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
Lacerate damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Mangle (Bear Form) weapon damage (at level 80+) has been reduced to 235%, down from 300%.
Mangle (Cat Form) weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 460%, up from 360%.
Maul damage has been reduced by approximately 20%.
Rake damage has been reduced by 10%.
Rip damage has been reduced by 10%.
Shred weapon damage percent (at level 80+) has been increased to 450%, up from 350%.

Okay, honestly I have done ZERO dungeons or raiding in this expansion (and I love it, btw), so I cannot really comment on the Bear nerfs. We do not really go Bear all that often in the arenas anyway, so I do not think it will impact us. Barkskin going undispellable again is a welcomed sight for facing dispel-cleave teams who train me.

The big hitters here are Mangle and Shred getting basically a 22% damage upgrade while Rake and Rip get a 10% damage nerf. Many people have been going over napkin maths on this and there is still no conclusion. I feel like this will largely be a net-zero change against low armored targets and a slight (read: slight) nerf against high-armored targets. All things considered, I am not worried about this, I feel like this is a perfectly acceptable nerf.

Berserk (instant Mangle proc) now has a new Spell Alert identifier. In addition, Berserk no longer breaks Fear or makes the druid immune to Fear.

This is going to play rather strong; it just means that opening with Berserk is no longer going to be the desired play-style... which I hated doing anyway. A decent healer on your team will be able to keep you roughly un-CC'd throughout the Berserk duration, as well. Smart Ferals will find this nerf somewhat annoying at first, but largely a non-issue later. Bad Ferals will continue the QQ while rolling a DK.


Ring of Frost: Radius shrunk to 8 yards, and inner "safe" radius is now 4.7 yards (exactly matching graphic). Dispelling the effect of Ring of Frost will now make the target immune to being refrozen for 3 seconds. If a second Ring of Frost is cast by the same mage while the first is still active (via Cold Snap), the first will now disappear and cease functioning.

Bwah ha ha. The duration is still rather long, but being able to actually escape a Ring of Frost via dispel is going to be nice, also the smaller radius will make it less overpowered as well.

Smoke Bomb now lasts for 5 seconds, down from 10 seconds.

Called it. A five second smoke bomb will basically keep Rogue teams from killing non-healers in the opener. I love it.

Curse of Exhaustion now reduces movement speed by 30%, down from 50%.
Drain Mana has been removed from the game.
Unstable Affliction's silence effect has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 5.
Glyph of Soul Swap cooldown has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 10 seconds.
Inferno no longer increases the radius of Hellfire.

All awesome; I never understood why Curse of Exhaustion was changed to a 50% snare given that it was spammable and had a 40 yard range. Affliction Locks took a bit of the nerf-bat in this PTR, and everything there was well-deserved.

EDIT: There was a question in a comment about what I meant here in terms of "well-deserved". Let me be specific on each of these points: 1) Curse of Exhaustion was too powerful given that the damage lost from using it was not super-strong, and while I feel like having a 30% snare at range is not useless, it probably will not be utilized by most locks after the patch; 2) Drain Mana was an overpowered ability in the 2s setting and nigh-useless in 3s, 5s, and bgs; 3) Glyph of Soul Swap is again a situation where Locks could abuse the 2s setting and keep all their DoTs up indefinitely on both targets when they are not being spam-dispelled (and I contend that really only Shammies can spam-dispel because of Cleansing Waters and they can remove Curses), and the increased cooldown will make that still possible, but harder to do with some interruption; 4) Inferno was stupid in that it would allow you to run around spamming an ability which would knock stealthies out from 20 yards away... it would make sapping a Warlock nearly impossible.

Charge now shares diminishing returns with stun effects.
Cleave damage has been reduced by 20%.
Heroic Strike damage has been reduced by 20%.
Juggernaut no longer increases the cooldown on Charge, but instead increases the duration of the Charge stun by 2 seconds. In addition, Charge is usable in all stances, however, the talent now causes Charge and Intercept to share a cooldown.
Lambs to the Slaughter: Instead of granting 10/20/30% damage to the next Mortal Strike, Overpower, or Execute, it now grants a 10% buff to any Mortal Strike, Overpower, Slam, or Execute that stacks 1/2/3 times.

Charge sharing diminishing returns with other stuns means that landing a Charge followed by Colossus Smash + Throwdown + Overpower + Execute + Brostorm will never happen again, or at least that Throwdown will only last 2.5 seconds. The Cleave and Heroic Strike damage nerfs just make the abilities look like rage-sinks, as they are supposed to be.

Juggernaut is an interesting change. Essentially, Charge gets a 3 second stun duration and the warrior will have it up every 14 seconds (making warriors an even more beastly mobility machine than before), but the extra mobility of having both Charge and Intercept is lost. Guntir believes this is a Warrior mobility nerf, but I believe it only nerfs good Warriors while scrub Warriors actually see a buff.

Lambs to the Slaughter, I have to assume, will have a duration since it was simply "your next" before and will be "while up, you deal 10/20/30% more damage depending on the stacks". I personally do not see how this talent will play out. It seems overpowered at the moment.


Icebound Fortitude now breaks stuns when used, in addition to providing immunity to them.
Desecration is now also triggered by Necrotic Strike.

Okay... so Fear immunity and a Fear break on a 3min cooldown is overpowered but Stun immunity and a stun break on a 3min cooldown that also provides 50% damage reduction is fine? GG DKs. Also, putting Desecration on Necrotic Strike is ridiculous... there are Unholy DKs who simply ignore Scourge Strike because of how powerful Necrotic Strike is, and they should be punished for this by NOT having an auto-apply snare pooped all over the arena floor.

Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 15%.

WOOOO, still not going to train it.

Divine Plea now lasts for 9 seconds, down from 15. It grants 4% mana per tick, instead of 2%, for a total of 12% mana, up from 10%.

Wat? They are improving Holy Pally mana longevity? In what universe does that make any sense and how do I stay away from it?

The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
Focused Will now procs when the priest is critically hit, in addition to its current effect.
Improved Power Word: Shield now also increases the amount absorbed by an additional 15/30% when cast on oneself.
Pain Suppression is no longer dispellable.

ARRRRG, FINALLY! PW:S is going to be more expensive, which is a problem, but making it an entirely useful ability is going to be sweet. This basically means that PW:S will absorb almost double the damage at 31% more mana... awesome!

Focused Will is another buff that should have happened in Beta. Every Priest I knew was making reports along these lines "you only get Focused Will against Destro Locks and Frost Mages... it never procs against melees". Keep in mind that these statements were made before Envenom specs became the way of the world (and they are). Lastly, non-dispellable Pain Suppression... again, a no-brainer.

Last, I leave you with perhaps the biggest buff in the entire patch... and it's for PvP Priests:

The PvP Priest 4-piece set bonus has been redesigned. When Power Word: Shield is cast on the priest, movement speed reduction effects are temporally suppressed for 4 seconds.

... oh man ... 4 second duration Hand of Freedom? Maybe Holy Priests will become something of an awesome PvP Healer. 60% movement speed AND 4-sec snare immunity?


Here's a post from Yawning (the Feral expert in the field of maths) showing a SLIGHT dps buff overall from the changes:

NB: I do not have exact coefficients and base damage values for Rake/Rip. I assumed a flat 10% reduction to both. This is also subject to change.

10000 iterations of 300 seconds, with encounter duration randomized to have a stddev of 30

Damage breakdown:
With 359 raid gear (Premade from beta).

DPS: 22012.83665 +/- 10.23135 StdDev: 522.00765
White Damage (%) : 19.8423
Fury Swipes Damage (%): 3.99312
Ravage Damage (%): 0.47929
Mangle Damage (%): 2.09392
Shred Damage (%): 18.62851
Rake Damage (%): 22.18143
Rip Damage (%): 28.3959
Bite Damage (%): 4.38553

DPS: 22024.55286 +/- 10.61514 StdDev: 541.58861
White Damage (%) : 19.81473
Fury Swipes Damage (%): 3.97554
Ravage Damage (%): 0.483
Mangle Damage (%): 2.60498
Shred Damage (%): 23.25153
Rake Damage (%): 19.96006
Rip Damage (%): 25.52282
Bite Damage (%): 4.38734

Stat valuation changes:
Haste goes from being one of our worst secondary stats (Hit/Expertise actually model as slightly better once raid geared, yes Haste on live starts to suck once you have decent gear) to being better than Crit (By 0.4 DPS/point, so saying that Crit ~= Haste is probably reasonably accurate for this gear set. 0.99 DPS/point vs 0.95 DPS/point).

Mastery is still king, though it's devalued slightly (1.23 DPS/point -> 1.11 DPS/point).

Weapon DPS predictably shoots up in value (4.11 DPS/point -> 4.61 DPS/point).

Beta Premade (346 gear): 16773 DPS -> 16813 DPS
Beta Premade (Rare PvP gear + 359 weapon): 15390 DPS -> 15424 DPS
My live gear: 21251 DPS -> 21166 DPS
Beta Premade (359 gear): 22012 DPS -> 22024 DPS

Preliminary conclusions:
Haste should be consistently good now as opposed to "ok till you have enough energy regen/cp generation to maintain full bleeds, then it totally sucks".

Sustained raid DPS is virtually unchanged across several gear points (+- 100 DPS). Rake/Rip still have massively higher DPE over Mangle/Shred so there's no reason to alter the basic priority list.

No massive re-gearing after these changes, and the priority system should be unchanged. You could reforge again to prioritize Haste over Crit, but I doubt it would be noticeable.