It's about god damned time! Feral has finally got a damage buff, and at least some of it makes sense. The first thing I would like to mention about these changes is that Blizzard is actually doing two things at once that are simply needed. The first thing is that they are acknowledging Feral's lackluster dps output in PvE and buffing it directly. The second thing is that they are (possibly accidentally) increasing Feral's burst damage while also increasing Feral's sustained damage; this is HUGE for PvP. Let's look at them in detail:

Ferocious Bite damage has been increased by 15%. In addition, its base cost has been reduced to 25 energy and it can use up to 25 energy, for up to a 100% damage increase.

This is HUGE. Ferocious Bite has long been ignored in the PvE rotation outside of the kill-zone simply because of its huge cost. This makes a full-damage FB cost 50 energy (down from 70) and it now does 15% more damage baseline. To put this into perspective, I land 25k FB crits at 70 energy against Mages with 4k resilience pretty regularly currently; therefore, I should be able to land 28k FBs against those same Mages with only 50 energy after the patch. I do not know if I can definitively say that FB is going to be a button I end up using on a more regular basis, but it definitely looks more appealing with this change.

Mangle (Cat) damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 530% weapon damage, up from 460%.

This is certainly a welcomed change. While the PvE rotation simply does not use Mangle very often (maximum is once per minute with the minimum being zero with an Arms/Subtlety present), the PvP rotation ends up using this button occasionally because one cannot always be in a position to Shred. Being able to deal more damage baseline will just be dandy!

Omen of Clarity clearcasting buff from now lasts 15 seconds, up from 8 seconds.

This one actually kind of confuses me; it does not really matter how long the clearcasting buff lasts because we are going to wait a maximum of 6-8 seconds to get to around 80-90 energy to use it (when dropping burst). Keep in mind, if you use a clearcasting proc on Shred at 90 energy, you can land a total of four Shreds before running out of energy... and you can use TF to get another two in there. I am guessing that this is just a quality of life buff where we can proc a clearcasting, then eat a full Fear, then still get some use from it when we get back on the target.

Ravage damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 975% weapon damage, up from 850%.

Man, someone must have been asking for BURST for Ferals. This is ALMOST 1000% weapon damage against zero resilience and armor... as far as I know, this should be the hardest hitting attack in our rotation (with the only exception MAYBE being a 50nrg FB). Those FCC-R-S-S-FB combos just got meaner.

Shred damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 520% weapon damage, up from 450%.

Ah, the coup de grace! Shred already hits rather hard against non-plate classes... and now it will just hit that much harder. This is just going to be amazing with Rend and Tear and Mangle... the multipliers just keep stacking to the moon.

Glyph of Berserk duration increase is now 10 seconds, up from 5.

This is one of the weird ones I was talking about. I am truly wondering if Blizzard does not have some unmentioned changes up their sleeve. At present, Berserk lasts 15 seconds and has a cooldown of 180 seconds. This change would put Berserk at 25 seconds duration, which is almost 1/6 of the cooldown. It is still rather weak in terms of up-vs-cd when compared to other 31-point talents (namely Shadowdance, Vendetta, Brostorm, etc), but lasting 25s means that eating two CCs in a row after popping Berserk will not spell a necessarily entirely wasted cooldown; you will still have 9 seconds left to Berserk.

All told, these patch notes are improving Ferals quite a bit. In fact, I do not see a single nerf to Ferals in the patch notes yet, and that is just fine by me. Looking to other classes, I see basically only nerfs with the only exception being Elemental Shammies who are getting rather crazy buffs.

Mages are having Ring of Frost with a 1.5s cast time, and a cooldown has been placed on Spellsteal (6s) to keep it from being an i-win button when RNG does not favor them the first time against spells like Hand of Freedom or Innervate.

For Hunters, they get a quality of life buff that has been LONG overdue in my opinion: "traps now scale with hunter stats such as hit, expertise, spell penetration and attack power as intended." Even though Blizzard came out of a Q&A post basically saying that Spell Pen would never work with traps because of some made up reason. Good on you, Blizz! This was definitely a good change to make.

Holy Pallies basically get nothing except spell costs increased across the board. Keep in mind, these increases are small (35% base from 30% base, etc), but they add up over time and this was one of the problems with Holy Paladins in PvP (particularly in 2s) - they simply never ran out of mana while spamming spells.

Restoration Shamans have got a bunch of tweaks to nerf them ever so slightly. Lightning Shield and Water Shield can no longer be dispelled which might sound like buffs initially, but in practice these abilities act like dispel-buffers when one is trying to knock off something like Nature's Swiftness or some other buff that NEEDS to be removed (Innervate from a Balance Druid or something). Unleash Elements is now properly in the nature school, so when I Skull Bash a Healing Wave the shammy will not be able to continue healing himself with his instants.

Water Shield's internal cooldown is returned to where it was prior to 4.1 (3.5s icd) but the proc is cut in half on the mana return. Improved Water Shield (renamed Resurgence) now procs off of critical direct heals which will restore basically 150% of the live Water Shield's proc mana return on a slow heal, and less mana on a fast heal, but will only proc when Water Shield is active. In essence, this changes the dynamic of Shammy infinite mana play from passive to active. Essentially, the MORE the Shammy heals, the more mana he will return to himself, but it will almost always be less than the cost of the spell cast. This is VERY reminiscent of how Arch Angel works for Disc Priests in that it is a nice mana return, but it is basically a wash for the DPS. Lastly, Mana Tide Totem is now 200% spirit instead of 400%. I think that Blizzard is really figuring out that with Shaman in PvP, it really comes down to their effective throughput healing while also having plenty of passive tools for sustaining infinite mana. Hopefully, this patch will correct that and make it so that running a Shammy out of mana will mean that you have won (all other things being equal).

Let me speak boldly about Elemental Shamans for a moment. Elemental is a terrible spec on Live, and the reasons for such are rather straight-forward. Their burst damage is somewhat low, the sustained damage is terrible, and their mobility is awful. If you ever see an elemental shammy, your best bet is to simply train him to death because he cannot really handle a melee on him when interrupting big damage spells. Eventually, TStorm has to be used as his only escape mechanic, and if you have a gap-closer (like FCC) you will just negate TStorm and come back in guns-a-blazin!

However, Elemental Shammies have always had the element of "turret up and burn down" if given even an inch of breathing room. In 3s, if we ever saw an elemental shammy, we would essentially CC him hard and break LoS on him throughout the match because if he ever got into turret mode, he would explode someone. Following that trend, the backlash from dispelling Flame Shock has been tripled...

Lava Flows now grants a 30/60/90% haste buff when a Flame Shock effect is dispelled, up from 10/20/30%.

Essentially, this means that their 2.0s Lightning Bolts will cast in basically half the time BEFORE calculating in any of their Haste from gear. This is a HUGE buff to being able to turret up, and I can see traditional LSD comps coming back into favor next patch from this change ALONE... but there is still more.

Thunderstorm now reduces the movement speed of players it knocks back by 40% for 5 seconds.

While this is not huge, ANY snare tied to something that knocks players as potentially far away as TStorm is going to play strong. The only thing holding this change back is that sometimes when you get hit with a TStorm, you are in the air longer than 5 seconds. This will improve Elemental's viability on comps where control and burst are more paramount (less LSD and more MSD or MSP where the Mage would provide additional control and the Ele would provide a knockback and crazy burst). Once again, however, there is still more.

Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (new Prime glyph) allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving.

Sweet dancing jahova! They have finally done it... now there will be a dps ranged class with cast-time nukes on the run. This change is going to revolutionize Elemental Shammy play simply by virtue of being able to stay on targets who are moving or pillar-humping hard. This will make bad Elementals easier to control via interrupts, but good Eles will be much harder to control in this way and they will be able to play positioning while dealing damage. Keep in mind that if you dispel Flame Shock, they can basically knock off 4-5 of these lightning bolts in 5 seconds WHILE chasing you... scary!

Filing under "random changes" we have:

The game now separately tracks different Conquest Point caps for Battlegrounds and Arenas. The cap for Arena rating will always be 2/3 of the cap for Battleground rating at any given Arena rating. Players may earn a total number of Conquest Points per week equal to the higher of these two caps, but once players have reached the cap for either Arenas or Battlegrounds, they can no longer earn Conquest Points from that source. Conquest Points from Battleground holidays only count toward the total Conquest Point cap.

Near as I can tell (and take this with a grain of salt), this means that earning Conquest Points from Rated Battlegrounds will be unchanged, while earning Conquest Points from Arenas will be nerfed. Currently, I have a cap around 2700-2800 simply because I am around 2270 PR on 2v2s. What I think this means is that next patch my cap will be ~1800 from arenas, and I will have to earn the remaining ~1000 Conquest Points by doing rated bgs... no thanks, Blizz.

Oh yeah, and lastly we have this little gem:

All healing critical strikes now heal for 2 times a normal heal (+100%), up from 1.5 times a normal heal (+50%).

Remember a while back we had this discussion... well the time has finally come and healers are again going to be dominating. Guntir can already drop 40k healing crits on me in Cat Form; after this he will be pushing 50-55k heals. Woof!