Another Monday, another chance for me to wax nostalgic. Firstly, I closed escrow on my new place last week and moved in over the weekend; I am super-tired, but love the new place entirely except for one thing: I believe the windows are old and have poor weather stripping. It got down to ~48 last night (not too cold for some people, but in Southern California, that is considered low) and it could not have been more than 52 or 53 in my home >_<. We have a fire place, but a family member who did our home inspection said not to use it until we get it inspected by a professional. Anyway, I am still excited.

Okay, I didn't know exactly what I was going to write about today, and I had one of those "oh come on Rey, you only suggested the once a week on Monday thing like two weeks ago, you can't fail now!" Then it hit me; I guess I just should start writing it instead of writing about how I came up with it... it's early... leave me alone.

So, a growing concern of mine has to do with the "we want Hybrids to feel more hybrid-like again and use non-main-role abilities more often" stance that Blizzard has taken toward Druids in MoP. I am truly worried that Ferals will be balanced around having to get out of a fight and throw 3 Wraths (or something) every now and then to deal our best melee damage. This may be effective in a raiding environment where boss mechanics may make melee range impossible for 10-15s every now and then and therefore a reason would exist for a Feral to pop out and start lobbing Wraths until the end of the phase, then get back into the fray with increased physical damage for a short period, but balancing Feral damage around these sorts of mechanics will simply make Feral a lackluster option for PvP, where doing anything less than your maximum for any period of time is a waste.

The flip-side of this is that Warriors and Rogues (in particular) are getting abilities to use from range that will do decent damage when not performing their primary role. I suppose it could be that Blizzard is planning on making melees balanced around their physical damage, but trying not to punish them on raid encounters that require more than tank-n-spank. In fact, the more I think about this, the more I see it being an actual possibility that Blizzard simply wants all the melee classes to have something to do (besides die in the fire) when the fight calls for short periods of "get out of melee". For instance, if the ranged classes can just sit there and pelt the boss with icebolts over and over again, then the only way for the melees to compete is for them to be in a tank-n-spank situation in which the melees can go whole-hog as well.

Interestingly, in most fights (that I remember from my raiding days) the ranged will have to move or die in the fire, and even some encounters had entirely mobile phases (safety dance comes to mind readily) where the ranged could only use instants. AHHHHHH, it is all coming together now - the melees ONLY use instants while in melee range and can do so while mobile; the ranged ONLY use cast-time abilities while stationary and cannot do so while mobile. However, the ranged classes can use instants while on the run and most melees cannot do anything while not in melee range. If we look at encounter dichotomy, then we see why Blizzard is doing this: enable the melees to contribute while not able to perform their primary positional role in the same way that casters can. Okay, so when a Mage has to move, he'll spam Scorch (if talented) to keep his DPS up, and if a Feral has to get out of melee, then he'll drop some Wraths on the boss to keep his DPS up.

What is most interesting about this is that if Blizzard gets this right, then those talents at Tier6 are useful in PvE, but definitely not mandatory. When compared to Disentanglement, both Heart of the Wild and Master Shapeshifter look stronger provided that the raiding content actually has fights which require these sorts of mechanics; yet, when I think about PvP, I have to imagine that the normal Wrath-spam will be close to the HotW Wrath-spam, since it only increases our Intellect by 50% of our agility. I am sure that the numbers are not set in stone, but it is probably going to be close enough that it is a worth-while button to press in a raid encounter, but not a required one. That being the case would mean that Wrath is a semi-powerful button to mash in general.

Blizzard said that Ferals will be getting Nurturing Instinct by spec in MoP, and that it would be powerful enough to make using a Wrath a worth-while endeavor in the situations where melee is impossible for 5-10s for one reason or another. What intrigues me is whether this will impact healing as I expect it will impact nuking. Since Blizzard has largely done away with the idea of healing-vs-damage spell power, Nurturing Instinct is likely to remain "gives X% of your Agility as spell power and causes heals to be 20% more effective on you while in Cat Form". If our mana pool is gigantic at baseline (as discussed in the previous post) then we can assume that we could actually use a fair few heals before running out of mana, and if we assume, too, that Leader of the Pack is still in MoP as our only form of mana return then we may have windows of healing followed by a return to the dps role in PvP.

Really quickly as an aside, Innervate is based off of the casting Druid's total mana and all Druids will have the same mana pool regardless of spec in MoP. Either Innervate will have to change, or we will bring the best buff in the game for healers. Likely, Innervate will be changed to be spirit based since that will be the regen stat, but who knows.

Okay, why did I name this post "Those Were the Days"? Back in Seasons 1/2, Feral was bad. Feral was god-awful, truth be told. Feral was better than it ever was in Vanilla, but it was still terrible to behold let alone play. In season 1 or 2 before the days of Feral Charge Cat or Infected Wounds, we would occasionally get out of range of our targets when trying to land a killing blow, which almost always led to the inevitable Moonfire-spam. Moonfire was an ability that was not terrible for Feral. I do not really recall why; we may have had some talents that simply made it work out that way, or we had an instant which did not scale well from spell power and thus had a high base damage; whatever the reason was, Moonfire-spam was the kill-shot we had against runners.

Obviously, Blizzard does not want Feral to end up spamming Moonfire as a killshot attempt at runners; we have many (and I mean many) abilities to close the gap between us and our foe, but with this focus on "Hybridity" in MoP, I cannot help but wonder if Moonfire will be one of those spells I end up putting back on my bar for those rare cases where I need to take down a Grounding Totem while my nuking-buddy is winding up a CC or something critical. It will be interesting to see, if nothing else. I am sort of hoping that we do not need to put Moonfire back on the bars - I am looking at the talents and current abilities and saying "I don't even know where Typhoon will go let alone Moonfire >_< ! ! !"