Still no video today...

I had to deal with the stupid Time Warner Cable people this weekend because I am basically eating unplayable lag starting around 7/8 PM every night. They fixed nothing and told me that it would have to happen on the software side and that it would take 2-3 weeks to resolve... if they decide to resolve it at all. So yeah, I spent the entire weekend on the phone with these morons trying to get this taken care of. BAH!

Additionally, I did not have a chance to discuss something Nethaera brought up on the boards concerning Feral PvP on Friday (got busy late in the day), so I just wanted to repost my post on that topic. Neth's original post first followed by my rebuttal and suggestions:

On the second point, we’ve been over this issue quite a bit, but the core issue is that Ferals used to not have a lot of utility in PvP, but were also really hard to control. We watched as players told us over the years that they wanted more utility so that they could actually be a valuable member of their team, so we gave Ferals a lot of utility they didn’t have before, but in turn we thought it was fair to make them slightly easier to control. We realize there are a few different ways we could have gone on this and that some players would no doubt have preferred to keep the iconic ability to not be crowd controlled instead of gaining things like an interrupt and better crowd control of their own. (source)

If I am reading this correctly, then I am to understand that Feral was given a CC effect, an interrupt, and the like despite being difficult to control, and when that was deemed to be too much, the difficulty in being controlled was removed. Instead of toned down, nerf, or balanced in other ways, all Feral mobility was removed in a blanket trade for everything every other melee has? In essence, I am fine with being given a CC effect and an interrupt as a trade for losing SOME mobility, but in truth, the CC effect we got was lackluster in its implementation as is the interrupt.

Let me explain, further, why some Ferals are still peeved about the decision to remove all Feral mobility against root-reliant classes. First, let us discuss the problems with removing all of the anti-root effects that Feral had (shapeshifting). This was discussed rather lengthily in the PTR boards while testing was still going on before being deployed to live, but the facts have not changed: Feral is still the only melee spec in the game without any cooldown or non-cooldown buttons to press when we get inevitably root-CC'd without a dispeller (or if the dispeller cannot afford the GCD to dispel us or is out of LoS, etc). The list of abilities which can be used to break or preemptively immune (or both) root effects is long and boring and linked nigh-daily so I will not repeat it here; suffice to say that removing all Feral root-breaking would have been acceptable if, and only if, a cooldown were added or altered to give Feral a button to press once every thirty to forty-five seconds that would get us out of roots (do a search on the Druid boards for Stampeding Roar and you will find the front-runner of the ideas for such a cooldown).

It seems prudent to explain why Feral is still upset about this "phantom trade" of our mobility for utility in terms of the supposed utility we have gained. First, Predator's Swiftness is an amazing bit of utility; it would be a lie to suggest otherwise. Being able to use Cyclone effectively and on short demand instantly can be a devastating blow to the opposing team. However, the main issue here has to do with our quality of life with regard to Predator's Swiftness. Particularly, training a Feral is, has been, and forever seems to be the best strategy when facing one; there is no downside to strictly training a Feral until he has died. As such, dispel-training the Feral is doubly effective in this regard because it will keep him from utilizing his instant-cast procs because Predator's Swiftness is still dispellable. This entire setting is a vicious cycle: training the Feral is the best strategy because he cannot deal damage and survive at the same time, and as a bonus the opposing team is rewarded for training a Feral because it becomes trivial to keep his instant-cast procs off of him thus keeping his pressure at a minimum.

Further to this, the interrupt (Skull Bash) that was given this expansion is another amazing bit of utility; again, it would be false to suggest otherwise. However, Skull Bash is plagued with the same problem(s) as our other utility: it suffers from quality of life issues by the implementation. It harkens back to how Feral Charge (Bear) worked prior to Cataclysm (and I assume it was for the flavor of that design rather than anything else) in that it charges an enemy and interrupts them if they are casting. Feral was given a talent to make it unique from the other specializations to get the cooldown down to ten seconds and the up-time to four seconds (previously, 5/10), and it applied a debuff to increase the cost of spells by 10% (previously 30%). The first issue is that the interrupt lags behind the charge effect; that is, if you are attempting to interrupt someone and you hit Skull Bash, they will see you charging and can cancel their cast before the interrupt occurs and avoid the lockout. The second issue is that because the interrupt is tied to the charge effect one cannot use the interrupt on a target in melee range while rooted; this particularly adds insult to injury because we previously had a means to escape roots to attempt to interrupt our target and while more often than not no caster will be within melee range of us while rooted, it does occasionally occur and we can do nothing about it, currently. The third issue is the 10% increased cost of spells effect simply not scaling at all; it seems to have been an attempt to add uniqueness to the Feral utility arsenal, and while I am sure all Ferals appreciate the sentiment at face value, in practice it simply comes up short.

As healers get more and more spell power and their healing grows stronger and stronger, they will be forced to use fewer and fewer heals. Not only will they be using fewer and fewer heals, but they will likely start moving from their expensive heals to their inexpensive heals which drops the cost of spells an order of magnitude... not some piddly amount. While 10% reduced healing scales against the improvements healers see in their output, the Brutal Impact debuff scales against the cost of the spells being used, which are static in mana cost. Again, this is a quality of life issue; had the debuff been extremely useful and/or powerful, then it would have required Ferals to keep it on the target a majority of the time rather than using the interrupt as it was intended to be used (as an interrupt), but if the debuff is weak (as it is currently), then the debuff becomes something of a joke and the interrupt is used solely as an interrupt. This is not a problem that can be resolved on one side or the other, but it does cause Ferals to ask the question "if the debuff is useless, then why must I spend two talent points on an interrupt that every other melee gets for free?"

In other aspects of utility, there are stuns. Feral has access to, in reality, two stuns: Bash and Maim. Both of these stuns suffer the same quality of life problems as the abilities I have mentioned above. Bash is particularly clunky to use on anything but an off-target because of the GCD required to swap into and the subsequently out of Bear Form; attempting to use this in our DPS rotation is simply out of the question because by the time we got back into Cat Form to deal damage again, over half the duration of the stun would have transpired and it would have been a waste of a cooldown. I believe that this was left this way intentionally to keep Feral from getting an on-demand stun that would allow them to land damage which could be followed by Maim (recall, Maim used to be a funny incapacitate effect that would not necessarily break on damage and lasted seven seconds at five combo points) to land a rather large on-target control combo during which a huge amount of damage could be dropped. Again, I believe that Bash is perfectly fine as-is in that it will not be used as an on-target control effect but more likely an off-target CC effect.

However, this brings us squarely to Maim as an on-target control effect. This suffers from what is, in my humble opinion, the worst quality of life issue yet named. Precisely, Feral as a play-style is not that of a Rogue; Feral does not have the access to energy regeneration like Rogues do, Feral does not have the ability to generate combo points nearly as effectively as Rogues do, and we have more finishing moves which are required for full damage output. All these facts being presented as givens leaves Feral in a bad position being forced to decide between dealing meaningful damage output or controlling a target to whom they are trying to deal meaningful damage. The counterpoint being that Rogues can deal 100% of their damage output while maintaining a Kidney Shot rotation without a loss in damage save that Eviscerate or Envenom depending on spec they could have used instead, but the damage output during the Kidney Shot trumps said finishers and likely will refund a combo point and some energy and will allow the use of Eviscerate or Envenom usually during the Kidney Shot.

Again, let me emphasize this point: Feral is not the same play-style as a Rogue. They have similarities, but ultimately are entirely different classes and specializations; however, they both attempt to fill the same role of melee dps. Back to the point of Maim - because of its high cost in both combo points and energy and its extremely high opportunity cost (it usually costs us refreshing Rip for 10-15 seconds outside of cooldowns which means our damage output gets cut in half for twice to three-times the duration of the stun just for using it), it simply cannot be used in most situations in PvP outside of Berserk (where energy and combo point generation are at their pinnacle). The quality of life issue here is that under normal conditions, Maim cannot be used in PvP because of its extremely high opportunity cost.

Another quality of life issue that Feral has to deal with is the extremely up-and-down aspect of Ferocious Bite. For all the reasons that I have mentioned about Maim not being able to be used in real PvP situations, Ferocious Bite suffers for all the same plus a bit more. It is true that Ferocious Bite has that once-in-a-while utility of being able to actually land a rather large critical strike against a low-armor target that may land a kill and therefore it has a place on the Feral PvP action-bar (landing kills is important), but it also has a great number of drawbacks in addition to its extremely high opportunity cost. Firstly, it does less damage than Shred at the base 35 energy; this problem was thought to have been resolved in Cataclysm when Shred and Mangle's damage was normalized around being part of the arsenal, but leaving Bleeds to do the bulk of the dps-work. However, with the buffing and nerfing of Shred/Mangle and Rip/Rake (in that order), Shred and Mangle are back to their WotLK states and dealing far more damage than Ferocious Bite could ever hope to do.

Again, in PvP, Ferocious Bite can be used at 75 energy which will cause it to deal 200% damage before critical strike multipliers and therefore can yield a MUCH bigger hit than Shred, but the cost (both energy and combo points) comes back to bite us again. 75 energy to deal a strike that consumes all of our combo points and leaves us energy-starved every time is only useful in one situation: landing a killing blow against a low-armored target. Against a high-armored target, the 75-energy Ferocious Bite critical strike does something (against 3k+ resilience) on the order of 7-8k damage. Using three-fourths of our resources and all of our combo points to land less than one-fifteenth of our target's health pool is simply unacceptable; we are always better off using those combo points to keep Rip or Savage Roar up.

Another example of poorly designed abilities based on nothing more than their effect on the Feral quality of life is Tiger's Fury. For the most part, Ferals are in love with Tiger's Fury because of the talent King of the Jungle, which has given us a cooldown to aid us in our perpetually energy starved condition. The quality of life issue creeps back into play with the change to Tiger's Fury that came with Cataclysm. Tiger's Fury used to give a base-damage upgrade which would directly translate to better Shred damage (since Shred's damage is based off of our base-damage); however, Tiger's Fury was changed to be a strict 15% damage buff over the same duration with the release of Cataclysm. While many Ferals do not really see this as a problem, it becomes one with the way it affects our bleed damage.

Cataclysm meant many sweeping changes, and of these changes was that of addressing the "rolling trinkets with HoTs/DoTs" change. This update simply made it so that when the effect of a trinket or ability fell off, the HoTs or DoTs applied would recalculate their healing/damage accordingly and no longer be affected by those temporary buffs. This was done in order to keep HoTs/DoTs from "rolling" or being reapplied infinitely with the trinket effect for an unintended full-fight duration (as long as the HoT/DoT did not fall off). So, to recap, with the release of Cataclysm, HoT and DoT abilities would no longer remain with temporary buffs once those temporary buffs fell off. The sole exception to this rule is, of course, Tiger's Fury. Tiger's Fury applies a 15% bonus damage buff that will cause Rip and Rake to deal 15% bonus damage for, if applied while under the effect of Tiger's Fury, their entire duration - well after the six-second duration Tiger's Fury has fallen off.

A lot of Ferals will claim that this is working as intended, or that it is okay for the purposes of PvE, and these same Ferals largely rely on this implementation for dealing damage and being included in raids. The larger problem then becomes that our other abilities end up getting attacked for this implementation; namely, Rip and Rake were nerfed because of them dealing too much damage, and the amount by which they were nerfed was right around 10% making it painfully clear that Rip/Rake could have more easily been changed to be NOT affected by Tiger's Fury and hit the same desired outcome. Going back to the quality of life discussion, Tiger's Fury is an ability at odds with its own implementation: it is designed to be used as a means to return energy for burst damage, but also to be used as a primer for our Bleeds to allow them to deal their maximum damage.


1) Predator's Swiftness - Trivially dispelled.
2) Skull Bash - Interrupt issues, issue while rooted, high cost.
3) Bash - Designed to be extremely difficult to use as anything other than an off-target CC effect.
4) Maim - Extremely high opportunity-cost.
5) Brutal Impact - Debuff lackluster and/or counter to design; 2 points required, only 1 point a boon for half the talent.
6) Berserk - Cooldown too long.
7) Tiger's Fury - Designed for bleed damage improvement and burst, but cannot do both.
8) Primal Madness - Extremely lackluster by design.
9) Ferocious Bite - Extremely high opportunity-cost; extremely lackluster damage against high-armor targets.

My suggestions for each of these are as follows (not condensed at all; sorry for the great wall of text):

1) Predator's Swiftness being easily dispelled is a problem, but it may be one of balance; having instant-cast Cyclones with every finisher, which means roughly a 10-15s implied cooldown in the absence of dispels, can be quite powerful. That being said, I do not believe that simply making Predator's Swiftness undispellable would be a great solution, but it may be the best solution. In addition, a deep Feral talent could act somewhat like Shadow's Sin and Punishment in that if Predator's Swiftness gets dispelled, perhaps a shorter CC effect would have a chance to proc (something like a 3s mini-Cyclone that was a magic effect instead of physical and was on a different DR category). Again, I do not have any great suggestions for this one, and likely just making it undispellable would be the best route, but it would do nothing to qualm the fact that training a Feral from start to finish is the absolute best tactic available to any team.

2) Fixing Skull Bash is much simpler than that of Predator's Swiftness. Firstly, making the interrupt the first part of the effect would do wonders; that is, making it so that the target was interrupted when I started my charge as opposed to getting to my target would resolve a lot. Secondly, making the ability work while rooted but not charge seems like the right move to make. Thirdly, even with the glove bonus the cost of this ability is around 15 energy for a melee who spends the majority of his time energy-starved, and so I suggest that the base cost be made 15 energy and the glove bonus be left as-is to make it only cost 5 energy.

3) Bash - I do no feel that Bash requires any buffing, but I bring it up because of the discussion of opportunity-costs for Maim. That is, if we could use Maim effectively on-target, then it would not really matter that we could not also use Bash on-target; it would hit DR and would not have a place here... which I believe is the intention behind the design currently. In addition, because of the change I will suggest in item #5 (Brutal Impact), I feel that Bash should be made into a 3 second duration stun baseline; there is little reason why any other spec should be assuming that they will have any better than a 3s stun when they have access to Cyclone and are ranged by design.

4) Maim - Fixing Maim is extremely tricky... the problem with it lies at the core of the Feral mechanics; we cannot generate combo points easily enough to use Maim effectively while keeping Rip and Rake up, which means that using Maim is tantamount to cutting our dps in half for 10-15 seconds while we ramp-up another Rip. Everything that Maim provides in terms of control is entirely countered by the fact that it completely destroys our damage in most cases. For my part, I think that Maim was introduced as an ability to aid Ferals without giving any thought to the utility we still required; it used to be our quasi-interrupt effect (interrupting with Maim would lock the target out of their school for a few seconds); it used to be a longer duration than 5s that might not break on damage, allowing us more time to re-apply Rip (used to be 7s at 5cps); it used to be a good way to land a long CC-chain on-target (5p Maim + Bash + Cyclone = 18s of CC). None of the original implementation is left with Maim any longer, and I think that it is time that something changed.

I believe that having the ability to stun your kill-target in PvP is something that Feral needs. We currently have this in Maim, but it requires a huge opportunity-cost outside of Berserk, which is a 3 minute cooldown and therefore is not very useful. For my part, I believe that Maim should be removed from the game. I say this understanding full-well that removing abilities from the game is a rather large change to make on short-notice (like a patch) and is usually saved for expansion releases and the like, but we have precedence of such things happening in Drain Mana being removed, and while Drain Mana was removed because of the nature of it being entirely too difficult to balance around, Maim should be removed because of its extremely poor nature and profound failing at performing its intended job, which has (as I pointed out) become muddled over the years.

Instead, I suggest that Stampede be amended to allow the use of either Ravage or Pounce after using Feral Charge Cat. This would allow Feral some on-target control once every half-minute without entirely destroying the damage-output of the Feral in question. In addition, it would allow the Feral to choose between either dealing full damage or on-target control (the choice between Ravage or Pounce; burst vs. control).

5) The debuff needs to be improved in some way that makes it worth applying, but not so heavy that it should always be applied regardless of whether the target is interrupted by it or not. Adding something like 30% slower cast times (Curse of Tongues) feels too heavy-handed, for instance, and would likely be deemed required up as much as possible against casters rather than waiting for the interrupt opportunities. Perhaps a reimplementation of the debuff itself to make it scale against healing received instead of mana cost; something like "burns 10% of the effect of any spell effect used for 10s" which would cause a heal that cost 1000 mana and healed 2000 hp to "burn" 200 mana (instead of increasing the cost by 100 mana). This way it would scale against the effect of the spells rather than the cost (it would work similarly against casts; if someone used Wrath and it cost 1000 mana but did 2000 damage, it would "burn" 200 mana on the cast).

Further, I feel that Brutal Impact is a required 2 talent point expenditure for all Feral PvP builds at the moment, but only used as a way to get access to a 10s CD Skull Bash. Largely, the other aspect of Brutal Impact is trumped and therefore ignored because of how much more important the Skull Bash portion is to Feral play. Currently, Brutal Impact increases the duration of the stuns Bash and Pounce by 1 second for 1 talent point, and 0 seconds for two talent points; that is, taking 2/2 Brutal Impact does not increase the duration of Bash or Pounce by any more than taking 1/2 Brutal Impact. As I suggested in the last three bullet-points, I feel that most of the issues above can be addressed here (in conjunction with the changes I suggested above). Simply change Brutal Impact to increase the stun duration on Bash and Pounce by 1/2 seconds at 1/2 combo points. This would improve Pounce (newly made into the on-target control stun) to a 5second stun (to properly replace Maim) and leave Bash as-is for Feral tanks who have become somewhat reliant on the 5s stun duration.

This change coupled with the above changes would leave Ferals with an on-demand on-target control stun instead of burst damage (Pounce instead of Ravage) that would not severely impact the normal dps rotation, thus lowering the opportunity cost of trying to stun your kill-target and allowing combo points to be used on the other finishers.

6) Berserk was designed to be a long-duration, long cooldown to land powerful burst damage. Because of this, it was given the The Beast Within treatment (toned down slightly) and made to be difficult to peel during this burst opportunity. With the removal of the Fear-break and immunity, Berserk has become a long cooldown and long duration which is easily countered by many many specs, so the burst opportunity is lost in a large number of cases; for example, it can largely not be used against a Mage because of our weakened up-time via not being able to shapeshift out of root-effects. To this point, it still maintains its disposition of not allowing Tiger's Fury to be used at the same time, so it has to be used at a energy-pooling or with Tiger's Fury used just prior (which happens in the majority of the cases) which is easily spotted, expected, and CC'd through.

I feel that Berserk, since it no longer provides any immunity to CC effects for its duration, should be made into a 6s duration and a 1min cooldown. The idea being that the opportunity to land meaningful burst damage will be much lower, but happen more often so that Feral can use this cooldown and if CC'd through it in its entirety, will not feel that they have wasted such a long cooldown. At 8s duration, it will mean 5 seconds of up-time (since Berserk is still on the GCD) at a 1min CD, which would be 15s at 3min when multiplied back out (which would be spot-on) and the glyph would then be changed to accommodate this new duration by going from an additional 5s to an additional 2s (which would make the up-time 7s at 1m and would translate to 21s at 3m; 1second longer than live versions).

This change would, essentially, reward strong players who following diminishing returns and therefore know when it would be safest to use this cooldown on a kill-target. In addition, it would make the existence of the on-demand on-target control stun (via FCC+Pounce) not as powerful since that could potentially be used as a rather large DPS combo, and with this change would still be a viable tactic, but not nearly as uber-strong.

7) Tiger's Fury is a good dps cooldown at the moment, but it is, as I pointed out, at odds with itself in design. It is supposed to be a strong source of burst via King of the Jungle and also a strong source of bonus damage to our bleeds via its innate bonus damage component. I feel like originally, and up until Cataclysm truthfully, it was designed to be a source of additional burst damage as opposed to a bonus to our bleeds. In Wrath of the Lich King, for example, one of Feral's biggest issues was that of our damage output being entirely dependent on Savage Roar being up 100% in part because it increased all our damage by 30%, but primarily because it increased our bleed damage by 30% and was therefore a prerequisite to proper damage output. This was eventually publicly decried as a rather expensive and clunky mechanic that was holding Feral back in PvP (and PvE somewhat).

This dependency no longer exists on Savage Roar, but was moved to Tiger's Fury for hitherto unknown reasons. It is the same can of worms all over again with having to prime our bleeds with another dps ability, and one which is seemingly meant for burst damage. Admittedly, Tiger's Fury is infinitely easier to use in conjunction with our bleeds than Savage Roar was/is, but it is still a prerequisite to dealing sufficient damage and as such is a hindrance to Feral play.

Therefore, I suggest dropping the 15% bonus damage in its entirety from Tiger's Fury. This would result in basically an 8-9% damage loss across the board in PvE (as Rip is basically only reapplied with Tiger's Fury at the moment) and a little bit less in PvP. To offset this, I feel that Tiger's Fury should be returned to its position as an ability to improve direct damage rather than bleed damage. Therefore, Tiger's Fury should provide some innate armor ignore for the duration (which is short at 6s). I believe (from my napkin maths) that something on the order of 35% would be sufficient in re-balancing the 15% damage lost on Rip/Rake applied via Tiger's Fury to damage improved on Shred/Mangle/Ferocious Bite.

8) Primal Madness is, by its current design, an awful AWFUL damage-dealing bonus. I do not have the numbers (which have been worked out by the best-of-the-best in Feral theorycrafters and simulation-writers) on hand, but it is pretty renowned for being not worth any points unless there are simply no other dps talents to take (which usually means 1 point in a PvE build). With the change I mentioned above to Tiger's Fury, Primal Madness may be a better use of talent points in terms of damage output supplied per point invested, but I believe that it would still come up short as a dps talent.

Therefore, I suggest that Primal Madness be changed to a bonus to Tiger's Fury as opposed to a bonus to King of the Jungle. That is, I suggest it increase the effect of Tiger's Fury by 50/100% which would make the Tiger's Fury buff give 35% at base, 53% at 1/2, and 70% at 2/2 in Primal Madness (note that the values are basically rounded, the idea being that 2/2 PM would mean 70% armor ignore while TF is active). This would bring Primal Madness into a position of actually increasing damage output by an amount that is non-negligible and would improve Tiger's Fury as an ability used when trying to land direct damage.

9) To improve Ferocious Bite as an ability is tricky; it must have a high opportunity-cost or it would become the defacto finisher in place of Rip in the context of dealing damage, and it cannot therefore have its damage improved much further without risking just that. By improving Tiger's Fury to ignore armor, we have made FB into an ability which, at the very least, will have a window of opportunity were the damage will be decent against high-armor targets, but it still almost certainly still be better in all cases above the kill-zone (~15k hp) to simply use another Shred instead of Ferocious Bite. Additionally, attaching more utility to Ferocious Bite (by way of returning combo points when it fails to kill a target or some-such) is worrisome because it would mean even more utility for a spec which has just been punished for gaining utility and having high mobility (we can still shapeshift out of snares, for example, and giving us further utility might incur yet another nerf to an underwhelming specialization).

On the other hand, because Rip does so much damage as a finisher, it might be the intention of the developers to leave Ferocious Bite as an execute-esque ability to be used at high energy to attempt and land a kill rather than to be used as part of the normal rotation. If this is the case, then making FB the clear-choice when deciding between waiting to reapply Rip or go for burst should be the first step. Therefore, I would suggest amending Blood in the Water to make Ferocious Bite act more like a "finisher" than an ability which refreshes our true "finisher". That is, change Blood in the Water to allow the Rip-refresh on targets at-or-below 50% HP and have it affect Ferocious Bite directly by giving it 30% armor ignore on targets at or below 25% hp. This way, a Ferocious Bite used on a target at or below 25% with Tiger's Fury active would have 100% armor ignore and therefore be the best-button to press for direct damage as opposed to Shredding again. Additionally, this would fix the issue that is players being in a "wounded" state (sub-50%) for most the match, but not in a "very wounded" state (sub-25%) and thus leaving Blood in the Water useless outside of PvE.


To be quite clear on the matter, I am NOT asking for Feral to get more damage. In fact, I am suggesting that Feral have its damage adjusted so that it is less favorable when used against low-armor targets, and slightly stronger against high-armor targets while at the same time fixing some of the glaring quality-of-life issues facing the specialization today. The hope is that the damage output would remain roughly the same while the issues facing the class are resolved by these changes I have suggested.

Recent readers may recognize some of these suggestions as condensed versions of the LONG list of suggestions I posted about a month ago. I basically trimmed down my suggestions and tried to make them as balanced as possible in terms of actual changes. I really wanted the idea to be that I was suggesting not DPS buffs, but rather play-style changes which would make Feral more easily played as a DPS class without totally undermining the rotation. Take from it what you will.

I will try to get the video uploaded tonight if time persists; Guntir still needs points on his Shammy so we will end up doing 2v2s, and if we face nothing but DK+Healer, it could take a LONG LONG time, which would mean that the video will not be up tomorrow. Cross your fingers!

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I.... uhm....

... STILL haven't uploaded the 3v3s footage yet. I have been wrestling with my ISP (Time Warner Cable) over some issues of late. Essentially, at 7:00PM or so, someone on TWC in my building (stupid condos) decides that THIS is the time to start bit-torrenting and basically destroying any chance for reasonable pings... so we end up losing matches because I cannot kick an opponent or what-have-you and I am filled with rage and instead of collecting myself and putting the video together and online, I go to bed in a huff and have nightmares about Mages.

Let's talk about those so-far released 4.1 changes a bit.

* All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Shield Bash, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.

To mean, this can be read two different ways: interrupts can no longer miss (as the action in-game meaning 0 +hit will never result in a missed interrupt); interrupts can no longer fail to land (meaning dodge/block/parry/miss). I have no idea which is the correct interpretation, and Blizz is keeping a lid on the changes since the PTR is not even up yet (as far as I can tell). The only thing that is nice about this is trying to Skull Bash a Cyclone on a Nelf Druid... and having it miss due to their racial; one way or another I do not think this will happen ever again.

* Word of Glory now has a 20-second cooldown.

This is just a self-healing nerf to Retribution Pallies. I know that Blizzard does not want Rets to use all their Holy Power on healing themselves, but this was unneeded before Recuperate and Siphon Life nerfs (and Bloodthirst).

* Dispel Magic can now only be casted on yourself to remove harmful effects, and now only removes 1 beneficial spell from enemies, down from 2.
* Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
* Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

I have to admit, the first two I definitely saw coming when they decided to nerf Purge recently, and I was expecting Shadow to not even get defensive magic dispel on Live Cataclysm; I am surprised it took so long. The PW:S nerf is somewhat odd; I just do not understand the point of this except as a PvE nerf to keep it from being raid-spammed, but they have not reduced the cost yet, so it is still relatively expensive. I do not know... I expect more to be released on the Priest front.

* Intercept and Charge no longer share diminishing returns with other stuns.
* Intercept now stuns for 1 sec, down from 3 sec.
* Juggernaut now reduces the cooldown of Charge by 3 sec but no longer increases the stun duration.
* Colossus Smash now bypass 70% of armor instead of 100%.

The first three make no sense to me. Blizzard cannot seem to make up its mind on this... now Charge and Intercept are both 1 second stuns baseline, but Intercept is a 20s CD and Charge is an 11s CD (glyphed). So, Warriors have an 11s CD gap-closer? There will be no more Fury Warriors in PvP with this change... Charge->Throwdown is back for good... and 1s stuns every 11 seconds??? This is just bonkers. Colossus Smash being nerfed makes sense to me.

That is basically all I have for now... there will, undoubtedly, be more and more as the PTR goes up and MMO-Champ mines more, and I will try to keep up. I think I am just going to put up the 3v3s footage this weekend and call it "next week's video". I know, that is the lazy way out, but I simply will not have time to do it until Saturday... bah!

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I know, I know...

It is Tuesday; where is the video I promised!? Short answer: I do not have it up yet. Long answer: it probably will not be up today either (maybe tomorrow). I ended up having a pretty amazing weekend, but it was so jam-packed with goings-on that I never got an hour at my computer to splice it together (even a really crappy one with barebones music and editing). We are planning on running 3s tonight for a while (depending on my latency issues) and therefore will not likely leave me any time to do the video tonight. Tomorrow, Guntir will be at school and I will have dinner with the gf's parents, but I ought to be back around 8pm or so, so I should be able to put something together to have it up on Thursday morning (again: no promises).

In regular news, Blizz was extremely slow in getting the 2200 vendors online this morning which lead to a few problems: first, it led to a massive whine-fest in which people threatened to quit if their weapons were not put online as soon as humanly possible (laughable empty threats, imo); secondly, it lead to people whining about how they did not see the weapons online 3 hours prior to them being put up, so they bought set pieces instead and now cannot refund the set pieces to get the points for the weapon. All scenarios were hilarious, in my opinion. I cannot understand people thinking that Blizz would not release the 2200 weapons today when they said they would and there was absolutely zero dialog between the blues and the community up until this morning... I would have (and correctly) assumed that the weapon vendors simply had not been "turned on" yet on Live realms and Blizzard was busy in a meeting discussing how overpowered DKs are (again) and how underpowered Ferals are (again).


If it was unclear, the weapons were indeed turned on after some time. I have one; it's awesome. DKs are still OP, as are Frost Mages... just about everything else is manageable.

We went against a HPal+RSham+DK team last night that went to full duration... it was pretty lame. Oh well, the rigors of running a double-healer comp in a time when no one uses mana is that sometimes you might end up facing a double-healer comp where no one uses mana. We actually got the Shammy to oom 3 times, but it didn't matter because HPals have infinite mana and eventually Mana Tide is back up and the Shammy can heal again! Don't worry, though, RShammies are getting a cooldown to help with zerg-attempts next patch... er...

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Bit of a Delay

Well, this week has been flying by and before I knew what happened, it was Friday again. Work has been a little hectic and I threw my back out picking up a small jug of milk the other day (bah... why am I going to the gym every day if I can't even pick up milk without injuring myself!?), so I have been in a sour mood and thus have not posted. However, there are some things that changed worth mentioning:

1) PW:S got its cost increased 30% or so on live as a nerf aimed at PvE that only hit PvP. Essentially, some top-tier raid figured out that the best raid-healing was for a Disc Priest to spam PW:S on everyone since it is proactive healing, and for Resto Druids to give all their Innervates to the Priest. So, Blizz decided to nerf the cost of PW:S to make this inefficient for Disc... but gave Body and Soul (a deep Holy talent) a reduction component to negate this change. So, what does this mean? It means that the PvE Priests will go Holy, pick up this talent, have the exact same power-level on PW:S (minus the Disc mastery which was admittedly 20% bonus absorbance on shields) at the same cost, while PvP Priests eat a HUGE mana longevity nerf... which was the LAST thing Priests needed.

2) Resto Shammies gained 15% bonus healing... for free... because they're "bad" I guess. I am still unsure of the change here or why it was necessary, but I am guessing that it stemmed from PvE as well and aimed at making Shammies a better option as a healer in that realm. This is ignoring the fact that Shammy PvP healing is somewhat staggering before this buff, but now they can free-heal to great amounts. Seriously, we went against a Fury+RDruid team last night and aside from the fact that the Fury Warrior had half the healing of his RDruid and the RDruid never dipped below 60% mana, Guntir's shammy was dropping 40k healing crits on me... that's a bit overboard in my opinion.

3) Lastly, there was some feedback on that "massive" Warrior QQ thread about Arms having a bad time in PvP at the moment (the thread hit the 20 page mark... gasp... Ferals had a 280+ page thread in the PTR boards get ignored followed by a currently 100+ page thread in the Druid boards getting ignored) that had this gem:

We understand that you need to be on your target to do your jobs, but it didn’t really make sense to allow close to 100% up time either. On the other hand, we understand that without high up-time warriors might not bring as much to an Arena or Rated Battleground team, and we're adding new utility in a future patch to help address that, though we’re not yet ready to share details.

I am sorry... what was that? I must have read that wrong because there is no way that a 20-page thread about Arms Warriors got a blue to confirm some "new utility in a future patch" to address their up-time when Ferals have LESS UP-TIME currently. This is just ridiculous to me... I am having a hard time grasping how Blizz can be blind to one class and entirely supportive of another. Warriors have higher representation than Ferals and are currently dealing better damage with better up-time and Blizz is going to "fix" their up-time in a future patch?


Bah... barking at the moon will not do anything. Let's talk about something more fun. For instance, our 3s team is doing extremely well. We are currently at something like 2275 team rating and our MMR is somewhere around 2400 (and growing). The hope is that the T2 weapons are released to the public on Tuesday and we can buy those outright (everyone has the points for them at the moment and we're sitting the team until Tuesday).

Additionally, I decided to actually record some 3s matches this week and got a lot of fun coverage. We played against some triple-dps RMP, some Shadowcleave variants (many of which are scary as hell), and an odd wizcleave composed of a Boomkin+Affliction+RShammy. The Shammy on this team had a Gladiator title, and I can only assume that it was from running an LSD comp during S8 because this team did not play very effectively. They did peel well and tried to keep my damage down, but in the long run they simply kept training me instead of a weaker target like Guntir or Lev, so I ended up out-pressuring their Lock and got one of our delicious CC-trains to land full duration while the Lock died.

I HOPE (read: hope... Monday is actually a holiday for me so I will not be at work and I will be out hiking all day) to get a 3s video up on youtube next Tuesday to illustrate how fun the comp is. Guntir says he is enjoying it, but he is actually more entertained by how much hate we get for running it than actually succeeding with it at the moment, which I find rather hilarious. All the same, it is hard to argue with results, and results is what we are getting.

I tried running this week with the Glyph of Ferocious Bite since Glyph of Entangling Roots is LARGELY useless for Ferals now. We had won seven matches in a row and were climbing MMR faster and faster and at this point we said "we will play until we lose" as it was getting kind of late. We got matched against a FrostMage+UnholyDK+RDruid team and started with me sitting the Mage (which is our usual plan because Mages have trouble with Feral damage when getting train-dispelled). This particular Mage played EXTREMELY well; he did not panic when I got on him, he used all his escape mechanics extremely well, and it took me a LONG time to get him to Iceblock. Additionally, his DK friend was super-training Guntir and peeling me whenever he could while his Druid was basically using full-duration Cyclones on Lev every time DR fell off and largely ignoring me. It became clear why the Druid was ignoring me later in the match when we started landing pressure on the Mage: the Druid was saving all that to peel me off his mage, which he did EXTREMELY well.

Nearing the 10m mark of the match, I had forced two Iceblocks out of the Mage, Guntir was at around 20% mana, Lev was around 60% mana, and their Resto Druid was around 90% mana without having used Innervate or drinking (fucking nerf RDruid, HPal, and RShammy mana longevity please... I know I do not usually swear this badly, but something seriously needs to change here). We ended up getting an absolutely glorious CC train on the Druid for the n'th time and got Cyclone->Psychic Scream->HoJ->Belf Silence, which is basically all we could hope to do to keep HoTs off the Mage (who got stripped of HoTs during this CC-chain). I got the Mage to 20k HP with 5cps and Rip/Rake up...

Ice Barrier breaks from a Rip tick, no damage done; I'm in the middle of Nagrand Arena with the Druid Feared (at this point) and the Mage blinks to a pillar (away from the Druid) and I DON'T HAVE FERAL CHARGE UP... but the DK Deathgripped me RIGHT TO THE MAGE... I have no idea what he was thinking, but it must have been "I have no idea what the CD on FCC is, but I want him to NOT get a free Ravage off on my Mage when he is this low!"

Now, I am right on top of this Mage with 5cps, 75+ energy, Rake had fallen off, but Rip had another tick left in it... mage at around 15k HP.

Rip ticks for 5k.

I hit Ferocious Bite.

... 8k non-crit ...


Resto Druid gets out of the Belf-Silence and NS-HTs the Mage back to 30% hp and the match continues, but not for very long because Guntir has basically run out of mana at this point. If we had landed the kill, Lev and I could have peeled long enough for Guntir to regain enough mana to land a kill on the rest of the team and win.

The recap screen shows us that the team was 2499 MMR, and while we only lost 4 team rating, we all felt slightly let down by not beating this team when we had them so on the ropes. Again, it was a very hard-fought match and these guys were absolutely amazing... but RNG simply won them the match (or perhaps more precisely - lost us the match).


I could not sleep that night. Thoughts of the win that could have been haunted my dreams and keep me waking in a cold sweat. If only that FB had crit... I had a bleed up, so I had something on the order of 58% chance to crit. I was at the gym the next day, running through the pain when it hit me. I was at about minute 20 of my 30 minute running session and I nearly fell over in spite of myself...

I was trying out the Glyph of Ferocious Bite

Why does this matter? Go back and reread the bit about where I hit him with FB. What is significant about Ferocious Bite (hover-over that link) that makes having or not having the glyph so important.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU... if I had not had the glyph, that 8k non-crit at 75+ energy would have been 16k... a win.

Lesson learned... do not use Glyph of Ferocious Bite - you do not end up using it any more often and it actually does less damage than Shred most the time EXCEPT when you hit a guy with FB and 70+ energy because it then consumes an additional 1-35 energy and increases damage by 1-100%. The idea is that if you use FB at 70 energy, it will do double-damage before the crit multipliers are factored in. A lot of the time you would rather have the energy, but sometimes (like this time) have a HUGE finishing hit (non-crit) would be more beneficial.

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I meant to get this post up yesterday, but Valentine's Day had me run ragged. Anyway, here is the video I promised you:

These guys started the night as a 2k-rated SPriest+Rogue combo, but unfortunately they ran into us a bunch of times and we farmed them down to 1900. Here is some things that I find funny:

1) They don't really ever blind me...
2) They don't really train me unmercifully (which they should)
3) They don't use half their control
4) They were 2k-rated

I guess it just speaks leagues about the sad state of PvP now-a-days when anyone can hit 2k. It used to mean something, but now it is just "do you have overpowered control and damage if your front-load your cooldowns? Insta-2k!" It really detracts from the good players who simply do not play often (we do 10 matches a week in 2s, for instance, while we are gearing up and we tend to go 80% or better against 2200ish mmr).

Maybe that is the point, however - if you really are good, you should have to grind your rating up to play people at your level. I mean, we occassionally get matched against a 2400 team, and we love beating them simply because it forces people to go to the boards and complain, but lately we have been getting nothing but 5-pt wins against 2k scrubs who had overpowered comps prior to 4.0.6 and are just kind of weak now.

Here's a great "for instance". If you watch last week's video again, you will see it is a mash-up of matches against double-dps (primarily mage comps) which all play decently and have rather strong "out the gate" damage output. Once we force them into the long game we tend to gain a distinct advantage, though we were largely on our heels in a few of them. Since 4.0.6, however, these teams were pretty substantially nerfed in terms of their up-front pressure (and our resilience has MAYBE increased by 100 between those matches and these matches) and they simply cannot compete with a healer over the short-game.

This is, in my opinion, a good thing. If you go back and look at my posts from years past, you will notice that I have NEVER been a fan of the existence of double-dps comps. I feel that they are the reason that Blizzard removed the 2s bracket from competitive play. I want my matches to go a little bit longer and require some "dig up, stupid" moments or flawless CC-work to excel, and I feel that 4.0.6 did a lot in that direction for 2s. 3s is another story entirely...

We have been running Dispelclaw for a while now and are pretty fantastic, though we did face a comp twice that we simply could not touch: ARogue+ALock+Disc. To be fair, we had them on Sewers and Blade's Edge... two maps that are HEAVILY in favor of Lock mobility and removing him as a kill-target in many cases. Essentially, it was a case of "whether your healer is here or not, both DPS classes can self-heal until he returns" and unfortunately, the healer was smart enough to know that he never really was in any danger of letting anyone die, so he only used his efficient heals to get pressure back up on us. Additionally, the Rogue+Lock combo knew the trick: train the Feral until he dead.

Aside from that unhappiness, we are hoping to never face that comp again, but we will try training the Rogue unmercifully next time and see what happens. Another problem we had with that team was that the Priest would pull us into the open (because I'm trying to train the lock) and land mana burn after mana burn on my healers. Blizzard spoke briefly when discussing the removal of Drain Mana from the game and suggested that they MIGHT remove Mana Burn as well. For our part, Guntir and I are hoping that they do just that. Mana Burn has always been somewhat of a cheesy effect and in situations where you could effectively control an opposing healer, it would mean a win in the long run (anyone recalling my Wrath videos against War+RDruid can attest to this). We can only wait and see at this point, but with the amount of QQ in the Arena boards over Mana Burn coupled with the amount of QQ from Warlocks in general feeling jaded about losing Mana Drain while Mana Burn is still in the game makes me think that it will eventually be removed as well.

At some point, and it MIGHT be this week but do not hold me to it, I want to get some video of our 3s play and show off our amazing CC rotations. Full Cyclone->Psychic Scream->Hammer of Justice is just a mean combo, and since none of these effects share DR and none were hit by the "great CC reclamation" of 4.0.6, it feels more powerful than pre-patch. We are, by no means, amazing... but we play rather well together (emphasis on "together") and have a lot of fun doing it (though we did have a tiff over that RLP we lost to that forced us to end early in a hurumph). I would LOVE to get some skype recordings, but I have been unsuccessful up to this point in redirecting my sound appropriately and getting it to record. If I do, I will definitely overlay it with the videos and get some out that way because I think it is definitely interesting to hear the sounds of the game as they happen (by that I mean me and guntir yelling about what we are doing). Also, our Pally is French-Canadian and speaks rather interestingly good/bad English, so we often say things like "no idea what you said; Cycloning Druid" etc.


I almost forgot - we were running this and came across some of our Pally's guildmates, which we heard were comprised of prior Gladiators. Anyway, here is a screenshot of us defeating one of those guild teams:

This was a triple-dps team at 2400 MMR after the patch (that's right, we beat this team with me sitting in Frost Novas all day). They immediately started talking in GChat (from what Lev told us) and calling him a noob for running this comp and everything else you would expect. We ended up beating another of his guild's 2350 teams running a Shadowcleave variant (UnholyDK+Afflic+RShammy) and they hopped on the bandwagon as well. Another match or two later we ended up beating some random team from another BG that was 2450 rated and Lev got his 3v3 2200 achievement and that essentially started a tirade in his guild with comments like "2200 running double-healer Feral = noob!"

We decided that we MIGHT end up calling the team "Haters Gunna Hate Cleave"... for obvious reasons.

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I have decided that the name of my comp (HPal+Disc+Feral) is forevermore Dispelclaw. I know I said I would try and post something the other day, but work has been absolutely insane. Anyway, here is my run-down on the comp:

1) Our sustained damage output is strong so we can pressure one of the dps, particularly if the DPS is a caster.
2) Our burst damage is INSANE if we can peel everyone off (read: a full-team Psychic Scream usually results in Guntir dropping 30k damage before the healer gets out of it).
3) We simply do not feel pressure when we understand our opponents.
4) If our Pally could keep from having his computer freezing, we would have gone 13-1.

The first two (and the fourth) notes are pretty self-explanatory, I think - Keeping up Rip, Rake, Mangle, and SR is pretty easy against most teams because I am getting dispelled so often that up-time really is not a problem and Guntir's nukes are amazing supplemental damage. Additionally, even with two melees with insane burst just training Guntir non-stop, we do not feel huge pressure because of the double-heals, PW:S up-time, and the peels I can provide. All the while, because we have two healers spamming all the time, they do not really have to use their hyper-expensive heals and instead focus on the long-game.

For instance, we played against a 2300-rated Ret+Fury+RDruid team, which is going to be the "TSG" of this season, I believe. Their burst is really rather insane with Templar's Verdicts critting Guntir for 15-20k while the Fury Warrior can easily drop 40-50k with his 2-3m CDs. Most teams would have a lot of trouble with this kind of damage output along with Cyclones flying around, but in practice we were training the Warrior and had the Druid healing almost none-stop because of the pressure I was putting out. Now, because RDruids never run out of mana, and we were getting no-where rather slowly, I tried swapping to the Ret Pally... and things got MUCH better. Ret Pallies have to decide between healing themselves or using Templar's Verdict... so he kept trying to DPS Guntir instead of self-healing, and we started making huge progress. Eventually, Guntir landed a Psychic Scream on all three (I opened with Cyclone for 6s on the Druid, Guntir hit PW:S on himself and ran at 100% speed to him, followed with Psychic Scream) and started helping me nuke the Ret while Lev (our pally) followed the Psychic Scream with a full duration Hand of Justice. The Ret went down like the Hindenburg and Guntir didn't drop below 50% with the Fury still training him because our Pally kept him up.

I was playing a spec that was more on the conservative side (2/3 Thick Hide, 2/2 Natural Reaction) because with Guntir's Shammy healing, I was getting trained for the most part. However, with Guntir playing his priest on the team, I am almost always ignored outside of swaps and the like. Therefore, I decided that the next time we played, I would try a new spec out. Essentially, it is all the same minus the defensive-minded talents and adding in a couple of dps-talents.

Here is my conservative spec.

It is pretty standard; like I said, it picks up the defensive talents (for the most part) and does not give up any mandatory dps talents. Additionally, I took Glyph of Mangle because I found that when I am getting trained, I end up landing more Mangles than Shreds simply because of positioning, and dealing more damage is the name of the game.

Here is my more offense-oriented spec.

In reality, nothing much has changed except that I have dropped my defensive talents, Thick Hide and Natural Reaction, and picked up supplemental and sometimes situational dps talents. Most notably showing up in this spec that I think most will be caught off guard because of is Blood in the Water. I have spent a lot of time talking about how this talent is so useless in a majority of situations, and I know that most people do not pick it up, but after playing a few matches as Dispelclaw, I have to say that I found myself on more than a few occasions saying "man, if I had Blood in the Water right now, our pressure would be INSANE." There were at least a few times in almost every match where I would get a target to 15% hp with 5CPs and 4-5 seconds left on Rip while the healer was CC'd. The problem here is that if you use FB and you do not have BitW AND you do not land the kill, your pressure is destroyed for the next 10-15 seconds, which is more than enough time for a healer to top off the target after he finally gets out of the CC-chain.

The main thing is that this spec is less about burst and more about pressure and control. If you have good pressure, and I feel like Blood in the Water will really improve our pressure in a lot of situations, then the opposing healer is forced to heal and use tons of mana. If you get into the situation I described above and you do not have BitW, you usually wait until Rip ends and reapply Rip... which means your pressure went way down because you could not get the target basically any lower and the healer does not really have to spend much time or effort filling up the HP-pool again. Rip, Rake, and SR'd white swings make up the majority of our constant pressure. Shred/Mangle are what we use when we need to burst someone down, and in this comp we end up usually doing that with CCs on the healer. However, a lot of the time you end up applying Rip and needing to use that instant-Cyclone on the healer to get ahead to set up the CC-chain, and by the time you are in the kill-zone, you are energy-starved and/or CP-starved. Essentially, this is why BitW will work, when we land our CC-chains properly, it is (without trinket) going to be 20 seconds of CC while we try and dps. That is more than enough time to try and get a guy into the red zone with Rip up, and to keep the pressure going I need to land an FB AND refresh Rip.

Another aspect of this spec that should be apparent is the addition of 2/3 Fury Swipes. I have gone on and on about how I think this is a bad talent and needs to be redesigned, and I definitely still feel this way, but I have to admit that having a free ~3k hit (6-8k crit depending on armor value) every ~4-5 seconds is decent supplemental damage. I think it would be better if it gave my bleed ticks a chance to proc an additional bleed tick instead, but whatever. Free damage is free damage, and really - what other dps talents are there to take? Primal Madness... ha.

The last bit to notice about this more aggressive build is that I dropped Glyph of Mangle for Glyph of Shred. This really should be instinctive with the idea of using a Disc priest instead of a Resto Shammy: they are training Guntir more and more, which means that I have to go toe-to-toe less and less. Therefore, I end up getting more Shreds in reliably, and since we are working to get more pressure, having more Rip duration for "free" is basically a no-brainer. This one is really the game-changer, in my mind.

Take the situation from earlier in which I suggested I was dps'ing a target, hit him with a 5pt Rip and was going to use the Cyclone on the healer to initiate some pressure. Instead, I can use the Cyclone on the off-dps to reduce some incoming pressure and Guntir can potentially start dropping nukes while getting trained by a single dps. If he is nuking, the healer is working harder to keep up with the damage and thinking less about CC and positioning and what have you. Additionally, if there is only one DPS training Guntir because I peeled the other, then Lev will be able to single-heal Guntir while he's acting as a DPS for a moment. All the while, I am still landing Shreds on this dps target and increasing Rip's duration by as much as 6 seconds (a 22 second duration Rip is absolutely insane).

NOW, when I get 5 CPs, the target is at anywhere from 60-90% hp with likely 10-16 more seconds left on Rip's duration. I can actually use Maim here to stop the DPS, instant-cyclone the healer, and if the target is low enough I MIGHT be able to get an FB in the red zone during this CC chain, thus refreshing my Rip to 16 seconds, resetting my Glyph of Shred (meaning I can extend Rip again by as much as 6 seconds), and NOW I am energy and CP-starved but the target has a full duration Rip up again and just took a rather large FB hit, or more likely - crit.

We will just have to see how it plays out, but again I feel like the name of the game on Dispelclaw will be constant pressure and additional burst. Glyph of Shred and Blood in the Water will give me situational burst improvements and definite sustained damage improvements. I will post back when I have played it more, but I am looking forward to running it again soon.


Just as a note: I am trying to get back into releasing a youtube video every week or so of arena matches (2s or 3s... we'll see how 3s goes before I start recording it all the time like 2s), so be looking for that next week (probably Sunday, but who knows; it's Valentine's Day on Monday, so I might be busy).

We ruined some poor 1950-rated SPriest+Rogue team's night yesterday. We went 9-1 and 5 of those matches were against the same SPriest+Rogue team... and we won every match rather handily. They were not the best team in the world, and they simply did not know how to sit the Feral and CC the healer. I might do this week's video on us rolling them. We shall see...

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Feral comps

Okay, let's talk a little bit about the patch. YES, the patch dropped today, and yes, as my previous post suggests - I do not believe Feral is dead in PvP. I think that we will definitely be at a disadvantage as compared to how we used to play against Frost Mage teams, but in the long run everyone really got some bad nerfs and Ferals got just a few. That being said, Guntir and I were on last night and trying to find something to do. I tried hitting up the Frost Mage we had been doing 3s with, but he was not online. So, I put this is trade:

LF Holy Pally for 3v3s team; must have 2k exp; pst

Almost immediately I got a response from a Holy Pally who fit the bill. He asked me what comp I was planning on running and I said "HPal+Disc+Feral". He said "Disc is pretty bad, it would be better with a RShammy", and I replied with "The Disc also has a gear RShammy; let's do dis!" So, on complete impulse we joined his 3v3s team at around 1900 team rating or so and started playing double-healer Feral. It became obvious after the first match or two that this was a definite contender as far as 3v3s comps go. We ended up going 11-3 (most of those losses was against a 2150-rated Aff+Unholy+RDruid team that just ended up bursting down Guntir's Shammy inside of Strangulate+Gnaw combos; we feel we will do better after the patch and with a Disc Priest) and got the team rating above 2k (and grinding up our personal ratings from 1000 to around 1950).

Tonight, we are going to try Disc+HPal+Feral. I completely believe that this comp will be insane. Reports (I am at work; I haven't had time to test) coming out of Live right now are suggesting that Shred is hitting mages with 3500 resilience for around 12-14k and critting as high as 28-30k with only Mark of the Wild. Dear sweet limey jebus... if Mages were QQ'ing about Ferals before this patch, I cannot wait to see some of the QQ that comes about because of the direct damage buff. While it is true that most classes damage was brought down (Rogues, Warriors, and DKs most notably), Ferals was left basically the same except against classes with Shields. However, the double-healer comp for Feral essentially NEVER has the Feral attacking a high-armor target, so this is actually a somewhat damage buff for Ferals. Obviously, dealing with Frost Mages is going to be huge, but with dispel-cleave (Disc+Hpal) behind me, I can see popping Barkskin (undispellable) and just getting chain-dispelled while trying to eat the Mage to force a block.

Last night was a "last hurrah" of the golden age of Ferals. We went against a bunch of Mage teams, but one in particular stood above the rest. It was a Shatterplay (Frost+Shadow+RDruid) on Dalaran Sewers and I was just sitting the Mage. I ended up getting a pretty clutch Cyclone on the Druid as he appeared before he could put up HoTs on the Mage, which was immediately trinketed, followed by a full duration Hammer of Justice into a full duration Hex. However, the funny bit was when I got Psychic Horror'd off of the Frost who got about 20 yards away and started winding up a Frostbolt on me. I had 5 combo points and had JUST hit Tiger's Fury in an attempt to apply a really mean Rip, but the Mage was at around 50% HP and I did not want to lose that momentum to Iceblock, so as soon as the Psychic Horror got dispelled, I Feral Charged him, hit him with a 33k FB crit and followed it with a 24k Ravage crit for the kill before Hex ended on the Druid.

The funny bit is that this does not really change today. That is, Ferocious Bite and Ravage are still going to do tons of damage against Mages with Barrier down, but Shred is going to do WAY more damage than yesterday against Mages (and low-armor targets in general). Forcing these opportunities to land HUGE burst is actually going to be better because of our limited up-time from root-breaking being removed from Shapeshifting.

Think about it, because we cannot guarantee 100% up-time via shapeshifting, it means our positioning will have to be more conservative, which means that we will not be able to simply change into the fray and try to sit on a Mage, which means that when we actually DO get on a Mage, we will ALWAYS have energy to spend. I can envision something like opening with Pounce, hitting FFF, the Mage Blinking, me using FCC, landing a Ravage followed by a Mangle followed by a Rake. Okay, he's got me rooted now and I'm eating some dispels to try and stay up, so I land a Shred (huge damage potentially) and follow with Rip. Now, I'm basically energy-starved at this point, and I have been rooted 2-3 times at this point, so DR is coming into play. Most teams will be trying to peel me right now and/or dropping Deep Freezes on me to do damage. I can play line pretty hard because I have 16 seconds of Rip to use.

Here's where it gets interesting: I'm thinking of dropping the Glyph of Tiger's Fury for the Glyph of Shred, which means that once my healers have topped me off, I can get back on the mage who should still have Rip, Mangle, and possibly Rake up, land a Shred or two (having regenerated energy while not dps'ing), which will add 2-4 more seconds to Rip, and maybe even land a 5p FB to try and keep pressure up via insta-Cyclones.

The other thing that I like better about Disc+HPal+Feral is that the CC is better now that Tremor Totem got nerfed in the face. There will be a point in the match where Psychic Scream lands on a healer and will last full duration. This point is when Guntir will yell on skype "NUKE NUKE NUKE" and we will all drop trucks on the kill target. Mind Spike has ALWAYS been good damage, but it is hard to land as a Priest until today because of how weak you were as a healer. Today, Disc is much more self-sufficient, and with another healer, you can always turn-n-burn a kill target without much worry of getting pressured in the mean time. Additionally, PW:S is actually quite good now and can be used on the Priest himself to try and stave off damage while he's dropping Mind Spikes into the kill target. The Pally should be spamming Exorcisms as well while I am Shredding. The last bit that is just the cherry on top is that Mind Blast will be a guaranteed crit with 3x Mind Spike debuffs up and will do 18% more damage than Mind Spike normally. During these CC windows, we might very well just turn into a triple-dps team and nuke someone down before the healer comes back into the match (and we'll follow Psychic Scream with Cyclone and HoJ for good measure).

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Oh what's this!?

That's right, I threw together a quick compilation video of some 2s matches we had recorded. Nothing super special, but they are all against Frost+Spriest teams except for one (affliction+frost) and I thought it might be nice showing an instance where Blizz got something right. No, I'm not talking about hard-counters or anything (I have several videos... well perhaps not 'several' but a few... of Spriest+Frost teams beating us), I'm talking about some of the other changes mentioned in the patch notes that will actually benefit Ferals and the game as a whole.

Particularly, you might have noticed that during the first couple matches, the damage I was taking is absolutely ridiculous until Barkskin and Survival Instincts fall off. This is actually pretty counter-intuitive at a high level; one would not really expect to be taking more damage during his damage-reduction cooldowns than after them, but you have to trust me on this one. The reason for this seemingly crazy damage drop-off (and also why you see Mages using Coldsnap before Iceblock in half the matches) is because these teams essentially need to net a kill during Bloodlust or the SPriest's damage becomes negligible. Honestly, if you watch the matches, as soon as Bloodlust falls off I stop playing line quite so hard and actually sit Mages until they die. Admittedly, next patch this strategy is likely to change, but it is also one that will require a little bit less defensively-minded play during certain windows.

Aside from the video, I do have something I want to talk about: the patch tomorrow. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN! Yes, the patch is dropping tomorrow, and yes a lot of Ferals will be moving on to bigger and better things, but rest assured: I hate myself just enough to continue playing Feral in the arenas and I plan on putting out more videos before my time the time has come to stop playing WoW. I know that a post or two ago I was a bit melodramatic and suggesting quitting the game forever, but any long-time reader should realize that this was an idle threat. Saddened though I am over the change to shapeshifting as it pertains to Ferals, I remain resolute in my belief that Blizzard will not, can not, allow Feral to move on from this point without some additional cooldown support. It may take them months, it may take them a few patches, but at some point Blizzard will have to acknowledge the precarious state they have left Ferals in with regard to magic-users training them down.

Okay, enough of my naïve view of the world; let's talk about some of the things that are coming about with this patch that may have flown under the radar because of all the shapeshifting discussions. I think the best way to approach these is class-by-class with small-scale bullet points.

* Unholy Pet damage down roughly 20%
* Death Coil damage down 10%
* Strike damage down 9% (Rage of the Rivendare)
* Strength reduced by 5% (Unholy Might)
* When Unholy Runes are spent, cannot be reduced below 100% movement (OP, imo)
* Virulence changed to 10/20/30% bonus disease damage (instead of +3/6/9% spell hit)

Overall: I would say that DK damage has been hit rather hard this patch. The RotR and Unholy Might nerfs basically leave Necrotic Strike in a rather odd position in that it will hit for something on the order of 4-8k on Live while it will be more like 3k-6k tomorrow (I'm adding the DD component and the absorb on both of these, btw). While DK anti-control got improved, most notably Icebound Fortitude (now breaks stuns in addition to immuning them), their damage was basically kicked in the teeth. I expect that DKs will indeed be flavors for a long time to come, but I do not really expect them to be unstoppable juggernauts anymore. I read this patch as a reasonably strong buff to mobility, but a rather decent nerf to damage.

* Barkskin no longer dispellable (awesome)
* Rip/Rake scaling component and static damage down 10%
* Shred scaling component and static damage up 22.22_%
* Mangle scaling component and static damage up ~22% (little less)
* Skull Bash lockout reduced to 4 seconds from 5 seconds (just a mean change)
* Berserk no longer grants fear immunity or breaks fear (this seemed unnecessary)
* Glyph of Entangling Roots redesigned (now lowers the cast time by 0.2s; no one will use this)
* Feral Charge: Cat should always turn the druid around to face the back of the target (faaaaaaaahk... this was a bug I was enjoying... sometimes actually getting to my target and not getting flipped around)
* Druids can correctly cast Barkskin while silenced (this is a HUGE buff).

Overall: I feel like Resto got hit pretty hard in the mana-longevity department, Boomkin got hit with unneeded nerfs, and Feral was hit with a number of mean nerfs while getting some increased damage output against low-armor targets. What is rather interesting here is the fixes to Barkskin. Essentially, Barkskin was auto-dispelled in a number of situations in 2s (you can actually see in my video this week, a mage spellsteals barkskin because I got stripped first) and definitely 3s/5s when you needed it and good teams would actually hit you with a Silence effect when trying to score a kill and your healer was CC'd to keep you from using it. Now, Barkskin cannot be dispelled AND it can be used while Silenced... this is a huge buff to Feral survivability (and Resto/Balance but it's hard to get excited about them). Additionally, the direct damage buff we got will make us quite a bit meaner with some up-time on a target if the target does not have high armor and a shield (read: anything but RShamm and HPal).

Yawning and a few other high-up number crunchers on the Feral side of things have also been posting interesting side-effects of buffing Shred back to its former glory. One interesting thing is that in PvE, it is no longer useful to use a Ferocious Bite until the target reaches sub-25% health (because of Blood in the Water); the damage of a 35-energy FB essentially mirrors that of Shred, but FB consumes Combo Points. In PvP, this matters less since FB is still about burst attempts against low-armor targets, but it is interesting to note that Shred will be hitting harder than FB again and it does not seem like Blizz even cares. This puts Ferals into that odd spot again where the target has 5-cps on him, you have 50 energy, and he has Rip/Rake/Mangle up for another 10 seconds; what to do? Using a Ferocious Bite against a Mage or Warlock might be a good answer, but if the damage is comparable to Shred then there is little point. One could use Maim more in an attempt to control incoming damage via stuns, but being energy-starved while your target is stunned is not really useful. SR is still a good finisher, but definitely not worth more than 1-2 points in PvP.

Another interesting side-effect of this patch is that many high-ups in the mathematics community have started commenting on the state of our damage output as it pertains to bleeds versus direct damage. With the nerf to bleed damage and the buff to direct damage, Ferals are actually at an interesting position where Critical Strike Rating is basically the same worth as Mastery, in terms of damage-per-point. The interesting thing is that while Mastery only increases one aspect of our damage table, Crit essentially increases it all as well as improving our combo-point generation. Many high-up Ferals have suggested that after the patch, reforging all our gear to Crit rating instead of Mastery rating (same socket color and all) may actually be more beneficial in terms of being an actual dps class. The idea is rather simple, at the moment most Feral PvP'rs with decent gear have anywhere from 33-36% crit after reforging nearly everything to Mastery and gemming Mastery after hitting the hit/spell-pen caps. The idea is that while stacking that amount of Mastery will give you something like 15-20% additional damage to your bleeds, the same amount of stat-points spent on crit will give you roughly 5-10% more damage on EVERYTHING including bleeds, and increase your CP-gen, thus allowing you more control throughout the fight. I might end up trying this tomorrow.

* Aimed Shot damage increased to 200% from 150%
* Arcane Shot damage increased 15%
* Auto-shot now usable while moving (huge buff)
* Deterrence now IS Iceblock except it doesn't remove debuffs
* Kill Command damage increased by 20%
* Kill Shot's scaling component increased by 50% (huge Killshots inc)
* Chimera Shot damage increased by 50%
* Wild Quiver increased roughly 17% per point (making it something like 2.1% per point up from 1.8)
* Glyph of Concussive Shot turns Concussive Shot into Judgment of Justice (limits maximum speed to 100%)

Overall: I think that Survival got a heft damage nerf, but there simply were none of these in PvP before anyway. Marksmanship hunters see a nice damage buff across the board and continue to have their decent control. The interesting aspect here is that Marks hunters will see a rather nice improvement to their white damage having it available to them all the time, even while on the move. In addition, they can line up some pretty sick damage combos via Steady Shot x3 to proc Master Marksman (insta-Aimed Shot), Chimera Shot to proc Marked for Death (another insta-Aimed Shot), and possibly a killshot depending on the HP of the target. Stacking 3x Steady Shots is not impossible in PvP and happens with enough regularity that I would not be surprised to see Marks Hunters becoming more prevalent in PvP, particularly to heavily destroy Mage teams. The AS-CS-AS combo does something on the order of 30-50k depending on gear and target (armor is a factor) and while this cannot happen except once every 10s, I wouldn't be surprised to see African Turtle Cleave and PHDk coming back in full-force after this patch.

* Fingers of Frost can no longer be dispelled and increases Ice Lance damage by 15%.
* Frost Specialization nerfed (15% less damage to frozen targets baseline, but increases Frostbolt damage by 15%)
* Ring of Frost fixed (not nerfed; read explanation)

Overall: Mages are untouched. There are a few big changes here that will definitely affect Frost, but overall nothing has changed. The Ring of Frost "nerf" is actually a fix. The problem is that the affected area is actually quite a bit bigger than the ring itself (as you will notice in my video... that clearly didn't hit me but I was frozen none-the-less). Additionally, the inner portion where you should be safe is actually quite a bit smaller on live that it looks like. Essentially, nothing is changing for Ring of Frost except that it will actually only be as effective as the effect on the ground looks like it is. When you walk around it, there will not be a good chance you will get hit by "nothing" and get frozen. Additionally, there is now a debuff on a target after the frozen debuff is removed (either runs its course or is dispelled) keeping you from being frozen again for 3 seconds. All things being equal, good Mages will continue to be good, and bad mages will continue to faceroll.

The damage nerf is an interesting one since in PvP Mages simply do not stack Mastery (though it seems like an amazing stat when compared against Crit or Haste). However, the baseline amount of Mastery they were receiving was too high. The devs essentially reduced how much Mastery they got for free by being Frost so that all damage against Frozen targets from 20% to 5%. The idea here being that against Frozen targets, they will do 15% less damage. To compensate this, they improved Frostbolt's damage by 15% on the Mastery talent, so Frostbolts will do the same damage against all targets tomorrow as they do today against only Frozen targets. This is actually a Frost Mage buff, if you notice. However, the Mastery change also affects Ice Lance, so Ice Lance basically lost 15% damage against Frozen targets (which was the lion's share of its damage), but gained 15% damage when used while Fingers of Frost is proc'd. This is a rather steep Frost nerf given that Fingers of Frost is often used in conjunction with Deep Freeze while Ice Lance is almost always used against Frozen targets regardless of FoF procs. That being said, this will lower Frost Mage damage pretty heavily outside of FoF procs.

* Divine Light cost increased 10%
* Divine Plea buffed against dispelling (lasts less time, but returns a little more mana)
* Flash of Light cost increased 10%
* Holy Light cost increased 10%
* Protector of the Innocent healing reduced 30%

Overall: Ret and Prot are basically at the same place they were before. Ret saw a few damage buffs, but because they cannot generate Holy Power well they will still be somewhat short-representation in PvP. Holy had essentially every heal either nerfed in healing or cost, which was necessary in my opinion. The Divine Plea change is actually a rather strong buff because it lowers the amount of time that the pally spends with the old Mortal Strike effect (-50% healing on targets) and it makes it so that if you only get 2 ticks of Divine Plea before it gets dispelled, you got the equivalent of 4 ticks on the previous version. I think that Holy Pallies will continue to be the best PvP healers in top-tier teams in 2s and 3s simply because of their great survivability, mobility, damage output, generally infinite mana, and utility. In addition, they get Rebuke on their bars for those very seldom opportunities where they actually get into melee range with a caster.

* Power Word: Shield is roughly twice as strong
* Mind Blast now deals 18% more damage than Mind Spike (as opposed to about 30% less)
* Grace is no longer limited to one target (24% bonus healing received; good against swapping teams)
* Pain Suppression is no longer dispellable (huge)
* Penance healing increased 20%
* Strength of Soul makes Inner Focus give the Priest 3/5 seconds of immunity to interrupts/silences and dispels.
* Strength of Soul now also reduces Weakened Soul when Greater Heal and Flash Heal are cast in addition to Heal (awesome).
* Chastise cooldown increased to 30 seconds (from 25) and it now properly breaks on damage.
* Focused Will now procs when critically hit (huge)
* 4-set bonus changed to giving the Priest a Hand of Freedom for 4-seconds after using PW:S on himself.

Overall: Holy Priests a little bit worse off after this patch because of the nerf to Chastise. Disc is going to be absolutely amazing tomorrow. I simply am astounded that these changes are actually going to come to pass. Disc will be a machine and nearly impossible to stay on (except for DKs) and one of their horrible problems at the moment is being addressed via Inner Focus and Strength of Soul: training a Priest and landing a kick will not necessarily spell death for the Priest anymore. This is just a hugely great buff to Disc.

* Combat Readiness now lasts 20s (down from 30s) but the Combat Insight buff lasts 10 seconds up from 6s.
* Smoke Bomb now lasts 5 seconds (down from 10s)
* Stealth (and Prowl) no longer broken from Demoralizing Shout/Roar.
* Elusiveness nerfed from 15/30s off of CloS to 10/20s reduced.
* Preparation no longer resets Evasion
* Shadowstep's cooldown increased from 20s to 24s.

Overall: Rogues actually got some nerfs this patch. Essentially, they are more easily locked down, their control has been nerfed a bit via Smoke Bomb, and you can actually target them as another melee since Preparation will no long reset Evasion. In addition, ShS going up another 4 seconds on the cooldown is pretty rough. Bad opponents of Rogues who don't understand Combat Readiness will still have trouble killing them, but essentially, the new strategy against RLS will be "make the Rogue evasion, swap to the Lock, make the Rogue CR, swap to the lock, kill the rogue". This might seem similar to the old version, but the old version also had "Live through bloodlust" and "make the Rogue evasion again, swap to the lock".

* Lava Burst damage increased 10%
* Purge now removes 1 Magic effect (down from 2)
* Cleansing Waters only heals once per cast now (down from two when it removed two effects)
* Earthshield can no longer be dispelled.
* Tremor Totem redesigned to now be a group WotF on a 1min CD (instead of a spammable anti-fear button).

Overall: Resto Shammies are a lot worse off tomorrow in PvP because of the removal of Bloodlust, the nerf to Cleansing Waters, and the general nerf to Tremor Totem. This will also make RLS a weaker team in general, and with Purge being nerfed so heavily, all shammies are going to end up struggling to fit roles on teams.

* Curse of Exhaustion nerfed to 30% (from 50%)
* Devour (Felhunter ability) nerfed from 8s CD to 20s CD and is no longer auto-cast (HUGE against bad locks).
* Drain Mana removed from the game.
* Fel Armor redesigned from 2% hp every 5 seconds to 3% direct damage done returned as health (huge nerf to double-dps locks)
* Unstable Affliction's silence reduced to 4seconds (down from 5s)

Overall: Warlocks are a much less face-roll class tomorrow. Devour is a HUGE nerf in all PvP scenes, and Drain Mana being removed makes them much less of a threat in 2s on Afflic+Healer teams. Curse of Exhaustion was another point where Warlocks were nerfed in 2s since only two healers in the game can remove Curses. Fel Armor being nerfed was just the cherry on top; you might notice the end of that video I posted is roughly twice as long as it took to kill the Mage and we were still fighting the Lock because of Fel Armor's self-healing component (in addition to Siphon Life, which is alive and well and still OP, imo). Again, this is another rather large nerf against RLS tomorrow... this team FEELS like it will be quite a bit weaker than today.

* Charge and Intercept now share diminishing returns on the stun category (Throwdown's category)
* Drums of War no longer reduces the cost of Piercing Howl (used to make it free; huge nerf)
* Lambs to the Slaughter changed to a stacking buff giving 30% extra damage from yellows (used to be next Overpower was 30% stronger only, but proc'd off of MS and Execute... this is much stronger now).
* Mortal Strike cost reduced by 5 rage (meh).
* Heroic Strike damage nerfed on a couple of talents.

Overall: Warriors are now going to be similar to Ferals in terms of precarious positioning. Instead of having HUGE amounts of up-time on targets and being able to stun them for forever and a day, they will have limited up-time with peels and end up clipping their own DR if Charge is used on CD. Many Warriors are considering going Fury simply for the increased damage and since Intercept will be a better stun on a slightly longer CD that will not DR itself. However, Throwdown simply gets kicked to the curb and cannot realistically be used for full duration anymore except by the best of players; expect good Warriors to use it as a CC on a healer or off-target when bunch-ups happen.


Whew... that is a lot of changes.

Overall, if you look at all the nerfs, it seems like a balancing act is actually happening. Warriors, Warlocks, Mages, DKs, and Rogues are all being pretty nastily nerfed and these classes hold the lion's share of top-representation above 2400. Ferals got their mobility nerfed in certain edge-cases and will have to relearn a lot of how to play their class (expect playing very conservatively as compared to the past against Mage teams), but also got some buffs to direct damage which will play heavily against low-armor targets. Additionally, the buff to Barkskin is huge now allowing the Feral to use it when it is needed regardless of the opponent's uses.

Yeah, I think this patch is going to hurt Ferals quite a bit, but the overall nerfs to other classes was probably large enough to mitigate a lot of that pain. Again, I fully expect that Ferals will, at some later date, get a cooldown or two to aid with magic effects (since we're the only melee who doesn't have any), but we will just have to wait and hope on that one.


My aim is to release videos like this every week (most weeks) again and hopefully get some good footage and eventually make an actual PvP video from some of the clips. Guntir does not want me to use any of the clips from today's videos; we have been rusty and he said he did not play very well (might even be a little upset about my posting this video). Oh well, we shall see!

Overall (last time I use it today, I promise), I am excited for tomorrow's patch.

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Let's ask some questions and give some suggestions

Feral Questions:
1) What's the point of Berserk lasting 15-20 seconds if you're only ever going to have ~5 seconds of up-time on a target with it rolling?

2) What's the point of Berserk having a 3min cooldown given how terrible the damage output will be in PvP with it up (given the stuff from #1)?

3) How is Feral still the only melee in the game with zero cooldowns to stop, dispel, reflect, etc magic effects? We have damage reduction cooldowns like everyone else... but if we're getting nuked or have two rows of dots, we're done... there's nothing we can do.

4) Why do Shred, Ravage, Ambush, Backstab, and Garrote still have directionality components?

5) Why is Stampeding Roar so abysmal/useless in PvP for the Feral using it?

6) Why are we the only dps spec in the game with a set bonus with an effect which is reduced by our enemies (snares reduce the effect of our bonus multiplicatively)?

7) Why do we have talents that are terrible? Fury Swipes and Primal Madness top the bill on this one.

8) Why is Feral's kick OP when a) it has a lag component because of the charge effect, so it's easy to juke, b) it cannot be used while rooted because of the charge effect, and c) Rogue's kick (which is the same but without lag) is okay?

9) Why is Berserk's Fear immunity and break OP when Berserker Rage isn't?

10) Why is Feral Charge Cat (our only gap closer) a 30s cooldown that sometimes takes us to our opponents while Charge (Arms' only gap closer) is going to be a 14s CD and Intercept (Fury's only gap closer) a 20s CD and both of these abilities stun the opponent and thus work on HoF'd targets or mobile targets etc?

11) What are Ferals supposed to do for burst damage against high-armored targets with resilience? HPallies and RShammies are nigh-invincible WHILE having infinite mana against Ferals because we have NOTHING that scares them through their high armor (shields) and high resilience.

12) Why does Hibernate not share DR with any other Druid CC effect? Druids are a Feral's worst enemy having 3 different DR-category CCs with no cooldowns.

13) Why does Nurturing Instinct give us bonus healing but not spell power... and why so little?

14) Why was LotP considered OP at 8% returned every 6 seconds with 100% crit when Recuperate is 4% returned every 3 seconds AND a 6% damage reduction component? If the Feral had 100% crit, Recuperate and the old LotP would have been the same... but no Ferals had 100% crit rate, so Recuperate is obviously better AND LotP is the OP one??? That don't make sense...

15) Ferals, Rogues, Locks, Priests, and Mages are all the cloth/leather-wearing classes in the game; why do Rogues, Locks, Priests, and Mages get either a) a LOT more armor than Ferals in Cat Form or b) talents which provide tons of flat damage reduction while Ferals get neither?

16) Why is Savage Roar so lackluster when compared to Slice and Dice (follow-up question+answer: because Feral's white damage is so poor; why is Feral's white damage so poor)?

17) What good is there in being able to break slowing effects via shapeshifting if every slow in the game is either auto-applied or trivially reapplied (Crippling, Desecration, everything a frost mage casts, Hamstring, etc)?

18) Why is Predator's Swiftness still dispellable while Fingers of Frost is becoming non-dispellable?

19) Why does Predator's Swiftness force us to leave Cat Form to use a nature spell? Since we can't break roots anymore, wouldn't it make sense to allow us to use these IN FORM?

20) Why is Pounce a 3 (4 talented) second opener when Cheap Shot is a 5s opener?

21) Why is Maim a 5s stun when Kidney Shot is a 6s stun?

22) Why is cp-gen so amazingly bad for Ferals unless they have 100% crit?

23) Why is being energy-starved the defacto position of Ferals?

24) Why does Shred hit harder than Ferocious Bite (again) on the PTR? (follow-up again: because Shred got buffed and FB didn't... follow-up again... why would I use 75 energy to do what Shred can do for 40)?

25) Why does Blood in the Water only work on targets at or below 25% health while Cut to the Chase (rogue assassination talent) works regardless of target's HP.

26) Why does Tiger's Fury apply a 15% bonus damage buff for 6 seconds... or for as long as Rake and Rip are on the target if they were cast in that window?

Feral Suggestions:
1) Fury Swipes changed to also give 3/7/10 energy when the proc'd bonus hit lands.

2) Tiger's Fury changed from 15% bonus damage for the duration to 50% armor ignore for the duration.

3) Primal Madness changed (Bear version stays as-is) to increase the duration of your Tiger's Fury and Berserk by 1/2 seconds and the effect of your Tiger's Fury by 50/100% (making TF 50%/75%/100%).

4) Berserk changed to a 6 second duration and 1 minute cooldown.

5) Glyph of Berserk (Prime) removed but Glyph of Shred renamed to "Glyph of Hemophilia", but has the same effect as before but includes Mangle (Cat) as well as Shred.

6) Blood in the Water changed to give your Ferocious Bite and Rip abilities to have a 50/100% chance to refresh your Savage Roar to it's 5 combo point maximum duration in addition to causing your Ferocious Bite to refresh Rip on a target at or below 25% hp.

7) Maim removed from the game entirely.

8) Stampede changed to allow one Ravage or Pounce for 10s at 50/100% reduced energy cost.

9) Feral Charge changed entirely... now just one ability: charge an enemy immobilizing them for 4 seconds, 20s cooldown, can be used in Cat or Bear form.

10) Bash's stun duration lowered to 3 seconds.

11) Brutal Impact FIXED... wtf. It currently is a 2-point talent that increases the duration of your Pounce and Bash by 1/1 second. Fixed to increase the duration of your Pounce and Bash by 1/2 second (both would be 5s with 2/2)

12) Natural Reaction changed to read "Reduces damage taken when in Bear or Cat Form by 6/12%, increases your dodge while in Bear Form by 3%, and you generate 1 rage every time you dodge while in Bear Form."

13) Stampeding Roar changed to a 1min cooldown, cost removed entirely.

14) Glyph of Stampeding Roar (major glyph) causes your Stampeding Roar (Cat) to grant you immunity to movement impairing effects for the duration but no longer affect friendly targets.

15) The bonus healing component of Nurturing Instinct has been replaced with "and causes your Barkskin to remove all non-physical harmful effects on you when used in Cat Form."

16) Feral's 4-set PvP bonus changed to "15% bonus movement speed in Cat and Bear Form", but it will be applied additively after the calculation.

17) Predator's Swiftness is no longer dispellable.

18) Predator's Swiftness now allows that instant-cast nature spell to be used without leaving Cat Form.

The explanations:
Okay, so you might browsed this list a bit and said to yourself "Self, I see a bunch of changes here, but nothing really fixing the shapeshifting nerf." This is true. I am operating under the assumption that the shapeshifting nerf will indeed come to pass as-is and these suggestions will aim at improving Feral in the following patch (which will take 2-3 months, likely). Yes, this is a dismal view of the world (of warcraft) to come, but I simply do not believe that any more changes will be included in this patch, and I do not think that Blizzard cares that the removal of shapeshifting to break root effects will destroy Ferals. All that being said, the spec is moving in a new direction and what else can I do but try to ride that pony to the finish line and hope to place.

Might as well address each on a line-item basis, right?

1) Fury Swipes is bad, we're constantly energy-starved... give it some minor energy-boost when the hit lands. There... we aren't ALWAYS energy-starved now.

2) Tiger's Fury is a cooldown, and a good one (60 energy is nice). The 15% bonus damage is OKAY, but it gets prioritized to Bleeds because it still lasts full duration. Even if it were changed to affect Bleeds ONLY while TF's buff was active (as it is supposed to), then it would force Ferals to prioritize burst damage during the TF window... good. HOWEVER, the problem Ferals are currently having is that we cannot do ANYTHING to high-armor and resil'd targets. Holy Pallies and RShammies have 20-30% more physical damage reduction than Disc Priests and Resto Druids... that extra 15% simply doesn't equate. Change it to a decent armor-ignore effect so that we get a good damage boost against ALL armor-types, not just low-armor classes.

3) Primal Madness is awful as-is... but it's because TF isn't super-great (and Berserk is going to be awful next patch if nothing changes). However, with #2, TF is a good cooldown that lasts 6 seconds... make Primal Madness improve TF and Berserk's duration and increase the armor-ignore component of TF. Bam... meaningful talent revolving around cooldowns.

4) Berserk is awful as a 3min CD... we're going to just get CC'd through the majority of it anyway and/or not have enough up-time to make it count. Lower the CD to 1min and lower the duration to 6 seconds. Boom... burst damage that you have to time in accordance with CCs and it isn't the end of the world if you DO get CC'd through it because it's a 1min CD (similar to shadow dance in these regards). From a PvE point of view, this would actually be a slight buff because it would last 8 seconds talented on a 1min CD (the CD would be cut down by 2/3, but the up-time would be increased to ~1/8th up-time from 1/15th up-time).

5) With Berserk being a shorter cooldown and getting buffs from Primal Madness, we'll just drop this glyph entirely with the idea being that players will take Glyph of Hemophilia instead and improving it to allow Mangle-spammers to gain the benefit.

6) Blood in the Water is a PvE-only talent because of how hard it is to time using Ferocious Bite on a target at or below 25% hp without wasting 50 energy on a 1-point FB just to refresh Rip. Additionally, if a HoT (or Recuperate... BAH) ticks and gets them to 25.001% hp, then Rip does not get refreshed and you wasted energy, combo points, and damage output by not just ramping up to 5-cps and reapplying Rip. Changing it to ALWAYS refresh Savage Roar is a step in the right direction in that it will always keep your SR up by using EITHER of your DPS finishers.

7) Maim is useless... it's a 5s stun that takes WAY too much energy and combo points, and usually leaves us energy-starved and cp-starved... so it kills our damage output. Just remove it and work with #8 instead...

8) Stampede is good... the devs basically got this right. Ravage doesn't require you to be behind your opponent, it doesn't cost energy, it doesn't take CPs... this is just a good talent. With the removal of Maim, Ferals will still need some control, so we'll just make Stampede the "after FCC, you can use an opener when not stealthed" talent by appending "or Pounce" to the Ravage bit. The idea is that a Feral would choose between using FCC to a target and a) dealing damage or b) using control without destroying his damage output by dropping CPs and Energy into the target.

9) There is no reason, with the root-breaking nerf to shapeshifting, that Feral Charge (Cat) should be a 30 seconds cooldown... that's just ridiculous. Instead, all the Feral Charges should share CDs (just like Charge/Intercept) and they should all have a root component (just like Charge and Intercept both have stun components) and they should both have a 20s CD to keep from DR'ing themselves (as opposed to Charge, but just like Intercept).

10) Bash should only be a 3-sec stun by default because...

11) Brutal Impact is bugged (imho) at the moment... it gives 1 additional second to Bash and Pounce for 1 talent point, and 1 additional second to Bash and Pounce for 2 talent points. BAH... 2/2 Brutal Impact should increase the stun duration on Pounce and Bash by 2 seconds making them both 5 second stuns.

12) Natural Reaction should just give the Feral damage reduction regardless of the form he is in... we need some additional survivability at the moment.

13) Stampeding Roar is pretty awful... it should have been a 1min CD from the onset, and the cost is laughable... just remove the cost entirely.

14) Glyph of Stampeding Roar would replace Glyph of Entangling Roots (since it will be useless next patch) and allow the Cat version of Stampeding Roar to be used as a poor-man's Hand of Freedom for the casting Feral only. It won't give a bonus movement speed buff to everyone else, so it will not be picked up by PvP Ferals, and it won't be used by flag-running Ferals because it will only work for Cat Form. The 1-min cooldown keeps it from being overpowered.

15) The bonus healing component of Nurturing Instinct is just bad filler from TBC. There is no reason for this talent to exist as-is. We don't need to heal... we don't want to heal... and our heals are terrible even WITH this talent. Just remove it and allow Barkskin to blank harmful non-physical effects as well when it is used. This is, again, like a poor-man's Cloak of Shadows in that it will blank the abilities, but not immune us to them for the duration. The tradeoff being that Barkskin can be used while under the effects of Stun, Fear, etc (but not silence, interestingly enough).

16) For example, if a Feral (moving around around 149% speed with 4-set and 2/2 Feral Swiftness) gets hit with Crippling, he would be moving at ~45%. After this change, Ferals with the 4-set and 2/2 Feral Swiftness would be moving 145% (exactly), and getting hit with Crippling Poison would make us move at 54% speed (1.0 * 1.3 * 0.3 + 0.15).

17) This is a no-brainer; training a Feral in PvP is the best course of action... you don't need to decide whether to attack the Feral or not... you just train him because he can't do anything about it. On top of that, you're dispel-training him, too, because the healer is trying to keep him up and dispelling is a great way to cancel that... so Predator's Swiftness (a defensive proc to try and peel a guy off you via Cyclone) gets insta-dispelled. Just make it a physical buff already.

18) Since we cannot shapeshift to break roots anymore, and we don't really shapeshift to break snares either because they get auto-applied back onto us, we no longer have any reason to go back to caster form... we shouldn't have to spend an extra GCD on using our instant-cast ability. Rogues don't have to spend 2 GCDs to use Blind, DKs don't have to use 2 GCDs on Hungering Cold, Warriors don't have to spend 2 GCDs on Intimidating Shout, etc.


These are just some things I think are worth looking into for patch 4.0.7, codenamed: "Oh shit we dun goof'd on Ferals."

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