Always the optimist, right?

Anyway, here is my rationale behind the "bleeds are dispellable" change: Blizzard is trying to make an active effort at balancing the PvP scene in MoP. I think that the devs saw how out of control PvP became as a result of PvE gear and they are making an active effort to make PvP gear the best gear for PvP. Additionally, they noticed that a number of roles performed by certain classes were too shallow in terms of depth of play.

Feral is the easiest example here. What is the Feral play-style in PvP? Well, we basically ramp up on some target, and train it unmercifully keeping Mangle, Rip, and Rake up as much as possible while making few swaps to other targets (revolving around Tiger's Fury) and basically Cycloning when DR falls. This is a really high level view of the way Feral plays and obviously it gets much more complicated than that when one analyzes it further, but Feral has a simple rotation that is largely the same as the PvE rotation.

On the other hand, if we look at, say, Rogues or Warlocks, their PvP rotations differ tremendously from their PvP rotations. Rogues, running RLS, spend the majority of matches setting up and pooling energy, then Shadow Dancing on the kill target with extreme pressure during a short burst window. This is almost completely upside-down as compared to the PvE rotation for Subtlety.

So, here is what might be happening... maybe. I have two possible theories here:

1) Feral will get some dispel protection on Rip.
2) Feral will have a different PvP play-style than its PvE rotation.

I have already spent some, admittedly angry, time explaining that giving Feral dispel protection would make for an odd situation. For example, if one makes Rip's dispel protection too weak, then Feral simply will not use Rip against Monks (or anyone else who will be able to dispel bleeds); keep in mind that Rip is extremely difficult to get up and maintain, so anything like UA/VT's current dispel protection simply is too weak (a 3-4s lockout for dispelling something that took us 13-16 seconds to get up is terrible). So, in order for the dispel protection on Rip to be meaningful and give the option a cause-and-effect relationship (as opposed to "just dispel when Rip gets applied", which is where we see it now), we would expect something that was on the order of the effort put into applying Rip. Obviously, a separate DR category CC would have to be 8 seconds it order to be effective, but that would be overpowered. I suggested in yesterday's post that something like 50% haste for 10 seconds would be powerful yet not too powerful. Additionally, something to do with making CP-gen easier would be worthwhile as well.

However, I do not think that Feral will be getting dispel protection on their bleeds. I think that Feral will be getting something else entirely; I think that Feral might have a different PvE rotation than PvP.

As a disclaimer, keep in mind that I probably drank too much last night and this thought came to me in one of those hazy half-awake half-asleep moments at around 5am this morning, so it has not been entirely fleshed out yet... and I am not a developer nor do I have any real insight into their thinking.

That being said, what if Rip was our PvE finisher?

I have, for a very very long time, complained about the fact that Feral has a lot of trouble keeping up Rip (a mandatory 5pt finisher), Maim (a nice-to-have 5pt finisher), and Ferocious Bite (a strong burst 5pt finisher). In fact, you will notice that I do not even mention Savage Roar because in PvP we largely ignore it - it costs too much energy and draws away from our combo points which we direly need to use a finisher that is NOT Rip... and we have to keep Rip up. Any time we get an opportunity to use another finisher (some clear casting procs got you to 5cps and you still have 12+ seconds on Rip), we end up rounding it with burst or control (depending on the situation).

Transitioning just a bit (but it should be plain to see why toward the end), recall that I have been complaining about how Savage Roar is once again its former "30% bonus damage" version. My argument against this is two fold: first, it requires even more combo points be spent on finishers we cannot afford, meaning that we cannot use Maim or Ferocious Bite as often; second, it means that we have even more ramp-up required to deal our "balanced" damage. In the Wrath days, this meant that before we could apply Rip or Rake a Feral had to first get up Savage Roar so that they would get that bonus damage.

What if Savage Roar were tweaked slightly to read "Increases direct physical damage by 30% for x seconds." Further, what if Savage Roar is no longer an Enrage effect and therefore not trivially dispelled via Soothe/Tranq/Shiv? See where I am headed now? This simple change, coupled with Rip becoming a dispellable DoT, makes the Feral PvP and PvE rotations entirely different. In PvE, Rip is the strong finisher and Mastery is the be-all-end-all secondary stat; however, in PvP, where burst is king, Rip is easily dispelled  and SR increases all our direct damage (white swings, Shreds, Mangles, FBs, etc), so we would likely drop Rip from our rotation in the same way that Rogues have dropped Garrote from theirs.

Yes, Rip would still be a potent bleed effect, but if classes can dispel it, we would likely focus our energy (and combo points) to some other form of damage-dealing that cannot be dispelled. Additionally, Rip requires that we use five combo points to get the best damage out of it, while Savage Roar requires only one combo point at its minimum; this would mean that we could more effectively use Ferocious Bite and Maim to set up and deal damage. We would still use Rake, of course, but if Rake gets dispelled, we just reapply Rake instantly because it is decent damage even without stacking Mastery and it increases the damage done by Shred (and increases the critical chance of FB, etc).

Again, this is all speculation; I have no intimate understanding of the design choices of Blizzard, nor do I expect any of this to happen exactly. I was merely thinking about how SR seems to be mandatory again and Rip looks like it will be trivially dispelled in PvP and came to this theory. It would be interesting in that it would make Feral less of a DoT-based damage dealer and more of a direct damage-dealer with more control; this would make Feral seem more Rogue-y, which to many would be a negative thing. The only thing I know for sure is that bleeds being dispellable means that Feral needs something in order to keep a competitive edge in PvP, and I have not seen it yet.

One last thing to mention!

Boubouille over at is still under the impression that the MoP Beta will be going Live "soon". Not "Blizzard Soon", but rather this week or next week. So, that should be exciting!