Beta 9014 Feral changes, and I rant a bit

Beta build 9014 went live late last night, and in it there were four changes most affecting Feral Druids;

  1. Swipe now has the ‘no limit to number of targets’ implemented.
  2. Mangle (Cat) has had it’s damage significantly buffed.
  3. Rake has had it’s damage buffed.
  4. Protector of the Pack now provides 1%/2%/3% Damage Mitigation, instead of a flat 3% at all levels.

Okay. So. Why should you even care about the cat stuff when none of it is live yet? 

Because, my friends, it shows that things are still changing. The Developers have heard about your concerns for Feral DPS, and are still working on things.

I hope that knowing our class is still being actively worked on, adjusted, and tested encourages people to provide level-headed, clear and well written feedback to the Devs on the Beta forums.

And to shut the hell up with all the whining.


Yes, I KNOW you have valid concerns. So do I.

I know that PvP is looking painful right now for Feral. I know that you are concerned about Protector of the Pack being dependant on the number of people you are grouped with. I know that the lack of INT on our gear, and the corresponding shrinkage of our Mana pool and the way it drastically limits our shifting, are issues that concern you.

I know.

And your concerns need to be shared with Blizzard. Help give them areas to focus their attentions on. YES!

But please, please, go to the Beta forums, and try to present your concerns clearly, describe what exact mechanic, Talent or situation concerns you, in what setting, tell them how you see it affecting how you are playing in the Beta, and describe how this either limits or impedes your play. And share your delight with what you feel works well.

Articulate your thoughts and ideas in a thoughtful, polite manner.

And stop whining and BITCHING about it.

Seriously, if all you are going to do is post that, “This sucks, Blizz sucks, thanx for the nerf, I reroll warrior, kthxbai”, then just shut the hell up.

Just stop the whining. Provide some useful feedback. Give specifics, be polite, and try to pretend for a minute that you are a mature adult interested in being part of the solution. If you can’t do that, then you fail, sir.

This morning, Ghostcrawler posted the following;

However, we are probably going to have to nerf bears. If we don’t, they will be the only MT choice for serious guilds. At the moment, bears in decent gear take less damage, have more health and generate more threat than the other 3 classes by a wide enough margin that we think it’s a problem. This is even true on bosses that do a lot of magic damage (like Malygos).

I use the word “nerf” because players use it, and I don’t want to hind behind euphamisms. But changing the numbers doesn’t have to mean nerfing you into the ground. We just don’t want you to dominate. I’m sure you’d feel the same way if Protection paladins were just head and shoulders above the other tanks.

We understand that some Ferals felt they were nerfed in BC either prematurely or in such a way that kept them steadily behind other tanks. (Though Sunwell Radiance was largely for bears.) We will try to make intelligent changes so that you’re still out there tanking the Lich King himself. We want you to be about as good as warriors, paladins and death knights, not way above or below them.

I do NOT want to see people going on to that thread and exploding into whining little QQ fests. We do not know what they are seeing in their data. Unless you are actively raiding in the Beta right now, how do we know how we are performing? Especially in comparison?

But it is appropriate for you to go to the thread, and politely state your views on what you hope they focus on for our tanking future; things like (just a possible example) asking them to make sure that our core abilities and Talents allow us to scale evenly throughout all levels of raiding with our gear, and not just the first raids, no matter how our final numbers look.

Okay, ranting aside, point 4 on that list? That last one is, in my mind, an expected but still painful change. I know I, for one, had planned on only putting one point in PotP to get the max Damage Mitigation benefits, so I’d have two extra points for kitty Talents. Damn it.

Yes, the increased damage of Bear form and the Rage it would bring would make me invest in all three points by 80, but at 70 I know I’ll be leveling Cat more than tanking, so I was going to only stick one point in for the 3% Mitigation. Curses, foiled again! Oh well.

I now return you to waiting for a real post.

18 thoughts on “Beta 9014 Feral changes, and I rant a bit

  1. I would love to go get my feedback on the beta forums. Unfortunately, I’m not in the beta and they are ignoring the PTR forums completely.

    I still have 2 primary concerns – 1) druids will have to do 40 respecs a week to level, because bear solo survivability is suspect and 2) nobody will want druid tanks because they are too hard to keep up.


  2. In the beta, the numbers they get are not necessarily reported by testers. They just litterally troll the combat logs of each kind of tank and compare the numbers and come up with mean averages. If warriors, paladins, and deathnights all take 1,000,000 average damage from a specific encounter, and you put those numbers up against bears and bears only take 800,000 damage, and the mechanic wasnt purposely set that way, then bears are more powerful. They can do this with every number (tank numbers are damage taken/dodged/parried/blocked/heals and threat). Pretty much everything in the game goes into a database, how do you think they do a restore after a hack? They just have a program to amalgamate that data into something that can be used to compare in a general sense.

    We’ve ALL played with better and worse tanks/healers/dps. You just need a lot of numbers to find an average. The 3.0.x patch is going to provide the best data for them for balancing issues, moreso than they can get on the beta servers now.

    When I beta test I never worry about class balance, I pick classes that will be fun to play, and proceed to try and break stuff. Can I fall off the world? can I swim off the map? Can i kill the same boss over and over for a rare drop, well above my level for free cash and uber loot? ( Im looking at you troll chief outside silvermoon! ) Class balance is ongoing, but world crashing bugs? Thats epic fail to miss 😉

    Im looking forward to seeing what is coming for my druid/warrior/hunter/mage/warlock/priest but Im not even remotely concerned about the beta changes. But the day it goes live, Ill be on wowhead and wotlk wiki for most of the day before i even log in. Until then, I might as well be reading the enquirer for all its accuracy for me 🙂


  3. Hear hear!
    I play a hunter in live and the beta and I can barely stand to visit the beta hunter forums. The amount of whining makes me think I’m reading a mage forum 😉
    Please people, whatever class you play. Be patient, intelligent and reasonable. Anger helps nothing.


  4. Thank you, BBB! Finally someone else gets it that Blizzard is the only party who has all the data. And that they are trying to produce a fun and entertaining balenced game for multiple play styles.

    Also thank you for not posting knee jerk reactions to all the beta builds for druid tanks… you last post on wowinsider was the most benifical post on the 3.0 topic to date. Keep up the good work!


  5. ARA, the sense of investment in an avatar is one of the double edged swords that makes WoW such a beast. (Both good and bad.) It’s a big part of the addictiveness of the game, but it does indeed make people think in strange ways and feel entitlement or offense when neither is appropriate. I’m not sure there’s a way around it for Blizzard… which is probably why they don’t sweat the whining much. 😉 At the end of the day, those people tend to keep their subs running anywho, so as long as Bliz makes enough content to keep them playing, they can whine all they want.


  6. Actually, it’s a percentage of your “base” mana. Your mana pool when totally naked. Once you in add in your gear, your total pool will skyrocket. A druid’s shapeshifting cost is based on this, and if you check… it’s not a percentage of your mana as you shift gear around, it remains static for a given level.

    It’s worrisome.


  7. Mana issues….less INT on gear. Since a lot of the mana cost is now based on the % of mana pool you have. Does it really matter how big uour mana pool is? Doesn’t matter if your mana pool is 100 vs a billion..its still gonna cost you a certain % of total mana. It gets really sticky when some spells are % mana-based and some are mana-defined cost.

    Just give me back my Armor multiplier and health pool, b/c parrying and blocking w/ my paws will hurt.


  8. Couldn’t agree more with you! Yes it is rather dicey for those reasons, but what can you do? Its not a perfect world, and software cant be perfect. GC made a post when she mentioned staff at Blizzard making “heroic efforts” to make the expansion excellent – and I believe them. Who knows if we’ll still be viable at late endgame content thats un-beta tested right now. Blizzard dont know, but I know they really care.

    One theory for whining I came up with just now: its an avatar driven game, and too many players identity their RL selves with their virtual toons. Therefore their sense of who they are is threatened every time Blizz make a code change. “Who I am” is at the mercy of some reckless programmer at Blizzard who doesnt understand ME. Because its all about ME, and not about an avatar, you take every little change personally… which tends to bring out the whiner in all of us. Anyway, thats my pet theory for the day, totally off topic…


  9. Overall, I’m kidding… Mainly because the “drive” behind people who would put enough effort into end-game raiding in Beta is such that they could never hold back! But also because, regardless of what players might think, the developers (and the overall company) are smart and do know what they’re doing…

    But the interesting thing about Beta (like in all software developments, really) is that the feedback out of it is very much limited by the users in the Beta programme…

    In order to believe that the balance of the final product is “correct”, one has to assume that every class, and every variant of the class, is represented at an appropriate skill level within the Beta – and have to assume that the people analysing the data out of it are able to factor in/out the skills required… Equally there will be models they use in order to do straight “effectiveness calculations”, based on the “normal” attack rotations of people in those classes…

    Personally, I’m always amazed by the general whining in WoW forums – across the board almost everything is complained about by someone and that someone then generates a huge amount of “Me too” comment… I always come back to the fact that… It’s a GAME… And not all things are ever created equal…

    Anyway, sorry for the suggestion that distortions might be introduced!


  10. “I do NOT want to see people going on to that thread and exploding into whining little QQ fests.”

    Triple B, you’re overly optimistic today. 🙂


  11. So the Mother Bear and lack of mana go to something that has always been core to a druid.

    Soloable content… being able to take on elites/multiple mobs etc etc

    This is something the druid through all of the changes since the beginning has been able to do.

    Not being able to pop out and heal yourself a few times during a fight is reallyreally bad.

    Not everyone is worried about 25 man.. for many druids its just an elite in netherstorm you want to do.


  12. Stobnor, interesting concern, and maybe you’re joking… but if you are not, I believe Blizzard are smart enough to account for player skill when they design their games & do their beta testing. Beta testing would be useless if they didnt account for player skill variability.

    Also, GCs comment about using the word “nerf” is spot on: players use it all the time, but in beta, “nerf” doesnt mean the same thing. You cant be “nerfed” because you were never “OPed” – its a beta build that is in development & is changing all the time. The numbers dont mean much till they’re tested. Thats what beta is all about.

    I’ve always found player whining totally bizarre, so I’m glad there’s more bloggers calling people out for it. Btw, whiners HATE to be called whiners, so dont do it to their faces. They hate it with a vengeance that I found out about recently, lucky me. Anyway frankly I think its ridiculous to whine during beta (and also rather pathetic the rest of the time)


  13. Edit…

    Not that I’d even dream of suggesting that anyone in the (laggy) Beta would at in such a way, regardless of their class… Mind you, I’m unlikely to ever see any of the “leading edge” content of the game, due to my casual play – hence the top-end comparison of the tanking classes is probably not something I should be worrying about too much.

    The scaling of the classes is, though…

    That is effectively where some of the issues will lie…

    Is a “just 80” Bear going to be on a par with a “just 80” Warrior – and that’s down to itemisation and availability of items leading into 80 and beyond…?


  14. Stobnor, if you are suggesting that the leading bear tanks raiding in the Beta sandbag it to intentionally suck a tiny bit, just to keep from getting nerfed, I am shocked!

    Shocked, I say!

    Why, NO bear would EVER dream of doing something like that!~


  15. Maybe I’m too shifty, but…

    If the top-end raiding bears who are lvl 80 and knocking 7 shades out of things at the moment weren’t such shining stars of uber-ness, then Blizzard wouldn’t get evidence that Bears are too powerful… So they wouldn’t nerf them…

    Isn’t there a simple answer in there somewhere?

    Or would that be innapropriate?


  16. Fair suggestion about providing useful feedback on the beta forums. If I ever made it into the beta, that’s probably what I’d be doing 🙂

    Thanks for the great round-up yesterday. You did a nice job summarizing a lot of the changes and how they’d affect tanking and dps.

    Looking in from the outside, I am pretty concerned about how many major changes seem to be coming so late in the process. With (what I hear is) a laggy-as-heck beta server impeding player testing and only five weeks before Blizzard’s uncharacteristically announced ship date for WOTLK, I’m wondering if they’re going to have time to really listen to our feedback.

    A response Ghostcrawler made to similar concerns raised by mages, makes me think that adjusting classes is likely to continue well after the new expansion comes out:

    “…Don’t worry about the time. We don’t. If we looked at the ship date as a deadline, then we’d get sloppy and do dumb things. The truth is that in an MMO, game balance is a process not a destination. Even after the patch goes live, we’ll have opporunities to make changes before you can head to Northrend. With all the changes we’ve made, there are going to have to be some quick patches to fix things we missed. And overall we’d like to address balance problems that do erupt in a more timely fashion – consider, before we could always say ‘Eh, they’ll still take the X for his Y buff even if his dps is low.’ We can’t say that anymore. Now we just have to get stuff fixed.”

    I’m fairly confident that — with more time and good feedback from the playerbase — that they’ll be ok eventually.

    The 3.0x patch through the first few weeks of WOTLK look a little rocky though for druids.


  17. Protector of the Pack, for what it’s worth, never worked like the tooltip said. It was always a 1/2/3% per party member reduction. The only thing that changed between beta builds was the tooltip. All this is doing is fixing the tooltip – at least for now.


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