Ghostcrawler made what, to me, was a surprise announcement yesterday detailing upcoming Feral changes that are going to have a drastic impact on how we approach our itemization.
Here is his post in it’s entirety;
We are changing the way bear armor works so that bonus armor on items does not receive the bear armor multiplier. Specifically this means that trinkets, rings, necks and cloaks with bonus armor will not be multiplied by the bear bonus. The normal armor on leather will still be multiplied by this bonus. We are also going to remove bonus armor from Feral staves. You’ll get your bonus armor from the leather you acquire.
1) A ring that grants 100 bonus armor will now grant a bear 100 armor (not ~470 armor).
2) Leather legs with 253 armor will still grant a bear ~1190 armor (not 253 armor).
3) A feral staff will now grant 0 armor.
We are making this change because armor is such a good stat for bears that it makes taking pieces with bonus armor a non-decision and we don’t want acquiring these pieces, which tend to not be common, to be so much of a barrier to a druid who wants to tank a raid.
This change will NOT be in effect when Lich King ships. We are letting you know this now so that you don’t go through heroic efforts to acquire items like the Badge of Tenacity, or Defender’s Code. Defender’s Code, with 850 armor, will still be a good trinket. But it won’t be an insanely good trinket for a bear.
We will adjust the bear armor modifiers so that your net mitigation does NOT go down with these changes. Let me repeat: this is not a nerf to Feral armor. It is a change to the amount of armor you get from gear with bonus armor.
We are adding an effect to a deep Feral talent (something like Primal Tenacity) to further reduce the cost of shapeshifting into cat or bear by 50%. This talent will stack with Natural Shapeshifter for a total cost reduction of 80%. PvP-focused druids can get both talents to shift easily and often despite, no longer having Int on gear at level 80.
PROTECTOR OF THE PACK
We are removing the group requirements from this talent. The new tooltip will say: “Increases your attack power by X and reduces the damage you take in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by Y.” The values of X and Y themselves are not changing.
Again, these changes will NOT be in Nov 13 for Lich King’s launch. We will add them in a patch that will come out sometime before the major Ulduar content patch. We’re letting you know now so that you can choose quest rewards and loot drops accordingly.
As you can see, Ghostcrawler had three main points.
In no particular order;
1) Protector of the Pack will no longer be affected by how many folks are in your party, but retains it’s stats. Win!
2) More shifting for less Mana cost in the deep Feral tree.
Now, this one I think will be a buff, but I’d like to know a little more about what Talent they are going to add the effect to. Right now, there are a lot of Talents in the deep Feral tree that I simply don’t take due to a lack of points at 70. At 80, it eases a lot, but depending on what they tack this onto, and whether or not they modify an existing Talent to more properly fit with the ‘PvP’ utilization of this might make it a PvP only Talent. Only time will really tell.
That we will have the choice to take it if we’re all that worried about Mana, should effectively shut at least some of us up. So win?
3) Bear Armor will come from equipped Leather. Period.
Okay, he has promised that our Bear form armor multiplier will be increased so that our mitigation from armor will stay the same with less actual armor to counteract the removal of Rings, Necklaces, Trinkets, Cloaks and Staves.
In other posts, Ghostcrawler has said they are also looking at removing the concept of bonus ‘Green’ armor from gear entirely, meaning that PvP gear would not be quite as much of a no-brainer as it is right now for tanking.
So what we might be looking at would be gear that would have a set armor value according to it’s item level, and the variance in gear would be in how the stats play out.
Will there still be ‘best of class’ drops for Bear tanking?
But a change like this should mean that the difference in Bear tanking capability and mitigation should be a lot closer between tanks of various progression levels.
Pre-patch and Wrath, there was a massive difference between the mitigation and survivability of a tank dinging 70 equipped with AH greens and blues and quest rewards, and a tank that had made repeated runs into specific instances looking for that one perfect drop.
How many Feral Druids out there ground out their Cenarion Expedition rep to Exalted for that one, ‘must have’ Earthwarden weapon?
Would the answer be “All of us”?
Yes, we had Braxxis’ Staff of Slumber as an easily obtained alternative, but the fact remains, grind grnid grind to get one item that was considered darn near required pre-SSC.
There were so many items like that. Some you could AH, but others you just had to keep running and running and hope for a drop… and have to put up with there not really being that many alternatives.
Well, this is all about having more alternatives while you hunt that one perfect drop.
YES, there will still be items that are best in class. Yes, we will still have items that we desire over the rest for an equipment slot.
But, we should be able to have a vast assortment of viable alternatives to choose from to help us tank effectively in 5 mans while leveling along the way.
And that I think is pretty awesome.
But this whole thing? The changes and uncertainty?
THIS is why I have not done a single guide since all this went into production. I am waiting for a reasonable moment when WotLK has been out, and we have done at least a little leveling, before I start doing gear analysis and upgrade planning for level 80 raiding.
Because you just never know, and we don’t need it yet.
I’m liking these planned changes… so far. I hope you do too.