Friday, February 27, 2009

Feral druid 3.1 changes

Occasionally, I'll be featuring some guest posts on my blog. Today, we have the rawr-tastic Aeman, bear and cat extraordinaire, who will go into detail about the 3.1 changes to druids of the feral persuasion! Without further ado, let's get some fur on the couch.

Hi there! Guildmate and guestcat Aeman checking in with news from the (3.1) front: in short, feral's getting shaken up again. The introduction of Savage Roar in 3.0 skewed cats heavily towards strength for the first time since level 60, but several changes coming in 3.1 are swinging the pendulum not just towards crit and agility, but in a new direction altogether. Here's what I see when I look at the patch notes:

1) Savage Defense - Whenever you crit, you gain a shield worth 25% of your attack power which is removed after one hit whether or not it is consumed. This drastically inflates the value of Agility vs. Dodge for a bear tank.

2) Savage Roar has been changed - instead of increasing attack power by 40%, it now grants +30% increased damage (glyphed to 36%). Napkinmath with Rake suggested an increase of about 5-6% damage at my current gear level. The big difference from this change, however, is that Savage Roar no longer puts such a premium on Strength vs. AP or (guess who) Agility.

3) Primal Gore: DOT ticks on Rip, Rake, and Lacerate can crit. This is huge, and significantly boosts the value of crit and Agility.

A lesser change for cat DPS is the reworked Glyph of Shred, which causes Shred to increase the duration of Rip by 2 seconds, up to 6 seconds max. This will have the benefit of smoothing our cycle a little bit by letting us go longer between Rips. Counting all three changes, I think 3.1 could give cats anywhere from 25-30% more DPS, which would be pretty sweet.

The big picture, though, is what really has me intrigued here. Both cat and bear are being pushed to value Agility and Crit (or in Cat's case, at least to less exclusively favor Strength), which means Blizzard seems to finally be approaching a point where the same AP/Agi/Stam gear can effectively perform both roles. Here are two examples based on my own gear: first, it looks like the T7.5 breastplate, gemmed and enchanted for tanking, is a better DPS piece than a Tunic of Dislocation gemmed and enchanted for DPS. Even more surprising, the best-in-slot DPS neck Favor of the Dragon Queen, gemmed with stamina, is the best tanking neck as well. Those are just two examples I've recently noted, but I suspect there will be more to come.

Min-maxers, of course, will still maintain two sets of gear, if only for the enchants - you hardly want to put tanking enchants on your DPS bracers (90stam vs. 114ap) or legs (stam/agi vs. ap/crit), for instance. But Ferals who watch DPS-oriented items pass to rogues, hunters, and others can take some solace in the fact that 3.1 definitely sharpens the teeth of their tanking set.

And on a closing note, I'm not sure where I first read it but somebody gave me some bad numbers about Agility vs. Dodge for bears. The simple fact is that in bear form, one point of Agility and one Dodge Rating provide the same Dodge -- and with Agility offering crit as well, it's obvious which is the superior stat. It just took me a few months to realize it... and a couple hundred gold to swap all my +dodge gems for +agility. Now if only they'd bother putting the Shifting Twilight Opal recipe in the game.


1 remarks:

Dan said...

Honestly, it's about time they did this. Druids are the only class I can think of that essentially has FOUR ways to itemize - resto, boom, feral-tank, and feral-cat.