July 22, 2009

WoW Druid Q&A followup

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the devs have decided to do a followup to the recent Druid Q&A, tackling certain things with more specifics rather than the general approach they took originally. The followup seems mostly aimed at Druid PvP, perhaps an omen of the future. It reminds me much more of the unofficial Shadow Priest Q&A that Ghostcrawler tackled, addressing very specific issues.

For convenience, the full followup can be read below.

Q: Players feel that the effect of Feral Cat Charge isn't as good as the Feral Bear Charge yet the cat charge has double the cooldown. What is the reasoning behind the cooldown difference of these two abilities?
A: Feral Charge Bear mirrors warrior Charge (15 sec), while Feral Charge Cat mirrors Shadowstep (30 sec). They are really different abilities. We just had to put them on a shared cooldown to keep the druid from using them back to back.

Q: Are we satisfied with the damage that Shred does without a bleed/mangle effect on the target compared to how much it does with the bleed effect?A: Shred ultimately needs the bleed requirement and the positional requirements met to make it work optimally. We buffed Mangle to make it a better button in PvP when you can't get the most out of Shred. But Shred still does great damage when you can use it.

Q: What is the reasoning behind leaving the positional requirement for Shred in the game after removing this requirement from the Rogue ability Mutilate?
A: The analog to Shred is Backstab, which is positional. We like the positional requirement because without it, Shred is just a damage ability, and we think the positional requirement is one of those skill cap issues that lets good Ferals do more damage than mediocre Ferals. Really though, the underlying issue here is that we are happy with Feral damage in PvP. Also remember the secondary benefit of positional requirements, which is that the enemy often needs to keep in movement to keep you from getting behind them.

We don't think Ferals need to do more damage to be good in PvP. What they need to do is be able to survive (while in cat – they do okay in bear), and the fact that if you're looking for a melee partner, one who brings Mortal Strike might be more attractive.

Q: Players felt we are not giving much attention to balance and feral druid PvP concerns when their arena success is very limited. Can you give us a more definitive answer on how we feel about these specs in PvP?
A: We wish there were more teams with Feral and Balance druids on them, and wish we saw more Feral and Balance gladiators. In short, we think they are underperforming. The reason we haven't showered those two specs in PvP buffs are because: A) Druids have a great PvP spec they can use, while hunters and perhaps warlocks and shamans have none. B) A lot of the specs that are underperforming are doing so because they don't have the ability to chain CC or multiple escape mechanisms. We don't want to give those to every class. We'd rather change the PvP environment to where those aren't all necessary. We also want to de-emphasize the 2 vs. 2 bracket and emphasize BGs a lot more so that the entire PvP experience doesn't come down to the synergy you have with other classes. And again, it's not necessarily that their abilities don't cut it – it's that when you're putting a team together, a mage or rogue might be more attractive.

Q: What is the reasoning behind allowing Warstomp to be useable in Tree of Life and Moonkin forms (assuming this is correct) but Bear and Cat forms have to shift out to use it?
A: You need to be in a humanoid form to do abilities like Warstomp. Tree of Life and Moonkin (and also things like Shadowform) are considered humanoid. They are bipedal for instance. This is a data construct more than a strict balance reason.

Q: With the changes on the PTR, what forms of interrupts and what forms of stuns do we plan for druids to have in patch 3.2?
A: Maim and Bash are interrupts on monsters. Feral Charge is an interrupt on monsters and players. Maim, Bash and Pounce are all stuns and never interrupt players. The stun itself will often stop the spell, but may not in the case of a Blinking mage.

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