Feral Druid Tweaking (Cat)

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dgreenbe
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Feral Druid Tweaking (Cat)

#1 » Post by dgreenbe » 09 Sep 2017 16:57

Based on suggestion by Flooded here, I'm submitting a suggestion for spec balance. There are already threads for Prot Paladin and Ele Shaman, so here I'll focus on Feral cat spec (which is different from Feral bear spec, but will affect it). Feral DPS at the moment is not only low, but even on single-target encounters (a Feral focus) Feral is lower than strong AOE damage specs including other hybrid specs such as Ret that provide more support (partially because unlike other hybrid specs, Feral doesn't get or use spellpower, although there are other reasons such as Ferals having no execute ability). The primary reason for this is that Blizzard majorly stacked almost all of its focus on Feral DPS deep in the feral tree and after level 70.

I. Issues hindering the spec

1) Shred damage missing 56% multiplier (20% from lack of access to talents due to Primal talent cap)

2) All damage missing 30% multiplier (Lack of access to Savage Roar--the counterpart to Rogue Slice and Dice--due to Blizzard putting this after Level 70)

3) Damage does not scale well--compared to many other dot-heavy classes, Feral DPS dots do not scale with haste, and do not crit and scale with crit due to lack of Primal Gore talent

4) No AOE ability


II. Testing

In raid environments on server, Cat DPS is typically subpar (but can vary due to random factors such as lucky crits and luck Omen of Clarity clearcasting procs). More specifically, while dummy testing is not wholly determinative, I experimented with various levels of gear on PTR including Sunwell gear and found a distinct lack of scaling ability (in sunwell gear, Feral was doing about half the DPS of Ret not even including execute phase boost due to Hammer of Wrath). I'm knowledgeable about TBC consumes, gameplay, etc. and even have raided Sunwell with Cat DPS, so am more than happy to discuss anything further if anyone has questions about talents or whatever.


III. Proposed Solution

1) Boost Shred, as it is missing a 56% damage multiplier (the 30% Savage Roar multiplier affects other abilities, but this is the main ability).

2) Activate Primal Gore talent for Rip crits. I'm aware there is already a multiplier artificially added to Rip, so perhaps this can be toned down (as well as the multiplier on Rake, which might be a bit high). This will also allow decent scaling with crit. Additionally, Bear tanks currently have significanly less armor than they did on retail TBC and boss damage is buffed, so Lacerate crits proccing Savage Defense will make Lacerate more worth using and help Druid tanks avoid getting totally rekt.

3) (Not major) Allow Swipe (Cat) to be learned earlier, perhaps at level 61. It uses almost half the energy bar and is simply based on melee damage, so shouldn't be too strong, but at the moment Feral DPSers are just going through dungeons getting clearcasting and spamming hurricane and it's a little silly. Feral should still be heavily single-target-focused.

This should allow for Cat to provide more competitive single-target DPS, without giving Druids Berserk cooldown, and without buffing all Cat damage with Savage Roar (which is largely a Wrath gameplay element where Cat "rotation" shifts to juggling 2 finishing moves instead of 1).
Last edited by dgreenbe on 08 Oct 2017 16:51, edited 2 times in total.

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Fitzpatrick
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#2 » Post by Fitzpatrick » 09 Sep 2017 17:21

We have had a feral around 2k dps on the last couple Gruul kills IIRC. Are we certain the previous tuning hasnt already done the job?

Also, while cat swipe seems like a good idea on its own, opening up post-70 abilities is opening a huuuge can of worms and I think should be avoided if at all possible. All in all, single target damage is much more important.
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#3 » Post by dgreenbe » 09 Sep 2017 20:19

Yes, certain (as mentioned, there is quite a bit of RNG involved, so luck can occur but is unlikely). Agreed on the Swipe(Cat), it would mainly be to avoid how silly all the hurricane-spamming is and make dungeons more enjoyable, but would not affect gameplay greatly and isn't necessary.

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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#4 » Post by flosr1 » 10 Sep 2017 09:52

I don't think too much tuning or opening other talents is a good idea. but I share your opinion on shred. buffing shred slightly would make feral dps more viable without making it too strong. in my opinion, feral dps should not be as good as other pure dps classes. it is still kinda a support spec.

also, I still think bear tank is too squishy compared to warrior or prot pala. with biss dmg being buffed and missing key talents, something needs to be changed. for example % of armor from bear form and dire bear form.
or give lacerate the ability to crit without talent. many people don't use lacerate at all atm

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dgreenbe
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#5 » Post by dgreenbe » 10 Sep 2017 15:46

Keep in mind that one of the issues is not just what DPS is like in low gear, but how it scales. My suggestions actually included possible lowering of multipliers to both Rake and Rip.

I don't agree with this "hybrid classes have to be bad" approach, but that's a fair opinion. I just don't know if that's what people expect from this server in light of some other hybrid specs having incredible single target DPS, AOE DPS, spellpower and healing, etc, and also the fact that it's a wrath server. Feral had great single-target DPS from this patch, and main reason they don't here is combo of Blizz stacking things after 70 and Primal blocking 45-pt talents, so that benefits of this patch are unevenly applied to specs, especially this one.

Good point about bear, idk if this will be enough but it should help smooth out the situation a little since bears will get a chance for a savage defense proc from melee, GCD ability, and lacerate tick.

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Fitzpatrick
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#6 » Post by Fitzpatrick » 10 Sep 2017 16:58

I still question the necessity of this. I don't see many feral cats in raids, but I've seen them perform completely fine. I understand your points, but feral cats have already received a tuning pass and you're breezing right by actually demonstrating the need for more here. Maybe this is a rotation/gearing/spec issue. I'm not trying to judge, but clearly something in our perception of the issue is different.
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#7 » Post by majstorfanta » 10 Sep 2017 18:39

Yeah I agree with Fitz.
In immersion feral druid Dymojohn as well pulled very decent numbers, tho I do not know how and why. Thats the reason he got the gear as you can see him here https://truewow.org/armory/character.ph ... lz&realm=p.

Also with more gear ferals will scale better than other classes because the scaling is increased by 75% depending on ability. Maybe I understood it wrong but if I didnt basically as we progress thorugh content ferals will benefit more and more from end game gear compared to other classes.
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dgreenbe
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#8 » Post by dgreenbe » 10 Sep 2017 19:35

With all due respect, I think you guys misunderstand the scaling. Fitz is still missing the point regarding my acknowledgement that there has been tuning, but that the tuning was not tailored towards addressing the aforementioned issues. Simply put, AP scaling has been boosted for the abilities that scale the least with AP, and don't scale with crit or haste. That is, in essence, the scaling issue.

Maj, you're not wrong, but afaik the 75% is just for initial Rake damage (athough, as I said, Rake damage might be a bit high). The dot is 42%, and Shred is only 10%.

I would be interested in knowing what "very decent numbers" are and how they compare to, say, a Ret with similar gear and skill (a lot of RNG is involved in Feral dps even over a long fight, but atm all I have is my experience on server and PTR testing varying gear levels).

I don't doubt your sincerity but there are simply a lot of people out there who think Spec X and Spec Y *should* be bad and they'll go out of their way to make sure that's the case. I heavily played Ret in TBC and Shadow Priest in vanilla, so I'm used to being questioned.

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Anesthesia
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#9 » Post by Anesthesia » 10 Sep 2017 19:55

Feral already does decent amount of damage compared to other melee classes, but Shred will most likely receive another small buff. I dont think enabling critical damage for feral dots is a good idea, as Fitz pointed out it will open door for quite a few possible changes, but I will agree that is the best way to balance damage output of feral spec.

Crit rating might not be as good for feral as it could be, but with small Shred buff, roughly 60% of your damage will be able to crit, and you do get extra combo points from it, it still affects all of your abilities and it is very important stat.
Because of this Ferocious Bite (with enough crit) has a chance of outscaling Rip, and in the future FB could be nerfed or Rip could be buffed. Other than that I think feral already received enough buffs and it is currently in the right place.
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dgreenbe
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#10 » Post by dgreenbe » 11 Sep 2017 14:56

Thank you for your input (also thank you for reporting Glaive of the Pit, using it for aoe tanking was a cool idea). I don't know what you mean by "decent damage" (this is very subjective and based on how bad people think Feral should be compared to every other melee) but aside from buffing (except for Shred, which is multiplied by 56% in Wrath), I'm glad you brought up scalig. At the moment, Shred is about 25% of damage, not 60% (even on Magtheridon, with slightly lower dot uptime and spamming Shred with Tiger's Fury during buffed banish damage, it was 27% at highest from the attempts). This is probably mostly because of how weak Shred is, but perhaps also because Rake is pretty strong and neither Rake nor Rip require a ton of stats.

As far as FB goes, this goes more into Wrath gameplay, so hang with me for a bit here. FB is primarily a Wrath thing because the Feral "rotation" cannot really handle weaving in two 5-CP finishing moves here. This is mostly due to a lack of Berserk and glyphs strongly extending the length of Rip, but because this is really a Wrath 80 gameplay thing I don't suggest adding it. On top of that, FB is missing 25% crit chance buff from Rend and Tear.

FB should not beat out Rip, so if Rip is doing too much damage I would suggest nerfing its multiplier a bit. However, of course I still suggest giving Rip the ability to crit for reasons stated in the original post, as well as for reasons stated here (damage not scaling well with crit).

TLDR I still strongly suggest activating crits for Rip (and also Lacerate).

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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#11 » Post by natnat123 » 11 Sep 2017 16:53

Fitzpatrick wrote:
09 Sep 2017 17:21
We have had a feral around 2k dps on the last couple Gruul kills IIRC. Are we certain the previous tuning hasnt already done the job?

Also, while cat swipe seems like a good idea on its own, opening up post-70 abilities is opening a huuuge can of worms and I think should be avoided if at all possible. All in all, single target damage is much more important.
i agree that feral swipe needs to happen. i think a slightly nerfed version of it as it is lvl 71 afterall. many druids have wanted it to happen and for a good reason. cat druid has 0 AOE.
the fact that it is lvl 71 shouldnt be an issue. anyone with a brain will understand that it needs to happen. 0 aoe abilities is shit. meaning if you want decent aoe, you have to go balance. which then once again makes one spec better than another.
things will never be balanced. but at the moment, alot of people are limited to what spec they can play if they want to perform well. for example, arms outperforms fury for warriors quite alot. so everyone goes arms. its a very hard thing to get everything balanced. but the only thing giving them swipe is gonna do. is give them 1 aoe ability as cat. vs 0.

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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#12 » Post by dgreenbe » 11 Sep 2017 17:47

Don't make fun of my Hurricane-spam! Seriously, though, this just highlights how much of a single-target focus feral druid has. With or without Swipe (which doesn't have ranks and is just % of melee damage, btw) feral does not have great aoe and should be *good* at single-target.

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Flooded
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#13 » Post by Flooded » 18 Sep 2017 05:40

Requesting feedback after changes are live.

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dgreenbe
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#14 » Post by dgreenbe » 18 Sep 2017 19:43

Thank you for working on addressing some of these issues. Based on patch info and heroics (no 25m raids yet and PTR was still down), it seems that about 30-40% of Feral damage will scale decently (assuming "25%" mangle buff is based on pre-patch damage?).

As far as current dps output, depending on RNG feral is about the same or lower than a rogue of a lower tier (ie about bis t4 vs. about bis heroic gear) and just above a green/blue/epic mix ret paladin, so expectation is that feral will still on average be solidly below equally-geared melee/physical dps on single targets, with this gap widening over time as players accumulate scaling stats such as crit, haste, etc. I was fortunately able to assess damage in both encounters with a severe case of bad luck, and also encounters with RNG luck through very improbably frequent crits, clearcasting procs, and T4 set bonus procs.

To look at the updates through the perspective of aforementioned spec issues, in summary:
Issue 1 (shred multipliers) was obviously addressed somewhat substantially depending on what the intended results were
Issue 2 (overall damage multiplying buff) was generally addressed a bit already in original class tuning
Issue 3 (scaling) was also affected by this update but not very significantly
(issue 4 not being relevant to this update at all, except that it is demonstrative of feral as a single-target focus spec).

If anyone has questions regarding ability scaling or class mechanics, feel free to ask, even in a PM if you prefer.

Since the patch affected bear threat and not mitigation (which would have been tangentially affected by one of the suggestions here), that's probably a separate topic.
Last edited by dgreenbe on 19 Sep 2017 09:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Anesthesia
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Re: Feral Druid Tweaking

#15 » Post by Anesthesia » 18 Sep 2017 20:40

dgreenbe wrote:
18 Sep 2017 19:43
...it seems that about 1/3 of Feral damage will scale decently (assuming "25%" is based on pre-patch damage?). This is about half of the 60% that Anesthesia mentioned, but I didn't really expect 60%.
What is this supposed to mean?
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