Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What I would like to see for Druids

I had mentioned I had decided to level my Druid. BTW, I hit 80 on Saturday and had been running BGs like mad all weekend long to get some PVP pieces. I really missed my Druid, but only someone who plays with me and has known me a while would truly understand the depth to which I love this class. Just take it on faith that During Vanilla WoW and BC I lived, ate, and breathed Druid. Anyway, I really missed it and finally got back around to playing him again. I knew that there were some serious changes to the class in WotLK but hadn't really understood just how complicated some of those changes could be, or how lacking some of the Druids abilities still are.

The short of of it this: Resto Druids are fantastic. They are great healers with extreme mobility and several "oh shit" abilities. Don't change a thing. Bears are in a good place as far as I can tell, and are still terrific tanks. I haven't plumbed the depth of every boss fight on my poorly geared Druid yet, but I think the core of the tank capabilities are there and are fine. I'll see and I'm sure, say more about Feral tanks as I get into more difficult content. Cat DPS is too complicated however. And I think it needs to be relooked at.

Yesterday I ran several Heroics and ran a Naax-10 though, and got a very good opportunity to see that I just don't have a handle on Cat DPS yet. Think Affliction Warlock melded with Rogue. Cat DPS is all about keeping bleeds on the target, plus conducting large direct damage attacks (Shreds known in Rogue lingo as Backstabs) that have a directional requirement to them, all the while keeping a short term buff up on yourself (Savage Roar) and when possible using those combo points on another bleed instead of on Savage Roar. Like I said, its complicated and it relies on energy just like a Rogue's abilities do which makes it even more complicated considering that energy regenerates at a set pace. All too slowly when you are trying to burn down a boss.

It's too complicated for average people I think, and for me who hasn't touched my Druid in seven months, I'm still used to the pre-WotLK abilities so it's very strange. While leveling you usually don't delve into much more than Mangle > Rip > Mangle > FB so you aren't really exposed to all this. And since the instances I ran from 70 to 80 I did as resto (which I still love BTW), I missed out on those indicators. Another aspect that I definitely think needs to be relooked at is Swipe. I like how Blizz gave Cats an AOE capability, but Swipe takes a huge amount of energy so you can really only get a few AOE attacks off on any given group of mobs whereas Rogues can spam Fan of Knives till the cows come home. Personally I think cat Swipe should act very much like Fan of Knives and should return energy based on the amount of targets it hits thereby bringing it on par with FoK. That would go a long way to increasing viability on all the trash mobs in between Bosses.

None of this is to say that Cat DPS isn't great, because it is. It's very noticeably better than in BC and I have absolutely no problems with it in PVE outside instances and raiding where I think the mechanics need some rework.

Bear tanking still feels very familiar however. I tanked several bosses in Naax-10 last night and did pretty much what I did in Kara, Gruuls/Mags, SSC and TK. One big difference now though, that I absolutely love, is the change in bear Swipe. The omni-directional AOE attack is absolutely fantastic. Run into a group or pull them to you with FF and start swiping. Throw in some Mangles and Berserk/Mauls and voila, you have absolutely zero trouble hanging onto an entire group of mobs regardless of what the DPS does. Good times and I honestly can't think of too much I'd like to see changed on the bear side of things, though I admit I've only just tapped into things at this point.

Resto is nearly perfect and doesn't need any changes as far as I can tell. I've healed normal instances, Heroics and Naax now and Resto Druids are in a very good place. What I do wonder is where Blizzard is taking Resto and Bears in the next expansion. How many HOTs does a Resto Druid really need? Rejuv, Regrowth, Wild Growth, Nourish.... Tranquility... Where you going Blizzard?