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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[4.0.3a] The Shattering...of Feral Druid Tanks?

Azeroth is not the only thing being shattered with 4.0.3a.  The Feral changes would get any Druid Tank dangerously close to QQ time (i.e., crying for those that are not familiar with the emoticon QQ).  It's more than simple homogenization (see my post from earlier this week for more on Homogenization of Tanks) now, they really are bringing the nerf bat down on our fuzzy little heads:
  • Bear Form now provides 10% bonus health, down from 20%.
  • Brutal Impact now increases the mana cost of spells on the victim by 5/10% for 10 seconds, down from 15/30%.
  • Leader of the Pack now heals for 4%, down from 8%.
  • Survival Instincts now provides 50% damage reduction, down from 60%, and its cooldown has been lowered from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.
  • Swipe (Bear Form) damage has been reduced by 20%.
  • Vengeance is no longer cleared on exiting Bear Form, and instead is cleared upon entering Cat Form.
Seriously, man, I can roll with the punches with the best of them, but this is starting to feel like a lynching. I remember when I had to be work harder and gear harder than other Tanks to justify my spot in a raid, because Druid Tanks were so limited in capability.  I remember the excruciatingly long dominance of Warrior Tanks, with fights that required a shield (e.g., Kael'Thas) or a specific Warrior ability (e.g., Shield Block and Illidan's Shear).

I already knew about the reductions in Survival Instincts and Health, but I did not know about the reduction in self healing until now.  That makes me sad, if only because it was one of those abilities that sort of made sense for a big magic animal kicking butt and fueled by the power of nature and all of its associated healing goodness.

The reduction in Swipe damage is damned disappointing.  DPS ripping secondary targets is still a problem.  Everyone loves to tell me how Thrash is going to solve all of my problems; I hope they are right.

However, that introduces a new problem, having to give up another cooldown to maintain AoE Threat.  That means less cooldowns available for single target Threat abilities.  I also hope that having to blow two cooldowns on AoE Threat will not cause me to lose Threat on my primary target.  Here's hoping that Thrash is also great for single target Threat.

And how about the goofy change that Vengeance is no longer cleared on exiting Bear Form unless you enter Cat Form?  That must be a PvP thing, because the only time I change to anything but Cat in raid is to Rebirth someone; that is generally an awkward thing to do while I Tanking and the last thing on my mind is whether or not I will keep my Vengeance stacks.  No, it's usually, "Will I survive it this time?"

So, if you are a Druid Tank or one of the people that might be asked to keep one alive, you may ask, "Why the hell are they doing this?!"

Well, the story I keep hearing is that they have to do this otherwise Bears are too effective at level 85.  So, I guess that's good news for other Tanks.  Congratulations Warriors, Paladins, and Death Knights!  Druid Tanks will not be too über when you hit the level cap!  Of course, on the way to 85, we might face some problems...let's hope not.

You might have noticed, like I did, that there were no buffs or additional abilities with this.  Reputedly, this is because the inherent buffing from Cataclysm somehow buffed Druid Tanks more than everyone else, so we should trust that these changes only bring us in line with the abilities of other Tanks.  I am hoping that is true, but I am still a little sore from the nerfbat right now.

I will do my best to remain cautiously optimistic

Keep hope alive?

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