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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[4.0.6] What the Hell? The Feral Aesthetic Punched in the Jewels

Dear Blizzard,

What are you doing to Ferals?

Prior to 4.0.6, a defining characteristic of Druids was their mobility.  After the idea of being able to shapeshift, it was the thing I, and MANY players,  loved most about them.

Sure, we may have been light on DPS (fixed) and lacked an interrupt (fixed), Vanish-like ability (still a problem...although Night Elves have Shadowmeld), and a host of other shortcomings.  For the vast majority of WoW, my mobility was my only saving grace when playing my Feral in PvP.

I may not have as many tricks as a Rogue, but I could at least, generally keep moving in spite of attempts to stop me.  That time has passed.

In 4.0.6, Blizzard has explicitly deprived ONLY Ferals Druids of the ability to escape roots when Shapeshifting.  Balance Druids break roots shifting into Moonkin, and Restoration Druids have a blanket ability to wipe roots with any shapeshifting.  Apparently, being a healer that can only briefly assume a specialized form somehow puts you more in tune with shapeshifting than the class that lives in an alternate shape pretty much 100% of the time.

We live and breathe shapeshifting.  It makes perfect sense for us to be able to shift out of roots for the same reason we had the ability.

And there is nothing being put in to mitigate it.  Ferals have a Kryptonite, and it's rooting.

I really, really hate this change.  It profoundly negatively impacts the appeal of my class.

As if this was not bad enough, we are also losing the Fear wipe and Fear immunity from Berserk.  Yeah, the once every 3 minutes ability to ignore Fear was apparently just too damn much.  Apparently, some ticked off guy with a sword (Warrior) ignoring Fear makes more sense than a raging beast doing the same.

I really liked Berserk when we got it, mostly because of the Fear wipe/immunity.  I liked the aesthetic.  It made sense for a Druid that mastered the magic of beasts.    A raging Bear is the canonical image of an unstoppable juggernaut.

Normally, my response to these things would be something along the lines of, "I am concerned about it, but let's see how it works out."

Not this time.  I don't care how it works out.  I don't care about whatever game balance it may achieve.  Blizzard has fundamentally damaged the aesthetic of Ferals and it sucks.  Take back the damage, or whatever people are complaining about and give us back our mobility and, ideally, a real Berserk.

You are taking us back to being Rogues with less tricks.

I'd rather keep the feel of a Feral and struggle with the other stuff.

You already have a class that stabs things a lot and has some control capability.  It's called a Rogue.  Please don't make us into another flavor of Rogue, it does both classes a disservice.

I know a lot of folks just look at the complaints by Ferals as QQ because they aren't as awesome, but for me, and many more, it's not that.  I was fine with the years that Feral was just OK or even not a good idea in PvP and PvE.  I still managed to be effective.  I enjoyed watching Ferals become more effective over the years.

I can't stress enough that it's not so much the mechanical impact as the aesthetic sundering.  Surely there were other ways to "balance" our performance without stripping us of such beloved canonical abilities.

As much as Cataclysm was starting to turn me into a fanboy, this is a real slap in the face, a real shock.  And I don't think I can properly communicate what it feels like to someone who is not truly dedicated to playing a Feral.  I have been playing a Feral Druid as my main since the tail end of Vanilla.  I have struggled through many setbacks and disadvantages in Tanking, DPS, and PvP.  But I rolled with the punches, because those were just numbers, I worked hard, and I succeeded in spite of it.

But the loss of mobility and loss of a real berserk* takes the soul out my feral.

* - just doing some more damage for a bit does not really deserve the title "Berserk"

It all leaves me somewhat confused and despondent.  And that sucks.  Please give us back our feral.

Take back some damage or something.  Increase a cost, throw in some annoying CD.  Just give us back our Feral please. :)

I was much happier when I struggled to kill people in PvP, but I had all of my Feral tricks.

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