Feral druid and PTR 4.1

Patch 4.1 has been in Public Test Realms for quite a while – and it is probable it will be at least a few more weeks before patch hits the live servers. Once again, there are quite a few changes for feral druids – and no new notes/changes lately, so presumably devs have the druid where they want us to be in this patch.

I am going to analyze the changes mostly from PvE perspective, as I haven’t done much PvP on my druid since 4.0.6 nerfed us to the ground and then some. As always, these are my opinions and not the absolute, final truth.

Changes

  • Prowl has a new icon.
  • Stampeding Roar’s duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40%.
  • Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6.
  • Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used.
  • Glyph of Rake is now Glyph of Pounce, which increases the range of Pounce by 3 yards.
  • The troll druid models for Flight Form and Swift Flight Form has slimmed down to be more in scale with other druid flight forms.

Analysis

ability_druid_prowl

Prowl has a new icon. Oh joy, let me dance naked in moonlight until Elune blesses me </sarcasm>. Pretty pointless change – and I must say that at least right now I like the old icon way, way more than the new one. Oh well, at least there is a cat head on it. Maybe I will get used to it.

Stampeding Roar’s duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40%. Pointless ability stays pretty pointless for PvE, but will have quite a bit of use in PvP – more on that a few notes down.

Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6. Seems we’re back to Swipe spam for AoE tanking. On one hand, (especially low-level) druid AoE tanking needed a buff, but I would have liked a better solution – perhaps along the lines of “if you use Thrash on a target with Lacerate, all targets of Thrash will be affected by Lacerate or it will be renewed”. You know, like Blood and Thunder allows warriors to have Rend on every target affected by Thunder Clap.

This would have made druid AoE tanking at least somewhat more interesting. Of course, fiddling with Lacerate strength and Mangle procs would have been needed, and so forth, but bears need a total overhaul pretty badly. More on that topic in another post.

Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used. Yes, devs finally realized what every PvP’ing druid has said since the 4.0.6 notes emerged – we became the only melee class with no ability whatsoever to alleviate roots. We are sitting ducks for Frost mages, Balance druids and so forth.

And what’s more, Stampeding Roar is AoE effect! Only 10 yards, but think of the fights in Arathi Basin base – or Tol Barad – when Frost mage roots everybody in place and proceeds with Blizzard to deal a huge amounts of damage. Not only will the feral be able to free everybody, but also give them speed boost to reach the said mage (or at least move out of the Blizzard faster). 2 minutes cooldown on the ability means we’ll be able to use it fairly often, but not constantly.

Overall, a good solution. This will give at least some viability back to feral PvP.

Glyph of Rake is now Glyph of Pounce, which increases the range of Pounce by 3 yards. Glyph of Rake prevented PvE targets from fleeing and was moderately useful while questing. In raid/instance/PvP, however, it was more or less useless. 3 added yards to Pounce means we can stun enemies from a bit further, giving them less chance to detect a prowling cat. I am unsure how much actual use this will have… we shall have to wait and see.

All in all, Swipe and Feral Swiftness changes are the biggest for us in this patch. First will help in tanking quite a bit, the second will bring some life to feral PvP. Both changes are really badly needed, if not quite all we could have wished for.

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