This post incorporates material from the Cataclysm Alpha. If that bothers you, please stop reading now.
A new alpha build dropped a few days ago, and with it, a good chunk of feral changes. Let’s take a look.
Unlike Rogues, who have more diversity in openers (Ambush/Garrote/Cheap Shot, all buffable with Premeditation), our opening move choices are Pounce and Ravage. Pounce has some good PvP utility, and putting up a bleed effect is necessary for all our other abilities, but its damage is pretty weak and doesn’t scale well. If the stun’s not useful, it’s probably better just to Rake.
Ravage, like Ambush, is more of a leveling ability; it does decent burst damage when you get it, but it’s unaffected by most talents and is generally useless in max-level PvE content.
…until now. (dum dum dum). Check out these changes:
- Ravage – Ravage the target, causing 550% damage plus 236.93 to the target. Up from 385% and 165.98.
- Shredding Attacks: Now reduces the energy cost of Ravage by the same amount as Shred (5/10).
- Predatory Strikes: Now increases the critical strike chance of your Ravage by 25/50% on targets at or above 90% health, in addition to previous insta-nature spell ability.
- Imp. Feral Charge: Ravage will not require stealth for 3/6 sec after using FC.
Ravage still has the same disadvantages for PvE that it did previously (doesn’t get raid debuffs on the target), but with IFC, that problem is reduced (6s is more than enough time to apply a stack of FF, Mangle, and Rake). This will definitely give us more burst if needed…but threat could be a problem. :) Needless to say, proper opening of a fight will be a bit more complicated now; run in and start rotation is out.
Remember that we were promised a non-finisher interrupt? It’s here!
- Skull Bash – 1 Rage/25 Energy, 8 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown. You charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 5 sec.
It’s basically Kick, with a bit of extra range. I’m not sure about the range/charge thing actually; I suppose it could be like FC with a min/max distance, but that seems really unwieldy for an interrupt that we’re expected to be able to use on command now. I also dislike the name, but I’ll get over it, I suppose. I like Bonk. :)
This new talent is interesting (not sure where in the tree it is right now):
- Fury Swipes – When you auto-attack while in Cat form or Bear form, you have a 6/12% chance to gain an extra auto-attack on the same target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
Oh, this’ll be fun to model. Basically, this is more on the theme of making the kitty rotation less punishing for less-skilled players; I’d imagine we’ll see the amount of white damage we do (as a %) going up.
- Feral Aggression – Reduces the cooldown of Faerie Fire (Bear) by 1/2/3/4/5 sec, and increases the damage caused by your Ferocious Bite by 3/6/9/12/15%.
- Faerie Fire (Bear) – Rage cost increased to 15. Decreases the armor of the target by 3% for 30 sec. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times. Deals [AP * 0.05 + 1.0] damage and additional threat. (Previously did AP * 0.15)
- Savage Defense – Each time you deal a critical strike while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, you have a 50% chance to gain Savage Defense, reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack that strikes you by 75% of your attack power. (Previously 100% chance for 25% of AP)
Some significant changes here to FFF and SD. FFF’s damage is cut by two-thirds, but you have the option via talents to make it a spammable attack. Very interesting. This reduces FFF’s single-target damage below Swipe, which means either Swipe won’t be spammable without several mobs being on you, or it’s single-target damage will be reduced somehow. (Or maybe Mangle on CD+Lacerate+Pulverize will form the mainstay of the rotation now.) A spammable ranged attack, though, will help a LOT with keeping threat on casters.
SD’s uptime gets cut in half, but its effectiveness triples. Overall, I’d see this as a net buff. For multi-target situations, multiple Swipe crits generally meant you were getting many wasted refreshes anyway. On a boss, you’ll definitely see a reduction in uptime, but face it, a 2k absorption wasn’t really all that significant with 50K+ HP and bosses hitting for 20K. 6K, however, will be very nice. It’ll make damage intake burstier, but that hopefully won’t be as much of a problem for Cata.
Resto/Balance Changes (including the new Tree Form’s abilities!)
Come back tomorrow. :)