There’s an amazingly good class balance analysis thread/discussion going on at the official forums. It’s being heavily moderated, so all the junk’s being filtered, and GC’s talking more than he has in months, which is great. (Here’s the MMO-Champion tracker, if you just want to read the blue posts.) I’m going to pull out the druid quotes so far: GC’s responses in italics.
Quote: I know that modeling totem pets like the Fire Elemental has been annoying for the various Shaman theorycrafters. They seem to perform some actions randomly and they have an unexplained long “start-up” time. Any information you can give on how these things function under the hood would be welcome.
I believe there is a known issue that we’re currently working on, where many guardians that auto-assist you take a few sec to start assisting you after they spawn. We’re working to fix that, as we know that it impacts the performance of spells that summon these guardians.
My take: Good; this should help with Force of Nature.
Quote: Will Detonate indeed not be affected by Solar Eclipse?
Correct. Mushrooms should not be affected by Solar.
My take: Confirmation of what we already knew. Solarcleave is dead; should never be prolonging an Eclipse now.
Quote: There was a post not too long ago telling the Moonkin players that you were looking into a way for us to play around with our Eclipse.
There may occasionally be times where it’s actually worth it to use AC rotationally, but they should be generally pretty rare. What it should let you do is more directly control your Eclipse cycle, so that you can ‘game’ Eclipse to line up with fight mechanics.
My take: Bingo. Exactly the niche it should be in, as I discussed in this column.
Quote: Is Bloom intended to be used in AoE healing rotations? How will it affect Harmony?
It isn’t intended to be used rotationally, and may be too good at the moment. It is fine for it to affect Harmony as long as it doesn’t become a vehicle to keep Harmony up. If we can make it a small little bonus, that’s fine.
Quote: Spending a lot of our day trying to keep both Harmony and Lifebloom up (while trying to take advantage of all the new toys we got in MOP) is just too overwhelming even in MOP 5-mans.
Yes, we agree. Both of those durations could increase without much risk.
My take: I’m not sure how to parse the first quote, unless they plan on giving Bloom a minor effect that isn’t a refresh. Something like “Also extends your Harmony duration for 1 sec for each mushroom that blooms.” Of course, seeing as they might bump up the duration of Harmony and LB, it might not end up mattering.
Quote: Mastery – As of right now Mastery is going to be the stat to miss COMPLETELY. Only two (three with Incarnation) abilities will benefit from it, both of which are based on Attack Power ONLY. Even then in 483 PvP gear, with full raid buffs and ZERO Mastery, Rip is still hitting for 300k damage.
We’re currently modeling Mastery as roughly equal in value to Crit and Haste for Ferals, typically a couple % better. If you can provide any more detailed analysis, we’d be interested in seeing it.
My take: Stack mastery! Heard it here first! :) As always, the actual question is how well the secondary stats will scale relative to each other.
Quote: Incarnation – As of this point Incarnation is bad for Feral druids. Due to Ravage and Pounce’s 50 energy cost, there is just not enough energy to compensate normal shreds. based on my analysis you are looking at a 600 dps loss if you spec into Incarnation. If Ravage and Pounce cost 40 energy instead, then it would be a dps buff.
Incarnation should allow you to replace several Shreds with Ravages. Ravages are indeed more expensive, so the CP per energy will be lower (except above 80%, where it will be much higher). But, Ravage does ~50% more damage than Shred, for only 25% more energy. Is your modeling show that that’s not enough to be a sustained DPS increase? (Not to mention being a significant burst DPS increase.)
My take: Nothing to see here; Incarnation fills the burst DPS role, as intended.
Quote: I’m still in the early stages for Guardian but as of this point bears will only need to gear for dodge > crit > hit/exp > haste > Mastery up to 6 rage per second. This allows for at least 1 stack of Savage Defense will be available at all time. Beyond 6 Rage Per Second you will get to 0 stacks at some point during the fight. Beyond 6 RPS, uptime on SD only grows minisculally beyond 60% (6.66 RPS – 61.16% uptime; 7.5 RPS – 61.33% uptime; 10 RPS – 61.6% uptime) For example, with 6.666 RPS, we can use Savage Defense every 9 seconds up to 3 minutes into the fight. Afterwards we can use it every 10 seconds.
While there is effectively a ‘cap’ on converting rage to Savage Defenses uptime (as you describe, that’s effectively 6.666 RPS to use it on charge cooldown), that should translate to a very ‘soft’ cap on hit/exp/crit, as streaks of rage gain and rage drought may occur. And, more importantly, Frenzied Regeneration should provide a very attractive value in bleeding off excess rage, which is effectively uncapped. Our current design is that against difficult content, Savage Defense provides more average damage mitigation than Frenzied Regeneration heals, but given that it is avoidance (and thus not necessarily reliable), you will sometimes resort to using Frenzied Regeneration to smooth over spikes when you feel you need to. The goal in terms of feeling is that you should ‘want’ to use Savage Defense as much as possible, but sometimes you ‘need’ to Frenzied Regeneration to respond to unexpected spikes in damage.
My take: This is about the only thing I dislike. Against “difficult content,” you have to keep up SD as close to max uptime as you can manage, because 45% dodge is HUGE. I go from 20% avoidance to 65%. Boss damage intake is going to be tuned for that max uptime; you don’t have the flexibility to go “oh my health’s at 20% hit FR instead of SD this time around” because by the time you generate 60 more rage to get SD back up, you’ll be dead. Maybe bosses won’t hav that kind of damage output…but they’ve always had to pump that up previously to challenge healers. So. We’ll see what happens with that. Dammit, if I’m tanking, I don’t want my healers to have to track Savage Defense on their Grid/Vuhdo/Healbot, but it’s shaping up that way. Death (knight) bears!
Odds of taking 4 consecutive unavoided hits with 20% dodge: 40%. With 65% dodge: 1.5%. Think on that.