Kojiyama wrote:Afford was used contextually (hence the quotes) to refer to the shortcomings of priority target burst damage vs. the other positives Feral brings. I think calling Feral 'mediocre at what it does best' is slightly overstating our problems. We have the capability to beat a very large number of classes in sustained damage right now during progression scenarios. Sub Rogues are clearly better (and frankly broken from a balance perspective) but unless you are running in a guild that has an infinite number of Sub Rogues available, this is typically a moot point.
The thing is that I, and I know a lot of people don't care about balancing when content becomes more and more trivial because of various item level boosts and the fact people have acquired more and more gear. The stage I look at when talking about balancing issues is from the start of the expansion until the last progression period in which the top 100-200 guilds end. Because I personally think that's the only stage where balancing matters. I don't give a rats ass about balancing problems when content is trivial and we are going to farm it for the next half a year to find BIS gear.
The point I, and we SHOULD talk about is everything before the endgame farming period starts so basiclly the point where we go back about 2 or 3 months. And to be frank, Feral has been an awful performer throughout the whole expansion.
Highmaul wasn't great, it wasn't terrible but frankly Feral was just a slot that you could "afford" to fill, I personally wouldn't have put myself in the setup if I had the power based on my spec.
Foundry was worse, because lots of classes started to outscale Feral slightly and we still had our fundamental problems where we are just too weak at our weaknesses. I was personally lucky enough to see everything in Foundry only beeing benched for our first kill on Blast Furnance but I wouldn't have picked myself to be in the setup at all again because frankly Feral's strong points just didn't outmatch the weak ones which were the dealbreakers in killing bosses a lot. By the end of Foundry Feral "seemed" to look good because guilds started pushing for faster kill times with the acquired gear, but I don't consider that period when we're talking about balancing issues because the only moments I feel matter is when content is new, not when it's trivial.
Hellfire was my last attempt at trying Feral on progression and I ended up going Rogue as soon as we hit Xhul because there was no way in hell I was going to kill that boss as Feral, and neither did it look like Feral was going to be good for Mannaroth or Archimonde. The sad part is that even as a 710 item level rogue at the time I did more effective damage to everything that was priority then I could have ever done as Feral on all those bosses.
Right now the ring has been upgraded to item level 780+ on average, kill times of HFC bosses have pretty much halved, it's useless to talk about balancing now because 80% of the content is trivial for raiding guilds.
While I will agree with you and more people on this thread is that Feral surely can do decent overall damage but that's the last thing I'll look at when considering balance issues. The fact remains that Feral's strong point is aimed towards beeing good at sustained single target. The truth is that we are just horrible at anything else they throw at us. Priority add damage has been important for a long long time now and AoE is just part of the game, it's next to insane that Feral is so bad at those things and to me it's the major deal breaker on why I think Feral is just not worthy of a raiding spot.
The thing in all your statements is that you always make the assumption that the important stuff like add/priority/aoe damage is covered by the group, but the realization you need to consider is that this is next to never the case when doing bosses when the item level is just not there yet. This is what I mean with the fact that using the word "afford" is basically the dealbreaker already. You can't rely on having the job covered because in loads of the cases it's not and when considering raid setups you're always going to take classes/specs that can perform multiple roles in a fight so you can cover all the bases with taking any risk.
Now we'll see what the Legion raid meta brings and how Feral will fit into this style but I frankly don't have my hopes up high. Weaknesses need to be addressed and we have to become more versitile for me to ever consider Feral in the future.