Blizzard has announced in their latest Blogpost some upcoming Changes to Balance and Feral Druids with the upcoming Patch 10.1 – Embers of Neltharion!
In Embers of Neltharion, we’re looking to address some of the pain points and unintuitive aspects of Balance’s gameplay. The 10.0 set armor bonus is also rotating out, and we’re keeping an eye on how the spec plays without it. For this round of changes, we’re targeting three specific aspects of Balance’s gameplay:
Addressing these gameplay factors will require significantly reducing the power of some of Balance’s most impactful talents and bonuse s. We want Balance to be enjoyable to play and powerful when played well and in scenarios that it is well suited for, so we will be buffing Balance elsewhere to make up for those power reductions and keeping an eye on its power and tuning.
Stellar Flare’s power is driven significantly by its interactions with talents like Shooting Stars, Cosmic Rapidity, and Waning Twilight. These interactions are strong enough that it’s taken for all fights. Our goal is for Stellar Flare to be an optional talent that you’d choose if you’re interested in a DoT-focused build. It should be most effective against small numbers of targets.
We are removing Stellar Flare’s interaction with Shooting Stars. This will significantly decrease how essential it is for generating Astral Power, especially in many-target scenarios. To compensate, we’re increasing Astral Power generation from other sources and boosting finisher damage.
We like that Stellar Flare makes it possible to maintain the Waning Twilight bonus 100% of the time on affected targets. However, we’d like it to be easier for other builds to make use of Waning Twilight, so we are extending the duration of Astral Smolder’s DoT and creating a new choice node talent with Stellar Flare that increases Wrath & Starfire Astral Power generation and crit, making it easier to trigger Astral Smolder.
Entering Eclipse and 10.0 Set Armor
The 10.0 Set Armor 4pc bonus is changing from a free finisher dealing 35% extra damage to a 5 AP discounted finisher dealing 20% extra damage. This change will make Balance’s set bonus power more comparable to other classes. It’s also the main change we’re making to reduce the importance of entering Eclipse as often as possible. If it’s still optimal to use Lunar Eclipse in every scenario we’ll investigate further changes.
Several effects increase the damage Starfire deals to nearby targets during Eclipse, even pushing it above its primary target damage. To change this, we are changing Soul of the Forest to instead increase Starfire’s damage and Astral Power generation against multiple targets.
In addition to the above, we’re making some targeted changes to underpowered or underselected talents to make them more competitive, especially Balance’s endcap talents.
Before Embers of Neltharion, Berserk worked by restoring combo points after finishers and making Rake and Shred deal damage as if you were stealthed. This seems simple enough, and it accomplishes the goal of accelerating the rate you can cast finishers and deal damage. But under the surface, it requires a bit of cross-referencing other talents (like Pouncing Strikes) to figure out what it’s doing, and an advanced degree in Feral Science to determine the best abilities to use in different situations. The value of generating exactly 3 combo points with each builder can make it optimal to ignore abilities like Rake and Thrash entirely, which is unintuitive and makes the Berserk rotation pretty repetitive.
In Embers of Neltharion, Berserk is changing to this:
Go Berserk for 20 sec. While Berserk: Generate 1 combo point every 1.5 sec. Finishing moves restore up to 3 combo points generated over the cap. Shred and Rake damage increased by 50%. Combo point generating abilities generate one additional combo point.
The new version of Berserk aims to keep the excitement of Berserk’s accelerated rotation with frequent finishing moves, while fully rewarding you for maintaining Rake and Thrash’s bleeds and generally using the same builders you’re used to in the rest of your rotation. Since the steady flow of combo points can make it easy to go over 5, using a finishing move now restores up to 3 of those excess combo points so they aren’t wasted. If you have 4 combo points, cast a builder that crits and generates 3, then cast Ferocious Bite, you’ll have 2 left over afterward.
This update also allows some talents that lost a lot of power during Berserk to maintain their effectiveness, such as Bloodtalons, Sudden Ambush, and Lunar Inspiration. Berserk still increases Shred and Rake’s damage to retain some of Berserk’s particular effectiveness against single targets.
This is a big change, and we’ll be keeping an eye on tuning to retain Feral’s current power and specialties. Since Shred is losing some damage in Berserk, we’re increasing its damage overall to give back some of that power without changing Shred’s role in your rotation. To make maintaining Thrash more worthwhile in both Feral’s single target and AOE rotations, we are increasing the damage of its initial hit and its bleed.
We are keeping an eye on Berserk’s power overall so that too much of your damage isn’t focused in your Berserk window. For instance, in 10.0.7 we changed Berserk: Frenzy to shift some power out of your Berserk window. In Embers of Neltharion, we are reducing the effect of Relentless Predator, as it provided more Energy than we like within Berserk specifically.
One of the things we’re always looking for opportunities to do is give players tools to play less complicated versions of classes they love. With 3 DoTs to maintain, Feral can be an intimidating class. The new Thrashing Claws talent causes your normal single target and multi-target attacks to also apply the bleed from Thrash, meaning you don’t have to press Thrash at all. It may not be for everyone, but we hope you’ll tell us what you think if you try it.
Oh, and One More Thing…
Feral Druids are one of several classes that are getting updated resource visuals in Embers of Neltharion. Check out these combo points!