Updated Wed, Jul 01, 2009 by Medawky
It is patch time once again in the World of Warcraft. Many changes loom on the horizon, bringing with them the winds of change. As I have said before, no one dislikes change more than MMO players. The degree and number of changes being introduced in this patch is certainly not the longest or most drastic that we have seen but there are a number of key elements that “bear” discussion.
Here is a complete list of the changes to the druid class so far, I will highlight and discuss the more pertinent ones following the list.
Balance Changes –
Eclipse: The Starfire and Wrath buffs from this talent are now on separate 30-second cooldowns. In addition, it is not possible to have both buffs active simultaneously. – A pretty substantial nerf for balance druids who actively stacked their rotations around these proc buffs.
Owlkin Frenzy: Now also restores 2% base mana every 2 seconds for the duration (10 seconds) in addition to its current effects – A nice addition for soloing Boomkins and PvP, still very limited usefulness in PvE raiding.
Feral Changes –
Mangle: Ranks 4 and 5 base points reduced by about 11%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
Rake: Ranks 6 and 7 base points on initial and periodic damage reduced by about 7%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
Rip: Ranks 8 and 9 base points and points per combo point reduced by about 6%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
Shred: Ranks 8 and 9 base points reduced by about 10%. Scaling from attack power unchanged.
(Cat): Percent of weapon damage done
reduced from 260% to 250%.
Read this as: Your base DPS was too high, incoming nerf bat. Overall the reductions are pretty nominal and the bonus from attack power was left untouched. This may encourage us to gem and enchant a little bit differently as it will focus more on total attack power.
Restoration Changes –
Innervate: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This means each use of Innervate will give half as much mana as before, but it will be available twice as often. – This could just as easily be seen as a nerf to all specs but I chose to address it with restoration as this talent is all about mana restoration. This is purely a timing and play style change. Instead of popping this ability when you’re nearly OOM you will need to gauge your total mana usage and use it closer to 35-40% remaining. I actually prefer this style since I noticed that many times I would use innervate on myself and top off completely before the buff expired or a friendly shaman would pop mana tide around the same time. This change may also facilitate our ability to give innervate to other spirit based casters more often and efficiently on those fights where we don’t push our own mana usage so hard.
Empowered Touch: Now also increases the amount of bonus healing effects for Nourish by 10/20%.
This change gives value to a previously worthless talent for end game raiding druids. With advanced spell haste rates and other changes to nourish as well as glyphs, this becomes a very viable talent. I found myself removing two points from Nature’s Grace to free up the extra points in my build. I will advise on how this works out for me on PTR testing.
Overall the current changes being seen in 3.2 PTR are pretty balanced and minimal. The Druid still continues its reign as the most complete hybrid class and definitely the most powerful. Be on the lookout for further developments as well as any late breaking changes as they happen. Until next week, be safe and have fun in Azeroth!