Feral PvP – The DD forum discussion and suggestions

Ghostcrawler posted a lengthy response in the feral druid PvP “nerf” thread, which contained a decent amount of information about how the developers think about PvP balance, but nothing that was really helpful for the ferals that felt their chance at pvp success in 3.1 had been taken away from them. Here’s an excerpt with what I consider to be the “meat” of GC’s post:

We made some adjustments to Feral damage in both PvE and PvP settings. Most of the nerfs are pretty straight forward, so it’s probably easy to understand what we were trying to accomplish with them.

We understand the point was to nerf feral PvE and PvP, I am still not sure why feral PvP needed to be tuned down. It’s possible that when the developers made massive sweeping changes to other classes recently, including a significant nerf to fear mechanics, that feral stood out too high on their internal testing, but that almost just doesn’t make sense. I’m fairly convinced at this point that it’s not possible to balance all the classes for arena pvp, that there will always be complaints about PvP balance on the forums, and it could all just be a lost cause at this point.

I tend to not write a lot about feral PvP, since it’s usually my weakest area of mechanics & theorycrafting knowledge. However, I think the problem with the latest round of changes is that most of the changes came because of feral being too strong at PvE (in raid DPS on Ulduar testing), and not necessarily related to any PvP testing at all on the PTR. Thus, I think some of the PvP nerfs weren’t really intended to be PvP nerfs. So, that’s why it’s really not obvious to people like me. I’m even more concerned since I have been directing people to pick up feral PvP specs for arena, as resto & balance druids aren’t looking so great for arenas in 3.1 the last few weeks, either.

Now that I’m done with the “doom and gloom” segment of this post, lets get to what we can do about it, and where the weaknesses actually are. The most constructive post about feral’s PvP weaknesses (and how to fix the problem) in PvP comes from Deep in the Damage Dealing forums.

I really wanted to draw attention to Deep’s main point. Feral druids rely on finishing moves (rip and savage roar) to boost their damage. Both of these are easy to keep up in PvE raids, but are hard to use correctly in arena PvP (even if they look theoretically good on paper and lead to bursty damage on rare occassions).

The “savage roar” problem described by Deep is similar to what is probably causing moonkin druids a lot of problem in PvP. A lot of moonkin damage now comes from Eclipse, which is unreliable in PvP settings, and thus moonkin automatically take a damage hit when they enter arena settings. Being able to do high PvE damage seems to overshadow moonkin survivability and mana issues in PvP.

Dependency on spells or abilities that are great for PvE and not so great for PvP make balancing the pvp aspects of our class a lot harder than it should be. At this point, I just hope that other classes got tuned down enough that feral and moonkin will be able to do well enough to keep druids in the arena game.

Then again, the complaints coming from the balance PvP community has little to do with damage done, and more to do with survivability/mana regen/utility issues. Maybe damage done by druids is less of a problem than the damage done to druids by the other classes that are performing well in pvp situations.

Update 1: Unhappy with the 3.1 Arena abilities for druids? Go test them out Tuesday-

Focus testing in the arenas on the PTR has been tentatively rescheduled for Tuesday, March 31.

UPDATE 2: Ghostcrawler responded a few more times in that original thread, with a little more clarity and helpful information. Check out the newer GC feral comments starting here.

5 Comments

  1. aramis
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Ok, this is me being ignorant in a lot of what goes on in the development side of this game…

    I’m curious. We talk about balancing the classes and tweaking abilities and whatnot on the PTR in the area of PVP. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be equally beneficial to look at a controlled environment to truly get a sense of where a class’s level is where PVP is involved? Controlled, like, say, the currently going Arena tourney? Given that everyone can make a character with the BEST gear available (PVP, sure, but still top notch) I’d be interested in seeing if abilities are really over or underpowered without regards to the gear and seeing if it’s just lack of class mastery on part of the player.

    I’m not saying ignore the PTR data, but I can’t really draw conclusions until I can see data from a controlled situation. Granted, there is still human accountability in the Tournament, with a level playing field we can truly gauge what abilities should or shouldn’t be messed with. THEN, we can start taking into account other aspects of gameplay, like gear selection and environmental situations (i.e. group composition and buffs, boss debuffs, etc).

    I mean, is it just me? I really feel – especially as a newer player – I need more data! Heh.

  2. Posted March 30, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    From what I can tell, there aren’t any druids in the arena tournament to look at anymore…

    Actually, at this point, all the 3.1 changes are not on the arena servers, so if they tuned druids too high with the early 3.1 changes, that wouldn’t be reflected on the arena servers.

  3. Karmakin
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The problem is that at this point, PvP balance and PvE tuning are basically impossible. You’re not going to see complete equality across all specs and classes. It’s not going to happen.

    But we’re at a situation right now where a 5% difference in DPS done is a substantial number of numerical damage. We’re not talking differences of 50-100 dps, we’re talking differences of 250-500 dps or so, even up to 1k.

    Those are massive differences.

    Likewise, in PvE, the differences in DPS can be as much as 2000DPS from different gear levels. Massive differences.

    The problem is the DPS inflation, has made balancing too reliant on “compound interest” so to speak, making minor changes have huge effects, making balance impossible.

  4. Nafari
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I think a big problem is that without a stunned opponent, it is ridiculous to try to stack combo points and make use of the big gun, Shred. You can’t shredspam because of how many attacks will fail.

    A change to the mechanics of Shred would help. Make it work in front, but for low damage and less energy (like 45 energy base cost) but then if you are behind the target, it uses 15 more energy and does normal shred damage. Then you can make use of the RnT talent, AND you’ll be able to build combo points using shred.

    This would require a small change to the Shredding attacks talent too (otherwise shred would be 27 (45-18) energy in front — too OP). Just let the talent reduce the Energy cost for being behind.

    Bada bing, bada boom

  5. Eyecare
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Dear Blizzard,
    Paper needs to be nerfed.
    Scissors is fine as is,
    Sincerely,
    Stone

    I saw this as someone’s sig so I can’t take credit for it but thought I’d borrow it here just to help make a point. Whether one class is OP or not often depends on what you’re comparing it too. I believe Blizzard did state that they will not be making every class equal. Unfortunatly, while this policy is fine for PvE where our different roles adds synergy (in good groups) in PvP and especially 1:1 PvP the discrepancies in damage output between classes are much more noticeable. An ideal PvP environment (for me at least) is one where the player’s abilities play a bigger role than gear or class. I can’t say this is true for Arena as it stands now.