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.