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FEEDBACK: Druid Class Changes

Shadowlands Beta Classes and Covenants
09-04-2020 09:54:26


In this thread, we’re discussing Druid class changes coming in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Read more about initial class changes in the World of Warcraft blog.

This initial post will be updated periodically throughout the Shadowlands test. Please check back here for information about further updates to this class as they are made.

Thank you for your testing and feedback!


14-04-2020 00:02:41

Responding to miscellanous questions/topics:
–Astral spells getting double benefit in CA is currently intended. We’ll have to see if the mastery double-dip is too much.
–AP costs and generation are generally slightly reduced to allow for better pooling (a few weren’t, such as New Moon, with the intention of buffing them). Starfall instead got a big damage increase, so you cast it less often but it’s more of a moment when you do. Stellar Drift’s utility may still be too good with the new Starfall.
–Bloodtalons: The goals of Bloodtalons were 1) to keep the things we think people saw as cool about it (adding some planning to the rotation, snapshot bleeds are a good payoff for a bit of complexity) while getting rid of the weirdness of using Regrowth as a trigger. Many people dislike the latter, and frankly we think it’s pretty weird too. We don’t have an exact further revision to report yet, but the feedback is making me think it still needs to somehow buff spells other than Rip.
–Stampeding Roar can still be used in Cat Form.
–The “30 sec ICD” on individual Eclipses sounds like it’s drawing more attention than intended. The goal is to make Eclipses alternate while in continuous combat, but allow restarting with either Eclipse after any break. Since Eclipses often last 16 sec, plus a short gap between them, the idea of an “ICD” that matters while you’re in combat shouldn’t be too relevant or need to be tracked. There might be a clearer way of doing this.
–Swiftmend will try to consume Regrowth, then Wild Growth, then Rejuvenation, so that its behavior is predictable.


17-04-2020 01:17:00
  • Survival Instincts now gains 1 Charge at Rank 1, and 2 Charges at Rank 2 (Guardian only).

  • With the Bloodtalons talent, now when you use Shred, Rake, and Thrash (was Ferocious Bite) within 3 seconds, the damage of your next 2 Rips (was 1 Rip) or Ferocious Bites is increased by 30% (was 50%).


30-04-2020 23:59:56

Eclipse: catching up (slightly belatedly) on updates this week.

Summarizing some of the biggest points coming out of early feedback:
–General negative feeling on the RNG startup of Eclipse. A few people did notice that there was pretty strong bad-luck protection on the proc, but ultimately that didn’t seem to help in this case.
–The idea of the 30s ICD wasn’t worth all the confusion. It was intended to simply alternate Eclipses in long combats, so it’s clearer to straightforwardly do that.

An important detail of the change (the number of casts to start an Eclipse is now fixed at 3) is that the count is visible in the default UI–highlighting this since it won’t be obvious to people who have only seen datamining. This lets you know, among other things, when you’ve been out of combat long enough to “reset” and be able to start with either Eclipse again, so you don’t have to guess about that. It also makes the mechanics clearer, for example that you can enter either Eclipse immedately after Celestial Alignment ends.

Another problem solved by no longer being random is that you’re not stuck in the middle of a “wrong” cast when Eclipse starts (Eclipse feels a bit longer when you play it in this version, for this reason). You can plan a buffed nuke or Starsurge crisply at the start of Eclipse, as well as allowing more advanced planning around DoT refreshes and movement.

Finally, it’s expected that there are better and worse Eclipse timings in a long encounter based on whether Wrath or Starfire is more valuable at given moments, and there’s some ability to manipulate it as you learn what’s coming. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for people to explore this yet, but Starsurge timing, DoT timing, Celestial Alignment, and choice of starting Eclipse are all ways to influence the cycle.


09-05-2020 01:47:53

I believe both of these are already the case on alpha.


14-05-2020 05:07:08

I do see the problem on Resto Affinity+HotW. But since Resto doesn’t have a native form, changing this would amount to saying “simply cancel any form when you press Resto HotW.” That feels like an odd thing to force on the player, when they can already cancel form at any time. In the current setup, a player who presses HotW and then decides they want to use another Bear or Cat option before starting to heal has the option, and that seems worth preserving–even if it probably makes you want to keep a Resto button accessible from your form.

Made Sylvatican Charm work with Frenzied Regen. It was designed with Resto HoTs in mind, but this is a neat interaction for people playing Guardian. Its uptime will still be much better if you keep Resto HoTs on yourself.

In general, Torghast powers have very little balance so far, so I want to be a bit careful about feedback over what build is strongest. The Druid synergies around shapeshifting (capped by the epic power Lycara’s Sash) are definitely strong, and that might distort the feeling of other builds until balance of Torghast a whole is further along. Our goal would be that something like Grasping Tendrils could play into a winning run, in a situation where it shines due to the presence of, say, Sylvatican Charm and Rootwood Scarab.


05-06-2020 02:46:22

Convoke the Spirits–in this build or an upcoming build:
–Convoke will more strongly favor current-spec abilities than it currently does
–Convoke will be more willing to use the same ability many times within a single activation
–Convoke will not use Thrash if nothing is in range
–In Feral spec, it will more strongly favor Shred over Thrash
–Dodging will work during the channel

Also, this isn’t spelled out, but “current specialization” will use your current Heart of the Wild if you have it active.

A dilemma with this ability is that, on one hand, it’s cooler if it does a wide mix of Druid things. Its power can come from the main-role spells you’re gaining, while some off-role spells contribute flavor, utility, and visual presence. But on the other, reading it can give an expectation of, say, 16 damage spells in a row, which is let down when you get something much less. We’re going to tinker with the mix somewhat to find a better balance here.


27-06-2020 00:22:29

Thanks for all the feedback on Convoke the Spirits. It will have a further update in an upcoming build, focused on being oriented more around shapeshift forms, and including higher-value spells associated with each particular form.

Most importantly, the spell list is redesigned. It is no longer the same in every form.
–Spells included in every form: Moonfire, Wrath, Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Rake, Thrash
–Caster form only: Wild Growth, Swiftmend
–Cat form only: Ferocious Bite, Shred, Tiger’s Fury
–Bear form only: Mangle, Ironfur
–Moonkin form only: Starsurge, Starfall

When used in any given form, spells assocatied with that form’s role are strongly favored.
Starsurge, Starfall, and Ferocious Bite don’t cost resources. Swiftmend doesn’t remove a HoT. Ferocious Bite does maximum damage. Self-buffs that don’t stack (Tiger’s Fury, Starfall) won’t overwrite themselves.

A bit of discussion about this ability–one dilemma with it is that while it actually chooses abilities somewhat smartly, it can’t claim to do so perfectly smartly. So the tooltip doesn’t promise to always choose the optimal ability, but in reality it does much better than random chance. Some things that were true in prior iterations, and still true now:
–Spells that apply a DoT or HoT are favored on targets that don’t already have it, and generally won’t reapply to targets that do (some exception for Wild Growth).
–It won’t aggro new creatures that aren’t in combat
–It won’t break CC
–Heals will be more favored relative to other spells if there are lower-HP targets
–Thrash is used more often in Bear Form than in Cat Form

As always, let us know how it feels on alpha.


08-07-2020 19:55:26

Various changes in an upcoming build:

Feral: Various talents are buffed numerically, to try to open up some choices a bit (Feral Frenzy, Lunar Inspiration, Savage Roar), as well as a baseline buff to Rip that’s related to the below discussion.

One notable talent is nerfed: Sabertooth. This has been the subject of much discussion in feedback. While we like the idea of a talent in this slot that simplifies the rotation somewhat, we generally agree that infinite Rip extension has a lot of downsides. It additionally tends to cause balance problems, as an infinitely-extended snapshot-buffed Rip tends to outpace other options for sustained damage. Sabertooth will extend Rip by a smaller amount–keeping a similar mechanic to now, but requiring it to still be occasionally used on a single target.

Relatedly, we’re adjusting Bloodtalons to make it easier to proc–we’ve seen a lot of feedback that sequencing Rake, Shred and Thrash that tightly is a big hassle when you have competing interests of when you need to refresh your Bleeds, when you have a lot of energy, when you need to use a finisher, and so on. Trying to find the sweet spot where it’s not too onerous to use, but still provides a reward for planning your rotation.

Balance: Notably in this build, starting Eclipse requires 2 spells rather than 3. Doesn’t require a big explanation, but should be strongly felt. In particular, the windup at the start of combat is much shorter (especially when you can precast 1 of the 2 spells).

We’re also trying a version of Celestial Alignment that’s not extendable to arbitrary duration; it was simply going to cause nearly certain balance problems later on. It is now a fixed-duration cooldown that still provides a large damage increase.

Thanks for any feedback, please let us know how this all goes.


15-07-2020 21:59:24

We’ve made the following changes to Kindred Spirits (Kyrian class ability) in the next build:

• Visual effects have been updated.
• Kindred Spirits now casts a solo version of each buff when bonded with yourself, called Lone Empowerment (Balance and Feral), Lone Meditation (Restoration), or Lone Protector (Guardian). These effects are weaker than when you pair with an ally, and grant simple buffs to damage, healing, or mitigation.
• Kindred Empowerment (the “damager” buff) no longer gives ramping primary stat to your partner. Instead, 30% of all damage dealt grants the partner a pool of Kindred Empowerment, which gets expended to increase their damage, healing, and mitigation until it runs out.

Please continue writing us your feedback. We’d love to hear your thoughts on how the ability plays out in various content, and anything else that comes up while playtesting.


27-07-2020 21:14:58

Some assorted minor changes in an upcoming build, just noting here:

–Convoke the Spirits can be channeled while moving, in all forms.

–Adaptive Swarm (damage swarm) will try to favor targets that have Moonfire or Rip active. It will not, however, merge/stack two swarms together if it can avoid it. The healing swarm was already pretty smart and there are no further changes to it right now.

–Bloodtalons: trigger changed from “use Shred, Rake, and Thrash” to “use any 3 different generators”. Continuing on from a lot of feedback on this, the goal is to make it more flexible, and cause fewer rotation clashes, while still requiring a moment of planning to trigger.

–Runecarve currently called Druid Runecarve 3 on beta (DoT/HoT tick rate): this was incomplete/ambiguous in the last build, but we are trying a version that compresses both tick rates and durations, taking from old abilities like Jagged Wounds and Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation. That should be in and working next build for testing.


19-08-2020 21:21:54

In an upcoming build, Feral will find some new things and some rearranged things around Berserk, Incarnation, Shred, and Rake. The main goal is to put more power and interest into baseline Berserk.

• Berserk (without requiring a talent) now makes Shred and Rake deal damage as though you were stealthed, and makes finishing moves refund 2 combo points.
• A new upgrade to Shred makes it generate an extra combo point when used from stealth (and by extension, during Berserk).
• Incarnation, as always, lasts 30 seconds and grants all benefits of Berserk, plus one additional effect–now, some energy cost reduction. It continues to allow one in-combat restealth.
• Stealth bonuses to Shred and Rake rebalanced somewhat (Shred higher than live, and Rake lower than live) both to make them more competitive, and to reflect their presence on a baseline cooldown.

Not much more to be said, but Berserk should pay off more as a core cooldown, substantially improving various abilities and amping up the pace of your rotation, without putting you under heavy Energy pressure. Let us know any feedback!


26-08-2020 21:42:14

Shooting Stars baseline thank you and good night

…I see, you’re still here. Ok, two somewhat significant changes to Balance in the upcoming build:

–Shooting Stars is moved baseline on the spec, with a new passive talent taking its place. We generally agree with the feedback that the DoTs didn’t communicate with the rest of the core rotation in any way. It’s a good foundation if the generators, the spenders, and the DoTs all feel like they reinforce each other in some way.

–Starsurge’s interaction with Eclipse is changed: it now increases the Eclipse bonus rather than extending the duration (Eclipse duration will simply be fixed at 15s). It still serves similar goals—Starsurge feeding back into the Eclipse/nuke cycle, as mentioned, and some depth around resource planning/pooling. But overall less frenetic to not have to worry about keeping an Eclipse going, and frankly avoids some likely balance issues that would occur as Eclipse duration scaled nonlinearly with haste. This also allows the Starsurge-Eclipse mechanic to function with Celestial Alignment again, which is a plus.

More minor changes:
–Soul of the Forest adds a new effect to each Eclipse, rather than merely increasing its numbers.
–Shooting Stars procs more often than it had been in beta
–Fixed an error that was causing Moonfire/Sunfire durations to be double-extended by a levelup upgrade. They are intended to be the same as in BFA.
–Increased DoT damage by about 10%.


22-10-2020 02:42:12

Catching up here—I know you’ve seen some ongoing tuning to Covenant abilities on beta. One recent update that’s not as visible is that Convoke the Spirits will now try to use a more consistent number of current-form abilities. There are exceptions–for example if no hostiles are in range, Convoke will use 12 friendly spells regardless of spec. But, on average, Convoke should much more consistently use 7-8 current-form spells.


20-11-2020 04:26:09

Once again, quick note on some recent changes to Convoke the Spirits since they can be hard to see immediately in-game. In addition to once again casting 16 spells for Balance, Feral, and Guardian—Convoke will now try to use a more consistent number of certain spells (currently, Starsurge and Ferocious Bite). Its behavior is, as always, influenced by various factors such as the number of targets in range, and their health and DoT status. But (when in a relevant shapeshift form), the number of casts of Starsurge and Ferocious Bite during a channel of Convoke will have much less variance than before.


21-11-2020 00:14:38

That looks right on Unending Growth–that should be fixed soon. Fair warning, the result won’t be exactly 2.5% in a test like that, because the proc rate will be prorated on partial ticks, to smooth out the haste breakpoint.


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