Monday, March 2, 2009

Bear Market for Druids in 3.1 PTR

I've been coming to terms with the changes coming up for druid tanks in 3.1. If the changes in the 3.1 PTR go live, it will be the most significant change for Druid tanking since WotLK came out.

The four primary changes to bear tanking can be summarized as follows:
  1. Survival of the Fittest armor gain cut in half.
  2. Heart of the Wild stamina gain cut in half.
  3. Primal Gore talent gives Lacerate ticks a chance to crit.
  4. Melee crits reduce next physical attack by 25% of your AP.
If these changes go live, it will seriously shake up feral tanking. Blizzard seems determined to blur or remove the distinction between bears and cats. Strength will now partially substitute for stamina in contributing to our Effective Health, as our hit pools are reduced and attack power grows in importance. Critical strikes become more important than ever in this new paradigm.

Ostensibly these changes are to help our healers from having to fill our oversized health pools in light of the upcoming nerfs to mana regeneration, but my guess is that reduction in mana waste from overhealing made up much of the difference.

Some folks have helpfully suggested to me that it'll be a great change because feral druids won't have to keep more than one set of gear. That doesn't make much sense, however, because 3.1 will also include a gear rack feature.

Other helpful folks reassure me that it's necessary to maintain balance for Ulduar. I'm not convinced that a single endgame dungeon should cast a shadow on druids tanking at all levels throughout the game, though.

My most helpful friend, Miss Direction, reassured me that a simple change of gems would probably make up the difference once I get my Tier 7 set. I have my doubts about that, but will try to keep an optimistic outlook on the matter. I don't like the idea of my treasured Leatherbelliness™ going away.

Whatever the ultimate reason, the PTR changes are only proposals at the moment.

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