Druid - Feral & Guardian shadowlands (beta)

Nicolaco

Count Nicol, III.
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
188
I will try to make a summary of the mechanics including talents, covenants, conduits, legendaries after what I experienced in beta. Please be aware that those are not final and subject to further modifications.
I will start with Feral:

A) General:
- You can choose whatever aspect you like for every shape form as long as you unlock it. Changes are made at the barbershop.
- Diminishing returns on secondary stats. This will hurt feral a lot due to the crit stacking issue. To perform optimally you need to be in the range of +40%. Right now with ilvl 200 gear which is equivalent of the normal first-tier raid we are sitting in 22% -24% range. You can compensate for using some conduits like:
1) Pointed Corage but you have to give up a potency conduit (should be valuable at the start of expansion with low crit and low ranks of potency conduits). Also, you have to play Kyrian.​
2) Heirmir's Arsenal same issue as the previous one, Also you play Necrolord​
3) First Strike same you gave up one potency conduit. You play Night Fea​
- Forms: if you like forms you have plenty to choose from as long as you play Night Fea

B) Talents: Mostly the same.
Tier 1 all are well balanced and have a spot depending on what content you play:​
Predator - as long as you have adds that keep dying is the go-to. Furthermore, the potency conduit Carnivorous Instinct you start with 3% damage increase up to 7% at max rank buff it even more. Another synergy is with legendary eye-of-fearful-symmetry: you get 3 CP free after you use Ferocious BIte.​
sabertooth - maximize Ferocious Bite damage to use on a single target or multiple when you cannot benefit from Predator. Works also on aoe when you pair it with legendary: Apex Predators Craving and using Primal wrath talent as you will get a lot of Ferocious Bites at maximum damage. It might be trickier to play as you have to watch carefully Bloodtalons stacks as this free ferocious bite will eat them very fast:)
Lunar Inspiration - if you are playing with Bloodtalons it will make your rotation smooth compared with sabertooth as we are energy starved at the start of the expansion. If you are using legendary: Draught of deep focus this talent is the go-to as the legendary also buff Moonfire besides Rip and Rake. The damage of Moonfire is at the same level as rake in this situation. On a single target, this combo of legendary and talents is one of the best you get single target damage. Also, this talent works very well with cleave on high health targets.​
Tier 2: Charge is above the others

Tier 3&4: Has change: All affinities have some value now due to the utilities and CC baked in. Also, they can lead to some awesome combination or encounter saving abilities when you play with Heart of the wild talent. This style of play reminds a bit of the feral druid from the classic era.
Balance gives you access to typhoon, resto to Ursols vortex and guardian one can help you off-tank easily (coupled with Heart of the wild you can tank easily for 45 seconds).​
Another good option is mass root depending on content.​
Also Cyclone si baseline now.​
I think this addresses the former issue we had with a lack of utility in m+. We now have 3 forms of cc all time and this can vary based on dungeon/ encounter. Thas on top of Combat resurrect, dispel enrage, dispel curses and poisons. Btw I do not consider Stampeding Roar such an important ability: it has benefits but is not mandatory

Tier 5:
Soul of Forest easiest to play.​
Savage Roar another buff to maintain can be tedious when you learn content as you already have a lot of things to monitor. Can have some synergy with maximizing Ferocious BIte (see above) or the build which maximize the damage of all dots as long as you can maintain a proper rotation which is hard at the start of the expansion.​
Incarnation has lost some value due to the powerful buff that berserk got and the difference between those 2 is not justifying it. It synergizes with Venthyr ability Ravenous Frenzy but that means you gameplay is based around a super powerfull 3 min CD not really viable. Also, Venthyr's ability in PVP is no go. If you only pve is no problem.​
Tier 6: This is simple: Primal wrath with +2-3 targets. Brutal Slash for a single target or multiple targets that die extremely fast.

Tier 7:
Bloodtalons is the main one.​
moment of clarity if you feel energy-starved or you want an easier rotation (good for learning encounters). Works well with legendary: Cat-eye-curio. Unfortunately even this combo is not on par with bloodtalons.​
feral-frenzy can have uses in PVP. The good part about this one: Night Fea signature ability convoke-the-spirits casts feral frenzy although the tooltip doesn't specify it. It is not a bug as the ability also casts 2-4 ferocious bites per cast also not mentioned in the tooltip and there is also an anima ability which increases the probability of convoke the spirits to cast the most powerful spells.​


C) Spells (Abilities): the main changes are :
1) berserk long-awaited: now it hits like a truck. Shred and rake are super buffed during berserk and also you get refunded CP after using a finishing move. Because berserk rank2, shred can give you now 3 CP during berserk and rake 2 CP and you also get 1 CP refunded, most of the time you will use 1-2 combo point generators than a finisher that means you will get energy-starved very fast even with increase energy generation of berserk. Keep that in mind.​
2) shred: while stealthed it gives one additional CP, deal +60% damage and has a double crit chance (also it has +20% damage modifier on bleeding targets). Keep in mind that now also on Berserk not only on Incarnation Shred is considered stealthed. Also, the potency conduit: sudden-ambush gives finishing moves have 15% (35% at max) chance to cause shred to act like it is stealthed​
3) rake +60% damage as stealth (see the previous paragraph). Due to this tuning now you have to think about what opener you use and when: rake vs. shred​
4) Cyclone baseline​
5) Bloodtalons modified: mixed feeling about this due to the fact that you have to use thrash or swipe to get buff up both abilities are subpar (when you are speced or doing aoe ). in ST works fine with eitther Moonfire or Brutal Slash​
6) abilities baked in affinities : Ursols vortex, typhoon, Incapacitating Roar as CC. The hidden gems are Swiftmend for resto ability on 15 sec CD which tops you off from low health and Frenzy regeneration & Iron Fur as bear.​
7) Heart of the wild: For guardian affinity transform bear form in almost full bear speced : multiple Frenzy regeneration, overlap ironfur, increase stamina. For resto affinity increase healing and reduce mana cost let s you perform decently.​

D) Convenants:

- Kyrian: kindred-spirits - first of all I don't like pressing that button it doesn't gives you a special ability. If you use it on a tank the effect is undertuned , If you use it on yourself is a short +damage modifier nothing special. The conduits trees are good though. For Guardian on himself is a flat 10% damage reduction on a 1 min CD might worth . summon-steward is good clears alot of nasty stuff.​
- Necrolord: adaptive-swarm - sadly is under tuned even when coupled with legendary that buff Dots or with the one that reduces the time in which dots are producing the full effect. Also keep in mind that it is jumping and do a smart healing so is no buffing damage all time. In practice, it can stacks up to 5 stacks per target though. Downside main use on a Single target not powerful in aoe.​
fleshcraft is good . A plus for pvp and guardian. Also with volatile-solvent conduit you get nice buffs like +5% mastery for 6 minutes. Alo you can get multiple buffs if there are multiple types of dead enemies.​
- Venthyr: ravenous-frenzy - powerful ability. Downsides: 1) no go for pvp. 2) hard and risky in raid and m+ you can get easily disrupted when you need to avoid something and risk killing yourself. 3) must be coupled with another powerful CD, like berserk. Overall is the least favorite to me due to risks and overall usability.​
door-of-shadows - although looks nice, for me in practice I found it not very pleasant to use due to long cast time. I prefer something instant to get out. We have stealth to skip and a lot of mobility.​
- Night Fea: convoke-the-spirits: my favourite it feels rewarding to use it - very powerfull CD . Can be Rng due to how many Ferocious BIte or Feral Frenzy it casts.​
Usually you do the same damage as a berserk. Upsides: 1) you have 2 powerful CD's one on 2 minutes one on 3 minutes. 2) Works well with all specs: for guardian is the Oh Shit button gives you 4 stacks and ironfur and running frenzy regeneration. 3) Works well in ST and also in AOE. 4) with some preparation is deadly in PVP . 5) it also heals you if you are low on health.​
soulshape : blink? give me . a life saver. compare to venthyr teleport is way better for me - is instant increase speed also and can be cast multiple times.​
Downside: Blizzard changes it and considers soulshape form the same as no form - so if you cast it from feral you cannot use feral or guardian abilities while soulshaped. If you try to shift back to form you will lose the soulshape. Strange decision considering that other classes can tank or dps as normal in soulshape.​

Right now for me, Night Fea is the chosen one.
I might consider Venthry if they change the interrupt part or Necrolord if they buff it to compensate poor aoe performance.
Right now though the all arounder for pvp pve st and aoe is Night Fea. if you add the lore that you will find there and the endless forms I cannot choose something else:)

to be continued with conduits and legendaries
 
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Nicolaco

Nicolaco

Count Nicol, III.
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
188
Part II:
E:
Conduits : they function most as talent trees which can be swapped on resting ara or using a tome. if you want to play the maximize game you will have to switch 1) talents 2) legendaries 3) conduits per encounter. Hopefully, maybe someone will write an addon to integrate all 3 and make your life easier. You have 3 conduits tree.

Each has some predefined abilities that are unique to the tree and also to the Covenant you had to choose. For an easy understanding, you can group them as:
1) utility (self or group): speed​
2) economic: gaining various crafting materials, repairs costs​
3) pvp: reduce cc duration, escape tools, improve cc​
4) defensive​
5) offensive​

Besides the predefined ones there are class-specific conduits which are the same on all trees and covenants:
those are split into:
  1. potency (damage)
  2. endurance (defensive)
  3. finesse (improve various abilities).
Each specialization has different conduits additional to common ones.
You can change the conduits tree structure only once per week ( but you can swap between those 3 when you like).

You will see that each tree slightly favour different activity like PVP , DPS, tanking, healing, due to predefined conduits or due to the number of specific offensive or defensive conduits per tree ( some have 2, some have 3). In some situation, you may sacrifice a 3rd specific conduit for a powerful predefined one.

For druid and for so-called hybrid classes (multiple roles) and for peoples who like to do various activities this system is just bad:
For example, what will you choose at the start of the week: a raid build (focus on St), a mythic build ( focus on aoe) a PVP build? now multiply those with each role you perform ( DPS , tanking, healing ) and you can easily reach 9+ builds. Now choose 3 only for the entire week.
Want to PVP? then you probably skip m+ that week or you dont choose an off-spec for raid so on and so forth.
Even the choosing of Covenants push you to choose a specific activity as there are very few convenant - class combination which fits all activities in the game.

Specific ones :

Potency for feral the conduits are well rounded and each one shines in specific conditions:​

Carnivorous Instinct buff all damage provided by tiger fury: the long you maintain Tiger fury buff the better: Predator in aoe. As Tiger Fury snapshoot damage you need to plan rotation around it. Works well with most legendaries particular Eye of fearful symmetry
Incessant hunter gives energy very good for us. Shines in aoe fights when using Primal wrath : lots of rips lots of energy​
Sudden ambush chance for rake and shred to act as steathed. Given the buffs, they had got is a powerful all arounder. Slightly more attention required due to snapshotting of rake. Cat-eye-curio legendaries slightly help it due to overall increase in energy generation. Predator benefit of increasing energy generation is hindered unless you spread rake on every target which is tedious and also don't work with current Bloodtalons. So it clearly favours ST vs aoe​
taste for blood buff for Ferocious Bite can go up to +21% increase damage. Partner with sabertooth (20%) and bloodtalons ( 30%) and Tiger Fury (22%) and you get some really spike damage. Works very well with legendary Apex Predators Craving which gives free Ferocious Bites at maximum damage​

Endurance:
innate-resolve buff regrowth and frenzy regeneration - good for soloing or off tanking particular with Heart of the wild which buffs your tanking potential. Good for bears.​
ursine-vigor sadly 4 sec duration is low can be used as niche as an increase defensive cooldowns when you switch to bear to survive a burst, sadly a thing that most ferals forget to use ( unlike resto druids:) )​
tough-as-bark reduce CD of barskin can be useful depending on encounter, For feral, it is nice in Thorghast due to some anima combinations. For Bear is very good particular with some legendary ( will talk in Guardian follow up)​

Finesse: depends on taste or content none of them particularly important for gameplay (maybe the resurrect one )​


Predefined conduits: noteworthy:

Kyrian:

Pelagos tree: combat-meditation 5% mastery with 50% uptime good​
let-go-of-the-past 5% versatility almost 100% uptime very good​
focusing-mantra reduce CD on vials - useful on m+​
also, you get 3 potency conduits​
Kleia tree: pointed-courage 5% crit most of the time very good​
only 2 potency conduits if you choose that one​
Mikanikos nothing special for ferals​

Necrolord:
Marileth : volatile-solvent you get some nice buffs like 5%mastery for 6 min. You can have multiple different buffs. Powerful.​
plagueys-preemptive-strike 10% damage for 10 sec at start of fight. Sadly limited to one target so ST. Good, Not synergizes well with convenant though which is based on dots. Only get 2 potency conduits if you choose it.​
Emeni : nothing special for feral - nice perk casting fleshcraft while moving​
Heimir: heirmirs-arsenal +20% crit on 30% uptime - powerful.​
resourceful-fleshcrafting reduce CD for Shield and buffs. Important when you use fleshcraft and get new buff the old buffs do not override but keep the same duration new buffs will be added to the total number of buffs.​
Same issue 2 combat potency slots​

Venthyr:
Nadija: dauntless-duelist +4% damage unfortunate on ST (good for PVP or raid bosses)​
thrill-seeker +20% haste good in long fights​
only 2 potency conduits if you choose duelist​
Theotar Mad Duke: soothing-shade : 360 mastery (double your mastery at 200 ilvl) very good around 25% uptime. taking it gives only 2 Combat potency​
wasteland-propriety: 10% versatility and group versatility , Downside 10 sec duration on 3 min CD is just to low for DPS and also not so powerful to be considered a good damage reduction CD​
General Draven: superior-tactics 10% crit for 10 sec on interrupts on 30 sec CD very good. Same issue 2 potency conduits​

Night Fea:

NIya : grove-invigoration up to 30% mastery for 30 sec on a 2 min CD. Very good​
+ you get 3 Potency Conduits​
Dream weaver : social-butterfly 5% versatility with 50% uptime. Only works in group. Not so powerful to sacrifice a Potency conduit, For bears though is good​
Korayin : first-strike 20% crit for 10 seconds (doesn't stack with multiple enemies) very powerful for low living targets, in that case, justify sacrificing one Potecny conduit​
wild-hunt-tactics +10% damage on target over 75% very powerful​

The only trees where you get 3 Potency conduits without conflicting choices are Pelagos and Korayin (Night Fea & Kyrina).
Though the predefined conduits are powerful at the start of the expansion and might justify use them at that time, their value relative to specific class conduits will diminish on long term (because they are fixed numbers while the class ones scale with rank)


F: Legendaries:

cross-class:

circle-of-life-and-death damage and healing effects produce effects in a shorter time. A hidden gem, very powerful in m+ due to multiple rips of Primal wrath. Works best with Bloodtalons damage increase and Predator damage increase and energy generation - I rate it A+
draught-of-deep-focus +30% damage on dots on ST. Very powerful on ST , AS it affects Moonfire also recommended build with Lunar Inspiration (Moonfire combo builder) and Bloodtalons for 30% damage. I rate it A+
lycaras-fleeting-glimpse just bad. Rate C
oath-of-the-elder-druid increase affinities can have some applications in specific encounters. Rate B

feral specific:
Apex Predators Craving free max Ferocious Bites - good in aoe (see above) rate A
Cat-eye-curio although tempting when combined Moment of clarity talent for more clearcasting it just doesn't perform well right now. With time when you get more fluid CP generation and more finishers which increase the need for energy might be better. For now B (maybe A later). Still good in solo content​
Eye of fearful symmetry requires Predator talent to rest Tiger Fury and any talent conduit that buffs Ferocious Bites. Works weel in Aoe and solo content. Grade A
frenzyband reduce CD of berserk. Although Berserk is very powerful now the reduction is undertunned you will get around 15 sec reduction at current gear. Later in the game, it will improve, For now, A-. Best to use in progression raids.​

AS a summary feral is now in a way better spot then the mess that was BFA. Main issues with utilities in the party have been addressed, Dps is in the upper part of the classes. We got some quality of life changes. We get some real hybrid playstyle. We can offtank again, And as Paw mention big plus on transmog forms and weapons :). And we get a lot of new forms. Looks pretty good right now


Tomorrow Guardian
 
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Nicolaco

Nicolaco

Count Nicol, III.
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
188
Guardian Druid:

A) General: Overall bear is better than in BFA but worst then Legion. Talents are roughly the same, the borrowed powers in terms of legendary and conduits are the previous iteration of artifact abilities, azerites or class set bonus, so nothing new here also. The improvement comes from some tweaking and the combos that you can make.
On the plus side, we have the best melle damage mitigation.​
On the negative side: magical damage mitigation still not addressed, We are the only tank with no magic damage mitigation abilities or passives. We have to rely on cooldowns which are scarce already, or on self or external healing. And that was nerfed also due to frenzied regeneration nerf and the fact that itis on a GCD. Somehow reminds me of the old bear who's job was to soak damage but the difference now is that we miss also that massive health pool: there are other tanks with more HP then us. Although mastery was supposed to increase the health is still undertuned now.​
Another issue not addressed is the aoe slow - we have a slow but that is only a single target. So we have to rely on kitting on Mass Roots or Ursols vortex which are on CD and not permanent. Also, we have lost Ursols vortex & typhoon combo cause they are on separate affinities.​
Issue solved partially:​
casting from bear form rebirth, dispels curses poisons, enrage. The main issue though is still there: self-healing. Although swiftmend is really powerful and on short CD, 15 sec, is really hard to use it as it requires at least 4 GCD to use it ( shift to no form, rejuvenation, swiftmend and shift back) and in this time you are basically exposed because you do not retain armour or health. The fixes are simple just remove GCD on forms ( seems will never happen it was been ask for so much time ) or at least gives an ability to retain armour for few secs after shifting (this is simple). I don't think they really understand it as they introduce a conduit ursine-vigor but guess what improves armour and health after shifting IN bear not out. Kinda useless implementation as all that you get is no use if you have lost a lot of health while you were shifted.

B) Spells (Abilities):

frenzied-regeneration now have 3 ranks: it has 2 charges on a 36 sec recharge )modified by haste) and it heals for 24% of health and increases healing received by 20% on its duration. as it is one the most important ability it can be buffed by various means:
1) innate-resolve conduit +12% healing (attention is not additive instead is 12% of the current % (24 for example) so you will get around 27%. That is the lowest level but at the highest level, you get 28.8% so u will be over 30% before other modifiers.​
2) the-natural-orders-will legendary - a lot of hidden potentials you will getv. 3 frenzied regeneration during a 30 sec window with a total of 4 stacks available at max it sounds extremely good. Looking at this i still wonder why they still insist with renewal talent which heals 30% health on a 1.5 min cd really is not worth a talent.​
3) guardian-of-elune talent increase healing of frenzied-regeneration with another 20% (same not additive) so a 5% baseline.​
The synergies are extremely good and make frenzied regeneration bread and butter and a very powerful tool with high uptime and high healing. Also, don't forget the +20% healing received during its duration also powerful. Recommended making a macro announce to synchronize with healers although it can be spammy at this high uptime.
Also, it helps mitigate magic damage taken (one of the few besides the big CD;s

survival-instincts has 2 charges on a 2 min recharge 50% damage reduction feels good with 2 min recharge

Mangle has built-in slow

berserk reduce the CD of abilities by 75% and healing of frenzied regeneration by 50%. Powerful and feels good when using it.

Incarnation talent improves berserk by increasing duration to 30 seconds also gives +30 health overkill usual but for very hard hitting phases is extremely good
legacy-of-the-sleeper legendary makes berserk / incarnation even more powerful with +15% leach, immunity to loss of control, 25% damage and reduce CD with 30 Sec

ironfur the bread and butter for physical damage mitigation stacks as usual . The nice part they are now available baseline in affinity and they stack also if you get Heart of the wild talent (same applies to frenzy regeneration) making other specs viable off-tanks for 30 sec on a 5min CD.
layered-mane conduit gives a chance to proc additional Ironfur.​
convoke-the-spirits: Night Fea ability has a very high proc of ironfur you will get around 4 application per cast. Adding that also frenzied regeneration is cast multiple times this ability basically is the 2nd major CD along with survival-instincts
barkskin 20% damage reduction on a 1 min CD. See before the synergies with survival-of-the-fittest, tough-as-bark, the-natural-orders-will.
In this case, this becomes a big CD not a minor one with a very short CD and IMO has more value then survival-instincts
lycaras-fleeting-glimpse another barskin on a 45 sec CD, though is random not on-demand which diminished its value a lot​
Ursine adept allows you to cast dispells and rebirth in bear form
Cyclone is now baseline

Thrash, Swipe, Mangle, Maul stays the same,
CC and utility toolkit: mass root, stun, Typhon, ursol vortex, maim based on affinities.
CC and utility toolkit: dispells, rebirth, hibernate, incapacitating roar, cyclone are baseline



C) Talents:
are mostly the same. The value of them now differs due to interaction with legendaries and conduits ( see before)

Tier 1 all viable :
One is constant rage generation works with thrash builds: Blood Frenzy. Synergy with luffa-infused-embrace one more stack so more rage generation and ursocs-fury-remembered chance for one more stack (hidden gem here is the shield it provides - 100% uptime works on magic also based on damage dealt by thrash).​
Another one for on-demand rage generation: Briistling Fur.​
And one that is for threat generation: Thorns​

Tier 2: Wild Chrage rest aren;t worth it

Tier 3 : Resto affinity is by default due to the healing it provides. Other affinities get value based on the backed in CC they have particular in specific affixes during m+ or raid encounters or PVP : (Balance affinity). Or can be chosen Feral affinity if you plan to off-tank for added damage.

Tier 4: Stun, Mass Root both viable. Probably will use more Mass root in m+ and stun in PVP. Heart of the wild will see less use as you are tanking - only as offtank for a dps check phase.

Tier 5: Galactic Guardian and Incarnation are taking lead, Galactic Guardian for superior rage generation and thrash agroo. Incarnation (see before) empower berserk even better for progression very hard-hitting passes.

Tier6: All 3 worth it :
Earth warden flat damage reduction 30% on auto attacks (melle)
survival-of-the-fittest talent reduces CD of barskin and survival-instincts by 33%. helps you with timing on specific bosses. If use with the combo of legendary that gives also ironfur and frenzy regen or/and conduit to reduce CD it became a favourite choice.
guardian-of-elune talent is mostly on par with survival-of-the-fittest using the legendary - conduit combo. You trade a lower CD for an increase in healing

Tier 7: all 3 worth it:
rend-and-tear - all time damage reduction and damage done increase scale with the number of thrash applications. Synergie with luffa-infused-embrace or ursocs-fury-remembered legendaries which increase the number of stacks.
Easiest to use, highest damage, works on magic, all time reduction, ramp up time though and not the highest damage reduction

tooth-and-claw increase damage reduce damage taken by 15% for 6 sec. Is Single target compare to previous which is AOE. The damage reduction is higher but not all time although it has a high uptime. Both works on magic damage.

pulverize increase damage and reduce damage by 20% for 10 sec on 30 sec CD. Highest damage reduction works on magic, ST only, works as a CD rather than constant damage reduction, To be used when you need more CD based on boss phases.


D) Covenants:

- Kyrian: kindred-spirits For Guardian on himself is a flat 10% damage reduction on a 1 min CD might it is ok but not really good. Cast on party member reduces the damage they take sort of weaker prot paladin sacrifice.
summon-steward is good clears a lot of nasty stuff.

- Necrolord: adaptive-swarm -fore guardian damage increase for thrash and Moonfire is minor and not the main focus. The smart healing jumps to a random target and do not provide much healing, Is like a weaker version of resto affinity. Also, the healing time alternates with damage time so uptime is not 100%
fleshcraft is good. Also with volatile-solvent conduit, you get nice buffs for 6 minutes. Alo you can get multiple buffs if there are multiple types of dead enemies. I cannot justify it though as the adaptive swarm is so weak.

- Venthyr: ravenous-frenzy - mostly increase your damage frenzy regeneration healing and the haste not so powerful as berserk but on same 3 min CD. It has a ramp-up time so better use preemptive. The main downside is the risk to get interrupted stun disoriented or jus thave to reposition (though here you can cast other spells to not lose the stack) and then you get stunned and lose health for sure something a tank do not want. YOu have to preemptive use another CD to not risk death due to stun or low health - kinda pointless wasting another CD. Also no go for PVP.
door-of-shadows - although looks nice, for me in practice I found it not very pleasant to use due to long cast time. I prefer something instant to get out. We have stealth to skip and a lot of mobility.

- Night Fea: convoke-the-spirits: very powerful CD.
Guardian is the Oh Shit button gives you 4 stacks of ironfur and running frenzy regeneration. Is another 2 min big CD
soulshape : blink lifesaver
Downside: Blizzard changes it and considers soulshape form the same as no form - so if you cast it from feral you cannot use feral or guardian abilities while soulshaped. If you try to shift back to form you will lose the soulshape. Strange decision considering that other classes can tank or DPS as normal in soulshape.


E: Conduits :

Specific ones:

Potency:
savage-combatant buff mangle can synergize with tooth-and-claw talent for increase Maul damage. Use when doing less powerful content and when you sacrifice survivability to damage in PvE. The problem is with weekly reset of conduits so you gimp yourself for one week, Can work in PVP​
unchecked-aggression gain haste during berserk works with legendary that reduce berserk CD. Also, you want haste during berserk to improve survivability. Better then the previous one but overall none is very good let's say Average. In case you choose Night Fea you can go also with generic Night Fea potency conduit that increases both damage and healing​

Endurance :

innate-resolve buff regrowth and frenzy regeneration - Good as it buffs frenzy regeneration (see spell paragraph)​
ursine-vigor wrong design should have been after you shift out. Only use when you decide to charge a very large group. I don't see its use on a 1 week build. Bad
tough-as-bark reduce CD of barskin - Very Good particular in combination we discuss before​
layered-mane chance for extra ironfur - Very Good
well-honed-instincts auto frenzy regeneration heals when you drop below 25%. While good to have 90 sec is kinda long. Good.​


Predefined conduits: noteworthy:

Night Fea:
Koryan​
face-your-foes reduce damage when in front of him by 2% not very good​
hold-the-line reduce damage taken by 10 % but requires to stand still. Still very good​
Downside both requires you to give up a potency conduit​
Nyia:​
niyas-tools-burrs reduce movement - single target​
Groove Invigoration - increase mastery for 30 sec on a 2 min CD good​
Downside this 3 only has 2 endurance slots​
Dreamweaver:​
field-of-blossoms 10% haste for 10 sec on 1min CD ok​
social-butterfly 5% versatility alternating at 5 sec between you and 2 allies good​
podtender cheat death at 30 min CD​
the default go-to for Night Fea Convenant IMO​
one more choice here: empowered-chrysalis up to 10% health shield done by overhealing for 5 sec ( can use when expecting a very big hit incoming and healers top you off). Kinda hard to justify it loosing one Endurance conduit for it though.​
Kyrian:
Pelagos​
let-go-of-the-past 5% versatility all time powerfull​
combat-meditation 5% mastery for minimum 20 sec on a max 1 min CD good​
Kleia:​
bearers-pursuit chance to slow for 20 sec ok​
valiant-strikes 10% health group heal at 40 crits . ok when in party or raid​
MIkanikos​
forgelite-filter auto heal when bellow 35% ok​
hammer-of-genesis up to 10% haste for 10 sec ramping up. ok​
Necrolord:​
Maryleth​
oozs-frictionless-coating 20% health shield when dropping below 50% . Good. requires though to give up an endurance conduit might not worth the trade​
Emeni​
emenis-ambulatory-flesh can channel felshcraft while moving ok​
gnashing-chompers 5% haste ok​
Hermir"​
serrated-spaulders thorns ok​
forgeborne-reveries keeps fighting 10 sec after dying but you cannot receive healing ( gives a few more sec for resurrecting) okish​
only tree with 3 endurance conduits that makes it probably the favourite options here​
Venthyr:​
Nadija​
dauntless-duelist : 2% damage reduction ST​
thrill-seeker 20^ haste for 10 sec on a relative long cd​
Mad Duke : a 10% versatility group wide for 10 sec, but on a 3 min CD​
Draven​
service-in-stone -10% damage sub 40% health good​
also the only tree with 3 conduits endurance. I would say go to but i wouldn't choose Venthyr for tank​
enduring-gloom 15% health shield on a 1 min cd not worth sacrifice an endurance conduit​
F: Legendaries:
legacy-of-the-sleeper increase berserk & incarnation potency (+damage +leech, immunity) and reduce their CD. Gives a Super CD on a 2.5 min CD. Grade A​
luffa-infused-embrace thrash damage and radius increase stack 1 more time, A lot of synergies as mentioned above. Increase damage done and flat damage reduction (by a smaller amount around 2% ) increase rage generation for further damage is done or damage reduction, Works well in aoe large packs also. Downside: keep in mind ramp-up time as it requires 20 sec to reach 4 stacks. Grade A​
ursocs-fury-remembered can proc one more trash helps with ramp up time of thrash useful on big pulls or heavy damage at start, The hidden part is the 100% uptime shield you get. Works on magic also based on damage dealt by thrash. Aoe will give bigger shields. on ST shields prevent like 5% health damage then it renews. Works for both as flat damage reduction and faster ramp up time. Grade A will help with​
the-natural-orders-will (see above ) 2 more Frenzied regeneration on a minute CD (besides the 2 charges that you already have) reduce even further with talents and conduits: survival-of-the-fittest talent reduce CD of barskin by 33% and tough-as-bark conduit which reduce further the CD with 24% at max level. So basically you can have 2 more frenzied regeneration on a 30 sec CD beside the innate charge with 30 sec CD.​
Transform Barskin into a Major CD on a 1 min CD. Grade A+​

General ones: are not worth for guardian only in a certain situation:
circle-of-life-and-death dots are running faster for our trash and Moonfire damage. slight damage increase not worth it. B​
lycaras-fleeting-glimpse free barskin at 45 sec but you cannot control it so it loose a lot of value. B​
oath-of-the-elder-druid 75% on affinity effects can lead to increase self-healing ( but negligible overall) good for soloing. Or increase range of abilities (luffa is better). or more speed baseline. The second effect that gives Heart of the wild for 10 sec on a 1 min CD unfortunate I don't see many uses for Guardian unless you offtank and want more DPS . Not justifiable compare to other alternatives. Grade B​
Overall you can have various combination of a lot of minor CD's, more CD's, few very powerful CD's. In addition, some convenant abilities act like powerful CD's. Besides that, you have constant powerful Melle mitigation and you can choose from a lot of options for standard all kind of damage, for all time lower mitigation. As it seems right now the innate melle mitigation and constant damage reduction will take care of most of the situations and the CD's will be used proactive and reactive mostly for magic damage spikes or sometimes very powerful melle spikes.​
CC provides a variety of options with the downside of lacking a permanent aoe slow.​
Group utilities we are well covered​
 

Jazende

Sacred vines, entangle the corrupted!
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A few things I wanted to note:
On the negative side: magical damage mitigation still not addressed, We are the only tank with no magic damage mitigation abilities or passives. We have to rely on cooldowns which are scarce already, or on self or external healing. And that was nerfed also due to frenzied regeneration nerf and the fact that itis on a GCD.
I do take some issues with this. For one you say you have no magic damage mitigation, while you have Barkskin and Survival Instincts. You don't have a magic specific damage reduction ability, but only warriors have this in Spell Reflect and *maybe* paladin in Spellwarding (I say maybe because in many cases SW just causes the spell to go on other targets, which is the express opposite). And while Barkskin (20% dr) is 12second duration 1min cd in Shadowlands, which is already one of the higher uptime, you can improve this with another 33% reduc on cooldown via a talent, aswell as a conduit reducing this cooldown even more. 60 seconds base -> 40 seconds with talent -> 36 second cd with rank 1 conduit, down to 30 seconds at max rank. For 12 second uptime, this is a bonkers cooldown.

Furthermore with another legendary you can activate both an Ironfur and Frenzied Regen _for free_ on both _start_ and _end_. (Which also increases your healing taken by 20% over the duration). On top of this, your mastery is another source of, in essence, magical damage reduction.

This is of course not to say other tanks don't have options versus magic damage, but I'd be hardpressed to find any that can give you this level of reliable magic survivability.
 

Ayu

You need help.
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Blood DK go brrrr.

On a more serious note, CDs are not the be all, end all metric. They are great for burst damage but lose against classes who primarily rely on healing as their AM for sustained armor/block ignoring damage.
 

Jazende

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There's obviously differences with passives like DH' tattoo vs cooldown based, my main issue is specifically with the apparant lack for magic survivability.
 
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Nicolaco

Nicolaco

Count Nicol, III.
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It s true all that you said about Cooldowns, even if it locks you with specific talents and legendaries. But as Ayu said also I m not comfortable relying on CD as those help with spikes, I want some protection for constant damage current damage also. We had it in the past innate magic damage (in Legion) but true it didn't work so well added to guardian melle reduction. I would be happy with a more balanced approach instead of going max melle protection and CD. As for other tanks, DH has baseline magic reduction, the paladin can block spell damage, warrior short CD for magic and I don't even talk about DK. And for these classes, these abilities are on top of their usual 2-3 CD normal CD (like Survival Instinct and Barskin for druids). Please correct me if I made a mistake.
 

Ayu

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Warrior really isn't the tank you want in a magic heavy fight. Once their CDs run out, they are pretty bad for that particular scenario.

OTOH they are really, really good against blockable damage and - if tuning doesn't nerf them too badly - kings of AoE damage, which is valuable even in raids.

They are a pretty specialized tanking class, with all the strengths and weaknesses that entails.

Druid is more of a generalist. Never the best at one thing but never the worst either. They usually do pretty well, even though they tend to fall to the wayside because top guilds pick their tanks depending on what is best, so they just rotate their tanks because they can afford to do that. Makes it seem worse than it is.
 

Jazende

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There's benefits and drawbacks to each of the tanks ways of dealing with magic damage. Comparing them to what used to be isn't helpful, as many of them have been nerfed heavily in and since BFA (also including normal cooldowns).

For example the DH tattoos is now down to 5%. Of note, the druid mastery 'reduces' magic damage by 4% baseline, and will surpass it reasonably quickly with any mastery. Paladin Holy Shield is strong (and also locks you into talents for it, if you'd want/need it), but innately unreliable. Monks can Stagger magic damage at 33% of normal stagger value, of which you can clear 50%; and their cooldowns are underwhelming to say the least. Blood TD go brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I didn't really intend to compare it to other tanks, as different tanks have different strenghts in different places, though there's a minimum of which has to be done really, my point was/is that Guardians aren't in a bad spot when it comes to magic damage.
 
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Whitepaw

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Guardian got a bad rep in BfA, even though it performs well. That might also happen in SL.

Personally, I like its performance. But I think it’s boring.
 

Anshrr

#1 LFR Feral for his ILVL
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Thought they removed snapshotting? Is it back?

CC and utilities is probably? great for ferals who raid seriously or do m+, but I'm disappointed in these "changes". Regular gameplay is still the static 4-button, timer-watching "rotation" we've had since vanilla. All the while, our cat is just stood there, gently pawing at the target, like som housepet pushing shit off a table. Mew mew, such an absolute terror. Atleast I don't have to change my timer-auras I made at the start of Legion.
 

Whitepaw

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Tiger’s Fury snapshots. I don’t know about Savage Roar.

And the dps looks good - especially the uncapped Primal Wrath.
 

Anshrr

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So.. are we wading in cp in SL? Sabertooth being nerfed from 4s to 1s sounds like it'll make it completely worthless.
 
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Nicolaco

Nicolaco

Count Nicol, III.
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That is not even the worst part.
The real nerf is how they modified Bloodtalons in pre-patch notes now it affects the next 2 Ferocious Bites or RIp's, instead of the next 2 finishing moves. Are they even thinking or even playing this class? What is the point of nerfing Primal wrath like this . In m+ fights Rip from Primal Wrath was accounting for almost 40% of the damage done. Nerf those 40% with almost 30%? Really? Like Feral dps was already good, what is wrong with them?​
Whats the fun of playing a class which in last expansions starts undertunned alot and then got fixes by middle to end of expansion when the raid groups or m+ groups are already formed and you will slowly see how the others are pulling away from you? Not to mention that as feral you are already starting low due to crit issue. Let us start normal and if we scale to much nerf when this become an issue - that way we can at least enjoy playing the game​
 

Anshrr

#1 LFR Feral for his ILVL
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For single target, BT seem annoying to use. Atleast if you've popped Berserk/Incarnation, you might be able to FB more than once between each rip/rake. And it forces you to use thrash (or swipe I guess? MF?), which I really hate using on single target. Just spamming abilities to proc BT, but now it's rake/thrash instead of regrowth..
 

Whitepaw

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For single target, BT seem annoying to use. Atleast if you've popped Berserk/Incarnation, you might be able to FB more than once between each rip/rake. And it forces you to use thrash (or swipe I guess? MF?), which I really hate using on single target. Just spamming abilities to proc BT, but now it's rake/thrash instead of regrowth..
There will be a conduit which buffs FB per bleed effect on target
 

Anshrr

#1 LFR Feral for his ILVL
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Shouldn't have to rely on temporary gimmicks for something to have a use.
 

Whitepaw

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Shouldn't have to rely on temporary gimmicks for something to have a use.
I don't see it as gimmicky as it was before. And remember, you get 2 x charges of BT, so it's only every other build-up phase where you need to do this.

What I do see as odd though is how snapshotting and BT now work against one another. We have 2 x single target combo builders (Shred and Rake) and 2 x AoE combo builders (Swipe/Brutal Slash and Thrash). So no matter how you cut it, you'll have to use at least 1 x combo builder with a bleed effect.

Feral bleeds use snapshotting off Tiger's Fury. So no matter what you do, you risk not only reapplying a bleed already on the target, but having to reapply a weaker bleed than the one you had before, because Tiger's Fury runs out before the bleed does. That is, in my opinion, weak game design. I'm not saying these are big numbers - but still: It is a unique game mechanic (snapshotting) for Feral, working against one of the most important and impactful dps talents.

Another weird thing about this is that BT forces you to use your energy on more energy expensive combo builders. The most efficient combo builder is Shred, but BT forces you to use energy on Thrash and Rake as well. My bet is that Lunar Inspiration is the best talent for BT because of this, since it's fairly cheap energy-wise - but you then again have to reapply a DoT, which is counter to the spec.

I would probably have reworked BT completely, while looking at Assassination Rogue. They seem to have a more engaging and intuitive bleed spec than Feral right now - Exsanguinate is a really cool talent imo.

I'm also a bit confused about how the Rogue design manages to juggle several complementary mechanics, while Feral seems stuck in a tug-of-war between MoP-Ferals and the rest of us. Instead of designing with a clear end-state in mind, the devs seem to care a lot about some rose-tinted glasses for some of the players - especially those who advocate how MoP was so amazing. Meanwhile, Ferals armor-debuff, which was in the game for several expansions in different shapes, has been completely thrown away. That's really weird, because giving Feral an armor debuff would be a great idea - and would reintroduce a known mechanic, with a known ability (Fairie Fire Feral).

But instead, the devs keep redesigning BT, which was designed poorly right from the start. It's less stupid than it was, but it's still below-par imo.

And it's not even as if we don't have good stuff now. We do. Heart of the Wild looks amazing, the Affinities look good, Lunar Inspiration is one of the most thematic and best talents in WoW, Primal Wrath is awesome, Wild Charge is probably the best talent ever etc. But BT continues to be an eyesore, and Assassination Rogues are running around with cool stuff which could be an inspiration.
 

Anshrr

#1 LFR Feral for his ILVL
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Referring to conduits as the temporary gimmick, fwiw..
I tried out Sabertooth, dunno if it's current gear helping or what, but rip seemed nigh endless. Refreshing a buffed rip wasn't much issue. Ofc, with shitter gear, I guess less haste/energy regen? I dunno.
But I agree re feral vs rogue. Whoever's in charge of rogues has a clue and cares, while the feral guy is probably someone who works part time and just does the bare (BEAR?!) minimum each expansion. Or he's a feral and really proud he can master our SUPER-COMPLEX rotation..... D:
 

Anshrr

#1 LFR Feral for his ILVL
Joined
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I tried out Sabertooth, dunno if it's current gear helping or what, but rip seemed nigh endless. Refreshing a buffed rip wasn't much issue. Ofc, with shitter gear, I guess less haste/energy regen? I dunno.
I take it back. It's much more tedious when you have to move out of puddles or similar. Fuck this spec man..
 
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