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Patch 3.3 PTR: Undocumented druid changes


Our esteemed colleague Boubouille has datamined some undocumented changes to druids on the patch 3.3 PTR, so while I'm waiting for it to download (53 more minutes.../sigh), let's take a look:

BALANCE

NATURE'S GRACE: Now procs from non-periodic spell criticals (old: all spell criticals).

So direct-damage spells (e.g. Wrath, Starfire, Moonfire's initial hit) or direct-healing spells (e.g. Regrowth's initial heal, Nourish) will be the only ones that can trigger the 20% haste effect from 3/3 Nature's Grace. This is definitely a nerf for Balance concerning Starfall and Hurricane crits, but it's also a nerf concerning specific gear sets. Moonfire's DoT component can crit if you're using Balance 2-piece Tier 9, and a Restoration druid rocking 4-piece Tier 9 gains the ability for Rejuvenation to crit.

For Balance's AoE situations and Starfall cooldowns, it's an out-and-out nerf, albeit a limited one given Starfall's cooldown and the unlikelihood of Hurricane playing a major role in any given boss fight. Otherwise, it's also a nerf directed at Tier 9 bonuses, unless Blizzard's planning on future tier bonuses (or class changes) that will make periodic damage and/or healing crits a routine thing. Stay tuned.

GENESIS: Now increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spell damage and healing effects (old: all periodic damage).

Hold the phone. Were Ferals seriously putting points in the Balance tree for more Rake and Rip damage? I'm honestly scratching my head as to how a dedicated cat could justify putting 5 points there (certainly a bear would have little interest in doing so), but I can see it maybe (emphasis on maybe) working for someone having difficulty incorporating Ferocious Bite into the cat rotation. That's if Genesis ever worked at all for Rake/Rip, and after a little Googling, I'm seeing several forum threads where players insisted that points in Genesis did nothing for Feral bleeds. Blizzard doubtless noticed this, in which case the Genesis "change" here isn't actually a change at all; they're really just clarifying the tooltip.

Bye-bye, unexpected and almost certainly mythical bonus! We hardly knew ye.

MOONFIRE/WRATH/HURRICANE/INSECT SWARM/STARFIRE/TYPHOON/ENTANGLING ROOTS/SOOTHE ANIMAL: Mana cost of lower ranks reduced.

This dovetails into what we've seen on the previous notes concerning Blizzard's desire to ease the leveling process. Druids at 80 won't notice this, but anyone who's still leveling is going to appreciate it to bits.

FERAL


SWIPE (BEAR): Now has an 8-yard range (up from 5 yards).

This surprised me. Swipe chains so effectively right now that I wonder if players will notice a big difference.

INFECTED WOUNDS: No longer stacks up to 2 times.

Didn't we just see this in the most recent patch? This might be a mistaken holdover from the previous patch notes, although I suspect that this, like the Genesis "change" described above, is actually a tooltip correction given that the current talent (in patch 3.2.2) is still listed as stacking twice.

RESTORATION


REJUVENATION: Now heals 1352 over 12 seconds (down from 1690 over 15 seconds).

So is this a bug fix (as we read earlier) or a nerf? Inquiring minds want to know. Either way, Rejuvenation's still losing a tick. While it looks like a horrifying nerf on the outside, math-wise Rejuvenation will still be healing for the same base amount per tick, but you're going to spend more GCD's re-applying it. This also means you're not going to be able to blanket a 25-man raid with Rejuvenations as effectively as we do right now, so Restoration's raid-healing capacity is also taking a hit.

I'll grant that we're kind of overpowered raid healers and there's no reason for the highest-rank Rejuvenation to heal for an extra tick, so I'll going to elect the happy-face route and decline to characterize it as an outright "nerf." However, that's how this "bug fix" is going to be felt ingame.

REJUVENATION/HEALING TOUCH/GIFT OF THE WILD/MARK OF THE WILD/REGROWTH/TRANQUILITY: Mana cost of lower ranks reduced.

As with the Balance spell changes, no surprises here, although this will have an equally nice impact on leveling Ferals as well. Healing as a Feral is monstrously inefficient, particularly before Improved Leader of the Pack, so -- two thumbs up.

IMPROVED BARKSKIN: Now grants 80% additional armor contribution from cloth and leather items.

The current talent grants a passive 160% armor contribution from cloth and leather while in Travel Form or not shapeshifted (in addition to its other effects on the tooltip), so...yep, that's a big ol' nerf, good buddy. Resto druids in PvP will simply be more vulnerable outside of form or while trying to escape, period.

We're still keeping an eye on the PTR, and as soon as I head ingame I'll start collecting notes on any other changes, buffs, or nerfs present, and I'll also see what I can do to capture footage and notes on the new content.

Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items

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