(Disclaimer: My main's a mage but my only other 60 is a druid whom I play a fair bit so I'm kinda partial to 'em. Sometimes after burning things for six hours straight you just want to go and heal people...)
Base feral druid DPS scales with level automatically, whereas other classes receive weapons with greater DPS as they level. Additionally druids receive greater benefit from stats, and so typically have higher AP than, for instance, a similarly geared rogue. Theoretically this was balanced. Of course, this all breaks down once you reach 60 when base cat/bear DPS no longer increases, and stats do not scale linearly with ilvl but weapon DPS does. Additionally other classes receive benefit both from the DPS and the stats.
To compensate for this faulty mechanic Blizzard introduces weapons which give out the DPS of a weapon as straight attack power. The attack power gives the same DPS as the difference between the DPS of the weapon in question and the base druid attack DPS of a 60 druid (since the weapons have been only for 60s so far). Essentially, for these weapons druids are being allowed to work like a regular class with regards to the scaling of weapon DPS. What I am confused by is why this is only done for certain weapons. Obviously having "gives +XXX feral attack power" on every weapon ever would lead to excessively large tool tips, but then if that were the concern Blizzard could have just made druids use the DPS of the weapon by default and get rid of the stat entirely.
The only reason I can think of for applying the stat haphazardly is to make only some items desirable to druids, possibly to avoid a repeat of the "rogue rolling on the Hypnotic Blade" situation. But bears have itemisation tastes in weapons distinct from any other class. Feral druids as a whole would prefer a two handed mace or staff as two handed weapons have higher DPS and druids can't dual wield or use shields. This is true despite the excellent and diverse selection of endgame offhand items suitable to a feral druid presently extant in the game and that I am looking forward to seeing in the Burning Crusade.
The two handed maces for bears would be different to one designed for any other class, so increased competition would not be an issue. Warriors and Paladins wouldn't want a two handed mace that stacks stamina and defence. There may be some overlap for cat weapons, but it's not as though two handed weapons (especially staves) are in such overwhelming demand at the moment for PvE anyway, due to the preference for dual wielding for warriors. I would be less sad when I see a druid with Sulfuras, too.
Can anyone see a reason for this stat existing over just letting druids scale with weapons like everyone else (even casters scale with them now they can sacrifice DPS for +dmg)? Feral Attack Power just seems like a holdover from when Blizzard were not willing to fully commit to scaling druids properly.
- No complaints when other healers take items with +feral attack power. There is a weapon in Naxx whose name I forgot that is the best paladin healing weapon since Zul Gurub that also has +feral attack power on it. Cue drama.
- Gets rid of a useless mechanic.
- Allows more interesting itemisation.
- Would fix such things as the Warden Staff being the best tanking weapon since an Unyielding Maul would suddenly generate more threat (well, maybe it would still be close...).
- Cat druids might want the same two handed maces as warriors or paladins.
- You can't just assume that druid with a Sulfuras is the worst druid in the world anymore.
Is there something I'm missing?
er.. the mace you sight as "best healing weapon" is a dps caster weapon. C'thun, Faerlina and KT all drop better healing maces.
For one, lore wise it makes no sense for a druid to be doing weapon damage when he/she is hitting me with paws/claws.
It was likely done purely for technical reasons.
Since shapeshifted druids didn't USE their weapons, feral attack power was blizzard's way of letting us get the same DPS upgrade that other classes get, albeit through specialized weapons. If it was simple for blizzard to code it so that they used the weapon's DPS but not the weapon SPEED they probably would have just done that instead.
Oh i don't know about that Lord BEEF... it's just like normalising instants correct? If they just "normalised" every cat attack to 1sec, or every bear swing to 2.5sec, they'd achieve the required results.
I guess one way you can look at it, is like... As you are levelling up, you have a slight advantage over a rogue, warrior, because you don't have to go buy that weapon which increases your base dps, just by levelling up a druids base dps 'weapon' upgrades. As we hit 60, our base dps 'weapon' stopped upgrading itself, while the weapons from instances for the rogues and warriors continued to upgrade.
In MC, the weapons were what... around 55dps?
Cat form base dps? it's around that level isn't it?
BWL level of items... Green Dragon Mace or the CC Rep Mace, both naturally level up, with the level of weapons for other classes. (you could do a comparison between the FAP from these items + base druid cat dps VS weapons gained from BWL, again i'm sure you'd find similarities)
AQ40 - the QWH
Naxx - Aforementioned Mace.
It just seems natural progression.
Reason for not having it on every weapon?
A weapon will always be designed with a certain class in mind. Ashkandi? Sure a Hunter / Paladin can get good use from it, but heck, it's made for a warrior. Barb of Sand Reaver? Sure it's a friggen insane Warrior item, but it's designed for Hunters. Some are purely Druid items (CC rep, Green Dragon Mace). Some are rogue / warrior (iblis maybe?) and some are even warrior / druid (QWH).
Just adds variance to weapon design, you never want a class wanting to roll on every item thats out there. (as it is, druids are getting pretty close to that anyway... :P )
Lumi: I completely confused it with Faerlina's weapon. My apologies. It doesn't even have +feral Attack Power. I have no idea what I was on about. I think I was confusing two separate item discussions - The End of Dreams and the Widow's Embrace. Pretend I said nothing about it in my OP =P
I agree lorewise the whole idea makes little sense. But it makes little sense for wearing boots to make you stronger in the first place, or for your clothes to disappear when you shape shift. Or for these very same disappeared clothes to somehow affect your damage mitigation when you're a big bear.
Weapon speed is something I didn't consider, but if it is purely a technical issue, even just manually calculating the required feral attack power and adding it to every weapon (since presumably they calculate it manually currently) but not displaying the tooltip would (hackfully) solve the issue. This might be annoying to do for hundreds of weapons, but the +defense nerf implies they have some sort of batch way to solve these issues.
Most melee weapons are already in fierce contention by some combination of warriors, paladins/shaman, rogues, and hunters. If they made all weapons have an equivilent to feral AP, it would make druids want all melee weapons in addition to all healer and caster weapons. Right now, the only weapons that have feral attack power are either: Druid-only, extremely caster oriented, or extremely melee oriented.
So, basically, I think it has nothing at all to do with mechanics and they just don't want druids to want every single weapon that they can equip in the game.
The real mistake was how late they started with the +feral attack power itemisation and how few items they put it on. +feral attack power opened up a large gap between feral druids able to get items with +feral attack power and feral druids stuck with stuff like draconic maul.
The other issue was the way they only put it on 1h weapons and then had no feral off-hand items besides:
Of course, the problem with more feral-oriented gear dropping is it begs the familar cries of "more feral druid loot!".
Having some of formula whereby melee weapon dps translates to feral druid bonus dps is probably a good idea, less issues with specialty feral druid loot.
One thing that is mechanically different in regards to AP is our finishers.
Neither evis, or rupture benefit from "weapon damage" just from AP, so a weapon upgrade doesn't help a rogue using these finishers (of course it makes a difference with SnD however)
Since our weapon damage is given to us in the form of AP, the equivalent druid finishers (Ferocious Bite and Rip) actually scale with a weapon upgrade.
Druids interested in feral DPS would want two handed weapons though, for the increased DPS a two handed weapon has over a one handed. Melee focused staves would have no competition (well... maybe hunters and shamans... but I doubt it), and maces would be shared only with paladins, warriors and shamans. Even then, Bears would want two handed maces itemised differently to how the other classes would want their maces itemised. Even if we include cat weaponry, which might overlap, that's four classes after a single item, and in BC five classes will have interest in daggers with +dmg on them - mages, warlocks, priests, druids and shaman.
Another side effect of universal +feral attack power would be greater soloing/duelling ability for druids in non feral gear. Honestly I'm such a terrible dueller I don't know if this would make them imbalanced, but I do know that my druid grinds a hell of a lot more slowly than my mage, even in cat gear. I'm not opposed to giving resto druids a bit more of that hybrid feel with a slightly better built in cat/bear form.
[edit: Response to Ildon. You other people snuck in!]
there's tons of feral AP items in TBC, including random drop greens. it'll be a lot easier to get it come expansion.
Imagine a warrior using a 2h weapon in one hand, and a shield in the other. That's what a druid would be like in bear form if they were allowed to have a 2h weapon with enough attack power to equate a 2h weapon of the correct ilvl. Remember, dual wield suffers a 19% miss rate to put it on par with 2h weapons. If somehow this same 2h druid weapon also reduced your chance to hit by 19%, then it might be "fair".
Edit: To be clear, I'm really talking about the general concept of all weapons adding feral AP. Not "a" druid 2h weapon with feral AP to bring it in line with other 2h's of the same ilvl.
I think it might be fair to have a 2h weapon with feral attack power equivilent to a 1h weapon (or slightly higher, but not at 2h level), with a 2h-level stat bonus.
As for BC items, I haven't really looked at the ones with feral AP. Maybe I'm completely wrong.
I would suspect this is because feral attack power is a latecomer to the stat game (viz., "Hey, druid DPS needs a scaler here..."), so rather than "Hey, just add +DPS" which potentially could go off kilter on some items or result in some items being unintentionally overvaluated (see: q: why is it bad that barman's shanker, a blue from BRD, was superior to epics from MC?). So rather than open either a massive review of every weapon in game in a new paradigm OR a begging for the players to do so unfavorably in Live, it's vastly less labor intensive to just make some tailored weapons (feral AP weapons), as it's fair to presume they'll be balanced with feral scaling balance in mind.
Feral AP gives a static DPS increase, just like a weapon would. There are advantages in the feral weapon system, as well - you need very little +hit on your gear. (Was it 9% like hunters? Compared to the 24% that DW classes need, that's nothing.)
Itemizing instances with weapons that really hold no interest for other than the intended class would be pretty bad, as the item would go to shards 100% after the primary class players attained theirs.
2h Axe and feral staff from the same quest.
81 DPS axe.
60 DPS staff with 283 feral AP (~21 DPS) = 81 total DPS (Yes I realize that for a druid that's not actually "81" DPS, I'm just trying to get an idea of how 2h feral AP is itemized).
The stats are identical.
All the 1h melee items from this quest are also ~60 DPS.
I guess it's tough to see what this means when I don't know what the baseline for feral (or even melee) DPS is at that level.
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