Upcoming Patch 3.1 Changes

February 5, 2009

Now that Patch 3.0.8 is here, and has been fixed from all the bugs it brought along with it, it is time to start all the speculation that comes along with the next incoming patch. With last week’s fake patch note release a lot of people have begun to dream of what could be headed their way, along with Ulduar, once the patch hits us. Ghostcrawler, over on the WoW Forums, has stepped up to the plate and released some of the planned class changes. Yesterday Priests, Rogues, and Shamans got their fix, today Warlocks, Warriors, and Druids get theirs. Keep in mind that this is probably not all the changes we will see, and chances are that some of these will be tweaked from how they are written now.

Ghostcrawler writes:


  • Savage Defense – this is a new passive ability. When a druid in Dire Bear form deals a melee critical strike, the druid gains a damage shield equal to 25% of their attack power. The next hit completely removes the shield regardless of how much damage was done.
  • Survival of the Fittest has had its bonus armor reduced to compensate for the above increase in damage mitigation.
  • Faerie Fire (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 5%. See Sunder Armor in the warrior update below for additional details.
  • Thorns and Nature’s Grasp can be cast in Tree of Life form.
  • Survival Instincts now works in Moonkin form.
  • Replenish – to avoid confusion, this talent has been renamed “Revitalize.” It now also works with Wild Growth.
  • We are also looking at increasing the sustained (not burst) damage of feral druids in cat form.

So let’s break down all these changes, shall we? And yes, I would like to look at all the changes, including our cousins the Bear, Moonkin, and Tree. Remember that 3.1 brings the promise of Dual-Specs, and now is as good a time as any to think about what your alternate spec will be, if you haven’t already decided. I personally am leaning strongly towards Bear; not that my guild is lacking tanks, just that all I did in BC Raids was Tank, and I miss it at times.

  • Savage Defense – This one is for our Bear buddies. Of course they don’t specify if this is an ability that you will have to put points into, or just purchase from the Druid Trainer. As I haven’t tanked in what feels like eons, I’m not really sure how needed this ability is. I’m not sure what most Bear’s crit is, but the Bear Tank in my guild is sitting at 21% to crit with a mix of Epics from Heroics, Naxx 10 and Naxx 25. That means that he would get that shield 21% of the time, or 1 out of every 5 melee attacks. I know this is good, but not sure how big the effect will be in the long run.
  • Survival of the Fittest – Again, for our Bears. Because of the above change they will be reworking this ability and reducing its bonus armor. “Reducing” isn’t a word we like to hear, but remember that there isn’t an amount or percentage mentioned here, so save the QQs until we know if it is going to be a big reduction or not.
  • Faerie Fire – Currently, FF decreases armor by 1260. Changing it to 5% will mean that it scales based on your target. Improved FF should not be affected by this, as Imp has nothing to do with Armor. The “see warrior update below…” says this:
    • Sunder Armor (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 4% per application, and is now a single rank. Creature armor has been globally reduced so that debuffed targets should take about the same damage from physical attacks that they did before this change. The net effect should be that this debuff is slightly less mandatory in PvE and is not disproportionately more powerful against cloth targets in PvP.
  • Thorns and Nature’s Grasp – I see these as being more useful in PvP, but may also see some use in PvE. As these are both defensive spells, I don’t see this really affecting the balance in PvP at all, since it does minimal damage, and gives Trees a little bit extra time to escape an oncoming attack.
  • Survival Instincts – One for our Boomkins! I think this is a nice little addition for them, although I know they would like to hear more than just one minor change. SI gives them 30% if their maximum health for 20 seconds. I use this ability if I am ever OTing and get a bit low, or if I pull aggro accidentally, so I see that Boomkins would be using this in the same manner.
  • Replenish – Replenish is a talent in the Resto tree that causes people being healed by Rejuvenation to have a chance to gain back their energy, rage, mana, or runic power. Renaming it “Revitalize” with clear up any confusion between it and Replenishment. Having it work with Wild Growth now will mean that when being healed by Wild Growth, the people being healed will get a chance to regain energy, etc. from that healing spell as well.
  • Sustained Damage of Feral Druids in Cat Form – While I do not see a huge need for this for me personally, I will welcome the change as it means I will probably be able to out DPS a mage or a DPS warrior. And I am sure that many Feral DPS Druids who are new to the class/spec will welcome this change. Note this will not affect Burst damage, so Swipes won’t be getting any extra damage.

Overall, way more changes for Ferals, both Cat and Bear alike. I am sure our fine feathered and barked friends will see changes more than just this teaser when 3.1 goes live. To me it makes sense that Cats and Bears would get a bunch of changes, because there have been so many changes since 3.0 and the introduction of Wrath to the Feral talent tree and how we play. I hope that the Feral DPS changes bring more people into the class and spec, as it still seems that Kitties are still few and far between.

Still no set date for 3.1 yet, but this sure gives me a lot to look forward to!


  1. Just 21%? What’s that for a bear? I’m sitting at about 32%ish unbuffed in bear form. Just remember that armory shows unbuffed casterform, and we get more crit through talents in forms.

  2. That was just looking at his armory, I don’t know if he has the right spec atm, or the right gear on. He doesn’t get to raid with us too often, so that is why I’m not too sure, and unfortunately he is the only other feral in our guild.

  3. Improving sustained Cat DPS sounds like an upgrade to our DOTs (Rake & Rip). Anything else could be constituted as a part of Burst damage.

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