Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cyclone nerfed

From the latest patch notes for the upcoming 2.4 patch:

Druid The range of Cyclone has been reduced to 20 yards. (was 30 yards before)

While this is not a huge change to anyone that plays a druid primarily in PvE , it comes as a major blow to the many druids that make their living in arenas and, to a somewhat lesser extent, battlegrounds. Along with the nerf to the "bloom" part of Lifebloom, it serves as a reminder from Blizzard that they are trying to balance PvP so that no one class has an overwhelming advantage. A few days ago, Kalgan (WoW lead developer) posted in the Warlock forums suggesting that in 2v2 and 3v3 arena teams that had a score over 2200, druids were overrepresented to the tune of 276% and 184% respectively (100% being what they would expect representation to be given the information they have regarding the class). By comparison, druids were *under*represented in the 5v5 category, coming in at only 80.5% (source). I don't claim to be anything resembling a PvP guru when it comes to druids. In fact, my own arena rating is extremely poor. Which is why I am rather offended when people suggest that it takes no skill to PvP as a resto druid. If it took no skill then those of us who are primarily PvE spec'd and geared, should be relatively successful in arenas, while I know from experience that this is not the case. Having stated my credentials (see last paragraph) I can still make some speculations as to why resto druids are overrepresented in some successful arena brakets and underrepresented in others:

  1. Powerful HoTs like Lifebloom and Rejuvenation can be cast on the run from 40 yards away and continue to tick for 7 to 12 seconds. This is pretty much an eternity in PvP, especially when there is not enough damage being concentrated on a single target to overcome those HoTs, like in smaller arena teams.
  2. Cyclone is a powerful, but short crowd control method that can only be broken by bubbling (paladins only) or trinketing out of it. At 30 yards, it's range is outside rogue's shadowstep or any number of other class abilities so can often be cast with impunity.
  3. Entangling Roots does not share diminishing returns with cyclone and is very effective at removing melee DPS from any given fight unless they can remove it somehow.
  4. Druids can effectively kite melee classes by switching to travel form and casting HoTs on themselves while moving.
  5. Druids are generally unable to stand up to focused fire from several characters at once, since their HoTs are unable to overcome the massive amounts of damage which they are subjected to, hence the underrepresentation in the 5v5 arena category.

Of course these are the speculations of a druid who does not often find himself in PvP situations. If anyone else has any insights, I would be glad to hear them and even include them in this article.

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