For most the time that I have played as a feral druid, I've felt that our strength as a class has grown a great deal. Not all that long ago, however, the 2.0.10 patch brought a damage nerf for tanking bear druids which noticeably affected my gameplay and it really brought the issue home to me more than ever before. It used to be that I could just use my Swipe ability repeatedly and keep the angry attention of multiple monsters without having to worry about any getting away from me so much. After the patch, though, monsters started leaving me for more attractive (and squishy) friends of mine! This happened so much that my hunter friend had her pet start taunting monsters too, in order to help keep them away from the healers. For the first time in my playing experience, I realized how sad it feels to have been once so powerful and now so nerfed.
But I refused to give up! I set my fingers firmly on my keyboard and began pondering ways that I might make up for my loss of snarling, grizzly monster threat.
I wondered if maybe I could use a greater variety of abilities more intelligently and return to my earlier effectiveness. I started learning how to switch targets more often and more efficiently, when to use my rage and when to let it build up, and how to use a wider range of my abilities in conjunction with each other to tank as well as possible in different situations. It's certainly more work to tank now, but it keeps me on my toes, actively engaged in what I'm doing, and changing my tactics on a fly when something goes unexpectedly.
In short, the nerf brought me deeper into the game by forcing me to start using my own brain power instead of just doing things in some easy and repetitive way. The nerf actually improved my gaming experience.
Are nerfs for your class always an unpleasant thing? Is playing the game about being as powerful as possible no matter what? Do you fear upcoming nerfs as much as the Four Horsemen? Or are you ever thankful as I was for having been forced to improve yourself rather than just rely on some strong class abilities?
[Artwork by Shan Xue Jun, The Keep of the Orc, at the Blizzard Fan Art Program]