We all know that shapeshifting has many problems, including:
- being mathematically poorer DPS as a result of an inability to use Lay Waste and Momentum
- can't benefit from full offhand bonuses of unarmed
- can't get as many hits as TWF
- it's clunky/esoteric, with most people not understanding the main and off hand mechanics of shapeshifting
- as far as I know, does not benefit from increased dice weight of epic weapons; winter wolf is locked in at [1d10] and dire bear is locked in at [1d12]
- shapeshifted "attacks" are ACTUALLY spells, so they use a bit of mana (okay) and cannot be used while raged (not okay)
- crit profile on wolves at least is good (17-20x3 with IC: bludgeon) but at this point cannot be increased in any way (bear crit profile is worse at [20x3]
- ToD burst effects only work when the druid equips handwraps despite the fact that they are technically fighting unarmed when shapeshifted
- dire bear attack sequences are dreadfully slow and prone to missing on account of their "rearing" animation
- dire bears do get the perks of being a druid but their AC bonus and DPS are truly negligible compared to other dedicated tank types, rendering them far less useful as hybrid caster/melee and basically useless as tanks
Doublestrike can be higher relatively but the aforementioned problems render the doublestrike feature not very attractive.
I do like my bear and wolf builds. I do play them because I find the flavor fun.
I do not think they are as competitive as they should be by a long shot, particularly the dire bear form.
In the next post, I'll start compiling suggestions made from players on how to improve the forms. Many good suggestions have been made, but I didn't see any that stood out to me in the enhancement alpha except the "Four Good Legs" enhancement which made shapeshifted animal forms resistant/immune? to knockdown.