Okay, it's been too long since I had a horribly long and thought-out diatribe describing what's wrong, what's right, and what needs to be done for each of the given specs of the druid class. Is this some simple task that I take some sort of perverse pleasure in? Well, yeah, probably; if it gets preachy and loses all train of thought midway, feel free to stop reading and assume that my internal workings have gotten stuck in "bureaucrat" mode and the points have long since been forgotten.

A) Feral Pros

  1. Mobility / Speed
  2. Damage
B) Feral Cons
  1. Mana reliance
  2. Lack of utility
  3. No snares/slows
  4. No cc (I'll touch on this in a moment)
  5. No procs
C) Balance Pros
  1. Damage
  2. Physical damage mitigation
  3. Good utility cc
D) Balance Cons
  1. No silence / interrupts
  2. Roots not usable indoors
  3. Roots breaks on its own damage
  4. No pet bar for Force of Nature
  5. Crit-centric damage
  6. Meleekin
E) Resto Pros
  1. Good healing
  2. Mobility
  3. Good utility cc
F) Resto Cons
  1. No burst healing

Okay, there is most certainly stuff I left out, but that's what errata is for. Time to explain why I feel the way I do, and what I propose should be done to correct these problems so that Blizzard can ignore them.

A1 - Speed is important, and mobility is arguably MORE important, however when a feral druid is on the team, he's there to bring damage above everything else, and while druids can escape roots and snares by shape-changing, ferals have a small mana pool and can only do this so many times. While a druid has abilities that make his cat-form speed faster than every other class in the game (while not sprinting), any one snare will slow him down enough that his speed means nothing anymore.

A2 - Nothing to say here, feral druids do damage comparable to rogues, but require mangle and shred talents and combos to be viable, whereas rogues can spec a multitude of different ways and still be viable at damage.

B1 - Ferals are still too mana reliant, they have to pop and heal, have to pop and cyclone, have to pop and root, have to pop to do anything. Essentially, anything other than attack (including bandaging which no other class is penalized for) costs the druid ~550 mana. How can this be fixed? Simple, replace Predatory Strikes with Mangle (it really shouldn't be the 41 point talent, it's good, but claw should have been mangle from the get-go) as a 1/1 - 21-point talent and make the 41 points talent a passive ability that says something like "Shifting out of Cat or Dire Bear form gives you the buff, which reduces your next Cat or Dire Bear shapeshift cost by 75%. Lasts 5 seconds."

B2 - Everything that a druid can do utility-wise is done in the caster form, so the solution to B1 is also the solution to B2.

B3 - If you give a druid a slow in feral form it will have to be accessible to ferals only (meaning, that balance and restoration druids can't have access to it viably), so it should be a talent at least as deep as 21. In fact, that is my solution, change it so that all feral forms have Feral Faerie Fire trainable, and replace it in the feral tree with a passive slow: "Causes your Rake ability also gives your opponent the debuff [physical], slowing its movement speed by 30% for the duration of Rake." Why only 30% when compared to crippling poison (70%) or hamstring (50%)? Feral druids would have also picked up the self improving 30% speed buff in feral form, so an additional snare of 30% will keep the opponent in range.

B4 - Like I said in B2, everything that a druid can do cc-wise is done in the caster form, the solution to B4 is ALSO B1.

B5 - Feral druids are the ONLY melee class in the game who cannot benefit from weapon procs. This is unfair, and needs to change.

C1 - I don't play balance (never have past 25, really), but I know that balance druids can pump out decent damage. The balance tree is bloated, but there are a multitude of decent talents in it to make up varying play-styles.

C2 - Physical damage mitigation in moonkin form is key to the build. This is the same damage mitigation as Dire Bear Form, except the druid can continue to put damage down on people while in it. The problem with this (and every other physical damage mitigation in the game) is that going against a mage toe-to-toe will hurt... a lot.

C3 - If nothing else, this is the one form druids have in which crowd control abilities can be used directly with no truly averse cost. Yeah, it costs mana, but that's the name of the game... at least it doesn't cost an extra ~550 because you have to switch back into the form you deal damage in a la feral builds.

D1 -With no silence, or an interrupt that is instant, every other magic wielding class in the game has an advantage. Warlocks have a pet that is pretty much a standard of pvp-play which a school-lock that is auto-cast. Mages have the skill counter-spell, which can be talented to 8 seconds of silence on the main school of magic. Shadow priests have a straight 5 second silence. How to fix it? There's not clean-cut way to fix it. Adding a talent will simply bloat the tree even more. The solution I think is best is to give the entire druid class a silence like priests have, but make it require moonkin form to use so restos and ferals aren't buffed similarly in this manner.

D2/D3 - This just needs to change, the damage needs to be removed, and roots needs to be usable indoors.

D4 - There needs to be a pet bar for Force of Nature, it's just too unstable to be reliable in PvP without one, also, it can be gamed pretty easily by runners or agro-pullers. Additionally, they are very susceptible to dying quickly from AoE damage.

D5 - Critical strikes have been all but made obsolete by the induction of resilience in PvP play. However, the only viable option for balance druids is to stack critical strike and hope to get exceptionally lucky, or just spam wraths and hope the constant train of damage does enough. How to fix it? My solution is to make the balance tree more like the shadow tree for priests, rather than having a lot of talents that improve critical strike chances, they have a number of talents that give base multipliers to damage. So, whatever the 4% extra crit from Focused Starlight would relate to in total dps increase against someone with zero resilience, it should be turned into that type of damage percentage increase (yeah, that was hard to write, I'm guessing reading it is even harder: if 4% extra crit to starfire/wrath increases overall damage by 4% against someone with zero resilience, the talent should be changed to "increases the damage done by starfire/wrath by 2/4%"), etc.

D6 - Meleekin!? Come on Blizz, this was clearly some test you tried to do that isn't working well. Change the meleekin idea to a full-blown caster. Change increasing attack power to "gives spell damage" and change "Chance on melee hit to restore mana" to spell hit.

E - There's nothing to be said about E, resto druids have good healing, mobility, and cc options. One thing I think should change is that while in feral form, there should be no mana regen, but that's about it on the nerf-front.

F1 - Druids simply do not have an option like flash of light. Lifebloom is only comparable to FoL when a three stack is applied, and then only in the long run, and then FoL still wins out for mana efficiency and healing done (because FoL can crit whereas lifebloom ticks cannot). How to fix it? My solution would be to change Regrowth: lower the mana cost to ~600, remove the HoT portion in favor of more front-end healing. To keep this from empowering the feral or balance speced druids unfairly, it could be incorporated into the Improved Regrowth talent (which is deep in the restoration tree).

So there you have it... a bunch of buffs that I think the druid class is deserving of, and one nerf to resto that I think is apt. Flame on, but I would love feedback, even if Blizzard will ignore this entire thing (as they have been doing so nicely for I/Emposter for so long).

Wrap Up:
  • Feral druids are the only class spec in the game who have to spend mana to use bandages
  • Balance and feral druids are the only class specs in the game who have to spend mana to mount.
  • Balance druids are the only offensive magic casting class in the game without a spell interrupt or silence or school lock ability available to them.
  • Balance druids are the only class in the game with a pet, but no control over them (save for mechanical yetis and the like).
  • Feral druids are the only melee class in the game denied weapon procs.
  • Feral druids are the only physical damage dealers in the game without a slow/snare available to them.