Hmm. Maybe it is not the buff I was looking for exactly, but there is definitely a good feeling going on right now from the most recent changes. Regrowth has had its cost reduced by 20%. That makes regrowth hit 676 (was 845). That's only 100 more mana than a shapeshift... very interesting.

BUT WAIT, there's more! After looking more closely at the changes, I notice that Naturing Instinct says that it increases healing by 50/100% of the druid's agi. Then I got to thinking... how much agi do ferals have in caster form? Well, judging from a random feral druid I found wearing 3x s2, 2x s3, rings, and the like, it looks like ~450 agi in caster form isn't completely out of the question. That's pretty interesting... 450 healing in feral is really something worth noting.

Don't get me wrong, 450 healing isn't going to do much... but it's helpful for hybrid play. Why? Well, simply because I can switch over to my s2 mh/oh combo for an additional 560 healing. OH, wow, that puts me over 1000 healing as a non-healer spec. That's reasonably interesting and potentially useful. I'm not entirely sure that anyone has gotten wind of this yet. Being able to switch from a rather good source of dps to a rather good (albeit short-lived)
source of heals is a surprising turn of events.

I wonder if Blizz realizes what they have done.

The warrior+druid team now stands a bit better chance as a 2s contender (not a great one, but decent if nothing else, as most teams won't have a strat in mind for our makeup). Regrowth at 675 mana is the real crux of the argument, though. Since regrowth is actually a relatively decent amount of healing done with +heal, the burst-n-switch strat that we will likely employ will be pretty interesting. We'll do burst damage, then I'll fall off and switch to patch up whomever is the most damaged, then when we're back up a bit, I'll go back to cat form a burst some more.

Obviously paladin+warrior/warlock will be our most difficult matchup. Druid healers are still going to be good, but I'll have the 4-piece feral bonus, which means that my dps form moves as fast as resto's escape form (cat, travel, in that order). Also, my warrior will be able to keep the spamstring going, and between two melee bursters like us, we'll be able to down a druid rather quickly, even with bear form because of my bleeds. Also, my warrior will have to worry less about cyclone because of Maim interrupts and spell locks.

Paladin+dps is just going to be hard. Against rogue we would be at an advantage, because we'll just live through evasion as best we can, then burst hard and fast on a cyclone-rotation between the pally and the rogue and hopefully we can down the rogue in that amount of time. Plus, we have lots of interrupts to use against the pally. Intercept, pummel, maim, feral charge, 2x warstomp, cyclone, and fear. That's an interesting bucket-load of cc... since it doesn't share DR across the board. Paladin+warlock will be basically unbeatable unless we can down the pet twice. If we can down the pet twice, we'll be on the warlock reasonably hard... but it'll require me to still get free and drink to heal. If we can down the pet twice, stay above 50% each, then focus some burst on the warlock, we can win. Pally+warrior will be equally hard, but at least we can spread our dps a little better. Since all our damage is melee, we won't be able to do anything to mitigate that factor except through my bleeds.

Our real advantage will be over other traditional double-dps teams. Against mage+rogue, the main problem with warrior+resto is that if you don't heal early, they'll burst-n-cc your warrior-n-you. If you do heal early, they'll cc your warrior and burn you down. There's a real point in there where you start the heals, and catch one of them off guard, so the blind hits you, but sheep hits your warrior... or something... it's a game of luck. HOWEVER, warrior always does the same thing: busts up in sword-n-board and charges in, switches to def. stance and hopes to reflect a frostbolt or poly or something to get an advantage. Mainly, though, he charges, the mage frost novas, blinks, summons, then starts the pain train on the warrior. This will be an interesting tactic against feral+warrior, because after the warrior charges, the mage frost-novas, then blinks, SCAPRISE, there's a feral druid there ready to pounce. So, we get the beatdown started before them. Warrior trinkets (or w/e) and intercepts in with the two-hander and we burst-force the mage to iceblock. That strat will probably be the same against spriest+rogue, except we'll waste no time in bursting the spriest down as hard as possible.

Bah... now I'm excited about feral again... that's almost a bad thing... because these hopes are sure to be destroyed as feral is still really hard to play well. I love trying to play it well, but it's hard in most scenarios. Oh well, only time will tell. Until then, guess I'll keep grinding honor and arena points to get the gear.