I feel like every expansion to every game that forces the issue of sacrificing favored play-styles for achieving improvements will always suffer the same fate. That is to say, when The Burning Crusade was announced, the first thing the druid community talked about was the Feral aspect because, deep down, we all want to play as feral. Sure, there are some druids who enjoy playing balance, and there are some who actually enjoy playing restoration. I cannot fault my druid brothers and sisters for the way they like playing, and I cannot even talk ill of waxing over the feral tree when many of those supposed ferals respec'd restoration a long time ago (as I did this myself). The thing that does bother me is the people who are in my situation and do exactly what I am doing.

Oh yes, I love me some feral. I will probably spec feral the day the new talent trees are released, but that does not mean that I will stay feral once I hit 80. See, here's the thing: feral is only good with certain other classes/specs. For instance, right now, feral is ONLY decent in the 2s bracket when teamed with either a healer of some sort (and the healer better be damned good) or a rogue (although, anything teamed with a rogue is a good team). Probably, the WotLK arenas will be comparable in that ferals will only be good paired with other synergy classes. For instance, ferals do not team with resto druids well at the moment because of the diminishing returns of the same crowd control abilities. Similarly, ferals do not team well with most other dps classes (like rogues do) because while ferals bring good damage to the mix, they do not have the utility or control of a rogue. So, while shadow priest+rogue does well in 2s, feral+shadow struggles.

Similarly, I really only PvP with my brother, at the moment, and we have very few options for teams. We can either do druid+warrior, druid+priest, or (soon) druid+pally. None of these combinations really has any synergy going for it, so we spec for what we got. I spec restoration and play with the warrior because it's the best spec to do arenas with the combinations we have. SURE, I could totally spec feral and roll with the shadowpriest and PROBABLY maintain a 1700ish rating, but then the warrior would not have anyone to team with (nor would my warlock). So, this means that we're stuck doing what we're doing. On the other hand, my brother and I are both grinding up some alts at the moment. I am grinding up a shamang, and he a pally, and we both plan on making them healers eventually. This will give us a little leeway for spec'ing and playing a little differently.

Personally, I like shamang+warrior better than druid+warrior at the moment. Shamang+warrior tends to beat druid+warrior simply because of comparable mana conservation and purging Innervate while water-shield is too amazing. So, that frees up my druid to do whatever he wants, without completely destroying the warrior's chance at upgrading his gear (though he already has 3/5 s4 with enough points to buy the s3 weapon at the moment... and before we know it he'll have 4/5 s4 with enough to buy the s3 weapon). That means I can spec feral and team with the pally, or spec feral and try out shadow priest + feral again with better gear and respec my lock to sl/sl (with decent gear) and hook him up with the pally for an easy-mode 1800 rating. It all depends on how my brother wants to play it, but the point is that the alts will definitely open up the door to more options.

Okay... a good while later I realize that my tangent has been completely too long-winded. THE POINT I was trying to make is that while we look forward to our favorite specs getting buffed, we might not be playing them in the long-run. This is not a bad thing, just something I observed that may end up being exploitable. I recall at the beginning of season 1 seeing many other feral druids fighting it out for arena superiority. However, by today they are all but extinct, most of them have respec'd to resto (like me) or have fought through and made a name for themselves (Deep, Azoth, etc). So, I was looking into the likelihood of having to spec for healing at one point or another, and I came to

The One Build

Why do I call this "The One Build" when I have not even captured some of the more notable talents in the resto tree? Very simply, this build has it all: the ability to soak up physical damage through armor, heal through all damage due to cheap and effective heals (Lifebloom and Nourish), have buffs that scale (Nature's Grace scales with crit, etc), be able to outlast other healers due to Dreamstate, gain additional healing done through Lunar Guidance, Tree of Life aura, and Empowered Rejuvenation, have a decent damage return from Thorns, a chance to daze attackers while Barkskin is up (which can be cast in ToL now), gain additional mana efficiency from the improved Omen of Clarity (it's passive and can proc off spell casts now), and you can provide additional dps against teams which are not melee heavy.

The big hitters in this spec really are Swiftmend, Dreamstate, and Improved Tree of Life aura (only 2/3, but still 66% more armor from items SHOULD get a druid up to 8-10k armor depending on itemization). Essentially, if I had Dreamstate and Swiftmend, I would be an unstoppable healing machine, and Improved Tree of Life makes me just think about laughing at Rogues, as their damage will be nothing against a 10k armored healer who uses HoTs primarily, will never be more than 1-2 wound poisoned, and will never OoM. Dreamstate will, with my current gear, get me above 350/230 mp5, which means that I will actually regen more mana while casting than the cost of Lifebloom, and because we do not expect to see super upgrades to item stats (like we did with Stamina in TBC), I can probably safely assume that mp5 will be this high as compared with spell costs and the mana pool, and if that's true then Dreamstate will make druids the most mana-efficient healers in the game for PvP.

The most interesting aspect is not that this spec exists, it's that the spec exists and no one is talking about it AND the developers seem to think that it will be fair. Personally, I would not expect this to stick around through the final release because of how overpowered it would be if I had it right now. I feel like a lot of resto druids would be more focused on the other talents in the resto tree rather than the ability to get MOST of the good talents and all of the amazing talents.