Here we go... the Cataclysm Beta talent trees are up for Druids, Rogues, Shamans and Priests. Let's talk about Feral changes... because they're awesome (sort of):

Druid Beta Trees

First thing to notice, Sharpened Claws has been moved to the bottom tier and no longer gives 6% crit. It is now a 2-pt talent and does what Savage Fury used to do (increases Mangle/Rake's damage by 20%). This is fairly nice as it USED to be in a somewhat awkward position in the talent tree. At the bottom tier, you can take it early when grinding a Feral and you will have some decent damage from it... that's pretty nice. On the other hand, it's now a mandatory 2-pt talent at the bottom-most tier and there is another mandatory 5-pt talent there in Ferocity.

You still have to take Ferocity. Five energy off of Rake and Mangle is simply extremely strong. I don't want to get into this TOO much already because it's something that will come up again later in the talent discussion. Let's just say for the first tier, you take 2/2 and 3/5 of one of the other talents, for the moment it doesn't matter which. However, you should notice that Feral Aggression no longer increases the effect of Demoralizing Roar, but instead lowers the cooldown of Feral Faerie Fire by 1/2/3/4/5 seconds. I can confirm that an anonymous source tells me that FFF will become a 3-stack ability which reduces the target's armor by 3/6/9%, and has a 5 seconds cooldown (so bear tanks will probably pick this up to spam FFF to keep the armor reduction up). ALSO, FFF 3/3 will reduce armor by 9%, and I have it from the same source that warrior's Sunder will suffer the same fate: it will only stack 3 times and reduce armor by 3/6/9%... so Feral tanks will bring Sunder in Cataclysm.

That brings us to tier-2. Notice that Shredding Attacks is now in tier-2, and it has been reduced from 18 energy off of Shred to 10-energy off of Shred for two talent points. Is this a nerf!? No, actually the base cost of Shred has been reduced to 50, so this ends up being a buff (40 energy Shred instead of 42). NICE! Feral Instinct is still here and STILL the better option than Thick Hide, so take 2/2 and 3/3 and move on to...

Tier-3 has a lot of familiar faces, but some new ones as well. The first talent you see is Feral Swiftness which hasn't changed; a nice 30% faster movement speed. However, Predatory Instincts (10% more critical strike damage) has been moved down here, but the AoE damage-reduction in Cat Form has been removed (**NOTE** it hasn't been confirmed by any source yet, but I have a STRONG hunch that Cower will be changed to act like Rogue's Feint ability and give 50% AoE damage reduction for the duration of the buff... so we might actually be getting some love in this regard, but being forced to activate it instead of letting it be passive... we'll see).

Also in Tier-3, we have a VERY familiar old face: Feral Charge has been moved back to Tier-3, again. I have no idea what Blizzard is playing at here given that the Feral Kick is noticeably absent from the talent tree and there are mutterings about it being baseline, but I can tell you that Resto will be an interrupting MACHINE again if it has access to a Feral Kick AND Feral Charge(Bear) with interrupt. New to the talent tree on this tier is Improved Feral Charge, which is a 2-pt talent that gives you 30% haste in Bear Form after Feral Charging and allows Ravage to be used OUT of Stealth for 3/6 seconds after Feral Charging. This strikes me as a VERY odd change as Feral Charge (Cat) very rarely takes you to your opponent and Ravage have never really had a place in PvP since TBC.

Ravage has been confirmed by an anonymous alpha-tester to have been buffed significantly over Shred (even better than fully-ramped-up Shred) and has ALSO had its cost reduced from 60 to 50 by Shredding Attacks. Potentially, after a Feral Charge (Cat), one could land two Ravages for some supreme burst damage (if you actually go NEAR your opponent with FCC) followed by TF to continue the train. I will reserve judgment to see how this plays out in practice, but for the moment I am on the fence... I'm leaning AWAY from using Ravage still... but we'll see.

Tier-4 has been graced with Nurturing Instinct which has not changed otherwise and Primal Fury is still here with no changes. There is a new talent at this tier called Fury Swipes(3-pt) which gives your auto-attacks a 4/8/12% chance to trigger an additional auto-attack with a 6-second internal cooldown. This talent seems highly PvE-oriented as it will largely play no role in PvP damage (though it might if burst is no longer king in Cataclysm)... it SHOULD increase a player's ability to proc Clearcasting from Omen of Clarity, however... so it should not be discounted until the maths have been worked out and practice has occurred. It is still a pretty expensive talent for roughly 1 extra attack every 6-10 seconds without the OoC proc factored in... just sayin'...

Tier-5 is probably the most depressing tier yet; it still has Brutal Impact for 2 points, it still has a 5-pt Heart of the Wild, but now it has Survival Instincts (Feral Last Stand) and a 2-pt Predatory Strikes (as opposed to 3 currently). The ONLY addition to this entire tier is that Predatory Strikes does everything that it currently does but instead of increasing our AP by 10% of our equipped weapon (FAP is being done away with after all, this would be tiny), it now has the curious note of "gives your Ravage a 25/50% additional chance to critically strike against targets at or above 90% health." With Pounce and Maim sharing diminishing returns in Cataclysm maybe Ravage IS the opener of choice... or MAYBE an opener like Prowl-FC(C)->Pounce->Ravage->TF->SR->etc is possible. Again, this tier is awful simply because of Heart of the Wild's continued existence AND how bloated it is... this tier costs 10 talent points across with an arguably MINIMUM seven points spent at this tier... I would say that all 10 are mandatory, however.

EDIT: I just noticed something about Tier-5 - Brutal Impact is no longer 15/30 seconds off the cooldown on Bash, it's actually 5/10 seconds off the cooldown on Bash. Maybe Bash's cooldown will have been lowered from 60 seconds to 40 baseline??? Anyway, since Infected Wounds is applied by Ravage, and Ravage has a 50% better chance of critting against a target with >90% hp and Maim and Pounce share DR now, I'm thinking that PERHAPS we could forgo this talent entirely and focus on Ravage as the opener... hmmmmm.

Tier-6 helps with Tier-5's bloat. There is Natural Reaction which is still simply a tanking talent not really worth mentioning in the context of Feral PvP, Survival of the Fittest which is exactly the same except that the 2/4/6% additional stats have been completely removed thus making this a non-Feral-PvP talent, and a new talent called Endless Carnage. Endless Carnage increases the duration of SR and Rake by 3/6 seconds... it is without a doubt the best 2-pt talent Ferals have access to for PvP. It is simple, it is beautiful, and it comes in the sweetest spot in the tree where we can freely pick up and say "thanks" given we just spent 10 points on the last tier.

Tier-7 is COMPLETELY unchanged save for a minor nerf or two and King of the Jungle being moved up here. Primal Tenacity has been nerfed to only provide 15% damage reduction while stunned as opposed to 30%. This seems a bit ridiculous to me given how POOR Feral survivability is currently in the game and how nothing has been announced aimed at improving it... I'm just saddened by that nerf, but I am still hopeful of proper survivability changes. I think that given the mastery bonuses (which I will discuss as well), Bear Form might actually be a form with going into come Cataclysm, but it is still too early to tell. Additionally, King of the Jungle no longer provides ANY mana cost reduction to shapeshifting. Again, it is too early to tell what the aim of this nerf is, but widespread speculation points fingers squarely to all shapeshifting costs being dramatically reduced for Cataclysm.

Tier-8 is a little odd; Protector of the Pack has been moved to the right, but nothing else has really changed (that is, the talent is still the same and it is not a prerequirement for anything else... it's just in a new position). Other than that, Infected Wounds has been lowered to a 2-pt talent, which is nice.

Tier-9 still has Mangle and Improved Mangle with nothing changing on that front (as far as we know; the damage isn't listed on the tooltips any longer so we can't be sure if it has been buffed or nerfed or left the same) and a new talent called Primal Madness has been added. Primal Madness is one of those new talents that has you going "... wait ... wait w... wat?" after reading it. "Tiger's Fury and Berserk also increase your maximum energy by 6/12 during its duration." There are really two schools of thought here: 1) this is a PvE talent that allows you to use TF at 50 energy and have 120 once you can hit buttons again, 2) it acts like an energy-based Last Stand and you GENERATE 20 additional energy which goes away at the end of the duration. Personally, I think the energy-last-stand SOUNDS cool (particularly because that means that TF would give 80 energy initially) and I am hoping this is the actual implementation.

Tier-10 still has Rend and Tear for a 5-pt talent and it is unchanged. However, there are two new talents added to this tier, "Nom Nom Nom" which is unlikely to remain named such and Pulverize. NNN reads "When you Ferocious Bite a target at or below 25% health, you have a 50/100% chance to refresh the duration of Rip on the target." This should read like NNN: "Feral can pressure inside of execute range now." This means that you don't have to choose whether to FB or wait 5 seconds for Rip to fall off when your target is at or below 25% hp anymore... you hit FB, get that burst damage, and your Rip will automatically get refreshed on the target. This is an AMAZING talent for both PvP and PvE Cats... use 2 points here most definitely. Pulverize is a new talent which consumes Lacerates and deals damage based on how many Lacerates were up:

15 Rage
Deals 120% weapon damage plus additional 943 damage for each Lacerate application on the target, and increases your melee critical strike chance by 2% for each application consumed for 10 seconds.

This is a really interesting tanking talent... but I cannot say that I expect it will be much use in PvP. The damage may be strong, but getting Lacerates up is arduous. Neat though!

Tier-11: Berserk is unchanged... yeah I was hoping for "Immune to everything for the duration" as well... but it seems Blizz is still concerned that that would be OP for Ferals but not for BM Hunters... FINE...


Let's talk about MASTERY for a moment. Off to the right-hand side of the talent trees, you will see the mastery bonuses. The first 3 are for Cat Form while the second 3 are for Bear Form.

** NOTE ** The actual mathematics behind these are NOT released... so we can only guess as to what those will be; the following is what I ASSUME will be the case.

Physical Damage % (Cat): This FEELS pretty Feral. What I expect (and this is a HUGE assumption) is that Naturalist will be reworked to NOT have that 10% additional Physical Damage in it. Blizz has confirmed over and over again that they are trying to get rid of these types of talents, and while the Healing Touch cast-time reduction MIGHT be helpful to Restos... Ferals never use it EXCEPT as an instant cast from Predator's Swiftness. Either way, this will scale all our damage output presumably in a multiplicative way... this is a good mastery bonus.

Melee Crit % (Cat): Again, since Sharpened Claws is gone, this is the natural replacement for it. More crit is good given that Rake and Rip ticks can crit in Cataclysm naturally. Not much to say here otherwise.

Melee Critical Damage: Reader James corrected me on this one... I apparently missed Blizz's official word or their word is out of date, but either way, this Mastery Bonus is more in line with Predatory Instincts in that rather than simply giving us some critical strike chance, it actually gives us more damage when we crit. Thank you, James, for the correction.

Bleed Damage % (Cat): I am still rather surprised that this is going to be in the game. We already HAVE a way for Bleed damage to scale... it's called "Attack Power," "Crit," and "Mangle." This Mastery Bonus has ramifications which would lead to EXTREMELY strong bleed damage... which I am fine with, but it seems odd that Blizzard would take Feral this route... it's the route I WOULD take Ferals...

Damage Reduction % (Bear): Oh my... are they seriously giving us natural damage reduction in Bear Form as a Mastery bonus? That is amazing! Okay, let's just say that with 51-points in Feral, this number is around 10% damage reduction... that means that Bear Form is (for Ferals only) like going Defensive Stance for Warriors. HOLY MOLY... I've been asking for this for a LONG time! Well, maybe there WILL be a reason to go Bear Form after all in Cataclysm.

Vengeance (Bear): Okay, we knew this was going to be here... it's the standard tanking mastery secondary bonus. You gain attack power for being attacked... or something. It's not for PvP, it's strictly for tanking; nothing to get excited about.

Savage Defense (Bear): Hmmm, apparently we are losing this as a trained ability and gaining it as a mastery bonus for Bears. This seems only natural as PvP battles will likely go back to being long matches (remember the good old 2s days in TBC?) and they don't want Resto Druids to have access to a defensive shield while in Bear Form. However, this could be a boon for Feral PvP as well given that Bear Form might actually be worth shapeshifting to as a defensive measure in Cataclysm (given the first Bear Form Mastery Bonus)... we might see reasonably strong survivability in Bear Form in Cataclysm... hmmm.


Okay, let's talk builds. I like to play PvP as a DPS class, but bringing support is ALWAYS key.

First Build:

DPS build - This is the primary DPS build... you have what I deem to be all the STRONG DPS talents, plus some survivability talents (4/5 Perseverance for 8% magical damage reduction, SI, etc), and nothing extra.

You might notice that this build does NOT take any points in Ferocity. The reason for this is because while it does lower the cost of Mangle and Rake... both these abilities are going to last a LONG time in Cataclysm. Mangle obviously lasts 1 minute, so gaining 5 energy on that single use per minute does not gain you much. Rake is going to be a 15 second bleed debuff (as opposed to 9 now) so gaining 5 energy every 15 seconds does not seem worth a 5-pt talent. That is basically 1 energy every 3 seconds... in 120 seconds you will have lost ONE Shred from your rotation (at 10 energy a second; assuming 0 haste)... I just can't justify taking this talent at all. 9% more Ferocious Bite damage now that we can actually USE FB in the Execute-window means harder hitting finishers during the burn phase... baller!

Second Build:

Survivability Build: Okay, this build forgoes Naturalist and Ferocious Bite damage in favor of being able to gain some strong defenses from Bear Form. I have already discussed going Bear Form will give a natural damage reduction from Mastery, and we know that Perseverance will reduce magical damage by 2/4/6/8/10%, so we take that and switch around to taking Protector of the Pack 3/3, which gives us an additional 12% damage reduction while in Bear Form. All told, we will be a formidable kill-target in Bear Form given these defenses. I also picked up 5/5 Ferocity so that Swipe spam is still possible to keep Savage Defense up as much as possible (though there are rumors that Swipe will have a CD and do more damage, thus requiring this build to be tweaked slightly to account for that... probably just switch it to this build in that case).

Third Build:

Off the Wall Build: This build is crazy... I know. I take some bottom-tier talents in Balance which really do not affect Feral at all... but in return I get access to that SWEET SWEET AoE silence effect called Solar Beam:

Solar Beam
18% of base mana
Instant Cast
1 minute cd
You summon a beam of light over the enemy target's location, interrupting the enemy and silencing all enemies under the beam within 10 yards while it is active. Solar Beam lasts for 10 seconds.

This is basically Death and Decay with Silence instead of damage... it's awesome. Slightly expensive, but with a 1min CD, you wouldn't have to use it very often and you would be able to regen your mana (hopefully) by the time you needed to use it again. You still have MOST of the damage dealing talents, though are definitely missing some strong ones (or perhaps not... if Naturalist gets changed in favor of the Mastery Bonus, you have basically all of them).

You can bet I will be testing this build out rigorously as soon as I can.


Okay, that's all I got for now. Feel free to ask questions, post comments, and bring up discussions; it's all good.

As a side note, we played some Feral+Warrior+HolyPally last night with Merk and shot up 100 or so rating.

Highlights of the night:

1) Beat a 2400 Disc+HPally+Warrior, and the warrior had Shadowmourne (we outplayed the absolute shit out of them at the end and gibbed that priest).

2) Beat a couple 2400 RMP, RLS, PRS... these actually seem to be our strength at the moment. If we could stop facing Globalcleave teams and get a string of RMP/RLS we would shoot straight up even more.

3) Beat a 2680 African Turtle Cleave team.

4) Lost over and over again to Ele+War+Pally (2550)... we aren't sure what to do about this team... but we only ever played it on RoV... so maybe we'd have better luck against them on Nagrand.