There really hasn't been enough changes to the Druid trees to comment on... to quote Guntir on Skype last night:

"Errything's broked!"

I got an email from the Blizzard folks regarding my banhammer... it's rough. I put the info on the Banhammer page, check it out and pity me :-(

Also, I had 2-3 people email me directly and suggest they were going to protest on the forums in favor of my appeal. Two things: first, that makes me look like an asshole for allowing you guys to go out and annoy the forums; and second, you will probably get the banhammer, yourself, if you were to discuss banning (read the Blizzard Forums CoC; it's expressly forbidden :-x ).

If something amazing happens, I will post it (and if anyone has questions, email/comment here ... the comments send me emails btw), but so far it looks like we are knee-deep in the "WotLK is dead... waiting for Cataclysm" down-period. Hopefully Blizz posts another Beta Build soon and has some Druid stuff... because this one just doesn't work.

Along with the new build, the new 31-point trees are up for browsing at WoWTal.

I just got in, I'm exhausted... but I'll have a review up before too long...

Haha... well that didn't take too long, did it?

It makes some sense as there are only 41 points to spend, but Blizzard really DID strip the talent trees down into nothingness.

Here are the Druid talent trees in their mini-fied glory; they almost look sad compared to the complexity we are used to. You can tell that they are in an early-stage of development, as some talents simply make no sense in the context of having 3 talent points only (Furor comes to mind here... 6% chance to generate 6 rage when going Bear Form... that dog won't hunt).

The lack of choice or cost of choice makes coming up with interesting talent builds a thing of the past. Essentially, you throw 31 or more points into your tree (don't try too hard... there really are enough points for everything) then look around and see if there exists any other talent you want. I am not sure how I feel about this change at the moment; it seems like they are trying to remove choice from the game in the way of specialization. No one can come up with hybrid builds now because we are forced to go 31 points into a tree before spending points anywhere else, and while that makes it easier to balance the leveling game (and maybe even end-game), it puts a damper on creativity.

If you go back a few posts ago, I was discussing the upcoming talent trees and how interesting they were going to be. I discussed about four or five possible Feral talent builds, some of which were rather off-the-wall and picking up talents like Solar Beam which were at the 10-point-tier of Balance. The ability to make these types of choices was an interesting facet to specialization and the overall game at a general level. Now, it feels like I am being told how to play my character based solely on the specialization I choose, and while it makes the discrepancy between "pure" and "hybrid" that much less in terms of roles, it actually gives the former a bigger space to expand.

What do I mean by this? Look at this Feral build I came up with for PvP (laughable, all Cat Builds will look remarkably similar to this):

Cat PvP Build

The only choice I made in this tree is picking up 3/3 Perseverance instead of 2/2 Improved Feral Charge and another point in Primal Madness. This is the ONLY choice, in reality; I have picked up all the solid damage-dealing talents and still went wanting (I actually sat around going "wait, I have Endless Carnage and Survival Instincts now... I have to spend more points to get deeper?").

Again, this may all sound extremely critical, but as I said before, I have not yet made up my mind on whether this change will be good or bad. The Mastery System is not yet finalized, it is still rather unclear how/when one acquires abilities like Mangle or even whether Shred is going to become baseline 40 energy or Mangle become baseline 34 energy (likely, the Ferocity talent will become the all-encompassing energy-reduction talent and 3/3 will mean 5 energy off of Rake/Mangle and 10 energy off of Ravage/Shred... but we will just have to wait and see).

I did not have time to actually get onto the Beta realm to check this implementation out, but you can make my words, I will have stuff to talk about tomorrow.

EDIT1: I just went through the Feral Tree again after having a cup of coffee. This is kind of funny to think about:

1) Our PvE-Crit-Immunity talent is gone.
2) Improved Leader of the Pack is no where to be seen though we know we need a passive mana-recovery tool.
3) Primal Fury does not even mention Critical Strikes in Cat Form, let alone them giving an extra combo point.

I know that there were a LOT of changes and everything is still up in the air for the moment (and you should check back a few times today in case more information spills out to explain these odd goings-on), but this just seems hack-n-slash for the moment. MMO-Champion.com seems to be missing a LOT at the moment (for instance, Improved Feral Charge still does not have Feral Charge as a prerequisite).

EDIT2: I might move this edit to the top, as it is rather important, but just gleaned this from the official patch notes:

While this is a first pass on all of the talent trees, death knight, druid, paladin, warlock, Arcane mage, and Assassination rogue trees are not as far along as other specializations.

So, as I said above, this is just a first pass and the devs will be making alterations as needed.