This build actually has some of the Druid changes I have been waiting for; therefore, I will update this post soon.

Okay, let us get some formalities out of the way. I have been helping one of my friends move from his parents' apartment on the second floor of his building into his new apartment on the first floor of his building; subsequently, I am pretty tired all the time. Additionally, my other friend has been getting carpet and hardwood put into his beach house, so I have been helping him move all his stuff as well. Yesterday, I pried a 1/4" (one-quarter-inch is huge, btw) splinter out from my right index finger, and then while cleaning up the dryer and getting 20 years of lint off of it, I smashed up my thumb and ended up prying the dryer vent between my thumb finger and thumb nail.

Pain like you probably would not believe. Long-story-short, my typing today is a little bit more difficult and a bit more painful. I am going to try and keep this post short and sweet... but you know how that usually goes. GOOD, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the updated talent trees.

Like I mentioned at the end of yesterday's post (or was that the day before yesterday... my mind is slipping away as well >_<), the Feral Druid mastery has been filled in on WoWHead's Cataclysm site and it seems they have baked Ferocity and Feral Instincts (better stealth level) into it as well as something called "Aggression" which simply gives us 15% more attack power. At the moment, it is unclear whether that is to be in Bear Form or Cat Form, and as I left the updater running when I left for work this morning, we aren't likely to know until much later today. I will touch on the Aggression thing a little further down.

Talents like Heart of the Wild and Rend and Tear (though not Furor, infuriatingly; also the tooltips here might not have updated yet) have been updated to match at three points what they used to be at five points. So, HotW is 10% attack power and Rend and Tear is 20% more damage to Shred against bleeding targets and 25% bonus critical strike chance for Ferocious Bite against bleeding targets. There are still some thing missing, but for the most part, the Feral tree has been given some new life.

Additionally, critical strike immunity (in PvE) has been added back to the tree on the Thick Hide talent, and something I was not entirely expecting to show up at all made its way back onto the Natural Reaction talent - damage reduction while in Bear Form. What is so interesting about these changes is that I do not foresee them being unattainable for a PvP spec. Sure, Cat builds today can pick up these talents, but the PvP scene is so vastly different at the moment that it is not a reality to go Bear Form as a form of lowering opponent damage. In Cataclysm, we MIGHT be going Bear Form more often in PvP, but with the Mastery System changing every patch or so, it is really too hard to tell at the moment.

Speaking of survivability, Ghostcrawler said that the developers aim to kill the arms race between CC and CC-reducing-talents, and has lived up to that by removing talents like Primal Tenacity. The problem with this is that I simply do not understand how Ferals will be expected to survive in a PvP setting without ANY damage reduction aside from their armor value. That is, the 30% damage reduction while stunned in Cat Form was one of our only survival tools, and it was controlled by our opponents; maybe this means that all classes will be taking roughly the same damage, and they no longer believe that we NEED this talent. In fact, I just checked and it seems that Elemental Shamans no longer have their version of the talent (which also reduced damage when silenced/feared in addition to stunned... I felt ripped off). This sort of leads me to believe that Blizzard is making a conscious effort to balance the PvP scene a bit more: everyone will have basically the same HP pool; everyone will have more similar armor values (or damage reduction from armor, perhaps is a better way of putting this); etc. In this way, Blizzard has a more even field for balancing out certain specs, spells, or comps in general. Beastcleaves will not tear through clothies anymore because clothies will have around the same armor as plate-wearers (or at least the discrepancy will be much less severe), and they will have roughly the same HP, so mindlessly zerging will not be the norm.

Okay, I mentioned above that I wanted to touch on Aggression, and to a lesser extent, all AP buffs in general. Recall that Feral is completely losing its Feral Attack Power from weapons, and is instead simply getting the DPS modifier from weapons scaled around a 1.0 swing timer and then applied to Cat Form. This is a good thing in the majority of cases because it means that our paper-doll damage should not really change at all, and we can still use two-handed staves/polearms/maces as our primary damage increase. The main difference here is that we will be walking around with roughly 50% the AP we currently have on Live, but dealing roughly the same damage with abilities like Shred because our paper-doll white damage will not have changed. Why am I talking about weapon-scaling when I mentioned I wanted to talk about Attack Power talents/masteries? Well, the way we gain attack power is changing dramatically in Cataclysm. I just said we would be walking around with around 50% less attack power in Cat Form once Cataclysm drops, and that means that anything which increases our attack power by a scaling amount will bee effectively getting buffed as well.

"Wait... wait wat?"

Okay, remember a few posts ago I was whining about DBW and how AP procs favor classes balanced around less AP than Ferals (read: all classes). So, with 10k attack power, when I get a proc like DBW which increases our attack power pool by a flat amount (we'll use 1000 to keep the numbers clean), we get a proportionally SMALLER increase to damage than everyone else. Over the years, Blizzard has tried to offset this pain with talents (HotW, Predatory Strikes, etc), but has ultimately decided to smash the Feral Attack Power model entirely and instead simply scale us around weapon DPS. Okay, so you have 10k AP, you get a DBW proc and gain 1,000 AP, now you're rocking essentially a 10% increase in AP which ALMOST correlates to a 1.4% damage increase; however, let us say you are in Cataclysm and only have 5k Attack Power, then gaining the DBW proc for 1000 AP means a 20% increase in AP, which means closer to a 2.8% damage increase.

Do you see where this is going now? If we are balanced around the same AP pools as every other class, but then get a bunch of talents or otherwise which scale our AP faster than every other class, then we should be doing more damage than every other class. Admittedly, I have only BARELY looked at Warriors/Rogues/DKs, so I have no idea if they get anything like HotW or Aggression, but I would be surprised if they go 15% more AP and 10% more AP from any one spec.