Happy Monday, everyone! Firstly, let me say this - Feral+Rogue+Priest is hilarious control when not going against melee-cleaves (TSG and Enh+War+Pal). When we are firing on all cylinders, we have a hard time being stopped. Tentmonto also swapped his spec to a slower Hemo spec and threw on some 397 LFR axes, and suddenly his damage went through the roof (almost catching up to me on some matches, hur hur). Additionally, Tent brought over his warlock and we started carrying him on 3s until he gets geared a little better running Feral+Aff+RSham. This team is actually the more hilarious of the two; as soon as his warlock gets gear, this comp will be gladiator viable (not to say that Feral+Rogue+Priest isn't, but we have hard-counters in plate-cleaves whereas Feral+Aff+RSham seems like bad-rls - decent-to-OP against everything).

Mists of Pandaria.

Guntir and I were talking on Sunday about some of the unmentioned changes that we are seeing in various tooltips on the calculator. I have pointed most of those out either here or in the Druid boards, and most of these are Druid-centric (though, I did mention how Rogues are losing their +20% healing received as well as Ferals, so I cover some other classes as well). Guntir was looking more into which healers would be the flavor of the month once MoP dropped and the arenas were opened again and has basically narrowed it down to Holy Pallies, who are getting a spammable CC amongst a handful of hilariously overpowered abilities in their kits (including AoE blind as their level 87 ability).

I do not care to talk too much about Holy Pallies here; I am more concerned about a post from the blues last week concerning abilities and talents.

We're going to give you all of the "mandatory" talents to your class spec, and you'll learn those talents at certain levels like you do with core class spells. Players who skip over what we consider mandatory talents today -- like Raging Blow or Hot Streak -- are unintentionally (or maybe even intentionally) gimping themselves, and that's not what we want to have happen. We want players to be able to experience the full power of their class, so we're going to award certain talents straight-out. 
Specifically, there are a number of talents in the Feral tree to which this quote directly applies. One of my favorites to hate on is Blood in the Water, which is now just a part of the Ferocious Bite tooltip. I have always liked this talent in general, as it can be a truly powerful one if the stars align. My main annoyance with it is the fact that Blizzard stated that they wanted players to spend more time in an "injured state" in Cataclysm as compared to Wrath. This, of course, never came into fruition and healers are still largely playing the "heal 50% of the target's hp in one cast" game, which leads to opponents never being sub-25% except right before they die. The 2-set bonus from PvE gear gets that number to sub-60% hp, which is much more of a reality in PvP situations in my experience, but I doubt that Blizzard will be changing our "execute" any time soon.

Ravage has also gotten this treatment in that it now innately gains a 50% critical strike chance against any target above 80% health. Similarly, we notice that Brutal Impact is now baked into both Skull Bash (although, it looks like Skull Bash might actually be free; there is no energy cost associated with it) and Bash. Rend and Tear gets this treatment baked into Shred's tooltip (20% more damage to bleeding targets) and Rake now simply has a 15s duration as if Endless Carnage was baked into it.

I thought that this stance by Blizzard makes a lot of sense in light of their new talent design - six tiers per class and one point per tier as opposed to six tiers per spec with five points at each tier makes for very little room for "flavor talents" like Blood in the Water, which is mandatory in PvE, but certainly not PvP. Blizzard has basically said that the non-mandatory talents that are still almost always taken are the heart of the new talent system - Feral Charge is taken by every Feral regardless, but it is in no way mandatory in a PvE sense; so it becomes a talent choice and gives flavor to the class.

Another interesting change that Blizz talked about was the less mandatory, but still defining talents in the current system:

The third category of talents are still pretty cool, but they just aren't at the same level as other talents. These talents make good glyphs. For example, an early version of the warrior tree had Rude Interruption as a talent, but we feel it's too situational to compete with the other talents, so we'll likely make it a glyph.
This is, without any pretense, huge; staggeringly huge. Notice amongst my listed talents which will be baked into our abilities out-right which are missing: Furor, Fury Swipes, Feral Aggression, and Primal Madness (I suppose that we could include Heart of the Wild, Natural Shapeshifter, and Master Shapeshifter in this group, but these are, what many consider to be, mandatory talents and I expect we can see these simply baked into the class some how).

Now, basically all Druids have considered Furor to be a mandatory talent since Vanilla - being able to have enough rage to Feral Charge (Bear) someone has been mandatory for PvP forever, and since Furor was updated to allow the generation of energy in cat form while not in cat form, Furor has been a mandatory Feral talent. I am hoping - nay, praying - that Furor is simply baked into the class come MoP; I cannot see it going live without this being a part of being a Druid since it has been for so long. Elle has pointed out that Cat and Bear forms both have their Furor-aspects baked into the tooltips, which is awesome!

However, Feral Aggression and Primal Madness seem ripe for being turned into glyphs. With Faerie Fire being changed to only be a single stacking application in MoP, we can ignore that portion; however, we can see the bonus 10% damage to Ferocious Bite easily being part of an FB glyph, and Primal Madness seems like it would be a decent glyph addition as well. Fury Swipes is something of a mystery to me; I do not see it being anything but free damage for Ferals and to be quite honest, I do not see it really fitting with Druids at the moment - I would guess that it is either being scrapped entirely, or Blizzard simply forgot to put it into the talent kits for Feral (and maybe Guardian).

"But wait... you said 'staggeringly huge'... these don't sound so amazing!"

Okay, you got me there, that was just house-cleaning for the huge stuff. Blizzard said that they want to change up the glyphs situation a while back. I do not have the quote on hand right at the moment, but from what I recall of it they wanted it to be like this:

Primary Glyphs - huge ability-defining differences
Major Glyphs - smaller flavor changes, but still somewhat useful
Minor Glyphs - ... might be going away in favor of just baking all these into the classes

What I took from that coupled with this latest talent explanation is that the PGs are going to be revamped. At present, Feral does not really have a choice when it comes to PGs; we take Bloodletting, Rip, and Berserk because they are the obvious dps choices. This, again, is boring! Bloodletting is the most interesting amongst them, and if we look at Rip's new tooltip, this is baked into the ability already. NOW YOU SEE IT! This is the staggeringly huge bit - a lot of the boring glyphs are going away in favor of more interesting ones. Dare I say it? Glyph of Ferocious Bite might be changed to allow it to refresh the duration on Rip on targets at or below 60% health? What about amending the current primary glyphs like Tiger's Fury - "Reduces the cooldown on Tiger's Fury by 3 seconds and also causes Tiger's Fury to give 20 energy for the duration. At the end of Tiger's Fury, the energy is lost"; Glyph of Berserk - "Increases the duration of your Berserk ability by 10 seconds and causes your Berserk to give 20 energy for the duration. At the end of Berserk, the energy is lost."

I can see a whole slew of these "new" primary glyphs being added in MoP. It could make for some very interesting choices!