Posted by Reygahnci on Thursday, February 16, 2012
That's right, kiddies; they updated the talent
At the first tier, the changes are rather staggering. Displacer Beast, while still a 3min CD, now teleports the Druid forward 20 yards rather than randomly, but no longer removes DoTs from the Druid. I feel like this ability could be useful in some situations in PvE where it would put the Druid in stealth and thus wipe his threat, but ultimately it has lost all its usefulness in terms of PvP. Feline Swiftness is still on this tier, but it has been reduced from 30% to 15%, and Cat Form now innately has a 15% movement buff. The idea, as far as I can guess, is that these would stack to the normal 30% movement buff that most Ferals have grown to love. Wild Charge has been moved to this tier in place of "Dash2.0", which really was a useless talent and was (as I guessed it would be) removed as a "filler".
My pick: Wild Charge
There is no contest here; while a lot of PvP Ferals will complain about losing out on 15% run-speed, Wild Charge is now a 15s cooldown for all forms though it no longer gives free Ravages after use. This is fine, in my opinion, as it is back to what it was always supposed to be - a gap-closer. There really was no reason to have it give a free Ravage after use as this only caused annoyance in PvP during the burst rotation when the Feral would run away from his target (???) and charge back in to land a Ferocious Bite, a few Shreds, and a Ravage.
Only time will tell as to whether this ability goes live as-is, but it feels like a pretty obviously powerful (borderline OP?) ability. In caster form, you can pick a friendly target to brogrip you every 15s; there is a reason why the actual spell brogrip has a 1.5min cd. Cat Form still has the daze effect, but the cooldown is forgiving enough that I will not mind so much.
The second tier is largely unchanged except that Nature's Swiftness has had its cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 1 minute. This is enough to make me stand at attention; I used to look at Renewal as a mandatory talent (a free 30% heal on a 2m cd? Yes, please!), but with Nature's Swiftness increasing the effect and duration of the spell used and allowing said spell to be used in Cat Form, it has to be said that this is definitely worth a try.
My pick: Nature's Swiftness
I am just imagining 8s duration Cyclones cast in Cat Form coupled with Wild Charge being on a 15s CD. It will be simple to run to a target, mash the NS+Cyclone macro, then Wild Charge back onto the kill target in high-pressure situations. I am still thinking about Renewal as a good ability, but if CC is still reigning supreme, then Nature's Swiftness will likely end up being my pick.
In the third tier, nothing really changed except that Faerie Swarm now directly replaces Faerie Fire and it does not say anything about a cooldown. Interestingly, Faerie Fire has been changed to suggest that its application also applies a 3-stack of another debuff called "Weakened Armor" which reduces the target's armor by 4% per application. Additionally, it seems that neither Faerie Fire or Faerie Swarm suggest that they can be used from Cat Form, though Faerie Fire says that it deals damage when cast from Bear Form so I have to assume that it can be cast in form.
Another change that happened at this tier is that Mass Entanglement now has no cast time to go along with its 2min CD. I was intrigued by this ability and I know that a number of moonkins are already talking about how good it will be, but I think that a 2min CD for it is just too long; a 1m CD would make this ability strong without being overpowered. One change that is less seen if all one has done is perused the talent tree is the fact that defensive dispels now do two things: dispel all magical (and whatever other types) debuffs and have an 8 second cooldown. The reason that this is such a huge change is that having an AoE magical root effect will actually be powerful against a double-melee comp as only one can be dispelled for the duration.
My pick: Typhoon
Just like last time, I really cannot express how useful Typhoon can be. There are a number of moonkins out there who are talking about taking Mass Entanglement, and I understand the sentiment here. If the cooldown is reduced, then I would definitely consider taking Mass Entanglement since it can be used in Form; it would be a great peel for Guntir.
The fourth tier went from being one of the most boring to being one of my favorites. Incarnation is still bad given that it will not reduce the cost of any of those openers (Ravage or Pounce); I feel like it is missing something as a dps cooldown for Feral, or perhaps more appropriately Feral's openers are poorly designed in terms of energy efficiency. I am still of the opinion that the bleed effect of Pounce should be worth-while and that both Ravage and Pounce should cost 30 energy.
Force of Nature, which I lovingly call Tree Posse, is still undetermined as to what it actually provides each specialization. It could be that the posse will provide some worth-while buff or utility (maybe a silence or an energy-regeneration aura), but until then we will just have to wait and see.
Lastly, a new talent popped up on this tier called Soul of the Forest which restores 2 energy per combo point consumed by a finishing move. This might not seem like much at face value, it essentially reads "all your finishing moves [except perhaps SR] now cost 10 energy less", but this talent could be coupled with a clear-casting proc to gain 10 energy (really 20; one would gain 10 from the gcd). In addition, Feral has always had trouble with generating combo points and this largely makes the using of finishers that much less painful and allows us to get back into our rotation.
My pick: Soul of the Forest
I would really like to see this talent return twice as much energy per combo point so that we could basically have the same treatment as Rogues instead of being Rogue_v0.8, but this talent is better than Incarnation (so far) and Tree Posse is such a wild-card that I cannot take it at present. If nothing else, taking Soul of the Forest will mean that we can always land a skull-bash after a finisher (although, Skull Bash still has no cost associated with it, so this might be a non-issue).
Demoralizing Roar was renamed Disorienting Roar and changed to be available for use in all shapeshift forms (I believe that this means Cat/Bear/Moonkin but NOT caster... not for sure, but this is my feeling). This is a great change as it has a 30s cooldown, has no cost associated with it, and provides an AoE disorient peel for a healer. At this point, I really do not see melee-cleave teams succeeding in MoP given the state of dispelling and the amount of peels that Feral is getting. I am very excited at the prospect of Disorienting Roar.
Ursol's Vortex was updated to have a 30y range and suggest that it will have a cast placement a la hurricane or tree posse. It still lasts 15 seconds and has a 15 yard range, but we still have no idea how this talent works. Does it effectively "keep" targets in its grasp for 15 seconds? That does not seem likely, does it pulse every 3 seconds for 15 seconds, so you would use it as a tank? Maybe... it really is unclear.
Lastly, replacing Wild Charge we have Mighty Bash, which is simply Bash but can be used in all forms. Sadly, yes, this means that Bash is no longer a staple of being a Bear. In addition, it continues the tradition of removing Resto Druid utility in that they will no longer have access to a stun and with Skull Bash being Guardian and Feral specialization abilities, Resto will not have access to an interrupt either.
My pick: Disorienting Roar
Again, I have no idea how Ursol's Vortex will work, but I have to believe it will be no more than a gimmick for PvE tanking. If it turns out that it is some sort of "quicksand" ability that causes spell interruption when it moves you, it might have some uses, but having AoE Gouge is just too strong a peel, in my opinion. I also might open in for Mighty Bash if the cooldown were reduced to 30 seconds, but that might be too strong for a free 5s stun.
Heart of the Wild is unchanged and still awful, in my opinion. It may have some niche use in PvE, though from my LFR experience, it will not. Disentanglement is still the same, surprisingly, though I thoroughly expect it to be nerfed in some manner before MoP goes live.
A new talent called Dream of Cenarius has been added which feels like an odd ability for PvE only as it causes the non-instant cast heals to grant 30% bonus damage to the Druid's next ability. So, if I throw an HT out on someone, my next Shred will hit 30% harder. This is interesting, but largely will be impractical in PvP (outside of BGs where looking for hilariously large FBs will be fun... get Berserking, get 5cps, cast Healing Touch, go Cat, pop TF with SR up, FB crits for 200k >_<). In PvE, I could see this being used on phases where the boss kills everything in melee range (think phase one of the robot boss from Ulduar with the lightning shock), so the Feral leaves melee range and throws an HT on the tank (or whomever) and gets his next Rip/Rake to have a bonus 30% damage. I do not see this going live, however, for that exact reason - it is a highly awkward mechanic that provides enough incentive to become part of the rotation. It has a 30s CD, so it will mean casting a heal every 30 seconds so that you next big ability does 30% more damage... this just feels weird.
My pick: Disentanglement
With dispels getting an 8s cooldown, I cannot fathom not taking Disentanglement.
Okay, that is the rundown on the talents. There were some interesting changes, but largely the PvP build is unchanged. Allow me now to discuss some of the subtle changes that were made to the game as a whole and how it affects Feral (this post is going to be long).
First and foremost, I have already brought it up, but Dispels are going to have an 8s cooldown. This is rather huge for classes which rely on dispel protection. Retribution, for instance, is truly scared of wings getting dispelled, but with an 8s cooldown, this means that basically offensive dispels will be a thing of the past; who would try to dispel Wings with a 1/6 chance to dispel the right buff and then open your team mates to CC for 8s? No one, that is who! The second interesting part of the dispel changes are the defensive dispel mechanic - it now dispels all debuffs of every dispel type. That is, Shamans have a dispel that removes Magic and Curse afflictions from a team member, so if an Affliction Lock gets a full row of DoTs up on a target, a Shammy can dispel all curse and magic effects from that target (and eat the silence from UA). This is really interest as it makes UA that much more powerful against healers; dispelling Fears just became nigh-impossible without eating a UA silence.
There are some things to note about Druids that are worth mentioning:
* Cat Form has innate +15% movement speed
* Cat Form gets a free +100% auto attack damage (???)
* Claw now does 350% weapon damage (as compared to the 425% for Shred and unknown amount for Mangle)
* Bear Hug is now baseline (3s self-cc that will do 10% of your current hp per second in damage and stun a target)
* Thrash is usable in all forms and applies a debuff called Weakened Blows which reduces physical damage done by 10% (basically demoralizing roar currently).
* Skull Bash does not seem to have a cost
* Resto/Balance get a passive ability called Natural Insight which increases the size of their mana pool by 400%; meaning that Feral will have 1/5 (or 1/4 depending on blizz's meaning) the mana pool size of most casters.
In addition, there are some things to note about non-Druids that will directly affect Ferals:
* Desecration is no longer an ability as far as I can tell (yay! no more pooping AoE snares all over the map for free!) [EDIT: It may end up being a glyph :-( ]
* Crippling Poison is now a 50% snare (yay! no more overpowered snares that are auto-applied!)
Lastly, we have a preview of how Symbiosis will work:
* All players will have a spell in their spell books called Symbiosis that does nothing.
* Once a player is affected by Symbiosis, their Symbiosis spell turns into the spell they are given (same for the casting Druid); much like Dark Simulacrum.
* A player may only be affected by one Symbiosis at a time.
* Has a 30 yard cast range
* Lasts 1 hour, persists through death.
* 6 second cast time.
* May not be cast in combat.
* Has a maximum range of effect before falling off.
That last bit is interesting in that the range would have to be large enough such that if I died at Lumber Mill and got resurrected at spawn, I would not lose the buff, else it would be unfair to make Druids (and their targets) have to reapply a 6s cast before mounting and running into a fight. My guess is that this ability will have a range that makes sense (100y probably), but that 6s cast time will be reduced to instant cast (at least, it SHOULD be reduced to instant cast).
Additionally, we were given some examples of spells that would be traded. I felt that the layout used on the forums was a tad unwieldy, so I am going to rewrite it here in a more straight-forward way:
DK: Chains of Ice
Mage: Mirror Images
Priest: Mass Dispel
Hunter: Feign Death
Mage: Frost Nova
Warlock: Soul Swap
Hunter: Ice Trap
Priest: Fear Ward
Mage: Ice Block (whoa)
Paladin: Hand of Sacrifice (whoa)
Priest: Leap of Faith
Druids Give (regardless of Druid spec)
Holy Paladin: Rebirth (lawl... this has to be wrong)
Arms/Fury Warrior: Enrage (makes sense)
Enhancement/Elemental Shaman: Solar Beam
Okay, that last one is interesting in that it sets the stage for sharing a spec-based ability rather than a class-based ability. That is really interesting in that it may mean something like Feral sharing Tiger's Fury with a Rogue, or Barkskin with a Disc Priest. Again, all these are subject to change as the beta starts rolling, but one that I wanted to touch on briefly was the Warlock's. Soul Swap... wat? Why would a Feral get Soul Swap? Feral does not have any magic DoTs to swap, why would OH MY GOD (dramatic yelling mid-sentence)!!!
What I am suspecting will happen is that our Soul Swap will be a special version of the ability that contextually changes: if we use Soul Swap on a target, it will turn into Soul Swap Exhale; if we use Soul Swap Exhale, it will turn into Soul Swap. Further, I am speculating that Soul Swap would work on our bleed effects instead of Shadow Magic. This could be potentially very powerful in a PvP setting, but it would rely on how Soul Swap ends up treating our bleeds; if they are not refreshed, then it won't be super amazing, but it would allow us to swap more freely, which would mean more burst opportunities.
All things considered, I am very excited about the changes. I still want to wait and see how Symbiosis ends up playing out, but I am hopeful to see the list of changes to other classes bringing them into line with Feral, and Feral getting some silly buffs that probably will not go live. At present, if MoP were to go live today, I think that Feral+Lock+HPal would be a R1-viable comp. o.O