Monday, April 19, 2010

Druid Cataclysm Changes

I’m about halfway through my look at the various classes that I’m interested in. I’m done the Paladin and the Hunter. Now I want to look at the Druid, Warrior, and Shaman. But really we’ve only got half the picture. The new talents are still to be released and they are another important part of the puzzle.
The Druid took over my 3rd Alt position after I shelved the Warrior, but I’ll talk more about that when I look at the Warrior changes. My Druid is primarily Boomkin/Resto, but I’m working on his Feral set as well. I have him Boomkin because I can do reasonable DPS even in mostly Resto gear.
Let’s look at what Druid’s get.
Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.
This looks to be a decent addition to the Bear threat rotation which, from my limited experience with Bear tanking back in my 60s, has about the same about of tools as the tBC Paladin.
Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.
This will help Druids help their party move out of the fire, like now! It will also be helpful for flag running in Warsong which Druids are already very good at. It will be interesting to see what the more creative members of the Druid community come up with as uses for this spell.
Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.
If this isn’t enough to keep Lakini in feathers, I don’t know what will be. This sounds like a great and fun spell. With no cooldown and instant cast, I could see a Moonkin creating a veritable minefield for mobs or opposing players. Imagine lining the tunnel in WSG with these babies, or covering a Flag Point in Arathi Basin.
All heal-over-time spells (HoTs) will benefit from crit and haste innately in Cataclysm. Hasted HoTs do not reduce their duration, but instead add additional HoT ticks. Haste will also benefit Energy generation while in cat form.
This will be great for Resto Druid who already heavily Haste stack. The HoT ticking faster, but the same amount of ticks works great in a world where Mana is not a major concern, but in Cataclysm, conserving Mana will be very important. Haste could have actually been a detriment had this change not been made.
A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with Nourish and Regrowth, and top off lightly wounded targets with Rejuvenation.
I think all any healer wants is to be able to excel in either major healing role, Tank healing or Raid healing. It will be interesting to see how well the Developers can accomplish their design goal.
If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools -- primarily a reliable interrupt.
I wonder why Retribution Paladin was left off that list of Melee DPS. They could use a reliable interrupt as well, but that aside this is great news for Cats.
We will be buffing the damage of Mangle (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot Shred, they are not at such a damage-dealing loss.
This is great change. One of the most frustrating things for Cat Druids is how reliant they are getting proper position on mobs to do good DPS. There are simply going to be times the Tank has to position the mob in a way that it is hard for the Cat to get to the back. The danger is they go too far in the direction of Mangle and Cats don’t even bother with Shred anymore.
Druids will lose Abolish Poison with the dispel mechanics change, but Restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids can still remove poisons with Cure Poison and remove curses with Remove Curse.
This is just another consequence of the overall Dispel mechanics changes.
Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to Metamorphosis.
I think of all the Druid changes announced this one has gotten the most attention. Some people love the idea of being a Tree, it’s part of being a Resto Druid. I’m the kind of guy who tries to look for the bright side to a change. It’s highly unlikely the Developers will change their mind on this, so we look to make the best of it. Druids will have more freedom to cast utility spells. More and more spells were being added to the ‘you can now cast ____ in Tree form’. Now you don’t have to worry about it. But I think the best consequence of this change is that Restos will get to see their hard earned Tier gear more than any other Druid.
We plan on giving Feral cats and bears a Kick/Pummel equivalent -- an interrupt that is off the global cooldown and does no damage. We feel like they need this utility to be able to fill the melee role in a dungeon or raid group, and to give them more PvP utility.
Paladins? Hello? Prot and Ret could both use and off the global cooldown interrupt. If this goes through Paladin Tanks will be the ONLY tank without a reliable interrupt. That’s not a good idea.
Eclipse: We are moving Eclipse from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance.
Eclipse is the most frustrating part of being a Moonkin. This idea of an Eclipse bar is very intriguing. If I understand it right, the idea is to keep the bar in the middle, to maintain Balance between the Moon (Arcane) and the Sun (Nature). It seem much more controlled than the current mechanic.
The Druid changes look pretty exciting, but I’m boggled by some of the ideas they are giving to Druids that didn’t make it into the Paladin preview, despite Paladins filling a similar role and having similar deficiencies.


Anonymous said...

From a blue post:

Q. What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\

A. Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt.

Vague, but hopefully it will lead the dev's to see how badly we could use one for both prot and ret in all areas of content.

Wankster of Magtheridon

Thorned said...

from the blizz developer Chat on Twitter 4/16

Q. What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\
A. Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt. :)

Yay! interrupt :D

The 40% speedbuff for the whole group would ease the transitiontime for meleeclasses if the have to burn an add or so (like the ooze from putricide)

Taxiderm said...

From the Dev chat on twitter:

Q: What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\
A: Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt. :)