Monthly Archives: October 2011
From time to time, my old persona as a pen & paper DM comes to the fore and I get inspired to write some sort of a story or descriptive text for something. At the moment it is encouraging me to write a short story based on the epic adventures of a small group of five comrades as they journey around Azeroth doing what must be done (and what pays the repair bills). It is pretty rough, I haven’t written something like this for a while, and I am not the best writer ever even at my best. Extra DKP for any guildies reading this who figure who is who
As she crested yet another sand dune, Lavena sighed and looked out over the seemingly endless desert. The party had been traveling for weeks now across this windblown expanse of sand and still their goal did not appear to be in sight. After removing the cloth tied her face to prevent her from swallowing too much sand, she reached for her skin of water and took a long drink of the warm, musty liquid. Despite not being perfect, and tasting of camels, it still quenched some of her thirst and washed away the sand that had beaten the cloth barrier.
Groaning slightly, she moved her shoulders to try and settle her heavy pauldrons into a more comfortable position. At the best of times they were an annoying necessity, and weeks of riding a camel had done nothing to improve that. As she shook her long, grey hair to remove the loose sand she looked at the heavy helm hanging from her saddle and was thankful that she had decided against wearing it.
While sitting there, she silently wished that she had the strength of a dwarf or the build of a human and could better cope with the wearing of full plate armour. Still, she had chosen this path herself and would not turn from it. The years of training she had endured made her agile and fast despite the weight and when it came to the actual fighting, it would be her job to keep their target distracted while the others in the company brought down whatever they faced.
“Bloody awful sandy wasteland!” There was a muffled curse from behind. Lavena turned and smiled as she saw Agmund, both the only dwarf and the only male member of the party bouncing his way up the dune to rest beside her, while he cursed and swore at his camel. “What troubles you now Agmund?” she asked sweetly while he panted and wiped his brow with a grubby sleeve.
Narrowing his eyes, Agmund gestured to his flaming red beard and hair as he removed his helmet and the cloth protecting his nose and mouth. He shook his head to release the matted mass of hair and Lavena recoiled slightly as she was splattered with stale dwarf sweat. “What the hell do you think is the matter you dozy elf!” he thundered, “We have been in this forsaken desert on these bloody awful mounts for weeks and have nothing to show for it yet!” Taking a drink from his flask he grudgingly offered it to Lavena, who politely declined after noticing the fine ring of sweaty sand he had left around the mouth of the bottle.
Shrugging at the elf’s refusal, Agmund took another swig and replaced the flask on his saddle. “When we set out on this folly Brann assured us he would meet us at the pyramid and after some fighting there would be stacks of treasure and gold!” Agmund’s eyes gleamed as he mentioned gold and treasure, “yet, here we still are crossing mile after mile of sand and no one has even seen a bloody pyramid! Do you even know if we are going in the right direction?”
Leaping off her camel, Lavena took rest in the shade afforded by its body. Looking up to Agmund, she offered help but he turned and slid unceremoniously to the ground and joined her in the small amount of shade. “Yes, Agmund, I assure we are going in the correct direction. We have passed the various landmarks Brann mentioned and you know as well as I that Eilin would tell us if we had strayed.” Agmund sighed and nodded in agreement, for he knew that the elven priest accompanying them, Eilin, had an unerring sense of direction and would know instantly if they were wrong.
Lavena looked around and shielded her eyes are she peered back down the dune she and Agmund rested on. “Speaking of Eilin, where is she? I cannot see her. In fact I cannot see any of them”. Trying to extend her vision as far as possible, Lavena scoured the area for the missing members of their group; Eilin the elven priest, Rowena the human mage and Nevina the elven druid. “Don’t worry about them” Agmund reassured her, “they are a little more fragile than us and were just taking a short rest before attempting this climb.” Lavena looked back to the dwarf and sighed in agreement. It was true that her training as a warrior and the fact that Agmund was a dwarf meant that they could generally endure more hardship that their fellow travellers. As much as she disliked the idea of having more in common with a dwarf than her fellow elves, in this instance that was the case. Even though he wore nothing greater than mail, the sheer size of his short frame seemed to make it weigh as much as her much smaller plate armour.
A few moments later, Lavena saw the other three adventurers slowly climbing the dune, swaying gently as the camels plodded through the shifting sands. As they reached Lavena and Agmund, Nevina looked down at the reclining adventurers and drily remarked “I am shocked, you have been left alone for a five minutes and you are still being civil to each other!”
Suddenly Eilin let out a happy shout and pointed to the horizon. “Finally! There it is!” The rest of them gathered around her and peered fruitlessly to where her finger pointed. “Are you sure?” said Nevina, though more out of habit than anything, for if Eilin said she saw something then she did, her eyesight was more keen than either of the other elves and certainly better than that of a dwarf.
Eilin turned and smiled at Nevina, “Of course I am sure! There is a faint haze on the horizon and I can just make out the shape of a large pyramid in the centre.” She took a quick swallow of the camelly water. “Either that or I am now hallucinating from lack of real cool water!” she laughed. Rowena stood up next them, dusting down her robes. “I don’t know about all of you, but I am nearly ready to call a halt for the day.” Agmund and the three elves looked at the only human in their little band and silently agreed, humans had neither the stamina for travel nor the ability to forgo rest that they did.
“I can see a small stand of palms and an oasis just before the next dune.” said Eilin scanning the sea of sand below them. “If we can manage a little further today we will have plenty of fresh water and shade to prepare for tomorrow.” Seeing the sense in what she said, the others all remounted. Hearing muttering from behind her, Eilin turned and helped Agmund mount his camel as he held a soft spot for the quiet spoken elf priest and would accept her aid when he would growl at others who offered. In return, Eilin saw through most of his grumbling for what it was and knew that beneath that he was a much softer soul than he showed to the world.
The small party carefully made their way down the slope and hurried along to the oasis that Eilin had seen. As they drew closer it became apparent that not for the first time, her keen eyesight was correct and that they would have a relatively easy evening. The camels grew excited and increased their pace as the water got closer and soon it was they could do as the camels raced along towards the oasis. Agmund was nearly unseated but grimly held on, bellowing and cursing his mount while explaining what he would do to it if it didn’t relent.
Soon they reached the shade and cool of the oasis. As the mounts went to the water’s edge, Rowena and the elves removed their armour and travelled worn clothing with glee and plunged into the sparkling water. Nevina especially was glad of the opportunity to let out her long, lustrous black hair from its confining plait and to be able to wash it. Blushing slightly Agmund moved away from them, suddenly very aware that he was alone in the desert with four rather striking females and not one of them was a dwarf! Silently he cursed his bad luck as he removed his own armour and got ready to have a quick wash once the others were done. Days of travelling in the baking heat had caused his face to go almost as red as his hair, the badly burnt skin was also starting to peel and he looked forward to dunking it in some cool water.
Unfortunately for Agmund, by the time the pool was free for him, the sun was lowering and already there was a chill in the air, so he had less time than he wished to soothe his aching skin. Still, he made the most of the opportunity and sank back into the water and cooling mud on the edge of the pool before climbing out and getting dressed.
Once the camels had drunk their fill everyone was refreshed and ready to settle down, the party began to unpack their bedding and prepare for the night. Once the sun set the temperature rapidly dropped and and everyone was glad of their large, thick cloaks.
“Rowena, how about some food?” said Agmund. Now that he had finished his preparations, his stomach was insistent that he eat something. “Ok, ok” replied Rowena, “but remember I will need some help.” She stood up and starting a slow chant, closing her eyes and creating strange glowing symbols in the air with her hands. Gradually a small glowing orb appeared in front of her. She opened an eye and looked around her “well, come on then if you want to eat!” Quickly the others jumped to their feet and aided her with the spell. They all circled the orb and concentrated their will, pouring energy into the orb and slowly chanting with Rowena. After a few seconds the ball of light expanded and vanished, leaving behind a small table on the ground. The table was covered in jugs of water, platters of bread and a bowl of small iced cakes.
Hungrily they all ate their fill of the magical food. It was quite plain fare and didn’t really taste of anything, but it gave them sustenance and allowed them to carry fewer supplies across the hard desert. Once all were sated, Nevina gathered what dry wood she could from around the palms and lit a small fire. As she sat there and braided her hair back into its usual plait, the rest of the party settled themselves around the fire. Suddenly Lavena turned to Agmund. “Come on Agmund” she said “we want to hear another story.” The others immediately voiced agreement and pressed Agmund for a story. “Hmm, ok” he replied, “I am sure I will find something that you haven’t heard before, though it may be a bit much for your delicate female ears!” He laughed as they crowded around him, eyes bright and eager as they awaited his tale.
“So” he began “There was an Innkeeper’s daughter and she had a donkey…..”
So there it is, the first part of this tale. Depending on how well received (or not) it is, I will post and write up more of it. As with all my postings, comments are welcomed – including critical ones
A few weeks ago I featured a guest post from Cantor. Well, guess what landed in my inbox yesterday afternoon Another post, this time regarding the talent changes announced at Blizzcon, but from the PoV of a kitty, rather than my view as a tree. So here is Cantor’s take on the new changes.
MMO Melting Pot has a complete transcription of the druid talents.
Changes? You betcha!
Right then! I had planned, as some may have read, to write a post concerning the differences between Alliance and Horde races, and why I chose to play as a Cowman all those years ago – however, Blizzard have gone and spoiled that for you by introducing some enormous (sorry, that wasn’t big enough – ABSOLUTELY MASSIVELY HUGE MEGA-SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS ENORMOUS) talent changes, and a new expansion. Let’s get stuck in.
So, first of all, we still have talent specialisations – you will still be Balance, Feral, or Restoration, but Druids also get a new specialisation called Guardian – at this time we are only class with 4 specs. Feral as we know it is gone, and the new Feral spec will cover Cat DPS only, while Bears will be covered by the new Guardian spec. It’s also worth noting that we will gain a base set of abilities per class (things that are integral to the class, like Cyclone, Roots, Barkskin, Healing Touch, Moonfire) and then learn new spec-specific abilities automatically as we level up; for Ferals, this could include Shred, Ferocious Bite, Rake and so on, while for Guardians, this may be things like Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, Maul and so on.
Secondly, talent trees are gone; out of the window, not coming back, no more 3/3 Furor, 1/1 LotP, 0/3 Primal Madness etc; now, we get 1 “class tree”, with a talent point given every 15 levels (at 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90). There are 3 talents to a tier, all (or most) of which encompass a new activated ability; once you have chosen your ability, there’s no returning to that tier once you get a new talent point in 15 levels. It’s strictly one talent per tier, then move on. Blizzard has stated that talents on each tier are similar, however; for example, the first Druid tier consists of movement-related abilities, which is nice as we’ll never be stuck thinking “right, do I want CC or more damage?” because the choice is obvious.
Ok, got all that? I hope so, because we’re now getting into the real meat-and-potatoes – the actual talents themselves. These can be found floating around the Interwebs, but notably they’re on the front page of Wowinsider and MMO Champ.
Tier 1 (level 15) – movement:
Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 10%, and by an additional 20% while in Cat Form.
This is slightly modified from the current t1 Feral talent, in that it gives a passive 10% move speed to all forms, and doesn’t grant additional dodge to Bears. Still a solid option for PvE players.
Displacer Beast: Teleport up to 20 yards in a random direction, purging all damage over time effects and providing stealth for 10 seconds. Attacking or taking damage cancels this effect, and using this ability activates Cat Form. 3 min cooldown.
Woah. Druids just got given Blink + Vanish in one move; this will be the premier talent for PvPers as an escape – we all know how annoying Rogues are when they Vanish and seem to be able to indefinitely reset arena matches – well, now we can too! Works in all forms as well, but forces you into kitty – still great for any spec, but it’s going to be a nasty pill to swallow, having to give up that passive 30% run speed.
Tireless Pursuit: Removes all root and snare effects, and increases your movement speed by 70% while in Cat Form for 15 seconds. Does not break Prowl, and using this ability activates Cat Form. 3 min cooldown.
A solid talent for flag carrying and catching up to annoying Mages (although they can no longer have Ring of Frost and Cone of Cold in the same build, hur hur hur); for RBGs, this will probably win out over Displacer Beast, which is more about survival in an arena setting, whereas this will help more with keeping up the damage; could become less useful at level 90 however – read on to see why.
Tier 2 (level 30) – healing:
Nature’s Swiftness: When activated, your next Entangling Roots, Cyclone, Hibernate, Healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth or Rebirth become instant, free and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%. 3 min cooldown.
Now this one is pretty interesting; allowing us to cast CC from forms, and having it bumped up in duration too (9 sec Cyclones anyone?) will be incredible; however, the usefulness remains to be seen, depending on whether the Feral tree retains Predatory Strikes – if it doesn’t, that’s a big hit to PvP, and will essentially force this talent to be taken.
Renewal: Instantly heal yourself for 30% of your maximum health. Usable in all forms. 2 min cooldown.
Not much to say here – this one will be taken by any Guardian-specced Druids, and is nice for the PvE players too as a mana-free, significant self-heal on a 2 minute cooldown. Again, we don’t know what talents we’ll be retaining to judge how useful this is – for example, will Ferals be getting Nurturing Instinct as a passive at some point? If so, this heal becomes even bigger in Kitty, which is nice.
Cenarion Ward: Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal the target for 2660 every 2 secs for 6 secs. Gaining this healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Usable in all forms. 30 sec cooldown.
Kind of similar to the current Restoration talent Living Seed, in that it places a heal on the target activated by damage. I don’t think this will be too useful to Ferals or Guardians with Nature’s Swiftness and Renewal on the same tier. Bear in mind that the numbers you’re seeing are based on the level 30 version of the spell.
Tier 3 (level 45) – crowd control:
Faerie Swarm: Decreases the target’s armour by 12% for 5 minutes, and reduces their movement speed by 50% for 15 secs. Target cannot stealth or turn invisible while affected, deals damage in Bear Form and has a 6 sec cooldown if cast in Bear or Cat. Replaces Faerie Fire.
We don’t know yet if FF will be changing (can it still stack to 3 for example?); if there are no significant changes to the spell, then I think this needs buffs, as all it is, essentially, is a 3-stack of FF that slows the target. Ace for Moonkin and Trees however, as this appears to be a spammable ranged snare with no cast time.
Mass Entanglement: Root all enemies within 12 yards of the destination for 8 secs. Not castable in Cat or Bear Forms. 30 sec cooldown, 2 sec cast time.
What’s that? An AoE root on a 30 sec cooldown with no target cap? Damn right I want that! Again, without Pred Strikes this will have limited use for Ferals, but is still sexy as hell just for the utility that it offers.
Typhoon: Summon a violent Typhoon that strikes all enemies up to 30 yards in front of the caster, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 secs. Usable in all forms.
I will now proceed to cackle, continually and repeatedly, at melee classes that don’t have a caster hybrid spec. “CATS AND BEARS ARE ALL UP IN YO FAICE AND THEN YO GET TYPHOONED. LOL” as they’d say in geek-world.
Tier 4 (level 60) – self-buffs:
Wild Charge: Grants a movement ability that varies based on shapeshift form. No cooldown listed.
Note that we don’t have access to every version of this ability yet, but it’s basically Feral Charge. The Bear version is the Charge/30% haste that we know today, Moonkin get to “bounce” 20 yards backward and generate Solar/Lunar energy, and caster-form Druids fly to an ally and get a mana-free heal. The Cat version (currently unrevealed) will likely be Kitty Leap with the Stampede effect built-in.
Incarnation: Activates a superior shapeshift for 30 secs that varies depending on your specialisation. 3 min cooldown.
Again, we don’t know all of the abilities, but Feral (remember that’s Cats only now) gets a buff called King of the Jungle, allowing you to use all abilities that normally require Prowl, and to activate Prowl in combat. Resto gets Tree of Life. Interesting certainly, and allows you to spam Ravages for 30 secs, or activate Pounce in PvP.
Force of Nature: Summon 3 Treants to assist your current combat role; Treant capabilities vary by spec. Usable in all forms. 3 min cooldown.
There is literally no info on this talent other that that posted above. Could be amazing, could be crap – we have no idea right now. I’m envisaging healing Trees for Resto, Moonfire/Wrath spammers for Balance, etc.
Tier 5 (level 75) – Feral crowd control:
Demoralising Roar: The Druid roars, disorientating all enemies within 10 yards for 4 secs. Using this ability activates Bear Form. 30 sec cooldown.
So Demo Roar as we know it is gone – no more need to maintain the 10% melee damage debuff on bosses anymore; instead we get an AoE Gouge, which is just lovely given that it has no cost and only a 30 sec cooldown. More of a PvP ability to be honest, but could be fun in PvE too when the shit hits the fan.
Ursol’s Vortex: Conjure a vortex of wind, pulling all enemies within 15 yards to your own location. Usable in all forms. 30 sec cooldown.
Very similar to the level 90 DK talent Guile of Gorefiend, this is a short-range AoE Deathgrip – again, very nice when a pull goes a bit wrong, to group up adds for AoE, or to peel something off of your healer.
Bear Hug: Melee attack that stuns the target and deals 10% of your health as damage every sec for 3 secs. Effect is cancelled if you take any other action. Using this ability activates Bear Form. 1 min cooldown.
I’ve wanted a Bear Hug move for ages, and now we get it with a hefty damage component thrown in. I’m assuming it’s based off of your current health rather than total, as with MoP health pools we could be seeing a tank doing 80k damage in 3 seconds, which is just a tad excessive. Either way, this is a nifty little ability with a short cooldown, nice to shut down a healer at low health.
Tier 6 (level 90) – Shapeshifting utility:
Heart of the Wild: Dramatically improve your ability to serve combat roles outside of your normal spec for 45 secs. 6 min cooldown.
Again, not a lot of info here, but we know that for Ferals, this will give a buff granting 50% Agility as Intellect, +100% hit rating and +95% armour while in Bear Form, as well as a mana regen boost, Moonkin get an Int -> Agility conversion, a Hit -> Expertise conversion, and the Bear armour buff, while healing spells also generate Lunar/Solar energy.
This one is really interesting – I recently had a situation where our tank died on H Baleroc at 15%, and I quickly swapped to Rawrbear, taunted and tanked his remaining health down using cooldowns. With this ability, we’d have seen a good deal less stress on the healers – it really brings the hybridised nature of Druids to the fore. I can’t see it being amazingly useful – the number of times I’ve had to swap to tank a boss are pretty few and far between – but this will certainly appeal to some people.
Master Shapeshifter: Improves your effectiveness at swapping between forms; melee attacks grant a 10% buff to spell damage, and cast-time spells grant a 10% buff to attack power. Stacks up to 3 times, and using an ability that benefits from the buff reduces it by 1 stack.
Handy in PvP I guess, but the amount of times you deal spell damage as a Feral are minimal. I guess we need to wait and see how this pans out, because at the moment I’m not really seeing a reason to take this over HotW or the next talent.
Disentanglement: Shapeshifting now removes roots, and shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of their max. health. The heal cannot occur more than once every 30 secs.
THIS! THIS is the crown jewel in our cap, the ultimate, crowning, awesome ability in our tree. We finally get to shift in and out of forms again to remove roots, AND get a massive heal on top of that? I really can’t see this making it all the way to Live, but without the 30% move speed from Feline Swiftness in PvP (as I assume most will be taking Displacer Beast), and possibly lacking Feral Charge, this isn’t AS powerful as it could be, and indeed will be absolutely necessary for Ferals to close with their targets.
Well, that’s all folks. I for one am really pumped for this expansion – Monks, Pandas, and teleporting Cats ahoy. Let me know what you think in the comments!
So then, Blizzcon is here and last night we had the opening ceremony and quite a few panels outlining the various bits of awesomeness to come in the next expansion – Mists of Pandaria. There is a bunch of various cool new stuff, some exciting and some not so. MMO-Champion has a full list of changes announced so far.
One of the big changes announced was the complete and utter revamp of the talent trees. Unlike previous changes to the talent trees this is not a little fiddle, oh no, this is delete the old trees and replace it with something different. In a nutshell, every 15 levels you have a choice between three abilities along a theme e.g. mobility, cc etc. You can only pick one of these at a time. However, you can change it as easily as glyphs, so without going back to a city and respeccing you should be able to swap out different talents between encounters. Many of the various other abilities and buffs from talents are either removed or folded into existing abilities or the “basic” toolbox you get for picking a particular spec.
Now you have a basic idea of the changes, onto the druid specifics. In addition to the new talent trees that everyone gets, druid got a little extra – a 4th tree. That’s right- feral bears now have their own tree. Blizzard have finally split cats and bears into their own separate trees.
For those who prefer a list rather than the pictures below, MMO Melting Pot has a transcription of the druid talents.
Now onto the new talents for druids
Level 15 Tier: Mobility
First we have the 3 choices at level 15 for druids. This tier is based on mobility. We have a range of abilties that affect movement speed and such, and two that work around kitty form.
The first talent has a general utility as it gives a fixed movement speed buff (never a bad thing in raids).
The second I can see as a PvP talent (especially against ‘locks and spriests) and I have visions of a kitty being chased by the aforementioned spriest and ‘locks and jumping off a cliff. The ‘lock and priest watch warily for the magically vanishing cat that suddenly appears behind them, purged of DoTs and ready to rip their faces off
The last talent also seems to have a lot of PvP application.
Looking through the first 3 talents, I am included to think that the first will be the “standard” for PvE raiding, with the others more used in raiding.
Level 30 Tier: Survivability (sort of)
The second tier of talents is gained at level 30 and is sort of based around personal survivability and such.
The first talent is the good old Nature’s Swiftness and is pretty standard except it only includes utility spells (roots and cyclone) and healer spells (all the others). However it does has an important caveat that will make some people thankful – it allows the use of above spells in ANY form. So now we have the instant combat rezz on a bear without moving to caster form and dying .
The second talent is a straight forward large self heal, as this is so basic and boring I would be surprised if it doesn’t get changed before release.
Finally the last talent is a curious one. It is almost like a mini earthshield for druids. As it is castable on friendlys, it would be a nice little addition to a resto’s toolbox, but would it be better than Nature’s Swiftness? Would bears find it useful to work into their rotation/priority as a small self heal? One thing I wonder about though, is what level is that data for? That cost and healing at level 30 seems rather OTT, but at level 90 it’s is pitiful. What will it scale with? Spellpower for balance and resto and attack power for ferals? What about ferals not using mana, will it use energy/rage or remove from the “hidden” mana pool? So many questions, but the potential to be a really cool little talent.
Level 45 Tier: Mob/player control and debuff
The talents available at level 45 are in the vein of debuffing and controlling other players and mobs.
Firstly we have the updated Faerie Fire – now called Faerie Swarm. The effects are pretty much the same, with the addition of a movement slowing component. This is likely to remain the staple of feral bears as well as having more PvP utility thanks to the slowing effect.
Mass entanglement is an answer to the prayers of any druid who sat through the little intro to Alysrazor and said “sigh, wish I had an AoE roots like Staghelm”. Now we do The mention of “destination” suggests it will be a placed ability similar to blizzard. Most notable is that it cannot be used by ferals (in form) so this is much more of a balance/resto utility talent, or a “cast, cat, DASH!!!!” talent.
The last talent for this tier is Typhoon. This is similar to current typhoon with the exception that it can be used in any form. Again, a good ability to throw enemies away from you while you heal up, run away etc.
Level 60 Tier: Nature power!
This tier is all about channelling the very power that makes druids awesome – nature.
Wild Charge is a powerful movement spell that has different effects depending on what form you are in. Basically it looks like it will work as feral charge for bears, and then change for others.
The second talent is where we find Tree of Life in MoP. Incarnation allows you to take on a “superior shapeshifting form” for the duration. In resto this is the ToL, feral kitties can use stealth attacks while not stealthed and I imagine bears and moonkin will gain similar “uberness” though it.
Lastly is Force of Nature. This is pretty much the same as the current balance spell, except it will be usable in all forms. I can hardly see this as a resto or tank thing, so I suspect it will just be taken by Boomkin again.
Level 75 Tier: More ways of debuffing and controlling the enemy
As it says above, the talents on offer at level 75 offer more ways to debuff and control your opponent.
Your first option is the fairly standard Demoralising Roar. This is different to the current variant in that it disorientates your enemies. This could mean a slower movement or attack speed, or it could be a general “daze” effect. Will have to wait and see how it develops.
Ursol’s Vortex is an AoE “deathgrip” mechanic. Very handy for tanking large groups with multiple casters in the pack. Less useful if you are not a tank. If teamed with the AoE roots it could be good; cast vortex, barkskin, AoE roots, cat + dash = win.
The last talent for this tier, Bear Hug is an interesting ability. The stun + dealing 30% off your HP as damage over 3 seconds will be quite good, especially given that MoP health pools are likely to be very large.
Level 90 Tier: Operating outside your primary role
These final talents are all about doing something you don’t normal do – healing as a boomkin, doing melee dps as resto and so on.
Heart of the Wild is a long CD ability that converts intellect to agility (and vice versa) and such so that you can temporarily perform in a capacity outside your normal role better than you would normally, but only for a limited time.
The second talent, Master Shapeshifter is designed for those who are constantly in a state of flux regarding what they are doing and it can boost your dps in one form by switching to another briefly.
Disentanglement is an ability that heals you as you switch forms as well as clearing any root effects on you when you shift forms.
Now my thoughts
They we have it then, a quick outline of the proposed new talents for druids in 5.0. Personally I am quietly hopeful that they will work. There are some that seem to have been directly lifted out of current talents and abilities (typhoon, force of nature etc) and other that seem a bland filler (Renewal). Hopefully some of these will be altered so that they are more interesting or helpful – after all, we only get 6 of these choices over 90 levels, those choices need to be between some totally awesome things.
Generally I quite like the look of the talents, though the last tier really does seem totally meh and lacklustre to me. As the very last ability you gain, you are really looking for something amazing and that defines your role. What we have a mixture of the boring (Disentanglement), the clunky (Master Shapshifter) and the annoying (Heart of the Wild).
I am resto, I do this because I want to heal. I look for things to help my healing and of the options on the Tier 6 talents there is nothing I see that will help me do that. Not one of them increases anything to do with healing. Possibly if MS was changed so that melee abilities increased spellpower by 10% 3 times, but atm it is spell damage and therefore useless for healing.
So with the exception of the last tier, this new style of talents looks like it may work, so long as they actually put some effort into coming up with some good talents.
My main conern with this system for the talents is that they have removed some of the variation. Sure there were cookie cutter specs, but you also had the ability to change things – my build has changed a number of times since we started Firelands, to begin with I had a mana conservation build that had gradually changed to a throughput build as my gear has improved. The new talent system wouldn’t allow (or even give me the option) of something similar.
Likewise, some of the “extras” in talents that were not direct abilities or flat out buff of +1%/2% etc have gone. E.g. empowered touch allowing nourish/HT/RG to refresh LB. Will this “extra” become a glyph? or folded into basic resto selection? or removed completely? Hopefully some of these extra little things will find themselves in glyphs or similar rather than vanishing altogether.
Here’s hoping they don’t mess us up too much ^^