Guest Post: 5.0 druid talents from a Kitty PoV (courtesy of Cantor)

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!

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Posted on October 23, 2011, in Blizzcon, Feral, Mists of Pandaria, Patch Notes, PvE, PvP, Raiding, Talents, Tanking. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. No shameless pluggin this time either Cantoir, im starting to think you dont love me.

    But as a friend, ill read your articles and it was interresting to read that jazz, saves me some time listening to you lecturing me on it all next time we decide to talk about the expansion 😛

    Was a good read all in all, like the first.

  2. Cantor: you may want to edit the title “tier 6 (level 90)- shapesh*ting utility 🙂

    I’ll comment on this post in a bit, I just wanted to point that out :p

  3. I would love to, but will need to get Kat to do it – I’m not loved enough to actually be able to edit stuff just yet :-p

    Lobbe, I promise shameless Omen plugs in my next post.

    Also, for those looking for me on Twitter, I just had a namechange to @Shredable – spelt incorrectly I know, but @Shreddable is taken and inactive; does anyone know how to contact the Twitter people and get it changed?

  4. Kat can make an account for you and give you the role of editor only (you can only edit and make posts) in wordpress, he can even set it to make it so you can’t submit the article until he has approved it. It’s an idea to consider and I already have that system set up for a couple of writers of mine, it’s fantastic 🙂

  5. Rawr, editorship!

  6. I wanted to leave a comment on your last paragraph. No doubt it will not make it to live. They will likely put it on some sort of CD, if they want to keep that spell working as intended. Maybe only have it proc every other specific time with unlimited shape shifting. It would be absolutely hilarious to see a shapeshifting Disentanglement spammer 🙂

    I’m really psyched about Displacer Beast. I have always felt gimped whenever I got dots in PvP whenever I tried to play kitty. Anddd… teleport? Whoo. This is an awesome talent to have and I can’t wait to try it out.

    Bear Hug! I love this one too. I can imagine myself cackling as I go Bear and give someone a fuzzy Bear Hug 😀 I could see some use for this when you tank as a Bear, it could be used as a means to gain aggro on a straggler or use it when you need to help your healer keep you up. I’ve been having fun thinking up ideas of how those talents could be used in different play scenarios in resto and feral specs.

    Great post!

  7. Now if only natures swiftness worked with mass root. You would make a macro Natures swiftness–>Mass root–>Blink Vanish

  1. Pingback: Blizzcon 2011 Blogosphere Reactions: Talent Trees — MMO Melting Pot

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