The new talent calculator for Mists of Pandaria has just been released on the Blizzard website: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/mists-of-pandaria/feature/talent-specification
This shows all the talents and specializations for each class (excluding Monks at the moment).
For druids this is very interesting because it also shows the spells available to each specialization, and the ones available to all druids. The differences between the Feral and Guardian specs are now clear (and bigger than I expected), and the rumoured spells for Balance and Restoration have been confirmed.
I have some additional commentary on the more recent changes in the following posts:
- Updates to the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator posted on December 9th 2011.
- Mists of Pandaria talent calculator updated again posted on February 20th 2012.
They are probably worth a read, since there have been moderate levels of change since I first posted this page.
Spells for all druids
Feral and Guardian
Balance and Restoration
Significant talent and spell changes and clarifications
This looks like a compelling talent for Guardians, since it will allow spamming Mangle or AoE abilities like Thrash and Swipe. When combined with Berserk this should allow for pretty significant damage output as a tank.
The choice between Incarnation and Wild Charge could be a difficult one, or require changes for each raid boss.
Might of Ursoc
The only thing this talent offers over Faerie Fire is a 50% movement speed reduction and a small amount of extra damage.
For tanks I cannot see this as a compelling talent choice unless they are in PvP. Having mobs move slower on a pull will just be annoying.
For cats this is also a lacklustre choice because of Infected Wounds, below.
This is the new level 87 druid spell, and has the potential to be really interesting. Whether it get used much will totally depend on the abilities that are granted by each class and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final implementation does.
Wild Mushroom: Bloom
This is a new spell for Restoration druids. It works the same way as the existing mushrooms except that it heals instead of damaging. This should allow for some fun with raid positioning for burst raid damage and is a nice addition to druid healing.
This is a pretty massive change, and an interesting way to make druid tanks think actively about mitigation.
Clearly a high uptime is desirable, but balancing that against the rage cost and threat generation will be interesting. Since Pulverize is gone now this will be the thing that keeps tanks on their toes, deciding when to burn rage for reduced damage.
Honestly, it looks a little overpowered. Timing this so that every special boss attack is mitigated by it will make a pretty big difference. Although, given how many of them are magical damage maybe it won’t matter too much.
So what is the impact on tanking?
With the redesign of the spells handed out to bears (or Guardians, as I’d better get used to calling them), a druid can finally tank with a full tool-kit at level 28, when Lacerate, Mangle, Maul, Thrash and Swipe are all available. This is a good quality of life change.
When in cat form we lose:
- Savage Roar
- Tiger’s Fury
- Ravage (not that it was used much)
This really spells the end of the days when a tank could swap to cat form and do decent damage. That’s no surprise and has been communicated a few times but it will take some getting used to. I felt pained when I saw the list of abilities I will be missing…
Any shifts into cat form will be limited to Mangle, Rake, Ferocious Bite, Maim, Swipe, Pounce and Dash.
On the other hand, feral (cat) druids will not be able to tank for very long at all since they are missing the critical strike immunity and almost all defensive cool-downs.
For tanking 5-mans and raids, I believe that Guardians will have a better time of it than we do now. All of the existing tools are there, with some nice additions in talents. Here’s some good examples:
Some of our talents may not be that exciting (like the level 90 options for a tank), but many of them are choices for quality of life abilities like run speed, charging or crowd control. It’s nice to see some genuine tanking cool-downs in the talent trees.
Finally, the other major change is caused by Nurturing Instinct, which both Feral and Guardian druids get.
It should be possible to help healers during tank swaps, and Tranquility will pack a punch for Guardians now. Balance spells will also be more feasible, but other than starting a pull with Moonfire I can’t see much point in casting them.
My only concern is the new Savage Defense. It will clearly become the difference between a good and a shocking druid tank. I foresee a mass of complaints that druids take spiky damage as a result of this implementation. Overall it could be a fun mechanic, I’ll take a wait and see approach on this one, it will probably get adjusted on the PTR.
Once I recover from the loss of a viable cat form I think I’m going to really enjoy the new tanking options.