Thursday, June 10, 2010

Playing around with Cata Alpha Talents: Bear Edition

So Blizz released the current builds of the Cata talent trees for Druids (and a few others). Reading through them didn't do much for me...I couldn't organize my thoughts very well around that kind of text wall.

But then MMO-Champion went and built a talent calculator out of the information. So much better. I can think about it this way.

I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time pouring over all the details. There's still a lot of things in flux. These will probably change a lot before the release of Cataclysm.

That said, here's an initial pass at a tanking build. What I mean by "initial" is I went through and put points in everything I considered a "must-have". Or rather, if I felt even the least bit iffy on whether or not to take something, I left it empty. What's linked there is what I ended up with. You'll notice I still have 9 points left to spend in that build.

Going through and assigning those last 9 points, I came up with this.

What I like:
  • I feel like I have choices. When I can make a quick pass and still have 9 talent points left over--as opposed to 1 or 2--it makes me feel like I have more flexibility to customize the spec to my particular needs. Blizz has stated this is one of their design goals, and I think they're on the right least for Bears.

  • Fury Swipes (Tier 4, Middle) looks to address some of the threat generation issues that may come with no longer being able to spam Maul. (Remember, it's going to work more like Ferocious Bite in Cata. No longer an auto-attack replacer.)

  • Perseverance (Resto, Tier 2, Left) gives us some extra mitigation versus spell damage, which is currently one of Bears' weakest areas.
What I don't like:
  • Improved Mangle is still on the tree. 3.3.3(.3.3.3) effectively rendered that talent useless and I haven't seen anything coming in Cata yet that would change that. The only thing I can possibly think is that we'll want to hit it more often in light of the Maul changes. I can't be sure of anything like that until I can actually play with it, though.

  • They're still encouraging the use of Enrage during combat with King of the Jungle (Tier 7, Left). The Rage normalization changes may make this tempting or even useful. But as long as Enrage decreases our armor, it's still less than desirable.

  • Along the same lines, we now have Primal Madness (Tier 9, Left). Putting one point in Primal Madness doesn't do anything for Bears. But at 2 points, we get 12 Rage for hitting Berserk (I'm good with that) or Enrage. Again, rewarding bad behavior. Add to that the fact that you have to fill out King of the Jungle to even get to Primal Madness and...yeah.

    That said, Blizz has been known to test out future class changes through tier set bonuses. Since the Bear 4pc T10 bonus removes the armor penalty for using Enrage, maybe that's a permanent change we'll get somewhere down the road. That would make spending 5/5 across KotJ and PM a lot more desirable and would definitely make for an interesting time designing Bear builds.


  1. The trick to enrage is using it right. And if you are rage starved, it's something you need to use. I actually use it quite a bit when questing as well when going against an elite that would squish me in kitty. Hit enrage, wait for the debuff to wear off and there you are charged.

    As for your build, you have me a bit confused. You use 5 points to reduce 10% physical damage in Naturalist; however, you don't use 3 points to reduce 12% of all damage in Protector of the Pack?

  2. I do use Enrage quite a bit when soloing or questing around. On rare occasions, I'll even use it against raid trash. And I always use it just before a boss pull (or, now with my 4pc T10 bonus, right as I pull). It's using it while a boss is hammering me (without that set bonus) that makes me nervous.

    As for the PotP question...Wow. Umm...yeah. That was a huge oversight on my part. Definitely not intentional.

  3. Actually, looking closer, I think something happened with the talent calculator. I did put 3/3 PotP in my "initial pass", but they somehow ended up getting moved to Predatory Instincts after I assigned those last 9 points. Weird. Either way, I'm fixing the second link to account for that.