So when the news broke about the new talent tree designs, I was very excited. I couldn't wait to see how they were going to shake out.
Yesterday they finally became available, but my day was consumed with other commitments and I wasn't able to sit down and play with said trees.
This afternoon...I finally got around to it. And I must say, I'm rather underwhelmed at this point. There have been criticisms that Blizz took the new design goal of trimming the fact a little too far, and right now I'm thinking those concerns are valid.
For example, here's what I came up with for theoretical Bear and Cat builds:
Bear build: http://www.wowtal.com/#k=fBHOducF.9mn.druid
Cat build: http://www.wowtal.com/#k=fBHOq22T.9mn.druid
The difference? Swapping Thick Hide and Pulverize for Nuturing Instinct and Nom Nom Nom. And I was half tempted to leave the 2 points from Nuturing Instinct in Thick Hide for emergency tanking situations.
Additionally, I'm almost at the point where I could honestly leave Furor alone. With no other reason to be in the Resto tree anymore, it feels kind of out of place. It's still a very good talent for Cats, as it can keep your energy from dropping to 0 if you have to shift out of Cat during a fight for some reason. Not having it could lead to a fair chunk of dps down time after shifting back. But it's really not that great for Bears. 60% chance of having 10 Rage after shifting...? Meh.
Granted, this is spoken with no real handle on how the Rage normalization changes are going to affect our Rage generation. It may end up being more useful than I'm able to imagine right now. I don't know. I'll have to see when I can.
Overall, though...I just see all Ferals pretty much looking the same. I'm sure the tree will change to address this a little, but...yeah.
Now, to be fair to Blizzard, the Druid trees present a little more of a challenge than, say, the Rogue or Hunter trees. The core of what a Rogue or Hunter does doesn't really change when the spec down different trees. Yeah, the details can get pretty wildly varied. But at the core, not much changes.
Druids are almost completely unique in that each one of our trees change our playstyle completely. We have a healing tree (Resto), a caster DPS tree (Balance), a melee DPS tree (Feral), and a tanking tree (also Feral). No spec really does anything that either of the other specs will do.
The closest hybrid class to this kind of dynamic is the Shaman. But even Enhancement and Elemental Shamans have a small subset of their rotations in common (Shocks and Lightning Bolts).
So what ends up happening with Druids (particularly Ferals) is that we have an over-abundance of points to spend in our limited number of talents. Pretty much every max-level Feral in the current build is going to look the same...Feral tree all but full, with maybe a few points over on Furor in Resto.
I've played around with the talents for the other classes I'm at least partially familiar with and they all seem to come pretty close to meeting Blizzard's design goal of having a build guide say "Spend these 35 points and then put the last 6 or so wherever you feel like." There's enough common among the class' trees for that.
Feral just doesn't have that flexibility right now. We'll have to keep an eye on things and see how it's addressed in future builds.
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