I never wrote down my thoughts on the Druid talent tree preview when it was first announced at BlizzCon last year. It was clear then that it was very preliminary and needed a lot of work. Yesterday the talent trees were updated so I thought it was a good time to analyse the new talents and see how resto Druids are shaping for the next expansion.
The Talent Tree
Tier 1 (level 15)
Feline Swiftness – Increases your movement speed by 15%.
This one is very self-explanatory. Faster movement speed is always a good thing.
Displacer Beast – Teleports the Druid up to 20 yards forward and activates Cat Form and Prowl. 3 minute cooldown.
The 20 yard ‘blink’ sounds like it could have its uses, but I’m not sold on it activating Cat form. It seems like in a PVE scenario that would be counterproductive. The Prowl part raises some questions – will it still be activated if you are in combat? Will Displacer Beast remove you from combat? What if you have DoTs or bleeds on you? This could be a pretty sweet PVP talent if it removes you from combat and Prowl isn’t broken by existing DoTs, or it could be fairly useless. A better description is needed.
Wild Charge – Grants a movement ability that varies by shapeshift form. 15 second cooldown.
Non shapeshifted – Fly to an ally’s position.
Bear form – Charge to an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.
Cat form – Leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds.
Travel form – Leap forward 20 yards.
Aquatic form – Increases swim speed by 200% for 5 seconds.
There’s a lot to consider here. I’m a little puzzled about this talent, especially when comparing it to Displacer Beast. Displacer Beast teleports you 20 yards, activates cat form and has a 3 minute cooldown. If you’re looking to be able to get around quickly, that seems extremely inferior to Wild Charge, where you can fly to an ally’s position or can shift to travel form and leap forward 20 yards every 15 seconds. For PVP this talent is great in that it allows restos to have Feral Charge, something we haven’t been able to include in our specs since Burning Crusade (though it doesn’t seem like it will include an interrupt). That, plus the ability to jump around either in caster or travel form would give us some great mobility.
What would I take?
Feline Swiftness is the safe, kinda boring option. It will come in handy on pretty much any fight that involves movement. Wild Charge is a bit of a wild card (haha), but the caster form and travel form leaps could be great on fights where you need to get to a certain place quickly (think getting away from Molten Seeds on Rag or stacking on a crystal on Morchok). I see myself bouncing between these two talents based on the fight.
I think Wild Charge is the winner here. It will give us more utility and make us harder to catch.
Tier 2 (Level 30)
Nature’s Swiftness – When activated your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth or Regrowth becomes instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%. 1 minute cooldown.
This is a huge improvement over the current Nature’s Swiftness. I love that they’ve added ‘free’ in addition to instant, and a 1-minute cooldown is much more reasonable than 3 minutes. I have to say that the idea of an instant, 9-second duration Cyclone in arena (assuring the target has burned their trinket already) fills me with girlish delight. Having NS-HT be castable in all forms could also be very useful. This talent does leave me with a couple of questions. Will using it with Regrowth double the amount of the heal and the duration of the HoT? Will Rebirth be improved at all? (don’t really see how it could be).
Renewal – Instantly heals the Druid for 30% of maximum health. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 2 minute cooldown.
This could definitely come in handy in both PVE and PVP, though it’s not the most exciting talent in the world. I personally see this as a better option for non-restos.
Cenarion Ward – Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal for 4,015 every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Lasts 30 seconds. 30 second cooldown.
I think this could be a great option for tank healing druids. It adds another spell to our arsenal and you’d be sure that it would always be activated. I don’t put too much stock in the 4015 number, as long as this healed for a significant amount it could be a good talent.
What would I take?
I really like that Nature’s Swiftness is now only a 1-minute cooldown and that would probably make me more likely to use it. However, I also like Cenarion Ward. It’s hard to turn down a brand new healing spell. I would likely switch between the two depending on fight and assignment.
A 9-second cyclone? Being able to pop a Healing Touch on yourself while you’re dashing away in Cat form after some jerk priest has mana-burned the hell out of you? Nature’s Swiftness seems like the clear winner for PVP.
Tier 3 (Level 45)
Faerie Swarm – Grants an improved version of Faerie Fire that also reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.
I see very little use for this talent for a PVE resto Druid. Maybe on something like Sons of Ragnaros, but from experience, there aren’t a whole lot of fights where healers need to be slowing a single target. In PVP it could be much more useful.
Mass Entaglement – Roots your target in place for 20 seconds and spreads to additional nearby enemies. Affects 5 total targets. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 2 minute cooldown.
Again, I don’t see much use for this in PVE. It could have some rare situational uses, but the fact that it can break on damage makes it less useful. In PVP, especially BGs it could be useful, but the cooldown is rather long.
Typhoon – Summons a violent Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster within 30 yards, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 20 second cooldown.
Stealing the Moonkin talent, this one is fairly straightforward.
What would I take?
Each talent would have its own situational uses, but from experience a mass knock back (which will also interrupt) and daze is more useful than a single-target slow or a mass root with a really long cooldown. I think Typhoon would be the talent to take in 90% of PVE situations.
Again, I think Typhoon is the best of this bunch. It gives us a knock back, an interrupt and a daze on a short cooldown.
Tier 4 (Level 60)
Soul of the Forest – You gain 50% haste for your next spell when you cast Swiftmend.
An important thing to note about this spell is that it is 50% haste, not casting speed, so it should apply to HoTs, giving them extra ticks. One hasted spell every 15 seconds (assuming you use SM every time it’s off cooldown) doesn’t strike me as that good. Decent, yes, an output boost, sure, but for some reason I can’t get too excited about this talent.
Incarnation – Tree of Life form that increases healing done by 15%, increases armor by 120% and enhances Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots and Wrath spells. Lasts 30 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
This is just our current Tree of Life talent with a new name. At a 30 second duration, we’re losing 1 second from what it is currently (when talented).
Force of Nature – Summons three Treants to assist in the Druid’s current combat role. 3 minute cooldown.
It doesn’t specify what the treants will do for each spec, but it’s a pretty safe bet that resto treants will heal things. Of course, pets like treants have a tendency to be… um… hmm… how do I put this delicately? They have a tendency to be fucking stupid, so I’m not sold on the usefulness of this talent.
What would I take?
I really can’t see giving up a great healing output cooldown, so I’d go with Incarnation.
Again, ToL’s increased armor, healing and instant Regrowths would be sorely missed, so I’d go with Incarnation here too.
Tier 5 (Level 75)
Disorienting Roar – Invokes the spirit of Ursol to roar, disorienting all enemies within 10 yards for 4 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 30 second cooldown.
I can’t see too many uses for this in PVE, though it could be useful for fights with adds when you find all your HoT aggro is making the adds make a beeline for you. It could be great for PVP.
Ursol’s Vortex – Conjures a vortex of wind at the destination location that pulls all enemies within 15 yards toward it. Usable in all shapeshift forms. Lasts 15 seconds. 30 second cooldown.
I’m not convinced about the usability of this spell. First, ‘destination location’ means targeting circle. I hate those. Second, 15 yards isn’t that far. If you’re using the spell to get things away from you (or a flag), you’ll need to be a really good judge of distance to make this effective. The best use I can see for this spell is to aid your tanks and DPS by bringing a pack of mobs/players together to be AoE’d.
Mighty Bash – Invokes the spirit of Ursoc to stun the target for 5 seconds. Usable in all shapeshift forms. 50 second cooldown.
Situational, but on some fights it will be really nice to be able to stun things without switching to bear form. For PVP this will give a much-needed extra crowd control/interrupt ability.
What would I take?
Ehh… I don’t think any of these talents will be useful all the time. They’re all situational at best and really only useful on fights with adds. I think I’d be switching the talent I chose in this tier (or ignoring it altogether) based on the fight.
I think the best option for PVP depends on what you’re doing. 2s arenas? Mighty Bash. BGs or arenas with 3 or more people? Probably Disorienting Roar. If I was doing a flag/node capture battleground and feeling really pro, I’d try out Ursol’s Vortex.
Tier 6 (Level 90)
Heart of the Wild – Grants 50% of Intellect as Agility and 100% of Spirit as hit rating and expertise rating and increases armor by 95% while in Bear Form. In addition, damage spells cost no mana. Lasts 45 seconds. 6 minute cooldown.
I really think they’ve missed the mark here. As many, many other druids have emphatically stated, we don’t want to serve combat roles outside our specialization. We’re healers. We heal things. I’m trying to think of situational uses for this skill. What if the tank has died and the boss needs to be picked up at 5% health? Well, I don’t think 95% more armor in Bear form would let us do that (tree form gives us 120% more armor), and I think so many other classes would be better suited for that. Maybe when there’s a phase of a fight where no damage is going out and all there is to do is dps? Then I guess it could be useful, but really, how often does that happen? Also, I’d probably take advantage of the free damage spells before I switched to kitty and started scratching things.
Dream of Cenarius – Wrath, Starfire, Starsurge and melee abilities increase healing done by your next healing spell by 30%. Non-instant casts of Nourish, Healing Touch and Regrowth increase the damage done by your next damaging spell or ability by 30%. Lasts 30 seconds, 30 second ICD.
First, I’m going to assume that when it says ‘melee abilities’ it means actual abilities (Swipe, Rake, Maul) and not just running up and hitting something with your staff. Again, I think this is situational. If you need a bigger heal, you could cast a quick Wrath first…but you could also just cast 2 healing spells instead of 1 in that time. I do think this will be more useful for PVP, but in PVE I can’t see myself casting a damage spell in order to do more healing. And really, how much is a 30% bigger heal/damage spell every 30 seconds worth? Especially when you need to spend 1.5-2.5 seconds casting the opposite first? I’m not impressed.
Disentanglement – Shapeshifting now removes roots. In addition, shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of maximum health. Cannot heal more than once every 30 seconds.
The usefulness of this in PVE is questionable. Removing roots isn’t something you usually have to worry about and shapeshifting isn’t something we do too often. If we need a heal, we can heal ourselves, we don’t need to shift to get the benefit from this. For PVP this is really good. I wouldn’t want to lose the ability to break roots by shifting and the addition of the heal is a nice bonus.
What would I take?
Honestly? Bleh. I’m not a fan of any of our top tier talents. I can’t really say which one I’d be most likely to want to use in their current form. They still need work.
Disentaglement, hands down.
I think progress has been made on the Druid talents. I’m quite excited to play around with talents like Wild Charge, Cenarion Ward and Ursol’s Vortex. I like that some tiers give us a real choice and allow us to tailor our spec to what a particular fight needs. I also really like the idea of extra utility from talents like Typhoon and Mighty Bash. However, I still feel like this talent tree is being spread too thin trying to cater to 4 completely different specializations. I would like more choices that are new and exciting for restos. Tier 5 and 6 have very limited use in raids and still need a lot of work. In their current state, nothing jumps out at me as something I really want for PVE. Our last talent point should be something exciting.