This is a compilation of the Cataclysm-related information released this week, including the official previews and important blue posts. I do realize that some of the class forums already have sticky topics, this topic is merely here to discuss this week's preview and changes and will eventually fall into the abyss of the class forums.
Official Class Preview
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities. Here you will get a glimpse into some of the changes we have in store for the druid. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Let’s kick things off by checking out some of the new druid spells and abilities!
New Druid Abilities
Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.
Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.
Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to the new abilities listed above, we intend to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics with which you’re already familiar. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of our goals for each spec.
- All heal-over-time spells (HoTs) will benefit from crit and haste innately in Cataclysm. Hasted HoTs do not reduce their duration, but instead add additional HoT ticks. Haste will also benefit Energy generation while in cat form.
- Unlike the other healers, Restoration druids will not be receiving any new spells. They have plenty to work with already, and our challenge instead is to make sure all of them have a well-defined niche. A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with Nourish and Regrowth, and top off lightly wounded targets with Rejuvenation.
- We want to add tools to cat form and depth to bear form. If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools -- primarily a reliable interrupt. Bears need to be pushing a few more buttons just so the contrast between tanking and damage-dealing is not so steep.
- Barkskin will be innately undispellable.
- We will be buffing the damage of Mangle (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot Shred, they are not at such a damage-dealing loss.
- Druids will lose Abolish Poison with the dispel mechanics change, but Restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids can still remove poisons with Cure Poison and remove curses with Remove Curse.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to Metamorphosis. Mechanically, it feels unfair for a druid to have to give up so much offense and utility in order to be just as good at healing as the other classes who are not asked to make that trade. We are exploring the exact benefit the druid gets from Tree of Life. It could strictly be better healing, or it could be that each heal behaves slightly different. You also will not be able to be banished in Tree of Life form (this will probably be true of Metamorphosis as well). Additionally, we would like to update the Tree of Life model so that it feels more exciting when you do decide to go into that form. Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time.
- We want to make the Feral cat damage rotation slightly more forgiving. We do not want to remove what druids like about their gameplay, but we do want to make it less punishing to miss, say, a Savage Roar or Rake. The changes here will be on par with increasing the duration of Mangle like we did for patch 3.3.3.
- Balance druids will have a new talent ability called Nature’s Torrent, which strikes for either Nature or Arcane damage depending on which will do the most damage (or possibly both), and moves the Eclipse meter more (details below). The improved version of Nature’s Torrent also reduces the target's movement speed. 10-second cooldown.
- Restoration druids will have a new talent called Efflorescence, which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.
- We plan on giving Feral cats and bears a Kick/Pummel equivalent -- an interrupt that is off the global cooldown and does no damage. We feel like they need this utility to be able to fill the melee role in a dungeon or raid group, and to give them more PvP utility.
- We want to make sure Feral and Balance druids feel like good options for an Arena team. They need the tools to where you might consider a Feral druid over an Arms warrior, or a Balance druid over a mage or warlock. Remember that the PvP landscape will probably look pretty different for Cataclysm with a focus on rated, competitive Battlegrounds.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
- Spell Damage
- Spell Haste
Eclipse: We are moving Eclipse from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance.
- Melee Damage
- Melee Critical Damage
- Bleed Damage
- Damage Reduction
- Savage Defense
Bleed Damage and Savage Defense: Feral druids will receive two sets of passive bonuses depending on whether the druid is in cat or bear form. Bleed Damage will be improved for cats. Savage Defense is the current bear mechanic for converting crits into damage absorption and will be improved for bears.
Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Feral tree and the druid is in bear form -- these values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Feral tree and are in bear form, so you won’t see Balance, Restoration, or Feral druids in cat form running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today -- there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so the Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is that all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.
- Meditation (The amount of mana you regenerate in combat as a function of your Spirit)
- HoT Scale Healing
HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind, what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these changes as well as others continue to develop in response to testing and feedback.
Additional InformationOriginally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Tree of Life and Moonkin new models
We would like to. Those are on the list, but they're expensive tasks because they require so much art time. You might be willing to have one fewer new boss models in order to get the forms updated, but if we did that and we added a new demon for warlocks and a couple of new models for other class needs here and there and pretty soon all of those bosses are going to end up looking pretty recycled.
It will stay on the list though. If we don't get to it for 4.0, there's always 4.1. (Source)
Haste and Crit effect on DoTs/HoTs
Most hots and dots, including druid ones, will benefit from haste and crit. The exceptions are things like Deep Wounds and Ignite, which are already tied to crit. (Source)
Lack of new spells for Feral cat and Restoration specs
We didn't add new rotational spells to Restoration or Feral cat because, good lord, you have enough buttons already. We tried hard with Cataclysm to not add new spells just because. The specs that got new spells were ones we think had big holes in their rotation. You'll still get new talents and mechanics so I expect there will be a lot to learn when the big game-changing patch rolls around. (Source)
Cat/Bear forms level requirements
It won't be super low level, but we might switch the levels at which you get cat and bear. (Source)
Tree of Life cooldown
We knew changing Tree of Life to a cooldown was going to be controversial. There was just no way a change this big would be unanimously accepted. My apologies if being a tree was what really drew you to the class. (Source)
[...] On live today, druids are balanced around healing in tree form, meaning they give up a lot of utility just to be as good as other healers. When Tree of Life is a cooldown, then you'll be balanced healing in night elf, troll, worgen or tauren form, and then you'll be more powerful when in tree form. The nice thing about cooldowns is the difference can be pretty significant while active. (Source)
Reasons behind the Tree of Life change
Part of our logic here is that tree form doesn't actually do enough. It doesn't change your resource system. It doesn't give you new tree-only abilities. It can't let you be a better healer than the priests, paladins or shaman, and we keep adding things to the list of what druids can do as a tree because it's not fun to be so limited. We started asking ourselves what we were really gaining.
[...] It's not for PvP reasons. We just don't think healing forms are a good idea. Now if you want to talk about PvP, I'd agree that going tree was an interesting decision back when it came with huge penalties (like movement). That wasn't very fun to actually play in though so we kept chipping away at the differences between being in tree form and not being in tree form until we were left to wonder what the point was. We asked players on these boards and elsewhere how attached they were to the form, and found some loved it, some hated it, and some were indifferent.
I don't fault you at all if you loved the form though and I'm sorry if this makes playing a druid less fun for you. (Source)
Tree of Life visual appearance
We might (*might*) consider a minor glyph that kept the visual of the old tree form in some fashion even when not using the Tree of Life cooldown. (Source)
Healing in Cataclysm
We think there will be more reason to cast Healing Touch (perhaps with some number tweaks) for when you need to heal someone who has a real health deficit.
Druids don't have perfect analogues to the priest heals, but you can imagine Regrowth as the Flash Heal, Nourish as the heal, and Healing Touch as the greater heal. Lifebloom is something you'd put on a tank before healing with Nourish or Healing Touch (which might even refresh the stack). Rejuv will still be good for the reason hots are good. Wild Growth is still a group heal. Tranquility is an emergency heal, and we'll change it to act more like Diving Hymn. (Source)
Eclipse mastery bonus
The bonus will be increased damage to Nature spells or to Arcane spells. We're not sure of the magnitude yet, but it will need to be hefty enough for you to actually want to switch.
It will need some kind of decay -- we don't want you farming naga or whatever before you step into the raid with a full meter -- but it shouldn't decay fast enough that you find normal encounter movement very troubling (for that reason anyway). Source)
Mastery Bonuses and Feral forms
It applies to the form you are in at the time. (Source)
Feral cat changes
The recent Mangle change is a good example. Other candidates include letting Rake last longer, changing Mangle's damage such that it's not such a gigantic dps loss not to Shred, and / or changing the bonus of Savage Roar so that it's not such a crippling dps loss if it falls off. Using Savage Roar after a target with cps on it has died will help too.
We still want the John Madden crowd to be able to try and maximize their dps. We just want players not playing at that level to not be so far behind (though behind is fine). (Source)
Vengeance is based on damage actually taken (physical and spell). This means it might take a bit to get stacked up to the max value, but it generally will get up there on longer fights and can even stay there in between pulls if you pull quickly.
Remember, the problem we're trying to solve here is sustained damage and threat. We're not as worried about mobs sticking to you initially because you have plenty of tools to handle that now (including telling the mages they need to wait for half a second). Yes, your AP might start out a little lower if you get a string of avoidance, but with lower avoidance in Cataclysm, that is probably less of a problem as well.