Preview of Talent Changes

Today Blizzard released previews of four class talent trees:  Priest, Rogue, Druid, and Shaman.  I'm going to provide my thoughts on four specs that I am familiar with (since I play them):  the Shadow Priest, the Enhancement Shaman, the Restoration Shaman, and the Restoration Druid.

Restoration Druid gets it's review first.

This is probably the place where I am the most disappointed, and you'll see why once you get down to the Tree of Life changes.  

For starters, you can review all the druid talent tree changes here.

I will only talk about the things that affect a "PvE Restoration Druid", so you can expect I will skip over some of the changes that have no bearing on this type of character.

A lot of changes are just flavor/tweaks, such as including Swiftmend into a lot of the talents such as Improved Rejuvenation.  Improved MotW is gone, and the reasons behind this are in-line with a lot of the homogenization that Blizzard is trying to do so that a player is brought to a raid because of their ability to play and not because they are able to provide a buff that no one else can provide. 

There's a new Blessing of the Grove talent right at the top of the tree, which buffs rejuventation.  It also buffs something for Balance and something for Feral, so it was naturally added as something a Balance or Feral druid could throw their leftover points into so it looks like they're getting something "exciting" from the resto tree.

Nature's Bounty got some neat little added things to it, the most interesting of which is the ability for Healing Touch and Nourish to have a change to reduce the cooldown of Swiftmend every time you use them.  I approve.

Swiftmend is getting a little nerf, in that it will no longer scale with how much healing your Rejuv or Regrowth heals for.  Instead, it's a base amount modified by your own spell power.  That's fine.

Empowered Touch is interesting.  Part of it stayed relatively the same, whereas it increases the healing bonus from your spell power by X%.  (It's a little lower, but I get that.)  The part about Healing Touch being more powerful when used on targets below 25% health confuses me a bit.  I realize that tanks are going to have WAY more health in Cat, and that they're going to be able to take a greater number of hits because heals are not going to heal for as much (when compared to their health pools).  I get that.  But, Healing Touch is the LONG cast-time spell.  If I find my tank below 25% health, that is time to enter near-panic mode and get him back up to a safe zone as quickly as I possible can.  Using the slowest heal I've got is certainly not the way I want to be doing that.  My only thought is that the health pools are going to be so large that even at 25% health, using a slow heal will still be the preferred and viable and efficient method to heal the tank.  But, if that's the case, then when will fast heals be useful?  Only to top people off?  It seems out of whack.  This talent also gives Nourish a change to refresh Lifebloom.  That is neat.

Efflorescence adds another AoE heal to our arsenal when Regrowth crits.  It's neat. 

The mana regen change for Revitalize is for the better.

I was pretty happy up until this point.  And then my world was shattered.  We no longer have a permanent Tree form.  It's now a 45 second long trinket on a 5 minute (or 3.5 minute talented) cooldown.  What.  The.  Fuck.  I understand the disadvantages of Tree form -- you can only cast healing spells and the benefit you get from being in tree form is boring.  I get that.  But taking the form away entirely is upsetting, at least to me.  I play a druid because each spec has a unique form to shape-shift into.  To me, that's what playing a druid is all about.  If I'm melee DPS, I'm a cat.  If I'm spell DPS, I'm an owl.  If I'm a tank, I'm a bear.  If I'm a healer, I was a tree.  Now I'm nothing.  Fuck that. 

Gift of the Earthmother changes are awesome, thank you very much.  Rejuv looks fucking great now.

So to sum this up in one easy sentence:  It all looks great except that I'm not a tree anymore.


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