Heart of the wild’s bear stam bonus was reduced to 10% instead of 20%. This means that bear’s stamina (one of their crowning features in WotLK) has been significantly reduced.
GC stated: “If druids slip behind as a result of lack of mitigation, avoidance or cooldowns, we will buff them.”
As much as I trust GC, I’m afraid that this combined with the other changes will make feral tanks really hard to heal in the next patch.
In additon, feral druids had their base armor decreased (again), and have a new ability that should help.
*New Spell* Savage Defense, 1 rank, level 40 – Each time you deal a melee critical strike, you gain Savage Defense, reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack that strikes you by 25% of your attack power.
This will make DPS gear more appealing, as this is all based off crit and attack power, so it will use the previously unnecessary stats on the rogue/hunter accessories. While it’s currently up on the PTR, there are several bugs that are going to limit it’s usfeulness. This is, however, a trainable ability that all druids will have, which is the first time they’ve added a tank ability without people having to spec for it in this expansion (the ability is passive, though).