Okay, it has taken me a few days of watching the forums to get a really good handle on what’s going on with the improved barkskin change.
Originally, I thought the extra armor bonus would only be active when barkskin was (which made sense in my head). However, ghostcrawler clarified what the talent will do here:
The caster and travel form armor benefits occur if you have the talent even if Barkskin is not up.
While we were succesful getting Resto druids into tree form in Arena, we were a little too succesful. We’re not sure it’s fun for either the druid or the people trying to kill the druid to be locked in tree form all the time. This change will hopefully make the fights a little more dynamic.
Okay, so it’s a constant armor bonus for caster form and travel form for a 2 point investment, in addition to the original benefits (dispell protection & more powerful barkskin damage reduction).
I think a lot of resto druids really wanted access to their crowd control tools (ie. cyclone) which can’t be cast in tree form. So, the armor bonus for caster form gives PvP trees a chance to not get instantly killed by melee the minute they shift out of form. Yay for resto druids. However, there is another point I need to emphasize when talking about this talent:
This new talent seems like something moonkin needed.
Right now, improved barkskin is super high in the restoration tree, and only restoration druids have access to it.
Seriously. What’s one of the worst parts of moonkin PvP? Having to shift out of moonkin form to heal and thus losing the armor bonus when you are out of moonkin form. If moonkin had more armor in caster form, then they could heal themselves without it being such a high risk of stunlock-death. So, the resto side of me thinks this is a great idea for encouraging resto druids to be able to shift out of tree form in arenas, but the moonkin side of me is incredibly jealous and confused about why resto keeps getting more and more survivability in heaps, wheras the moonkin pvp community has basically vanished due to lack of viability and survivability in general.
I think it would really help moonkin if this talent was low enough in the tree that they could pick it up, however that would cause problems for feral druid tanks who would pick up the extra barkskin bonus for tanking. I still think Improved Barkskin should be moved to the balance tree, probably where Brambles is (and then GC could take away Brambles from resto PvP and solve their thorns problem). Feral druids aren’t going to waste 12 points just for a 5% more powerful barkskin shield. This would make moonkin viable without hurting resto PvP in any serious way. So, why not make the switch?
I’m sure you guys are probably tired of me making so many posts about moonkin PvP, but I have a long-standing tradition of finding the weakest areas for druids and repeatedly asking for fixes for what I think is broken…