I was going to do a recap of the druid things from Blizzcon, with a shorter summary than my 8 epic posts. However, I think I may put that off until tomorrow, since I still need to dig through some more information first. I had something else much more interesting to think about today than just rehashing information we already know. I reported Friday that during one of the DTV interviews, we were told that each class will get 3 new abilities in the next expansion (cataclysm).
So, I wanted to spend some time speculating about what abilities the druid class needs. The excitement of a new expansion means the excitement of being able to talk about what the tools and talents of future druids should look like. With cataclysm, it really feels like the developers are taking what we know about the game, turning it upside down, and shaking it repeatedly.
At this point, I don’t see resto druid healing needing that much more help – we already have a bigger & more diverse tool set for healing than we can actually use at one time, and adding more healing abilities to increase complexity probably isn’t the way to go.We also got multiple new heal spells over the last 2 expansions (lifebloom & nourish – along with wild growth from talents). The resto healing tool set feels mostly complete, aside from maybe a revamp needed for tranquility – but at least that’s an already existing spell.
Cat form is also already totally complicated with a ton of buttons to press, and adding another button for cat form’s DPS rotation might not help game play that much – unless it was something mainly designed for PvP play, where the complicated PvE rotation mostly leaves cats pretty frustrated.
That leaves moonkin and bear form as the best candidates for the main focus of the 3 new abilities.
Moonkin would probably be a lot better if they got at least one or two new spells. I’m not 100% sure what spells moonkin need at this point, but they definitely need something. If the expansion doesn’t come with a good moonkin DPS spell, then the spec is probably going to drop out of favor more than it already is. At least one new moonkin spell should be an instant-cast single-target with a short cooldown (like lava burst), where it has an interesting interaction with our other spells, and we can use it on the move without having to worry about breaking crowd control with our AOE, or having other undesired effects.
There has also been a lot of rumbling about maybe needing another nuke spell for moonkin form, maybe something that has a secondary effect to increase the diversity of our tool set. Only having 4 single-target damage spells is really super limiting in terms of how they can make the rotation interesting and complex. Switching back and forth between wrath and starfire (with eclipse) is a neat idea, but wrath and starfire are basically the same type of ability, just with different magic types (which doesn’t mean much), and different cast times. There is nothing inherently interesting about switching between starfire & wrath. Refreshing moonfire & insect swarm adds a little more complexity, but not really – and refreshing them when we’re on the run just feels like it wastes mana if we are moving around too often. Eclipse is also a frustrating mechanic because you have no control over when (or how often) it will proc, meaning that it tends to proc for me at the worst possible times such that my DPS feels like it’s out of my control. When heroism hits, other classes pop a bunch of cooldowns, and just about the only one that moonkin can pop is treants – and then I just have to pray that Eclipse will be kind to me (and most of the time, I’m just not that lucky).
They could also perhaps introduce a new moonkin spell that is more PvP focused to help moonkin stay competitive in arena PvP play – where the limited PvE tool set becomes even more limited with mobility being a really big problem for moonkin’s playstyle.
For bear form, it might be nice to add more complexity, more cooldowns to pop – either defensive or offensive. Or, maybe another spam-able ability that isn’t tied to your next hit (like maul is). I think that our reliance on things like swipe for single targets or faerie fire as something you use to generate threat leans towards bear needing something else in it’s damage repertoire. Like moonkin, it’s also pretty much limited in the range of abilities that it has to use. It’s not quite as limited as moonkin, but it definitely has a less diverse set of tools than cat or resto has. As much as I’d like to see all 3 new abilities be for moonkin, bear form could definitely use at least a little lovin’ in cataclysm.
What new spells/abilities do you think druids need in Cataclysm?
It’s also possible that epic travel form would be one of our three new abilities, in which case – I definitely think bear & moonkin form should get the two “real” new spells.