So, I think druids actually win out with the two latest updates on Cata mechanics. They are going to need more testing in-person to really see how things are going to work out, but I can say that it doesn’t seem bad at this point.
For the new dispel mechanics, resto druids are gaining the ability to dispel magic. We’re keeping poisons & curses. It will also possibly be one button that removes them all. This is a bonus to druids. Some of the other classes are losing existing mechanics, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like druid healers will benefit from the changes. This actually ends up being good for PvE and PvP purposes, since it will give us more dispel options (and raids will likely see an increase in the # of magic effects that will need to be dispelled, rather than the other types of debuffs).
The rage normalization change is actually something that should benefit druid tanks. As a tanking spec, and not a DPS spec, bears could benefit from having more predictable rage gains, which will make it easier for Blizzard to balance bears’ abilities in Cataclysm, and should overall reduce frustration of new bear tanks and bears that rage-starve themselves by out-gearing content. This is one of the reasons I started putting together a tank set for Cata content testing in the future, since bears are going to need a really good looking-at before Cata goes live. There will be a lot of time for all the bear tanks to test out the mechanics on either a Beta server or PTR before the changes go live. I’m going to settle on normalization being a positive at this point, because everything else for bears will be balanced around this change.
Conclusion: I have to keep these posts short at this point, and there are a LOT of unknown factors that are going to influence whether or not these changes are good or bad. For now, I’m reserving any real judgment until we’re able to see these in action. For now, I’d like to conclude that the sky isn’t falling (YET!).