Now that beta has started, it’s time to get serious about evaluating the new talents and their problems. Today, we’ll start with the level 90 talents. I was going to try and fit multiple tiers of talents in this post, but the level 90 talents actually deserve their own post. I can’t actually play with the level 90 talents in beta right now, since I’m level 85. However, I don’t need to play with them to know they have problems. In this case, I am going to be particularly critical of the talents because early beta is the best time to ask for changes with a realistic expectation that things aren’t final and CAN (and probably will) change over the course of game development, and that critical feedback is a good way to impact change.
Heart of the Wild:
What it does: HOTW Gives you a small benefit to an off-spec role for a pretty long chunk of time (45 seconds) on a super long cooldown (6 minutes). The moonkin version on beta makes healing spells interact with Eclipse. It also boosts your agility, armor, and makes it so you can’t be crit by melee attacks. The resto version on beta gives more int, spell hit, melee hit, expertise, armor, and makes it so you can’t be crit by melee attacks. Makes it so your damage spells hit harder and don’t cost mana.
- Moonkin will primarily use this to “prime” Eclipse before a boss pull (ie: “Wait! I’m still charging my lasers!”). Killing critters in Firelands used to serve this function, so I’m pretty sure moonkin will do this just because they can (ie. they’ll pop HOTW and then spam heals until they are 1 cast away from an Eclipse proc). If that functionality gets taken away, there is no other real PvE use for Heart of the Wild for moonkin. The ability to go into bear or cat form sounds cool, but isn’t actually useful for PvE damage purposes.
- Resto druids could use it if the INT increases healing done in any way (though it’s possible that the tooltip is supposed to say Agi and not int). It may also get used on gimmick fights where you can’t heal and doing damage would be better than standing around doing nothing.
Verdict: This talent really is horrible in many ways, and will quite possibly be the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game. The cooldown & duration on this talent are too long. No moonkin or resto druid are ever going to have times where they want to do off-spec things for 45 seconds in a 6 minute fight. Any time my moonkin heals, it’s for 1 or 2 casts (ie. a tranquility or a rejuv). Unless I screw up and forget to change into my resto spec before a pull, there’s no reason for me to be spending resources healing for long periods of time. What really makes this spell so bad? It’s because they stripped you of all the off-spec abilities you would have otherwise been able to use during it’s duration. They took away lifebloom, regrowth, & nourish from all non-healing specs. They took away a lot of melee & tanking abilities from casters. They took away so many things that you don’t have enough spells to cast in your off-spec role for you to be viable at that role for 45 seconds even with stats to support the off-spec role. They seem to have added a couple of them back in, but that’s really just part of the problem. There’s a complete lack of focus on the talent (so, moonkin could tank, cat DPS, OR heal from the talent – which means you get to be crappy at 3 things instead of good at 1). It’s just not a PvE viable tool for anything but gimmick fights, and is somewhat insulting to put in druids’ level 90 talent tier when all the other classes get real level 90 talents. They nuked shaman’s entire level 90 talent tier and came up with better stuff, but they keep doing minor tweaks to the druid one instead of the major surgery they need to do. This talent isn’t going to get used in MoP and won’t survive an entire expansion. Unfortunately, it’s taking up space in our talent tree and I know Blizzard could do better.
Dream of Cenarius:
What it does: Melee attacks or non-instant damage spells give you a healing buff. Cast-time healing spells give you a damage buff.
- For moonkin, Tranquility would heal for 30% more (but casting tranquility won’t give you the damage bonus). That’s about all this means.
- For resto druids, I’m not sure what PvE use this has, as resto druids have ignored every damage-increasing talent they threw at us in Cataclysm. I don’t see MoP making resto druids want to stop healing and do more damage.
Verdict: I know I said in another post that this would be better if it was based off healing utility. However, they took away regrowth from non-resto druids, rendering Dream of Cenarius pretty much useless for anyone. If Dream of Cenarius could actually proc off any of our level 30 healing talents, or worked with instant-cast things, then it would be a little more useful. However, I really think the problem with Dream of Cenarius is at a conceptual level, and it will either become so overpowered that you have to do off-spec things to improve your main role, OR you just won’t ever use this talent.
What it does: When you shift forms, you get a heal (once every 30 seconds). Also gives you the ability to break roots by shifting.
- The uses are largely the same for everyone.This is likely just going to be a passive thing where you sometimes get a heal when you do things like shift into travel form to escape something. The root break seems more helpful for feral & guardian druids, since I believe that moonkin’s tooltip still says that it breaks movement impairing effects (whereas cat/bear form say movement slowing effects. Resto druids can also just cleanse the magic effect from themselves).
Verdict: Since Heart of the Wild and Dream of Cenarius are both terrible talents, this is ends up being the default right answer (except for the case where moonkin may sometimes want Heart of the Wild to charge their lasers before a pull). There is no other right answer besides this one. We’ll all just take this and have another self-heal, and we’ll all just have the ability to shift out of roots. So, this talent overall is fine. The fact this talent is better than the other options is really just because the other two are basically unusable.
General Conclusions: Realistically, disentanglement becomes the right answer for all 4 specs for PvP and PvE. I don’t think minor changes can save HOTW or Dream of Cenarius. Thus far, we have seen several rounds of minor changes to HOTW and DoC that still leave them as bad choices for PvE. Ideally, they could remove HOTW and Dream of Cenarius from our talent tree and come up with a better idea for the level 90 talents. Another option could be consolidating the two crowd control tiers down into one CC tier, moving the level 90 talents to an earlier level (because they’d actually make better leveling talents than end-game talents by far), and adding in a new set of talents that provide more actual useful utility for us. Either way, we need a different set of level 90 ultimate talents. I know that Blizzard can do better, and I expect them to do better.