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Balance buffed, Resto nerfed in 8962

Druids still continue to evolve fairly rapidly. It makes sense that they would be undergoing a lot of change, because more than most other classes, Druids are almost like three classes in one (three and a half, when you consider how strongly they've been trying to differentiate bear ferals from cat ferals).

There are a lot of changes in this latest beta build; I'm not going to list them all, just the ones that seem most interesting to me. For the full story go take a peek at MMO-Champion.

  • Balance:

    • Barkskin is now usable in all forms. The primary use I envision for this is bear form, which has suffered from a lack of "oh snap" buttons for a while now. On a one-minute cooldown, it actually adds up to more mitigation over time than Shield Wall, although of course it's less mitigation at any one time, which is what SW is really used for. Still, good to have.
    • Earth and Moon buffed significantly; now increases your spell damage by 1/2/3/4/5% and is 100% to apply the effect at all ranks (previously did not boost spell damage and was 20/40/60/80/100% chance to apply effect).
    • Improved Faerie Fire now increases your crit chance against the target by 1/2/3%, as well as increasing the target's chance to be hit by spells.
  • Feral:

    • Bash now "interrupts spellcasting for 3 seconds" as well as its stun effect. According to the wording, it should shut down all schools of spells for those 3 seconds, not just one school like Kick or Pummel. But that sounds overpowered to me, so we'll see.
    • Berserk no longer causes your Mangle (Bear) and Maul to hit up to 3 targets. I guess they figured we didn't need any more help for AoE tanking. Still nice as a 3-minute cooldown Last Stand, and for cat form as well. Also, Ghostcrawler has said "We came up with a plan for making Berserk more fun for bears without giving up the oh snap functionality. You'll hear more soon, probably from Koraa," so stay tuned.
    • Protector of the Pack is now 3% damage reduction per party member across all three ranks; only the AP will vary (20/40/60%). This should free up a couple of points for bear tanks who aren't as concerned about damage/threat; an interesting change. [Update: this may just be a tooltip bug]
    • Improved Leader of the Pack: the druid now gain 4/8% of maximum mana when they get healed by ILotP, in addition to the heal. This is straight from a forum suggestion, and strikes me as an excellent move.
    • Faerie Fire (Feral) now does damage and extra threat for bears. Free threat, can't beat that.
    • Brutal Impact now takes 15/30s off Bash's cooldown as well as its previous effect. This makes it much more tempting for a bear now - maybe that's where my two free points from Protector of the Pack are going.
  • Restoration:

    • Lifebloom healing reduced and mana cost increased. I've never played resto, so I'm not sure whether this was a merited nerf or not - opinions? As to the extent of the nerf, rank 1 went from 273 to 224 healing, and from 220 to 332 mana (at level 70). That's an 18% nerf in healing done and a 51% nerf in mana cost. Ouch. Apparently this was done to address the concern that with enough spirit, Resto druids could never go OOM.
    • Tree of Life aura doubled (and remember, it hits all raid members now).
    • Improved Tree of Life reverted to increase healing spell power by 15% of the druid's spirit. Cool.
    • Flourish renamed Wild Growth, mana cost raised slightly, range diminished slightly, amount healed quartered (!). Resto4Life calls this "way too extreme," and I think I agree.

Overall, some ups and some downs for Druids in this build, except for Balance. I'd say the Feral changes all make sense to me (pending whatever new they're going to be doing with Berserk), but the Resto nerfs do seem a bit hard. I expect to see some reverses before too long.

Filed under: Druid, Wrath of the Lich King

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