As far as druids are concerned, Build 9658 is a Balance build. Sure, there are a few token changes for the other two trees, but Boomkins get by far most of the attention here. I'll get the lesser builds out of the way first:
- Faerie Fire and Faerie Fire (Feral) now reduces the armor of the target for 5 min. (Up from 40 sec) I am actually really pleased with this. Having my FFF fall off the mobs is simply irritating, and I don't always have space in my rotations to re-apply it.
- Restoration: Tree of Life mana cost has been changed from 28% of base mana to 13% of base mana. Can't complain about that.
On to the main substance of the Druid changes: Balance.
- Starfall cooldown has been lowered from 3 min to 1.5 min. "Please use Starfall more often."
- Eclipse now gives you a 33% chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 30% (up from 20%) when you critically hit with Starfire. Eclipse has had what I think is called a "checkered past," which means it's been everywhere from in the gutter to sky-high. Buffs are buffs; no complaining from me here.
- Owlkin Frenzy now affects all attacks. (Old - Physical melee and ranged attacks only) That will significantly increase PvP defense against casters, I expect.
- Celestial Focus now reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Hibernate and Cyclone by 23/46/70% and increases your total spell haste by 1/2/3%. Less offensive, more defensive. It will now be more attractive for soloing; the previous stun was pretty much PvP-only.
- Nature's Grace now increasing your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 sec. (Old - Reduced the casting time of your next spell by 0.5 sec.) This is slightly difficult to interpret for me. I guess it makes spells with long casting times easier to cast; if you're casting for three solid seconds after you gain the buff, you gain 0.6 seconds instead of 0.5.
They've also altered the re-worked Glyph of Starfall; the previous PTR build had it at a 90-second reduction to Starfall's cooldown. The new one is a 30-second reduction. But do note that the base cooldown of Starfall has been lowered from three minutes to 1.5 minutes, so the previous glyphed cooldown is the new base cooldown, and the new glyphed cooldown is a mere one minute. It seems they really want to push a 51-point talent that is often skipped - but is a talented AoE worth it in a world where "trash doesn't matter?"
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.