Last week, I broke down the new druid talents that were released at BlizzCon with lots of discussion about how this may lead ferals in a new direction. I've had a week to think about things more, and I'm still blown away by the magnitude of the changes Blizzard is making to the specializations. Much of the fundamental assumptions about what drives our characters is being reworked, and we're not discussing the implications because OMG pandas! (For the record, I have a 3-year-old. Team Pandaren > Team Worgen.)
To quickly review, the traditional model of abilities has always been strongly tied to classes. If you were a druid, you got all the druid abilities as you leveled, regardless of what talent points you invested. There were a few key abilities for each spec that were unlocked via talents, but that was it.
With Cataclysm, Blizzard took its first swipe at reducing talent trees by introducing specializations. This served two purposes. First, it let specs have "cool" abilities earlier, instead of waiting until they were near max level to unlock them. And second, it once and for all eliminated the ability to have hybrid specs, such as the Dreamstate resto druid from The Burning Crusade. Previously, you were merely limited by your talent points; now, if the ability you wanted existed in another specialization, or below tier 2 in an off-spec tree, it was completely inaccessible.
Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives