When the news hit on Tree of Life form going bye-bye, I didn't know what to think. To be perfectly clear, chopping the tree down is something that Blizzard's been kicking around for the better part of a year, if not more. We ran a Shifting Perspectives on it in May 2009 in the hope of drawing more attention to a forum thread where Ghostcrawler asked druid players if they thought the Tree was fun. To anyone who's new to the class and thought the developers pulled a fast one, that's not the case; they were open about the possibility that this would happen. When the discussion ended and nothing seemed to come of it, I (foolishly) assumed they had decided to leave well enough alone. The tree wasn't really adding anything to the druid's restoration spec, but it was a harmless addition to a class that considered shapeshifting its raison d'être.
Then the class announcement hit.
Like I said, I didn't know what to think. I sat back, thought about it, read the announcement thread again, thought more, reread the May 2009 thread, read through all of April 2010 class announcements again, noticed a fairly obvious trend, and finally realized something:
What Blizzard is doing with Cataclysm has almost nothing to do with what players have trained themselves to expect after Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Pavlov's bell is ringing, but it ain't dinnertime.