This week, I want to take a closer look at the proposed Mists of Pandaria level 90 talents for feral druids. This tier of talents has received significant criticism on the WoW forums and other discussion boards, with the most common appellation being "useless." I couldn't disagree more. Given the constraints that Blizzard has to operate under, I think these talents offer up some interesting new game mechanics.
Heresy, yes, I know. Before you bring out the pitchforks, remember these key facts about how talents are supposed to work:
- Talents are no longer the prime determinants of player power; they are now merely utility skills. You can fulfill your core DPS/healing/tanking role in a raid with no talents at all, you'll just be slightly less good at it. Rogues, as a comparison, only have one tier of talents that affect their DPS, just as we do; everything else is survivability, crowd control, or movement.
- Talent choices must be reasonably balanced; otherwise, we're back to everybody picking the same thing, which leads to the developers balancing around everyone having that thing, which causes complaints about not having choices. This balance has to extend to both PvE and PvP.
- The benefits granted by talents can't be so strong that they cause significant changes in class desirability, or we're back to the shaman stacking model again. Admittedly, any advantages are still going to be min-maxed by heroic raiding guilds, but the perception that it's required cannot be allowed to exist.