Friday, July 23, 2010

New Druid Talent Trees

I have three goals in my druid's talent build(s): tank to the best of my ability, dps to the best of my ability and heal to the best of my ability, prioritized in that order. In reality my dps and healing goals end up flipped since tanking and dps share a talent tree and cannot be improved individually without dropping healing as an option entirely. The ability to heal opens doors that would not otherwise be open to a strict tank/dps, so long as that is of more value than the small DPS loss of a bear focused hybrid feral build then resto will remain my secondary spec of choice. Right now the DPS difference between my hybrid build and a pure cat build in equivalent gear is almost negligible and I find myself doing competitive damage with other classes.

Well, the latest feral tree still hasn't deterred me from a cat/bear hybrid build. I actually had a couple of points left to dabble after grabbing all the talents I really wanted. Those couple extra points really aren't extra when you consider that at level 80 we'll probably only have 39/41 points available.

Then I took another look at the resto tree; better, but pretty boring. There is so little choice in the first two tiers that the former trees of Azeroth are forced to waste 4 points in talents that don't help in any way to improve healing (3 if you go out on a limb and consider that taking 2% less magic damage helps your healing).

The rest of the restoration specialization is basically one large choice, "Do you want to sneak some DPS in?", and one small choice, "Do you want to PVP?". I was hoping for more give and take, "I can buff this healing spell or this other one...", but nope; you can take all the healing talents you want so long as you didn't want any damage focused talents or the one PVP talent.

Which leads me to my biggest disappointment, I can't reach moonkin form from the resto tree. The points are available, but the 31 point requirement in the first tree makes it impossible. I was totally willing to toss the new tree form aside in favor of having a bit of fun as a chubby owl. So far I definitely plan on sticking one point in Balance of Power though to get 2% hit, plus 50% of my spirit as hit. That one point will make a huge difference in whatever meager DPS I can muster.

One thing I notice in the new trees is that I find myself sticking 1 point in a lot of talents that take 2 or 3 points to max out. I think it kind of cool and never found myself considering it except for the last few points in the currently live talent trees. The main reason for this I see is the wider variety of "interesting" talents opposed to pure stat increases. Pure stat increase talents are boring and usually easy to prioritize. Talents that situationaly alter or enhance an ability however are great places to mix and match. The talents that best illustrate this are the ones that have both a constant utility portion and a scaling numeric portion, so if you take one point you get the same utility as if you took 3, but if you take more it procs more often or causes more damage.

One real example would be Empowered Touch in the resto tree which gives a chance to refresh a lifebloom stack with nourish, 50% chance for each of the two points. I think that is a cool idea so I'll put a point in, but I don't feel like I need to put a second point in since I bet in the times when I care I will cast at least two or three nourishes on my lifebloom target during the duration of the hot. One point means sometimes I won't have to refresh my lifebloom stack instead of I'd always have to. A little RNG, but I think it is interesting.

A somewhat less controversial example would be the feral Improved Charge talent for a cat, one point lets you ravage out of stealth for 3 seconds, a second point allows it for 6. One talent point gets ravage into your rotation. Two would let you use it perhaps twice after a pounce instead of once. I can't see myself not taking the one point here.

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