More follow-up from Blizzard Poster Ghostcrawler on Feral itemization concerns:
Armor is one of the most important stats a tank can have. We aren’t trying to keep bears from getting it.
The change to itemization was done solely to avoid having so much diversity in the items we could drop. It’s lame when you’re leveling up to keep seeing quest rewards that are itemized for your spec (which TBH is still a problem we haven’t solved for Feral weapons and idols). It’s lame when your raid kills a boss and he drops say elemental mail, healing leather, and a spellpower mace, none of which your group can use. Having bears, cats and rogues all desire the same leather drops isn’t a panacea — it helps some problems, but it creates others. Having bears run around with as much armor as a rogue would be a big, big problem.
Fortunately there are plenty of ways to give bears the armor they need — through talents (like the crit resistance one) or through Dire Bear form itself for example. Even if another tanking class ends up having slightly more armor than a druid, the differences should be so minor that neither of you is at a significant disadvantage on a boss.
I am glad someone mentioned the hunter example. I am really hoping you guys have the same reaction when you see the next pass on druid talents.
Further confirmation that we won’t see any leather items with green armor on them in WotLK. Which is odd because Druids have been forced to pick up less than optimal pieces of what would have previously been considered Rogue armor in the past. Why shouldn’t Rogues conversely see a couple hundred extra armor in “wasted” stats on occasion? They seem to imply that Dire Bear Form may get an armor boost, which I imagine would likely be talented to avoid giving it to Restos, too (which means it would need to be deeper than Thick Hide is currently).
Finally, it sounds like we’ll see another iteration to our talents – possibly Restoration and Balance included. I’m guessing we’ll see those changes “soon” otherwise Ghostcrawler might not be so optimistic about how he thinks we’ll feel.
Developer Koraa responded to concerns that the downranking change would unfairly prevent Shamans from using a cheap, Rank 1 Earthshock:
We’re working on a rank-1 Earth Shock equivalent spell. Not sure when it will be in, though.
Okay, but where is my Rank 1 Moonfire equivalent? I use that in PvP to knock people off the flag, keep people in combat so they can’t drink in Arenas, and kill Shaman totems. Priests, Mages, and Warlocks can use a Wand; Druids cannot. Wands don’t put their users back into the 5SR; Moonfire does. What is the point of the downranking nerf if not to stop people from using Rank 1 spells – like Earthshock – to accomplish something significant without a significant mana investment? Was the whole point just to buff Shamans relative to everyone else? We should all have access to a cheap, Rank 1 version of our abilities.