Because I know that some readers rely on Resto4Life for their Druid news (silly people), here’s a distilled summary of the Druid-related information from BlizzCon. Most of this information comes from the Class Panels at BlizzCon and has been gathered from WoWInsider’s extensive coverage.
While not immediately available with the release of Wrath, Blizzard hopes to patch them into the game with Patch 3.1. They may feel like they have a brief reprieve because the need for two specs is generally greater at level 80 when many players engage in both competitive PvP and endgame PvE content. Unfortunately, healers would really benefit from this option, as well, since it would be nice to be able to grind solo and switch back to healing for instances.
You’ll be able to switch to your alternate spec “whenever you want,” including in raids. Your Glyphs and hotkeys will switch automatically when you do. This is wonderful news because it means you won’t have to continue buying the same Glyphs to switch them for PvP or off-spec raiding. Of course, this is bad news for Inscriptionists. Sorry, guys!
Sharing In-Combat Rez
Q: Really happy we’ll be able to do 10-man raids all the way up. But in 10-mans losing one class can hurt. What about giving another class an in-combat rez?
A: … which class specifically?
Crowd: (various classes)
Since Paladins and Shamans already have specialty forms of wipe recovery/prevention (Reincarnation and Divine Intervention), it make the most sense to me that Priests be the ones to receive an in-combat rez. Of course, Priests and Shamans are still so desirable that it would perhaps make more sense to give them to Paladins. Naturally, I prefer that we keep our Rebirth. We wouldn’t want all healers to become Big Green Blobs after all.
And to the crowd member who yelled out “Rogues” in response to who should get in combat rez … /sigh
Spirit Not Just for Mana Regeneration
For a lot of classes, Spirit isn’t mana regen anymore, it’s something people stack for the spell damage bonuses.
I don’t know if I agree with this statement. I’ll probably continue stacking Spirit for its mana regeneration benefits, just as I did in TBC. I personally view the fact that it also grants +Healing as a nice bonus! The Spirit –> Spell Power bonus does mean that staying in Tree of Life will be very important, though, which is likely intended to negatively impact Restoration PvP since Tree of Life loses the ability to Cyclone and cast Entangling Roots.
Hybrids vs. Pure Classes
Hybrid DPS has been increased as a result of the changes made to the debuffs/buffs system, and hybrids are benefitting from gear streamlining and the dual spec system. To help counter this overall increase in desirability, pure DPS classes are intended to do the “best” damage, but “player skill should enter into it as well.”
Improvements to Forms
Blizzard has been talking about Feral form improvements for a while, but it’s a “question of time.” We’ve heard before that this is an improvement that’s intended very early on after the release (and subsequent bug fixes) of Wrath. According to the “Notes from the BlizzCon 2008 Art Panel” by WoWInsider author Daniel Whitcomb:
When a questioner asked if it was possible for Feral Forms to have visible armor, the Artists seemed very enthusiastic about the idea, all but saying it’s coming. Later, when another young man asked if Druid trees could change leaf color, Chris Robinson said he’d been talking with a designer who was very much a fan of allowing more Druid form variety. So without outright saying that it is coming, it seems like the designers have revealed that it is high on the priority list.
Earlier on in the article, Daniel also wrote “The artists all but said that giving visible armor to Druid forms is in the works!” but I couldn’t find anything in the summary that lead me to believe this is the case. I personally think visible armor could have the potential to look really goofy and am more enthusiastic about other types of form customization.
- The Orgrimmar Arena will include moving pillars that change line of sight and DoT fire hazards, making “pillar humping” more interactive and potentially more dangerous.
- The Dalaran Arena will include a pillar of water that temporarily obscures line of sight but also performs a knockback. There are also a couple of stacks of crates that block line of sight, but they aren’t as effective as the pillars players are probably accustomed to in TBC Arenas.
- Travel Form and Ghost Wolf will work in the Dalaran Arena, but mounts will not.
- Moonkin damage output in PvP is satisfactory, but they’re taking a look at its survivability (the armor nerf certainly didn’t help).
Q: Druid PvP (boos). Resto is powerful and I want it nerfed, but I don’t want to hurt Balance or Feral. How can you fix that without killing the other two.
A: Tom: Wrath is a very different beast than the live servers. Lifebloom lost a lot of power, so you can’t rely on it. There are changes, along with the new talents, that from the beta test we’ve seen, Druids aren’t the dominant force they can be in smaller brackets today.
Did anyone ever rely on Lifebloom? Really? I couldn’t. I was generally too busy running the hell away from the 1-3 people trying to kill me!
Q: Wintergrasp. I’m a healing Druid (boos). Before you were able to group in BGs, it was hard to heal, will there be any mechanic in Wintergrasp.
A: Tom: We’ve avoided groups so far, mostly because of the AFK problem. Our grouping system won’t go above 40 players at this point either, so for the moment, it’s group on your own.
The forced grouping was great for healers in places like AB and AV. Having to request a group invitation is a huge inconvenience and it incentivizes the player to only assist those players with whom she is grouped, making healing more complicated (and therefore, less fun).
Q: Are Feral Druids going to be different from Rogues?
A: Chilton: Feral druids have been a B-spec in arenas and PvP. I don’t know if it’s a raw damage output problem. [Might be] something with loosing mana. We don’t have a clear idea of how it’s going to play out. Unfortunately we haven’t seen a lot of feral druids in the beta arenas.
For those of you unfamiliar with the mana plight of Ferals, the lack of Intellect on PvP gear is causing a great deal of concern about needing to shift forms often and not having the mana to do so. According to Ghostcrawler, “We don’t want you to worry about Intellect … It’s definitely stuff that we’re looking at.”
Miscellaneous (I.e., stuff that didn’t warrant its own subheading)
- Players will no longer be dismounted when they enter water. Rather, their mounts will swim across. It’s not clear whether Druids will be able to remain in Travel Form when entering a body of water.
- There are still no plans to allow Taunt/Growl to work in PvP. Darn! If they did, a Druid could Rocket Bear into a healer from the opposing team, interrupting their spell cast and forcing them to target her, further throwing off their rhythm.
- Wrath goals for Balance were to give them a viable form of crowd control (indoor Root) and to eliminate the OOMkin.
- The retinue of healing spells available to Druids has been expanded to include the Flash Heal-esque direct heal, Nourish, and an AoE heal, Wild Growth.
- All tanks should see an overall increase in threat generation. The intention is that the successful completion of encounters should be more about healing and moving around. So seriously. Stop standing in the fire.
- Blizzard wanted to deemphasize the use of consumables through things like the Potion Sickness and Tinnitus debuffs. This has the obvious effect of increasing players’ reliance on the new Replenishment effect provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.
- Blizzard doesn’t want any class to have a buff that’s so powerful that the raid is canceled if it isn’t available. See also: Chain Heal, Circle of Healing (though I suppose those aren’t technically “buffs”).
- Blizzard is considering adding customization to player animations. Perosnally, I’d love to use the /cheer emote for casting Revive.
- Omen of Clarity procs will not be made undispellable. (The ability itself is now passive and cannot be dispelled.)
- Players can complete Tiered set bonuses by mixing equivalent 10-man and 25-man armor.
- Drops of caster and melee weapons should be about equal.
- There was a re-emphasis on the idea that Druids should be just as viable as Warriors as an MT, despite their lack of tools like Shield Wall.
- Ghostcrawler is a dude.