13 April 2010

The Cataclysm Druid Preview

Last friday Blizzard posted the preview of upcoming changes to the Druid class with the Cataclysm expansion. I'll take a quick peek at what will change for Bear Druids.

Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.

More variety to our AoE tanking rotation! That must be good. Swipe dealing more damage to bleeding targets is also mentioned, which will couple nicely to Thrash. My main concern though, is that this still looks like a rather static rotation: Thrash -> Swipe -> Swipe -> Swipe -> Thrash -> repeat. I'd much rather see some procs and similar mechanics that will force us to change our rotation on-the-fly. But, this is just the initial preview, there's bound to be more to come.

Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.

AoE Dash. Whether this will be a powerful new tool or just another gimmick will only be clear once we know what the encounters look like. It has the potential to be very useful though.

  • We want to add tools to cat form and depth to bear form. If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools -- primarily a reliable interrupt. Bears need to be pushing a few more buttons just so the contrast between tanking and damage-dealing is not so steep.

Yes! Right now, tanking is very straightforward. More depth is sorely needed as it will make the role more fun to play and it will create a larger difference between strong and poor players.

Mastery bonuses for Feral (Bear)
  • Damage Reduction
  • Vengeance
  • Savage Defense

They make sense, I guess. Vengeance is something that all tanks get. It will give the tank a stacking AP-buff whenever they get hit. The buff adds 5% of the damage dealt by the attack to your Vengeance-stack with a maximum stack-size equal to 10% of your maximum HP. This should make threat scale properly with new content without having to overload the tank gear with DPS stats (which, in our case, will happen regardless, since we share it with Cats and Rogues).

Overall it's looking promising, I'd say. It's still very early, so many things can and will change. But the promise of more depth to the Bear rotation is something that pleases me greatly.

The full preview, including changes for Cats, Moonkins and Trees (who will no longer be trees most of the time!) can be found on the WoW forums

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