10 June 2010

Feral Cataclysm talent preview

Along with Shamans, Priests and Rogues, Blizzard has released a talent preview for Druids. I'll go over the Feral talents. Note that some talents are marked "TBR" which stands for "To Be Redesigned" or "To Be Removed". In either case, the talent is not expected to make it through unchanged.

Tier 1
Ferocity and Feral Aggression remain unchanged. The Tier 3 talent Sharpened Claws is moved to Tier 1, but its effect is changed to the effect of Savage Fury in Tier 2, which was removed completely. A bit confusing. But what it really means is that Savage Fury (+20% damage on Claw/Rake/Mangle/Maul) moves down a tier and is renamed and Sharpened Claws (+4% crit) is removed.

Tier 2
As mentioned above, Savage Fury was moved down from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Shredding Attacks was moved from Tier 4 down to Tier 2, but the energy-reduction on Shred was reduced from -9/-18 to -5/-10. The Lacerate component (-1/-2 rage) remains unchanged. Thick Hide and Feral Instinct remain unchanged, but Feral Instinct is marked as "TBR".

Tier 3
Feral Swiftness remains unchanged. Predatory Instincts was moved down from Tier 8 to Tier 3, its AoE-damage-reduction in Cat form component was removed and the +3%/+6%/+10% critical strike damage bonus is no longer restricted to Cat form only, changing the talent from pure Cat to all-round. Feral Charge is moved down from Tier 5 to Tier 3 and a new talent, Improved Feral Charge, is added to Tier 3. Imp. FC causes the damage done by your next 3 attacks to be increased by 5%/10% after using Feral Charge (Bear) and it causes Ravage to no longer require stealth for 3/6 seconds after using Feral Charge (Cat).

Tier 4
Nurturing Instincts has come down from Tier 5 and Primal Fury remains unchanged. A new talent, Fury Strikes, was added: Fury Strikes gives a 4%/8%/12% chance when auto-attacking in Cat or Bear to generate a second auto-attack against that target, with a 6 second cooldown. Think pre-WotLK Windfury/Sword-spec here. Note that Maul will no longer be an on-next-attack in Cataclysm, so all your auto-swings in Bear form will actually be auto-attacks dealing white damage that can proc this.

Tier 5
Improved Bash remains unchanged. Heart of the Wild moves down from Tier 6. Survival Instincts moves up from Tier 3. Predatory Strikes moves up from Tier 4, loses the AP-benefit (50%/100%/150% of level + 7%/14%/20% of AP on weapon), but gains: Ravage has a 25%/50% higher crit chance against targets above 90% health. The instant-cast proc after using a finishing move remains the same. This talent has become a PvP talent.

Tier 6
Natural Reaction and Survival of the Fittest remain the same. A new talent, Endless Carnage, was added that increases the duration of Rake, Savage Roar and Pulverize (see below) by 3/6 seconds.

Tier 7
King of the Jungle moves down 2 tiers from Tier 9, but loses the mana-reduction of the Feral form shapeshifts. Leader of the Pack and Improved LotP remain unchanged. Primal Tenacity has had the damage-reduction while stunned in Cat form halved to 5%/10%/15%.

Tier 8
Protector of the Pack remains the same. Infected Wounds was reduced from 3 talentpoints to 2, for the same total effect and now includes Ravage as well as the original Maul, Mangle and Shred.

Tier 9
Mangle and Improved Mangle remain unchanged. A new talent, Primal Madness, was added, which requires King of the Jungle and causes your Tigers Fury and Berserk to increase your maximum energy by 6/12 for the duration of the effect and cause Enrage and Berserk to instantly grant you 6/12 rage.

Tier 10
Rend and Tear remains unchanged, but now has a followup talent called Pulverize. This teaches you the Pulverize ability which consumes all Lacerate stacks on the target, dealing weapon damage plus 786 per stack of Lacerate (unknown if this scales or has additional ranks). In addition, it will give you 2% crit for 10 seconds for each stack of Lacerate consumed. 20 rage, no cooldown. Another talent was added, currently called "Nom Nom Nom", but it's flagged to be renamed, sadly. Nom Nom Nom gives you a 50%/100% chance for a Ferocious Bite on a target with less than 25% health to refresh the Rip on that target. This should give Cats a bit of added "Execute"-style DPS as they can bring out the big FB burst without Rip dropping.

Tier 11
Berserk remains unchanged.

Resto talents that affect Feral
Blessing of the Grove replaces Imp MotW in Tier 1. BotG increases damage done by Claw and Shred by 2%/4%. Furor remains unchanged, as do Omen of Clarity, Natural Shapeshifter and Master Shapeshifter. Naturalist moves up from Tier 2 to Tier 3. A new Tier 2 talent is added, Perseverance, reducing spell damage taken by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10%.

Conclusions and summary
The changes are not world-changing. The largest changes are in the position of talents, alot of them were moved down and some were moved up. Moving down talents has made room for some new talents to be added. Of the new talents, I think Pulverize is the most interesting. Together with Maul no longer being an on-next-swing attack, we will have 2 new buttons to choose from for our global cooldowns. Pulverize will interact in interesting ways with Lacerate, as you have to rebuild your stack after Pulverizing, but you do quite a bit of damage and gain 10% crit if you consume a full stack.

In Resto, Perseverance looks pretty strong for some tanking purposes. I'd kill for such a talent on fights like Sindragosa hardmode. But on other fights it may be practically useless. Next up is trying to work out something of an ideal spec using this new information. But it may be a bit too early for that as we're still missing info on glyph changes and possible scaling changes (especially Maul!) and all this is not final.


  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that Pulverize will be glyphable to not consume Lacerate.

  2. That's a good point actually. I hadn't put much thought into new glyphs and how they might interact with new talents/abilities. Unfortunately, I think such a Pulverize-glyph would take a way the trade-off that the ability now presents and turns it into a button you'd always want to hit.