Yeah yeah, i know it’s really “Clean Up on Aisle 3”, but I decided to change it. Why? Because your face, that’s why.
Hmm.. I don’t know why, but i’m feeling feisty this morning.
So… Mists of Pandaria was announced at Blizzcon yesterday. I’m a little surprised that Blizz ACTUALLY went through with it, but there it is. While I could debate the price of tea in China (or Pandaria, as it were) all day long, i’m actually gonna skip right past the black and white fluffers for now and move on to a much more meaty topic. Yesterday, the powers that be released a (VERY) preliminary peak at an extremely large talent overhaul they have planned for the new expansion.
The long and short of it, as I understand it, is this… Talent trees are going to be gone. Permanently. Instead, you pick your spec upon reaching level 10, and they give you abilities that you need along the way. For you druids out there, they FINALLY went ahead and split feral into two specs, so while all the other classes have 3 different specs to choose from, druids have 4. I feel like Bear would play out something like this:
Level 10: Mangle
Level 20: Swipe
Level 30: Lacerate
Level 40: Maul
Again… that’s just speculation. Blizz listed the abilities in 10 level increments in their example, so I did as well. I still feel like we’ll be getting new abilities somewhere in the median for a few levels too, because trying to lowbie tank instances with only one or two buttons? Do *not* fucking want.
The other new (and very cool, imo) idea that Blizzard threw at us from deep left field is that every 15 levels, we get to make a choice. There are 3 different “talents”, for lack of a better term, that we get to choose from, that can augment our abilities or give us new ones altogether. We only get to pick 1 per 15 levels, and we can’t go back at our next choice and pick one we passed up. We can, however, change up these abilities, almost at will. (I believe they said it would be as easy as changing out a glyph). I can’t explain it nearly as eloquently as the panelists did, so instead i’ll dive right into the druid options that were unveiled, and how they relate to bears. Keep in mind that this is extremely preliminary, and is subject to being changed, or removed completely.
(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)
Level 15: Feline Swiftness – Displacer Beast – Timeless Pursuit
I think this is a pretty simple choice to make if you’re a bear, seeing as the latter two abilities automatically shift you into cat form. That being said, Feline Swiftness giving bear form a base speed increase is damn nice. No more movement speed boot enchants necessary!
Level 30: Nature’s Swiftness – Renewal – Cenarion Ward
I think a fair argument could be made for taking Nature’s Swiftness, especially since it allows those spells to be case in any form, but 3 minutes is a long cooldown for one spell, even with increased healing and duration attached. As far as PvE bearing goes, the obvious choice would be Renewal, with Cenarion Ward coming in a modest second, depending on how well and with what stat the barrier scales. (Place it on your other tank in high damage situations? Random add from a pack got loose? High AoE damage moment before everyone is topped off? Bam)
Level 45: Faerie Swarm – Mass Entanglement – Typhoon
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT TYPHOON OH HOLY SHIT.
/throat clear. Anyway. All of these could be good situational options. Typhoon may be a bit better for some PvPing, but the idea of a bear casting a typhoon just… I almost squeed when I saw that… seriously. Faerie Swarm apperas to be the same as the current iteration of Faerie Fire, with all 3 stacks landing at once, with the addition of a movement slow. If Faerie Fire remains in the game, then this could easily be overlooked. Mass Entanglement (a la Staghelm before you first pull Alysrazor), while a cool idea, is definitely not for tanking as you have to shift out of form to cast it. BEAR-PHOON HO!
Level 60 – Wild Charge – Incarnation – Force of Nature
Wild charge seems like a pretty fun talent, and could be pretty interesting, especially if Feral Charge will still exist in game. Double bear bomb? Sure why not. Incarnation could also be pretty interesting if they have an option specifically for bears (as it’s not listed atm, I honestly don’t know). Force of Nature could be fun too, but again it’s dependent upon what it would DO for us bearbutts. This will be an interesting level to see how it plays out, and is very dependent on many things.
Level 75 – Demoralizing Roar – Ursol’s Vortex – Bear Hug
Disorienting enemies really doesn’t have a whole lot of pve usage, if you ask me, so this iteration of Demo Roar could easily be overlooked. Ursol’s Vortex, however… Oh dear god give it to me NOW. /want. Bear hug could be an interesting choice, but the fact that it leaves you unable to do anything else, or even move, makes it seem less than useful in PvE content.
Level 90 – Heart of the Wild – Master Shapeshifter – Disentanglement
I’m not entirely sure what it is Blizzard was going for with this tier of options. I could see Disentanglement being situationally useful (in taunt-swap fights or something of that nature), but by and large it seems like Heart of the Wild would be the clear way to go here… 95% additional armor? Yikes. We’re already the far and away reigning kings of armor value, and that just seems like… just… wow. But as it stands, it’s still a pretty meh option for bears.
Overall, I think this new talent system will open up some pretty damn cool options, and it’ll be interesting to see what everyone favors for their preferred class and spec. It’ll also be fun to see this style develop and evolve, as well as the balancing of things, as Mists of Pandaria inches towards us from miles away.