There was a recent update to the PTR which I am sure applies to the beta as well. In this update we have a handful of druid changes that are actually fairly significant.
- Wild Mushroom now affects targets within 3 yards, down from 10 yards.
- Entangling Roots now lasts 30 sec, up from 27 sec.
- According to the tooltips, Swift Flight Form, Flight Form, Aquatic Form, Travel Form, Bear Form, Cat Form no longer make you immune to Polymorph.
- Swift Flight Form now costs 8% of base mana, down from 13% of base mana.
- Skull Bash now has a 13 yards range, up from 8 yards.
- Pulverize now increases your melee critical strike chance by 3%, up from 2%.
- Endless Carnage now increases the duration of Savage Roar and Pulverize by 4/8 sec, up from 3/6 sec.
- Stampede now makes Ravage not require stealth for 10 sec (up from 3 sec), it will also cost 50/100% less energy.
- Predatory Strikes now affects targets at or above 80% health, down from 90%.
- Rebirth no longer costs mana.
- Rejuvenation now costs 20% of base mana, down from 25%.
- Mastery: Symbiosis (Revamped) – Increases the potency of your healing spells by 10% on targets already affected by one of your heal over time spells. Each point of Mastery increases heal potency by an additional 1.25%.
The balance druid changes are actually fairly interesting. It seemed that the Mushrooms initially would provide another AoE tool for moonkins to use as well as a single target DPS ability though I have not heard any comments on how well they do compared to using our main nukes with the benefit of Eclipse. There was always the risk that should they be too good for AoE, they would compete directly with hurricane and that might serve as a redundant form of damage. This radius decrease seems to limit the AoE role of the Mushrooms while still maintaining the “Landmine” status as well as single target DPS capability. There are still going to be situations where adds from a boss can be tanked virtually on top of each other (or if their hit box is just larger anyway) and the Mushrooms will be a viable spell however those situations may be extremely limited. Having not had the opportunity to play with this spell much I can’t really comment on the “feel” of it. I still worry that the effort required to hit someone with these in PvP might not be comparable to the amount of damage they actually hit the enemy player for.
The feral changes all seem quite welcome though I have limited testing with feral on the PTR. The only “nerf” in these changes is the removal of druid Polymorph immunity when shapeshifted. Given the cost reduction for shifting into each form it would more than likely prove too cheap a solution to polymorph in PVP. If this is a bug it would be one thing, or if the act of shapeshifting still breaks polymorph then it would purely be a nerf to feral druids who have enjoyed that immunity for some time. This is something PvP druids will want to keep their eye on in the PTR.
The removal of Rebirth’s mana cost is a huge boon as the immediate 12.5K hit to our mana would have caused some significant issues while healing in a raid. If they intended to keep that out “Big contribution to the raid” then it needed to be something we can fire off without too much effort when it is available. The mastery change was something we knew was coming and the 10%+ was about what we were expecting to put us more in line with the holy priest’s mastery. This does tie into the next major change and that is the reduction of rejuvenation’s mana cost from 25% to 20% base mana. The previous base cost of rejuvenation, prior to any external cost reduction, was roughly 4650 mana and with this change it will sit at roughly 3720 mana with a savings of 950.
With the change to mastery and the existence of 12 talent points in our tree that buff rejuvenation they seem to be coming around on their stance that rejuvenation is a scourge to be dealt with. Yes blanketing is not a healthy strategy to use, however if we are encouraged to pre-hot targets to capitalize on our mastery then the core spell for our spec must become more efficient via cost or duration. Instead of increasing the duration by 25% as some have requested, they opted to decrease the cost by 20% which is still a very respectable amount. A cost reduction encourages using cheaper rejuvenations on a handful of targets when we need the mastery boost so that the duration of 12 seconds is more than enough time to get a direct heal on each. A long duration would have encouraged placing rejuvenation on more targets which clearly isn’t the direction they wanted to go. This change places rejuvenation at a slightly better HPM (healing per mana) than Nourish (little more than double the healing for double the mana cost). We now have a much more manageable spell choice flow-chart for raid healing. Nourish can still be a go to heal for minor damage but if we expect a HoT to have time to tick on a target with some additional healing thrown their way then Rejuv plus Nourish/HT is more efficient than it once was.
Prior to the change to mastery and the cost reduction of Rejuvenation lots of theorycrafters were discussing the idea of going 8/2/31 putting 3 points into Moonglow or perhaps Genesis though it might seem contradictory. This build would have dropped as many of the Rejuv talents as it possibly could in order to slim down to the 31 points in the restoration tree. Given that we will be using this spell a bit more now and that it is fairly integral to our mastery you might see people shy away from dropping all of those talent points. The problem is that in the Balance tree you either spend 2 points, or 8 points there isn’t anything in between really. We might be seeing a spec closer to 2/3/36 be much more viable as it offers us points to spend in the new Malfurion’s Gift talent.
I’d love to get some feedback from other druids out there as they play around with these talents on the PTR as well a the Beta. If anyone has had a chance to test out a particular build with the level 85 pre-made toons please let me know!