Updated Tue, Jan 03, 2012 by Messiah
When World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is released all classes will have a brand new talent system to deal with. The new talent system 2.0 is vastly different than the old system and greatly simplified. For a complete look at the new system check out the preview article here: WoW Talent System System Overham - Mists of Pandaria and Talent System 2.0.
This article however looks at the brand new druid talent tree to see if each choice that you can make provides a greater impact on your character than the old system provided. After all while the old talent system has plenty of points to allocate, most of them are locked into preset talents for best effect and there are few real choices to make. Therefore let's look at the new system and see if there are some real choices for druids.
You can look at the new talents for Druids on the Mists of Pandaria Druid Talent Calculator over on Blizzard's site.
The first tier in the druid talent tree is all about movement. All three choices provide different ways to boost movement. Feline Swiftness provides a constant 10% boost to your speed and a 20% boost while in cat form. Displacer Beast provides a random teleport away from the action and puts you into stealth and removes all periodic damage effects. Tireless Pursuit provides a huge boost to movement at a 70% boost for 15 seconds and removes all movement impairing effects.
All three are useful and the second two are even interesting. Feline Swiftness should be your go to ability if you are not sure about what you want, while the other two offer some interesting PVE utility and awesome PVP ability. Depending on your play style will determine which is better for you, I would prefer the tireless pursuit for melee PVP and displacer beast for caster, but both look awesome.
The second tier is all about utility and opening up some options while in forms. Nature's Swiftness allows several spells to be instant cast, last longer or do more, and be cast able in any form. Renewal is a big heal that restores 30% of your health instantly in any form. Cenarion Ward is a buff that can be placed on a target and then heals over time once they are hit.
All three are great abilities. Nature's swiftness would be my go to ability for PVE other than tanking since it offers the most utility. As a tank I would likely pick one of the healing abilities just to have a backup cooldown type ability, my choice there would be renewal. For PVP the choice becomes a bit more complicated, I think I would go for renewal as a big heal when you need it can save you in so many ways. Nature's swiftness however still provides a huge number of options that can help in so many ways.
This tier is a bit of a mixed bag as the abilities are all sort of different. First up there is Faerie Swarm which provides an armour debuff and slows the targets movement for a short period of time. This is a great ability for tanks since it allows you to cause more damage and therefore cause increased threat. Next up Mass Entanglement is a great control spell as it allows you to trap everyone nearby in roots which can be especially useful for escaping your enemies in either PVE of PVP content. Lastly there is Typhoon which is a damage ability that pushes enemies back and dazes them for a short time.
The choices seem fairly obvious at this level at least to me. Faerie swarm is the go to one for tanks, mass entanglement or typhoon for everyone else. In PVE I think either one can work as it will either trap enemies so you can get away, or pushes them away from you. For PVP again all have their uses, my choice here would be either faerie swarm so that your enemies can not stealth away from you, or mass entanglement so that you can get away from them.
This tier is all about your shapeshifting forms as a druid. First up there is Wild Charge which grants various movement abilities depending on your form, most are to either close the distance to an enemy or escape depending on your form. Incarnation is another ability that is based on your form but this one increases your abilities in that form substantially for a short period of time. Lastly there is Force of Nature that allows you to summon three treants to help you fight.
Incarnation seems the strongest here but the others have their place. For example Force of Nature is a great ability for almost anyone as it provides good damage and is a fire and forget ability that everyone loves. Wild charge would be my choice though for PVP as it allows an addition move ability to close distances or escape as needed.
This tier is about some control over enemies. First up is Demoralizing Roar which disorients all nearby enemies for 4 seconds. Next up there is Ursol's Vortex which pulls all nearby enemies towards it for 15 seconds. Lastly there is Bear Hug which is a very short 3 second stun that also deals damage.
If you are a tank bear hug is the obvious choice since it also deals damage. The amount of damage it can do is pretty substantial as well since 30% of a tanks health is about 40-50% of anyone else's health. As any other spec Ursol's Vortex is a great control ability since it pulls enemies towards it allowing you to get away. Demoralizing roar is also a great ability but mainly for PVP since it can send everyone running and more importantly it interrupts spell casting.
The final tier is all about big abilities. First up there is Heart of the Wild which allows you to use abilities outside of your normal ability for 45 seconds every 6 minutes. This is a really different and interesting ability as it allows you to do something different for a short period of time. Master Shapeshifter is a bit more of the same as it grants abilities of one type to improve damage of abilities of another type. So if you cast spells it improves melee damage or vise versa. Lastly Disentanglement boosts your shapeshifting ability, it now removes removes roots and heals you for 20%.
All of these abilities are interesting and different and provide a whole lot of interesting abilities for a hybrid class. Disentanglement is the only exception in that it doesn't provide different abilities, but boosts you escape and healing ability. As such it is my choice for PVP players, while I would pick either of the other two for PVE situations.
After looking at all of the choices that are available to a Druid in this new talent tree I see some real options and choices. In the old talent system there were a lot of talents and a big amount of choice in theory, however most of your points were locked into preset talents that were not very interesting and didn't change your character much at all.
The new talent system has many different and interesting abilities that appear to be real choices. While some lend them self to certain specs more than others, they are all valid choices and you will not be out of place by taking almost any of them over any other one.
To me this new tree does in fact offer fewer choices, but they are much better and more important choices.