The Family and Friends Alpha for Wrath of the Lich King is going on as we speak.

I’m not in it.

In fact, if I got all whiny, I could make a case that someone at Blizz doesn’t like me very much, if you go by the dozen-plus emails I got from them when my account was hacked Christmas a year and a half ago and my main had all of her end-game 40 man resto raiding gear wiped out, emails that strung me along for over a month before I got a final form email basically saying “We don’t believe you had any gear, so have some random greens, buy Burning Crusade, and STFU.”

And I do still have all those emails, not because I’m all bitter, but because I don’t use that email much, so it’s never had the archives purged. i fuond them when digging through my ancient email looking for my CuteFTP software activation key to install it on Cassie’s new computer.

It’s been a long time since those days. Do I feel angry towards Blizzard for this? Do I love the game any less? Well, all I can say is, read my blog and you be the judge. I think I am mature enough to differentiate between the way some folks in one small department of a company deal with customers, and the way others go about creating the game I love. I can love the game and the designers and programmers, the art folks and creative people and be a big fanboy, without having any sympathy whatsoever to their customer service department.

Now, while I won’t do anything to hurt the game, I know I for one love seeing glimpses of what’s in store, so long as there are no blatant spoilers about the lore or storyline. We all do, right?

I’m not in the Alpha. I ain’t in any way involved with them in any capacity, official or unofficial. And guess what? That means I didn’t sign or agree to an NDA.

So I have no problems with seeing the information that is being leaked from the Alpha by others, and sharing what I think is neat information that would be of great interest to you guys.

I wrote an article this morning for WoW Insider where I discuss in general terms the new Talents in the Feral Tree in the Alpha, and speculate on what this means for the future of bear tanking.

BUT, depending on if the War Tools site is active or accessible, you may or may not be able to see the tool tips for the abilities I talk about there.

So this post is going to be me linking to the pictures of the new Talents, so you can see exactly what they look like at this point in time. 

I hope you feel the same excitement when you see these Talents and speculate on the fun of using them in battle that I did. I’m sure things will change, maybe stuff will be removed or added before it goes live. It’s the Alpha, stuff will ALWAYS change somewhere.

But ain’t it cool to see it and know we get to keep tanking on?

And hey… while I would love to be contacted by Blizzard and offered the chance to interview someone about the future of Druids in WoW, or get access to a Beta, or any of a host of other things that would let me see something I could share with you in the future, let’s be realistic. I write a blog about Druids, and my audience ain’t Blizzard. It’s other Druids. And you don’t really come to me for inside scoop, you come here, if it’s about Druids, to see my cranky opinions on existing Druid stuff.

Or for drama. Or wierd stories. Sometimes, I get confused as to what the heck I’m doing here, myself.

Anyway, on to the links! (And just for Valthan, I added the text descriptions.)

  • Berserk - (1/1) Removes all Stun, Fear, Snare and Movement Impairing Effects and increases your energy regeneration rate by 100% while in Cat form, and increases your total health by 20% while in Bear form. After the effect ends, the health is lost. Effect lasts 20 seconds.
  • Improved Mangle - (3/3) Reduces the cooldown of your Mangle (Bear) ability by -20%, and reduces the energy cost of your Mangle (Cat) ability by -6.
  • Infected Wounds - (5/5) Your Shred, Maul and Mangle attacks have a 100% chance to cause an Infected Wound in the target. The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed and casting speed of the target by 10%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 12 seconds.
  • Primal Aggression - (3/3) Increases the critical strike chance of your Maul and Shred abilities by 5%.
  • Primal Precision - (2/2) Increases your expertise by 10, and you are refunded -60% of the energy cost of a finishing move if it fails to land.
  • Reinforced Hide - (3/3) Reduces all spell damage taken by 10%, and increases your Armor contribution from items by an additional 10%.
  • Resto – Master Shapeshifter - (2/2) Grants an effect which lasts while the Druid is within the respected shapeshifted form. Bear form - increases physical damage by 4%. Cat form - increases critical strike chance by 4%. Moonkin form – increases spell damage by 4%. Tree form – increases healing by 4%. 

Seriously… enjoy!

31 Responses to “Speculating about new Feral Druid Talents”
  1. Grizz says:

    Oh wow, I hadn’t even realized this info was available yet.

    Those talents are SWEET. I gotta go hunt down the rest after work…

  2. Valthan says:

    Bear, could you perhaps post the description (or the pictures) on your site proper for those of us stuck at work with a moronic Websense?

  3. Valthan says:

    Thanks a lot! As a raiding OT/DPS feral these look awesome. A few points:

    Beserk: This better stay in, I seriously hate how fearable I am! My biggest pet peeve in this game is that damn ability

    Imp Mangle: I wonder if mangle spam will out dps shred spam now, even after crits

    Infected Wounds: Can you say kitty kiteing?! Run in, get aggro, crit off some mangles to slow the mob, run away, and let it try and catch you! Sounds awesome!

    Primal Aggression: Raid buffed currently at 45% crit (can only get better the hight my level goes) so not like I need more crits, but its also not like I would say no to more either!

    Primal Precision: YES! I can never get enough expertise, I am hit capped, but hate (read: HATE) losing energy to dodged rips… makes my mana burn that much higher (I am a very avid powershifter when dpsing)

    Re-inforced hide: If this is in addition to that other talent for 10% thats aweosme! And the fact that it reduced spell damage (which always seem to rape my face hard and fast) is just great!

    Master Shapeshifter: Now this is great, and if it is an arrow away from Natural Shapeshifter, it might actually make me spec that, as right now, even with my massive powershifts in cat, the 30% less usage only takes it down to ~600 mana, so it really isn’t worth it since Nurturing Instinct got the buff last patch (specced away from NS to NI then)

    Oops, sorry Bear… the first day I decide I have something worth saying and comment, I take over your blog. Maybe I should get one of my own… but ninja’ing yours is so much more fun! :P

  4. Dalican says:

    Wow, these talents seem pretty good. I just can’t wait to see how they will unfold and benefit furry tanks at 80!

  5. Hrog says:

    Here’s my 2c:

    Berserk (Cat) – Adrenaline Rush (Rogue)
    Berserk (Bear) – Last Stand (Warrior)
    + removing effects, which Rogue and Warrior don’t have.

    Improved Mangle (Bear) – imp. Mortal Strike (warrior)
    Improved Mangle (Cat) – imp. Sinister Strike (Rogue)

    Primal Aggression – Puncturing wounds (Rogue). 3/3 is 15% btw, 5% per talentpoint.

    Infected Wounds – Mind-Numbing poison + Crippling poison (Rogue) in one… Without a chance of being resisted, so you get Shiv as well… and you still get to have weigthstones on your mace…

    Primal Precision – Weapons expertise + Quick Recovery (Rogue, in different trees, both above 20 talent-points).

    Reinforced Hide – Imp. Defensive Stance (I think it’s called that anyway) (30+ talentpoints for Warrior, gives only 3%) + Toughness (Warrior). ANOTHER 10% on armor? wow, people are gonna be capped around lvl76 I guess…

    Resto – Master Shapeshifter – That’s just…. IMBA….

    My conclusion: I’m astounded by the lack of originality tbh, I wonder which talents/abilities from other classes they are gonna give to my rogue…

  6. Valthan says:

    @Hrog

    You have to remember that the armour scales with level, and bears don’t have a cap persay. So you won’t be armour capped for the raid bosses (83 elites) at 76. Bears can get to 75% reduction. Your char pane will say 75% before you are actually at the 75% for the boss, since it compares to an equal leveled mob, which bosses are not. Something along the lines of Tankpoints (another Ace mod) will tell you when you are really capped.

  7. Messyah says:

    Personally, I want a quicker multi-mob tanking ability such as the Paladin’s consecrate or the Warrior’s Thunderclap. I wouldn’t mind having some range on growl as well. Oh, and a spell interrupt ability (not the Vengeful add-in crap) would rock.

  8. Hrog says:

    Valthan,

    I know, I know, kinda was in shock and aw at that time, and I tend to over exaturate at those moments ^^

    In all honesty, I can hardly see these new talents really getting to Live. It’s allmost if someone is playing a delayed april-fool’s prank or something?

    I play a rogue myself, have a warrior-alt as well, and am leveling a druid. I know for sure, that if the first 2 classes don’t get some same level buffs compared to these new talents, I’ll be retiring 2 70′s ^^

  9. Valthan says:

    I found this site (http://wotlk.wikidot.com/) from a post on alt.games.warcraft usenet group I am a part of. Has all notes about Wrath currently known and confirmed. No rogue talents / spells are in Wrath yet, but there are a bunch of Warrior ones which to me look pretty pwn (haveing never had a warrior, I wouldn’t actually know, but reading them sounds cool).

    @Hrog: Hope I didn’t sound too harsh, just wanted to make sure the facts were known…

    @Bear: Wow, been reading your posts for a while, love all your irl posts. Finally saw something that I really had sometheing to say on that another commenter (or you yourself usually) hadn’t thunder-stolen, and now I take over the comment area… go me!

  10. Ray (Dunship) says:

    Umm, question…what would stop you from dying with Berserk?

    Example: I am in bear form and taking loads of damage, pop Berserk and get 20% more HP, but still 3-4 mobs beating on me and nobody to back me up.

    i finish off the mobs @ below 20% as berserk wears off, sucking it’s bonus with it, now i’m out the entire 20% it gave me? or if i pop into caster form to self-heal will berserk buff drop like Leader of the Pack still killing me? I can’t pot in bear form?

    If this is accurate it doesn’t look like a solo ability (not that bear form is useful as a solo form) but just an observation.

  11. Valthan says:

    I think it works like the nightmare seed (2k HP), where it gives you (and increases your pool by said amount, and upon the buff wearing off, the pool size goes down by the amout stated but, not your HP (assuming you weren’t full health)

    If it is how you are thinking, you could always pop feral regen, which should make up for that health that would drop off to kill you

    As far as Bear not being a viable solo form, I do it all the time, get 5 or so mobs on me (make sure thorns is up), and swipe, with constant mauls and mangles when CD is done, with tabs-targetting to swipe all the mobs and have them all die around the same time, since you will be rage starved if left with too few mobs at the end. I find it works for grinding out areas much quicker then catting each mob (see zaxxis, or the nagrand orgres, or sunfury bitches for rep [as an aside for that, why can't there be an easy place for me to get CE rep, I still need that damn hammer and am sick and tired of Coilfang runs, and the fact that the arms are 16g ea on my server doesn't bloody help]). From what I have been told by guildies, this is akin to the prot pally way of leveling and letting their shield blocks and consecration kill people, except we have the added crits (my maul crits for 1-1.2k in my tank gear, and usually you can do this method in your dps gear in bear form) and half decent white damage to help out.

  12. bigbearbutt says:

    Valthan – dude, posting a lot in the comments is not hijacking my blog. Chill. LOL. If that were the case, Messyah would pwn yer butt, big time. It’s nice to see you energized, but it’s okay. Relax.

    The wiki spot is live now, true, but it’s just that… a wiki. it’s open to change by anyone, including haters. By all means, if you want to, go there and read what they have. There is a lot of neat stuff to read. I’m not going to link to them myself because the quality/accuracy is subject to change without notice. And the last time I looked there, I did see a few differences from what I’ve found from a verified source elsewhere. Minor, but I’ll stick to what I got.

    Hrog, I personally am glad that you took a look at the Talents and made comparisons with what the Rogue and Warriors have already had. It’s actually helpful to me to know that these are the things other classes already take for granted.

    In my opinion, what you did was show that, while the Rogues and Warriors will be moving forward from their starting point to add brand new abilities, Druids will be filling in some of the gaps to bring each spec up to where you are now, with maybe a few streamlined tweaks to simplify things, since we shift so much already between roles.

    I’m sure things will change, but remember the golden rule of staggered info releases. Before you call another class ability or talent ‘omigawd OPed’, wait to see what your class is gonna get. It might save some embarassment.

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    And Messyah, don’t forget. This is just a peek at early talents.

    You never know what new Ability/Spells are gonna be obtained as we level.

  14. Jagoex says:

    BBB, very good post, bro. Great insights.

    As for the FnF Alpha, I believe the way it works is that the only Bliz employees, their families, and personal friends received invites. This limits the pool of participants quite a bit, given the limited number of invites the employees can hand out. But my bet is that you know a good number of people that work there, so it is still odd you wouldn’t be offered one.

    I’d love to say that your history with customer service had nothing to do with it, but what do I know… I’m just sitting on the cusp over here. And frankly, I don’t care much for them and their system of standardized responses either.

    As for the NDA, I can tell you with complete confidence that it is 100% rubbish. Blizzard wants info. leaked, now that Age of Conan is live and they need the hype to steal some of the new game’s thunder. The NDA is just a legal loop they have everyone jump through and must jump through themselves. You know how lawyers are.

    Anyway, hope all is well.

  15. Brandon says:

    Yes it’s too early to speculate until we see what the other classes will receive. As a rogue, naturally I’m envious of the overall streamlined talents that the feral class has received and my knee-jerk reaction would be; why roll a rogue even? But we have to remember that Blizz “may” be adding further hero classes. Perhaps they are laying the ground work on some serious talent/niche restructuring later? Does Blizz have that kind of foresight? hehe

  16. Kal says:

    Remember as well – this is the talents, not the skills. Some of the skill changes:

    Feral charge now works in CAT form.
    Tiger’s Fury has no energy cost but a 30 second cooldown
    Hurricane has no cooldown

    We probably haven’t seen any of the new skills yet. Lacerate was an entirely new skill, after all. So was cyclone. It’s quite possible that there are plenty of skills in the tree that aren’t affected by talents that we’ll be getting. There are probably many others. I would’ve liked a slightly better AoE ability as well, though swipe isn’t so bad. I would’ve liked a way to deal with spells better, but this isn’t so bad. I would really have liked a stronger differentiation from the other tanking classes, but berserk is still insanely good.

  17. Valthan says:

    @Brandon we may be getting streamlined, as Hrog pointed out, a lot of it is old stuff you are used to, and you will most likely get stuff we wish we had (like more spell interupts and stuns). In my experience equally leveled and geared, rogues will always do better DPS, but as a druid, we can multitask and take care of something else while still dpsing that mob

  18. Kal says:

    And as stated by Alison, this is possibly the scariest change:

    Resilience – Resilience will no longer function inside of instances. Only if you are flagged PVP in the real world, BG’s, and Arenas

    That isn’t absolutely critical; if bear gear has defense on it, it’ll be fine. But it will absolutely crush early bears coming out of BC, or make them scramble for random bad gear here and there.

  19. Valthan says:

    Kal, can I get a link to that?! That would make my tanking set right now, just under uncrittable… as I took out my + defense gemming for +stam gems since resil is so godly

  20. Kal says:

    Sorry for the spam, but to correct another comment I made:

    survival of the fittest is being boosted from 1/2/3% to 2/4/6% crit reduction and stat improvement. Which would mean no resilience or defense is necessary on druid gear.

    Huzzah!

  21. Minos says:

    @Kal: One of the rumors I’ve heard is that the crit reduction from 3/3 Survival of the Fittest is 6% instead of 3%. Bears would be uncrittable without any +defense or +resilience. There would probably be more overlap between cat gear and bear gear, but it also means that some rings/trinkets/etc that are useful to other tanks aren’t as useful for bears.

  22. Valthan says:

    @Minos They will still be useful as those usually give armour, and defense rating will still yeild dodge bonuses for us. Now whether or not some nice agil rings will outweigh them is another question

  23. Cappy says:

    Some of the new talents sound pretty good can’t wait to see what they keep in. However for me the biggest problem i’ve had in WoW is this:

    Player X: LFG channel “Need 1M dps for Heroic Daily, pst me”
    Me: “I’ll dps for you”
    Player X: “sorry was looking for CC”

    The change i’m most excited about in WoTLK is:

    “Entangling Roots can now be used indoors as well.”

    That was on elitist jerks today, quoted from the Blizzcon thread.

    I think cat druids just went from the last class anyone wanted for dps in a 5 man, to probably the first class people want for dps in a 5 man. Off-healing, Leader of the Pack, Improved Leader of the pack, Battle-Rez, Mangle for bleeds and now a truly viable form of CC. I pray that change makes it into WoTLK.

    I can’t wait to hit the LFG channel in WoTLK if that happens.

  24. Minos says:

    Hah, that’s what I get for not refreshing before I post.

  25. Mithral says:

    +Defense would still be useful, as it increases the miss/dodge chance, but not REQUIRED in order to avoid getting crit-in-the-face while tanking raid-bosses.

    This makes gearing a bear tank for entry-level raids much easier, as you would just need to get lots of Stam/Armor/Dodge, as opposed to needing to hit some ‘magic’ number of defense to stay uncrittable.

    Also, if you do get +Def gear, you can pull some talent points OUT of SotF and use them someplace else. Having choices in MMOs is a good thing.

  26. bigbearbutt says:

    Mithral, Kal, Minos, I think that, IF the change goes in as it is, you’re all damn right. It’s going to not only improve our itemization choices as bear tanks, but it will let us choose to seek out +Def gear to be able to reduce points in Survival of the Fittest for other places.

    If you play with the current iteration of the tree, I’m finding it difficult to get everything I feel is critical in Feral, AND get Master Shapeshifter.

    Most other classes have had to accept trade offs to get an effective spec. Feral druids have had it fairly easy. As things stand, if you are weak in +Def and need to put full points in, that can be a pain. Which, as Mithral said, means choices.

    And yes, I damn well agree. Having choices in MMOs, and goals to work towards, is a good thing.

  27. Minxette says:

    Love the post BigBear. Was happy with most of the changes but wasnt that impressed with the concept of infected wounds. Why? Well it sounded to me more like a PvP talent than anything else.

    Basically it is a rogues cripple + mind numbing poison in one. Which sounds fantastic – but for pve really isnt so. As a rogue player as well I have found that most elite mobs (especially bosses) are immune to mind numbing effects and so I am dubious as to its use in PvE. What poisons do rogue’s use in PvE – deadly and/or instant – and this is neither – it does no additional damage and hence for such a deep talent I feel it is worthless.

    What were your thoughts on it?

  28. SuxToBU says:

    What I would like to see is damage from FFF, just 1 hp off the mob so it is mine. Grabbing a mob & having a rog throw a low lvl dagger at it to tag it, but leave the threat on me blows chunks. I’ve taken to hitting lvl 1 moonfire then switching to cat when doing dailies; shapeshift eats the mana, but at least i’m not doing the work for others.

  29. Kheldar says:

    @ Suxtobu

    yeah thats about my one main niggle atm doing a lot of dailies in cat form to – pulling a mob with FFF and then some else comes along and decided to nick it out from under me with a damage dealing pull. :(

  30. Just as a thought…

    Leaving out Master Shapeshifter, that’s 17 Talent points of new Talents…

    And there’s only 10 “new levels” – so 10 Talent points to spend…

    What I see in those talents is a move towards dividing the Bears and Kitties a little more.

    Some of them are directed purely towards “better Tanking” (Reinforced Hide, in particular), others are towards “more DPS” (Primal Aggression and Primal Precision), whilst others are more “Feral Utility” Talents…

    I can’t get to any of the links to see what the trees look like, but it will be interesting to see where they end up in the Talent Tree (and if they have a split at the top end of the Feral Tree where only one of the “best” Talents can be taken). At the moment, we have the “41 point talents” – Mangle, Tree of Life, Force of Nature – I’d been assuming we end up with 3 new 51 point Talents in WotLK – but maybe there will be two paths in each Spec…

    I’m assuming Beserk is the 51 point Feral Talent…

    I’m currently Feral 0/47/14 (http://anachronos-eu.warcrafter.net/Stobnor) – Furor 5/5, Naturalist 5/5, Omen of Clarity 1/1 and Intensity 3/3 in the Resto Tree.

    Interesting times…

  31. dingo says:

    Interesting, but some of them are directly from a thread on wowforums, something like “cry cry cry – I need something so ppl dont laugh at me in pvp”. Or at least, if I had written it, that would’ve been the title. Especially the Infected Wounds, worded almost right out of the post. Either I’m going to be surprised on release that Blizz listens to us ‘whiners’* or we’re all going to find out that the cake is a lie**.

    ~ding0
    *People with legitimate concerns that maybe our class/spec combo needs a slight buff.
    **It is, trust me, I was there.

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