Spell Damage Spell Haste Eclipse
Eclipse: We are moving Eclipse from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance.
Well, I was right that we would get Spell Damage for one of our masteries, but we got Spell Haste instead of Spell Crit for our second one. I admit I'm a little surprised by it, since this runs counter to the majority of the casters and Wrath has never really played nice with haste, but most of the time, haste and crit can be taken in equal amounts, so maybe we'll just look for more crit on our gear to balance it out.
Having Eclipse be our third mastery is a little disappointing, if only because it's not "new," but I'm a little curious what this UI is going to look like. I currently have a mental picture of one of those tower bars in WG or EotS where there's Horde and Alliance color blocks on either end and the bar in the middle goes one way or the other depending on who's capping, except for moonkin I'm picturing a sun on one end and a crescent moon on the other.
If we're supposed to maintain the balance between the two, what's to stop someone from just twisting spells IS/MF/W/SF/W/SF/IS/MF/etc? Or would that result in no buff at all?
I also wonder how this will make it less random. Will the bar just always be up?
Melee Damage Melee Critical Damage Bleed Damage
Damage Reduction Vengeance Savage Defense
Bleed Damage and Savage Defense: Feral druids will receive two sets of passive bonuses depending on whether the druid is in cat or bear form. Bleed Damage will be improved for cats. Savage Defense is the current bear mechanic for converting crits into damage absorption and will be improved for bears.
Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Feral tree and the druid is in bear form -- these values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Feral tree and are in bear form, so you won’t see Balance, Restoration, or Feral druids in cat form running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today -- there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so the Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is that all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.
Cats get increased Melee Damage as expected, but they don't go down the Melee Haste route of the enhance shaman, fury warriors, or combat rogues. Rather, they get Melee Critical Damage like assassination rogues. The third mastery is the boring but practical increased Bleed Damage, which pretty much means: Don't forget to refresh Mangle, not that you ever did forget, did you?
The first two bear bonuses, Damage Reduction and Vengeance, aren't really a surprise since the other tanks had them. Savage Defense being moved to a mastery is though. I'm just not sure why. It already scales pretty nicely with crit and attack power, but supposedly it's going to be made "better."
I admit I'm more interested in seeing what the tweaks to cat rotation and additions to bear tanking will be like than the masteries themselves.
Healing Meditation HoT Scale Healing
HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.
Healing and Meditation were givens again, after seeing the other healer previews. HoT Scale Healing is nice though, if only because hots are better at providing a cushion for injuried players than bringing them back from the brink of death.
One of my favorite things in arena is when we catch a resto druid druid and his dps unawares, so the druid doesn't have a chance to hot him up before the kill. A dps could be maddeningly close to dead and not die if he has a full suite of hots on him. But if he doesn't have anything and the HT+NS combo is on cooldown that's a dead dps.
Of course, this means that resto druids will now be even more annoying in arena.