Shifting Perspectives: More on level 90 feral Mists of Pandaria talents

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

This week, I want to take a closer look at the proposed Mists of Pandaria level 90 talents for feral druids. This tier of talents has received significant criticism on the WoW forums and other discussion boards, with the most common appellation being “useless.” I couldn’t disagree more. Given the constraints that Blizzard has to operate under, I think these talents offer up some interesting new game mechanics.

Heresy, yes, I know. Before you bring out the pitchforks, remember these key facts about how talents are supposed to work:

  • Talents are no longer the prime determinants of player power; they are now merely utility skills. You can fulfill your core DPS/healing/tanking role in a raid with no talents at all, you’ll just be slightly less good at it. Rogues, as a comparison, only have one tier of talents that affect their DPS, just as we do; everything else is survivability, crowd control, or movement.
  • Talent choices must be reasonably balanced; otherwise, we’re back to everybody picking the same thing, which leads to the developers balancing around everyone having that thing, which causes complaints about not having choices. This balance has to extend to both PvE and PvP.
  • The benefits granted by talents can’t be so strong that they cause significant changes in class desirability, or we’re back to the shaman stacking model again. Admittedly, any advantages are still going to be min-maxed by heroic raiding guilds, but the perception that it’s required cannot be allowed to exist.
At least, that’s the theory. The ideal is for all six talent choices to be equally valuable for each PvE role and PvP (cynics are free to substitute “equally useless”). Unfortunately, having four specs makes this exceptionally difficult, so I expect we’ll likely end up with two to three no-brainer choices and two to three actual decisions after the balancing and theorycrafting is done. That ends up being pretty similar to the Cataclysm model but with much less added cruft — perfectly fine with me.

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Shifting Perspectives: More on level 90 feral Mists of Pandaria talents originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 26 Feb 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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