Friday, 11 June 2010

Competition, and Cataclysm Balance talents

Did you miss out on BlizzCon tickets but really really still want one?

The Twisted Nether Blogcast are giving one away! Actually, that's not really true - they are giving away the rights to buy one ticket from Hydra from Almost Evil. You still need to have the money to buy it!

All you need to do is write a haiku about TNB by June 14 (next Monday). Get to it!


Now to the juicy news - Blizzard has sent select fansites details of the new talent trees for Cataclysm for Druids, Priests, Shaman and Rogues. Note:  These are still a preview - the Beta has yet to start, so chances are they could still be significantly different to those shown here.

EDIT July 9: **PLEASE NOTE** These talents are no longer to be implemented.  Blizzard have decided to overhaul the talent trees completely - see the post on MMO-Champion for more information.

I'm going to talk about the Balance Druid changes after the break.  If you don't want to see spoilers, stop reading now! Restoration changes tomorrow!

** Spoilers after the break!! **

The full text of the talents can be found at MMO-Champion, but I'll just list the new stuff.

Wowhead also have a talent calculator available, so we can see how the new talents might look.

This is the first real look we've had at the new Moonkin talents (that I've seen, at least)! It looks like it could be quite a different class to play come Cataclysm.

Before we start here, remember way back in that dev chat where they talked about the new eclipse mechanic? I drew a little diagram of how I thought it would work... 

This is how I visualise the change they have planned:
So it's going to be a balancing act (haha, I see what they did there) between casting enough Nature spells to buff Arcane, then casting enough Arcane spells to buff Nature. I'll look forward to seeing the numbers associated with this.
Here's the new talents:

Solar Beam (1 point) - You summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target's location, interrupting the enemy target and silencing all enemy targets under the beam within 10 yards while it is active. Solar Beam lasts for 12 seconds.
We already heard about this one previously - a PvP talent? It's required for Starsurge (see below), so we might end up taking it to get this nuke.

Celestial Focus no longer gives a spell haste bonus.

Lunar Justice (3 points) - When you kill a target that yields experience or honor, a ray of moonlight will shine underneath the fallen enemy instantly restoring 2/4/6% of your base mana to you or the first ally who stands underneath it. Lunar Justice lasts for 15 seconds.
This sounds like it could be annoyingly pinched accidentally or on purpose by a tank or melee paladin (since other melee don't use mana), or might create a mad rush after trash pulls by the ranged. I think it should work just for the caster. If it's on every kill, a huge moonlight glow will be on every trash pack - making it a bit of a nightmare if several mana users were hoping to take advantage. 

Starsurge (1 point) - Requires 1 point in Solar Beam - You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devastating blast of energy at the target. Causes 622 to 691 Spellstorm damage to the target and knocking them down.
622 to 691 damage doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm guessing these numbers aren't final. This talent can theoretically be reached at level 30, at which level 600 damage is loads! Until we have actual information about the spell itself (instant/cast time, mana cost etc) we can't really say much else about it.

Lunar Guidance (3 points) - Requires 1 point in Starsurge - Increases the radius of your Solar Beam by 2/4/6 yards, and your Starsurge also instantly generates 5/10/15 Lunar or Solar energy, depending on which is greater.
This spell may end up being important to "balancing" the new eclipse mechanic in the diagram above.

Moonkin Form(1 point) - Shapeshift into Moonkin Form. While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 120%, and increases the spell critical strike chance of all nearby friendly and raid targets within 100 yards by 5%. The moonkin cannot cast healing or resurrection spells while shapeshifted. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and movement impairing effects
Improved Moonkin Form (3 points) - Requires 1 point in Moonkin Form. You also grant 2/3/5% spell haste to all nearby friendly party and raid targets within 100 yards while in Moonkin Form.
NERF - The existing Moonkin Form gives us reduced damage while stunned, and spell crits have a chance to instantly regenerate 2% of total mana in addition to the 5% crit buff.  The existing Improved Form gives us 30% of our spirit as additional spell damage as well as the haste buff. I assume this was done to balance other changes. 

Euphoria (2 points) - When you critically hit with Wrath or Starfire, you instantly gain an additional 2/4 Lunar or 4/8 Solar Energy. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 6/12% of your total mana.

We may not see how useful this talent will be until we see how the Lunar/Solar energy business or our mana use.  In the wowhead talent tree, this talent requires points in Dreamstate, but the MMO-Champion description doesn't say that.

Wrath of Cenarius (3 points) - While moving, the direct damage of your Moonfire spell is increased by 5% and its mana cost is reduced by 10% for 3 seconds. This effect can stack up to 3 times and lasts 3 seconds, but is refreshed as long as you are in movement. Your starfire spell gains an additional 8/12% and your Wrath gains an additional 4/6% of your bonus damage effects.
Interesting rework. The current Wrath of Cenarius just buffs Moonfire and Starfire directly, but this movement effect could be very useful in movement-intensive fights.

Improved Eclipse (3 points) - Increases the amount of Lunar or Solar energy generated from your Starfire and Wrath by 12%, and when critically hit by a melee or ranged attack, you will instantly generate Lunar or Solar Energy. 
Another tool to help us balance our energies. Notice there's no first-level Eclipse anymore. I wonder how they will implement the new system if not via talents?
*NOTE* the description on MMO-Champion has part of the old eclipse text in it.

Fungal Growth (2 points) - When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 35/70%. Lasts 10 seconds.
Aha, there is a snare component to the mushrooms... I can't wait to see if there will be any situational uses for this or if it will be only for PvP.

It's difficult to determine what the spell rotation will be just from looking at the new talents, but it could well be basically the same as we have now: Cast either wrath or starfire, then switch at some point depending on Lunar or Solar energy. Two new castable spells come from talents, Solar Beam and Starsurge. Other spells and talents will help us to balance Lunar and Solar Energy. 

The revealed talents provoke more questions. Eclipse only remains in the form of "Improved Eclipse".  Does that mean that it will be a part of the Lunar/Solar mechanic that all Moonkin have? Also, will all druids have the Lunar/Solar mechanic? It's not mentioned anywhere in the Balance talents.

I guess we'll have to wait until the Beta starts to see how it's all going to work. I'm not opting into the Beta but I can't wait to see how it all rolls out.

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