14 October 2008

First draft talent builds: Druid for 3.0.2

Well, it's official: 3.0.2 will arrive today. Official 3.0.2 patch notes are now available, and we'll definitely see all the new stuff when the realms come back up. Remember, all your talent points are refunded — on all your toons. So all those alts will have to respec too. And you'll want to visit a class trainer to learn new spells; some of them are available even at quite low levels, so everyone should train up.

Also: barber shops!

I spent some time last night taking photos around Dalaran and the old Naxxrimas; I'll post some comparisons later on. I'm curious to see how they change things. It was a little wistful, even though I'm looking forward to the new stuff. And that goes for talents as well as terrain; all my familiar specs and builds are out the window. What next?

I specced out three talent builds that I might try using in the next month. I'll share the details, but here are the constraints I used:

  • 61 points: I built for level 70, as I'm only expecting to use these specs for the next month.
  • All spells: I made a point to build out all the way to Starfall in Balance and Wild Growth in Resto. Part of what I want to do is learn how these things work, so I built all the way down.
  • Casual play: I don't expect to do any raiding in the next month, so I'm less concerned about optimizing. When in doubt, I took talents with new mechanics (Living Seed) instead of generic boosts to healing or damage, so that I could learn how they work.
So: my specs.

Balance: 61/0/0

I am still not sure whether the change to Moonfury and Earth and Moon will be in effect for this build — will they be 5-point or 3-point talents? As it stands though, 3 points in each is enough to understand the effects, so I'll stick with that either way.

I didn't take Genesis, because I think that solo play won't give me enough chance to see the effects of more-powerful DoTs. I also didn't take Natures Focus in Resto, even though that's probably an important talent, because I want to understand more about how the new pushback mechanic will play out.

I was very tempted to take points in Resto. Eventually I think it might be important to build down to Omen of Clarity, and maybe even Natural/Master Shapeshifter. Furor could be very nice too. But I couldn't spend those points and take all the possibilities in Balance too.

I suspect that eventually I'll decide to skip Eclipse, and maybe some other talents too. But for now I want to understand how it works, and what proc-watching will entail. So I'll give it a try.

Resto: 5/0/56

This would be the spec I'll use to heal through some heroic instances prior to WotLK. So it's designed to both test out spells but also to make sure I can heal well enough.

I took 5 points in Genesis — unlike in my Balance build — because it should be a major boost to HoT-based healing. At level 80, I fully expect to try a build that goes into Nature's Grace/Nature's Splendor, but I can't spare the points just yet.

I'm a little worried about mana management — it's going to be worse than today, but I'm not sure how much worse. If it's really bad, I might regret skipping Tranquil Spirit. We'll see.

I didn't take Replenish. I'm inclined to second-guess that, because I'd really like to test it out. But I just don't see any way that the talent will pay off. Maybe I'll change my mind and give it a try — to make sure.

Restokin: 31/0/30

I also decided to take a stab at a level-70 Restokin spec. There's a good chance I'll choose something like this as my leveling spec when WotLK hits.

It's nice to see Dreamstate a tier below Moonkin form now. On the one hand, that means you can get 3/3 in Dreamstate with only 31 points in Balance. On the other, it means you could get a non-boomkin Dreamstate/Nature's Swiftness build that only takes 28 points in Balance. It really opens some options.

With both Intensity and Dreamstate, I'm less worried about mana management, so I feel OK about skipping Tranquil Spirit. I'm less sanguine about skipping Furor; I might move the points over from Improved MotW and Nature's Focus. I also might try for a build that takes Natural/Master Shapeshifter. But I'd probably have to skip Naturalist to do that, and I don't think I can give up the half-second savings on HT if I want to heal instances as I level.

So, there's some quick thoughts. I'll probably spec into Balance tonight to try out the fun new toys, but move back to Resto as soon as I can get an instance group together. We might try for an easy heroic tonight to test things out; Cargarios in particular is going to have to learn how to run his Paladin again as they have major changes. Should be fun!

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