The latest beta build (12479) is up for Cataclysm and with it the new improved 31 talent trees.
Druids seem to be a right mess. This is, if not intentional, at least acknowledged by Blizzard as being a first pass and:
While this is a first pass on all of the talent trees, death knight, druid, paladin, warlock, Arcane mage, and Assassination rogue trees are not as far along as other specializations. (source)
I had rather figured that out for myself when I read balance druids were getting moonkin form at level 10 as their “primary skill” and it would be trainable by all druids regardless of spec at level forty.
Though I did do a wobble when I saw ferals got cat form as their level 10 active skill. Worried that meant I’d no longer be able to prowl around. Though as thats trainable by all druids at level 8. It seemed just as redundant
Apparently the developers are still playing with whether to give us moonkin at 10 or starsurge. I had to go look starsurge up:
You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devestating blast of energy at the target. Causes 1272.16 to 1756.79 Spellstorm damage to the target and knocking them down.
11% of base mana, 30 yd range, 2 sec cast, 15 sec cooldown
While it sounds quite nifty (those figures are level 85 not 10 btw) its new for Cataclysm so doesn’t really meet the stated intent that we get something we already associate with the spec.
If I had a vote I’d vote for Force of Nature at level 10 after all when you think balance druid the two things that come to mind are moonkin form and treants — oh alright and the bloody dance then.
No really I can’t review them. Hurricane at 44 but you have to wait till level 58 for barkskin. Hello we need barkskin when channelling hurricane otherwise we get interrupted and beaten up. On live theres a four level gap between the two which isn’t so bad but a 14 level gap? Way to make new players swear off a spell before they get the mechanism that makes it workable. Yes I know at 80 in raids no-one uses barkskin we have tanks to keep the mobs entertained but you cannot design the levelling experience around end game play styles.
Based on this build — which won’t make it to live — I wouldn’t want to level a balance druid in Cataclysm and that’s speaking as a player who levelled balance in classic and has created druid alts just to see the improvements in balance levelling every expansion has brought.
I know my reasoning isn’t reason or logic its an emotional response to moving some of my beloved levelling ‘markers’ to the “wrong” places. You shouldn’t get moonkin form for putting one talent in the tree you just shouldn’t. It’s iconic I don’t want level tens running around thinking they are balance druids because they spent one measly point in the tree. I want the wildkins crunching on their bones while they learn moonkins are not to be messed with.
On a less emotional level 5% crit before you get talents to increase the damage from crits isn’t actually terribly impressive as a ‘primary skill’
Okay time to break out Monty Python’s “When I were a lad”.