Two quick notes: First all comments are based on the limited information we have and assume that the talents go live as we currently see them. That is of course not true, but we have nothing else to go on. Second, the wonderful images below were taken from the MMO Champion website. If for some reason you don't know about MMO Champion, please check them out. They are hands down the best WoW news site out there.
Tier One: Mobility Tier
- Feline Swiftness - It's not sexy, but it's a solid buff. This will probably be the most common choice of the three options.
- Displacer Beast - At first glance it looks to primarily be a PvP/Leveling talent. However, it might have a role in PvE if it can remove Boss DoTs.
- Tireless Pursuit - This one seems out of place given the other abilities we traditionally have. For example the speed boost is cool, but we already have that utility with Dash, Stampeding Roar and possibly Darkflight. In fact, I would probably replace this one with Stampeding Roar.
- Tier Summary - I'm not that impressed with this tier, but it is the level 15 tier so I'm not sure how much could be expected.
- Nature's Swiftness - Making Cyclone and Roots instant cast could have some PvE and PvP benefits for Moonkin, but I doubt they are huge. Could also act as an "Oh Sh*t" button when macroed with a healing spell.
- Renewal - This is a pure "Oh Sh*t" button. Assuming it maths out better then Nature's Swiftness, this is the talent I would choose for raiding.
- Cenarion Ward - Some resto's have been asking for a shield type ability for a long time, and this is it. It looks like cool ability to my inexperienced eyes, but I don't see any purpose for a moonkin to pick it up.
- Tier Summary - I think this tier is pretty well done. Healers have a definite choice between a shield and a cooldown. Non-healers have a solid choice in Renewal, and Nature's Swiftness might be useful in some situations.
- Faerie Swarm - It's a Faerie Fire that you don't have to stack and that has a slow effect. Sounds great for bears but I see no use for it as a moonkin.
- Mass Entanglement - A poor man's Frost Nova for Druids. I see some potential with this talent especially when used with other talents and abilities, but the 2 sec cast time has me a little turned off on it.
- Typhoon - What's interesting about this one is that the damage portion of the spell seems to have been removed. That's not a huge deal, since the Typhoon is currently used more for the knockback then it is for damage, but it's interesting none the less.
- Tier Summary - Another pretty well done tier. I think Typhoon will be the most common choice for moonkin since a knockback is generally more helpful then a mass root, but I can think of several situations where I would want to have Mass Entanglement instead.
- Wild Charge - This is an interesting option, because the effect is tied to your form and not your spec. Basically, you're picking up 4 abilities with this choice rather then just one. In Moonkin form it's a Disengage that generates energy. The caster form example could also be used as a movement cooldown if needed.
- Incarnation - The tool tip doesn't list a moonkin example, but judging from the examples listed it looks like Moonkin finally will have the option to have a real DPS cooldown.
- Force of Nature - Will summon three trents that may or may not behave the way it currently does for us. My guess is that this will be the same basic spell we've always had from a moonkin perspective, but maybe they will be casters for us instead of melee.
- Tier Summary - We don't really know a lot about these options from the information given, but they are definitely some interesting options. Wild Charge seems to be a utility choice, and we will only pick it up if it provides something we need for a particular encounter or maybe for PvP. The choice between Incarnation and Force of Nature is likely to be a math problem. One of them will end up being stronger and that is the one we will pick..
- Demoralizing Roar - Nice utility, but is extremely situation and shifts me to Bear form.
- Ursol's Vortex - This one has some potential, but again seems very situational. I can see where it might be helpful in PvP, but for PvE I think it's fairly limited.
- Bear Hug - Again, it's interesting but very situational. I like that it does damage, but I don't like being taken out of the fight to use it. I also don't like being shifted to bear form.
- Tier Summary - Of the six druid tiers previewed at Blizzcon this is my least favorite. There is just very little there for a moonkin to work with. All three abilities have their uses given the right situation, but my guess is that those situations will be fairly rare.
- Heart of the Wild - I get the concept. Create an ability that allows druids to be good at their other potential rolls, but it rubs me the wrong way. If I'm in a situation where I need to heal or tank we are likely screwed already, and this ability won't help. Additionally, as a moonkin, why would I ever want Agility and Expertise? If I'm going to DPS I'm going to do it as a Moonkin, not a cat.
- Master Shapeshifter - Horrible! Just Horrible! So by shifting out of Moonkin Form to use a few cat or bear abilities I can get an average of a 20% buff for three spells. Minus what ever damage I would have done by staying in Moonkin form instead of shifting to Cat or Bear form. This wouldn't be so bad, if moonkin regularly had to switch into feral forms, but in my 5 years of playing this game I very rarely have had shift to use my melee abilities.
- Disentanglement - Shapeshifting removes roots like it currently does but will also real you for 20% of your health. In short, it's a healing cooldown.
- Tier Summary - I know I said that tier five was my least favorite tier, but tier six is making me seriously reconsider my words. Heart of the Wild and Master Shapeshifter are at best very situational and at worst completely useless. Disentanglement is good utility, but boring. For the top tier of the expansion I expect something better then this.
Is this the death of Cookie Cutter builds? Will this, as Blizzard puts it, "give players interesting ways to customize their characters according to their preferred playstyle?"
In my opinion, it will not.
The problem Blizzard is up against is that there will almost always be a "best option," and players will always be able to identify that "best option" based upon the needs of the situation. In this post, I looked at all six tiers and in most of them I told you which would be the most common choice, and I could tell you the exceptions for most of those choices. The only time I can't is tier five, because all three choices are extremely situational and near useless from a moonkin perspective.
Given my comments in the last section, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you though I hated this new system, but I don't. It won't eliminate the cookie cutter builds and some of the options are pretty bad. However, this new system has some advantages as well.
I really like the "theme" structure of the choices. I've always hated having to justify taking survivability talents over even the tiniest of DPS upgrades. DPS isn't the only raider quality that has value, but is the one that is focused on 99.99% of the time. I like having to make choices based upon something other then DPS.
The simplicity of the new system is also very nice. Having to make just six choices will make life a little easier and I'm glad that we won't have to go back to a trainer to change those choices.