Sorry for being late to the show on this, I’m having laptop problems.
The Druid preview has been released, and it’s rather underwhelming for balance druids.
Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.
- Balance druids will have a new talent ability called Nature’s Torrent, which strikes for either Nature or Arcane damage depending on which will do the most damage (or possibly both), and moves the Eclipse meter more (details below). The improved version of Nature’s Torrent also reduces the target’s movement speed. 10-second cooldown.
Eclipse: We are moving Eclipse from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance.
Also, they have announced (although not exactly in the preview) that balance DoTs will scale with haste and crit.
The change to Eclipse looks encouraging, although I’m sure it’ll take a lot of play testing to really understand it. As for the magic mushroom, let me quote one of my favorite SNL skits: Really?!. There’s not much more to say there.
Nature’s Torrent looks like a promising idea, although I really wish it wasn’t on a 10 second cooldown. My initial thought would be that it’d be nice to have a spell with both pools of magic incase you do something stupid which locks one pool out (which we know because of the current Eclipse, it destroys our DPS). Due to the change to multipool spells (they will no longer lock out both pools), and the change to Eclipse, that doesn’t seem like it’ll be AS big of a problem.
What does concern me, though, is one of our masteries being Haste. Unless they plan on radically changing how our mechanics work, and increasing the cast time for Wrath, it looks like we’re going to have incredibly low spell caps again. It’ll be a waiting game, I guess.
TL;DR: Blizzard still hates us.