Druids return to Cataclysm with much of their core functionality intact, though the new talent tree changes mean that classes (and druids in particular) will no longer by able to “hybridize” between trees, meaning that popular builds like Feral/Resto or Balance/Resto will no longer exist to the same degree. Druids will be required to commit to and specialize in one of three trees, each filling a very different role.
Additionally, Balance druids have a new mechanic; they must balance Solar and Lunar energy. Solar energy is gained by nature spells, like Wrath and Hurricane, while Lunar energy is built by casting arcane spells, like Moonfire or Starfire. Once you build enough energy, you enter an “Eclipse” state, increasing your damage significantly.
While the shapeshifting forms themselves are remaining the same, cat and bear forms will both be gained within the first 12 levels of a player’s career, allowing them to experience the shapeshifting aspect of the class much earlier.
NEW DRUID SPELLS
Thrash: An area-of-effect attack for bear druids that causes bleed damage to all targets within range.
Stampeding Roar: A temporary speed boost for all allies. Usable in either cat or bear form.
Wild Mushroom Grows a magical mush room that becomes invisible after four seconds. Enemies who cross the mushroom will detonate it Druids can also detonate it ahead of time.
With the balance tree, you can take on the form of a powerful Moonkin, balancing the power of Arcane and Nature magic to destroy enemies at a distance. This tree makes heavy use of the Eclipse mechanic, focusing on either Lunar or Solar energy to destroy enemies from a distance. Players also have access to the Starsurge spell, a powerful nuke which functions as both a Lunar and a Solar spell.
Mastery (Total Eclipse): Increases the bonus damage from Eclipse by 12%. Each point of mastery increases the bonus by an additional 1.5%.
Feral druids take on the form of a great cat to deal damage with bleeds and bites or a mighty bear to absorb damage and protect allies. Like the rest of the tanking classes, bear druids benefit from a Vengeance mechanic that grants them additional attack power based on the damage they take. Cat druids are being buffed to bemore competitive with rogues, meaning their damage will be normalized and they’ll be given greater utility.
Mastery (Savage Defender): Increases the damage absorbed by your Savage Defense ability by 32%. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb by an additional 4%
Mastery (Razor Claws): Increases the damage done by your bleed abilities by 25.04%. Each point of mastery increases bleed damage by an additional 3.10/6
Restoration druids use heal-over-time Nature spells to keep allies alive, taking on the form of a tree when the need is most urgent. The Restoration druid continues to focus on heal-overtime spells, though Tree of Life is now a powerful cooldown ability, similar to Metamorphosis.
Mastery (Symbiosis): Increases the potency of your healing spells by 10% on targets already afflicted by one of your heal-over-time spells. Each point of mastery increases heal potency by an additional 1.25%.
Druids will fill the same roles in Cataclysm, though Restoration druids will lose a certain amount of raid healing in exchange for stronger tank healing. Ultimately, they’ll be able to function well in either role.