Druid Talents Dragonflight Preview

We’ve just posted a full rundown of how the re-imagined talent system will look for Druids in Dragonflight.

Once you’ve had a chance to fully digest it (and it’s a lot to take in), please feel free to answer the following questions.

How do you feel the new talent system fits the Druid class overall?

If you have any concerns, what are your biggest concerns?

What about the new design do you like the most?

Do you feel like this will make Druids play differently than they do now?

Thank you!

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I brought up my interrupt concerns in the main Talent Thread, but just to reiterate - interrupts should not be a talent, if anything, make the talent reduce the CD on the interrupt and make the interrupt baseline with a longer CD.

That said - I’m curious how Skull Bash will work for Resto and Balance - will they be able to use it in Humanoid/Moonkin form? Or will it force them into Bear/Cat form, and waste a GCD for them to interrupt?

I’m cautious about Mark of the Wild returning. Raid buffs have not been handled well in Shadowlands AT ALL and it’s creating “bring the class, not the player” again - and with 3% crit tied behind it, if another class doesn’t bring it, it’ll just cause another Shadowlands situation where a group NEEDS a warrior, monk, DH, and mage to be optimum, leaving less room for melee that don’t bring raid utility like Survival Hunters.

Definitely glad to see you retained the “use Frenzied Regen when you fall low health” conduit power. That’s one of my favorite SL conduits. A lot of the neat powers that I liked are being brought back, so that’s definitely a plus.

Innervate being a talent is going to cause controversy, I can tell you that now. If a DPS druid wants to opt for something that offers better utility for them like the aforementioned conduit power, their healers and raid groups are going to be mad.

Orbit Breaker being one of the final Balance talent is amazing. I love that power in Torghast.


(I will include this in both classes feedback, as it fits both)

Overall, from what I can tell, the spec-specific talents seem like a good mix of single target, AoE, Utility, etc. so that’s good. I can’t really tell too well when it’s in text - would have much preferred a talent calculator to see exactly how many points we can choose from and if the mandatory talents will make the choice less than expected. Like, if we get talent calculators and suddenly it becomes apparent that I can’t get X that I love because I need Y that’s mandatory, it’s going to feel bad.

This is also why we can’t really say if it will affect how the class plays, because we can’t tell when we don’t have a good idea of how many talents we can pick. Like, we know the number of points, but it’s hard to apply that to text, if that makes sense?

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Quick corrections so far:
–Shred should be in the baseline abilities list
–Adaptive Swarm in the Resto tree should be a square

Legacy of the Sleeper being baseline seems like a very poor choice for PvP even if it is only 10 seconds.

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Hi all. I’m not a Druid main at all, but I wanted to bring feedback from a friend of mine who pushes end game at the highest level and relay his feedback. From this point on, this will be from his point of view.

“The new Druid Talents that I’ve seen so far look incredible. This is the first look at a new system I’m excited about in multiple expansions. Corruption, Azerite, Covenants all I expected to be terrible shows as soon as they were announced and I had no idea how they got past the concept stage. These talent trees though, I love them so much!

They did such a good job identifying key elements of Shadowlands gameplay (Adaptive swarm, Convoke) and carrying them forward

There will definitely be some folks who won’t talent into Decurse because they believe other players will take care of that with another build, but even still, I think that’s a good thing for the community and game as a whole to have that option to do so or not.

By creating so many options for builds (and necessarily by creating suboptimal builds) it gives players a lot more room not only to experiment, but also to establish themselves on the “skill spectrum”.

The only question mark for me is some of the “choice” options in the talent trees–I’m not sure exactly what the design philosophy is supposed to be about these.

For example in the Balance tree there’s a choice to make your Solar or Lunar Eclipses longer at the detriment of the other (one of my favorite talents lore and design wise)–a pretty clear distinction between building for an AOE vs single target focus, makes sense.

But there are other choice talents like “Refund Incarn Time” or “Convoke casts better spells” and I cannot fathom a scenario where I wouldn’t take Improved Convoke for any spec. Some of these talents are gonna be impossible to balance, and I don’t know how okay the devs are with “dead” talents.

Last bit of feedback I have is that I love the customization available in the new trees–however I hope it still will be possible to create generally viable “all purpose” builds. I personally don’t enjoy respeccing every single boss fight, and hope that with the system I could create a build that will perform 80-90% as good as a hyper-specialized build tailored to each individual boss/dungeon.”

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I’m not a min maxer for the most part and I play one of each class so some classes I play more seriously than others. Druid is one of classes I play in more detail but no where near the detail that a lot of other people do.

I like what I see in the trees, in other words there’s nothing that makes me think I cant make a spec to do what I want it to do if I were to want to.

The first thing that comes to mind when I see the screenshots of the talent trees is “Wow that looks complicated” lol

I play a lot of alts, a few of them I play at a fairly high level, others I really don’t so much with very much seriousness.

I’d really like to see an option where I can select a role e.g. healer/tank/ranged dps/ melee dps, and then dungeon/raid/PvP and the system just picks a decent spec for that role and content. That way I can jump on an alt and poof I have a tank spec set up or whatever, very quickly. And off I go to do whatever I want to do in the moment.

I also want a button in the corner called “advanced options”, when I hit that I want every single little tweakable bit available to me to min/max whatever it is I want to do at a higher, less casual and more serious way.

I think if a casual or new player sees the full customization options right off the bat, some faces are gonna melt and some brains are gonna explode lol

I only want to mess around with this stuff when I choose to. I do not want to spend 2 hours on wowhead figuring out how to wrangle all this stuff to do what I want when really I just want to jump on a new alt and play the game.

Yes, the super detailed talent trees are important, especially if it means we never have to go back to borrowed power again! Just please don’t lose sight of the fact that the majority of players don’t care and don’t want to have to get a Ph.D. is spec design to play a video game.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Presenting these as talent calculators would allow, me anyway, to provide a lot more detailed feedback. I can’t process the wall of squares and list of talent descriptions in a block of text very well.

In the meantime thanks to Saormash for pointing these out and to Mythic Trap for making them:

Dragonflight Talents Preview

I ended up landing on this for a first pass resto spec.

I LOVE that both Convoke the Spirits and Verdant infusion both made it into the talent tree! It required some clear choices to be made which is great. For the Druid Tree as Resto pathing well into bear or cat form or moderately into both forms was an interesting choice. I chose a heavy bear form as typically when I change forms as a healer I’m trying not to die and not really healing anymore so that was fun to design for myself. For the Resto tree I was able to path into most of what I wanted and the choice blocks gave really good choices which seemed equally valuable depending on what I wanted to do. There weren’t many places where I had to take junk talents to get to what I really wanted and there were no choice blocks where I thought one choice was the obvious choice and the other was essentially useless.

This is a class that I’m very familiar with and play a lot. For other classes that I know almost nothing about I would definitely want some canned role/content choices to just give me a workable spec to try quickly in the content and then once I’ve got a feel for it in game go back and start tweaking it. As it stands here I would be off to wowhead for 40 mins to find a spec and that seems like a real aggravation and waste of time that could be streamlined and simplified by a basic/advanced toggle right in the talent tree.

Overall great work on this!! I’m super impressed! Definitely something that will be a much better system than borrowed power.

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Definitely want to reinforce this. I understand it’d take more development time, but it’d vastly help improve feedback. Thanks to the tree calculators that Saormash pointed out for us, it’s much easier to give specific feedback, and I’ll be waiting for trees for the next classes.

Here’s my thoughts on the specific talents, rather than the overall thoughts as noted above:

I’ve reached out to a few druid friends who regularly parse in the top 10, and if they give their feedback to me, I will post it here. That said - I have regularly played druid in Shadowlands since the start, so this is my feedback on the individual talents:


Druid Class Tree:

Resto will have to spend 7 points in “useless” (Useless meaning Bear Form or Cat Form, without improved cat/bear form stuff that would make them useable) talents for them in order to access an interrupt - touched on in my last post - this is a terrible design. Interrupts are practically mandatory with how you design encounters. I know Balance has access to Solar Beam in the Balance tree, but Resto does not.

Likewise, Innervate will require Feral druids to spec a minimum of 8 points into a part of the tree they otherwise don’t need and will make them miss out on other useful talents. Feral suffers from the same fate Survival does - they offer no utility their ranged counterpart doesn’t. This will further push Feral into obscurity and just further reinforce Balance is superior to Feral for raid composition.

It is possible for new players to not spec into 1000% required abilities for their specs - such as Ironfur for Guardian, Sunfire and MOONKIN FORM for Moonkin, Wild Growth as Resto, and Rip for Feral. This just blatantly should not be possible. I understand you want “player choice” - but player choice shouldn’t come at the expense of being able to completely neuter your character to the point it is useless compared to someone else.

From a personal viewpoint, I think it’d be better to swap Stampeding Roar and Soothe - the movement talents (Wild Charge/Tiger Dash) are locked behind Soothe, rather than Stampeding Roar. As they are both on the same “required talents” section, swapping them wouldn’t really hurt anyone, and it’d make that part of the tree flow better, as Stampeding Roar would be needed for the movement talents and Soothe would be needed for the utility talents.


Just to re-iterate what I said in my first post: The way you handled the spec-specific talents to me is great, there’s a good mix of ST, AoE, etc. However much like the class tree - it is possible to skip skills that should not be skippable.

Balance:

Much like the above issue with core rotational abilities - it is possible to not spec into Starfall or Celestial Alignment, both very important spells for Balance. This shouldn’t be possible.

Resto:

Again, it is possible to not spec into spells that are required, like Tranquility and Efflorescence.

Guardian:

Maul being the first skill is… an odd choice. It is only used to dump rage when we don’t need Ironfur, so it doesn’t get used nearly as much unless you’re focusing on DPSing as a Bear. This seems like the perfect candidate for an optional skill, instead of something like Survival Instincts, which is extremely important, one tier down.

Much like Balance and Resto - it has a mandatory skill for the class being optional. Survival Instincts. Likewise, they have talents that affect class talents that a new player could miss speccing into - like the aforementioned Ironfur.

I consider something mandatory for a spec if without it, they would be completely horrible. Like, if a resto doesn’t spec into Nourish - they won’t be significantly affected as choosing another talent likely makes up for it. But if they don’t choose tranquility, it will be very noticeable.


I do not play Feral enough to feel comfortable giving feedback on that. However, they don’t seem to have the same issue the other 3 specs have, in that I don’t see any of their mandatory rotational abilities being spec-specific talents. That said - the druids I mentioned earlier main Feral, so I’m sure they will have plenty of feedback from a Feral Perspective.


And just something I will mention here and in the DK thread: I understand the concept of locking AoE and ST behind different parts of the tree - however, the baseline AoE and ST should still be given to you, or not possible to not spec into. This is a big issue with Balance as the trees currently stand - as they can actually not have their main AoE spell if they don’t spec into Starfall, the same goes with Frost DKs with Obliterate and Howling Blast.

You shouldn’t need a third party site to understand what to do - which is what these talents trees are going to do to new players that start the game. They won’t know what to do and they’ll have to look it up, or they’ll risk being kicked for not speccing into the talents that are mandatory rotational skills.

Just to re-iterate a point I said earlier: Player Choice should never come at the expense of being able to make your character practically useless.

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I haven’t played druid since 9.0, when I played mostly Balance and a little Resto, so my druid knowledge is a little bit out of date, but so far I like the talent tree a lot. Especially the class one.

I used mythictrap’s tool to put together a couple of Balance Druid builds. My first build took mostly Resto talents and had some serious off-healing potential. Then I wanted to see if I could make a viable Balance Druid build that takes Incapacitating Roar (a really nice skill to have for mythic+!).

I was able to get Incap Roar, but I had to give up the reduced cooldown on Stampeding Roar and Lycara’s, which would mean a dps loss. Without sims, I don’t know how much. But I think that’s pretty neat. I could build an Incap Roar Balance Druid if I really need that skill, but I have to make sacrifices for it, and that’s how a talent tree should feel. And maybe if I worked on a little longer I could find an Incap Roar build that doesn’t give up any dps.

The Balance Tree seems good although without sims and actually playing the game it’s hard to give accurate feedback. I can see some synergies for a Shooting Stars build, a Convoke build, an Incarn build. But I don’t feel like I have enough expertise to really evaluate that tree right now.

I can only give the general feedback that I personally did not enjoy playing a Convoke druid in Shadowlands. I’d been a Balance Druid all through BFA and loved it, and then the Convoke build was not very fun for me. I don’t like doing amazing damage once every 3 minutes and then being mostly useless for damage outside of that window. I switched to Frost Mage in 9.1 which has a much more even damage profile, and then Destro Lock this tier, which is similar–it’s somewhat bursty in its Infernal window but far from useless outside of it.

That’s my personal take and I know some people really enjoyed playing a Convoke druid. My hope is that there will be viable options for Balance Druids that have a more even damage profile than amazing burst once every 3 minutes and doing nothing the rest of the time.

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The only druid spec with which I am familiar with an end game rotation is Balance, so I’ll try to keep these comments related to that.

I think that these abilities are placed appropriately in their trees to give players the abilities at the right time. My understanding is that there won’t be any more “Gain X spell at level 37” it will be whenever you talent into it. So Ironfur and Sunfire and Moonkin form, while needed in the spec, are not available at early levels intentionally.

If you follow the flow of the talent tree to the bottom you will get the abilities you need. If you want extra abilities you open other branches.

Anyone who looks at the balance tree, where you automatically get Starfire and Starsurge is going to rationally pick Moonkin Form next. It’s the only option to continue down the tree. Anyone not picking Moonkin form is doing it on purpose, just for the meme.

Actually you HAVE to pick at least one of these, and very likely both because of where they are in the trees. It’s very important to remember with these style of talent trees that the location and flow of talents is very indicative of the intent of timing for these abilities.

“Required”
“Extremely Important”
“Mandatory”
Sure. These are strong abilities for their classes. But they are still going to be talents with this new system so its just a matter of where they’re placed. Maul is a very basic, easy to understand ability for new Guardian Druids to use. Survival Instincts is right there, one of two options for the next talent. Odds are, most people will take it and Gore, which is the other option.

It’s very clear to me that the routes for these talents (And DK as well) have been carefully laid out so you don’t miss anything you need to have and give enough choice to grab something you really want.

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Except that’s not the case at all:

It’s entirely possible to spec in a way you do not learn Moonkin Form, Sunfire, or the +6% Magic Damage talent.

It’s also possible to spec in such a way you get no major talents from your spec except Starfall or Celestial Alignment.

Will any person who knows the class do this? No, of course not. But new players who do not know their class might. And it shouldn’t be possible. This is why I suggested in the main thread that they have a base spec that either auto-fills in until you change it, or a button to select the auto. So new players have a baseline spread they can branch out from as they learn the spec, or existing players dont get overwhelmed at 10.0 launch.

If they want things to unlock at a certain level - make them. Don’t put them in talent trees. Make them act as they do on live - you learn them at the level. Put something else in the talent spot.

You keep saying “it’s clear to me” but that’s because you know the class - you need to see it through the lens of a new player who is still learning.

Yes, they can re-spec in a town, but there comes a point when you have to ask yourself - will it overwhelm them or will groups be toxic to them to the point they find it easier to quit than to learn?

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Except that would eliminate the whole point of the talent trees.

You’re asking for something to be spoonfed that doesn’t need to be. You earn talents one at a time so it’s not overwhelming. So you can learn as you go, change them as you please, and find what works best for you.

I understand it’s possible. I’m just saying even someone who has never seen WoW is going to be able to read and understand what is going on and not do exactly what you’ve done which is avoid every major ability you can, on purpose. If they want to play the game that way, let them. Thats the point of player choice. Blizzard has said themselves there are possibilites to make “bad builds” but maybe someone wants to have fun and prove a point.

I’m waiting for the youtube videos of the world first balance druid without moonkin form to time a +15 key. That stuff is gonna be fun for some people.

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Which is bad game design. There’s no other way to state it. It should not be possible to make a “bad build” - the current trees do not allow this. Every build, despite how undertuned a talent is - is still completely viable, and you can see that with one trip to Warcraftlogs.

It should not be possible for any player, new or not, to make a “bad build.”

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Its an MMO! Sure it should!

We must have different definitions of “viable” because there are some talents in the game right now that aren’t. And there are plenty of “bad builds” right now. I haven’t seen anyone use Icecap on Frost DK since Nya’lotha. It’s a bad talent in Shadowlands.

It’s not bad game design to allow a suboptimal mode to exist if the player chooses to use it. It’s bad game design to force everyone into the same small niche.

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This should be written somewhere for every game dev as a motivational poster

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I certainly would not like to see that with all due respect, that’s a step too far for me.

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Why not? It would be optional. Anyone could use the full system at any time.

Because this game is about making decisions, good and bad. Even having an option where one can simply skip part of the process is against the spirit of the game in my opinion.

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It’s hard for me to agree that this would be any different than players googling their way to wowhead and using a canned spec except it takes 40 mins less. Players are already skipping that part of the game and that will never change.

I think its more about learning whats good from playing and experimenting instead of being told what to run and then deciding after

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I think that view is what got us to this point in the first place. Example: ‘Let’s skip, remove, or alter features X or Y because we can Google the best spec or the most optimal gameplay anyhow.’

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