Now that I have that huge previous blog post off my chest, I guess the next obvious question is what I’d like to see happen instead. As I mentioned in the previous post, the problem with Warriors and Paladins to a slightly lesser extent has always been utility. Once a Warrior specced Protection they were essentially useless outside of raids or instances. Unless of course they were willing to drop the gold required to constantly respec back and forth between a DPS talent spec and their tanking spec. Paladins could remain as protection, but simply killed individual creatures slowly or required down time between each AOE pull to regen their mana.
Where I think Blizzard has gone horribly wrong is with the trees, and not addressing the protection dilemma more directly. Blizzard had floated a possibility some weeks ago that indicated they might allow each toon to have two talent specs. That of course would have addressed Protection Warriors and Paladins problems quite adequately and would require only that they continue to carry two sets of gear, as many of them do now (DPS and Tank). However there are two other options that I view as equally viable. Rework the respective talent trees that give them their tanking capabilities they have now, but also allows them to dip into the DPS trees a little more. Or increase their their DPS output. Mobs can be retuned if an increase in DPS is decided upon after all. Acceptance of the first option would have maintained the status quo for the two classes. Considering they have the best mitigation of the tanking classes now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
With Ferals something a little different needs to be done, but also essentially reestablishes the status quo. I’d like to see the Feral tree slimmed back down, and the “virtual” tree plan to be done away with, restoring the Druid utility. Instead of having 29 different talents which would require 77 talent points to fill (6 more than you actually have at level 80), I’d like to see what was done in the Burning Crusade. Start over and create talents that have synergy with one another and restore the Druids full utility. Feral cats should be end-game viable, but not necessarily reaching the top level of Rogue DPS. Equally Feral Tanks do not necessarily require the full mitigation of Warriors and Protection Paladins, but they should definitely be viable tanks. That’s step one. restoral of the utility of the class.
Step two is to continue design and release gear for Feral tanks. Asking Druids to compete against Rogues for gear (can you imagine the outcry this is going to result in in raids?) and then expect that gear to form the basis for feral tanking is not optimal. Despite the claims of many “knobs” to push on the issue, Blizzard has clearly shown they are backing themselves into a corner. Its simply a matter of what works best over the long term, and I’m afraid that they are looking more at the short term, which is going to have a disastrous effect on the class.