Edit 2: Added Omen of Clarity and Blessing of Salvation comment.
What a great thing to wake up to. I didn't expect anything involving the beta for another at least a week or two, but I sign on this morning and what do I find?
BETA PATCH NOTES!!!!!!!! (link)
I haven't gone through everything in them yet, but I have taken a quick look at the Druid section. Most of the information is stuff that we learned from the Alpha wiki, but there are some major changes that we hadn't heard before. Here are my thoughts in red.
Note: Before I and everyone else gets to excited lets remember a couple of things. 1) These are just the beta notes. These are likely to change to some extent before Wrath is released. 2) Some of the changes are completely out of left field and are very similar to information we learned from the alpha. In these cases I can't help but wonder if its a typo.
* Brambles (Balance): Now increases the damage done by your Treants, and also damage caused from your Treants and Barkskin has a 5/10/15% chance to Daze the target for 3 sec. - First off, this must be in addition to the current talent. Otherwise there would be no point in having this talent at this level. You can't get Treants until level 50 and Barkskin until level 44. I also wonder if this is a typo. We have heard about thorns having a daze affect but not Barkskin. Including Barkskin in the daze effect isn't an off the wall idea, but given the information from the alpha the difference raises a few questions. The BIG change here is that brambles now increases your Trents damage. I don't think this will cause people to max this talent out for raiding, but it definately makes those two points I put in there more attractive.
* Entangling Roots: Can now be used indoors. - This isn't new, but I still have to do the moonkin happy dance.
* Force of Nature (Balance): Cooldown reduced to 2 minutes, down from 3. - Not huge, but nice. They can provide a nice little damage boost in PvE, and should be a big help for PvP.
* Improved Faerie Fire (Feral): Now also works with spell hit, in addition to ranged and melee hit %. - Wait a minute. Did that say Feral? Again this could be a typo, but this would be a Major change if this is correct, and I am not sure how I feel about it. May people have advocated for this for a long time because it affected melee hit only. Now that it includes spell hit also I'm not sure they will feel the same. If it is moving to Feral, it will remove it from my rotation which is nice. Losing the global cooldown does decrease our DPS quite a bit. However, I am not all that excited about losing some of our raid viability. Moonkins haven't had enough in the past and I am reluctant to give any up.
* Moonkin Form (Balance) no longer increases your attack power or causes you to regenerate mana off melee attacks, but now has a chance to cause you to instantly regenerate 2% of your total mana every time you critically hit with a spell. - WWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!! Heck Yea. If you have read my blog for a while you know that I have been advocating this change for a really long time. Finally, Blizzard is replacing one of the worst conceived mechanics in the game with a truely awesome ability. Think about it for a second. If you have 10,000 mana and 25% crit, this translates to 16 MP5 minimum with current gear, and that doesn't take into account Natures Grace or the New Imp Moonkin Form haste.
* Nature's Grace (Balance): Now also reduces the global cooldown of your Wrath spell by 50% while in effect. - WHAT????? Another huge change. Natures Grace is a huge reason why Starfire is better then Wrath in raids. Also, this may be a typo, but this would reduce the GCD below a second. The GCD is currently 1.5 seconds. This would make it .75 seconds. This could have a huge impact in PvP and PvE. Raid wise if you need some speedy DPS and don't care about mana this is your spell. Imagine how powerful this will be in Arena. We would be a wrath Machine Gun with Celestial Focus. As long as we get heals we will destroy people.
* New Spell: Revive - Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat. (Ranks 1-7 added) - Its not a balance ability or even a suprise but it is a huge change that Resto's and all druids should be very happy about.
* Tree of Life (Restoration): You can now cast all Restoration spells (Healing Touch) in the form, but Tree of Life now only reduces the mana cost of your healing over time spells (Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Regrowth and Flourish) by 20%. - Again this isn't a balance ability but I think it is a great change. It made no sense for to have a healing spell that we couldn't use in our healing form. I also like the fact that Healing Touch doesn't get all the benifits of Tree of Life form. Druids should be HoT healers, and Healing Touch should only be there in case of emergency.
* Omen of Clarity (Restoration): Now a passive spell. Now also works for spells (healing and damage). Proc rate is roughly 6% with a 10 second internal cooldown. - A really big change that I missed this change my first time through the patch. This makes the talent useful for all specs of Druids.
* Blessing of Salvation renamed Hand of Salvation, now reduces total threat on the target by 2% per second for 10 seconds while also reducing all damage and healing done by 10%. Only one - This is not a druid ability but this is such a big change that I felt the need to talk about it. Many players are calling this a nerf but I am not so sure. It depends on the cooldown and what they do with threat in general. This would be really for guilds that have a couple of really high flyers and a lot of people well below the cap, but it will be really tough on guilds that have a lot of people that are threat capped. Ultimately I see this as a way to give Holy paladins something to do besides heal. I think it also makes a couple of them requited for a raid.
Anyway that is my quick review of the Druid section of the patch notes. I won't be checking my blog as much coming up because I will be on vacation. However, I should have access to a computer and if something jucie drops, I will post about it.
Its not in the patch notes but there is a change to the new Improved Moonkin Form talent. According to the WotLK wiki the tool tip now says:
Improved Moonkin Form - Your Moonkin Aura also causes affected targets to have a 100% chance to gain 20% spell haste when they critically hit with spells for 8 sec. This effect has a 30 second cooldown. - They reduced the buff duration from 10 seconds to 8 seconds. Plus they added an explicit 30 second cooldown. This is a nerf from the prior version but how much of a nerf is hard to say. According to the wiki, this talent had a 10 to 15 second individual cooldown and a 3 to 4 second party cooldown in the alpha. As long as the ability doesn't have a party wide cooldown any longer I am ok with this change. The maximum amount you will be able to have this buff up is a little over a fourth of the time, but given the nature of crits having it up about a fifth of the time is the best that can be hoped for. This would result in about a 4% haste average which isn't to shabby.
As you can imagine this is huge news around the blogging community. There are some thoughts from other bloggers:
Resto4Life - Official "Beta" Changes to Druids
Yet Another Warlock Nerf - WotLK Beta Patch Notes - Warlock
PS: No Toon Update because I posted just a couple of days ago.