The tricky thing with feral druids is that it's the same tree for two roles -- tanking and DPS. While you might be inclined to think that feral druids in PvP are cats, the viability of tanks in battleground play is such that bears have their place, too. Many of these talents are shared, conferring different effects depending on whether the druid is in bear
or cat form
. Let's take a look at the best PvP talents in the tree:
- Feral Swiftness A bonus 30 percent increase to movement speed in cat form is a basic requirement for PvP. Faster movement is always good, and there's a little dodge thrown in for good measure.
- Predatory Strikes The increased damage to Ravage works to make cat druids deadly on their openers, but the talent shines in PvP because of its secondary effect, which grants a progressively increasing chance -- depending on the number of combo points on the target -- to make your next nature spell instant. The buff lasts for 8 seconds, which gives enough flexibility to opt to use it for heals, damaging spells or even Cyclone or Entangling Roots. Then again, you'll probably want to use Glyph of Entangling Roots (major) to ensure that you'll always have an instant root at your disposal.
- Infected Wounds This talent causes Shred, Ravage, Maul and Mangle to apply a snare on your opponent, which means you'll be able to keep your targets slowed pretty much permanently -- as long as you're hitting them, you're slowing them down. Although druids aren't lacking in movement-impairing options, having a passive one baked into common attacks is just too sweet.
- Feral Charge and Stampede We're picking up Stampede mostly because we will have two points to spare at some point, and Stampede gives bears and cats extremely potent openers. This means you should use Feral Charge to engage your opponents whenever you can. The bear version is slightly better than the cat version because of a shorter cooldown and a longer root (the cat version is a daze effect), but a free Ravage from Stampede balances it out. Consider empowering this with Glyph of Feral Charge (major).
- Brutal Impact This talent is just brutal -- quite possibly the best PvP talent across all trees. For a two-point investment, it increases the stun duration of Bash and Pounce by 1 second, as well as decreases the cooldown of the former by 10 seconds. That already sounds pretty good on its own, but Brutal Impact also reduces the cooldown of Skull Bash (bear) and Skull Bash (cat) by a whopping 50 seconds, giving druids another interrupt option on a short, 10-second cooldown. To top it off, targets of Skull Bash will suddenly find their spells 30 percent more expensive to cast for the next 10 seconds. With the shortened cooldown on Skull Bash, you could theoretically keep spellcasters paying a 30 percent surcharge on their spells.
- Survival Instincts A simple, long-cooldown mitigation spell which will see use in PvP almost every single time you enter an arena or battleground. One talent point, 60 percent damage reduction every 5 minutes. It's a physical effect, too, so it can't be dispelled.
Beyond these utility talents, you'll need to pick up talents that complement your playstyle, whether it be as a tank flag runner or versus bosses or as cat DPS. Natural Reaction
and Blood in the Water
are good complementary abilities for these roles, respectively. You can round out your PvP glyph choices with Glyph of Hurricane (major) for battleground utility or even Glyph of Barkskin (major) for some more mitigation. Glyph of Dash
(minor) is excellent and should be picked up regardless of spec, as there just isn't a better minor glyph for PvP.
A healing spec for PvP isn't going to be very different from what you'll use for raiding, and with fewer talents to choose from, it'll be perfectly fine to go with a PvE spec into the battlegrounds and sometimes even arenas. However, there are a few points to consider when choosing your talents with some PvP in mind. Faster heals carries more weight than bigger ones. So while talents that increase the effectiveness of heals are good, look at talents that give you results in the clutch. Here are some talents to consider in the restoration tree:
- Naturalist As I mentioned, faster is better. While druids certainly don't lack instant heals in their arsenal, shaving 0.5 seconds off a massive nuke heal such as Healing Touch is pretty handy. Sometimes you won't have the luxury of having stacked HoTs on your heal target, which means you'll find yourself reaching deep for big heals more often than you'd like. Consider applying Glyph of Healing Touch (major) to get access to Nature's Swiftness faster. Using Healing Touch often on the battlefield will cut its cooldown significantly, giving you more options and flexibility.
- Perseverance Spell damage reduction relegates this pretty much to PvP, but it's completely optional if you'd prefer to spend the points to improve your healing. Will be more important in arenas than in the battlegrounds.
- Nature's Swiftness Non-negotiable, one-point investment. This will power your clutch nukes or even an instant Cyclone.
- Fury of Stormrage I'm going to stick my neck out on this one and recommend this talent to a dedicated battleground PvP tree. You won't be healing 100 percent of the time, and this talent grants you a potent offensive kick that won't dent your mana. In between tossing HoTs to allies in a fray, you can make it interesting by casting free Wraths and the occasional instant Starfire.
- Living Seed While I'm not a big fan of the gimmicky nature of this talent in PvP, it does provide an additional layer of mitigation -- or more accurately, reactive healing -- not typically available to druids. It doesn't work as well in a raid environment, but because you'll be picking up Nature's Bounty anyway, you'll manage to proc Living Seed more than a few times in the battlegrounds.
- Nature's Bounty The 60 percent critical chance bonus to Regrowth is great, but the chance to shave some time off Swiftmend's cooldown is a sweet bonus. Faster is better, so a shorter cooldown on a clutch spell looks pretty good in your toolbox. Never mind that Healing Touch has a long cast time -- you'll find many opportunities to use it in the battlegrounds. Needless to say, you should be glyphed with the Glyph of Swiftmend (prime).
- Nature's Cure Quite possibly the only truly important PvP talent in the entire tree, this talent reflect's Blizzard's intention to keep magical dispels to healing specs. This is critical to troop support and the best healing druids will use this about as often as the heals in their arsenal.
- Nature's Ward A self-heal without having to think about it? Yes, please. The amazing thing about this talent is that it procs at 50 percent health, which isn't a particularly dangerous threshold unless you're being focused. It's free of cost and manages itself, both great qualities for a PvP talent.
- Swift Rejuvenation I'll say it again: Faster is better. Since you'll likely be spamming Rejuvenation on your team in battleground situations, this gets it done faster and allows you to move on to critical spells sooner.
Consider the Glyph of Innervate
(major) to round out your glyphs and add to your support utility. You can be pretty flexible here, as there isn't any must-have PvP glyph to pick up. Quite obviously, battlegrounds PvP will be far more forgiving to healer specs because there's simply less focus fire going on. Expect things to heat up when rated battlegrounds become available, but you'll have new toys to play with by then.
Zach delivers your weekly dose of battlegrounds and world PvP in one crazy column. He talked about how to prepare yourself for Cataclysm in the weeks to come, as well as how to build your battleground premade. Also get excited as he discusses the shape of Cataclysm battlegrounds PvP.