The new talent trees are now available. Stuff that caught my eye from the Prot tree:
1) Rend sychs with the new talent Blood and Thunder.
This looks like an interesting new mechanic and it seems as if the new opening moves will be charge/leap -> rend -> thunder clap. The choice of opener will be interesting because leap firstly does not generate rage, and secondly does an AoE stun so for two seconds you will not be taking rage from damage. Leap might do enough AoE threat (in fact it probably will, thinking about it) that AoE threat will not be a problem, but nevertheless the tank can expect to be rage starved for a couple of seconds and may not have sufficient rage to immediately follow up with a rend and a thunderclap. If charge is used as an opener then dps will have to be aware that the tank will probably not thunderclap immediately after the charge, and so will do only proximity aggro for the first couple of seconds on all mobs bar the first. It might be easier to peel mobs off the tank if the dpsers immediately open up with AoE or a heal lands straight away.
Is rend currently useable in defensive stance? It seems so according to Wowhead, although I have never hit it as a Prot warrior. I just assumed this was a beta change, but it looks like I was wrong.
2) Damage shield buffed
This now does 20% of attack power, so probably triple its damage on live.
3) +healing effects
We have a talent to increase healing on us by 6% - Field Dressing. This is in the arms tree and will probably be required (or it should be required by anyone who understands EH). This is an interesting and welcome new talent, but unfortunately means that if you want to take Field Dressing, Blood Craze can only be accessed with exactly 31 points in Prot, and I couldn't make a good prot spec with less than 32 points in Prot.
I think we do need to know whether Blood Craze will stack with the enrage effect that procs from Improved Defensive Stance. This will inform much of our talent choices.
4) Vitality buffed
We get a 15% buff to stamina now, up from 12%.
5) Vigilance no longer removes threat
As anticipated, Vigilance grants Vengeance rather than stealing threat. This is an excellent change, although there's no sign of Vigilance allowing Revenge procs, which is a shame. Hoping that changes before 4.0 hits.
6) Heroic Leap can be used in combat
It also doesn't seem to require a particular stance. This seems good for Fury Warriors, although with a cooldown of 2 minutes it's only going to be used more than once per fight on raid bosses I guess.
The downside of the new abilities is that together with rend this is another button for prot warriors to hit. We will need to find room for two new buttons on our action bars, with rend in particular probably being something that will be used fairly regularly. That's not going to be easy.
In addition, with the promised demise of /castsequence macros, the macro that chooses between charge and intercept based on the charge cooldown will no longer work. This is therefore a third button to include on the interface somewhere.
7) Sweep and clear
This new talent doesn't look very interesting at all - I can't see many people taking this and I'd be very surprised if this makes it to live.
8) DPS specs
Arms seems to have got a lot of love and I like Lambs to the Slaughter very much, although it's questionable how much dps this will add. I think this is a talent for EJ to do some work on, because it's not clear to me how the calculations would work and someone will have to sit and whack the dummy for a few minutes to see the effect on white swing speed.
The emphasis on enrages for Fury spec is a little odd, will be difficult to balance and it's really disappointing that we don't get a new attack to replace whirlwind. Victory rush is a boring proc attack, exactly the same as Slam, and I think the spec has lost quite a lot of its flavour. The Single Minded Fury talent is unexciting as ever (if I wanted to dual wield one handed weapons I'd roll a rogue).
It also appears the Blizzard have dropped the Gushing Wound idea, meaning that at present warriors are I believe the only class to get two new spells instead of three. Worse than this, one of the new spells isn't really a spell, just a balancing adjustment to our rage pool and damage.
The prot changes look good to me. There are a bunch of new abilities and interactions to consider and the tree looks attractive - there are difficult decisions over where to spend points.
Arms now looks the better of the two dps specs, with Fury looking particularly thin. Unless there are improvements to Fury, I'll look to play Arms in Cata I think.
Weekend minipost: break
11 hours ago