Time for another Twitter Dev chat with Blizzard. This time there were all sorts of answers about changes planned in Cataclysm. I'm going to go through some of the answers mentioning Resto and Balance Druids. If you don't want to hear about the changes, stop reading now :)
Original source is on the WoW Forums.
Q. Is every healer supposed to be able to tank-heal efficiently, or will we still see specs excel in it more than others?
A. Each healer is intended to have a different niche and different strengths, such as Restoration druids with HoTs, or paladins at direct healing, Discipline priests at absorption/preventio
n, etc. That said, each healer should be able to keep up a tank and have some deeper “tank healing gameplay” as they do now.
This sounds kind of interesting considering they aren't giving us anything new to play with... we'll have to wait for more information to see how they're planning on improving Druids' tank healing abilities.
Q: Will relics and wands be getting any new attention in Cataclysm?
A: With relics, the plan is to make them class agnostic. In other words, there might be a +strength relic that a death knight or paladin might want to equip. We think that will let us add more of them to the game without them being so specialized. They will feel more like wands.
How to make wands and relics a bigger part of gameplay is something we’ve had many, many discussions on. Ultimately though we’d rather see warlocks, mages and priests casting their spells, not zapping someone with a wand. In Cataclysm we don’t expect to see much wanding, even at lower level.
Q: When you say you're going to make relics class agnostic, does it include druids' idols as well?
A: Druid, shaman, paladin and death knight. It’s possible we will still keep some that are very specific to certain classes and specs. Overall though we’re not happy with the current design where an ability procs a buff on you. If it’s an ability you don’t use often, then the item is terrible, so they end up feeling really passive already. At the same time, the fact that we have to offer so many prevents us from ever giving you the choice of which one to use. So we make the Resto druid or Enhance shaman version every new tier. It would be a more interesting decision if there was a crit + Intellect relic and a haste + Intellect relic, and you can choose which one to use.
Eeenteresting. "Agnostic" relics obviously won't work for current relics - they all involve class-specific spells at the moment, such as Steamcaller's Totem and Idol of the Black Willow. Assuming they will be changing the proc effects to things like an increase in intellect (since spellpower is going away on everything except weapons), this makes relics just like an extra proc-based trinket slot, and we lose some of our special class-specific items. I guess it's good that we won't have to disenchant the Libram that dropped for the 50th time when there's no Paladin in the group, but I'm still not sure I like the idea.
Q. Why are Restoration druids the only spec in the game not receiving a new spell?
A. Restoration druids are actually getting a fair bit. For one, Tree of Life is getting a whole new model (think Ancients of War) and will also “morph” some of your spells to do crazy things while in the form, such as cause Regrowth to be instant, or Lifebloom to apply two applications at once. Tranquility will be raid-wide. We’re also touching nearly every Restoration druid spell to make sure each has a niche and feels good. In general, playing a Restoration druid should feel a lot different (better!) in Cataclysm than it does today.
Ancients of War, eh? Those things are huge?! (see image at the top) This is the first we've heard about the new cooldown-based Tree of Life - and that our existing spells are getting tweaked. Suddenly I'm not so sure our healing style will stay the same as it is now. Having spells do crazy things sounds good though, as long as they are controllable crazy things!
Q. What change are you most excited about?
A. Some of the new Balance talents for druids, like Solar Beam, which works like Freya’s spell where it instantly silences a target and they have to move out of the beam to get rid of the debuff.
What's this? Were we already told about this Solar Beam thing? If so, how did I miss it?! Sounds interesting, but very PvP... sounds a little overpowered to be applicable in PvE, unless they make the mana cost through the roof so that it's very difficult to use a lot.
Q: How will haste affect channeled spells. Will it be similar to DoTs and HoTs?
A: They will channel faster but their duration will remain unchanged. You will get more ticks on the same cast.
More lightning bolts for the price of a normal storm? Awesome! So they're changing the way this works - at the moment the ticks are faster, but there are the same number of ticks, so the duration is shorter. They're saying the duration will stay the same length but there will be more ticks. An interesting change, but I wonder why they made it. It means casters of channeled spells will be more mana-efficient since we won't be casting so many times. I'm wondering if this is the same with HoTs - at the moment Rejuvenation falls off faster than normal because of the Rapid glyph. With the new change rejuvenation will be the same length but heal more ticks? Yes please!
We're gradually being drip-fed more information - I think the Beta will be coming very soon. As I said at the top, I've only covered Resto and Balance Druid stuff - there's way more interesting info if you read through all the answers in the forum post.