Bears: What Exactly Do We Gain or Lose in Mists of Pandaria?

Blizzard released the most up to date talent calculator last night. I plan on writing up a complete analysis later, but for now I wanted to list the spells and passive abilities that we lose or what will be changed. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments. It’s nearly 2am and I went over this pretty quickly.

Spells and passive talents we will no longer have as bears:

(some are removed from the game altogether, some are just removed from our spec)

  • Challenging Roar
  • Natural Reaction: The rage on dodge portion is gone, though that probably didn’t fit well into the new rage generation model in MoP.
  • Demoralizing Roar: We get a new ability with the same name, but we lose this boring debuff.
  • Pulverize: I’m a little confused about this. I hope they are actually planning on adding something to our rotation, because right now it will be just Mangle and Lacerate spam with Thrash thrown in. Wait, why even bother with Lacerates? Keep the DoT up to proc Mangle, then just stand there while we gather rage. :(

Spells that change moderately for bears:

  • Swipe: Now does 20% increased damage on bleeding targets
  • Omen of Clarity: This may or may not have changed for bears; the tooltip is the same as the current ability, which means it’s a bit ambiguous about Guardians. We’ll have to wait and see.
  • Faerie Fire: It looks like there is just one version of the spell, and it instantly provides the 12% armor reduction debuff.
  • Nature’s Grasp: It only has one charge, down from three.
  • Berserk (passive Lacerate component): Now just built into Lacerate.
  • Brutal Impact: Built into Skull Bash
  • Feral Aggression: Built into Faerie Fire.
  • Feral Charge: Now a talent that most bears probably won’t pick (even though that talent gives every form a charge, even travel and aquatic).
  • Furor: Built into bear form.
  • Natural Reaction: Gone, but the defensive effects are folded into Thick Hide.
  • Nurturing Instinct: What was once a weaker talent that few bears took is now guaranteed with the spec and provides spell power instead of just healing spell power.
  • Primal Fury: 10 rage on crit, up from 5 rage. The rage is only generated by auto-attacks and Mangle crits, however. Lacerate and Thrash won’t give us rage. No more awesome rage gains from AoEing big groups.
  • Rend and Tear: Built into Maul.
  • Mangle: No longer provides the bleed debuff, as that debuff is gone from the game.
  • Stampede: Built into Wild Charge.
  • Thick Hide: The crit reduction is now its own passive talent, Survival of the Fittest.
  • Perseverance: Gone, but Thick Hide is where we get all our passive magic reduction.

Spells that changed significantly or are brand new:

  • Savage Defense: The new tooltip reads: “20 Rage. Reduces all damage taken by 60% for 3 sec.” As you can see, it’s nothing like the current version. I expect our rotation will revolve around generating rage for this ability, though since we don’t know for sure how much rage (if any) all our other abilities will consume, it’s hard to make a guess at what our rotation in 5.0 will look like.
  • Frenzied Regeneration: It still heals by consuming rage, though the conversion rate is much better. (2 rage per second heals for 2% health, for a total of 40% health healed over 10 seconds. No longer increases health.
  • *new* Might of Ursoc: The increased health portion of Frenzied Regen has been moved into this new cooldown. Now we truly have a Last Stand clone.
  • *new* Symbiosis: “Creates a symbiotic link which grants the Druid one ability belonging to the target’s class, varying by the Druid’s specialization. In exchange grants the target one Druid ability based on their class and combat role. Lasts one hour and persists through death.” As far as I understand it, you give your Symbiosis target a druid ability based on their spec, so a rogue target will get a dps-ish ability. In return you, the bear tank, will get a rogue ability that’s somewhat tank-ish. This sounds incredibly difficult to balance, but might be fun. I worry that Symbiosis will just grant some dps class an overpowered dps ability and we will become the Symbiosis bitch for them, which doesn’t give us much of a choice. I hope that the Symbiosis abilities will only affect utility.