In the last couple of days there has been a discussion on the druid forums about the relative merits of the two top tier restoration talents. Both Furor and Improved Mark of the Wild are 5 point talents so taking points in either one will allow you access to the juicier tier 2 talents: Naturalist, Nature’s Focus and Natural Shapeshifter. Let’s look at the two talents in detail first and then we’ll get to some of the arguments made in the discussion:
Improved Mark of the Wild: increases the effects of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild by 7/14/21/28/35%. At level 70, an untalented Mark of the Wild provides 340 armor, increases all attributes by 14 and all resistances by 25. When augmented by a full 5-point IMotW this becomes 459 armor, 18 to all attributes and 33 to resistances.
Furor: Gives you a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form or 40 energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form. Normally, you would have to wait for 4 seconds after shifting into cat form to accrue that much energy and you would have to do white damage or Enrage
- At least 1 druid in a raid should have it to buff the raid
- PvE resto does not need Furor, while IMotW has its purpose in raids
The arguments made to support Furor:
- It is indispensible in PvP for shift to bear --> feral charge combos
- Resistances from MotW do not stack with buffs from other classes
- IMotW is a very poor use of 5 talent points
- Can be used to shift to cat --> cower [I do not agree than any PvE druid should ever have to do this - RE]
There was very little argument in the thread, even between those druids disagreeing about which of the talents to take. The general concensus was that Mark of the Wild is a very weak buff that scales not at all and that IMotW is a marginal talent not worth a single talent point, let alone 5. However, while MotW and IMotW are so weak, Furor provides little to no benefit for a raiding restoration-spec'd druid.
I must say that I have to concur with these assessments. Pre-Burning Crusade, MotW was a relatively strong buff, comparable with Prayer of Fortitude and Arcane Intellect. However with the advent of Burning Crusade, the buff received from the spell has become marginal, at best. In trying to do everything, it ends up contributing almost nothing. If the resistances provided by MotW stacked with those provided by other classes (totem of fire/frost resistance or paladin auras), it would be something at least. As things stand, there is little enough reason to even cast MotW, let alone spend 5 valuable talent points to give it a 35% buff.
Furor, on the other hand, contributes nothing to a raid. If a druid is engaged in endgame content and not interested in PvP, there is no reason to take this talent. So a 35% increase to something very small is preferable to nothing at all. Don't get me wrong, I think Furor is a GREAT talent. But for a druid that spends their time in 10- and 25-man raids, it has very little, if any application at all. A raid leader may ask for IMotW, but, if they are not a druid, they may be ignorant of how little it actually helps: 119 armor and +4 to all attributes is not something to write home about.
In the final analysis, it is up to each individual druid how to use their first five restoration talent points. If one is a feral, Furor is a no-brainer. For balance druids (rare as they are) IMotW is marginally more useful than the nothing they get from Furor (unless they pvp). Restoration druids have to make the choice between a talent that is useful only to them or one that has a marginal usefulness to their raid.