I got my druid from 82 to 84 today, so he will probably be the second part of my three-part plan. Since I'm getting real close to the cap, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the class and how it feels to level it.
It's not as fun.
It really is as simple as that. After leveling most other classes, this is what I have to say. It simply is not as fun. First, I tried balance and I managed to push to 30 on that. It wasn't fun at all. The eclipse mechanic is interesting, but the spells don't hit as hard as a, for instance, a mage or a hunter does, and the cast times are far to long. Most of the time, you feel like you're waiting for the sequence to finish. This is why I gave up on balance mid 30s and switched to feral. This was... funner. It still wasn't like protection leveling with warrior or marksman leveling with my hunter, but it wasn't as bad as balance. The mobs died much faster, mostly thanks to a high amount of crits and the fact that leveling 1-60 is easy as hell right now. Still, thanks to being energy starved after the first 3 or 4 seconds of a fight, it was still pretty annoying. Again, I felt like I'm waiting to do my next move.
Now, I don't usually mind slow-paced, tactical games where you need to think out your moves. In fact, I love them. However, WoW isn't such a game. Your attacks are supposed to be something that becomes part of your muscle memory; something you do automatically, without thinking. You execute them on a reflex basis and the majority of your attention is devoted to other stuff, like planning who to attack next, getting out of bad stuff or interrupting a spell. I'm not sure if that was the initial idea of the game, but that's how it turned out.
Other classes behave like that. They either have an unlimited resource or hit hard or fast enough not to get to starved of it. With a feral druid, I hit the two or three attacks I can afford and then I'm forced to wait until my energy recharges enough to hit another one. The closest to this style are the rogue and the hunter. However, rogues auto-attacks hit fine, so the health keeps dropping at a steady pace. You see this, so you aren't bothered to much with having to wait for energy. With the hunter, the approach is a bit different. You can't afford more than a few shots, but most mobs die within those few shots and even then, your auto-shots and your pet do the rest. Druid auto-attacks are very weak. His skills hit hard, but the auto-attacks barely do anything, or at least that's my impression. In my opinion, that's the part that makes it annoying.
With balance, we have a different kind of issue. The resources are fine, but your main attack spells have much to long of a cast time.There's really nothing else to say about it. The cast time is to long, so the fighting is boring. Mage does it better, even shadow priest does it better. It's simply to long.
Now, I understand completely that all of this changes once you reach the cap and get proper gear. Suddenly you get more clearcasting procs and enough haste to offset all of this. That's not the part I have an issue with. My issue is with leveling.
Also, I'm tunnel visioning on a druid here. I have issues with the priest as well. More on that once I get those last few levels, though.