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Revision of Ataraxia's boomkin guide (balance druid) from Wed, 2008-12-17 09:38

Lycander's picture

Introduction

Hi all,

this is the first guide I'm writing, so I hope it's of any use for you. I've played this class and spec for quite some time now, and it's a lot of fun to play. In Hikari's Basic Guide for Druids, some things are already explained, but I want to add quite some things to that guide, for the balance part.

Let's get started with the talents first, until lvl 40, because that's the level where you can get moonkin form with talents. It's great for yourself (+2% mana, instantly, when you crit), but also in groups, because of the +5% spell crit chance. This will benefit all caster classes, dps, healers, but also paladins, which need the damage from their spells.

At lvl 40 I would suggest this build First of all, start with Starlight Wrath, as this will decrease your wrath casting time. Starfire is, compared to Wrath, more mana-efficient, as stated by Hikari, but the casting time is, after starlight wrath, more than twice the casting time of Wrath. When you have the moonkin form, you'd want to have as much crits as possible, because you regen mana than.

Nature's Majesty increases the crit chance of your two main damage spells, Wrath and Starfire, with 4%. Also the occasional heal has in increased crit chance, if you'd even need a healing touch, as it heals for a very large amount, which is rarely needed for a moonkin imo. After this, immediately get nature's reach. It increased the range of your balance spells by 20 yards, but especially the -30% threat is good while grouping. With Vengeance you increase the critical strike damage bonus. It's not the 50% crit damage bonus, plus another 100%, it's just a 100% increase overall. You just do double damage when you crit, just like with melee classes.

After this I would suggest taking insect swarm first, instead of Lunar Guidance. Insect Swarm is a very nice DoT of the druid, which helps killing the mob fast. After that take the 3 points in lunar guidance. As a druid, you want as many int as possible, and a 12% of mana spell power increase is always nice.

After that, take Moonfury, and two points in Dreamstate. Dreamstate is very nice, as it helps keeping your mana up longer. After the talents in the build I linked, you can take moonkin form at lvl 40. The armor value increase is really nice, and also the +2% mana when you crit with a single target spell comes in very good.

Now let's go on with the talents. I would suggest this one at lvl 80. It's a big jump, but I will explain the most important things, and which talents to take first. I'll try to keep this part short, because at lvl 40, I hope you know your skills quite well, and have sorted out some gears.

Lvl 41-43: Improved Moonkin form (after buying a new set of gears, upgrading from 30ish set, to lvl 45 set, spell power dropped from around 160, to 120, but my spells did loads more damage, because I had a lot more spirit and through this talent it greatly boosts the damage your spells do)
Lvl 44: Dreamstate (just make this one full =))
Lvl 45-47:Owlkin Frenzy (I haven't had problems with mobs coming too when they had a lot of health left, but if it happens, this ability will help you killing the mob(s ) hitting you even faster. This ability is great for AoE grinding, because you can cast hurricane than, without channeling time being lowered)
Lvl: 48-49 Wrath of Cenarius (increases effect of spell power on your wrath and starfire spell. We will make this one 5/5 later on.)
Lvl 50: Typhoon (this ability is very nice for AoE farming again. It knocks back the mobs 5 yards and does quite well damage (at lvl 52, it does more damage when not critting, than my wrath does, but this one affects unlimited mobs in theory).
Lvl 51Force of Nature (summons treants to fight for you. You'll probably pull agro off them very quick, but they will help you fighting the mobs.
Lvl 52-54: Eclipse (this ability gives you a great damage boost. The effect lasts 15 seconds, so if I'm right, you can cast the wrath --> Starfire 3 times, when you're lucky with the crits. I'm not sure if the effect stacks though. It still is a nice damage boost, because if you crit with wrath, crit chance of Starfire is increased by 30%, which, if it crits, will increase the damage your wrath spell does, by 20%.
Lvl 55-57: Earth and Moon (this talent is really great in dungeons. It increases all spell damage taken on any target you cast wrath or starfire on, by 13% and passive +3% spell damage for yourself. From this, all moonkins, locks, mages, priest, shamans and paladins benefit, as they cast spells on the target. Even enhancement shamans, with their shocks. Now max out wrath of cenarius and get starfall for some more great AoE. Fill up the points in your balance tree, which you are missing compared to the spec I linked.

EDIT: In the balance tree, take Improved Insect Swarm, instead of Celestial Focus

After that, you can take the talents I chose in the resto spec. You can also keep taking talents in balance though. In Restoration I took Furor, for +10% intellect, and a bit more spellpower, Natural shapeshifter, than improved mark of the wild, for the 4% spell damage in Master Shapeshifter, And Omen of Clarity and Intensity, for mana saving.

I hope this spec is of any use, as this is the first guide I wrote.

With these talents in the balance tree, the buffs you already give to people while casting in moonkin form, are +5% spell crit, +3% haste for the whole raid, which are both very nice.

What gears are the best for moonkins?

I think for a balance druid, it's best to stack on spell power and critical strike rating, but also intellect and spirit are very important. Intellect is needed to have endurance in long fights, in dungeons or raids for example, and spirit increases your mana regen while not casting, but also your spell damage. And it might not seem useful, to regen mana faster while not casting, but if you're running from one mob to another, and you target it, it might be something like 5 seconds, for example. At 52, with 150 mana per 5 seconds, while not casting, it means an extra wrath, or starfire cast for me, with the amount of mana I get in these few seconds.

In lower levels, you shouldn't be ashamed to take cloth questrewards, or buy cloth armor, with spell power, spirit and intellect on it, just because you can use leather. I've done this in earlier lvls. before I got spell damage from spirit, and I must say that worked out very well. If you play it right, and have some good gear, gear with the right stats that is, you won't have any problems in killing the mobs you need to kill. Most of the time, they will hardly hit you before they die.

Enchants:

Enchants are also very useful for druid, and also useful for lvling. The basic enchants, the Pre-TBC ones, aren't really useful, for the amount of money they cost. after having lvl 35 or higher items (requires lvl 35 on dungeon or BoE items, and item lvl 35 on quest rewards), you can start looking for burning crusade enchants.

The mats are less expensive than the pre-TBC ones most of the time (at least on dragonblight they are), but it also works very well, to just buy a bunch of outland greens in the auction house and look for an enchanter to disenchant them and give you the mats back.

Enchant Bracer - Superior Healing (+35 spell power) This one requires 4 primal lifes and 4 greater planar essences and is quite expensive for a lvl 35 most of the time. Primal lifes at Dragonblight server, alliance side, are on 5g each atm, the planars at 13g each, although if you buy the good green items, it shouldn't be too hard to get them.

Enchant Gloves - Blasting is a very nice, and most of all cheap enchant. it requires only one lesser planar essence, and 4 arcane dust. I will link an addon after this part, with which you can track prices of items, mats, and that addon also has a enchanting plugin, with shows you how high the chances for specific items are while disenchanting).

On bracers I mostly use Enchant Bracer - Major Intellect It gives you +180 mana, the regen from dreamstate increases slightly and you also get slightly more spellpower.

On a chest item Enchant Chest - Major Spirit comes in quite handy, because it increases your spell damage.

If the primal mana's are low on price on your server, and you've found some nice BoE legs, I suggest looking for a high lvl tailor, to make you mystic spellthread (+15 stamina, +25 spell power) and let him or her attach it to your legs, so trade the mats (5 primal mana and 1 rune thread), and your legs. It won't bind the legs to the attacher. Primal mana is around 4-5g each, on Dragonblight europe, if I'm right, so if you have a bit of cash, and you can afford this, I would suggest taking it, because your legs will become an item, which you'll keep for a very long time.

Skills when in combat

In Hikari's guide, he stated that entangling roots gets broken on a specific amount of damage automatically, which is true. I would suggest to open with it though. When you are far away, that means in a 30 yd range approximately, you can open with starfire, but immediately after that, root the mob. You can apply moonfire and insect swarm to the target than, which are DoT's. At that point it will break somewhere, but if you start spamming wrath immediately after you put moonfire and insect swarm on the mob (mostly I root --> insect swarm --> moonfire --> wrathspam)the mob will be dead very fast. At lvl 48-50, I could solo mobs of my lvl, with the spellcircle I just pointed out, without them being able to hit me

well, maybe they hit me once, but I was just once wrath cast away from killing them, as soon as they got to me, without being in max range. So that's one great benefit of roots, although it will not prevent them from moving until they are killed. What you also might wanna use, when you pull two mobs on accident, you can use nature's grasp. I've had quite often, that you pull two mobs, at a time. I could use my hurricane than, but that sucked away my complete mana pool in a few casts, which with pushback didn't last long. Mostly you pull a second one, by casting a spell on another mob. Root one mob, turn on nature's grasp and if the mob that runs to you hits you, walk back a bit. It roots that second target also. After you're done with the first mob, reroot the second one and kill it.

I haven't had any raid experience yet with my druid, as it is on lvl 52 only, but I hope I've been able to help some people out a bit with this guide. I think, in raids or dungeons though, it's important to keep up moonfire and insect swarm, and while they're up, keep casting wrath --> Starfire --> Wrath --> Starfire.

What Ive seen a lot in-game (mostly on other chars), are balance druids, which aren't in moonkin form, because they also wanna cast healing spells. Just go in moonkin form. As soon as you cast a healing spell, you will get out of moonkin form (this one doesn't cost mana if I'm right) and immeditaly after that, shapeshift back. Works like a charm, and you also have the +5% crit, +3% haste and the extra spell damage from spirit.

The addon for tracking prices (price/stack, price/item and percentage compared to average price over 3, 7 and 14 days, plus the disenchantplugin) can be found here. Download it with manual install and than extract it to your WoW directory WoW/interface/AddOns.

I would advise to take herbalism and alchemy on your druid. They are easy to lvl, compared to other professions, and there are some potions and elixirs which are great money makers.

Have fun playing,
Ataraxia.

Oh, btw.
If you have any advise or comments on my guide, about things which can be added, like addons, or skills, or whatever, or if anything is not right, please give me a sign than. I will add it than and I will also keep updating this guide, as long as I'm lvling.

Comments

Lycander's picture

Druid Balance Guide Updated

Heya, all.  This guide has been updated for Cataclysm.  It was done based on what I used leveling from 80-85 and a little research.  I'll be playing through with a new druid to test and tweak it, but I feel confident that it's pretty solid as it is.  I've moved it back to the Class Guides -> Druid section.  If you have any suggestions, please add a comment below and I'll try to take care of it!


Thanks!

Druid Quests

There is a nice list of Druid Quest over at WoWHead: http://www.wowhead.com/class=11#quests

Of note  would be the quest at level 20, The Circle's Future, which gives you a pretty good staff for that level. I am only a level 29 so far on my Cata Druid, but so far so good, thanks for updating the guide.

Lycander's picture

Thanks, Brian

I haven't played my Cata druid much, so I haven't gotten to the class quests.  I'll check out the link you've provided and see wht I can update.

One minor nitpick

The Glyph of Focus linked in the AoE section links to wowhead/spell instead of wowhead/item, so it shows up as spell not found in the hover tooltip.  The one linked in the glyph section is correct.

Looks awesome.

Lycander's picture

Thanks for the catch.

It's been fixed now.  Please let me know if you spot anything else or have any other suggestions.

Weapons List

There's a few mislinks in the weapon list as well.  Looks like:

  • Death Speaker's Scepter
  • Hand of Righteousness
  • Fire Eater's Guide

Glyph of Typhoon in the same

Glyph of Typhoon in the same section.  Looks to be the same issue (linked to /spell instead of /item).  Totally missed that one earlier. :|

Lycander's picture

Thanks for the catches once again

Thanks again for cathing these.  I've fixed everything you mentioned, and I'll give it another once-over for other errors.  If you see anything else, or have any suggestions, please let me know!  Thanks.

Jiyambi's picture

Moved to Archive Section

We are recently working on improving the quality of content here on WoW-Pro.com, both by limiting low ranked guides and by moving out of date guides into archives. For more information, see the full news post detailing this process.

Your guide has been moved to Work in Progress mode for the following reasons:

  • The guide is significantly out of date.

If you improve your guide to address these issues, you are welcome to change it to Finished mode again. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to comment here.

Skumball's picture

This has 4 Jiya... Just

This has 4 Jiya... Just pointing out Smiling

-Skum

Jiyambi's picture

Copy paste fail.

Copy paste fail. Fixed.

Lycander's picture

All lines are open!

Heya, everyone. I've finished a re-vamp of this guide and would love any and all feedback on it. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think or what chages/improvements it needs. Thanks!

Thank you.

Just a quick thanks for the guide. I am leveling my first Druid (well, first one I got past 14) using this guide, and finding success.
Spamming Starfire after wrath for 20-39 seems to be my only question. At level 23 anyhow, it takes a long time to cast and it sucks up the manna. Is it really more efficient than wrath>moonfire>starfire>spam wrath or starfire>moonfire>spam wrath? Wowhead suggests it uses less mana than 2 wraths, but speed seems to count for something. Also, even after the global cool down, it doesn't seem to want to stack the next starfire or wrath until it casts out, am I missing something there?
Perhaps I need more pots I can use while in combat?

Lycander's picture

Starfire is more efficient

While Wrath does cast faster, the cast time for 2 wrath is equal to 1 starfire. There's a small discrepancy between damages, depending on which spell you just got, but starfire will always cost less. For example:

At level 20, compare Starfire and Wrath. Starfire is 3 seconds to cast, does 149 damage max and costs 16% of your base mana. Two Wraths would take 3 seconds to cast as well, do a max of 114 damage and use 22% of your base mana.

At 22, when you get the next level of Wrath, your max damage increases to 156 but everything else stays the same. It's still more mana-efficient to use Starfire.

That being said, there are a couple advantages to Wrath and it is a viable play style. Wrath's main advantage, in my opinion, is that there's a travel time involved. Starting at max range, you can get a second one cast before the first reaches your target and he starts approaching. It's second advantage is that it's less likely that a mob will pat out of range just as your about to complete your spell. (That happens to me with starfire WAY too often.)

Anyways, I hope this helps you. And please, feel free to post any other questions or comments you may have. I'll help out if I can. Thanks.

I have to disagree with a few things here

First, DOTs are all but useless when leveling, because fights don't last more than 6-7 seconds unless you're doing it wrong. Insect Swarm is a waste of a talent point, and Moonfire is only good for killing runners. Second, you should definitely not be using Entangling Roots on every fight, much less opening with it. In general, you want to open with Wrath (because Wrath has a travel time during which you can start casting your next spell), then spam Starfire, which is your most mana-efficient DD. If you're following Jame's guide, you will usually be fighting mobs slightly lower than your level, which means it should take a maximum of three Starfires to finish one off, usually less. Entangling Roots is very wasteful -- you really don't care if the mob hits you a few times; in fact, it can even be beneficial to do some extra Thorns damage, especially with the new, kinder spell pushback mechanics. Note that you will want to vary your casting sequence depending on the hit points of the mob, crits, etc. Use common sense, and keep in mind that mana is really your only resource. Be thinking about how to conserve it at all times. Overkill is bad. Roots and heals are bad, and should only be used in "oh sh*t" situations. BY THE WAY -- you can only root one enemy at a time, and this includes both Entangling Roots and Nature's Grasp, so that part of your guide is flat-out wrong. Don't neglect Hibernate, which is a much longer CC than root, although it only works on beasts and dragonkin.

Your talent build is OK except for Insect Swarm, Nature's Splendor, and Owlkin Frenzy. OF is not a terrible talent but unfortunately doesn't often proc until nearly the end of a fight, making you waste most of it unless another mob is right there. Take those out and replace with 3/3 Celestial Focus and 2/2 Balance of Power. Also, 5/5 Wrath of Cenarius is a big priority, since it affects the two spells that will be doing 95% of your damage.

AOEs are not very useful when questing. Most quests are geared to killing mobs one at a time, and situations where you can effectively kill many at once are relatively rare.

Your gear ratings are substantially accurate, but it helps to have a numeric priority rather than just saying "spellpower is the best". A good rule of thumb for leveling gear is: 1 SP = 2 hit/haste/crit = 3 INT = 10 Spirit. (80 gear values are TOTALLY DIFFERENT! You will be swapping out most or all of your gear when you start doing 80 instances and raids, not to mention respeccing!) Enchants are not usually worthwhile because gear is replaced too quickly, but if you're rich, go for it. They're also good on heirloom weapons, although that may be changing in 3.1.

Profession wise, I really recommend Skinning as your gathering profession. The passive crit rating helps a good bit, and it's a nice money maker too. It's much easier to skin your kills than waste time running around looking for resource nodes. This is assuming that it's your first character; if you already have an 80, making a few hundred extra gold on the way up won't matter.

The biggest tip I would give to Balance Druids is to clip your spells. "Clipping" refers to the fact that your character actually finishes casting the spell slightly before the client-side castbar fills up. If you start the next spell a little early, you will begin casting it a little earlier than it looks like you should be able to. (Practice will give you a "feel" for when you should start casting, depending on your latency and PC performance.)

Entangling roots

You wrote:

BY THE WAY -- you can only root one enemy at a time, and this includes both Entangling Roots and Nature's Grasp,

--------------

News to me, considering I've rooted at least two mobs at once using Nature's grasp. Yes you can only cast Entangling roots at one mob, or rather only the last one you cast at will stay rooted, but Nature's grasp can hold up to three mobs at a time. Plus the entangling Roots one.

Lycander's picture

I didn't realize they had changed that

I haven't used Nature's Grasp in a long time, as it used to cancel Entangling Roots when it procced. Thanks for the heads-up!

Jiyambi's picture

Huh, I never knew what the

Huh, I never knew what the word for that was ("clipping" that is). I've been doing that as a resto/balance druid for some time, noticed the phenomenon and went with it. It does indeed let you cast much more quickly than if you patiently waited for the spell bar to finish filling up.

Night_Hawk's picture

Clipping is great for any

Clipping is great for any class, I know I do it as a holy pally as well. The comment below me is right on the money, Quartz is a great addon, it will show your latency on the cast bar, as soon as the cast has progressed into the 'red' area you can click your next spell. You can download it here.

I never knew what the word was either, I'll check and see if it is in the WoW Dictionary. Eye

For the Clipping part you

For the Clipping part you can download Quartz AddOn. It will show you when you can start casting you next spell.

Jame's picture

Good feedback.

Good feedback.

Trollvink's picture

Heya, you might want to add

Heya, you might want to add the following add-ons to your guide:

Druid specific addons:

  • Bang! Eclipse, This mod will inform you when to switch between starfire and wrath to maximise DPS via eclipse.

Useful Addons while leveling:

  • RatingBuster, The design aim of RatingBuster is to provide detailed, meaningful and customizable information about items so you can easily decide for yourself which item is better.

  • AutoProfitX , Adds a button to a vendor-window which, if you click on it, makes you sell all the gray items in your inventory.

  • XBar, Makes bars for things like Tracks, Buffs, Companions, Class specific stuff, etc.

  • ArkInventory, is a bag addon, which allows you te create seperate windows for different stuff, also shows the vendor price of items.

I know most of these addons have nothing to do with Druids, but while leveling, these addons are god-like. You save alot of time if you have these installed.

Feel free to copy this into your guide.

Jame's picture

Hey, thanks for writing a

Hey, thanks for writing a guide.

I just skimmed it and the content appears to be very useful, however, the presentation is a problem: big wall of text Sticking out tongue

Please check out these guides written by other wow-pro members and try to use them as an inspiration for your guide:

If you don't know how to make your guide look as good as theirs, don't worry, we actually have guides to help you with that:

1. Jame's Guide Writing Guide
2. Jiyambi's Guide on how to make a Table of Content

Thanks for the quick reply

Hey Jame, tnx for your quick response (and also for your lvling guides btw). I will work on that one. I wrote it last night, when I was bored and servers were down. As soon as I have time, I will fix the big walls of text. Smiling

Wish I was old and a little sentimental (Cool

Wish I was old and a little sentimental (Cool

Shikamaru's picture

If you have any questions

If you have any questions about the codes, just tell me and I'll help you Smiling

PS. Why'd you want to be old ?Sticking out tongue