What Balance needs to spice things up

Long time no post! I know it’s been a while. Between Diablo III and work I haven’t felt in the mood to blog about WoW lately. I kinda feel like I’m in this lull right now and it’s exactly how I felt at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. I’m just getting really bored of Dragon Soul.

In recent news, my guild is now 5/8 Heroic in 25-man Dragon Soul. We recently killed Heroic Warmaster Blackhorn (in the first 5 pulls we ever did) and are now setting our sights on Heroic Zon’ozz. We are still looking for reliable DPS to add to our ranks, specifically Mages and Warlocks, and any other exemplary DPS are welcome to apply.

In today’s post I’d like to talk about how Balance is shaping up in Mists of Pandaria. I know I know. You’re thinking “this is a Resto Druid blog, what do I need to know about Balance Druids?” Well, being a good raider is also about being flexible. I have for more than one occasion went Balance for progression boss fights because we needed to drop a healer to beat an enrage timer. So I feel it’s my responsibility to keep up to date on my DPS spec because I imagine I’ll be doing it in Mists of Pandaria as well.

So, what are my impressions of Balance on the Beta?

The Good

1. We now have a reliable burst cooldown- Celestial Alignment was something greatly needed for our spec. Force of Nature never exactly cut it for burst on Live.

2. The removal of Insect Swarm- One of our DoTs took a hit. Insect Swarm is no longer in the game and we are left with Moonfire/Sunfire. I’m OK with this. Insect Swarm never made our rotation more interesting and quite frankly was just another thing to refresh when Moonfire fell off. It also falls in line with Blizzards attempt to nerf multi-DoTTing (Warlocks have greatly felt this pain).

3. The addition of Astral Communion- Astral Communion is a great quality of life change. It allows us to enter a Solar or Lunar Eclipse before the start of an encounter. No more killing critters.

4. Our AoE is finally balanced, sort of- Any Balance Druid who plays on Live knows how painful our AoE DPS can be. The fact that we have to sit in Solar to do any decent amount of AoE has plagued us since the beginning of Cataclysm. Well no more. Hurricane will be returning as our staple Solar AoE spell along with it’s cousin Astral Storm for Lunar.

I’m happy to see Hurricane return because I really hate the clunky mechanic of Wild Mushroom. Not only is it tedious and unnecessary, but Wild Mushroom was never intended to be our main source of AoE damage. It just ended up that way through Solar cleave. Ghostcrawler recently made a post stating that Wild Mushroom: Detonate would not be affected by Solar Eclipse, but that has yet to change and there still seems to be a bit of imbalance favoring Solar for AoE and Lunar for single target damage, but I imagine this will be resolved before MoP goes Live.

The Bad

1. Movement DPS- Right now our movement DPS is regulated to Moonfire spam via Lunar Shower. It’s really terrible both in DPS and in mechanics. It’s not really interesting and the ramp up time is tedious.

2. Eclipse energy is less meaningful- I’ve noticed on the Beta that our energy bar is less meaningful than it is on Live. In the Beta, casting Wrath, Starfire, or Starsurge while in an Eclipse state automatically refreshes the duration of Moonfire or Sunfire on the target. On Live we have to manually refresh our DoTs right before an Eclipse ends to get the maximum DPS possible. To get this benefit we have to watch our energy bar like a hawk.

Solutions

1. Movement DPS- There are a couple of ways to fix this:

  • Easiest- Give us a glyph (call it Glyph of Earth and Moon) that allows us to cast while moving.
  • Moderate- Give us a new spell that gives us an aura that allows us to temporarily cast while moving (think Spiritwalker’s Grace copy).
  • Challenging- Create a new spell that serves as our DPS-on-the-go ability (I don’t see this happening).

Giving us a glyph would be the easiest way to solve this, but I’d like to see something more like Spiritwalker’s Grace on a small cooldown. They could re-implement Insect Swarm to give us a temporary buff that allows us to cast Wrath while moving. Astral Swarm could be it’s Lunar counterpart when we need to cast Starfire.

2. Eclipse energy is less meaningful- This would be harder to fix.

As it stands our Eclipse bar doesn’t matter very much. I could DPS all day long and achieve the same output without looking at the bar as I would carefully monitoring it. As I said before, on Live we are rewarded with higher DPS by refreshing our DoTs right before an Eclipse state ends. This just isn’t the case on the Beta.

So how do we fix it? Well, we would need to change how casting a spell at a certain point during our Eclipse would interact with our DPS. They could unhook Moonfire/Sunfire from auto-refreshing and it would make us look at the bar again, but I don’t think that is very interesting and it doesn’t solve the long-term issue.

In reality Eclipse would need to be redesigned entirely. I’ve heard ideas on the forums of making our damage “ramp up” towards an Eclipse and I thought that was a neat idea. Different energy levels would provide different DPS points and make us watch our bar far more carefully. It could also streamline the vast DPS different between being inside and outside an Eclipse state.

Overall, I think Balance is in a decent place right now. Our AoE is no longer pin-holed into one Eclipse state and we have other niceties like being able to heal in Moonkin/Astral Form via a glyph. Still, I feel our movement DPS still needs to be addressed and the simplification of our rotation has made Eclipse energy no longer matter.

Here’s hoping for more changes for the better!

 

 

 

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  1. I’ve been running heroics as boomkin on the beta and I have to admit, only having to watch one dot feels so much easier! However, I’m not great at boomkin, as resto is what I do normally, so I haven’t really noticed the changes. The mushrooms are still kinda clunky imo. The hurricane/astral storm aoe does feel a lot better though!

    I hope we do get some movement friendly spells other than spamming moonfire/sunfire though!

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