Shifting Perspectives: An additional dimension for the balance druid rotation
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we ready our spreadsheets for battle.
We are experimenting with some changes to the rotation. No promises that these changes will stay, but we definitely look forward to your feedback (both in terms of theorycrafting and how fun it is). Shooting Stars should occur much more frequently, and Starsurge should be a more important (read: high damage) button. Additionally, we’re adding a new passive that has some interesting implications. Should you choose to ignore it, your DPS will likely be only a few percentage behind someone who uses it optimally, but it should hopefully provide some more varied gameplay. To use some game designer jargon, we’re happy with Moonkins’ macro level rotational gameplay, but think they needs some more mirco-level decisions.
- Shooting Stars chance increased from 20% to 50%.
- Starsurge damage increased by 30%.
- Fae Empowerment: New passive for Balance Druids. When you cast Faerie Fire, you gain Lunar Empowerment and Solar Empowerment.
- Lunar Empowerment: Increases the damage of your next 3 Starfires within 15 sec by 15%.
- Solar Empowerment: Increases the damage of your next 3 Wraths within 15 sec by 20%.
Please note that these changes are straight DPS buffs, and we don’t think Moonkin need a buff right now, so we need to reduce overall damage (probably across the board) so that overall DPS stays the same. These nerfs may take a few builds, because we need to evaluate if these rotation changes are worth doing.
Tackling the second change first, Fae Empowerment is a very deceptive buff. On the surface, it looks like a huge gain. “Whoa, no cooldown! I can just keep it running all the time and get free bonus damage!” Well, there are a few niggling things that get in the way of that.
Third, the timer’s pretty tight. Without accounting for haste, three Wraths will take 6 seconds, and three Starfires will take 7.5 seconds. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for you to do the usual things you do when transitioning Eclipses, such as putting up Moonfire/Sunfire or hitting Starfall. That’s not even accounting for unexpected events such as Euphoria, which can cut out a nuke pre-Eclipse, or Starsurge procs that you want to use ASAP. What else? Oh, right, that newfangled idea of actually having to move during a fight. In order to solve this, they’ve already increased the duration to 18 seconds, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it increase more.
One concern I have, though, is it opens the spec up to critter abuse again. While Astral Communion eliminated the desire to find critters to charge your Eclipse to the desired level, now you’re going to want to get FE up immediately pre-pull if possible. Admittedly, it’s pretty minor and may not be worth cluttering the tooltip, but the FE buff should ideally only proc when Faerie Fire is used on “enemies that grant experience or honor.”
The Starsurge change is simpler but ultimately more significant. Previously, Starsurge had been nerfed several times for PvP balance reasons, which ended up with its being only slightly more powerful than Wrath or Starfire. Now though, it’s clearly the hardest-hitting ability we have; you’ll always want to prioritize it, either using the instant-proc ability or simply hard-casting it.
Some people have already expressed concerns about burst damage causing nerfs again. Personally, I don’t think a 30% buffed Starsurge offers too much burst, but it may be trending into dangerous territory. One thing to note is that the proc rates actually aren’t going up that much in comparison to the current rotation. That 50% chance looks large, but crit rates will be significantly lower in MoP. This also has the side effect of creating an avenue for crit to scale better than it has in the past. Of course, that opens up the possibility that Starsurge could become “too” good in 5.3. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.
As Ghostcrawler said, though, they’ll have to reduce the damage of other abilities to compensate. Most of that reduction is likely going to come from Starfire and Wrath, which makes sense from a design perspective. SF/W are your filler spells. You don’t want them to be known for their damage; you want them to move you along to something more interesting.
What’s your take? Like the idea of stronger Starsurges and weaker everything else? How do you feel about Fae Empowerment?
Looking for the latest and greatest in feral cat druid guides? Shifting Perspectives has the answers! Check out our guide to soloing instances and raids, as well as our top gear recommendations and feral guides to the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple and the Fall of Deathwing.
Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives