So you wanna be a moonkin? - 4.2 Balance PVE Guide

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Kulu
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So you wanna be a moonkin? - 4.2 Balance PVE Guide

Credit to Artwork to Triggerman on DeviantArt: http://triggerman.deviantart.com/art/Tauren-Moonkin-Form-WP-56024163

 

Introduction:

Hi. So you're here because you want to play a balance druid. Yay! They're fun. They're also damage dealing powerhouses. I will only cover the basics such as races/talents/gearing/rotations and make some notes I've found useful in my own experiences. All of the calcluations (or lack there of) are based upon theorycrafting by our friends over at http://elitistjerks.com/f73/. I do not claim to have found any of this data  on my own, but through a variety of available resources online. 

Anything I have posted in this thread is because it's something I've found important. But who am I and why should you trust me? I have heroic experience with Balance Druids throughout Cataclysm. I also have raided regularly since the days of Molten Core on a variety of characters. I am the first to admit I'm not the best, but I do hope to help you through my experiences and advice. Feel free to message me in game or post on this thread with any additional questions.

Choosing Your Race:

Before the release of Cataclysm, the druid class was limited to Night Elves (A) and Tauren (H). Due to the limited availability of races, racials have never played a major role in determining the race of your druid - faction choice largely dictated your race. With Cataclysm two new races were able to become druids - Trolls (H) and Worgen (A). Even with the addition of these two races, racials do not make that big of a difference. Play what you like - but for those who are curious:

Alliance: Worgen are arguably better for DPS because of the 1% crit and Darkflight is very useful. Night Elves benefit from their Shadowmeld racial in PVP and some PVE scenarios.

Horde: Trolls are better for DPS due to Berserking and the often overlooked Beast Slaying. Tauren also have a useful racial with they AOE Stun which can be cast in all forms.

Note: Racials are not gamebreaking.

Talent Builds & Glyphs:

Talents:

Balance druids have more wiggle room in their talents now than ever. There are optimal choices, but each spec does have some wiggle room. I've included a standard build and I will make a note on Lunar Shower.

Build 1 w/ Lunar Shower - http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0IfMdRhokRuZrck

Some of the talents provided are not required, such as Perseverance, but do help with survivability. If you're dead you're doing no damage. Talents such as Solar Beam and Typhoon are not required, but do provide great utility. Remember that as a hybrid DPS, you not only focus on raw damage output but also group utility.

Note: Lunar Shower provides a direct buff to Moonfire/Sunfire Damage when repeatedly cast. However, it doesn't allow for the caster to sit in Solar Eclipse for long duration AOE fights. If you're not familiar with the mechanics of the spells, I would advise keeping Lunar Shower. Once you've grasped the nature of Balance AOE and Solar Eclipse, you can move the points around. 

Prime Glyphs: 

1. Glyph of Insect Swarm - Solid DPS Increase

2. Glyph of Moonfire - Solid DPS Increase.

3.  Glyph of Wrath -or- Glyph of Starsurge* - See below. 

*Note: Glyph of Wrath is stronger on single target fights. On fights where you use Starfall regularly, you may find Glyph of Starsurge to be more beneficial. I personally run with Glyph of Wrath.

 

Major Glyphs: 

1. Glyph of Rebirth - Very strong utility glyph and very useful for raids.

2. Glyph of Starfall - DPS Increase, provided you use Starfall.

3. Preferential 

 

Minor Glyphs: 

1. Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth - No one likes reagents.

2. Preferential

3. Preferential 

Note: You should always have a Glyph of Typhoon handy. You never know when you may need it.

Gearing:

Stats: 

Intellect > 17% Spell Hit (from Hit or Spirit) > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Intellect - Increases spell damage, spell crit, mana pool, and mana regeneration

Hit Rating/Spirit - Thanks to the talent Balance of Power, 1 spirit = 1 hit rating. Spirit also helps mana regeneration so it is slightly better, but not game breaking. You need 1742 points of hit rating/spirit or 17% total.

Haste - This is the best secondary stat after your hit cap. Increases casting time and DoT ticking speeds.

Mastery - Increases the Eclipse damage buff, but is worse than Haste.

Crit - Due to other stats and talents, Crit becomes inferior to the other stats. Fear not, though, you will still have ample crit rating.

Reforging:

1. Make sure you're at the hit cap. The hit cap for casters is 17%. If you need to reach the hit cap, start by reforging the weakest stat (Crit) into hit/spirit.

2. Once you have the hit cap, check the gear for haste. If your gear lacks haste, reforge the weakest stat into haste (Crit or Hit, depending). Do not lose your 17% hit cap.

3. Check gear for mastery - If you gear has haste but not mastery, reforge the weakest state (excess Hit or Crit) into mastery. Do not lose your 17% hit cap.

Computer optimizers such as Rawr may be beneficial for checking reforges.

Gemming:

If the bonus is 20 Intellect or more, gem for that socket. If it is less than 20 Intellect, use pure a Brilliant Inferno Ruby. Your meta gem should ALWAYS be Burning Shadowspirit Diamond. In the event you need to fill a blue/yellow socket, use Purified Demonseye or Reckless Ember Topaz. For all other instances, use Brilliant Inferno Ruby.

 

Enchanting:

Head: Arcanum of Hyjal from Guardians of Hyjal Revered (this enchant is now BoA)

Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone from Therazane Exalted

Back: Enchant Cloak - Greater Intellect

Chest: Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats

Wrists: Enchant Bracer - Mighty Intellect

Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Haste

Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread (from Tailors)

Boots: Enchant Boots - Lavawalker or Enchant Boots - Haste

Wepaon: Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent

Offhand: Enchant Off-Hand - Superior Intellect

Professions:

Tailoring - Currently the best profession for Balance druids, the Lightweave Embriodery gives 580 Intellect for 15 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. All in all it ends up being an increase of 90 intellect.

The rest of the crafting professions (Eng/LW/JC/BS/Alchemy/Enchanting/Scribe) all provide approximately 80 intellect.

The gathering professions do not give as much as the crafting, but still are beneficial...

Herbalism averages out to 80 Haste.

Skinning gives 80 crit rating.

Mining provides a stamina gain, but no DPS gain.

*If you have a profession that gives a certain gain (such as ring enchants, engineering tinkerings, etc.) you should use it over a standard enchantment. In order to gain the 80 intellect from Alchemy's Mixology, you must have a Flask of Draconic Mind active.

Leather versus Cloth:

Ignore cloth gear. The 5% Stat Bonus from Leather specialization makes it priority. 

Trinkets:

Generally the better stat allocation has, the better a trinket is. However, this is tricky considering the strength of Darkmoon Card: Volcano. The best trinket is the Variable Pulse Lightning Capacitor. Darkmoon Card: Volcano and Necromantic Focus are very similar and it's largely personal preference. The heroic version of Necromantic Focus is better than Darkmoon Card: Volcano. Be sure to use your trinkets in accordance with other cooldowns.

Set Bonuses:

Both T11 set bonuses (2pc and 4pc) are worth using. Both T12 set bonuses (2pc and 4pc) are also very good. I would reccomend acquiring the T12 2pc as soon as possible. Not only is the treant adorable, but it's a nice DPS boost. I'll update with T13 as it's released.

Consumables: 

Flask of Draconic Mind or a Cauldron of Battle are the best options for flasking. Use a food that will grant 90 Intellect as well - a Seafood Feast or Severed Sagefish Head

The best potion for DPS is Volcanic Potion. Use it pre-pull (so you can use it twice) and again during Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp.

 

 

 

Rotations, Cooldowns, & Eclipse:

Coming soon.

Other Notes and Recommendations:

Coming soon.