After the most recent bout of Balance Druid changes there was a lot of stuff that excites me. At the same time there is a considerable amount of stuff that is worrisome. I understand there is a bunch of stuff not implemented on the Beta currently for Balance, but with the pre-patch speculated to come out in a bit over a month I would rather write this feedback now.
- Shooting Stars DR changes.
- Massive talent node changes.
- Furor Removal.
- Starfall remaining Starfall.
Overall, the change to shooting stars was something that needed to happen. I am faily displeased with the way it was changed. For those unaware, it got changed from a 15% proc chance to 25% proc chance. While this is really good on something like single target, there is still pretty steep diminishing returns on the ability itself.
Here is a graph plotting diminishing returns on Shooting Stars where the blue line is 15% proc, the green line is the newly implemented 25% proc, and the red line is 15% proc chance with diminishing returns starting after 5 targets. As you notice the curve is far less steep and will improve our Astral Power generation specifically on AOE considerably. With the massive changes (positve ones) to our mastery that encourage dotting on AOE more frequently we need a way to consistently generate more astral power on AOE.
Just overall, your DOTs are such a high priority on AOE, second only to starfall. This is how Balance Druid AOE should play, but you should be heavily promoted in 8-10 target situations after you get all of your DOTs applied. There is no reason that there should be such a steep diminishing return on Shooting Stars.
Top of the tree
The top part of the tree is honestly fine, if nothing changed about it from now until live there would be minimal complaints. There is a major question about how Celestial Alignment will change, but that will likely be answered in a few days.
Owlkin Frenzy is really weird to be an actual node and there could be a reasonable argument to put Solar Beam in the pace where Owlkin Frenzy is.
Middle part of the Tree
This is where all the pathing problems start to occur. First off our nodes are very disjointed where you have half of your AOE talents on the left and the other half on the right. Meanwhile you have to path through mandatory single target nodes to get to the AOE options. For example, Starlord is in between Shooting Stars, Solstace, Pulsar, and Orbit Breaker. Additionally, Improved Starsurge is in between 3 Starfall nodes. We know that Improved Starsurge is going away, but this node’s placement is suboptimal. Another thing is Power of Goldrinn is locked behind Solar Beam. With there being very few 0 DPS node choices in the Balance tree, this means that Goldrinn has to be THAT much better on ST to be a realistic choice.
Stellar Drift needs a major change. With how our AOE functions now, you cannot lock starfall out for 12 seconds. I think removing the damage bonus to Stellar Drift, changing it to give larget radius (similar to legion), and maintain the casting while moving would be a good start. Putting it as an optional node off to the side of starfall where you are not forced to path through is also something that needs to change.
Stellar Inspiration and Umbral Intensity are both incredibly bland nodes, and they could use a bit of updating in some capacity. Moving Umbral Infusion (T29 4 Set) here would be really nice.
Circle of Life and Death and the Adaptive Swarm / BOAT choice node is very boring. I personally do not like the playstyles this promotes overall. I also think there is mass room for more interesting nodes in this spot.
The Syzygy / Pulsar and Orbit breaker node is an absolute banger. Probably the highlight of the tree.
Incarn / Convoke and Cooldown Bonus node needs to be changed in some capacity. I feel like Incarn and Convoke should not be a choice node for balance as a whole. They both could be their own penultimate / capstone traits. For Incarn you could have an IFE style CDR effect as opposed to the Ashen Hallow style CDR effect that was initially proposed. This would allow for ~2m CD on Celesital Alignment while not always being the go-to option. For convoke I could see that talent also being a penultimate option while an exceptional spell variation could be the capstone on that. Alternatively, you could make it 1m Convoke as the capstone as well without reducing it to 12 spells. These 2 changes would make our capstones highly encouraged to take.
With Umbral Infusion and FOE / Moon it feels like Moon is the only talent worthy of being a Capstone Trait. I think that Fury of Elune should move to where Stellar Drift currently is or somewhere else higher in the tree (potentially where blessings are). Then Umbral Infusion should move to one of the Stellar Inspiration / Umbral Intensity nodes. Then this would allow Moon to be the penultimate choice while having a moon themed capstone trait (potentially Radiant Moonlight).
The Blessing Choice and OI / Dreambinder choice is honestly a fine node choice. Something needs to change about blessings now that eclipse does not alternate. This is a potential spot for Fury of Elune to move to.
First off, Furor is so buggy on Beta at the moment. Even when it isn't bugged, conceptually stance dancing as a Balance Druid is something that scares me. As a capstone in the class tree, this creates major issues when there can be significant sources of power in a tree where that is largely absent. Additionally, it creates a playstyle that is very unfriendly for 3 out of the 4 Druid specs.
The druid class tree as a whole is one that is viewed pretty fondly, but Furor needs to be reworked.
There has been a lot of feedback on this, but the class fantasy surrounding Starfall is one that you have this massive radius following you around. With it being a targeted radius, it puts the playstyle of balance similar to Elemental Shaman and Destruction Warlock. Having 3 copies of the same builder spender seems very bland.
I understand the initial concern on spread AOE in the state of the game, but when you break it down there is a lot lacking in the moonkin kit on the AOE department. Balance as a general rule has a large amount of ramp time (even more now with the changes to our mastery). With this ramp time being apparent and the lack of strong on demand burst, this puts starfall in a position where it isn’t an oppressively strong AOE ability. We’ll still be very far behind classes like MM Hunter, Havoc DH, etc on instant burst AOE. This leaves us in a spot where spread AOE and sustained AOE can be damage profiles that Balance Druid does excel in.