PvE Balance Druid Feedback Post

Balance Druid Feedback (PVE)
In this forum post, I plan on going over a list of talents and spells that members of the Balance Druid community are looking to change to give more dynamic gameplay options as well as provide a higher quality of gameplay for the class. This post is primarily addressing high end pve such as end game raiding and high level mythic plus.

We will be discussing the abilities or items that are in a less than attractive spot.

Base Abilities:

Solar Wrath and Starfire - These are really just generators right now. They are generally rather bland abilities but they do their job. Having to cast 5-10 fillers to 1 spender seems to be a pretty poor ratio considering they are the largest source of generation by a large margin.

Starfire is a bit of a different matter. Inside its main niche of clumped multi-target damage, not even burst damage, it just falls flat to Starfall. Inside its niche it should feel impactful but it really does not. This is more of a tuning issue.

Moonfire and Sunfire - These guys are in a very rough place. You put them on a target and that is it. On a single target they are rarely worth the global inside an Eclipse state and on multi-target it comes down to global efficiency. Sunfire can be spread and Moonfire can be extended and even still they are barely worth their damage per effective second.

For most classes, their DoTs are an integral part of their rotation. They provide additional resources apart from the initial application or they interact directly with the rotation through a proc or buff of some sort. Many of these problems also tie into Shooting Stars which we will talk about later.

Starfall - While a large improvement over the Battle for Azeroth version, there are still several quality of life changes that could be implemented to further improve it. Firstly as a buff, it really should be refreshable within the pandemic duration or the ability stackable. Right now we have problems maintaining it with our poor generation but when we are able to get more Haste on our gear you have to wait for it to fall off entirely or risk wasting damage.

Eclipse - Eclipse management should be the epitome of decision making within our rotation. Right now eclipse management is in a very awkward spot for multiple reasons. For starters we have Eclipse duration. There is almost no incentive or reward for a long duration Eclipse and you just go from one Eclipse to another so quickly. With the release of the newest Critical Strike legendary you are more incentivized to just chain eclipses as quickly as possible.

Eclipse interaction with our cooldowns should be more fluid. Right now it just overwrites and consumes the remaining Eclipse duration. While acting as an Eclipse state reset is an interesting idea, it just seems that the idea is just counterproductive to the flow of the class.

Finally, we should talk about DoT interactions inside our Eclipse state. Right now there is little to no reason to apply DoTs inside our precious Eclipse duration due to their meager damage and Astral Power generation. You only refresh the Eclipse appropriate DoT because it is just barely worth the damage per effective second not because it accomplishes anything of importance like extension or additional generation to further extend Eclipse.

Talents:

Soul of the Forest - Soul of the Forests power is tied directly in the power of Eclipse state. As it stands, there is no reward for long duration Eclipses in fact it is sometimes better to not have a long eclipse (new crit legendary). If the class and Eclipses remain in their current state, it could potentially be a z-DPS talent at best and a DPS loss at worst.

Stellar Drift and Twin Moons - Lumping these two together because they suffer a rather severe identity crisis. They both can not co-exist within the same balance iteration. If Starfall is good, Stellar Drift will be picked. If Starfall is bad and Moonfire is good, Twin Moons will always be picked.

This is especially now so that Moonfire is not that good and when you do have Moonfire up while AoEing and you Starfall, it extends the duration making the Twin Moons GCD conservation aspect moot.

Shooting Stars - A very underwhelming talent from all aspects. This is something that should really be baseline and that would be all our DoTs needed but it would probably be best to just make this the sustained AoE talent by removing the diminishing returns or heavily reducing the severity of those effects. This would also fix the rather large problem of AoE Astral Power generation. Its generation is already rather pitiful and with the current state of our DoTs we sometimes do not even have 100% uptime on a single target.

New Moon: Currently all moon variants are Arcane damage making our Eclipse Mastery only affect it during Lunar Eclipse. If changed to Astral damage, it would stay consistent to the rest of its row (Fury of Elune and Shooting Stars are both Astral) and allow it to be castable in both Eclipse states.

Additionally, it seems that the Full Moon spell is using the Legion formula for splash damage as opposed to the new formula for Shadowlands making it weaker on AoE than it should be.

Legendaries:

Unnamed Critical Strike Legendary - This legendary frontloads all of our damage inside Eclipse, breaks certain covenants, and devalues Haste and Critical Strike severely. It makes us want to chain Eclipses and avoid extending as long as possible.

Oneth’s Clear Vision - Pretty watered down from its Legion glory days. With the reduced Astral Power generation (which has been reduced twice since its introduction) as well as nerfing the proc change by 25% it just does not feel as good as it should. Tacking on a buff duration also makes it rather less attractive in Mythic+ where you could previously carry a proc from one pack to another.

Timeworn Dreamcatcher - This effect does not ring true to the Starsurge machine gun days of the Legion version. It more often facilitates the fluidity during hybrid rotations which is the same effect as that of Oneth’s Clear Vision. Even still, it can be difficult to keep the buff up with our current generation speed when Starfalling.

Primordial Arcanic Pulsar - Good in theory, currently there is a bug with Celestial Alignment. If you are in an Eclipse state and cast Celestial Alignment or proc Pulsar you cancel the Eclipse and do not get the cooldown.

Covenant Abilities:

Convoke the Spirits - Very good single target spell but not particularly good in AoE. It could potentially cast Starfire and maybe even prefer to cast spells corresponding with our current Eclipse State.

Additionally, 45-yards is a very long range to be attacking targets and while normally range is good, it currently is rather difficult to position properly to hit your preferred target if possible at all. If Convoke could favor your target or maybe be less likely to target enemies further away or immune targets, it would make for a much smoother ability.

That being said, this ability is the most satisfying single button that we can possibly press this entire expansion and we would like these sort of visually stunning, fun abilities in the future as well.

Adaptive Swarm - It has no target scaling beyond two targets and its power is tied to our DoT damage meaning it is just not a very good ability for this class at this time.

Kindred Spirits - The value of this ability heavily depends on the bonded partner meaning that depending on which specs you are playing with it can be extremely strong or nearly useless. In addition to that it requires (or at least heavily rewards) you to track cds/buffs or be in direct communication with the bonded person which is not always possible and can take a lot of attention during a fight.

Ravenous Frenzy - For a 3-minute cooldown, it is wholly underwhelming. It syncs up well with Celestial Alignment but in the end, even when global capped on Solar Wraths which forces you to spam Starfires, the output is rather poor.

Conclusion:

Single Target - Single target is in a relatively ok spot pre-tuning. The rotation is a bit bland but for a builder-spender rotation, but it does the trick. The big problems with single target lie largely in Eclipse rewards. The Eclipse management system is currently largely inconsequential due to the large amount of time spent inside Eclipses. The static bonuses given to our filler abilities do not do much apart from granting us mildly increased resource generation for our big spenders.

Multi-Target - Resource generation does not improve with additional targets and in cases where you want to apply DoTs to targets it is actually slower that on a single target. If we enter a multi-target situation without enough Astral Power for a Starfall, it feels like the game is on pause if we want to apply our DoTs and that is not always the correct play.

In an ideal world, we spend a portion of our time applying DoTs, placing a Starfall, and Starfire should be our last priority. DoTs do nothing in the way of maintaining Eclipse either through resource generation or some form of extension making it incredibly difficult to find optimal times to cast them.

35 Likes

Completely agree with all above statements.

While Balance is heading in the right direction design wise there are still alot of design flaws in the spec. It feels like some spells and talents are actively working against each other.

The gcd also feels really punishing with multidotting due to the naturally low levels of haste at the moment, again furthering us to avoid these globals. Sunfire is 1 global so maintaining it is reasonable in AoE, but moonfire is essentially dead unless setting up for a Convoke.

Stellar Flare like Moonfire and Sunfire is essentially a dead DoT too at present, reinforcing the other multi target options in the row.

Playing without Natures Balance is a large loss in Astral gameplay and setups. Even in 10 keys where Force of Nature has been the standard utility pick for tank utility.

With testing on training dummies it appears that Fury of Elune is the strongest even on Single Target. It provides the highest damage output compared to its talent row options, especially during Incarn with bith eclipses active and the crit Legendary. This can be fixed by adressing either Moons damage or cooldown and fixing Shooting Stars by either relaxing or removing the capped generation behind dots.

Legendary wise we are pigeonholed into 1 choice at the moment (crit lego) and that is largely due to current tunings. Increase Oneth proc chance. Increase the Dreamcatcher astral reduction or increase how much it can stack. Potentially reduce the Pulsar from 400 astral spent, this is currently 13.3 Starsurges per proc, up from 9 in BFA, although Starfall does allow you to reach the 400 easier. And the DoT legendaries aren’t worth considering with current DoT output.

7 Likes

Cross post from generic druid feedback

Balance druid feedback - first impressions
Long term balance druid feedback - have been playing balance since WotLK and experienced every different iteration of the spec

Abilities:
Stampeding roar and typhoon baseline - Yes. extremely welcome additions.

Core rotation:

  • The core single target rotation of Wrath/Starfire + starsurge is OK.

  • The rotation flows well, and is very predictable.

  • Eclipse is interesting at first, but ultimately, due to high uptime, i feel this effect loses its “wow factor”. The proc happens, and you continue on autopilot casting the same spells you would be anyway. If eclipse was not part of the toolkit, i dont think it would ultimately affect the spec that much

  • Eclipse does add a “challenge” of being in the right eclipse at the right time. This may be seen as interesting, but as in prior expansions may lead to odd cases where you simply do not want to trigger a new eclipse

  • Dots do not seem to fit well into the single target rotation. They lack any form of interaction with the spec whatsoever outside of shooting stars and the starfall dot extension. - should we cast during eclipse and lose out on increased builder damage? should we let them drop and only recast out of eclipse?

  • The Aoe rotation maintaining dots, extending with starfall and then building astral power is enjoyable.

  • Managing eclipse throughout the redotting/extending process during aoe appears simple enough

Talents:

  • T15:

    • Natures balance appears quite weak at first glance. passive option, with “math” making it the best choice, or not the right choice.
    • Warrior of Elune fits nicely with the eclipse mechanics. Enjoyable to use during Lunar eclipses
    • Force of nature appear strong and great thematic ability still. Fun to play
  • T25: No change

  • T30:

    • Really like the additional utility brought in with these rows. i left similar feedback in BFA beta, and im glad to see it implemented. Being able to pick up ursols vortex alongside typhoon and mass entangle make you feel like you are a master of control. Really happy with this
  • T35:

    • Bash and Mass entangle remain fine.
    • Heart of the wild - LONG cooldown and LONG duration. i will probably give this one a miss, the days of HotW tranquility from boomies is gone, and unless fights are designed around this effect (or other similar “tricks”) i dont see an incredible need for this.
  • T40:

    • Soul of the forest: Could be interesting/fun to be in eclipse for the extended periods on occasion, but ultimately i feel adds to the issues with the rotation. Now we are in eclipse for even longer, casting the same 2 spells for extended periods of time, and dots seem to not fit in even more.
    • Starlord : passive haste gain is a stable choice and doesnt require too much management to be effective. ultimately not the most “fun ability” but i dont feel this contributes to any issues.
    • Incarnation: no real change here, very powerful 3 minute cooldown. feels great to use.
  • T45:

    • Stellar Drift - Makes multidotting and starfalling feel great. Takes the pressure off building asp between starfalls and allows osme extra surges in, combined with the movement. Great ability.
    • Twin moons - no change
    • Stellar Flare - another dot to manage, and another dot detracting from eclipse. Does not benefit from starfalls dot extension, severly limiting the number of targets this spell is useful on. even on 3 targets this begins to feel not great.
  • T50:

    • Shooting stars remains passive and a decent choice for a more passive gameplay.
    • Fury of Elune - fun to press, nice cooldown. seems to fit well.
    • Moons - another spell that doesnt tie in to eclipse. Finding the time to cast this feels odd to me when the goal is to be back in eclipse. The long cooldown kind of detracts from the big impact.

Overall i feel like the base rotation is OK, albeit a little bland.
Very little in the moonkin toolkit is available to spice up the rotation much, and many aspects seem to contradict or go against the idea behind the eclipse proc.
Dots appear to be taking a back seat for moonkin and do not tie in well with the spec currently which is unfortunate, so i would hope to see something done in that area. Maybe an extension of the eclipse mechanic that applied to dot refreshes within their respective eclipse.

3 Likes

My main current issues with the spec is mentioned in the post that moonfire is not worth casting in aoe, even with starfall extending its duration, and that the incentive of eclipses don’t reward extending your eclipses due to the crit legendary and also how fast you can just enter the next eclipse.

While i don’t think the solution is making it harder to enter eclipses but putting more strength behind longer eclipses, possibly in a legendary or maybe one of the conduits.

I am also fine with starfall being strong as its been almost an entire expansion where you almost never pressed the button and its good to be able to have strong aoe again. But i am worried with current rotation how weak our builders/starsurge are its getting close to being optimal to just play for max starfall uptime even on singletarget. With the same issue in Fury of Elune, it never feels right to me for an aoe ability to be your strongest ST damage, because it eliminates all choice in the talent/rotation.

Also if Kyrian becomes a outlier for total group/raid dps i could see it causing weird issues in the community where druids could be perceived as weak compared to other classes unless it counts the extra damage you give to your partner as your damage.

4 Likes

Mostly agree to the above posts, but have some other feedback to add.

ROTATION

First of all starfall’s reversion to pre legion days does feel great again. Thank you. The same goes with the fixes to Fury of Elune in BFA - amazing.

  1. If our spells could be tuned to increase our resource generation, it would be more fun to play and would most likely fix the issues as stated in the previous posts. The rotation right now feels disjointed, bland and incredibly slow – unfortunately, it does not feel fun. It also suffers from the WoD system of"wrong eclipse bad luck" effect. This doesn’t feel good. Some more control over that (see next paragraph), would fix that.

  2. I have been told that it is unlikely the rotation will have any additions, but I’ll take my chances. If our spell rotation could be tweaked, I would love to have moons baseline and available, like spriest void-bolts, during eclipse states, to make the rotation feel good. For visuals, Just like how in WoD our starfall (sunfall/starfall) would switch by eclipse state, moons visual switch (moon/sun) would be fun and in-line with our class fantasy. Replacing the Moons talent with something similar to the likes of Astral Communion instant cast (legion- astral power injection ability) coupled with the WoD sine-wave-speed-up ability to flip or extend between eclipse when you need the right state would be amazing.

  3. On GCD spells are adding up and it feels absolutely terrible People disliked the GCD change. I have to go through so many buttons for CDs. This creates jarring gameplay and feels terrible. This ‘artificial lag’ is not fun when you are experiencing it for 4-5 seconds playing your class properly. If you’re not going to change that, please at least remove the GCD from our utility abilities, particularly innervate.

TALENTS

Talents are generally fine as I expect more tuning. Here are my thoughts:

  1. legendary vs soul of forest gameplay is conflicting – though Soul of the Forest just plays against the use of the current legendary setup (+ crit legendary) and once that’s fixed, there is no knowing whether it will still be used as the other talents just feel much more impactful and therefore enjoyable. It seems to be playing against the class design philosophy of eclipse management.

  2. Twin moons ( TM ) needs work – base DoT is underwhelming leading tousing GCDs on higher impact spells. This feels bad. It needs some kind of tuning or target scaling, maybe to make stellar drift a choice for mass aoe/heavy movement (if that’s what you’re going for), and TM for two to three target cleave. This means we can make meaningful talent choices.

  3. Shooting stars/DoT tuning is really off and should not have as large diminishing returns (the legion playstyle of starfall and dots would generate enough AsP was incredibly fun, though understand it needed a nerf as we were generating too much AsP… the DR formula just needs more of a tweak to get to a middle ground)

  4. Stellar-Flare needs to be affected by starfall DoT extension – it just doesn’t make sense for it not to, along with its DoT component tuning. It’s current state feels bad. Either that or rework so it’s a more interesting and therefore fun talent e.g. empowers existing dots.

  5. Moons has too many problems. Splash formula seems off, as stated by another post. Also please make this spell scale better, and interact with our eclipse states in an impactful way, such as astral damage. It’s fantasy appropriate and like starfall, should be viable and not an afterthought. There is absolutely no argument that this talent isn’t fun - it’s just that its impact on meters makes it feel bad, and it is a real damn shame in its current (and BFA) state. #MakeMoonsGreatAgain

3 Likes

I have to commend the designers on this new version of Balance. It seems to take heavy inspiration from previous iterations of the spec, and is a big step forward when comparing it to the BFA version. However, there is still significant room for improvement as the OP lays out.

My biggest problem is with our dots. It honestly feels like an afterthought compared to the rest of the spec. Like the Legion designer suddenly remembered “oh yeah this is supposed to be a dot spec” and slapped them in there. Since Legion the only interaction dots have had with the kit had to be talented into (Shooting Stars) and as the expansions pass this talent has been repeatedly nerfed and neutered to a point where it is easily one of the most lackluster and useless talents to exist. Outside of this talent, our dots exist simply as a set-and-forget damage button that is so weak we don’t even care to reapply them if they fall off during an Eclipse state. That last part can be fixed simply by tuning them to do more damage, but a simple tune-up won’t change the boring and non-interactive aspect of our dots. We need either a baseline change to make them interactive in some way, such as making Shooting Stars baseline (preferable), or making a Legendary/conduits that interact with it.

Which brings me to my second point. The Legendary effects recently released seem to lack direction. Pulsar seems well designed and fun to use, while Oneths and Dreamcatcher fulfill the same niche, and the unnamed Crit Legendary effect is one which seems at odds with the intended spec design. You should be rewarded for planning and executing a longer Eclipse phase, not punished for pressing Starsurge and extending your Eclipse. If the idea was to introduce a very polarizing legendary that changes the rotation and playstyle you’ve done a fantastic job; as it stands we’ll be maintaining Starfall on single target and Starsurging almost never. But I don’t imagine that’s intended. To top things off this legendary will ruin the scaling potential of the spec. You want haste to cast more generators and create longer Eclipses but considering any excess Astral Power past being able to cast Starfall once every 10 seconds is now worthless, haste is now worthless. Crit is worthless because you always crit. It needs to be scrapped for a completely different effect.

7 Likes

Having an eclipse system but not having any control over it and not being able to see where spells are in their eclipse rotation is frustrating. It feels like the spec is being driven by the hands on RNG again and we’re just along for the ride. Being able to see, for example, “Wrath is about to eclipse, so I should hold off on casting Lunar Strike” is incredibly useful and valuable information that allows us to make good decisions.

In single target, the spec feels a bit sparse. Once the DoT’s get set up and Starsurge is waiting to recharge, we’re stuck in this lull of casting Wrath up to 4 times waiting for Starsurge or a Lunar Strike instant cast. It’s pretty boring once the initial DoT setup is done.

2 Likes

I agree with a majority of this thread and these are the things I feel are most important even though a lot of them are repeats of what was already said.

Innervate being on the GCD is not fun, an ability like Innervate does not have the same feeling of instant reward as our other utility with a GCD. Compare pressing Typhoon in a dungeon to help kite adds away from your tank, or pressing Stampeding Roar in a raid as soon as a scary mechanic comes out. Those are good examples of what you could argue should be on GCD.

This is only a Restoration Affinity problem, but Swiftmend requiring a HoT on the target to use it is a downgrade over old Swiftmend. I don’t see what this does to make the spell better in any way and instead it actually hurts part of Moonkin’s utility in being a hybrid. Throwing out a clutch Swiftmend to save someones life was one of my favorite parts of Moonkin and now doing that is a lot less likely.

New Starfall is a lot better than old Starfall, but it really should have a pandemic so I’m not forced to let it drop before reapplying a new Starfall.

Our newest legendary that has no name. It gives us a load of crit whenever we enter Eclipse. This goes against what Eclipses are supposed to be by rewarding us for dropping out of them as fast as possible. It would be much cooler if instead this legendary gave us more crit the longer we stayed in an Eclipse. Otherwise this legendary should probably be removed in favor of something less toxic to our kit like Impeccable Fel Essence from Legion.

Many of our talents feel forgotten like they’re only really there because it’s what we had before. With the Shadowlands version of Moonkin a lot of talents fall flat and just don’t work.

Our tier 40 row:

Starlord and Soul of the Forest: These two talents are a “what is tuned better” choice.

Incarnation: Chosen of Elune: This talent genuinely feels good to use and fills the role of needing burst every 3 minutes.

Our tier 45 row:

Stellar Drift: A fun talent assuming Starfall is tuned to be at least decently strong. The main problem with the talent is purely just that it won’t be used if Twin Moons is better in terms of tuning, they fill the same AoE damage role.

Twin Moons: Much like Stellar Drift this talent won’t be used if Stellar Drift is just tuned stronger as they fill the same role. It feels like it was forgotten in the new iteration of Moonkin, as applying Moonfire faster isn’t as big of a deal since Starfall will keep its up time high.

Stellar Flare: Probably my least favorite talent in the entire tree, Stellar Flare doesn’t really serve a niche or do anything fun or interesting. It simply is a single target talent in an AoE row. You could theoretically make it an AoE talent but even then it feels horrible to use. I personally have never seen anyone say they like using Stellar Flare, ignoring tuning.

Our tier 50 row:

Shooting Stars: These give us a much needed “extra” effect on our dots and also passively give us some Astral Power. It feels like this should be baseline and that there shouldn’t be a reduction on proc chance that scales with the more targets you have.

New Moon: It feels really weird that Moons aren’t Astral damage like the other two competing options. They also have a cd that doesn’t scale with haste.

Fury of Elune is fine.

5 Likes

Mostly agree with the thoughts in here but adding my own variations:

Eclipse being boring: The prior posts well cover what the issues are so i’m just here to propose a thought: Why not re-use the Mop “Eclipse bar” version? Just don’t punish people for casting the wrong type and make reaching eclipse on either end much faster (though not remotely as fast as current). Maybe a smarter Druid sees issues I don’t here.

Dots feeling lackluster: I think this is tied pretty heavily to nothing outside Wrath/Starfire being involved in Eclipse any more. If Eclipse were a bar again that your spell casts of the correct type filled then there’s be a place for dot ticks and thus they’d feel a lot better.

Talents:
Tier 15:
No problem I can see if the numbers are right. It’s never sat right with me that something with as much utility outside straight dps like FoN was a talent on a “DPS row” but i’m happy as long as the options are competitive enough that I can pick it without being told I need one of the boring passives by the general populace.

Tier 25:

Renewal: Feels really strange here. 2 movement abilities vs a self heal? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: This should honestly just be baselined for Guardian (who need it bad) and swapped for something else for the other specs. With the Night Fae covenant ability basically being Displacer Beast that anyone can access i’m not sure the argument that its not “Druid” enough holds much water. I’d bring back a variation of that.

Wild Charge: I feel this is iconic and should be baseline but I wouldn’t know what to argue to replace it with.

Tier 30:

Feral Affinity: Offers barely anything to justify it. The movement speed is strong but even if that were balanced to be worth it that’d feel crap to deny yourself the awesome options from the other two just for a passive. I really think this should have a utility spell that makes it worth grabbing. I advocated Play Dead come back as a Feral option in another thread. I think that’d work here as an incentive. I’d also want this applied in reverse too (maybe give them Solar Beam for theirs?)

Guardian Affinity: Edited For Stupidity: Completely A-ok, no changes requested!

Restoration Affinity: Many critiques here.
I dislike this Affinity because it feels specifically feels like our healing is walled off behind it for our class rather than just enhancing that aspect like the others. This especially hurts as Balance as the 2 specs used to have a lot of interplay by default so I feel like I have to take this option to do what i used to do.

  • Rejuvenation should be baseline to all Druids. Hots and healing on the go are a core Druid aspect and as is we only get one. Changing that should be enough to make it feel like an “Affinity” again rather than a wall.
  • Ursols Vortex doesn’t belong here. This isn’t related to healing and Resto provides plenty without it (the passive alone makes you a healer without an ounce of effort expended). More on where it should go later.
  • Since this leaves the Affinity feeling a bit barren of abilities i’d throw Renewal here. It feels odd on tier 2 but assuming you want to keep it for everyone and not just Guardian, it fits here.

Tier 35:

Heart of the Wild: Every Druid should have this, it’s the most “Druid” ability there is but it just can’t be competitive and balanced against the other options (which are much more broadly usable) without losing its core identity. Really should be baseline, it’d make a perfect capstone ability for 60. Replace it in the talent tree with with Ursols Vortex. It actually belongs here with other utility like it, not in Restos affinity.

Tier 40:

Fine balance wise but I dislike the fact the rows all "passive. Swap one of the options for New Moon. It feels bad to pick between Fury of Elune and it.

Tier 50:

Shooting Stars: I’d argue no final talent choice should be this boring. As is I agree it should be baseline but not really needed if Eclipse changes. I get that i’m the exact opposite of the target market for this talent though so it’s probably fine.

Fury of Elune: Awesome!

New Moon: This honestly feels so bad now compared to Legion. Dropping the fullMoon is still fun but the other forms feel flimsy and it interacts so poorly with our resource system. On top of that it also requires one to deny themself Fury of Elune, another talent that seems destined to drown it out.

I really, really wish this was baseline for Balance (its so cool!) but if thats not gonna be a thing then please at least consider my prior suggestion for swapping it into the level 40 tier. That row is the only one lacking an active ability choice and picking between this and Fury of Elune is torturous!

1 Like

You do see this though? There’s a buff for eclipse timing and there is a stack counter on wrath and starfire before eclipse is triggered.
Is something missing from this reply or am I just not seeing it well

1 Like

You literally get incapacitating roar from guardian right now…

…Indeed you do. In case it wasn’t obvious I skimmed that talent a bit briefly and should have re-checked myself more then I guess it certainly is now! Edited. >.<

1 Like

I agree with the points made by Bora in the OP. Moonfire feels extremely meh and has not been noticeably worth casting in my dungeon testing. Starfall being useful again feels great and I think the rhythm would be greatly improved by a pandemic window or stacking.

1 Like

For me the most important stuff to take away from Bora’s original post is about Astral Power generation on AOE.

There is a lot lacking inside of Moonkin DOTs and the globals that are required to spread them to all targets. This compounded with the fact that DOTs don’t really do anything outside of being efficient DPET makes the act of dotting feel really bad. I think the really easy case and point is that Shooting Stars makes dotting feel better and historically in Legion that was pretty much the peak for Moonkin Astral Power generation on AOE and it genuinely felt good.

Next thing is Starfall not having a pandemic effect or being stackable. At minimum Starfall being a buff as it currently is should pandemic and the reason for that is because having to wait for the buff to fall is pretty counter intuitive. The opposite view of making them stackable is because it just makes logical sense to be able to spam starfall on AOE as the primary AOE spender.

In addition to that pls fix Night Fae targeting immune targets xoxo.

4 Likes

100% this.

1 Like

In general i like the direction that balance is going in progressing into Shadowlands. I would level most of my concerns over the feel of the spec during play.

On single target my biggest point of criticism is that the eclipse states really don’t feel like the have big impact at all. To me, the eclipse states are sort of supposed to solve the problem that is casting lots of generators in sequence is very dull in terms of gameplay. I love the idea of adding some extra element to how we generate resource, but the current implementation of eclipse doesn’t feel like it changes gameplay enough. When thinking about what made Balance great for me in the past it was the idea of playing around the solar/lunar cycles to gain some sort of pay off. I think the payoff is too low right now and that adding a little bit more to the eclipse buffs that would differentiate them more a would improve the spec as a whole.

In terms of aoe, I agree with what has been said above about astral power generation feeling very low. When i go into an aoe pull in a dungeon or a raid encounter, i want to feel excited that my gameplay is going to ramp up. I just don’t get that feeling right now playing balance. The feel is too similar to that of single target. I think that increasing the pace of generating/spending or adding an extra gameplay feature to aoe would help out.

I also agree with feedback about the lack of impact dots currently have. For a class that has been historically very dot focused, they are feeling underwhelming.
I think that tuning the damage up would solve that problem for a lot of people, but for me i would like to see some sort of interaction with the eclipse states or with the generators. In the past extending dots with wrath/starfire was done and that was moved into starfall but i think having some sort of interaction with other rotational abilities or astral power generation would go a long way to making dots feel like they have a more important role for balance druid.

2 Likes

Hey, I’m a mythic raider that plays a good bit of arenas and some mythic plus on the side for fun. I’ve been a balance druid main since the end of BC, and I also play a lot of resto and guardian as my offspecs. Below, I would like to provide a large amount of feedback on what I’ve seen from Balance since I’ve gotten my beta invite along with any suggestions that I’ve come up with for the spec. I may make an additional post later on with some resto and guardian feedback along with some generic feedback. It’s going to be a long one so I’ll try and bold some of the main points. (Edit: I really did end up writing way too much. Sorry) Reposting this from the general Shadowlands druid feedback thread.

Overall, I’m a big fan of most of the changes including going back to an eclipse system (though I do have some gripes with it.) There are, in my opinion, a few big problems with the spec:

  • Balance druids have absolutely zero interaction with critical strike. In addition, they have zero interaction with their dots outside of the shooting stars talent which feels very lackluster with the diminishing returns nerf that came in BFA. Most specs in the game have some type of interaction with crit built into their toolkit such as Guardian druid critical rating increasing their dodge, or Arms warrior critical auto-attacks generating extra rage. Many dot-based specs also have an interaction built into their dots and balance is one of the few exceptions as a spec with a traditionally heavy dot focus that has no such interaction at the moment. In the past (from Cata to the end of WoD) this was filled by the OLD shooting stars which was a baseline proc (talented in Cata, but one that “everybody” took) which had a chance to proc from its dot ticks and had an increased chance to proc from critical ticks. Blizzard even put diminishing returns on it in MoP which was fine since it was a much stronger proc at the time; if you were to compare it to the current day shooting stars, it would be like proccing 30 AP every time it went off.
  • Balance druid dots are very weak at the moment, especially for a spec that has had such a focus on its dots. We lost stellar empowerment going into BFA, though we retained a decent amount of power from them with a base empowerment from our mastery. Twin Moons (and thus moonfire) was nerfed in Uldir since it was played in every situation though this was mostly because stellar drift and stellar flare were too weak to be taken. Balance druids had their dots nerfed again by about 10% going into Ny’alotha with some power put into the moonfire and sunfire azerite traits to compensate a bit, but we won’t be having those azerite traits in Shadowlands . In addition, with the changes to our mastery going into shadowlands, our mastery’s amplification to our dots is nerfed by about 50% since moonfire is only buffed in lunar eclipse and sunfire in solar eclipse making for another significant nerf to our dots. For example, let’s say that my mastery in BFA buffs my moonfire by 30% all the time; in shadowlands (at 30% mastery) with a lunar eclipse uptime of about 50%, I’m only getting that buff to my moonfire for half of the fight meaning my mastery is only increasing my moonfire damage by about 15% over the duration of the fight.

My suggestion to these problems is this: tune the base damage of moonfire and sunfire up a bit and add Shooting Stars as a baseline ability. It felt lackluster in BFA and was nerfed even more going into Shadowlands. The reason it was taken so much in BFA was because the entire row was fairly weak. Keep the diminishing returns on the ability BUT add the old interaction of critical ticks having an increased chance to proc shooting stars. This would create a healthy interaction for balance druids with critical strike and for their dots. It would also add in a small amount of RNG which would be nice. A little RNG is nice, we just don’t want too much and balance in shadowlands has no RNG without shooting stars and it can be a bit boring to play with zero RNG.

The next big problem, which has probably been reported more than enough by now, is that CA is currently bugged. For the unaware, using CA during an eclipse will cause the ability to cancel the eclipse AND cancel CA. This bug also extends to the Primordial Arcanic Pulsar legendary. (EDIT: it looks like the CA bug was fixed on the beta this week.)

I do have a suggestion for CA/Incarnation. CA feels stronger as a 3-minute CD than it did in Legion/BFA as just a 15% damage/haste amp. It feels pretty odd however that it gives balance druids a 15% increased crit chance when they don’t have any actual interaction with crits. Even the suggested critical tick interaction for shooting stars that I talked about above wouldn’t be too hugely affected by this. Incarnation feels ok with the 15% haste and increased 10 second uptime tacked on. My suggestion is to make CA increase our mastery instead of our crit by 15% since we have much more interaction with our mastery currently and CA/Incarnation is when mastery is at it’s most valuable to a balance druid. Leave Incarnation with the haste amp and increased time but with a 15% mastery amp instead of the crit amplifier.

The next thing I would like to talk about is starfall. Let’s get this out of the way, I’m a big fan of the change in starfall back to a WoD-like iteration of the ability and the dot extension feels pretty nice for extended aoe (though it doesn’t really help the initial ramp-up time.) I’ve seen a lot of feedback from players wanting the ability to be able to have more than one starfall active at a time. I disagree . I don’t think that starfall should be able to be stacked since it would have to be tuned down to bring it into line with other class’s aoe. In the past, you could only have one starfall active at a time since it was a buff from its initial appearance in the Wrath pre-patch up to the ability’s change to an astral power spender in the Legion pre-patch and we are now back to a starfall similar to its previous design. On the other hand, there are two problems with the ability that I think should be changed. Currently, the ability cannot be extended with the pandemic effect meaning that if I use starfall again with one second left on the previous starfall, I will lose that one second of the ability instead of having it extend to a duration of nine seconds as it should be (I’m using the base duration of 8 seconds for this example.) This feels very clunky since most duration abilities such as dots, hots, and buffs have been affected by the pandemic effect since it was added about 6 years ago at the end of MoP. Secondly, there is a scaling problem with starfall not being affected by haste which I believe it should be again. The ability is not going to scale well later into Shadowlands if it does not scale with haste. I’m not against having to use a few starsurges in aoe while I have starfall active, but we’re going to be using too many if starfall isn’t changed to be affected by haste again. It was previously affected by haste until it was changed in early Legion which was balanced by the fact that it allowed for more uptime with stellar empowerment and could be stacked. However, stellar empowerment was removed and it is back to its original design as a buff of which only one can be active at a time. As I said, it’s not going to scale well at all if the tick rate and/or duration are completely unaffected by haste.

The final general balance issue I wanted to talk about is a small bug I noticed with instant-cast starfires due to the Owlkin Frenzy proc . I noticed that if I procced an instant cast starfire because of the Owlkin Frenzy proc and used it (outside of eclipse) to fire a second starfire at the end of a starfire that’s already being cast, the game won’t count the instant cast starfire as being counted towards entering the next solar eclipse. I assume this is because the game is missing it due to two starfires going off on a target so close together since I’m essentially hitting the target with two starfires at the same time. I know that it does count towards your solar eclipse if you instant cast a starfire regularly and not on the back of an already casting starfire.

Next, I’ll go over the balance druid talents with an eye for underperforming or problematic abilities that I think should be changed or tuned in some way.

Level 15 Talents:

  • Nature’s Balance is perfectly fine for its purpose as passive AP generation.
  • Force of Nature is great for balance druids as a great form of tanking utility both in group content and in solo content. However, the damage from the ability seems fairly weak and I would like to see it tuned up a little bit to provide slightly better single target burst. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue since the ability is unable to scale its damage onto multiple targets since it’s just a bunch of treants auto-attacking targets.
  • The real problem of this row is Warrior of Elune. It’s a fun ability, but it isn’t used very often because it’s not very strong and the other two abilities provide either better throughput or better utility most of the time. It should be easier to use when lined up with a lunar eclipse as opposed to the empowerment system of the last two expansions, but Nature’s Balance and Force of Nature are still really strong choices. My suggested change is this: change the CD to 1 minute (from 45 seconds) to better line up with balance druid’s other abilities and buff the Warrior of Elune ability such that the next 3 starfires are instant cast, have a 20% increased crit chance, and generate 5 additional astral power. I think this would bring the WoE in line with the other two abilities in terms of power while better fulfilling its niche as burst aoe and/or a few intant casts to use while moving.

Level 25 Talents:

  • Wild Charge is definitely the best talent in the row for the majority of situations right now and feels like it’s in a great place for movement utility.
  • Renewal fills its niche as a burst self-heal at the cost of some movement utility.
  • The problem in this row is Tiger Dash and the main problem with Tiger Dash for all specs is that it replaces Dash. It ties our burst-movement ability to a 45 second CD and replaces Dash which can be very valuable as a good movement ability so that the only good movement ability we might have is tiger dash. And if we’re indoors and can’t use travel form, this can really take away our ability to navigate around a fight easily, especially if the movement is required more often than once every 45 seconds. You can also be rooted and/or slowed during Tiger Dash which feels like a massive waste. My suggestion is either to make it not replace regular Dash and increase the CD to either 60 or 90 seconds to balance the ability with Druids having two speed increases, or to keep it mostly as is and add a freedom effect to the ability such that the druid can’t be rooted or slowed while tiger dash is active which would give it a good niche use.

Level 30 Talents:

The affinity talents all feel like they’re in a good spot for balance and it’s nice to have typhoon back baseline as it was originally added as a balance only talent in Wrath. Feral affinity isn’t going to give us much utility besides the base speed increase since we’re already a damage spec but that’s fine. Guardian druids feel a bit awkward though no longer being able to pick up both Typhoon and Ursol’s Vortex for the same combo that Balance and Resto druids can now use.

Level 35 Talents also seem to be in a good place and I have no real complaints. Heart of the Wild definitely isn’t as strong as it once was in MoP without the ability to use a HotW + Tranquility for big raid healing as I often did in MoP on certain fights.

Level 40 Talents:

  • Soul of the Forest feels pretty useless as a talent since we’re in eclipse so much anyways and there’s no real incentive to extend an eclipse for a long period of time. This looked like a much stronger ability in early alpha when it was planned that CA was able to be extended before it was changed back to a 20 second duration that can’t be extended. In addition, the current best balance legendary, the balance runecarve 3 (the eclipse crit buff legendary,) discourages extending eclipses since you want to cycle eclipses as fast as possible for the crit buff. More on that legendary later. This talent seems like either a damage neutral or, with the crit legendary, a damage loss with the only real gain being the reduced cast time for wrath and starfire. But, starlord will probably give you better haste overall anyways.
  • Starlord and Incarnation are both in good places right now and will be fine. Starlord should scale well and Incarnation feels pretty good to use, especially if the crit buff is changed to a mastery buff as I suggested earlier.

Level 45 Talents:

  • Stellar Drift is a little bit overtuned right now and is by far the best option for any aoe/cleave with how little damage moonfire (and thus twin moons) is doing in Shadowlands. It’s a little too good at the moment so I suggest a small nerf from the 25% buff to starfall damage down to a 20% buff to starfall damage . I would caution against hitting it too hard with the nerf-hammer as it needs a smaller nerf, not to be deleted like it’s a subtlety rogue in BFA.
  • Twin Moons is in a bad place right now, but it’s a good talent overall by design. Moonfire just needs to be tuned up and/or the nerf to twin moons from back in Uldir needs to be reverted . It was nerfed from a 15% moonfire amp to a 10% amp because it was too dominant at the time. I didn’t like it at the time as the reason everybody used it was because stellar flare has always been lackluster and stellar drift was never going to be picked as a talent in BFA with the state of starfall all expansion.
  • Stellar Flare feels pretty lackluster and it has always felt pretty lackluster since it’s addition to the game in WoD. It’s used as single target to two target talent and even then, it feels pretty bad to use since it does a decent amount less damage than either moonfire or sunfire. My suggestion is this: significantly buff the damage to stellar flare such that it does maybe double or more the current damage that it does now and then make it so that it has a limit of one target the same way that Affliction Warlock’s unstable affliction has a limit of one target in shadowlands . It would feel much better to use as a strong dot limited to being used on a single target. It would secure its place as a great single target talent or even a good ability to use in a multi-target fight if there’s a target that needs to have more damage focused into it.

Level 50 Talents:

  • I’ve already written a lot earlier about what I think should be changed about shooting stars. I really think that it, out of all the talents in this talent tree, should be baselined into the balance toolkit and I know I’m not the only one to think so after reading so many of the posts in the Shadowlands druid feedback and balance feedback threads. I also would like to see the critical tick interaction put back into shooting stars. At the very least, if this remains a talent instead of baseline, it needs to be buffed because as it is now, it’s extremely underwhelming and lackluster after being nerfed again. Adding the critical tick interaction back into the ability could be a good middle ground to buffing the ability while keeping the diminishing returns.
  • Fury of Elune has always been a lot of fun to use and was useful for burst cleave. I was a bit annoyed with the nerf to the cleave damage since it hasn’t exactly been hitting like a bladestorm since the BFA redesign, but nevertheless, it’s in a better spot now than it was. The reason being is that it was never affected by mastery before and with the balance redesign with a changed mastery, it is now a strong ability as long as it is used during an eclipse and seems to be very strong during CA/Incarnation because of double-dipping mastery. My only suggestion is that as a talent in the final talent row, it could be tuned up a little bit more to be more impactful since it’s still not exactly a bladestorm or breath of sindragosa level of cleave cooldown.
  • New Moon / Full Moon has been one of my favorite spells since it was added in legion, but like Fury of Elune, it wasn’t affected by balance druid mastery in the past. It’s in a better spot now and offers some pretty good burst damage when used in lunar eclipse and CA/Incarnation for the buff from mastery along with having some good burst astral power. It’s still underperforming a bit and, ideally, should be a clear choice over Fury of Elune in single target, which it is not right now. I’ve heard quite a few suggestions to change the spell type to astral instead of arcane so that it can be better used in solar eclipse as well and double-dip with mastery during CA/Incarnation. I don’t know if I want it to be astral damage since it would be a lot rougher to use in pvp with the risk of being locked out of all of our spell schools if interrupted. I’m sure a few balance druids remember being interrupted on a starsurge cast during Cataclysm or MoP and being locked out of doing anything for a few seconds and Full Moon will be a good spell to interrupt in pvp if you’re not a pro fake-caster. My suggestion is this: revert the recharge CD of the moon spells to 20 seconds as it was in Legion instead of the 25 second recharge that it was changed to in BFA. Saving charges to use during lunar eclipse and CA/Incarnation seems like decent gameplay for this talent. (Edit: It looks like I was wrong, I forgot that it did astral damage in Legion and after thinking about it some more, changing it back to astral damage would probably be best, even more than changing the CD.)
  • I’m really hoping that Shooting stars becomes baseline. If it does my suggested replacement talent is Astral Communion. Make it a 1-minute CD that generates 60 or 70 astral power instantly, or just make it so that Astral Communion makes your next two astral power spenders free to use. It’s a good throwback to an old ability that balance druids used to have with a new design similar to the legion version of the talent but with a shorter CD.

Covenant Abilities Feedback:

  • The Kyrian druid ability Kindred Spirits seems pretty boring to use and in my opinion is a miss overall. You’re almost always going to use it on another dps (or yourself) so that you get the damage boost from them during their cds. The last I saw it in Tettles youtube video, it simmed pretty well at second place, I think. Maybe I’m just disappointed because I was hoping for symbiosis, but it seems pretty lackluster for all druid specs in my opinion.
  • The Phials of Serenity from the Kyrian summon steward ability seems to be decently strong in the upcoming raid tier (probably by design) since there are a lot of bleeds and debuffs you can remove with it. My complaint is that it eats your health potion CD when used which doesn’t seem that good since you’re supposed to be gaining an ability from the covenant, not trading the ability to use a health potion on a fight. It also recharges the same way as a health pot so it’s only one phial use per fight unless you can drop combat long enough to get it recharging.
  • The Necrolord ability Adaptive Swarm also seems pretty boring to use and it doesn’t scale well past one target. It’s essentially an extra dot on a CD that amplifies your other dots by 20%. This is particularly lackluster right now because of the low damage from balance druid dots in the current beta build so we’re not getting much benefit from it. Moreover, you can only ever have two Adaptive Swarms out at a time and the real strength of our dots (assuming decent tuning) is in multi-dotting and Adaptive Swarm will only affect 1 to 2 targets at a time. It might be decent if balance druid dots are tuned up and my suggestion of making stellar flare a strong dot that has a limit of one target is used, but probably not enough to win over Venthyr or Night Fae. Something to keep an eye out for is that a periodic effect from a trinket like the Forbidden Obsidian Claw might be buffed by it as well. Another negative thing about the ability, is that it can only chain to a new target that is within 25 yards which seems pretty short. It’s not going to spread well when targets are spread out and if it chooses to heal a party member who ends up farther than 25 yards away after the hot, it won’t jump to a new target to damage. I suggest changing it to have the ability to jump farther than 25 yards.
  • Fleshcraft is a nice shield, but the 4 second channel is a big negative for this ability. Balance druids are already fairly tanky with Barkskin, bear form, and self-healing. The CC immunity from the Plague Deviser Marelith soulbind during the fleshcraft cast seems pretty decent though and could be useful in certain situations. A shorter channeling time would help this ability a lot.
  • The Venthyr ability Ravenous Frenzy seems pretty good as a ramping CD that lines up perfectly with balance druid’s CA/Incarnation and it should end up scaling well as the Shadowlands expansion drags on. However, my major complaint is the seemingly unnecessary penalty from “going idle.” You really do have to be casting the whole time as even if you’re running back and forth when you can’t be hitting something, it will still count you as idle and penalize you. There are going to be situations where it is just not very good such as pvp or pve fights where you might get crowd controlled by a mechanic for a few seconds or a mechanic that requires you to run out of the group and drop off a mechanic (of which there seem to be a few in Castle Nathria.) It doesn’t even seem like a strong enough ability that it requires that kind of penalty. Warriors get Condemn, but I don’t see them getting stunned and chunked for a decent percentage of health if they don’t use Condemn right on cooldown. I suggest nerfing the penalty so that Ravenous Frenzy is removed from the player early if they go idle and maybe a slow effect when it does.
  • Door of Shadows from the Venthyr is a pretty good ability. The ability to teleport to a chosen location within 35 yards is always going to be pretty strong, even if you have to cast it. No complaints about this ability at all, though it would be cool if Astral Influence extended the range. If you’re worried that you’re going to need to be Venthyr to do mythic plus skips with this ability, remember that you have this cool ability called stealth that you can already use for most skips anyways. Also, you can pick up a Shadowmeld from a Night Fae soulbind.
  • Night Fae’s Convoke the Spirits seems to be the clear winner both in terms of being a satisfying button press and in terms of damage in the beta with great burst potential. I think this ability is great with all the work that has been put into it so far. I only really see two minor things. I really wish it would prefer to moonfire more targets in a multi-target situation instead of trying to thrash, especially since it will sometimes keep trying to thrash if you run out of melee range (which is decently large because of Astral Influence.) I’ve also heard that it can waste damage trying to cast into targets that are immune to damage. I can only imagine using it in Freehold on the pack by the Ring of Booty and watching it send a bunch of spells into the target dummies. There should be some nuance as to when to use it, such as saving it a few seconds to let your healers pick the raid’s health up after a mechanic so it doesn’t try to use healing spells on low health raid members. Or maybe you do want to use it to heal if that’s what is needed to get a kill on a progression raid boss. It’s pretty versatile now that it prefers abilities based on your shapeshift form.
  • Soulshape is a decent movement utility especially with the buff to the blink and the ability to blink multiple times which can be used to dodge some mechanics. And movement utility is always good. It provides even better utility with a Shadowmeld function from the Niya Soulbind when the effect ends. I do recommend that you make a /cancelaura macro for it though since it behaves oddly with shapeshift forms when exited. It’s supposed to shift you back to your previous form which it will if it times out or if you cancel it with a macro or manually. However, if you try to shift back to moonkin form out of it, it will cancel the form and shift you into regular caster form.

Legendary Items:

Balance Specific first:

  • Oneth’s Clear Vision is a returning favorite, but it’s been seemingly nerfed a bit too much from its Legion counterpart. The nerf from a 20% proc to a 15% proc is pretty rough right now and we’re not seeing a lot of procs right now at all. I’d really suggest bringing it back up to 20% since it’s not like we’re going to be able to go crazy with procs with it . If it ends up scaling too well later in Shadowlands, it can always be brought back down to a 15% chance, but it feels like poor logic to have to wait half the expansion to scale into it before it’s very good instead of tuning it to what it was previously. As for the proc duration, I agree that a permanent buff was probably too much, but a short 15 second buff is far too little. It can’t be easily carried between packs if you proc near the end of a group of targets you’re currently attacking. I would suggest making it a 30 second buff which would give players more leeway to use the proc well without being able to cheese it for too long.
  • Primordial Arcanic Pulsar is another legendary that seems like it should be very good in multiple situations after a fix to the CA bug. I’ll have to test if it will property extend the eclipses of CA/Incarnation if it procs during our CDs. The last time I checked, it added to the Incarnation buff but not to the eclipses which added no additional time and caused it to bug out a bit since the Incarnation buff was expiring 9 seconds after the double eclipses. However, my primary critique on this legendary is that I think the astral power cost was tuned wrong . With the azerite trait, balance druids had to cast 9 starsurges to proc the ability which equated to 360 AP in BFA. It’s great that it took some of the power away from starsurge to let starfall count towards this effect too, but 400 seems too much after the astral power generation was tuned down for Shadowlands. In Shadowlands, you would need to cast 14 starsurges to activate the 9 second CA which seems too much, especially if you consider that a legendary item should be stronger than a single azerite trait that you only want one of. I suggest that the arcanic pulsar legendary should activate CA after 300 astral power is spent which would equate to exactly 10 starsurges or 6 starfalls which would be more on point for the amount you had to spend in BFA to activate the ability which was 9 starsurges . This legendary may become incredible overpowered depending on how it reacts to the Potency Balance 3 soul conduit that was shown on Wowhead earlier this week which extends the duration of CA based on the rank of the conduit starting at 4 seconds.
  • Balance Runecarve 3 (aka: Overtuned Eclipse Crit buff) is right now the best legendary in beta simply because of how powerful having 100% crit chance is for a few seconds. It gives excellent on-demand burst whenever you enter an eclipse , but a big problem is that it promotes a “degenerate” style of play in which you want to cycle eclipses as fast as possible to keep the Crit buff up as much as possible meaning no extending eclipses if possible. You’ll probably end up using Stellar Drift starfalls on single target with starsurges only being used for priority damage during the crit buff or during CA/Incarnation. It also kills the Soul of the Forest talent, and we know that Blizz doesn’t like balance druids using starfall in single target. It’s a strong effect (a little too strong right now) and lowers the value of haste and crit significantly. I think it either needs to be scrapped or redesigned. My suggested redesign is this: Eclipse increases your critical strike chance by 10% and wraths and starfires that critically strike during their respective eclipses will generate additional astral power (perhaps 3 for wrath and 4 for starfire.) This design would conserve the idea of a critical strike buff for eclipse while keeping the crit from being ridiculously over tuned. It would also probably promote extending eclipses when possible to maximize uptime with the crit buff and extra AP procs (which would also make it easier to extend eclipse.)
  • Timeworn Dreamcatcher (aka emerald dreamcatcher) is a definite miss as it stands right now as a legendary and I was one of the druids that kind of wanted to see it return. We’re not going to get an EN version of it as that was too over tuned, but the current values for the Timeworn Dreamcatcher seem to be way to low to be good right now . It saves 3 AP for starsurge and 5 AP for starfall per stack and stacks to two on a 5 second duration. When people think of this legendary from Legion, they think of the surgeweaving playstyle which was fairly rewarding if you could get enough haste to reach certain breakpoints and maintain buff uptime as much as possible for the most efficient AP use and thus more starsurges. The Nighthold version of the dreamcatcher was nerfed enough to keep it in line, but still provided enough AP reduction at 7 per stack that you could still surgeweave. I suggest that if you want to move forward with this legendary, each stack should reduce the AP cost of starsurge by 5 and starfall by either 7 or 8. This would provide enough reduction to be able to surgeweave a bit without being over the top since it very improbable to maintain 20 AP gain between starsurge casts without CDs or good procs, especially early in the expansion. Otherwise, I would scrap it and put a new legendary in its place. (Edit: I also noticed that starsurges and starfalls gained from casting Convoke the Spirits are not adding to or refreshing the five second buff which I think should be changed.)

There are 2 Balance legendary effects I would suggest putting in their place if it’s decided to scrap them, or to add later if/when more Shadowlands legendary effects are added.

  • A legendary effect that I, and apparently several others on the feedback thread, would very much like to see is the Orbit Breaker torghast anima power which calls down a full moon every 20th moonfire tick. This seems like a really cool legendary which would excel in multi-dot fights. It may be too powerful at every 20th tick on multiple targets, but it can always be tuned down to every 30th tick or something.
  • The second one is basically two of the gold traits from the artifact weapon because I was a huge fan of the Power of Goldrinn proc since I thought it looked cool. Call it “Memory of the Scythe” or something. Starsurge has a chance to proc a spirit of Goldrinn to strike the target, and starfall has a chance to cause echoing stars to become active for the next 8 seconds.

Generic Druid Legendary Effects:

  • Lycara’s Fleeting Glimpse is pretty lackluster as a legendary since one free starfall every 45 seconds isn’t that great, especially if it overlaps your current starfall and it can’t pandemic. I think Tettles also said in one of his videos that it’s currently more free starfalls on average than Oneth’s Clear Vision right now which is sad to think about. Primal Wrath might be okay on multi-target if timed but I doubt it will be worth it based on how much rake and thrash do for us when procced from Convoke the Spirits.
  • Druid Runecarve 1 (the HotW legendary) could be decent if you need the HotW effect once a minute. I doubt it will see much use from balance in pve but it could be very good for balance in pvp with guardian affinity for the extra dmg reduction and extra charges of frenzied regeneration.
  • Druid Runecarve 3 or the Circlet of Weeds effect (25% faster dots) could end up being very powerful for balance druids, especially for multi-dotting, if moonfire and sunfire are tuned up to a respectable amount of damage but they’re not good enough right now to be using this.
  • Druid Runecarve 4 (Dots/rejuv on a single target amp) is pretty awful for balance and I don’t see that changing. It might be good for Feral. Guardian and Resto could use it for feral affinity damage, but would probably be better off with the HotW legendary instead for the same purpose.

Finally, I’d like to go over the druid soul conduits as it pertains to the balance spec (keep in mind that this is datamined only so far as I know)

Potency Conduits:

  • Druid Potency Balance 1 seems kind of lackluster with a chance to proc extra duration to eclipse or dot extension. It doesn’t look like it will be better than any of the following three especially with the current playstyle of cycling eclipses quickly.
  • Druid Potency Balance 2, which is basically a version of the artifact gold trait “Circadian Invocation,” causes moonfire and sunfire to increase damage from their respective spell schools by 3%. I see this being a pretty strong effect since it will double dip with all of your astral damage which should make for a nice 6% increase to starsurge and starfall damage. It will be nice stacked on top the amplification from mastery as well and it will increase based on the rank of your soulbind.
  • Druid Potency Balance 3 increases the duration of CA (and by assumption Incarnation) by four seconds increasing in time by rank supposedly. This should end up being very strong as you get higher ranks as you may end up getting to over 10 extra seconds of CA/Incarnation based on the rank and how the time increases per rank. What might make this ridiculous is if it interacts with the CA/Incarnation procs from the Arcanic Pulsar legendary . I highly doubt it is intended to act that way, but it could be a little crazy if it does until Blizzard stops the interaction.
  • Druid Potency Balance 4 is a base increase to wrath and starfire damage during the respective eclipses starting off at 20% according to the datamining. This effect will probably end up being very strong, especially if it actually starts at 20% and goes up from there.
  • Druid Potency Kyrian simply provides CD reduction (starting at 10%) for your Kyrian class ability. It could end up simming well if the Kyrian ability continues to sim well.
  • Druid Potency Venthyr causes Ravenous Frenzy to increase your crit chance per stack (starting at 2%) as well which could be very good, especially as Ravenous Frenzy scales in power as our characters get more gear farther into the expansion.
  • Druid Potency Necrolord is a further dot amplification to adaptive swarm (starting at 6%.) Considering how bad balance dots are at the moment, it’s probably pretty bad. Even if our dots are tuned up, adaptive swarm doesn’t scale well past one target.
  • Druid Potency Night Fae causes the druid to deal percentage increased damage (starting at 12%) during the Convoke the Spirits cast. This could end up being very good for burst as convoke the spirits is a very strong burst CD in the beta.

Endurance Conduits:

  • Druid Endurance 1 (Barkskin cooldown reduction starting at 10%) looks like it should be a generally useful defensive power. You can be even more liberal with barkskin useage.
  • Druid Endurance 2 causes the druid to gain increased health and armor for 4 seconds after shifting into bear form. It doesn’t seem to be very good since you generally won’t be getting auto attacked by enemies in pve but it might be decent against double melee in an arena match depending on the numbers.
  • Druid Endurance 3 is an increase to self-healing from regrowth and Frenzied regeneration. It should be decent but nothing too amazing. The barkskin one is likely better.

Finesse Conduits:

  • Druid Finesse 2 is basically the Reawakening azerite trait from BFA except with a speed buff instead of a shield.
  • Druid Finesse 3 is increased radius and duration for stampeding roar starting at 15% This looks like the best utility soul conduit imo as it buffs your raid utility by a decent amount.
  • Druid Finesse 4 is cooldown reduction for the level 35 row of talents starting at 10%.

Wishlist conduit: Please make a Light of the Sun finesse conduit for balance where Solarbeam CD is reduced by some amount of time if you successfully interrupt a target.

Sorry for writing a book instead of a post, but I was bored last night and figured I’d write out my comments and concerns on balance druid in the Shadowlands beta.

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