SL Boomkin Changes & Eclipse Discussion

I wanted to create a topic to discuss the upcoming balance druid changes constructively. I know a lot pf people who played during the eclipse days (myself having started playing during wotlk) have strong opinions about it. A lot hated it and a lot look back on it and liked it. There are also a fair number of fellow boomkins who never played the spec in any of the eclipse iterations and so have no real knowledge of what was fun about it, where the problems were and how blizzard attempted to change eclipse to fix the problems First let me paste the notes here for everyone to easily see:

Balance:

  • Solar and Lunar Empowerments are being strengthened and updated into Eclipses. Wrath and Starfire will grant each other alternating Lunar and Solar Eclipses for a longer duration, with special moments of Celestial Alignment allowing both to occur at once.

  • Starsurge will extend the current Eclipse to continue focusing power into either Wrath or Starfire.

  • Starfall returns to its previous design. Instead of needing to telegraph the affected area, Balance Druids again call down waves of stars, which strike the surrounding ground while they stand, run, or flap for its duration…

Ok, having played this spec as a main since wotlk I wanted to quickly go through the different versions of eclipse. I’m not going to go through all the specific nuances but just general information as i remember it (please correct me if I have remembered wrong):

Wrath of the Lich King:
This is the “crit-chicken” iteration. You would use Insect Swarm and Moonfire for Dots but more because they buffed Wrath and Starfire. You would spam wrath until it crit and procced a lunar eclipse and would then get a 15 second 30% crit buff to Starfire. Then you would spam Starfire throughout the eclipse and afterwards until a Starfire crit would proc a Solar Eclipse at which point you would spam wrath.

The biggest problem that people complained about was the lack of control over when you would get an eclipse and the perceived huge dps loss it would cause to get a proc when you had heavy movement since the buff was rng and on a 15sec timer, and it was a big buff. Plus some people felt it was boring to just spam one or the other and then switch. I found this version, despite its flaws, to be the most fun of all the eclipse versions, and my DPS was almost always at or near the top in the runs I was in. And I’m by no means, or ever was, a hardcore player.

Cataclysm:

Blizzards first attempt at fixing eclipse. We had a static eclipse bar that we had control of. Started in the middle with 0 or neutral lunar or solar power. You would cast wrath to generate a set amount of lunar power until you reached lunar eclipse and which point you would cast the appropriate dot to get a haste buff from one of our talents and then you would spam starfire generating energy towards solar eclipse. once you moved past neutral the eclipse would end and you would build to the solar eclipse and switch to wrath again. Rinse and repeat.

This gave you more control but it felt slow and we felt weak outside of eclipse. Starsurge was introduced at this time and benefitted from either eclipse. Additionally there were things like solar cleave that had boomkins staying in solar eclipse and spamming sunfire due to a talent that stacked a direct damage buff. It wasnt exciting gameplay. Some people did like the place boomkins were in though due to easy aoe damage with solar cleave and in general decent dps.

MoP:

Eclipse bar was basically the same as Cata. They added some talents to get you into eclipses faster. Solar cleave was eliminated (maybe in the end of cata actually) by having the dots generate energy so you couldnt sit in an eclipse anymore. The biggest problem iirc with this iteration was that they made tweaks so that getting into either eclipse didn’t feel particularly excitiing.

WoD:

This where they changed the energy bar to automatically cycle between lunar and solar and you needed to keep track of which side you were in the know which spells to cast. at the top of each cycle you would get lunar or solar peak and this would give you a buff. SS was also changed to 3 charges which buffed wrath and starfire. This version, imo, was detestable and was what spelled the end of eclipse. One thing to note is that this version of celestial alignment seems to be closest to the proposed version we see for shadowlands. It paused the cycle and gave you both lunar and solar peak buffs and a % damage increase iirc.

This version brought us back to less control and was annoying to track (basically easiest way was to see whether you had moonfire or sunfire since they switched with the cycle).

So, with all that info (and i know its basic without getting into the specifics of nuanced rotational theory) we can try to analyze what blizzard is proposing to give us. I for one feel that eclipse was what made our spec unique. Now we are just another builder/spender classs, and while the spec is in a decent spot as far as dps meters goes…it’s not very unique anymore. Build Astral power, spend astral power. With an empowerment buff thrown in. Lets not forget that without stacking streaking stars we are pretty bad. Streaking stars isn’t interesting gameplay at all. Activate our one boring CD and then be forced to never repeat a spell cast.

It looks like to me that blizzard is trying to give us back an eclipse mechanic that is closest in design to the wrath of the lich king version (btw i like the fact that they are going back to starfire instead of lunar strike). We are getting a celestial alignment more in lines with what we had in warlords of draenor which could be more interesting than the push this button for more damage only and sounds like it will alter our rotation dynamically. Starsurge sounds like it will be a way for us to control our eclipses in a more dynamic way. All in all I am in favor of this change. This spec, while performing decently, doesn’t feel dynamic in any way. The wrath of the lich king version was the best version of eclipse. It was fun and it was more dynamic with an rng proc that felt exciting when it would happen. Although the lack of any real control was a problem, blizzard never really fixed it in the right way and then brought it to a point where it was just eliminated to turn us into just another builder spender spec. I am excited to get our unique identity back, and I am choosing to have faith that blizzard can design it in a way to be dynamic yet with enough control to make it work the way it should have worked.

Oh and starfall was never a melee aoe ability. The range was very good on it and it was probably one of our most fun spells to hit. Did it cause an occasional problem with pulling unwanted mobs? yeah!! but man was it fun to hit that button and just watch a rain of stars just hit everything around you!! I hate the current iteration of this spell. Pretty sure most boomkins who played with the old version are excited for this change!!

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I only picked up Balance druid during Legion, so thanks for the description of boomkin through the ages, sounds like it’s been quite a wild ride, interested to see the other feedback you get

yeah, so far no one has really weighed in…

then again its all conjecture on what exactly we are getting until we see some feedback from the alpha.

Blizzard can’t figure out what they want to do with balance.

A lot of Druids are having a kneejerk response to Eclipse coming back, I think we should wait until alpha invites go out in a few days and we can see how this iteration works in-game before we start complaining.

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I’m honestly one of those, hated it in Wrath, what’s so exciting of doing Solar wrath until you get the “night eclipse” then only Lunar until you get ",day eclipse. Is stupid, awful design. They want to get rid of the spending gameplay, well get rid of combo points for cats and rogues too… I’m just salty, hated that.

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do you find this version of the spec more exciting?

i agree that the eclipse system needed work. there was a little more the spec than just wrath or starfire back then though. treants and starfall were a part of the rotation as well as insect swarm and moonfire.,

i just fail to see whats so much more interesting about the spec now. my point about the builder spender thing is that we are just another one of them now. i just think it would be cool if they can get eclipse right because it made us completely unique. making it feel dynamic with some modicum of control would put it in an interesting spot. i’m interested

Didn’t really enjoy Eclipse as it was in Cata. Came back to it in Legion and BFA and find the spec much more enjoyable.

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yeah the cataclysm version felt lethargic

Exciting is a strong word but it feels smooth and the only reason they discarded Eclipse is because they could never balanced it to be good.

Yes, to keep up the DoTs is basically the same as now.

But hitting Solarx5 then Lunarx5 keeping DoTs is just stupid.

I mean yes, people want some complexity but if I raid or PvP why would someone pick me a Balance Druid if there’s another Caster that can make it better without a hastle.

It will be basically what happened with Feral at the beginning of BfA, why would I take a Feral if a rogue is better?

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well now you’re talking about something else, which is performance and utility. the mechanics of the class is a different subject than how it performs in a raid or in pvp. if you are a top dps class no one is gonna care the mechanics of how to play your class, they just want you to put the numbers up…or be able to put pressure on a healer etc…

you know i was just re-reading the notes and i think we have it kinda wrong here. here is what i read which is, for some reason, missing from what i originally quoted.

Solar and Lunar Empowerments are being strengthened and updated into Eclipses. Reminiscent of past expansions like Wrath of the Lich King , Wrath and Starfire will grant each other alternating Lunar and Solar Eclipses for a longer duration, with special moments of Celestial Alignment allowing both to occur at once. Balance Druids who master the flow of these Eclipses will be able to ensure a period of sustained power to either Wrath or Starfire at key moments of a fight. Starsurge will extend the current Eclipse to continue focusing power into either Wrath or Starfire, while Starfall instead extends your current Moonfire and Sunfire effects, giving the main Arcane Power spenders distinct roles based on situation.

if you read the bolded part you’ll see it mentions that starsurge and starfall are the main power “arcane power spenders”. which is kinda weird since we’ve never had arcane power. anyway maybe what we are getting is a hybrid version of eclipse where they integrated a form of eclipse into the spec where we still build astral (arcane?) power with our nukes and use starsurge to control the eclipse states. could be an interesting take on the spec and turn the spec into a more unique version of builder/spender where we also have eclipses to manage dynamically or use starfalls to keep up dots during aoe.

Thoughts?

Basically a mix between Cata and Wrath it seems. Considering your mastery increases damage depending on the eclipses. Glad we are going back to builders doing damage, hate it when nothing hits hard except your spender, makes the rotations so jarring and not fluid at all.

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Will be hard to know how this will feel since streaking stars will never be seen again, nor would work with this current iteration.

one thing that sticks out to me is the soul of the forest talent adding to the duration of eclipses. i really hope this isnt on the same tier as incarnation

one thing i’m failing to see is how eclipses are stronger than empowerments? for one they are on a short timer. second they give 20% damage and 8% reduced cast time where right now empowerments give 20% extra damage (and for wrath it gives that damage to any nearby enemies also) and they reduce cast time by 15% which is almost 2x mmore than the eclipses. mastery damage boost is slightly stronger with eclipse (14% instead of 12%) but is only active during eclipse which sounds like a nerf to starsurge, stafall, moonfire and sunfire since that damage boost is always active with the current mastery.

hopefully these numbers are buffed. or maybe mastery is going to be worth more per point than it currently is.

hopefully a lot of this datamine stuff will be changed or is maybe wrong. like wrath asnd sunfire generating 0 astral power makes no sense.

also i noticed starsurge only costs 30 astral power now and extends eclipse by 3 seconds. is it going to be possible to keep an eclipse up for all of or close to the full duration of the opposite eclipses’ cooldown? therefore putting us into an almost permanent eclipse state with good gameplay? it’s a lot fo question that need to be seen during testing. but, imo, some of these numbers will need to be buffed

CA / Incarn no longer will given damage buffs anymore.

15% crit in CA, an additional 15% haste in Incarn

Bash is moving to a 1min cd and 4 second stun.

In pvp balance/feral will need the highest dps, by far, to compensate for the survivability nerfing they getting now. its not like bfa has seen alot of druid dps in arenas so im geussing it will be many years until anything except resto is viable at all.

At least wth the mindset blizzard devs are showing us here.

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its pretty ridiculous if it remains that way. i’m no pvp expert by any stretch, i’m actually realtively poor at it, but i like to do it for fun and i can’t remember any point in the 10 years i’ve been playing where balance was considered anything much better than mediocre for arenas. you’d think at some points along the way balance would have had a few patches where it was, but i dont remember it. it always seems like balance was considered not very desireable for arena and really only considered good for spread pressure in bgs

Its pretty easy to do good dmg in random/pug bg’s with balance. So you can see some good dmg from balance druids in random bg’s.

But when a good mage/dk/dh/lock/warrior enters that same bg they will do equal or more. And they dont die. Balance druids are easily shut down but decent players.

Our stun getting nerfed and barkskin getting nerfed just shows incompetence.
While rogues combofinisher stun getting upped to 7 sec…wtf?
And they got 10 sec immunity to any class than 8 sec 90% dmg erduction lol.

Seems like they dont want people to play anything except resto…so we can be everybodys healbish. I am not playing resto. Might be a good time to vote with the wallet and take a good long break!

Great description thanks. For some reason I was convinced the fluctuating eclipse bar was in Cata/Mop and WoD was the static one. Looks like I had it backwards in my head.

I hate all forms of eclipse, but the most bearable for me was wolk actually. It did feel “like a here comes the boom” proc, even though you could get jipped big time as like you said you had to move or could not get as many casts off during it.

I hated all the others with a passion. Probably the WoD version the most. I guess its great for people who like busywork and complicated specs, but I saw it as a game of simon says or DDR. Completely took me out of the role of the game and more into minigame within the game territory.

I would maybe, MAYBE play balance with the wolk version, but if its anything like the other 3, I will not play balance until its removed again.