Monday, October 18, 2010

Balance Druid Rotation in 4.0.1

In World of Warcraft Patch 4.0.1 Balance Druids were given a new resource to manage in the form of an updated Eclipse mechanic.  As a result, Moonkins find themselves quickly trying to smooth out a new rotation.  Lucky for you, I have already done the heavy lifting.  After the bump, you will find everything you need to know about the Balance Druid spell rotation in Patch 4.0.1.

Basic 4.0.1 Moonkin Spell Rotation

As with before the patch, your rotation primarily consists of keeping up your DoTs and alternating Wrath and Starfire as your primary nuke.  Generally speaking, you will want to open up with Moonfire followed by Insect Swarm.  Insect Swarm is the more powerful of our two DoTs and casting it after Moonfire allows it to more fully reap the benefits of Nature's Grace.  Whenever Moonfire or Insect Swarm fall off, refresh them immediately.  To maximize your dps, avoid clipping them (renewing them before their last tick goes off).


Aside from your DoTs, you will also need to pay attention to the new Balance ability Star Surge.  Star Surge does a ton of damage and also helps you trigger an Eclipse sooner, so you will want to use it every time it's available.  This means not only casting it whenever its cooldown timer is up, but also watching out for Shooting Stars procs and consuming them immediately.

Lastly, you will be alternating between casting Wrath and Starfire as your filler spell.  As you spam Wrath as your filler, you will push your Eclipse bar towards a Lunar Eclipse.  Once you hit the end of the bar, Lunar Eclipse will proc and it is time to start spamming Starfire instead.  This will push the bar towards a Solar Eclipse which, once reached, will demand you go back to Wrath.  Throughout a fight, you will simply seesaw back and forth between Starfire and Wrath switching immediately on Eclipse procs to maximize your dps.

Balance Cooldown Usage in 4.0.1

Now that we have the basics of the rotation down, it is time to consider cooldown usage.  In terms of raw dps, there are only three cooldown abilities you need to worry about: Starfall, Force of Nature, and Thorns.  Looking first at Starfall, you will want to cast it whenever it is off cooldown with the caveat that you should attempt to trigger it right at the beginning of a Lunar Eclipse whenever possible.  Starfall benefits from Lunar Eclipse's Arcane damage boost.  Using the spell at a beginning of a Lunar Eclipse then maximizes its damage for its full duration.

Force of Nature should also be used whenever available.  Should a Shaman's Bloodlust/Heroism come into play, you will want to have your Treants out when the ability is activated as they benefit from the buff.  You also of course want to be sure that you don't call out your three helpers during a time when they will be quickly killed by some boss attack or environmental hazard.

In terms of the dps you contribute to the group, casting Thorns every time it comes off cooldown is also a wise use of your global cooldowns.  Unfortunately, however, the damage done by Thorns will not be attributed to you in the all powerful damage meters.  As a result, using Thorns will appear to be a dps loss for you even though you are actually maximizing the damage you are generating.  In short, if you want to be the best Moonkin you can be, use Thorns; if you just want to blow up the meters, don't.

4.0.1 Balance Druid Pro Tips

In terms of squeezing every last bit of performance out of your 4.0.1 Moonkin, there are a couple little tweaks you should keep in mind.  Generally speaking, you will want to lead off with Wrath rather than Starfire.  This is because a Lunar Eclipse is the best time to cast Starfall, so you will want to trigger a Lunar Eclipse as quickly as possible to get Starfall off cooldown early in an encounter.

Whenever you are moving, assuming your DoTs are refreshed and Shooting Stars hasn't triggered, you will want to spam Moonfire.  Lunar Shower transforms Moonfire into our on the run filler.  Obviously you won't be able to put up the same numbers spamming Moonfire that you would executing the rotation, but you can't settle into your rotation on the move.  So when you are running, simply keep your DoTs up, watch out for Shooting Stars, and lay into Moonfire like there is no tomorrow.

If you decide to set your ego aside and use Thorns as available, I would recommend setting up a macro to cast the ability on your focus target.  That way, whenever you are in a new raid or group all you need to do is select the main tank as your focus target and your Thorns will automatically land on the right person.

Lastly, should you have trinket or racial cooldowns to use, throw them out right at the beginning of the Lunar Eclipse where you are casting Starfall.

Was this guide helpful in making you a Moonkin superstar?  Do you enjoy the new Moonkin spell rotation?  Was enough changed to make things feel new?  How would you like to see it improved?  Let me know in the comments.   

13 comments:

  1. Pro guide, very helpful.

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  2. Very nice guide Pathis! Helped me alot to reconsider how to do my rotations, and how to spend my cooldowns more handy!

    Thank you! :)

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  3. Thanks, very helpful. Great guide

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  4. Awesome guide cheers dude, real big help! all looked very confusing with the new proc,s but you've made it quite simple:D thanks man, happy gaming!

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  5. very nice i was confused and thinking about swapping specs due to dps loss after patch but i will give it another try thanks to this guide

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  6. Hey man the guide was a big help, I was so lost with that stupid meter underneath my health and mana. I should be back to my A game before Cat comes out and as far as this new stuff goes, yes it feels new, which is cool, however I think I will be doing some kitty dps gome cataclysm to really get that new game feeling.

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  7. Lol, i use Thorns every time it's off CD. I like your attitude @ "In short, if you want to be the best Moonkin you can be, use Thorns; if you just want to blow up the meters, don't."

    #showtooltip
    /use [@target, help, nodead][@targettarget, help, nodead][@mouseover, help, nodead][] Thorns

    This is a Macro I got from the Elietest Jerks website, it's extrememly useful. Basically what it does is it casts Thorns on either sombody you're hovering over, your targets target (The person getting hit; The Tank) or yourself if you have no target and you're not hovering over anybody.

    Excellent guide, cannot fault it.

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  8. Very nice guide. Helped me reconsider when to use a few spells. I never would've used thorns had I not read this.

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  9. Love that we can now spam the heck out of Moonfire and Thorns is a fantastic, if often forgotten, buff. Nice post.

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  10. should a druid be single target only?

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  11. No- we do better multi target than single target.

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  12. Hi! just read the post and have some questions: how much dps can a moonkin output in a average 5man cata heroic? because my dps is low, even if i stick to addons and such.. am i being slow? or plain noob? i have the most used talents/glyphs applied and 335 il. ty for the atention..
    Sibeal

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