Cataclysm: Balance Druid Preview

by on Apr.09, 2010, under Cataclysm

Sorry for being late to the show on this, I’m having laptop problems.

The Druid preview has been released, and it’s rather underwhelming for balance druids.


Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.


  • Balance druids will have a new talent ability called Nature’s Torrent, which strikes for either Nature or Arcane damage depending on which will do the most damage (or possibly both), and moves the Eclipse meter more (details below). The improved version of Nature’s Torrent also reduces the target’s movement speed. 10-second cooldown.


Spell Damage
Spell Haste

Eclipse: We are moving Eclipse from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance.

Also, they have announced (although not exactly in the preview) that balance DoTs will scale with haste and crit.

My Opinion:

The change to Eclipse looks encouraging, although I’m sure it’ll take a lot of play testing to really understand it.  As for the magic mushroom, let me quote one of my favorite SNL skits:  Really?!.  There’s not much more to say there.

Nature’s Torrent looks like a promising idea, although I really wish it wasn’t on a 10 second cooldown.  My initial thought would be that it’d be nice to have a spell with both pools of magic incase you do something stupid which locks one pool out (which we know because of the current Eclipse, it destroys our DPS).  Due to the change to multipool spells (they will no longer lock out both pools), and the change to Eclipse, that doesn’t seem like it’ll be AS big of a problem.

What does concern me, though, is one of our masteries being Haste.  Unless they plan on radically changing how our mechanics work, and increasing the cast time for Wrath, it looks like we’re going to have incredibly low spell caps again. It’ll be a waiting game, I guess.

TL;DR:  Blizzard still hates us.

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30 Comments for this entry

  • Lihai

    Definitely some criticism to be had, but it tells us they are looking and given the ToL change, willing to make some pretty interesting moves. We really won’t know till Cataclysm though.

  • Fearon

    For PvP these changes add nothing interesting. The easiest thing to beat as a moonkin is a melee. And the only thing we get is a slow.

    Now what about all those casters and healers we want a fair chance against?

  • Zokkiruu

    Like they say, these are just a beginning look and a think a lot could change/be revealed. I want a smaller cd on Nature’s Torrent as well, and I really, really hope that they plan on making the spell haste mastery useful. :(

  • Orrak

    i find it odd that they didn’t even mention natures grace, seeing as how GC has talked about that being the other huge problem with balance in the past, my guess would be that natures grace is going away entirely seeing as Haste is one of our mastery bonuses.

  • lissanna

    Blizzard doesn’t hate us. GC just wants people like Murmurs, Graylo, Hamlet, & I to have to work REALLY hard during Beta to get us into good shape…

  • Fearon

    The question is:
    Can you hate something you really do not care about?

  • Balourd

    Dont be so negative, we wanted a less RNG based Eclipse, there it is; we QQed for a more movability, they’re giving us two (mushroom and probably nature’s torrent) decent nukes to instant-cast while moving.
    The dots critting and hasting might just be a matter of getting the changes to nature’s grace final before applying it to dots and announcing it.
    We might not have a new PVP design or stuff, but i can already see something like Mushroom + Typhoon then getitng charged and BOOM in the warrior’s face. Also if nature’s torrent is instant, it will give us a thing to hit while kiting.

  • Fearon

    Balourd melee should be the least of your problems as a Moonkin.

  • nomilk

    they have made our dots stack haste and and crit it just wasnt posted if u check the update on mmo.

    • Sunfyre

      This really doesn’t accomplish much as long as our dots remain such a small fraction of our dps. We aren’t a dot class. This really is more underwhelming if they fail to fix our haste cap issues.

  • Qieth

    So they fix eclipse (no more soft crit cap), make us suffer MUCH less from moving, they make dots scale with haste and crit, they give us TWO new damage abilities and you say that they.. hate us?

    Already, nobody of us are bothered by having haste over the soft cap, because its still worth more than crit. Remember that with Cataclysm comes reforging. If you really have too much haste (we havent been forced over the soft haste cap until ICC), then you can reforge some of the haste into crit. You won’t have +40% crit from eclipse, but more likely a straight damage boost, so there will be plenty of chance to increase your crit.

    So all these posibilities, and Blizzard hates us?

    You don’t even know how our talent tree looks. This was a preview. They might very well change Nature’s Grace or a million other things. And even – EVEN – if we reach haste soft cap, it STILL benefits our wraths when NG is off, and our starfires – AND both of our dots. At worst, your wrath will hit the soft cap, but it seems very unrealistic that any other spell would be soft capped.

    You are basicly getting: More abilities, better scaling, more abilities that can scale better… And yet Blizzard hates us?

    Addition: Our dots are only such a small part of our DPS because they DONT scale with haste and crit. Remember how much better moonfire was when it could crit? Imagine that it ticks more too – and then add insect swarm. Just the affect from haste and crit would make them MUCH more stronger. Consider then, that you would probably be casting IS with a fully charged for solar eclipse, and moonfire when you are fully charged for lunar eclipse, to have even stronger dots.

    I really, really think you are overreacting.

    • Sunfyre

      One spell on a 10 second cool down doesn’t necessarily fix our damage. If so, Typhoon would be our savior. Its not. And a magic mushroom? Really? Can we please move past being the laughing stock of the game and give us credible abilities? This is half of the reason people don’t think we are credible dps. That and half of the moonkin I have run into on US servers are either 12, or speak horrible English and can’t play for the life of them.

  • Moonthunder

    This seems very promising. However, I’d much rather Nature’s Torrent be an actual ability that we can choose to use when we’re locked out of a school. Say that we’re locked out of Nature, but we have the Nature Eclipse all the way up. We can use Nature’s Torrent for the improved damage, instead of just sitting there spamming Starfire like we would without it.

  • Qieth

    Have you no imagination? Tell me, what does Nature’s Torrent do? Damage sure, but how? Is it a big blast? A strong dot? Something that increases the effect of our eclipse meter, or reduces the amount of decay we get on eclipse. It could also be that if the component is nature, it moves towards SOLAR eclipse, so the ability doesn’t just do damage, it also increases eclipse. Do you know what it does? Cause i sure as hell doesn’t, and because of that, I wont discard an ability that easely.

    And I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been the “laughing stock” for quite a while. Our damage has been quite nice since 3.3.3, and while it was a bandaid, it shows that Blizzard does know and does care.

    There may be a lot of immature moonkins, but those moonkins aren’t reading your blog. The people who come to read this are affected by your tone and what you relay to them. It is YOUR responsibility to YOUR readers that you present the information correctly, and you honestly don’t even seem to have even considered that Blizzard knows a lot more about these changes than you do.

    Ill repeat what i said in my earlier post:

    – Only one spell will ever be capped on anything. If it ever gets capped, its probably in 4th tier raiding in Cataclysm. QQ.
    – We are able to change the stats on our items, so even if we do get concerningly close to a cap, we can just change it. QQ.
    – We get two new abilities that are supposed to work towards our damage, even as single target DPS. QQ.
    – Our DOTs will become a more significant portion of our DPS, since they now scale. QQ.
    – The Eclipse system is being worked out to something that helps us, not hinder us. Heck, we can probably even benefit from a full 40 seconds of bloodlust, or buff our eclipse meter when we have to move for a long distance.
    – Even now, well above both caps, we still do comparable damage. QQ.

  • Fearon

    Qieth doesn´t seem to realise other classes gets buffs aswell. Way better buffs …

    They always made promises to improve moonkins. None of those ever had the effect they promised. Maybe your new at moonkin and still naive but they always promise a lot and give a little.

    Also if it´s any tone I don´t like it´s yours.

  • Qieth

    Is this really the way you want argue, Sunfyre? You have yet to respond to any argument. All you are doing is victimizing yourself. Let me ask you:

    Are you having trouble with DPS since 3.3.3?

    Do you disagree with the notion that we will be able to scale better when we can’t reach a crit cap, and when our dots are affected by haste and crit?

    Do you disagree with the argument that reforging can be used to manage our wrath haste cap, when we actually reach it?

    Do you think that the change to eclipse does not offer a solution to our current problems with eclipse, RNG and movement?

    Fearin: None of us have any knowledge of the extent of buffs to any class. You do not know what kind of damage spells will do, or to what extent it will be used. To simply assume that Blizzard will abandon us, based on prejudice is nothing but tears. We have been getting buffs throughout WOTLK. They have been small but steady and at no point could we not hold our spot in raids. With the starfall change, we got a huge buff, and from the preview we see that Blizzard is aware if our problems and are taking steps to correct them. We haven’t even seen everything yet, and we don’t have one single number yet.

    If you want to be a nay-sayer, then by all means go ahead. But if you are limited by your prejudice towards Blizzard (or constructive arguments for that matter), then you are only hurting yourself.

    • Sunfyre

      You’re also giving circular examples. If we continue to have a ridiculously low haste cap, then DoTs really will not gain much from haste if we are trying to keep it around 12% or so. Shadow priests scale so well with haste because they are able to stack it. Furthrer more, we are not a dot class. Our spell coefficients are no where near vampiric touch or the warlock dots. It will remain a small part of our dps.

      Except for the starfall buff, all of the buffs have really been 2 steps forward, one step back, because each of the eclipse buffs caused our end game scaling to be even worse. I realize you only played a moonkin since Ulduar, so you really haven’t understood the frustration most of us have had with eclipse since day one of beta.

      The major problems to our class were not addressed, that being natures grace and the fast cast time of wrath.

  • Qieth

    In regards to haste and wrath, my initial arguement was still that we shouldn’t care if ONE spell got haste capped. It is certainly a better situation than we are in now, and EVEN NOW, haste trumphs crit, despite being well over the soft haste cap.

    Two steps forwards and one backwards is still one step forward. I can understand why Blizzard wants to do small changes, and not massive overhauls. Partly because some of the things needed require a whole lot of other things. Imagine changing Nature’s Grace so moonkins can benefit from more haste. Then they might have to compensate resto druids for something as well. Second, we haven’t been that bad off. After all, we have still been raiding, and we have chipped in. Our current state is a lot better than it was half a year ago.

    That I have only played a moonkin since Ulduar has no effect on my ability to look at our class, how we perform, and the prospects of our life in Cataclysm. Actually, your comment only serves as an argument for me, because it again leads me to believe that a lot of this negativity comes from feeling mistreated previously, so any attempt to fix things the right way is viewed with hostility.

    This hostility brings me back to the series of questions i asked in my previous comment, and I would really like it if you could answer them:

    Are you having trouble with DPS since 3.3.3?

    Do you disagree with the notion that we will be able to scale better when we can’t reach a crit cap, and when our dots are affected by haste and crit?

    Do you disagree with the argument that reforging can be used to manage our wrath haste cap, when we actually reach it?

    Do you think that the change to eclipse does not offer a solution to our current problems with eclipse, RNG and movement?

  • Fearon

    We’ll see what happens when Cataclysm gets out. And HISTORY HAS SHOWN (<- cool right? :P) over and over again that you will be disappointed. Now put down those pink glasses and get realistic.

    Moonkins have always been a bit of an underdog but perhaps thats also it's charm.

  • Qieth

    Alright, Fearon. Since Sunfyre has not had the chance to answer my question yet, how about you give it a shot?

  • Fearon

    I’m not gonna botter since the answers are quite(/very) obvious. History has shown me it’s no point in discussing things with blizzard fan boys (i do not mean to offend you but to me it appears this is the case).
    I’ll just wait for Catalysm and then write “told you…” ;)
    Then i probably get some reply with “yeah but they said they will soon…” and it continues.

    I do hope I am wrong and you are right. I’m just staying realistic. The number of Moonkins are always small therefor other things easily get the priority over Moonkins. This was the case from Vanilla till now.

  • Qieth

    Are the answers obvious? You are dodging the questions because you are so bent on “proving me wrong”. Why do you think Sunfyre dodged the questions in three posts? Dont you reckon you are doing the exact same thing? You are avoiding my questions because if you answer them you are either completely ignorant, or you have to agree with the fact that they have actually not only fixed our damage as it is now, and addressed all the issues we have currently, and offer a solid solution for Cataclysm.

    Ive played a different class for every release of the game. And I can tell you, every single class feels like Blizzard is not giving them enough. The paladins are whining, the warriors are whining, the rogues are whining. Druids are no different. I have been a moonkin since Ulduar, but I am certainly not lacking any skill, and while you may have felt the “Blizzard hate”, you are so indoctrinated with prejudice that you don’t realise that most people feel that their class is underpowered and should get more buffs.

    These ad homenin attacks is just an attempt to move focus away from my arguments in order to avoid having to consider the arguments objectively. Sunfyre once told me that, due to my position, i should not tell people how well we were doing, because “Then people would believe me, and not whine, and we would not be fixed”. The excact opposite is happening here. You are greedy, you want more, and you refuse to acknowledge that Blizzard has addressed all the issues we currently have, by avoiding my very clear questions.

    So tell me. If the changes that has been proposed is not sufficient, what more should they do?

  • Sunfyre

    Okay. First off, I’m not evading your question. My laptop is dead and I didn’t feel like writing a thesis on my iPad.

    Did Blizzard buff our damage in 3.3.3? Sure. Did it do much to our direct single target damage? No.

    Is my damage on Lich King 25 amazing now? Yes. How much of that splash damage from Starfall is going to mobs where the damage is irrelevant? (Drudge Ghouls, Shambling Horrors, etc)? A lot. The same with Rotface. My damage looks pretty, but how much of that damage is hitting the oozes and again, worthless? A lot.

    Starfall did give us great AoE damage, but a lot of that AoE damage is not needed. Sure, it’s great on Vile spirits, sure, it’s great on blood beasts, but it was a very small bandaid.

    One of the largest issues with Balance druid DPS is our spell haste and the Nature’s Grace issue. That’s been an issue for quite a long time, and they’ve refused to fix it because a BALANCE TALENT MIGHT FUCK OVER RESTO DRUIDS. God forbid they fix a balance talent for balance druids. They did not address this at all.

    They gave us barebone details which did not show how they were going to fix our issues. There was no specific details on how Eclipse is going to be changed. If Eclipse is changed to no longer be critical strike rating and just straight damage (although saying they’re increasing the damage of it is ambiguous, because increasing the crit rating inherently increases the overall damage from the ability), it’s still going to be broken.

    Removing or re-adjusting Nature’s Grace is going to fix the haste cap for Wrath, but if you have Starfire with only a 50% crit rating or so, and no nature’s grace to haste it, it’s going to make Starfire be absolutely worthless.

    So to answer your questions

    a) Of course DPS has gone up, although a lot of our DPS is to worthless mobs where the damage means nothing. eDPS has not gone up a whole lot except for certain short duration AoE requirement fights (see: Deathbringer Saurfang)

    b) If they do nothing to fix the haste cap with Wrath, or decide to remove Nature’s Grace to fix it and change Eclipse to Starfire damage, not crit, scaling won’t be the issue, we will end up doing piss poor damage with Starfire. We’re not a DoT class, our DoT coefficients aren’t anywhere close to that of Vampiric Touch and the Warlock DoTs. (Moonfire: 13% per tick, Insect Swarm: 20% per tic, Vampiric Touch: 40% per tic, SwP: 18.33% per tic, Corruption: 31% per tic and it never falls off). That being said, our scaling from haste and crit is going to be much less then that of priests and warlocks, and if we’re confined to such a low haste cap, that’ll keep DoTs from appreciating the same type of haste/crit scaling that warlocks/priests see.

    c) Reforging is going to allow small tweaks to gear, not complete re-itemization. It’s not going to solve our cap issues.

    d) I do not think that simply changing Eclipse to a sliding bar and then making it buff Arcane damage verus crit will really improve how Eclipse works, because it’s going to make our Starfire damage tank.

  • Fearon

    Sunfury just did but you also seem to ignore the PvP side of Moonkins completely. Where the changes fix totally nothing.

  • Qieth

    Who cares about your damage on Rotface or Lich King? I am obviously asking about your single target DPS, and whether or not you feel that you can compete now. Even on single target DPS fights, I have little issues getting to where I should be. The starfall buff was still about a 3x increase, even on single target (compared to previous starfall single target).

    It is a quick buff to our spells, because you can’t just change such a core talent with little regard to anything else. Someone who has played as long as you should have realised by now that – despite how fast people think it should take – Blizzard can’t just whip up a change in an hour.

    a) Good, your DPS has gone up. You are now competible on both multi target fights and single target fights. Does that not mean that they have, for the time being, removed our problems?

    b) Who cares about how our dots scale now? You have no idea how much damage the dots will do in level 85, and you keep forgetting that the new eclipse system hints towards buffs to all nature and arcane spells. Now, I don’t know what will happen, but neither do you. You are just assuming they are going to fail, even when the system could be made in many very lucrative ways.

    You keep hanging on to numbers that you don’t even know yet. I DO hope that Eclipse will just be a straight out damage increase to either school of magic. Who cares if we don’t have our crit cap on starfire – a crit will still produce faster cast speed for following spells, and I would much more be balanced around a talent that might sometimes come up, and not be dependant on it being up all the time. For all the whining going on here, im suprised that you aren’t happy that this system could remove both soft haste and crit caps by far, and still allow us to be competative *as long as its balanced from the start*.

    Our DOTs might not scale as well as other classes, but assuming the eclipse theories are correct, casting them at the end of the eclipse meters will probably do a lot for its damage. DOTs will probably be a much bigger part of our DPS in Cataclysm. Who cares that shadow priests scale better with their dots, *they already have the buffs*.

    We won’t be confined to a low haste cap, because we will want haste for our starfire, moonfire and insect swarm. Haste will probably be worth more than it is now, but even now it is stronger than crit. As long as we are balanced around it, everything is fine.

    c) Small tweaks? As far as I’m aware, you can take half of a stat on an item and convert it into another stat. With 100 spirit on an item, you could reduce it to 50 and give you the equalent (item stat wise) in haste, crit or what not. Since we are going to have quite a bit gear with spirit on, once we reach our hit cap, we will begin converting all this spirit into stats we would rather have.

    d) Who cares if you do not have a 100% chance to crit with starfire, when you can pump the damage from a pure damage buff? We will probably be looking at something very simple like 1 starfire = 2 wraths, and then thats it. The bonus we get from solar eclipse at the moment is practically equal to the bonus we get from lunar eclipse. 40% crit increase or 40% damage increase is really not that far apart, so it wouldn’t be as huge a deal as you make it.

    In a TL;DR version: You don’t have the numbers. These ideas have the possibilities of being quite awesome, and I won’t simply choose to believe that we’ll be shafted just so I can sit around and mope about it. If it turns out that the numbers needs to be tweaked, I will gladly go to a whine festival and have it changed. But when the sun is shining, im not going to complain about rain next week.

    Fearon: You are correct. I have no love for PvP, and I am quite frankly pitiful whenever i try to PvP. I deal only in PvE. I would think though – and ill admit ignorance here – that the eclipse change could be an interesting tool to play with in BGs and arenas and such.

  • Fearon

    Sadly none of these changes deal with the real PvP problems. I am the best PvP moonkin on my realm (it’s a crap realm though, 2.1k rated with a dk partner).

    I love my Moonkin but still I recently abandoned him because this “preview” doesn’t even handle 1 core issue. They promised changes all teh time in WOTLK but nothing really changed. The starfall change was nice but it’s so easy to avoid that it’s laughable. Nor it’s a core issue.

    I now just play my mage (80) and hunter (80). My mage Icelance (instant) often hits harder then my Moonkin Starfire (3 sec). Ain’t that a bit strange?

    I can win from anyone with my Moonkin in a duel (except decent shadow priest and healers ofcourse). However i can do the same with my LESSER GEARED mage or hunter in 1/4th of the time against all classes/specs.

    Blizzard needs to spend some time on Moonkins but after 2 expansions and a very bad preview of the 3th I give up.

    Note: There are only a few decent PvP’ers on my realm (Bloodhoof).

  • Fearon

    The Magic Mushroom does have 1 use though.

    Step 1: Go to the enemy city.
    Step 2: Put down mushrooms!
    Step 3: Stealth
    Step 4: Wait for the unfortunate person who walks past it
    Step 5: Lol

  • alekan

    Well guys i realy dont know until i see with the new spells what we can do as moonkins but i know this
    so far i cannot be beaten on dps race even if this is
    run and gun fight or even steady boss burn out inside icc
    and i will not say anything about hc instances inside there we rule guys there no one to stop us!

    i believe moonkins if played right are awesome dps and remember we suppose not to be a pure dps class cause blizzard says that we are druids we can do everything tank,heal,mellee dps,spell casters,but not pure dps.

    and so far i can see cat form realy do massive damage bear form was needed into icc from her huge amount of health,druids healers are almost the best healing class in the game and moonkins are unleashing hell,so i realy dont think anyone hates us :) just take what we got and learn to use it well.

    as i told before im in front on every dps class i stay against with people that know how to play there classes have same gs with me and they suppose to be pure dps class.You see moonkins can hold there dps hight all the time its not so easy for other classes to do that too.

    its all in our hands guys and as i say
    if everyone else fails send the Doomkin ^^

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