Monday, January 28, 2008

Learning your Roots: Balance Druid Part 1

Blog Azeroth is a new tool for bloggers, someone requested that I do more of the tree breakdowns for classes. Since I’m currently working on my Druid and that build is FRESH in my head, I’ll work with that for now.

Learning your Roots: Balance Druid

A Balance Druid is a fun build. A friend once called it, “A Mage with Plate Armor” and that’s exactly what it is. Consider this, if you build a Druid when you get bear form you get a 400% armor boost. This enables the bear to tank for a 5, 10 or 25 group as well as solo. At level 40 a Druid that has run the Balance tree gets Moonkin Form. Moonkin is a highly armored form that allows you to cast nature spells. So you have high armor and severely high spell damage. I’ll explain more as I break this down for you.

Let me disclaimer something to you right now. When I built my Druid I leveled as Feral for the first 40 levels. The reason being is that while you do have good spells as a druid, doing it as a straight caster the entire time puts you at a disadvantage. First because you don’t get Moonkin until level 40, this means that you’re not better than a Mage or a Warlock in the sense that it’s two swipes and you’re down. The other part of it is that you will have a harder time leveling because you can’t take out two mobs at once. So remember that if you are going to Balance from level 1, you will more than likely have a lot of graveyard runs in your future, you’ve been warned.

Starlight Wrath is going to be one of your main attacks as a Balance Druid and will also be a main attack when you’re a lowbie. It’s great high damage but it takes a while to get it cast on the mob that you’re trying to take down. Putting five points into this talent brings down the cast time of this attack, something you really want since it’s basically the start of any attack you’re going to do.

Nature’s Grasp is the second talent at the start of the tree. “While active, any time an enemy strikes the caster they have a 35% chance to become afflicted by Entangling Roots. Only useable outdoors, 1 charge. Lasts 45 sec.” This is a waste of a point to me for several reasons. First, you have to be STRUCK before it’s activated, so you have to suffer damage before it becomes active. Problem with this is if you’re struck and get dazed, your time to runaway is cut down severely and you don’t do much with it. The second is that it can only happen once a battle. So there’s no promise that it will happen at the beginning of the fight, it may very well happen as you drop your killing blow, highly annoying. The most important thing to me though, that makes it useless, is that it’s only outdoors. I don’t know if you noticed but you have to run INTO a lot of places, caves, hovels, houses, crypts and instances (Which are considered INDOORS) so if you begin to rely on this talent, it’s going to be useless to you in most situations.

The last talent at the top is Improved Nature’s Grasp which gives a higher probability of your target getting entangled but doesn’t give you more charges and doesn’t allow you to use this talent indoors, so to me this is a wash.

So firs five go into Starlight and that opens up the next three which are basically must haves.

Control of Nature is the first one that it’s the second segment. It begins by giving you a 40% chance of avoiding interruption by damage when you’re casting Roots or Cyclone and maxes out at 100%. So no matter how strong the attack being sent against you, you’ll still get your cast off. Cyclone you don’t get until level 70 but if you go to the forums you will see other classes are always highly upset that you can do it with no cool down. Might be something fun if you’re into PVP.

Focused Starlight. As a Moonkin you will depend HIGHLY on the ability to get a critical attack on a mob because it allows some of the other abilities available to you to activate. You put two points into this talent and it increases the possibilities to get a critical strike from Starfire and Wrath by 4%, these are going to be two spells you will use regularly and I can’t begin to tell you how important it is that you have them up as high as possible. This talent also leads to another one further down the tree that I’ll talk about later.

Improved Moonfire. Again this is a talent that you want to spend points on because it elevates the critical strike opportunity for one of your bread and butter spells. It gives a 10% chance for your Moonfire attacks to be a critical strike. Very tasty if you’re a caster.

I’m going to stop here for today. I don’t want to overwhelm you right away. I’m going to attach an image, hope it comes out...


Sellia said...

Good post as always ! =)

Jabari said...


Minor nitpicking: Improved Moonfire also increases its damage by 10% (not just its crit rate), so it's even better!

Totally agree with Nature's Grasp being crap, BTW. Roots is a quick cast, and uninterruptable with the talent that you'll be getting anyway.

I've leveled my Druid 10-34 as pure Balance - no problems at all so far. 2 mobs aren't a problem because you just root one and kill the other (with Swarm ticking on both as well). 3 is no fun, but just because you aren't specced Feral doesn't mean you aren't allowed to switch to Bear anyway!


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