If you’re squawking in confusion at the huge list of patch notes for Mists of Pandaria Patch [patchnumber], with changes to talents, glyphs, abilities, and everything else, don’t worry! This quick-start guide will help Boomkin (ahem – Balance Druids) everywhere keep your feathers on and get your rotation, stat priorities, reforging, gems and everything else sorted out for Patch [patchnumber] and MoP, so you can be back to lax0ring everything in sight in no time!
Updated [guideupdated] to WoW Patch [patchnumber]
Balance Druid changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]
Some talent changes.
Balance “Rotation” and Priorities
The Balance rotation hasn’t really changed in MoP – it’s still all about keeping your Damage over Time spells up whilst getting in and out of Eclipse as fast as possible.
If possible, before combat begins use Astral Communion to move your Eclipse bar to one cast away from an Eclipse. Once combat has begun:
- Top Priority: If Sunfire or Moonfire isn’t running on your target, cast it.
- Second Priority: If Starsurge is available, cast it. If you’re in Lunar Eclipse and Starfall is available, cast that.
- Third Priority: If you have the Solar Eclipse buff active, cast Wrath. If you have Lunar Eclipse, cast Starfire.
- Fourth Priority: If your eclipse gauge is heading for Solar, cast Starfire. If it’s heading for Lunar, cast Wrath.
This will get you going with Balance DPS. To improve your DPS more, focus on keeping your Sunfire and Moonfire active at all times, and try to cast both of them at the start and end of the appropriate Eclipse (Solar for Sunfire, Lunar for Moonfire).
5 or less opponents: Run your DOTs on all opponents and use Starsurge as soon as possible.
6 or more opponents: : Drop Wild Mushrooms before the pull, if possible, then simply spam Hurricane or Astral Storm on the pack.
- Use Celestial Alignment as often as possible, immediately after leaving an Eclipse.
- Rebirth is still important – make sure to have it bound for a combat res!
- Innervate is still a decent mana regeneration cooldown. Use it as soon as you get below 80% mana. With the Glyph, also provides some benefit if cast on others.
- Don’t forget Barkskin if something’s attacking you.
- Remember to use your Symbiosis ability.
Remember to cast Mark of the Wild for the party or raid! Cast Symbiosis on a Mage if you can, and use Mirror Images on cooldown.
Also, Moonkin form. Remember to be in it. Seriously, I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen someone forget!
Balance Druid Talent Choices
Many Balance druid talent choices aren’t too relevant in [patchnumber] – although you’ll probably want to try out several choices for Tiers 2 and 4 in time. However, this is a good, easy-to-use talent build for now:
- Tier 1: Feline Swiftness
- Tier 2: Ysera’s Gift
- Tier 3: Faerie Swarm
- Tier 4: Incarnation – gives an additional damage cooldown. Use with Nature’s Vigil, on cooldown.
- Tier 5: Mighty Bash.
- Tier 6: Heart of the Wild.
Stats, reforging and gemming for Balance Druid
Intellect is still our most important stat, followed by Hit or Spirit to the cap (15% or 5100 rating), followed by Haste to the 5,273 breakpoint, then Critical Strike, followed by Haste and Mastery.
Reforging: Reforge for Spirit to hit cap, then for Haste until you reach 5,273 Haste, then Crit Strike. Reforge out of Hit above the cap first, then Spirit, then Haste and Mastery.
Gems: Use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby in Red sockets. in Blue sockets, use Purified gems (Int/Spirit) and use Potent gems (Int/Crit) in Yellow sockets.
Meta Gem: Burning meta gem.
No Boomkin glyphs have particularly massive effects.
Major: Glyph of Stampede, Glyph of Rebirth, Glyph of Innervate
Minor: Whatever. None of them have any DPS effect.
Balance Druid enchants and item enhancements
You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.
- Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
- Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
- Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
- Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
- Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
- Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
- Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
- Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
- Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
- Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect
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Lord Rhyolith is a fiery giant, and one of the bosses of the Firelands raid. Sadly, when fighting Lord Rhyolith, ranged DPS don’t get the fun job of steering the boss around the room – instead you’ll be responsible for damaging the various adds that will spawn during the fight.
During the main phase of the fight, Rhyolith won’t be doing any direct damage to the raid. Instead, he’ll wander around the room under the subtle guidance of the melee DPS – read our guide to fighting Lord Rhyolith as melee DPS and our main article on Lord Rhyolith tactics to see how it works.
Lord Rhyolith actually has three unit frames – one for his body, and one for each of his feet. Although your main job is to DPS the adds rather than the boss, you may occasionally find yourself with some downtime, at which point you should feel free to hit Rhyolith. If your aim is just to damage him, always target his body, rather than his feet.
Your raid leader may occasionally require you to join the melee DPS in applying damage to one of Rhyolith’s feet – this is what steers him in a particular direction. You should only ever do damage to one of Rhyolith’s feet if specifically requested to do so. Make sure you’ve targetted the correct foot!
Rhyolith will summon adds approximately every 25 seconds. These adds will be either Fragments of Rhyolith (in which case 5 mobs will spawn at once), or Sparks of Rhyolith (in which case only one mob will spawn).
Sparks of Rhyolith throw out constant AoE damage, so your tank will move them away from the raid. You should DPS them down as soon as they appear. Sparks gain a stacking buff which increases the damage they do, but also increases the damage they receive – so the longer they’ve been active, the faster they’ll drop.
Fragments of Rhyolith do comparitively little damage, and should be taken down with AoE damage. The important job here is to make sure they die within 30 seconds of spawning. Any Fragment left alive after 30 seconds will rush at a random raid member and explode, doing some nasty damage. Fragments are priority targets over Sparks: they need to die, and die fast.
There’s fire on the ground. You know what to do.
Rhyolith will cast Concussive Stomp every 30 seconds. As well as dealing out some raid-wide damage, this ability will create volcanoes on the ground. Volcanoes will occasionally erupt, dealing fire damage which will be spread among the raid at random. When Lord Rhyolith steps on a volcano, it becomes a crater, and those are the things you really need to watch out for.
As soon as a crater is created, it will emit Lava streams. The streams will start at the crater and move outwards in all directions. Don’t get in the way – if you stand in a Lava stream it will do what fire does best and burn your feet off.
After 10 seconds, the streams will explode, doing damage to anybody stood in them. So, once again: do not stand in the fire. The streams don’t move very quickly, so as long as you’re paying attention you should be able to avoid them.
When a crater has finished spewing lava, it will become a lava pool – a pool of fire on the floor which you should, that’s right, not stand in.
Phase 2 begins when Rhyolith reaches 25% health. He’ll discard his armor, assume his true form (spoiler: his true form is fire), and attack the raid. Your job here is simply to DPS him as fast as you possibly can. He won’t summon any more adds, but there will probably still be fire on the ground, so watch your step. Rhyolith will be throwing out increasing amounts of damage, so the sooner he dies the more likely you are to be alive to witness it.
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Where’s the best place to be when fighting a spider? That’s right: as far away as possible. Which is why, when fighting the spider boss Beth’tilac, ranged DPS have the least arachnophobia-inducing job. Here’s our guide to defeating Beth’tilac as ranged DPS:
For this fight, as we detailed in our main Beth’tilac tactics guide, your raid will be split into two groups: one to stay on the ground level and one to climb up to Beth’tilac’s web level. As a ranged DPS, you’ll probably be assigned to the Ground Level Group (if you’re not, use the tactics for the Web Level Group from our guide to fighting Beth’tilac as melee DPS).
You’ll remain on the ground throughout the entirity of this fight. Your job is to handle the various adds that spawn. There are three types: Cinderweb Spinners, the smaller Cinderweb Spiderlings, and the big Cinderweb Drones.
You should spend the first phase of this fight in the southwest corner of the room. Stack up there as soon as you can. Your raid leader should have placed raid markers in each of the other three corners, and you will have been assigned a particular corner to focus on. You don’t need to worry about your assigned corner until Cinderweb Spiderlings start appearing (see below), but take a note of where it is right away.
At the start of the fight, Beth’tilac will move up to the web level, and Cinderweb Spinners will start to spawn. They’ll initially appear hanging from the bottom of Beth’tilac’s web, but they should be within range of your attacks immediately. Start DPS on the Spinners as soon as they appear.
More spinners will appear each time Beth’tilac casts Smoldering Devastation. You should repeat the same process each time they appear: DPS them down as fast as you’re able.
Watch out for the webs that Spinners occasionally throw out. Once a player becomes encased in a web, she’ll be unable to perform any action until she’s freed. Switch to targeting webbed players as soon as they get caught, especially if it’s a healer or a tank.
The Ground Floor Group tank will grab the Drones when they appear. You’ll need to DPS them down quite quickly – they have an energy bar just like Beth’tilac, and if it runs out before they die, they’ll head up to the web level to steal energy from Beth’tilac instead, which is not a good thing.
Make sure not to stand in front of the Cinderweb Drones. One of their attacks is a cone attack which will really give you a headache if you’re caught in it.
This is your time to shine. Your most important job in this fight is to deal with these little critters. The Spiderlings will spawn from each corner of the room except for the southwest corner (where you should be stood). Remember your assigned corner, and go spank those spiders. You should use a combination of AoE damage and slowing abilities to slow the Spiderlings down and damage them in place. If any Spiderlings reach a Cinderweb Drone, the Drone will be healed.
When Beth’tilac decends from the web level to the ground, Phase 2 begins. The aim here, as with most burn phases, is to kill her before her damage becomes too much for the tanks and healers to deal with. If you’ve saved your burst DPS cooldowns and trinkets for this phase, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem taking her down before she manages to brew up an entire potful of Tank Soup.
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The first boss you’re likely to encounter in the Firelands raid is Shannox. Ranged DPS have an easier job in this fight than healers or tanks, but it can still be a little tricky to figure out the mechanics of this fight.
First of all, take a look over our guide to Shannox tactics to give you a good idea of Shannox tactics. You’ll see that your primary job is to avoid traps, and your secondary job is to focus DPS on your assigned target.
You’ll most likely have two tanks for this fight – one on Shannox himself, and one on Riplimb. Rageface (Shannox’s other dog) can’t be tanked and is going to be a constant pain in the neck for you throughout this fight – perhaps even literally.
Once the tanks have positioned Shannox and Riplimb, spread out. The healers will be doing the same, so coordinate your position relative to the rest of the raid.
Your raid leader will assign a DPS target for you. This is most likely to be Riplimb, but you may be asked to DPS Shannox instead. Either way, this target will be your sole target for most of the fight – there’s very little target switching required.
Don’t stand in the … well, you get the idea
Your primary task during this fight is to avoid the traps that Shannox regularly drops. This takes priority over everything, even DPS. The traps in this fight look like standard Hunter traps, and are easy to spot.
There are two types of trap. The first is an Immolation Trap, which will burn your lovely shoes right off if you stand in it. It’s not an instant kill, but it throws out some nasty damage, and you’ll have a ‘fire hurts more’ debuff at various points during the fight, so be nice to your healers and don’t stand on the fire traps.
The second type of trap is called a Crystal Prison Trap, and is basically an ice-block. Stand on this nasty little device and it’ll encase you in crystal. You won’t be able to do anything at all until the crystal is shattered. That means that the rest of the raid will have to stop what they’re doing and DPS your prison to free you. The crystals have lots of health, so this is a distraction you don’t need.
There’s another fight mechanic which effectively counts as a third type of trap. When Shannox throws his spear he’ll do colossal damage to anybody standing in the way. If you’re standing in the circle of fire once the spear comes down you’re virtually guaranteed to die. It’s easy to avoid – just look out for the big pillar of fire and make sure you step away from it as soon as it appears.
The secondary effect of Shannox’s spear throw is lots of little fires that appear on the ground after the spear throw triggers. There’ll be a lot of them, which can be quite panic-inducing the first time you see it, but – like the spear throw itself – they’re easy to avoid. They appear in a spiral pattern, moving outwards from the spear’s point of impact. Just make sure you’re not standing directly on one of them. They don’t have any AoE effect, so there’s no need to run right out of the spiral. Just move away from the individual fires.
The ‘hitting things’ part
Once you’re confident in your trap-avoidance skills, the actual DPS mechanics of this fight are pretty easy. Keep up sustained DPS on your assigned target, and watch the health meters of all three opponents. You’re aiming to kill both dogs when Shannox is on about 35% health.
Once the dogs are dead, Shannox will enrage and start doing very unpleasant things to your poor tanks. This is a classic burn phase, so DPS like a loon. Your big DPS cooldowns should all be saved for this phase. With a bit of luck, you should be able to take Shannox down before he turns the tanks into liquid smears of shame.
If your single-target DPS is particularly hard-hitting, your raid leader may assign you to hit Rageface instead of Riplimb. Rageface can’t be tanked, and will regularly pick a random raid member to be mean to. Once Rageface has picked his target the only way to distract him is giving him a firm, hard smack on the nose. In this case, the smack needs to take the form of a 30k crit. Unless and until Rageface receives 30,000 points of damage from a single blow, he’ll continue to maul the poor unfortunate soul he’s targeted. Luckily, while he’s doing so he gains a debuff which makes each shot that lands on him much more likely to be a critical.
If you’ve been assigned to Rageface-distraction duty, your job is to hit him with a high-damage strike as soon as he picks a new target. After that, you can kite him until he picks a new target, then repeat the process.
When Shannox throws his spear, Riplimb will grab it and run back to Shannox to return it. If you have any slowing abilities, this is the time to use them. Riplimb can be slowed, and doing so will really help your tanks.
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Squawk! Squerk! Squark! Or, to put it another way, “Why yes, Boomkin are indeed imba. Would you pass the birdseed?”. With amazing AOE and pretty darn good single-target DPS, Balance druids are looking good as we battle dragons, elementals and, erm, another damn airship in Patch 4.3 – so, to get your Laz0rs firing as quickly as possible, here’s a guide to talent specs, glyphs, gemming, reforging, enchants, stats and your rotation in the latest patch.
Updated 29th November 2011, for Patch 4.3
Balance Druids in Patch 4.3
Not a lot has changed for us in this patch. We’ve got a new graphic for Hurricane and Wrath – whee! But other than that, we lazor as we lazored before. There are no major play or gearing changes in 4.3.
Our T13 set bonuses don’t change our gameplay either.
Balance Rotation / Priorities
Like most DPS classes in Cataclysm, boomkin don’t have a fixed rotation any more. Instead, we have a priority system – use whichever ability is highest-priority and available.
Broadly, a Boomkin’s DPS depends on two things: keeping Damage Over Time spells up on all targets at all times, and getting from Eclipse to Eclipse as fast as possible.
Keep DoTs up, use Starsurge whenever possible, and otherwise either use the appropriate talent for your Eclipse or the direction your Eclipse meter is going.
- Top Priority: Cast Insect Swarm and Moonfire on the target if they aren’t up already.
- Second Priority: Cast Starsurge if it’s off cooldown for any reason.
- Thiry Priority: If you have the Solar Eclipse buff active, cast Wrath. If you have Lunar Eclipse, cast Starfire.
- Fourth Priority: If your eclipse gauge is heading for Solar, cast Starfire. If it’s heading for Lunar, cast Wrath.
Cooldowns: Use Force of Nature whilst it’s up, or save it for Bloodlust if that will be in a few seconds’ time. Use Innervate on yourself when you get below half mana if your group doesn’t require it on a healer – 4.2 nerfed it but it may still be used on healers sometimes. Use Starfall on any add phase.
AOE: Place Insect Swarm and Moonfire on any targets likely to survive most of their duration, and detonate Wild Mushrooms under the targets when the tank has finished moving them.
Balance Talent Spec
This is a good standard Balance talent spec for 4.3
You may wish to drop points in Furor (Tier 1, Feral) or Moonglow (Tier 2, Balance) for Fungal Growth (Tier 6, Balance) if you’re on an add fight. In addition, if you find you’re never running out of mana, those talents can also be dropped for a minor survivability increase through Perseverance (Tier 2, Restoration).
Stats, reforging and gemming for Balance
Intelligence is the most important stat for Balance. After that, it’s Hit or Spirit to the cap (1742), then Haste, then Mastery. Crit is the least useful stat for Boomkin.
Reforging: Reforge to Spirit to the hit cap, then reforge to Haste. Reforge from hit above the cap first, if you have any, then Mastery and Crit.
Gems: Use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby in all sockets. unless the socket has a per-socket bonus of 20 Int or better. In blue or yellow sockets where the bonus is 20 Int or better, use Purified Demonseye (Int/Spirit) or Reckless Ember Topaz (Int/Haste).
Balance Druid Enchants
Remember, your professions may offer better enchants than these general-purpose options!
Arcanum of Hyjal
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Enchant Gloves – Haste
Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (the run speed is very useful)
Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect
- Prime: Insect Swarm, Moonfire, Wrath. Swap Wrath for Starsurge on high movement fights.
- Major: Starfall, Rebirth and one other of your choice.
- Minor: Entirely your choice.
- Official Forums Moonkin Guide – Yes, I’m recommending you go to the official forums. Breathe. This is a really, really good guide, with particular attention to massaging your rotation for maximum DPS.
- MMO Champion Balance guide – Lengthy guide including an excellent pictoral explanation of Eclipse. Not up to 4.2 yet, but still worth a look.
- Elitist Jerks Balance Druid Guide – as usual, an excellent resource, with more details on Eclipse amongst other things. Updated for 4.3.
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