View Full Forums : Balance/Feral

01-11-2006, 08:55 AM
I'm reading everywhere "Balance sucks, balance sucks". I'm wondering though if this is really true, can it be made to work, etc. It must be added that I'm a WoW n00b. This is my first char and he's lvl41 now.

A questing friend told me that he has a full balance druid that he owna people with hardcore on another PvP realm. Now he can be playing against bad players. Who knows... Maybe he's just really good... These type of comments like, "They must be bad" is rather silly though.

Back to the point. I want to basically try what I've seen some call Shapeshifter Druid. (about)33/18. To get to Moonkin form and Predatory Strikes for the increased damage. The idea is to cast as much as you can and then go into a feral form to beat some people down. Keeping some mana for a heal if needed. At the moment I always have enough mana. And I do pretty well in PvP.

*Maybe* something like this at lvl 60:
Nature's Grasp rank 1/1
Improved Nature's Grasp rank 4/4
Improved Entangling Roots rank 3/3
Improved Moonfire rank 5/5
Natural Shapeshifter rank 3/3
Nature's Reach rank 2/2
Vengeance rank 5/5
Nature's Grace rank 1/1
Moonglow rank 3/3
Moonfury rank 5/5
Moonkin Form rank 1/1

Feral Aggression rank 5/5
Brutal Impact rank 2/2
Thick Hide rank 3/5
Feline Swiftness rank 2/2
Feral Charge rank 1/1
Sharpened Claws rank 2/3
Predatory Strikes rank 3/3

Thus far I've been able to heal better than any priest I've played with and this was without any resto points.

I've seen people talking on the Blizzard forums that claim the druid can do very decent dmg with the balance spells compared to mages(they had some math to back this up). At some stage when I have some time I will make these calculations myself.

Anyone tried it? Any comments will be appreciated.


01-11-2006, 09:40 AM
Its an iteresting idea. the challenge may be getting the right mix of gear to be effective, which I guess is always the challenge for druids :P

I tried Moonkin when it first came out, like most other druids, and I just didnt like it. I like the idea of it but it just ate up to much mana for me.

01-11-2006, 11:23 AM
Its an iteresting idea. the challenge may be getting the right mix of gear to be effective, which I guess is always the challenge for druids :P

The gear yes... That is really hard. You obviously need str/int/sta. And that is not easy at all. I have a sort of list of things I want. And for lvl60 I'm looking that the Epic set BG set that has a very nice distribution of stats. Then maybe get enchants on the items. As must int as you can get I think?

Or go or a int/sta and put str enchantments on it. I'm not sure if this is possible...

01-11-2006, 07:28 PM
Glad to see some real discussion of Balance Tree!

I fear many good balance druids don't post to avoid the flames.

I too am in my low 40s and looking at going havy balance. I think the biggest reason it didn't catch on is it requires a different mindset and is a challenge. I am excited about trying to find a way to make it work well when so many have not.

The key I believe will be playstyle. You can't hang back with the mages and drop big nukes. If you try to play as a mage, might as well roll a mage. The reason mages hang back is because they are squishy. Moonkin is the first really heavy armor caster. Plus damage in Moonkin is based on your weapon and skill, which helps correct the lack of scalability with items end-game. Also, weapon procs and enchants work in Moonkin as opposed to feral forms.

So, what is the best use of a heavy armor caster with scalable weapon damage and procs? I think it could be the closest this game comes to a true fighter/mage.

I think the answer to some of the gear issues might include swapping in some cloth, not a majority but a few pieces for stats.

01-12-2006, 09:16 AM
It seems I see Balance a bit different than most others. I think feral and resto are things that you can and SHOULD do and spec one of them. That is what makes you strong. We all know that, many seems not to apply it.

That is why I slap druids that ask me, "Are you going to heal" :p It is so stupid, you are ignoring what makes you the most awesome class in WoW!

I think there are some really cool things you can do with your dmg spells. And I believe Hurricane(best looking spell in the game), Moonkin and bardskin should be made more useful, just a bit stronger. Less mana or something and a boost for Moonkin's effect.

That aside how do you play this do you think? I think nuking some and then using your feral. Keeping some mana for a heal and a shift or two. Main idea for me is that you should play a "Shifter" druid not n "Balance" druid. If you can master this I believe you will be king of the hill. Your spells seems to put out a decent amount of dmg. But combine this with feral and I think you have something.

You can entangle and SF, MF, entangle, SF, Feral. (something like this) Or for two entangle on Bear/Cat the other. Finish that one off as you would just one.

Can anyone clarify to me str enchants? Are there any if so how much? Can you put them on any item epic as well? Str/Sta/Int(main) will do the trick I think.

And seeing you have loads of mana I can't see why you wouldn't be a really good healer in dungeons if you need to. Even as a Shifter druid you will heal you comrades. You want to win don't you? :)

01-12-2006, 10:31 AM
I never tried a Balance druid before, but I'm curious about the statement for Moonkin form... "The Moonkin can only cast Balance spells while shapeshifted."

What's considered a Balance spell? Are we talking about Arcane spells vs Nature spells? If that is the case, you can't cast Entangling Root, because that is a Nature spell. Hmm, actually, you can't cast much at all, except Starfire and Moonfire I think, right?

It's nice to have 360% more armor, but being melee'd while casting will really cut into the casting time, assuming you're spell isn't interrupted by melee classes outright (probably will). So in Moonkin form, what do you cast? The only spell I can think of is Moonfire (spamming), because Starfire takes 3 seconds (with improved starfire?) to cast. Might as well make it 6 seconds if you're fighting a rogue, or 4 if you're fighting a warrior in melee range.

You can probably root the enemy in caster form, then run away to nuke in Moonkin form... but it takes 35% of your base mana to shift into Moonkin form. Might as well just nuke in caster form since you really don't need the 360% armor bonus fighting like that. While I'm at it, why not just go bear form in melee range. At least in bear form, you can regen with enough rage, or stun the guy for 4 (5 with skill) seconds to heal yourself up again.

Hmm, I guess I ended up questioning the use of being a Moonkin, instead of just asking about the Moonkin description. Please don't take my post as a flame. It's more about questioning the pros/cons of the Moonkin form itself.

01-12-2006, 11:52 AM
I'm pretty sure that balance spells mean spells on our balance page in our spellbook. These include most of our offensive spells, Meaning Wrath, SF, MF, Root, I think FF is a balance spell too, thorns too, but I'm not sure. I am behind a firewall at work so I can't list them, but the three schools of spells are balance, feral, and restoration, similar to the talent specilization pages.


I just killed the grammar of that post, but I don't feel like fixing it.

01-12-2006, 12:46 PM
You can cast any spells from the balance section of the spell book in Moonkin, butnone from the restoration, so roots nature's grasp, wrath are all ok, but no healing or insect swarm.

Casting in melee is a serious issue to consider. There are a few useful instacast balance spells - FF, MF, NG. Also talents can put a good dent in some of the casting times, especially the one that reduces casting time in half following a crit (would permit near insta-cast improved wrath to follow a MF crit % of which is boosted by other balance talents).

Another mindset to question though is how mages and priests want to minimize their threat so they don't get attacked (because they are squishy). Moonkin would welcome additional threat from big spells as he could absorb the damage with his big armor and draw attacks away less durable casters. Spells that draw a lot of hate like Tranquility and Hurricane, become more useful (almost a taunt). [I realize tranquility would need to be cast in caster form but could switch moonkin once the mob starts attacking]

Also the natural shapeshifter is a really good talent that will save lots of mana. I currently need about 600 mana to shift once I respec and lower that 30% I will be saving 180 mana every shift, that is significant.

01-12-2006, 01:12 PM
Thanks for the clarification. :] Hmm, Balance doesn't sound too bad, after reading that.

01-12-2006, 01:28 PM
I fear many good balance druids don't post to avoid the flames.

I too am in my low 40s and looking at going havy balance. I think the biggest reason it didn't catch on is it requires a different mindset and is a challenge.

I think that Moonkin caught on bigtime right after 1.8, though people realized that though it was fun, cool looking and had great utility as far as a melee caster who crits ridiculous on spells there were a few key problems with moonkin:

1. OoMKin. Because of the increased crit rate and damage of balance spells (which yes, as nyte said include root, mf, sf, ff, wrath, hurricane, but no heals) it is all too tempting to spam these and go out of mana. As far as taking a break in between casting to go do some melee damage with scalable weapons, few people bothered to start with a caster weapon (high int / spi) then swap to a melee weapon (with str / good proc) to go beat the mob down while dot's are ticking. Overall, moonkin's tended to have to spend a lot more time drinking, especially when soloing, and this didn't fit a lot of people's playstyle.

2. In PvP, both BG and Open World, Moonkin quickly became the target du jour. Whenever anyone saw a moonkin in the bg's that I've been in, they went straight for it. I don’t know exactly why this is, as Moonkins aren’t as big a threat in PvP as say, priests, feral druids, resto druids, warriors, hunters, mages, warlocks or rogues. Maybe its just cause of they way they look.

As far as a shifter druid rand, I agree. Druids should shift a lot. I usually start in cat, then go to caster, then to bear to finish. The natural shapeshifter talent, as far as I can tell is very popular still with the 14/31/5 build. That gives natural shapeshifter, ooc, natural weapons, heart of the wild, leader of the pack and furor.

Moonkin is still a very viable way to go, if you have a mage buddy to load up on water, or dont mind buying water all the time and sitting down to drink after every three mobs. With feral (im 0/35/11 atm) I have absolutley 0 downtime as mana regens while in cat/bear, so I can solo 3 mobs, pop out to heal, then back to bear, take on 3 more, and by the time i pop out to heal again, I am at ful mana. Resto soloing isn't as fast as feral, but b/c of innervate, they rarely have to stop to drink if ever, and can still make use of feral.

Great point about mages / priests not wanting the increased crit chance toward higher lvls. The only time that a priest, mage or lock will draw aggro from the MT or OffTank is if they crit a couple times huge. This is the same as for hunters. And a mage / priest drawing aggro during an instance = dead mage / priest.

Ok, now to get back to work.

01-12-2006, 01:36 PM
I never really considered Moonkin before, mainly because my main is a mage and sitting back casting has no appeal to me, because i've already done that for a long time. I never thought about it being like a battle mage, which is awesome imo. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun. I'm just not sure if I can get over the look of moonkin. They're hideous, plus I would think you'd just stand out way too much in group pvp, so you'd just be that much more of a target. I'm not dogging on the people who do use it, though. I may try it once I get a bit higher level.

01-12-2006, 01:46 PM
This is what is cool about druids - you feel like playing 'like' a battle mage you respec and do it till you get tired of it.

Then you can do something else instead of rerolling.

01-12-2006, 02:20 PM
As far as taking a break in between casting to go do some melee damage with scalable weapons, few people bothered to start with a caster weapon (high int / spi) then swap to a melee weapon (with str / good proc) to go beat the mob down while dot's are ticking.

Thats a good point, at my level I haven't really started specializing in gear too much yet for different roles. At 42 I use a The Shatterer a guildie made for me (has a disarm proc), and the caster off-hand orb from the SM quest. I am considering what enchant to put on the mace as I intend to keep for a while, probably +9 int at this level would be appropriate, although I have considered springing for fiery (Between the disarm proc inherent, a fiery enchant, and my homemade shadow oils, thats a lot of procs, I also wear Green Whelp Armor with the sleep proc).

01-12-2006, 05:28 PM
At 42 you should definitley start building 2 sets of armor. Caster / healer should be +int +spi, maybe some (cloth) +arcane damage, and also some gear with +ac and +sta for survivability (swap it out if you know that you can't avoid pulling multiple mobs. Green Whelp armor with a heavy armor kit is great for this purpose. Just remember not to dot everyone). Being a melee caster, you need to be able to take a beating, if for no other purpose than to hurt people while you regen mana in combat. Mana regen starts after 5 sec of non-casting, so if you can beat down melee for 20 sec, you will have regened a decent amount of mana, depending on spirit. A lot of moonkins that I see will just cast the mob to death, burning through mana till the mob is dead.

And for sure have 2 weapons. You can change weapons in mid fight. If I am in caster mode and I draw aggro, before I drop into Bear to deal with the beating that is coming my way, I switch to my 2h mace with +20 str +15 sta and +5 fr. This doesn't help anywhere near as much as switching into my full feral outfit, but it is noticibly better than the +10int +10spi +21healing spell staff I have.

For Melee, get yourself a good 2h mace (higher dps, higher stats), and for Caster get a good staff. At your level I had the Illusionary rod for healing, and a 2h mace (something of the bear) with +str and +sta. There is a great 2h mace that you can get from SM Cath - Morgraines might. It has +str and +spi, which increases your dps (str), especially when enchanted with a +5 or +7 damage, and increases your health and mana regen because of the spirit (which would be the point of going melee in moonkin form imo).

At your level save your money for the +9 int enchant. Thats gonna be expensive, and unless you have a guildie that will hook you up, you are better to just get a +damage enchant (which should only run about 5-7g as opposed to 25-40g) I got my Blanchard's Stout at lv 45, enchanted it firey shortly after, and have had it for 10 levels. Good investment. On my priest, I got Illusionary Rod at lv 34, and had it enchanted with +9 int by a guildie for free, and this will last me at least 15 - 20 levels. And remember, as a caster, spirit is your friend.

01-13-2006, 07:26 AM
I think that Moonkin will just be used when needed, I'm not in a hurry to get it. My feral talents are more important at this point I do have 25 points in balance at the moment though. Difficult to say how it's working at this lvl of pvp. But questing it's a riot.

It must be stated that I don't believe that Moonkin should be Oomkin. You should not put yourself in the position where you run out of mana.

As for the changing of weapons in a fight. Can anyone tell me if you can write a macro to change your weapon and then go into Feral form? Not finding nice docs on the macro script.

01-13-2006, 08:34 AM
I want to stress that a good balance druid isn't one that runs around in moonkin all day.

I still run in cheetah and like to prowl in cat and of course the utility of healing in caster can't be denied. I went balance partly to have more forms to shift into, not less. Outside I might spend some more time in Moonkin and use the roots to start, but inside I will still use cat to get the jump on mobs, lay in a quick combo then switch to caster to rejuv/ regrowth, then into moonkin for FF, MF, and some melee smackdown.

Versatility and flexibility (the strengths of the druid class as a whole) have to be increased, not decreased to be a good balance druid. Oomkin comes from people assuming MF crits makes us a one-hit wonder with no other tricks in our bag.

01-14-2006, 08:42 AM
Status Report:

I respecced Thursday and spent some time experimenting with Moonkin last night. I am loving it!

Really like the faster Wraths and I was critting seemed like every 4th or 5th spell. Fun pulling with SF and the stun effect goes off, so you whip out some more hurt!

I had been told by others (and possibility in this forum) that Moonkin couldn't use potions or items. I don't know if it changed with a patch or something, but I so can! Opens a whole nother world of possibilities (might finally have a use for those oil of immolation pots that won't sell in AH). I found the form very versatile.

Did try in one BG, and everyone did target me way sooner than I am used to (I guess I scared them). But I did have a lot of fun and thats whats important. The key was not to walk around in Moonkin. A horde group would run right by while I was in caster or cat form targeting the more dangerous players, but as soon as I shifted you could practically see their heads turn as they dropped what they were doing and focused on me. Trying to figure out how I can use this distraction to my team's advantage now.

01-23-2006, 03:42 AM
The problem with moonkin is the rather large cost of shifting in and out of it, for the relatively low amount of bonus. Armor bonus is great, and with barkskin you can stand up to even epicly geared warriors and rogues, but the simple fact of the matter is that you still can't stand up to an epic caster. All the armor in the world doesn't change the fact that you still have your original hitpoints, but now can't heal, or run out of fireball range easily. On a serious pvp server, moonkin just has too many disadvantages. HOWEVER, balance, aka 30/0/21 is the extremely dangerous IF you are in a guild that will let you roll/spend dkp on spell damage gear and trinkets. Shadowmeld+ToeP+ZHC+Starfire+Moonfire+1secWrath(if crit, else 1.5sec)+natswift+wrath(insta).
Assuming you have good spell damage gear (cloth and leather mix) you will unload 2k-2.5k damage in <3seconds from when you 'appear' from shadowmeld. If any of that crits, which it probably will, you're looking at waaaay more damage.

On what a previous poster suggested: I personally just don't think the str/int/stam items are available at end game level to make getting OoC and natweapons worthwhile for a balance druid in pvp, put the points in improved wrath and natures grasp instead.

01-23-2006, 09:41 AM
With the 30% reduced shifting talent, I don't notice the cost into Moonkin too much (or feral forms).

I have been trying to figure out my dps now, but haven't had the time to really sit down and do the math. I get to use the dps of my weapon, but I also have to add in the spell damage I am doing in melee along with the Dots that I am using. For instance I believe my mace does 43 dps right now (I am level 42), I have a stack of weighting stones that add 6 dmg per hit, which is little more than 2 dps, I drop a MF about every 3 seconds if I'm not in a hurry, they hit for around 200 and DoT 53 per 'tick', if I'm outside I try to keep roots on through NG or entangle, which does another 20 per 'tick'. Add to that that whenever I get a Natures Grace proc I fire off a .6 second wrath for about 150, and I'll add another MF if I get an ooc proc. Also I tend to open with SF for a pull hitting about 350.

All in all I would guess in 12 seconds I do 350 SF, 3 MFs for 800 (assumes 1 crits), 1 wrath for 150, probably 200 from roots (2sec to a tick), 530 from MF dot, and perhaps 360 from melee damage, or about 2390 dmg/12 sec, or 199.16 dps.

I am on a PvE server, but my BG performance has gone way up since I became a damage machine.

I don't spend all my time in Moonkin and still go cat to take down casters due to the spell interrupt ability of the 1 sec attack speed, and I find the OoC procs in feral forms are almost more helpful than in caster. A free special attack in Cat is like getting a crit with the talent that gives extra combo points, you get to the finisher that much quicker and do faster damage, which is key when that vulnerable. Someone that didn't go full balance but got the OoC and the crit talent would be a very fast killer in cat, particularly with the 10% boost to all their physical damage from Natural Weapons.

I know people split their talents out of feral so they can still heal and be popular, but I think the best feral build would be with OoC, natural shapeshifter, furor, improved enrage, and everything else in the feral tree (14/31/6). Would be pretty specialized, but no druid would shred faster.

01-23-2006, 06:55 PM
For comparison's sake:
Against equal-level non FR mobs my mage, only chain casting fireball, without crits/instants/any other mage goodies, without the 10% damage bonus from the fire tree...
Does about 230 dps. With all timers up I can hit over 300 dps over 12 sec without crits. My mage is level 53.

Play moonkin for the fun-factor. 6k AC semi-mages are definitely a unique challenge. Green Whelp Armor + Moonkin = a rogue's worst nightmare.

01-24-2006, 11:06 AM
Good comparison, thanks for the frame of reference. I still think I do okay being compared to a mage 10 levels higher than me (I'm 43).

Last night I was in a PuG that cleared Uldaman, first time thru we wiped on Archaedas. (I was main healing, but we weren't killing him fast enough and got over-run with spawns). The warrior noticed he wasn't hitting Archaedas for crap because of his monster armor, but we saw he was taking okay damage from the casters. Next time thru I go Moonkin and Main Tank Archaedas, whittling him down with MF, FF, and disarming him with my The Shatterer mace. With my near 5000 armor he wasn't hurting me too bad (especially when disarmed), and the warrior made easy work of the spawns. We killed him clean and smooth and no one died.

Melee-mage has his place, and it can be a lot of fun.

01-24-2006, 03:57 PM
Lol thats kinda shockign that a Warr let you MT as moony. Open minded, whats-best-for-the-group thinking warr?! :O

Wow that sounds fun.

01-24-2006, 07:18 PM
It was a blast! Just the switch from main healing through the instance then switching gears and stepping up to lay the smack down on the boss, what a rush.

I think the warrior liked having the responsibility of MT off of him, and to his credit he did a great job on the spawns.