#0 - 2009/05/04 12:46:51 AMHey guys,
Since there is no new how to balance post yet, I thought I'd take the liberty. Sources are at the bottom; some bits are copypasted, simply because they sum up the situation so well. Credit for respective quotes go to their owners.
It is assumed you know most of the game's standard abbreviations (like dot and dps) in this article.
1. Intro to the Balance Druid
2. Quick Reference Values
7. Highend raiding
8. Disclaimer / About me
=====1. INTRO TO THE BALANCE DRUID.
The balance druid, also nicknamed moonkin/boomkin/doomkin/oomkin/laserchicken, is a ranged spellcaster usually in the shape of an owl. Playstyle revolves around keeping up a few damage over time effects and two primary damage abilities, Wrath and Starfire. They can grind down large numbers of enemies with Starfall, Typhoon and Hurricane, can summon damaging treant pets, and (not unimportantly) bring Rebirth and Innervate to raids, as well as the ability to offheal in emergency situations.
The Balance tree started out reasonably weak in vanilla wow and has been buffed in every expansion, each adding more viability and complexity to the job. Today, moonkins have a wide variety of interesting abilities available to them, as well as a unique dps system. Their dps is very viable in raids, they are suited to do all kinds of roles within damage and bring a formidable arsenal of buffs to a group. And last, obviously, you look like a giant lovable chicken. ;)
This guide is set up as follows. It starts off with a quick reference sheet, which is basically a VERY short summary of the paragraphs after it. It just lists the cookie cutter spec, rotation and stat priority. The next paragraphs go more in depth into each of the different things about a moonkin: gear, talents, rotation, role in a group. After that comes a number of things you should know when going into highend moonkin raiding; this part requires a fair bit of knowledge of the class. Last is a list of resources used in this article: links to websites you might find useful, and those referred to in this article.
Keep in mind that this guide concerns PvE only. It assumes you are level 80. Also, some of the parts go into some depth about specific parts of the game, and its (mathematical) theory. They are not necessary to understand, so just skip them. ;)
===== 2. QUICK REFERENCE SHEET.
If you have exactly 15 seconds to read this post, this is the bit you need to read.
- The hit cap is 239 hit rating for alliance, and 263 hit rating for horde.
- Stat priority is spellhit -> spellpower -> spellhaste -> spellcrit -> intellect -> spirit
- Spec this: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#0xRbuiIRcdIVhouZbxcub
- Glyphs: Glyph of Moonfire, Starfire Insect Swarm , whatever Minor Glyphs you want
- 10-1100 spellpower is fine to start heroics with
- 14-1600 spellpower is fine to start in naxx10
- gear lists are in post 2 of this guide
Apply Faerie Fire, Insect Swarm, Moonfire.
Cast Wrath until Starfire Eclipse procs.
Cast Starfire until the Eclipse ends and until the cooldown of 30 seconds is over. Keep dots up.
- Get SquawkAndAwe. http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info11436-SquawkAndAwe.html
===== 3. GEAR.
1. Possible stats and their benefits
6. Leather or cloth?
7. How to gear: heroics
8. How to gear: raids
------ 3.1. POSSIBLE STATS AND THEIR BENEFITS.
There is a variety of caster stats on gear. I've listed them all, in the priority of most important top, least important bottom. I;ve also described how they affect you. Some of this has a fair bit of theory to it - if you're not sure what all of this means, at least remember the priority.
------ 1. Spell hit.
The most important stat for raiding. Each of your spells has a chance to resist, based on the level of the enemy target. Against a level 80 target, you have a 4% miss chance. Against level 82, you have a 6% miss chance and against bosses, level 83, you have a whopping 17% miss chance.
For more theory behind this, see .
Alliance moonkins need 239 hit rating from gear to be hit capped.
Horde moonkins need 263 hit rating from gear to be hit capped.
(after reaching that number, you do not need any more spell hit rating).
------ 2. Spellpower.
The bulk of your stats. Spellpower increases the damage your spells do. You generally want as much spellpower as you can get your hands on. Your gem choices should reflect this.
For theory behind the spellpower stat, see .
------ 3. Spell haste.
After spellpower, this stat is most important. Spell haste reduces the time it takes to cast your spells.
While 1% spellhaste is around as good as 1% spellcrit, spellhaste is higher because it takes less spell haste rating to get 1% spell haste than it does with spell critical strike rating. At level 80, it takes 44.5 critical strike rating to get 1% spellcrit, but it only takes 32.7 haste rating to get 1% spellhaste.
Many theorists agree that 400 spell haste rating (often just called spellhaste) is the so-called "soft haste rating cap". More on that later.
For theory behind spell haste rating, see .
------ 4. Spell crit
Critical strike rating increases the likeliness that a spell is a critical strike. For a moonkin with the talent (which you have, see below), a spell critical strike deals double damage.
Spellcrit is around as useful as spellhaste, but because of the differences in rating (see spellhaste above), this is slightly undesirable to aim for than spellhaste.
For theory behind spell critical strike rating, see .
------ 5. Intellect
As a moonkin, you benefit from Intellect in a few ways:
- you get a higher chance to critically strike
- you gain more maximum mana
- you gain more mana regeneration, sometimes through talents
- you gain 0.12 spellpower per point of intellect, through talents
Intellect, however, is too spread a stat to actively go for. The stats above increase your dps by a lot more.
------ 6. Spirit
A moonkin gains the following per point of spirit:
- increased mana regeneration
- 0.15 spell power
Since mana regeneration is not really a problem for a moonkin, spirit is the least desirable stat at the moment. At the time of writing this, Blizzard announced that they were going to change spirit to be more useful for moonkins.
------ Mana regeneration?
You'll notice that mana regeneration items are not in this list. DO NOT AIM FOR THEM. Moonkins have very little mana problems with Replenish and in fact, the point of discussion in most talent builds is how much of the mana regeneration talents you will actually need, because mana is such a small issue.
------ 3.2. GLYPHS.
There are two mandatory Major Glyphs that every moonkin should have:
- Glyph of Moonfire
- Glyph of Starfire
The third major glyph is either of the following:
- Glyph of Insect Swarm
- Glyph of Starfall
- (Glyph of Innervate)
Minor Glyphs aren't really relevant, but you could take Glyph of Typhoon. I myself have Glyph of Thorns, Glyph of Unburneded Rebirth and Glyph of Aquatic Form, none of which are significant for moonkins.
------ 3.3. ENCHANTS.
The following are the best enchants in slot, with the requirements or reagents. Only if getting this best in slot takes a considerable amount of effort, a cheaper and weaker alternative is mentioned.
Head: 30 spellpower 20 spellcrit  - Kirin Tor Revered
Shoulders: 24 spellpower 15 spell crit / 18 spellpower 10 spellcrit - Sons of Hodir Exalted  / Honored 
Cloak: 23 Haste Rating - 16 Infinite Dust, 4 Greater Cosmic Essence 
Chest: +10 all stats - 4 Dream Shard, 4 Abyss Crystal 
Wrist: +30 spellpower - 1 Dream Shard, 6 Greater Cosmic Essence, 6 Infinite Dust 
Gloves: +28 spellpower - 4 Infinite Dust, 1 Lesser Cosmic Essence 
Waist: Eternal Belt Buckle - 4 Saronite Bars, 1 Eternal Earth, 1 Eternal Water, 1 Eternal Shadow 
Legs: +50 spellpower +20 spirit - 4 Eternal Life, 4 Iceweb Spider Silk, Frozen Orb 
Feet: +12 hit, +12 spellcrit - 8 Infinite Dust, 1 Crystallised Water 
------ 3.4. GEMS
Essentially, you want gems to be 19 spellpower unless the socket bonus is really worth it (+5 spellpower or better, for instance). Blue sockets are to be filled with Purified Twilight Opals (9 spellpower 8 spirit), and yellow sockets are to be filled with Reckless Monarch Topaz (9 spellpower 8 spellhaste).
Don't gem for hit: hit is a stat that you'll likely throw around a bunch of items. There are more than enough items out there with hit; gemming for hit shouldn't be the answer.
3.5 and on continues on the next post.