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[Balance] New 6.0 Rotation Discussion

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#21 Qaajn


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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:17 PM

I was about to make some post on how balance used to be and have evolved... Will probably do it in a while, with what I miss and things I'd like to see back to get us back to our roots, while having depth of gameplay. But until then, play around with this: http://www.wowprovid...lent=1234211_11

Yes, that is a talent calculator for all patches until Wrath!

Edited by Qaajn, 07 June 2014 - 12:19 PM.

#22 Hamlet


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Posted 07 June 2014 - 07:45 PM

Do you think it could make sense to StF twice during CA? 

Alternatively: from what Mastery does it make sense to do that?

(probably this is a question best asked once the numbers are set)


I meant StF twice. Very likely advantageous at any level of mastery, since the second StF will surely beat the DPET of a CA Starfire.

#23 Qaajn


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Posted 07 June 2014 - 10:14 PM

The evolution of the Balance rotation
For patchnotes, see: http://www.wowwiki.com/Patches
Classic-mid Wrath talent calculator: http://www.wowprovid...lent=1234211_11
Late cata calculator: http://freecode.hu/w...,-1,-1,-1,-1,-1

It should be worth noting that the first occurance of Eclipse happened during Wrath. Before that there was no mechanic like it for balance druids.


At the start of Classic, there were no moonkins. The vast majority of all druids both leveled and played as resto. Though I wasn't personally leveling quick, I was one of the odd ones mainly going down balance.
Balance had nothing special to the rotation back then, no procs and no cooldowns. All it had was moonfire, wrath, and starfire. You would apply the dot, and cast the nuke that did the most dps. Starfire had a 3.5 sec cast, where Wrath could be talented from 2.0 down to 1.5 sec. It did have Hurricance as a 1 min CD, but needless to say, the gameplay would by todays standards perhaps not be called exactely engaging...

With the arrival of patch 1.8, a few things changed. We got the now iconic moonkin form, and hurricane was made baseline. Moonkin itself was a powerful form, giving us the same armor as a dire bear, and a 5% crit aura, though it locked us out from using any non-balance spells. We also got access to Insect Swarm by talenting down resto, and got to reduce the casttime of Starfire from 3.5 sec down to 3.0 sec. Another change was that Natures Grace now started to reduce the casttime of the next spell after a crit by 0.5 sec, rather then only working on heals. I'm not sure if my memory fails me, or if it was lagg, but I seem to recall being able to cast 1 sec wraths back to back, making full benefit of the 1 sec casttime wrath. Assuming this was correct, this would obviously make NG benefit Wrath more then SF. I also think that before NG, the DPS of SF was higher then Wrath, which could give a sence of a rotation, Wrath on NG procs, otherwise SF. Since you have no way to predict a crit, however (at this time...), this was nothing you could play on. I mention the crit prediction specifically because at some point they made wrath criticals trigger NG on spell completion rather then hit. The reason being that you otherwise would not be able to use the NG proc on the spell following the crit. A sideeffect of this change was that when you got the NG buff, you knew the wrath flying through the air would crit. Not that you had any way to take advantage of this effect while chaincasting though.

As far as I can recall, no further changes were made to Balance during Classic, which brings us into Burning Crusade.

The Burning Crusade

The start of Burning Crusade altered the talent trees, and gave us a few more toys. Most notable was the addition of Force of Nature, giving us our 3 lovely tree companions. They were melee at the time, and at one point had a quite interesting bugg, where they caused neutral mobs around the (player) target to also attack the player. There was also a change to Moonkin Form, where we could melee to return mana based on our attackpower. The return was quite significant if switching to a feral weapon (which at that time for druids-only had bonus AP). Other then that, the only real change was streamlining of the talent trees and adding in more DPS talents, along with moving Insect Swarm over to balance. One thing to note is that Balance at the time had no threat reduction. Our heavy hitting starfires and preferance of crit made me consistently pull aggro in heroics if the first 2 or 3 starfires crit. You could usually tank it though, for the short time before it died. Remember we had a big bonus to armor back then.

In 2.1 you could talent into a 20% threat reduction in Resto. It was fairly deep and expensive in the talent tree, which made you unable to get all mana reduction and raid dps increasing talents, resulting in a DPS loss to pick up the reduced threat. And that was all happening to balance during Burning Crusade!

Wrath of the Lich King

Comming into Wrath, we got some quite significant changes, with the first introduction of Eclipse. The obvious reason being to have a reason to change nuke, not just pick the highest DPS one and spam it until the boss is dead. We also saw Starfall for the first time in WoW, which at first did splash damage, to later become what we know now. Another big thing was the first introduction of the improved moonkin form, which tried to share some of the flavour we got from NG to raid members. It later become just a haste aura.

The basic for what eclipse did then, was give Starfire crits a chance to make your Wrath do more damage for a certain time, and have wrath get a chance on crit to increase the critchance of starfire for some time. How exactely it worked changed a few times from Alpha until live. This will be my main focus for Wrath, as it was the main reason for any form of rotation from this point onward.

At the start of alpha it had the same chance from both wrath and starfire crits to increase the critchance of starfire (wrath proc) or damage of wrath (starfire proc) for 12 seconds. It had no stated cooldown, but to my knowledge you could only proc one of them. This would give us a rotation where we calculate which nuke does most dps, cast the other until the proc, and then cast the best one. Alternatively if the proc was too weak, cast the best one until the proc, then switch spells for the duration of the proc, then go back to the first and repeat.

The next few alpha patches they increased the duration of the buff to 30 seconds, then added a 2 minute cooldown.

With the start of the beta, they removed the moonkin form melee for mana, in favor of giving 2% of maximum mana on spellcrits.

At the end of the beta(, it was changed to a 100% chance on crit for starfire to trigger, and a 60% chance on crit for wrath. The duration was reduced to 15 seconds, but the cooldown to only 30 seconds. The effects had separate cooldowns, but could not trigger while the other was active. It was also changed to make the starfire get 30% critchance by wrath only gain 20% damage.

When Wrath went live, they changed the moonkin form mana regeneration to only work for single target spells. Additionally, the GCD for wrath was reduced by 50% while NG was active, allowing chaincasting and not bumping into GCD. In 3.1, they also made wrath gain 30% damage increase from the eclipse, along with Nature's grace being redesigned to grant 20% haste for 3 seconds rather then -0.5 sec from the next spell cast.


I will not go into much detail on when or what exact changes happened, because most are probably quite familiar with what happened in Cata, but I will give a brief overview of them.

Eclipse changed from a talent to the implementation we are familiar today. Insect Swarm was removed, but Sunfire could be talented. We also got Shooting Stars and Euphoria from talents. The first with a static procchance, the second with a chance to trigger when outside of an eclipse. We got our mushrooms and our starfall, and for movement DPS we had Lunar Shower, though at that time Lunar Shower stacked when you moved, rather then by casting multiple times. Nature's grace weren't triggered when reaching the next eclipse, bur rather when casting moon- or sunfire, though reaching the next eclipse reset the cooldown. Moonkin form was also changed to give a haste aura rather then crit, as it previously had.


Where did I want to come with all this? I realise that perhaps not all who play Balance now have done so for a long time, or even been in the game since the start. Druids have a rich herritage with lot of flavourful things that have previously been a core thing to our class that have since been forgotten. We have many tools which we could get inspiration from to make Warlords the best incarnation of balance there have been.

Some things that I like about the Warlords balance changes is the return of bonus armor in moonkin form, along with a perk further increasing it. Though it is not as strong as it used to be, it is a step in the right directions. Moonkins are supposed to be bulky and be able to take a beating. Another thing I am very happy to see altered is Starfall, to become closer to what it was in Warcraft 3 and the effect we briefly had in wrath, where it was used for AoE. It is a cool spell that fits the nich and style of Balance very well.

Other things I miss or would like to see changed is to make Stellar Flare into Insect Swarm instead. It's a spell we had for a long time that for a time was as central to the rotation as moonfire. In my opinion it should also be made instant and the initial damage shifted into the dot instead. Having yet another dot with initial damage, even when it have a casttime, bring it in my opinion too close to moonfire/sunfire area. It would also give us something to do while moving, letting us have a movement option in the talents. Along with that, I would like to see more crit interaction, particularly to casting speed, return. Critting to get Nature's Grace was a strong part of being a moonkin for the first 2 expansions, and something I would like to see again. I feel there is a chance for this too, and make the spec feel more dynamic to play by making Starsurge instead of granting bonus damage, give haste for the affected spells. It should probably be fairly substantial, in the order of 33% haste (a slight buff from now). This would be the limit before it would also need to reduce the GCD for Wrath. Not only would this change the feel of the spec, but also make it easier to fit spells on eclipse peaks. Along with this, and to further make the spec more dynamic, I would like to see Starfire and Wrath crits grant (or have a chance to grant) Starsurge charges.

If I missed something or my memory and research was flawed, please point it out!

Edited by Qaajn, 07 June 2014 - 10:17 PM.

#24 Athosian


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Posted 09 June 2014 - 08:40 AM

What about using CA as a multidot filler?

Surely it would be a great way to pause the bar gain a substantial damage buff to dot everything in sight, then pop either a full rotation before the end of CA or pop a charge with starfall for even more aoe?

I can also see it being a great way to burst by circumventing a heavy movement situation as well. Thoughts? 

#25 Caaowl


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 06:17 AM

A thought I had this morning: what about the partial rotational use of AC? Refresh sunfire at peak, and after a few wraths skip the solar-lunar hump (just a few secs, to let fully powered SF last until end of lunar?

Am on the other side of the planet, can't Sim it, but you would lose 1-2 weak wraths in exchange for a stronger dot and faster rotation (10/35 seconds on the peak instead of 10/40). With the 40s long cycle time and 30s star charges that does not seem to be an issue.

(Not sure how the new 105 peak impacts this, or even if it makes sense).

#26 Hamlet


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Posted 12 June 2014 - 03:42 PM

I still should get around to posting detailed math on that. Because it's so complicated, I didn't model the DoTs for now--just made a continuous estimate based on the integral of the Eclipse bonus over time (I also may have done it before the change from 30 to 40). That said, it was reasonably clear that rotational use wasn't a benefit. It's worth looking into more since we want to be pretty certain that rotational use isn't a benefit (that would be a huge pain, and they wouldn't intend it to be that way). DoTs don't help the situtation, since it makes your 20s DoT line up less well with a cycle time other than 40s.

Edited by Hamlet, 12 June 2014 - 03:42 PM.

#27 Hamlet


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Posted 12 June 2014 - 04:02 PM

Oh, I'd missed a blue post that the Eclipse curve is going from 110*sin(t) to 105*sin(t). Still capped at 100 in either case, so they're just making the peak slightly narrower. I'll put it in the sheet soon, but it won't change much. I'm waiting to see what the conversion on Versatility is so I can replace Readiness with that.


He also posted that DoT DD damage is too high on alpha. Consistent with what I said above (it's technically more DPET than nukes). So we should it come down--shouldn't affect analysis too much, but might be in a better place to evaluate DoT clipping scenarios.

#28 Erdluf


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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:41 PM

Well, one second of AC gets your cycle down to 36s.  That means you can have 100% Sunfire uptime, with 10s at 50% Mastery, and 26s at 100% mastery.


Alternatively, if you are full of Starsurge charges, but at a bad point for Starsurge+Empowerment, 1-3s of AC could get you to a much better place.


I doubt that either of those is a win very often, but a Starsurge with 2s left in Solar is worth a lot less than a Starsurge at effectively 6s into Lunar (2s of AC will move you that far).

#29 Hamlet


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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:49 PM

I think he said in some forum post that they're thinking about making Empowerment last 30s. This was in response to this concern we're discussing about being forced to SS at a bad time.  The result isn't great, but it's a lot better--if you have to SS right before switching sides, you can save the buff and use it next time you cross back over the midpoint.  It will still buff 2-3 non-peak casts, but they won't be sub-50% casts.  I'm guessing that's better than doing 0 DPS for any length of time. The benefit of using Empowerment optimally is still pretty minor (the difference between using it at peak and at midpoint is 30% of 50% of your mastery bonus on the affected casts).


A related issue is the change of Shooting Stars from 2.5% proc rate to 5% (and disabling it on multi-dots).  That's a huge increase to the number of Starsurges you get on a single target.  If it remains this way, SS will be less about saving for peaks and more about generally using them often to stay under cap.

#30 Caaowl


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Posted 14 June 2014 - 09:16 AM

A related issue is the change of Shooting Stars from 2.5% proc rate to 5% (and disabling it on multi-dots).  That's a huge increase to the number of Starsurges you get on a single target.  If it remains this way, SS will be less about saving for peaks and more about generally using them often to stay under cap.

It is hardly a buff in any scenario. If I read it correctly, previously we had 2 dots up with 2.5% chance each proccing Shooting Stars, now we have 1 dot with a 5% chance of proccing Shooting Stars (and another dot just happily ticking away). It does make the procs more reliable, but on average we won't be seeing too many more of them.


I am also concerned at the nerf of the Direct Damage on the dots. Yeah, it was too high before, but now we have EVEN less movement DPS. This was the reason for the original astral showers to have a ramp-up time; I'd love to see that implementation back. And the two separate dots too please (if no other way then as a glyph; I really hate not being able to apply half of my dot pressure without AC). Another thing they could to to make movement less devastating for us is to make Empowerments stack.

#31 shrommer


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Posted 14 June 2014 - 04:38 PM

Both, MF and SuF have a 5% (10%) chance to trigger SS.



Edited by shrommer, 14 June 2014 - 04:39 PM.

#32 Rohgraht


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Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:58 PM

I dunno where to share this with you, but to manage our dps ive found Enhanced Eclipse Bar to be FANTASTIC.

(short vid of how it works:)


Only thing i wonder is: Does the tick portion of our dots not snapshot eclipse at all? So the only real reason to cast it at peak is to buff the direct damage?

#33 Hamlet


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Posted 18 October 2014 - 07:30 PM

That's correct, it no longer snapshots.

#34 zined


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Posted Yesterday, 08:39 AM

I'm wondering how the damage buff provided by eclipse scales before the peak. Is there some known curve? Apologies if this is already answered, I didn't find it. I sat on a druid for years and just specced into balance the first time yesterday. Already in love! :-)

Coming from the curve question, I was wondering if I should keep up Sunfire at all costs, or if it could be worth to rather spam another wrath while on low eclipse and re-apply when nearing towards 100. (If i.e. the eclipse dmg buff scales linear, I could think of a wrath hitting harder than the dot ticks while on low eclipse)

Also, I recognized that for starsurge the time you start the cast is what makes the difference. If you're on 10 decreasing lunar and you start casting ss, which finishes casting in the sun phase, you'll get the starfire buff instead of the wrath buff. Then again, does the same apply to wrath and sf? Meaning if i precast a starfall while in sun phase, is it's dmg being calculated when i start the cast, or when it starts flying, or when it hits? Starsurge being calculated (at least "which buff to put up"-wise) at the beginning of a cast makes it impossible to precast an SS-buffed SF unless you keep the stacks from the last phase (which is not a problem either, as it's duration is long enough).

Thanks in advance. Feel free to bash me if something was already answered! :-)
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#35 Hamlet


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Posted Yesterday, 06:15 PM

The Eclipse damage bonus varies linearly with Eclipse energy (which is what the bar shows).  When you have 50 Lunar energy, you have 75% of your maximum Eclipse bonus applies to Arcane spells (so, 50% bonus at midpoint, which is 0 energy, 100% bonus at peak, which is 100 energy, linearly in between).


The way the Eclipse energy varies with time is more complex--it's a sine curve, with a period of 40 seconds and an amplitude of 105 energy.  Actual energy is capped at 100, resulting in the brief flat part at the top that we call the "peak."


As far as spell timing, take a look at the guide here and see if you have more questions:


(I need to make a new Balance thread like I did for Resto).


I've noticed the SS thing too.  I think damage from Eclipse is still determined at cast end, but now I want to check (later).

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