Yesterday, they finally decided to release the new 31 point talent trees. Before I go into what I feel the raiding spec will be for balance druids, I feel like I need to do a eulogy for the druid’s friend, the one thing all druid specs had in common, Omen of Clarity.
Omen of Clarity, you were a good talent. We enjoyed the free actions that you allowed us to have. Whether it was a free Shred in kitty form, a free Mangle in bear, a free Starfire during a Lunar Eclipse, or a free Rejuvenation, you were the druid’s best friend. Now Blizzard has decided it is time for you to go out to pasture. And while I’m sure we will see your ghost in Tier set bonuses again, it will not be the same without you. Thank you for two expansions of love to us druids. You will be missed.
Ok, sadness about Omen of Clarity over. Here is what I feel the level 85 balance spec will look. Again, this is based on just what we know now and nothing else. Also recognize that you must spend at least 31 points in a tree before taking talents from other trees. This definitely changes how leveling will work, but will do nothing for our end game raiding spec. Just remember to put your first talent point in the balance tree or you will be paying a respeccing fee.
Tier 1 Balance Talents: Nature’s Grace, Starlight Wrath, and Genesis are all worth taking in terms of raid utility. Nature’s Grace will increase haste. Starlight Wrath will decrease cast times. Genesis will increase DoT damage. I would max out everything in the first row.
Tier 2 Balance Talents: I HATE our Tier 2 Balance talents with a passion. On one hand, we have Moonglow which reduces the mana cost of our spells. On the other hand, we have Lunar Justice, which only affects targets that give experience and honor. If I had to guess, Lunar Justice will be used for leveling and Moonglow will be for raiding. I also think you will have to max out Moonglow because the Tier 2 Restoration talents are not things we need or want as balance.
Tier 3 Balance Talents: Honestly, from this point, you are going to take and max every balance talent left. Blizzard did a really great job at taking out the unnecessary talents from the balance tree. Improved Eclipse is an easy choice. It gives us more lunar or solar power with critical strikes and gives up more if we are hit by something. Starsurge is one of our new spells that when combined with Lunar Guidance in Tier 4 will give us an interrupt and give us lunar or solar power. Balance of Power is also in this tier, which gives us 4% hit plus changes 100% of our spirit to hit. With no more improved faerie fire, this will become much more important although every piece of caster leather gear is going to have spirit on it.
Tier 4 Balance Talents: I already discusses why you are going to want to take Lunar Guidance in the Tier 3 explanation, but the biggest reason is more solar or lunar power when you need it. At first, I thought that Solar Beam was going to be more of a PvP talent due to its silence. However, after doing Ruby Sanctum, I’m almost certain we are going to be using this a lot in Cataclysm. Gale Winds will be good for trash mobs that don’t require CC and will help Typhoon as a knockback. Also, it increases our Cyclone range, which we will be using more for CC as well.
Tier 5 Balance Talents: Tier 5 starts with Euphoria, a.k.a the reason I hate our Tier 2 talents even more. Besides getting more lunar and solar energy, we get 12% of our mana when we hit an Eclipse. Considering how often we hit Eclipses now, we are not gonna run out of mana unless we are AoEing. And if Hurricane counts as a nature spell, we seriously are never gonna run out of mana. From there, it is our treants, which we would pick up anyway and Owlkin Frenzy which increases our spell damage.
Tier 6 Balance Talents: Overall, moonkins are getting alot in Cataclysm. In just the Balance tree, we get an interrupt, a silence, and now a slow with Fungal Growth. Wrath of Cenarius is interesting in that it likely means we will be casting Moonfire alot more and moving since we will get this buff refreshed when we are moviing.
Tier 7 Balance Talents: Starfall. Get it. Love it.
Feral Talents: Yeah, sorry feral talents. There is literally nothing I could want from your tree for my moonkin although I will point out two things. One, mangle is becoming a standard attack across all druids because it is not in the tree at all. Second, props to Blizzard for naming a talent “Nom Nom Nom”. Please keep it that way Blizzard.
Restoration Talents: With 5 points left out of the 41 points, I would pick up Blessing of the Grove for the Moonfire damage increase in combination with Wrath of Cenarius. I would also pick up Furor to increase our intellect which will in turn give us more spellpower. You could argue to take Perseverance instead of Moonglow to decrease damage taken by 6%, but it is still not a great talent. Plus, you still have to put at least 1 point in Tier 2 of balance to get to Tier 3.
Some time later, I will come back and look at the feral tank and the mage. Mage is going to be tough though because we don’t know which will be the highest DPS yet.
Also, remember our Christmas in July contest. We are getting some entries now, but you still have a good chance to win a FigurePrint of your character.