Balance Druid’s 4.0 Mechanics Don’t Function Well in PVP


I’ve received requests for Balance Druid PVP videos, so I wanted to give a brief take on the new mechanics for PVP. In short, there are two significant limitations that are negatively reinforcing:

  1. it takes too long to reach an Eclipse state. Pre-4.0, a single Wrath crit could proc Eclipse and a single Starfire crit would proc Eclipse. Now a Balance Druid has to cast either Wrath or Starfire repeatedly to reach an Eclipse state, and
  2. in addition, the Wrath and Starfire cast times were significantly increased. Long cast times are easily interrupted / countered / LoS’d in PVP.

The above changes are fine for PVE but don’t make sense for PVP.

Of course, regarding #2 above, you can stack Haste. I’m not sure that would get the cast times down sufficiently to be practical in PVP without sacrificing too much of damage-related stats such as Intellect and Spellpower. I didn’t re-forge / re-gem for Haste yet, so you can take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.

Balance spec did get a silence (Solar Beam) but it’s quite visible and easy to move out of. I’d rather have a single-target silence similar to what Mages, Warlocks, and Shadow Priests have. What I like about the silence ability of those classes is they can choose to take offensive or defensive action against a silenced target. If a Druid silences a target and roots them in the Solar Beam, they can’t attack the target or the roots will likely break and the target can move out of the Solar Beam effect.

UPDATE (2010/10/19): while I think that Moonkins may have issues in 1v1s and Cataclysm arena, they can still bring the pain in BGs. I’m finishing a Prot Pally video from an EotS BG and an Alliance Moonkin got 30 killing blows.

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15 comments on “Balance Druid’s 4.0 Mechanics Don’t Function Well in PVP
  1. Yazid says:

    Taugrim, on a totally unrelated topic.

    I’v been reading your blog for about a year and a half now and i like pretty much the same things you do on an MMO and i really like the PvP experience.

    Im actually not playing anything on the MMORPG genre but im starting to get the urge to play again, so im kindly asking you a suggestion, based on the fact that we like similar things on a game and i’v been out of scene for quite a long time!

    Ill appreciate any reply! Thanks and good fortune.

    • taugrim says:

      I would say that based on the changes in WotLK and Patch 4.0 so far that WoW is a pretty good option for PVP. This is not something I would have said a few years ago, back when you could not dual-spec, class balance was much worse, and the process for grinding PVP gear was much more tedious.

      I’m all for games where PVP gear is accessible to all players – I want to be beaten by better players (and better classes) not better-geared players. In Cataclysm, the rating requirement for most (all?) gear will be removed, and I believe that will be a positive change.

      In terms of classes, if you like a durable melee playstyle (like I do) then Prot Pally is a good option. If you enjoy kiting and/or healing then Priest is a great option – Discipline is a superb healing with utility and Shadow Priests are very tough.

  2. Yazid says:

    Two more questions, i stopped playing warhammer because i felt like i needed to PVE to be any good on PVP, because you could only get weapons on PVE ( I know that changed ) and PVE on warhammer sucks so bad i can’t even rate it.

    So what i want to know, can i get weapons on WoW just by doing BGs ? Or do you still need to grind arena rating to get anything worthwhile?

    And, how fast can you level doing BGs?

    • taugrim says:

      can i get weapons on WoW just by doing BGs

      Yes, you can get arena weapons from Honor only. I picked up the Wrathful Axe two days ago.

      And, how fast can you level doing BGs?

      Depends how fast the queue pops, but you can run quests while waiting.

      I leveled my Druid from 74 to 80 running BGs only. I was leveling a Priest (stopped once 4.0 went live) and it was fast using Dungeon Finder.

  3. Yazid says:

    You convinced me, going to level up an warrior to PvP with the protection spec, i just love the sword and board cosmetic :)

  4. Oath says:

    Hey Taugrim I know it’s been a long time since you heard from me last, but i still regularly like to keep up with your blog and seriously value your evaluation of a game and/or it’s mechanics. With that in mind, i find myself wondering if it would be worthwhile to jump back into WoW and i figured you would probably be the best person to ask. Now i haven’t played WoW since… before BC came out, since before that first big bug expansion AQ? Anyways i feel like with all that has changed from then WoW might feel like a completely different game, which is somewhat attractive to me right now. With the newest expansion coming out soon, would picking up WoW again now be a decent idea? If so what classes would you recommend? I still have an inactive account with a 60 warrior on it, so a DK is an option.

    • taugrim says:

      Hey Oath,

      How are you? It’s been a while :)

      WoW is a very different game experience when you played back in Classic for the better for someone like me who would rather spend 80% doing fun things and 20% “grinding” whatever. Back in Classic and TBC, WoW often felt the other way around.

      Now, the game is much more flexible in terms of allowing you to acquire gear and faster. If you want to PVP, you PVP to get (most of) your gear and it’s not painfully slow like it used to be. I’m not sure what exactly will happen in Cataclysm, but the arena rating requirement for gear will be gone, so it should be more straightforward to get competitively geared, which will be good for the quality of PVP as skill will become the true differentiator not gear.

      I think DK would be a great fit for you, given that you enjoy melee. DK has excellent tools to work with…good damage, very durable, and good CC.

      If you are thinking of picking up WoW again, I’d say get it now, learn the DK class mechanics and get up to 80 before the xpac goes live.

  5. Oath says:

    I’ve been good, still peddling along at college. And i’ve been playing a lot of League of Legends lately, but i’ve been feeling the itch for a good MMO for a while now.

    I’ve been skimming the DK forums and they look fun, but i’m curious how you feel they stack up in PvP and PvE situations. I know with all the recent changes, patch 4.xx, everything is sorta all messed up, but can you relate any standout experiences you have had with or against a DK?

    • taugrim says:

      DK’s pre-4.0 were incredibly strong. They could outheal opponents who didn’t have a heal (Mortal Strike) debuff, and on top of that they had a spell-immunity bubble. This is on top of pretty crazy CC, such as pull similar to what Marauder had in WAR, and very good damage.

      I’m not sure how much as changed for DKs – they still seem like a strong class. I do know as a Prot Pally that I can now do to them what they did to me previously in terms of self-healing.

      The people I’ve talked to love their DK. I rolled a DK and messed around for 15 minutes but for some reason the dead-guy thing just didn’t appeal to me.

      • Oozo says:

        Frost DKs are kind of OP atm with AoE damage. I usually top damage in BGs I run. Even in AV turtles. Frost DKs are outdamaging everyone, casters, hunters, ranged in these situations. Nerf INC, I’d say.

  6. Yazid says:

    Hahaha, Oath, just like you i’v been playing League of Legends too, that game makes me want to play WoW so much, i can’t say why.

    Also garen and poppy really makes me want to play a Sword and Board class like prot warrior or prot paladin, i just love how sword and board looks, and when you sheat your shield on your back, its freaking awesome

    • Oozo says:

      Prot warriors aren’t putting out good damage at 85 ATM. In fact, might be one of the lowest DPS classes. Then again, they really shouldn’t have been doing more burst than Arms and Fury to begin with.

  7. Athelbert says:

    Hey Taug,

    Was going to post after your original entry, but at the time, my Boomkin had little to no PvP gear to speak of, so I wasn’t sure as to the accuracy of my own observations to that point. After getting pretty well geared-out (non-stop BGs, lol), I can say I agree more with your second entry. Boomkins can definitely bring the pain.
    Starfire and Wrath are pretty much useless in BGs as it stands now. You may be able to get off a few Wraths, or even a SF or two in a big AV fight, but rarely, if ever, in a smaller BG like Warsong Gulch or EoTS. The casting time is a hindrance, even with my haste up near 1000, but the inability to cast on the move is the real deal breaker. With the loss of armor contribution from gear (down to 120%), it’s more important than ever to keep moving.
    Couldn’t agree with you more on the Eclipse mechanic. When it was just a talent, it was no big deal, you could just ignore it and spend your points elsewhere. Making it the “core” mechanic of the class, however, is basically Blizzard saying Moonkins get hosed in PvP. I would love to throw points into mastery through reforging, but in over 220 BGs in the last two weeks, I have a had a grand total of three Eclipse procs, total. Sure, I suppose I could stand still more, work a few more wraths or SFs into my rotation, but it’s the mobility thing I keep coming back to. Stationary Moonkins are frequently dead Moonkins, even in big BG fights like AV, WG or IoC, more than ever now with some of the insane crits being pumped out my Mages and Shamans.
    All that being said, I am loving my Moonkin right now. I MF and IS every target in range, Starfall and Starsurge every time it’s up, not to mention instant cast roots (with the glyph). Thorns, even with it’s cooldown, is a major damage dealer for melees. I’ve also found that rooting/Solar Beaming an enemy healer just as friendly melee types are closing in on them usually results in one dead enemy healer–that few seconds before they trinket out or the root breaks is all it takes if the melee dps is up to snuff. I also take childlike delight in popping Barkskin, running up, and Typhooning a mob or three off a cliff or a bridge, lol. And Cycloning the Ally tank just after a boss pull in AV or IoC (after popping out of stealth) is always good for a chuckle.
    I wanted to post because it was your earlier Moonkin PvP video that made me dust off my druid and level him up, and I am loving PvP now so much more than on my Paladin or Hunter. Laser Chicken FTW! Take care, man–hope all is well with you and yours.

    • taugrim says:

      Starfire and Wrath are pretty much useless in BGs as it stands now. You may be able to get off a few Wraths, or even a SF or two in a big AV fight, but rarely, if ever, in a smaller BG like Warsong Gulch or EoTS. The casting time is a hindrance, even with my haste up near 1000, but the inability to cast on the move is the real deal breaker.

      Exactly. This is even more annoying when you compare to other caster DPS specs, such as Fire Mage, which can cast insta-Scorch on the move.

      Couldn’t agree with you more on the Eclipse mechanic. When it was just a talent, it was no big deal, you could just ignore it and spend your points elsewhere. Making it the “core” mechanic of the class, however, is basically Blizzard saying Moonkins get hosed in PvP.

      Indeed.

      It’s probably too late for Blizzard to reverse direction on Eclipse, but I would rather if they wanted the spec to feel more dynamic have more procs such as the instant Starsurge cast.

      Sure, I suppose I could stand still more, work a few more wraths or SFs into my rotation, but it’s the mobility thing I keep coming back to. Stationary Moonkins are frequently dead Moonkins, even in big BG fights like AV, WG or IoC, more than ever now with some of the insane crits being pumped out my Mages and Shamans.

      You’re doing the right thing by sticking and moving IMO.

      On my Pally, I go after Moonkins before any other DPS, and that’s sad to say as a person who spent 95% of his time at endgame playing a Druid. They’re simply too easy to shutdown and kill.

      All that being said, I am loving my Moonkin right now. I MF and IS every target in range, Starfall and Starsurge every time it’s up, not to mention instant cast roots (with the glyph). Thorns, even with it’s cooldown, is a major damage dealer for melees. I’ve also found that rooting/Solar Beaming an enemy healer just as friendly melee types are closing in on them usually results in one dead enemy healer–that few seconds before they trinket out or the root breaks is all it takes if the melee dps is up to snuff. I also take childlike delight in popping Barkskin, running up, and Typhooning a mob or three off a cliff or a bridge, lol. And Cycloning the Ally tank just after a boss pull in AV or IoC (after popping out of stealth) is always good for a chuckle.

      Yep, those are all highly entertaining aspects of the class :)

      Typhoon is money in AB at Lumber Mill and tower fights in AV.

      I have a love/hate relationship with Cyclone. It can be a tremendous tool, but it prevents you from being able to take continued offensive action against the target, unlike Fear where you can usually nuke away without breaking the CC.

      I am loving PvP now so much more than on my Paladin or Hunter. Laser Chicken FTW!

      That is, at the end of the day, the most important thing. I don’t know if Loradove is playing a healer, but if you have a pocket healer to partner with, Moonkin is a wrecking ball with excellent peels / support ability.

  8. Athelbert says:

    Lora switches back and forth between her Discipline Priest and her Affliction Warlock, so we either excel in bringing the pain even moreso, or we just refuse to die, lol.

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