My Biggest Challenge as Balance Druid for 2v2 Arena


It’s not what you might think. E.g. the lack of survivability, the lack of counters that other caster classes have, etc.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is simply the unwillingness from the playerbase to try 2v2’ing with a Balance Druid, aka Moonkin. Aside from my real life friend from high school (who plays a Mage) and his co-worker, I’ve only found 1 person (Kashmír, an Enhancement Shaman) willing to give it a legit shot. I’ll get to Kashmír in a bit.

To see what it’s like partnering with other classes, over the 6 weeks I’ve responded to individuals looking for a 2s partner on chat. Most people were not willing to give a 1.1k resilience-geared Moonkin a try, and even the few that did remained skeptical – even when we had a winning record together.

Let me give you an example. One of them was a Warlock with a team with a Team Rating (TR) of 1475. I checked on wowarmory and his team had been hovering in the 1400s for a couple weeks. He was asking for a Mage or Resto Druid on /2, so I sent him a whisper asking if he’d try a Moonkin. He agreed and invited me to his 2v2 team.

We had neither practice partnering with the other class nor with each other. We lost our first 3 matches (and to his credit he was patient), then went 11-6, so 11 wins and 9 losses overall. That showed me that we could hold our own around 1500 even though we were new team mates. At the time, I didn’t have any Wrathful gear with a TR requirement. My PR (Personal Rating) started at 1000 and finished at 1230, so I was not too far from getting the 1st Wrathful upgrade. I logged, and while I was offline the Lock replaced me on the team with a Mage. The Lock sent a very polite email, which I appreciate, saying that he wanted to try a more conventional partner. He found a Mage. I checked the next day and it turns out they had a losing record together, even though the Mage was better geared than me.

In the past the Lock’s highest TR had been around 1600, and IMO if we kept playing together and I got the Wrathful upgrades at 1300, 1400, etc, I’m quite confident we would have broken his highest TR. But, your partner has to believe that too.

Fortunately, about a week ago Kashmír the Enhancement Shaman was looking for a 2s partner on chat. He was very willing to give me a shot, as he had met a Wrathful-geared Enhancement Shaman in a battleground who had gotten to 1950 TR with a Moonkin.

As with the Lock, neither Kash nor I had played with each other’s class/spec. When I joined his 2v2 team (Beasteh), the TR was around 1380. We went 48-37 over our first 85 matches, and that was including 6 DCs on his part. If the DCs hadn’t happened, we would have gone 51-34. And on top of that he didn’t have a working mic so our communication was limited to me talking, him typing. Nevertheless, we got to 1551 TR in three days and Kash got his 1550 TR achievement. Our matches go incredibly fast and I’ve seen firsthand that an Enhancement Shaman packs a lot of burst, good survivability, and strong utility – contrary to the common perception that Enhancement Shaman is a weak 2v2 class.

This week Kash got a working mic and we’re now at 1617 TR. The competition has gotten steadily better in terms composition, gear, and skill, but we haven’t hit our wall quite yet. Neither Kash nor I have Wrathful set gear or a weapon, whereas our competitors often do, partly because it is late in the arena season and getting to 1800 now is harder than it was months ago. Both of us want to try getting to 1800 with our preferred spec instead of facerolling with a Resto spec. With 145 matches played together, we’re still learning and experimenting, especially against healer/DPS comps.

If we can crack 1700 or so TR, I’ll record some footage for a 2v2 narrated video.

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Posted in Druid, PVP, World of Warcraft
33 comments on “My Biggest Challenge as Balance Druid for 2v2 Arena
  1. Kaldeem says:

    Wow, Thats pretty impressive. I’ve never gotten far in arenas or really tried since my RL friend (a holy pally) quit playing. Thats when I quit playing my s2 rogue.

    Looking forward to your 2v2/arena match videos.

  2. audient says:

    The problem, is that if there is not a 2v2 guide on wowhead or wowwiki that includes a moonkin and the phrase “you will be awesome” the majority of players are unwilling to experiment.

    I found this to be my problem with Arena, not as a balance druid, but simply that if I did not follow generally accepted “successful” ways to play a class or team comp there was no place for me in the arena.

    As it’s been many moons since I have played, I’m disappointed things still seem to be similar.

    • taugrim says:

      simply that if I did not follow generally accepted “successful” ways to play a class or team comp there was no place for me in the arena

      It’s unfortunate that players in WoW can be very narrow-minded about classes – for both PVP and PVE.

  3. Kaldeem says:

    I’m still waiting for the day to come when you can recycle old gear for either HP or AP or an equal swap, grinding gear is straight annoying.

    Something that would help would be to make shoulders and weapons higher point status so people would still have something to strive for…while making the rest of the gear exchangeable and maybe a few more points needed.

    I dunno really; I’m just saying that I dunno what to do with my full hateful, deadly, and all my WG gear thats out-dated.

    Ya feel me.

    • taugrim says:

      I’m still waiting for the day to come when you can recycle old gear for either HP or AP or an equal swap

      I doubt Blizzard would ever implement a trade-in system, although I wish they would.

      grinding gear is straight annoying.

      Yep, it still takes a non-trivial time investment.

      While honor points are much easier to earn now compared to ever before, the fact remains that you need almost 600k honor points to get a full set of starter PVP gear for a particular spec, and that takes dozens of hours to grind for.

      • Oozo says:

        It’s not a grind if you actually enjoy BG PvP. ;)

        • taugrim says:

          Oh, I do enjoy BG PVP :)

          Well, except when players in an AB don’t communicate inc’s and such. That can be really aggravating :D

          • kaldeem says:

            I know right! AB is my favorite BG. You’d think people would have the common sense to call out inc’s but alas they don’t.

            Ps. I love PVP- weather it’s BG or Arena, just hate the consistent gear grind. I get lost in all the emblems and different sets along with their ilvl 264 or whatever.

            Okay, now to hack a t1 line so I can acctualy level my warlock to 80 grind for PVP gear, and then level to 85, and grind for more PVP gear! :)

  4. Jeff Chase says:

    Hellos from Arioth. Found your youtube channel just today. Still putting out great information for the community I see. Hope everything is going well.

    • taugrim says:

      Hey Jeff!

      I just say your post. It’s been…3 years?!? since we gamed together last.

      Hope all is well with you.

      • Jeff Chase says:

        Yes, it has been just about that long. switched over to WAR for a bit, then bounced around single player games, but with StarCraft2 out, all those hours spent playing broodwar can be used again.

  5. Kashmír says:

    Hey man its Kash, i just read this today and now im kinda bummed that i quit im seriously thinking of getting more game time. Anyways you have my email (ilovepuggs@hotmail.com)now so we can talk. Hows the team going? Did you get a new partner?

    • taugrim says:

      Heya Kash!

      Short answer: I’ve been focusing on leveling my Paladin. I transferred an old 40 Pally from another server and he’s 60 now. Twenty more levels to go!

      So I haven’t been playing my Druid. Your (our) 2v2 team is still the same.

      I’m going to focus on getting the Paladin to 80. It will be fun to play a melee again in PVP. I will try Retribution at 80 and probably Protribution once I can get a decent 1h and shield. Protribution looks like a lot of fun and reminds me of WAR tanks – you can still dish out damage with a 1h, they have good CC, and they’re very durable.

      I detest leveling, it’s so boring, but I think a Paladin will be a strong fit for me in PVP.

      • Kashmír says:

        Ah sweet yeah i would love to play a protribution pally in pvp too it sounds like a ton of fun. Oh and yeah it does remind me of WAR tanks. Well yeah i will probably come back when cata comes out, not before that though, I needed a break. Then we can do more arena at 85 and maybe try a melee cleave XD. Lookin forward to that.

        • Kashmír says:

          Hey man its Kash again, I just bought game time so whisper me in game on your pally. Thanks =)

  6. Oozo says:

    Shame you stopped on the moonkin, but I understand. :P

    You have to be a bit of a masochist to play the build. It’s not bad with a dedicated healer though, it’s actually pretty good. Solo or with no healing, however… can lead to things being thrown across your computer den into a wall, your cat, or an innocent passing bystander.

    I’ve finally gotten down to work on putting together a moonkin video. I’ve put a segment of it up on youtube if interested. Entertainment style, not education style as usual.

    • taugrim says:

      Solo or with no healing, however… can lead to things being thrown across your computer den into a wall, your cat, or an innocent passing bystander.

      This is particularly true when fighting against locks and spriests. They are hard to beat for a Moonkin, equally geared. Rogues can be tough, especially if Force of Nature is on cooldown.

      I’ve finally gotten down to work on putting together a moonkin video. I’ve put a segment of it up on youtube if interested

      Interesting to watch :) Always enjoy your videos.

      You stay Tauren form and use Cyclone in 1v1 more than I do. I probably should Cyclone more than I do.

  7. Oozo says:

    I’ve found 30 yard kiting to be the only way to beat warlocks and SPs. The problem is that it takes a lot of room to work with, so it’s hard to pull off in a BG. I did beat a Glad title SP though, the SP in particular has very little options versus a kiter who stays out of AoE fear and mind flay range. Horror can be trinketed, then they really can’t do anything outside of engineering or tailoring nets.

  8. Khaotik says:

    What addons are you using if you dont mind me asking Oozo?

    • Oozo says:

      I don’t do any arena ATM, so I’m only using Scrolling Combat Text to put damage on the left and healing on the right. IMO, many people playing live server arena are extremely dependent on mods. But, you do what you have to do since you will be at a total disadvantage if you don’t use them in arena.

  9. Nathan says:

    Hey Tau,

    In a way, I’m very glad you’re focusing on the Pally. I really think that suites your playstyle best. Prot Pally will be second nature to you I reckon, very durable and in your face. I’d love to level mine but I haven’t the time at the moment.

    Well, maybe I could but so close to Cataclysm I find myself saying ‘What’s the point?’

    Anyway, check out some squishy Fire Mage PvP if you like.

    • taugrim says:

      Well, maybe I could but so close to Cataclysm I find myself saying ‘What’s the point?’

      I reached a similar conclusion yesterday.

      My Paladin hit 80 late last week – only my 2nd character to hit 80 as I find the leveling process to be tedious. I started running BGs, but there are two things of note:
      1. a 3.3K PVP GS Paladin is brutal to play in PVP. LOL. I crit for 1.5k
      2. Horde in the Shadowburn battle group are…how shall I put this…collectively not very good in BGs. My first 80 (Druid) was in the same battle group but on Alliance side, and that side seemed to play better overall

      Those two things combined do not create a recipe for winning BGs, and I found that I was accumulating honor at a slow rate. It was tedious and frustrating.

      PVP is a very different experience on my Moonkin, where with a 5.7k GS and 1182 resilience, I’m often top 2 in damage and killing blows and have IMO sometimes been a deciding factor in whether we win or lose in the smaller (10-15 players per side) matches.

      Obviously, that isn’t an apples-to-oranges comparison, as my Moonkin is solidly geared.

      I had an epiphany on the way home from a great dinner. What I want to do is make more PVP videos. But it would take a lot of time to get at least the starter set of full PVP gear and an i232 or better weapon on my Paladin. So I think I’m going to make more Moonkin videos and wait for Cataclysm to do Paladin videos. And I’m going to level up JC, using Honor-bought Cardinal Rubies for funding.

      That fills a need anyway…there are so few (good) WotLK Moonkin videos.

      Btw, I figured out how to make 720 HD videos with Windows Movie Maker on XP :) So psyched, the quality is much better.

      • Oozo says:

        I think melee have it harder than casters atm with respect to gear. You just need more gear to be competitive with melee and melee really gets screwed on the weapon with the current system.

        • taugrim says:

          I think melee have it harder than casters atm with respect to gear. You just need more gear to be competitive with melee and melee really gets screwed on the weapon with the current system.

          Yea this is my impression as well.

          My understanding is that weapon impacts DPS much moreso for melees/hunters than for casters, because the weapon DPS drives damage, whereas spells are more or less based on spellpower. So a caster isn’t gimped as much with a low iLevel weapon than a melee is.

  10. percilitor says:

    i’m looking into starting WoW (a little behind the curve but w/e) but i’m having a hard time deciding which class to play. i’ve played a swordmaster in WAR, and a gladiator in Aion and enjoyed both classes. the obvious jump would, i assume, be to a DPS warrior. but i’ve heard that DPS wars arn’t needed in endgame pve and i’m not sure i want to be stuck on another gear scaling class in a game with terrible drop rates(not sure how easymode wow is compared to Aion). i’ve also considered being a rouge but i’ve always been a platewearer at heart. any suggestions or insight from you?

    • taugrim says:

      DPS wars arn’t needed in endgame pve and i’m not sure i want to be stuck on another gear scaling class in a game with terrible drop rates(not sure how easymode wow is compared to Aion). i’ve also considered being a rouge but i’ve always been a platewearer at heart. any suggestions or insight from you?

      If you love platewearer, I recommend Paladin. They do very good DPS in PVE and they are one of the better overall PVP classes IMO.

      WoW is wayyyyy easier than Aion in terms of gear. You can get coins called emblems in PVE or grind honor points in PVP to buy armor. It’s not hard to get a decent weapon, but a good or great weapon will take some time.

  11. Nathan says:

    Well good job on getting him that far, and Tau, I only have one level eighty and I’ve played for years!

    Call me lazy but I like being master of a trade than jack of all, right?

    I look forward to more Moonkin videos, especially considering your new High Quality promises ;)

    Some epic lowbie flag-returning below.

  12. Brogarn says:

    I think I’m going to finally give this game another shot with Cataclysm. I played closed beta through release until battlegrounds came out. I think it was around that time, or a little after, that DAoC had the Classic Servers reopen and I wanted RvR at the time. Well, I still do, but DAoC is too old, WAR is too flawed and AoC (which I play currently) is so unpolished and repetitive and Funcom is … Funcom that I don’t know how much longer I can stand it.

    Anyways… finally to my actual question …

    I’m already looking at classes and will be PvP focused asap. What’s the ridiculous classes out there that everyone plays? I don’t want to play those. Right now I’ve got my eye on Shadow Priest but I’m open to any interesting suggestions. I’m so out of touch with WoW that I have no clue what classes are going to be easy mode or which ones are just plain completely underpowered.

    Thanks in advance for any responses. I have respect for the blogger and posters here, so I figure this is a better place to ask this than the *shudder* official forums.

    • Oozo says:

      Well, a lot of the classes are going to have major overhauls for Cataclysm. So, you need to look at the upcoming changes and maybe read some forums where beta testers are posting. What’s powerful now, might not be as powerful in Cataclysm.

      A good website to start looking things over is mmo-champion.com

  13. Brogarn says:

    I’ll check it out. Thanks for pointing me there.

  14. Oozo says:

    Put my moonkin movie up if you want to check it out. Some people like it, others don’t. Some say they can’t follow it because of the editing, but since you play moonkin I’m pretty sure you will get it. ;)

    My playstyle is generally conservative.

    http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=158561

    • taugrim says:

      You’re a more-skilled Moonkin than I. That’s a good video.

      I wish you had some un-edited footage so that I could watch some of the fights from start to finish :)

      It is interesting to watch though. I need to Cyclone more often in 1v1s, resist the temptation to nuke. Controlling a fight > DPS

      • Oozo says:

        Yeah, I chop stuff up pretty heavily since my main goal is to match events in the movie with events in the music. As far as skill goes, feh. :P

        I might do something you haven’t thought of and you pick up on it and add it to your gameplay. You might do something I haven’t thought of and I work to incorporate that into my gameplay. That’s why I watch your movies. And, that’s probably why you watch other movies as well. :)

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