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glyphs Balance Druid: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Balance Druide guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Balance Druid rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Balance Druid Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New abilities

  • talentspec_druid_balance.jpgAstral Communion is an ability that allows you to change your Lunar or Solar power, when outside of combat. It is ideal for setting up an Eclipse for the start of a fight.
  • spell_nature_natureguardian.jpgCelestial Alignment is a powerful DPS cooldown that lasts for 15 seconds. It simultaneously grants you the damage bonuses of both eclipse states (50% increase to both Nature and Arcane damage). Additionally, when you cast spell_nature_starfall.jpgMoonfire, ability_mage_firestarter.jpgSunfire is automatically applied (both DoTs will be up at the same time). Finally, when you use this cooldown, your Lunar/Solar Energy is reset, and you cannot generate any energy for its 15 second duration.
  • spell_druid_mightofursoc.jpgMight of Ursoc is a cooldown that increases your current and maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds. Using it activates ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form (and cancelling Bear Form also cancels the effect). It can prove to be a useful cooldown if your own survival is of utmost importance.
  • Tier 4 talents offer a choice between ability_druid_manatree.jpgSoul of the Forest, spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation: Chosen of Elune, and ability_druid_forceofnature.jpgForce of Nature. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 6 talents offer a choice between spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild, ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius, and achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • spell_druid_symbiosis.jpgSymbiosis is a buff that you can place on one party or raid member. The buff lasts for 1 hour, and grants you an ability belonging to the target's class, depending on what your specialisation is. At the same time, the target receives one of your spells. A full list of all the buffs granted by Symbiosis can be found here. Note that these spells are still likely to change.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • spell_nature_starfall.jpgMoonfire and ability_mage_firestarter.jpgSunfire are no longer mutually exclusive, nor do they depend on your current eclipse state. They are both DoTs that you can keep up at the same time.
  • ability_druid_eclipseorange.jpgEclipse has been slightly changed. Entering an eclipse state grants you 15% spell haste for 15 seconds (previously provided, in a slightly different format, by the now removed spell_nature_naturesblessing.jpgNature's Grace talent) and you also regenerate 35% of your maximum mana.
  • When in a Lunar Eclipse, your spell_nature_cyclone.jpgHurricane (which deals Nature damage) is replaced by spell_druid_astralstorm.jpgAstral Storm (which deals Arcane damage). For all intents and purpose, Hurricane and Astral Storm are identical, with the exception of their damage schools.
  • Entering a Lunar Eclipse resets the cooldown of ability_druid_starfall.jpgStarfall.
  • You gain achievement_worldevent_lunar.jpgLunar Shower by default as a passive ability. This used to be provided by an optional talent in Cataclysm. The only difference between the Cataclysm version and the Mists of Pandaria version is that Moonfire and Sunfire no longer grant you energy while under the Lunar Shower effect.

Removed Abilities

Rotation and Spell Usage

The basic rotation has remained unchanged from its Cataclysm version (detailed in our guide). A few changes are worth mentioning:
  • You can now, thanks to talentspec_druid_balance.jpgAstral Communion, choose which eclipse to be in at the start of the fight. This will affect your opening rotation, depending on which eclipse state you choose.
  • You can and should keep both spell_nature_starfall.jpgMoonfire and ability_mage_firestarter.jpgSunfire up at all times.
  • ability_druid_starfall.jpgStarfall can and should be cast more often.
The rotation will likely be along these lines:
  • Apply spell_nature_starfall.jpgMoonfire and ability_mage_firestarter.jpgSunfire, and refresh them before they expire.
  • Cast spell_arcane_arcane03.jpgStarsurge on cooldown (its cooldown still has a chance to be reset by ability_mage_arcanebarrage.jpgShooting Stars).
  • Cast spell_nature_wrathv2.jpgWrath until you enter a Lunar Eclipse.
  • Cast spell_arcane_starfire.jpgStarfire until you enter a Solar Eclipse.
  • Cast ability_druid_starfall.jpgStarfall each time you enter a Solar Eclipse. You may, of course, want to delay it slightly so that it is timed when a large number of adds need to be bursted down.

Cooldown Usage

You now have several DPS cooldowns (this was not the case in Cataclysm), depending on what talents you choose. Note that spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation: Chosen of Elune and ability_druid_forceofnature.jpgForce of Nature are mutually exclusive.

Talents

Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 means of increasing your movement abilities:
  • spell_druid_tirelesspursuit.jpgFeline Swiftness is a passive ability that increases your movement speed by 15% at all times.
  • spell_druid_displacement.jpgDisplacer Beast is an active ability that teleports you 20 yards forward and activates ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form and ability_druid_prowl.jpgProwl.
  • spell_druid_wildcharge.jpgWild Charge is an active ability that differs based on the shapeshift form you are in, as follows:
  • No shapeshift form: you fly to an ally's location.
  • spell_nature_forceofnature.jpgMoonkin Form: you leap backwards.
  • ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form: you charge an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds.
  • ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form: you leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds.
  • ability_druid_travelform.jpgTravel Form: you leap forwards 20 yards.
  • ability_druid_aquaticform.jpgAquatic Form: your swim speed is increased by 150% for 5 seconds.
We believe that Feline Swiftness will prove to be most useful in the vast majority of situations. This is because it will grant you its bonus even over very short distances, such as when side-stepping out of a void zone. Displacer Beast will probably be more problematic to use, since you will have to shift out of spell_nature_forceofnature.jpgMoonkin Form to continue DPSing. Wild Charge may be useful in some situations.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 healing spells:

  • spell_nature_ravenform.jpgNature's Swiftness is an active healing cooldown that makes your next spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgHealing Touch, ability_druid_nourish.jpgNourish, or spell_nature_resistnature.jpgRegrowth instant cast and free of mana cost. Moreover, it increases both the potency of the spell and the spell's duration (in the case of HoTs) by 50%. Nature's Swiftness also affects some utility spells, but this is less important.
  • spell_nature_natureblessing.jpgRenewal is a powerful self-heal with a 2 minute cooldown.
  • ability_druid_naturalperfection.jpgCenarion Ward is a buff that you can place on a friendly player, lasting up to 30 seconds. When the player takes damage, Cenarion Ward activates a powerful 6-second HoT on them, consuming the buff in the process (meaning that it will only trigger one HoT per Cenarion Ward).
In terms of your own survival, spell_nature_natureblessing.jpgRenewal is the easy choice, as it simply gives you an ability to use when you are low on health. If, however, you wish to contribe more to your raid's survival, one of the other two talents may be suitable in some situations.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd control spells:

  • spell_druid_swarm.jpgFaerie Swarm is a spell that replaces spell_nature_faeriefire.jpgFaerie Fire, upgrading the latter spell, causing it to also slow the target's movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.
  • spell_druid_massentanglement.jpgMass Entanglement is an AoE root, that roots up to 5 targets in place.
  • ability_druid_typhoon.jpgTyphoon is a spell that affects targets in a cone in front of you, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds.
None of these talents appear to have any real importance in terms of PvE raiding. You will most likely be able to choose which one of them you prefer for personal reasons (or for questing or doing achievements/dungeons). At best, they may be useful for clearing trash.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that each significantly improve your DPS:

  • ability_druid_manatree.jpgSoul of the Forest automatically grants you 20 Lunar Energy each time you exit a Solar Eclipse and 20 Solar Energy each time you exit a Lunar Eclipse. In pratice, this will make it easier for you to get from one Eclipse to the other.
  • spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation: Chosen of Elune is a DPS cooldown that increases all Nature and Arcane damage by 25% while Eclipse is active, for 30 seconds.
  • ability_druid_forceofnature.jpgForce of Nature is an active ability that summons 3 treants for 15 seconds. The treants deal a moderate amount of damage.
spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation: Chosen of Elune will be excellent for fights where you need the abiliity to do burst DPS at certain moments. How it ranks against the other two talents, in terms of DPS increases, must still be determined through further testing.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control spells:

  • ability_druid_demoralizingroar.jpgDisorienting Roar is an AoE disorient that lasts for 3 seconds and affects all enemies in a 10 yard radius.
  • spell_druid_ursolsvortex.jpgUrsol's Vortex is a targeted AoE slow. When enemies first try to leave the slowing area, they are pulled back in.
  • ability_druid_bash.jpgMighty Bash is a single target 5 second stun.
As with the tier 3 talents, these talents do not have any impact on your gameplay and will most likely be only useful for trash or PvP encounters.

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that can affect your gameplay:

  • spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild increases your Stamina, Agility, and Intellect by 6% at all times. Additionally, with a 6-minute cooldown, it allows you to viably perform roles outside of your Balance specialisation, for 45 seconds:
    • allows you to tank in ability_racial_bearform.jpgBear Form, by ensuring that you are not susceptible to critical hits, that you gain inv_shield_71.jpgVengeance from damage taken, and that your melee stats and your armor are increased;
    • allows you to DPS in ability_druid_catform.jpgCat Form, by increasing your Agility, Expertise, and Hit Chance;
    • allows you to heal efficiently, by increasing the healing of your spells by 100% and reducing the mana cost of your healing spells by 100%.
  • ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius is a passive ability that grants you a healing bonus each time you deal damage, and a damaging bonus each time you heal.
  • achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil is a 3-minute cooldown that increases all healing and damage done by 20% for 30 seconds. While Nature's Vigil is active, all single target healing spells also damage a nearby enemy for 25% of the healing done, and all single target damage spells also heal a nearby ally for 25% of the damage done.
All three talents are very powerful and interesting. spell_holy_blessingofagility.jpgHeart of the Wild increases your DPS slightly, thanks to the 6% Intellect boost, but more importantly it may turn the tide in a particularly difficult encounter where assuming another role for a short while can be crucial.

ability_druid_dreamstate.jpgDream of Cenarius may be useful over the course of the fight, if you are having to resort to playing a hybrid role of DPS-healer. The exact efficiency of this spell must still be determined.

achievement_zone_feralas.jpgNature's Vigil is a very straightforward and quite powerful DPS cooldown, that we believe will be the default choice in encounters where you do not need to heal.

Glyphs

There are several Major Glyphs that are useful to you as a Balance Druid, although none affects your DPS performance directly.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Rebirth remains unchanged from Cataclysm. It resurrects players with full health. This is a near-mandatory glyph for raiders. However, since it now shares a category (Major Glyphs) with other important glyphs, it may be best to only use it when absolutely necessary, namely on encounters where there is a lot of AoE damage that can kill a newly-resurrected player.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of The Moonbeast allows you to cast spell_nature_reincarnation.jpgRebirth, spell_nature_tranquility.jpgTranquility, spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgHealing Touch, and spell_nature_rejuvenation.jpgRejuvenation without canceling spell_nature_forceofnature.jpgMoonkin Form.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Innervate causes your spell_nature_lightning.jpgInnervate to regenerate 10% of your maximum mana when cast on other players, in addition to regenerating their mana. This glyph will be useful when you find yourself regularly casting Innervate on other healers.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Stampede removes any form requirement from spell_druid_stampedingroar_cat.jpgStampeding Roar. In the event that your assignment is to cast Stampeding Roar, this glyph may prove slightly beneficial to you.
  • inv_glyph_majordruid.jpgGlyph of Stampeding Roar increases the radius of Stampeding Roar by 30 yards. This glyph may be useful in certain situations.
Minor Glyphs are purely cosmetic and play no part in your DPS performance.

This concludes our Balance Druid preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

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There's no Fae Empowerment anymore, dude.

Indeed, it is gone. The guide is updated to the latest beta build. Thanks!

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May want to look into updating your Dream of Cenarius section, it works a little differently now. More specifically for the Balance spec when you cast Nourish, Healing Touch, and Regrowth your next 2 DoTs get their damage doubled. Although it seems it is performing quite well versus the alternatives in that talent bracket since that change and the devs have already said it "will be appropriately adjusted soon", sounds like they will just adjust the how much of an increase we get but who knows maybe Blizzard will get cheeky with us and change the funtionality again. http://us.battle.net...7?page=189#3767

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May want to look into updating your Dream of Cenarius section, it works a little differently now. More specifically for the Balance spec when you cast Nourish, Healing Touch, and Regrowth your next 2 DoTs get their damage doubled. Although it seems it is performing quite well versus the alternatives in that talent bracket since that change and the devs have already said it "will be appropriately adjusted soon", sounds like they will just adjust the how much of an increase we get but who knows maybe Blizzard will get cheeky with us and change the funtionality again. http://us.battle.net...7?page=189#3767

Thanks for pointing this out. Updated the description. Regarding the efficiency and rebalancing, we'll wait and see.

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