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Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.2.4)

Last updated on Jun 22, 2015 at 13:00 by Vlad 64 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Balance Druid core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.2.4. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Balance Druid.

The other pages of our Balance Druid guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Gapezilla, one of the best Balance Druids in the world, who raids in Encore, and whose stream you can watch on Twitch, and by Cyous, a high-end Balance Druid theorycrafter and retired raider, who raided in Promethean. You can follow him on Twitter.

1. Single Target Rotation

The Balance Druid rotation can best be summarised as:

  1. Apply and maintain Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire on the target.
    • You should try to apply and refresh both DoTs when you are their respective Peaks (Lunar Peak for Moonfire and Solar Peak for Sunfire), but this is not essential.
    • Since Sunfire lasts considerably less than Moonfire, and since it is only available when you are in a Solar Eclipse, you will have to refresh it before leaving Solar Eclipse (or right after entering it) in order to maintain full uptime on it.
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge.
    • You should cast Starsurge often enough to make sure that its charges are always rolling.
    • Casting Starsurge in Lunar Eclipse will grant Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment, and casting it in Solar Eclipse will grant Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment (both buffs last 30 seconds). You should always use up the charges provided by these buffs before re-casting Starsurge, so as not to waste any charges. You should cast Starsurge as you are approaching a Lunar or Solar Peak so that you can cast the buffed spells at (or close to) the Peak.
    • Thanks to Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars, you will sometimes get a free charge of Starsurge.
  3. Cast Wrath Icon Wrath while you are in a Solar Eclipse.
  4. Cast Starfire Icon Starfire while you are in a Lunar Eclipse.

This is the basic rotation cycle. There are certain subtleties with regards to eclipses that you will need to understand. This is a very important aspect, which we discuss in our detailed rotation section.

1.1. Opening Rotation

The ideal opening rotation at the start of the fight is as follows:

  1. Cast Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune 3 seconds before the pull.
  2. Prepot and cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge 1.5 seconds before the pull. In case you are closer to the boss than maximum range when you begin the fight, use Starsurge 1 second before the pull, instead.
  3. Cast Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment and Moonfire Icon Moonfire to apply both of your DoTs.
  4. Cast two Starfire Icon Starfires to use up the Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment charges.
  5. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge again to trigger Lunar Empowerment.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until Celestial Alignment is about to expire.
  7. Refresh your DoTs just before Celestial Alignment expires.

When you need to perform the opening rotation against more than one target, then you will do the same as above, except that you will cast Starfall Icon Starfall in between steps 2 and 3. You will continue to prioritise Starfall casts over Starsurge Icon Starsurge, so long as there is more than one target.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

Starfall Icon Starfall should be used against more than one target. Ideally, Starfall should be used while you are in Lunar Eclipse, unless your charges are about to cap and you are in Solar Eclipse. Aside from this, you should essentially maintain a single target rotation while keeping DoTs up on all targets.

Keep in mind that Sunfire Icon Sunfire applies itself to all enemies within 5 yards of the main target (based on the target's hitbox, so larger enemies will cause it to spread around in a larger area), so you only need to apply and refresh it on one target.

It is worth mentioning that despite appearing like a good AoE choice, Hurricane Icon Hurricane should never be used. This is because its low damage makes it so that applying DoTs or casting single target spells is more beneficial.

3. Cooldown Usage

As a Balance Druid, you only have one DPS cooldown, by default: Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment. You should use this during periods of increased damage to the boss, stacking it with other cooldowns (notably with Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune) when possible. In any case, it should be used as many times as possible during the encounter.

There are many subtleties to using Celestial Alignment optimally. We discuss these, as well as the other cooldowns that you can obtain, granted to you by your talents, in our detailed cooldowns section.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Balance Druid

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are a few subtleties that you should understand in order to truly excel at your role.

4.1. Eclipses and Balance Energy

As a Balance Druid, you have a unique resource, your Balance Energy bar. This is not a resource bar per se, as with many other classes. Instead, it should be regarded as a sliding scale, with 2 relevant areas: the left side (Lunar Eclipse) and the right side (Solar Eclipse).

Unlike previous expansions, the spells you cast have no influence on your Balance Energy. Instead, whenever you are in combat, your Balance Energy shifts on its own, from one end of the bar to the other, and back again, endlessly.

Your location on the Balance Energy bar is indicated by a small arrow.

An exception to your spells not influencing the bar is your Astral Communion Icon Astral Communion spell, which accelerates your Balance Energy cycle by 300% for 4 seconds. This ability is channeled, and it makes it easy to quickly get into a desired Eclipse, if for some reason you want to do this.

When you are in Lunar Eclipse, your Arcane damage is increased. The closer you are to the Lunar (left) end of the Balance Energy Bar, the higher your damage is. When you reach maximum Lunar Energy, you gain a buff called Lunar Peak Icon Lunar Peak. This increases the direct damage of your next Moonfire Icon Moonfire by 100%.

When you are in Solar Eclipse, your Nature damage is increased, in exactly the same way as Arcane damage is increased in Lunar Eclipse. When you reach Solar Peak Icon Solar Peak, you gain a buff that increases the direct damage of your next Sunfire Icon Sunfire by 100%.

It is important to note that your Mastery, Mastery: Total Eclipse Icon Mastery: Total Eclipse increase your bonus damage from Eclipse by a percentage, and this increase is dependant on where on the Balance Energy bar you are at any given time. If you are at 0 (neutral), then the percentage increase from Mastery is split evenly between the two Eclipses (assuming 50% bonus from Mastery, you will have a 25% bonus to Lunar and a 25% bonus to Solar). If you are at 100, you will benefit from your Mastery entirely in that Eclipse (so if you are at 100 Lunar Energy, you will get the full 50% bonus to Lunar Eclipse).

4.2. Applying and Refreshing DoTs

Applying and refreshing DoTs is no longer as complicated as it has historically been for Balance Druids, but it remains extremely important.

Simply put, it is best if your DoTs are applied when benefiting from their respective Peaks (Lunar Peak Icon Lunar Peak for Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Solar Peak Icon Solar Peak for Sunfire Icon Sunfire). Note, however, that this does not actually affect the periodic damage of your DoTs at all. The only part of the DoTs damage that is increased by Peaks is the instant damage. So, applying and refreshing DoTs at Peaks is definitely a DPS bonus, but not a very great one.

As mentioned in the rotation at the start of the guide, Sunfire's duration is such that it will not last until you complete a full cycle (and return to Solar Peak). Furthermore, Sunfire cannot be cast when you are not in Solar Eclipse. This means that in order to keep up Sunfire, you need refresh it shortly before leaving Solar Eclipse, or that sometimes you will need to refresh it immediately on re-entering Solar Eclipse to prevent it from dropping off. This is acceptable.

There no longer is any real restriction about when it is too soon to refresh a DoT. As long as you refresh Moonfire each time you reach Lunar Peak, and Solar Eclipse at Solar Peak and right before leaving Solar Eclipse, then you should have no problems.

4.2.1. Euphoria

If you are using Euphoria Icon Euphoria as your tier Tier 7 talent, then there is a slight change in how your DoTs should be refreshed. Namely, Moonfire Icon Moonfire only needs to be refreshed every other Lunar Peak Icon Lunar Peak, and Sunfire Icon Sunfire only needs to be refreshed every Solar Peak Icon Solar Peak (instead of casting it twice per cycle).

4.3. Rotation in Detail

If you have read this far, you should have a good understanding of how your Balance Energy works. If you understand this, then the initial rotation we have presented at the start of the guide should be even clearer. Let us go into a bit of detail.

The first thing you have to understand is that between Starfire Icon Starfire and Wrath Icon Wrath, you should always choose based on the state of your Balance Energy. Simply put, if the arrow on your Balance Energy bar is located on the left side (Lunar Eclipse), you should be casting Starfire, and if it is located on the right side (Solar Eclipse), you should be casting Wrath. Since these spells have a cast time, you will need to pre-cast the opposite spell when you are about to change from one eclipse to another. For example, if you are about 1 second away from changing between Solar and Lunar Eclipse, you should begin pre-casting Starfire, since by the time this spell lands, you will already be in Lunar Eclipse.

Regarding how to apply and refresh DoTs, we have spoken at length already. You can only apply each DoT when you are in its respective eclipse, but you should go a step further and apply these DoTs whenever you are at their respective peaks. In the case of Sunfire Icon Sunfire, you will have to refresh it right before leaving Solar Eclipse, or right after re-entering it.

A few words are needed about Starsurge Icon Starsurge. This ability is absolutely essential to your rotation and to your DPS. There are several things to keep in mind about it.

First of all, you should always keep your Starsurge charges rolling. This means that you should only ever be sitting on 2 charges of Starsurge at most. You will have to always be on the look-out for Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars procs (caused by ticks from your DoTs), as these will grant you an extra charge, and they can sometimes cause proc back-to-back, so you will have to quickly cast Starsurge to free up charges if this happens.

Second of all, casting Starsurge grants you one of two buffs, depending on which eclipse you are in. In Lunar Eclipse, you will gain Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment, while in Solar Eclipse you will gain Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment. Lunar Empowerment increases the damage of your next 2 Starfires by 30%, and Solar Empowerment increases the damage of your next 3 Wraths by 30%. Both of these two buffs lasts 30 seconds.

Making use of these buffs is very important. This means two things. One is that you will have to make sure to use up all the charges of the current buff before re-casting Starsurge in the same eclipse. For example, if you have 2 stacks of Solar Empowerment, you should not cast Starsurge again in Solar Eclipse, because the stacks will be overwritten. We cannot stress enough how vital it is never to overwrite an Empowerment buff.

The other important thing is the timing of Starsurge with respect to the Empowerment buffs. The ideal time to cast it is when you are around 20 Energy away from a peak. This is because you want to benefit from the respective Empowerment when you are at the peak, because this is when the affected spells will deal their maximum damage. So, if you cast Starsurge when you are at 80 Lunar Energy, then both of the buffed Starfires will be cast with a very large bonus to their damage.

Finally, we would like to mention that, generally, it is optimal to use Starsurge Icon Starsurge when you are in Lunar Eclipse (instead of Solar Eclipse), if you only have 1 Starsurge charge. This is because Starfire Icon Starfire has a higher damage per execution time than Wrath Icon Wrath.

4.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

4.4.1. Celestial Alignment

Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment pauses your Balance Energy cycle, and all of your Lunar and Solar spells benefit from your maximum eclipse bonus. While Celestial Alignment is active, your damage done is increased by 20%, and your Moonfire Icon Moonfire also applies Sunfire Icon Sunfire automatically (and vice versa). Celestial Alignment lasts for 15 seconds, and it has a 3-minute cooldown.

To begin with, when you cast Celestial Alignment during the fight (so, not at the start), you want to make sure to have at least 2 charges of Starsurge Icon Starsurge before doing so.

Celestial Alignment should be used during Lunar Eclipse, because Starfire Icon Starfire will do more damage than Wrath Icon Wrath while under Celestial Alignment. The exception here is that you should use it even under Solar Eclipse, if the fight will end before you have time to get to a Lunar Eclipse, and delaying it would mean that you will lose out on a cast of Celestial Alignment.

Just before exiting Celestial Alignment, it is recommended to refresh Sunfire Icon Sunfire (by applying Moonfire Icon Moonfire).

Celestial Alignment should be used as many times as possible throughout the fight. You should try to time it in such a way that it stacks with other cooldowns, procs or fight mechanics that cause targets to take increased damage.

4.4.2. Tier 4 Talents

Your Tier 4 talent of choice should be used as follows.

Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. It is a direct increase to your damage. Ideally, you should use it together with other periods of increased damage, and you should try to stack it with Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment whenever possible. When doing so, make sure to use Incarnation: Chosen of Elune before you use Celestial Alignment, so as not to waste a global cooldown during Celestial Alignment.

Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature should be used in such a way that its charges are kept rolling throughout the encounter. Aside from this, Force of Nature should be stacked with trinket procs and cooldowns whenever possible.

4.4.3. Tier 7 Talents

Euphoria Icon Euphoria provides its benefits passively, and greatly speeds up your Balance Energy cycle.

Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare is a DoT that you will keep up throughout the fight. It deals the most damage when it is applied at neutral Balance Energy, so that is the ideal time to apply and refresh it.

Balance of Power Icon Balance of Power also works passively, causing your Starfire Icon Starfire and Wrath Icon Wrath to extend the durations of your DoTs. In practice, this means you never need to refresh your DoTs after their initial applications.

5. ChangeLog

  • 22 Jun. 2015: Made various updates to the page, suggested by ournew Balance Druid reviewer.
    • Updated the Opening and Multiple Target rotations.
    • Stressed the importance of not overwriting Empowerment buffs.
  • 08 Mar. 2015: Updated the multiple target rotation to now advise using Starfall Icon Starfall against as many as 2 targets. Also made a small fix to indicate that Lunar/Solar Peak increases only the direct damage of Moonfire Icon Moonfire/Starfire Icon Starfire.
  • 23 Oct. 2014: Made a few small tweaks to the guide.
  • 20 Oct. 2014: Made a few updates to the guide, specifically regarding DoTs, and regarding the Eclipse damage bonus from Mastery.
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