Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4)

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Balance Druid Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Balance Druid core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. 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 Pacteh, one of the best Balance Druids in the world, who raids in Method. You can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The Balance Druid rotation can best be summarised as:

  1. Apply and maintain Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire on the target.
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge on cooldown.
    • Thanks to Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars, the cooldown of Starsurge is sometimes reset, and the spell becomes instant cast. These instant cast Starsurges are your top priority.
  3. Cast Starfall Icon Starfall on cooldown.
    • Make sure that the entire duration of your Starfall happens while you are under the effects of Lunar Eclipse.
    • Its cooldown will be reset each time you enter a Lunar Eclipse.
    • If there is a moment of the encounter where dealing damage to multiple targets is important, you can delay Starfall slightly for this purpose.
  4. Repeat the following cycle indefinitely:
    • Cast Wrath Icon Wrath until you enter a Lunar Eclipse.
    • Cast Starfire Icon Starfire until you enter a Solar Eclipse.
    • Cast Wrath Icon Wrath until you enter a Lunar Eclipse.
    • And so on.

This is the basic rotation cycle. There are certain subtleties with regards to applying and refreshing your DoTs. This is a very important aspect, which we discuss in our DoT section.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Your most effective AoE strategy depends on the number of enemies you are facing, and on whether or not they are stacked together.

First of all, regardless of their location or number, you should only use Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom assuming that you can plant them before the pull, or while you are moving. Never plant the mushrooms if it will interfere with your rotation.

If you are facing a small number of stacked adds, or adds that are spread out, then you should maintain your DoTs on them (the priority is applying the eclipsed DoT to all of them, and then the un-eclipsed one). In addition to this, you should be utilizing your instant cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge casts (thanks to Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars) as soon as you get them. Refreshing the DoTs and using your Shooting Stars procs should take up all your global cooldowns.

Multi-dotting, especially when on the move, is made easy by Lunar Shower Icon Lunar Shower.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

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 when possible. In any case, it should be used as many times as possible during the encounter.

There are other cooldowns that you can obtain, granted to you by your talents. We discuss these in greater depth in our detailed cooldowns section.

3.1. Abilities Granted by Symbiosis

Symbiosis Icon Symbiosis 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. Both of these spells come in a slightly modified version (less powerful than the original). You can see the full list of spells here, but the spells useful to you as a Balance Druid are:

  • Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image creates 3 copies of yourself, all of which cast damaging spells on your enemies. It provides a very small DPS boost. It is gained from Mages.
  • Misdirection Icon Misdirection allows you to temporarily transfer your generated threat to a friendly target, for 4 seconds, something that is especially useful at the start of the fight or when new adds spawn. It is gained from Hunters.
  • Many other defensive and survival cooldowns (most notably Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell from Death Knights, Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows from Rogues, and Unending Resolve Icon Unending Resolve from Warlocks).

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Balance Druid↑top

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

As a Balance Druid, you have a unique resource, your Balance Power bar. This is not a resource bar per se, as with many other classes. Instead, it should be regarded as a sliding scale, with 3 relevant points: the left end (Lunar), the center (neutral) and the right end (Solar). When you reach either of the two ends, you will gain a buff that increases your damage (Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar) increases Arcane damage and Eclipse (Solar) Icon Eclipse (Solar) increases Nature damage).

Certain spells cause the scale to travel in one direction, while others cause it to travel in the other direction. The scale can only travel one way until it reaches the end, after which time it will be forced to travel the opposite way and so on. The spells are:

  • Wrath Icon Wrath (deals Nature damage) causes the scale to move left.
  • Starfire Icon Starfire (deals Arcane damage) causes the scale to move right.
  • Starsurge Icon Starsurge (deals Spellstorm damage) causes the scale to move in which ever direction it is already moving.

You can also modify your energy by using Astral Communion Icon Astral Communion. Astral Communion is a channeled spell that causes the scale to move in which ever direction it is already moving. It is best used out of combat, in order to prepare a particular eclipse state.

When your Balance Power scale is in the center (neutral position), you have the choice of casting either a Wrath or a Starfire, in order to start moving the scale towards one of the two eclipses.

An eclipse state ends when the scale reaches the center (while traveling towards the other end).

4.2. Applying and Refreshing DoTs

Keeping up both of your DoTs on the target at all times is extremely important. This is second in priority only to using your instant cast Starsurge Icon Starsurges.

Two things are important to consider, first, in regards to your DoTs and eclipse states.

  • Moonfire Icon Moonfire's duration will be extended by 2 seconds each time you critically hit with Starfire Icon Starfire and Starsurge Icon Starsurge, and Sunfire Icon Sunfire's duration will be extended by 2 seconds each time you critically hit with Wrath Icon Wrath and Starsurge Icon Starsurge.
  • For 15 seconds after entering an eclipse state, you gain 15% spell haste.

Because the duration of DoTs will vary, depending on how many critical strikes you score, it is not possible to set out a fixed cycle for refreshing your DoTs. However, here are some guidelines we can provide you with, that should make it easy for you to understand:

  • Always cast the eclipsed DoT when you enter that eclipse state (Moonfire Icon Moonfire for Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar), and Sunfire Icon Sunfire for Eclipse (Solar) Icon Eclipse (Solar)). This is because you want the DoT in question to benefit from the damage-bonus of the eclipse.
  • After entering a new eclipse state, refresh the non-eclipsed DoT only when it is about to expire.
  • When applying or refreshing both DoTs at the same time (start of the fight, new add, DoTs expiring at the same time, etc.), it is optimal to apply the non-eclipsed DoT first, because this will grant you a stack of Lunar Shower Icon Lunar Shower, which will boost the damage of the eclipsed DoT slightly.
  • Re-apply your DoTs if you are under the effects of powerful buffs, such as those gained from encounter mechanics (powerful damage increase or spell haste increase) or from potions or other procs. Intellect trinket procs are especially important to watch out for.

4.3. Opening Sequence

Astral Communion Icon Astral Communion allows you to choose which eclipse state you want to start the fight in. It is best to start the fight within 1 cast of entering an eclipse state, whether this be Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar) or Eclipse (Solar) Icon Eclipse (Solar). For Eclipse (Lunar), you should start within 1 Wrath Icon Wrath of it and then follow this opening sequence. We want to emphasise that it is crucial to use any instant cast Starsurge Icon Starsurges you get immediately..

  1. Cast Starfall Icon Starfall.
  2. Cast Wrath Icon Wrath.
  3. Cast Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune and Nature's Vigil Icon Nature's Vigil.
  4. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire.
  5. Cast Starfall Icon Starfall as soon as the previous Starfall runs out (its cooldown will have been reset by entering Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar)).
  6. Spam Starfire Icon Starfire until you reach exit Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar).
  7. Cast Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment.
  8. Apply one of your DoTs (thanks to Celestial Alignment, the other will automatically be applied).
  9. Cast Starfall Icon Starfall as soon as the previous Starfall runs out (its cooldown will have been reset by Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment).
  10. Spam Starfire Icon Starfire.
  11. Re-apply both DoTs before Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment ends (so that they benefit from the damage buff).

If you start within 1 Starfire Icon Starfire of Eclipse (Solar), you should follow this opening sequence.

  1. Use your potion and cast Starfall Icon Starfall.
  2. Cast Starfire Icon Starfire to enter Eclipse (Solar) Icon Eclipse (Solar).
  3. Cast Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune and Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment.
  4. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire to targets while re-casting Starfall Icon Starfall and using Starsurge Icon Starsurge on cooldown.
  5. Spam Wrath Icon Wrath.

4.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

4.4.1. Celestial Alignment

Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment provides you with burst DPS, by granting you bonuses to your Arcane and Nature damage dealt, as well as allowing you to apply both DoTs by simply casting Moonfire Icon Moonfire. It is important to note, also, that while this cooldown is active, you do not generate any energy and your energy bar is reset to a neutral location.

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.

During Celestial Alignment, you should continue to cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge on cooldown, and you should spam Starfire Icon Starfire.

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, but it should be used with caution. It only provides its benefit while you are in an eclipse state, or while Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment is active. Therefore, you should not simply stack this with Celestial Alignment, because their durations are different. If you do that, when Celestial Alignment runs out, you will be left in no eclipse state and with 15 seconds left on Incarnation: Chosen of Elune. Instead, we recommend that you first use Incarnation: Chosen of Elune as soon as you enter an eclipse state. Then, when you exit the eclipse, you should use Celestial Alignment. This will ensure that very little if any of your Incarnation: Chosen of Elune will be wasted.

Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature should be used in conjunction with procs and buffs, since the treants benefit from your Intellect, Haste, and Critical Strike chance. Just make sure that you are not delaying them so much that all 3 charges are unused (at least one should always be recharging).

4.4.3. Tier 6 Talents

If you have chosen Dream of Cenarius Icon Dream of Cenarius as your tier 6 talent, then you should regularly cast Healing Touch Icon Healing Touch (on yourself or other raid members who need the healing) to boost the damage of your next eclipse.

You should use Nature's Swiftness Icon Nature's Swiftness on cooldown to get instant cast Healing Touches.

If you have chosen Nature's Vigil Icon Nature's Vigil as your Tier 6 talent, then you should stack this cooldown together with Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune as well as any other cooldowns available, including Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp.

In the event that you have not chosen Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, then you can stack Nature's Vigil with Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment.

5. Changelog↑top

  • 18 Oct. 2013: Improved multiple target rotation and Opening Sequence section. Also improved the recommended usage of Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature.
  • 12 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Updated several areas of the guide to account for changes to talents and abilities.
    • Removed a mention for Glyph of the Moonbeast, since it has been removed from the game.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: nothing to change.
  • 16 Apr. 2013: Made several slight improvements to the guide.
    • Entirely reworked the Multiple Target Rotation section.
    • Made slight improvements to the single target rotation, namely by mentioning that Starfall should be used entirely while under Lunar Eclipse.
    • Clarified that both DoTs should be kept up at all times against a single target.
    • Emphasised the importance of using Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars procs immediately.