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Big Balance Druid Changes on Beta

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Balance Druids have been in a pretty bad place on the beta for a while now and were almost memed out of existence, but there's finally some good news as CM Seph responded to some detailed feedback on the class with a lengthy post explaining plans for the spec. New baseline passives, empowerments that are more significant to gameplay, new and changed talents and a lot of specific skill improvements all add up to make boomkins interesting to play again, so check out the detailed plans for the spec below and check out the recent talent changes.

Blizzard LogoSeph (source)

05/01/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Solar Empowerment and Lunar Empowerment do not provide rewarding gameplay.
Single-target rotation can be optimized by a CastSequence macro.

This is two-parts and our two most important goals for the spec’s changelist going into BfA (and they tie in with each other):

First is to add something interesting to the base rotation. As many have pointed out, Balance Druid’s baseline rotation is pretty predictable, and doesn’t offer much in the way of procs or reactionary gameplay. New baseline passive: Solar WrathSolar Wrath has a 20% chance to grant Lunar EmpowermentLunar Empowerment. Lunar StrikeLunar Strike has a 20% chance to grant Solar EmpowermentSolar Empowerment. The goal here is to break up the monotony of chain-casting of only one generator with procs that incentivize you to use the other generator.

Second is to make Solar/Lunar Empowerments more meaningful. The damage bonus they provide on live isn’t negligible, but they don’t provide anything interesting other than damage. It’s hard to make a damage bonus with no created gameplay feel like a bonus psychologically, when you know in the back of your mind that everyone’s damage is tuned to be similar at the end of the day. We’re trying two changes here:

Solar EmpowermentSolar Empowerment is changing into: Causes your next Solar WrathSolar Wrath to explode for an additional X% of its damage to all nearby enemies (also hits the primary target). This helps to differentiate the two Empowerments a bit mechanically and visually. It also gives Solar Empowerments, which are now granted by Lunar StrikeLunar Strike, an AOE component so that when it procs while you’re AOEing with Lunar StrikeLunar Strike, you feel good about getting and using the Solar Empowerment proc. Currently the Solar Empowerment bonus is half the value of Lunar EmpowermentLunar Empowerment’s damage bonus, and scales by Mastery at the same half rate.
StarlordStarlord talent is becoming baseline, making Lunar and Solar Empowerment always reduce the cast time of their affected spells by 15%. This is a simple and direct way for Empowerments to be felt and desired. StarlordStarlord is being redesigned into: Starsurge grants you 3% Haste for 15 sec. Stacks up to 3 times. Gaining a stack does not refresh the duration. (Tier 20 4-pc bonus)


This doesn't instantly make Empowerments the most interesting class mechanic in the game, but it should be a step forward.

05/01/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Fury of Elune, Sunfire, and Lunar Strike do not share the same splash radius.

We’ve increased/standardized the splash radius of Lunar StrikeLunar Strike, Fury of EluneFury of Elune, Full MoonFull Moon, and SunfireSunfire to 8 yds. Many of the 3-5 yd radius AOEs in the game started off as: Let’s make this spell effect that looks explosion-y, but won’t impact AOE damage too much, so let’s make it a small 3 yd radius. In practice, having AOE capability means players want to make use of it, and when it’s 3-5 yds it’s very difficult to and thus can be frustrating. 8 yds means you can more easily hit a basic clump of enemies on you or the tank.

05/01/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Lunar Strike is insignificant in AOE despite having a splash mechanic.

Lunar StrikeLunar Strike’s radius increasing from 5 to 8 yds should be noticeable, but we can probably safely nudge up the splash damage a bit (25->33%) and see how it plays. Note that next week you’ll see a 10% reduction to Lunar StrikeLunar Strike’s base damage – that’s to mirror a new 10% reduction to its base cast time (2.5->2.25 sec). This makes Lunar StrikeLunar Strike’s cast time and Astral Power generation to be each exactly 50% higher than Solar WrathSolar Wrath, and makes it no longer slower resource generation/ramp with Lunar StrikeLunar Strike than Solar WrathSolar Wrath.

05/01/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Stellar Flare suffers from a very heavy cost. A Starfall that costs 60, plus the Stellar Flare (10), plus the fact we aren't casting a filler (8), means Stellar Flare costs a bit too much.

Stellar FlareStellar Flare requiring a StarfallStarfall to be down to get a large portion of its damage felt bad – it’s a kind of weird negative synergy with both being Astral Power spenders. We’ve removed the Stellar Empowerment portion of it, and instead its damage is increased by Balance mastery (the portion that increases Astral Power spender damage), and kept its 10 Astral Power for now.

One use case for Stellar FlareStellar Flare was that it can be a spender for targets that can’t all be covered by a single StarfallStarfall (even though Stellar DriftStellar Drift covers the entire world and pulls the floor above), and this use case pointed even more toward removing the Stellar Empowerment requirement portion of it. I think Stellar FlareStellar Flare is still looking for its place on the spec - we’ll continue to look for opportunities to improve/change it.

05/01/2018 12:21 AMPosted by Cyouskin
AOE gameplay is too reliant on Shooting Stars. Other talents do not come close to the         performance of Shooting Stars.

Shooting StarsShooting Stars looks/feels cool, but provided just a little too much Astral Power. Especially considering that the talent row it’s now on (with Stellar DriftStellar Drift and Stellar FlareStellar Flare) provides no other resources generation, reducing its Astral power proc makes sense.

05/01/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Cyouskin
Force of Nature suffers from scaling issues. The other talents have a notable effect on Astral Power generation.

Agree that summoning some Treants on a long cooldown doesn’t bring much in terms of mechanical interaction. It now generates some Astral Power over its duration.

05/01/2018 12:21 AMPosted by Cyouskin
The current rate of Astral Power generation is pretty low.

StarsurgeStarsurge’s cost hasn’t been changed, but some amount of Astral Power generation has been added to a few places – Warrior of EluneWarrior of Elune, Force of NatureForce of Nature, Fury of EluneFury of Elune (now a generator instead of spender), Nature's BalanceNature's Balance (new design). Additionally, the average cast speed of your two generators has been meaningfully sped up, with StarlordStarlord’s 15% cast time reduction becoming baseline. Definitely will be keeping an eye on pacing feedback.

05/01/2018 05:50 AMPosted by Maruul
And for the love of god remove Nature's Balance, I have never seen a talent that makes me more depressed. I dread the day I have to pick it because it's the best, it is horribly unexciting and makes the rotation even more wrath spam. Don't make it baseline, don't buff it, just delete it.

Agree here. The bonus it provided ended up making the single-target rotation less engaging, even if it was sometimes nice to have in multitarget situations.

The new/redesigned version of Nature's BalanceNature's Balance is: While in combat, you generate 2 Astral Power every 3 sec. While out of combat, your Astral Power rebalances to 50 instead of depleting to empty. It's a combination of the live Blessing of An'sheBlessing of An'she talent (which has been removed and one half folded into this one) and the new effect which removes out-of-combat Astral Power degeneration while below half, allowing you to enter combat with up to 50 Astral Power, which allows a StarsurgeStarsurge or StarfallStarfall on the opener.

05/08/2018 05:18 PMPosted by Gärzen
Welp the new build came out today and another nerf in the form of Soul of the Forest only reduces the cost of starfall by 10 down from 20. Thats the nail in the coffin right there, destroyed the rest of our niche. This was the build we were looking forward to.

StarfallStarfall’s base Astral Power cost has been reduced to 50. We probably should have waited to make that change to Soul of the Forest along with the rest of the changes to the spec. Overall, that reduction to Soul of the ForestSoul of the Forest is still the right thing (I think many of you agree) - 1/3 off the cost of StarfallStarfall for a talent is pretty overboard – but without the context of the rest of the changes it’s understandable that it doesn’t look right.

05/13/2018 03:53 PMPosted by Comfybundles
Please give us a way to spread Moonfire on multiple targets.

Twin Moons is a new talent that causes MoonfireMoonfire to deal additional damage and also hit a second nearby enemy within 20 yds of that target. (a.k.a legendary shoulders) This was useful functionality that helped with ramp in multitarget situations and was also visually satisfying.

One other change is to Celestial AlignmentCelestial Alignment/Incarnation: Chosen of EluneIncarnation: Chosen of Elune. Instead of providing +50% Astral Power generation on Lunar StrikeLunar Strike/Solar WrathSolar Wrath, they now provide 15% Haste (and their damage bonus has been tuned down slightly for now). The spec’s resource is a bit of a not-super-stable balance of Astral Power and Lunar/Solar Empowerment generation/consumption, and Celestial AlignmentCelestial Alignment/Incarnation: Chosen of EluneIncarnation: Chosen of Elune sometimes caused resource/Empowerments overflow, a problem that a Haste bonus doesn’t have.

Thanks for all the well-written and constructive feedback, especially from the original poster.

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Well those are some interesting and much needed changes, as it was when I tried Balance on Beta it felt like a slightly nerfed version of live.

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OMG OMG OMG OMG, This is it! This is the changes I want to see for boomkin. When I first read the very few changes in the alpha for Boomkin I was devastated, it is my main spec since the start of Legion and seeing it getting so few changes and even nerf in BfA alpha is just sad. But now, I am totally on board with these changes, can't wait to test it in Bfa.

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1 hour ago, Yunaeska said:

can't wait to test it in Bfa.

I think it's going to be Legion all over again. Some classes/specs get altered to make it flow more nicely/intuitively, only to change exactly the part you fell in love with, making you feel disconnected from the character you've been playing with all this time.

 

/feels

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1 hour ago, Yridaa said:

I think it's going to be Legion all over again. Some classes/specs get altered to make it flow more nicely/intuitively, only to change exactly the part you fell in love with, making you feel disconnected from the character you've been playing with all this time.

 

/feels

I understand but it's inevitable in every expansion. My biggest concern after leaving Legion is the legendary system. In legion this system has become the peanut and butter to the playstyle of every class and so far they have trying to maintain some of its effects to Bfa for example void torrent for spriest or the phoenix flame for fire mage, but boomkin was received non until now. This is such a relief.

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5 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I think it's going to be Legion all over again. Some classes/specs get altered to make it flow more nicely/intuitively, only to change exactly the part you fell in love with, making you feel disconnected from the character you've been playing with all this time.

 

/feels

Isn't that what happens in every expansion ever?

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1 hour ago, Valhalen said:

Isn't that what happens in every expansion ever?

I think that depends on what classes and specs you've been playing I guess. I totally loved the Holy Power resource mechanic for Holy Paladins ever since it was introduced in Cataclysm, but then they went back on their decision and introduced more homogenization. Now we're back to the ever dull "You have a very large mana bar but just don't cast too inefficiently for too long".

 

It is removing mechanics like those that makes it very uninspiring and uninteractive. Making a split second decision to either spend your special resources on a powerful single target heal or wait for 2 seconds to do an AOE heal were things that made it cool. Now it's just "I'll just spam my only single target heal until I drop dead and spam AOE when I need to spam AOE."

 

Typically, I really like resource generation and spending mechanics, especially so if it's topped off with a proc here and there that allows for more generation and spending (Or sometimes free instead of spending) (And Holy Paladins had a lot of those, but definitely not exclusive to them of course). But for some of these classes or specs, Legion (And perhaps BfA depending on those legendary item skill replacements) set them back to before the cataclysm era.

 

Blizzard just keeps lowering the skill ceiling by removing important decisionmaking on what to use when, and then complain that people just use castsequence macro's and introduce GCD to skills that didn't have them to make it interesting, only to realize months later that it's just yet another step backwards. It's like they're digging their own grave, complain about it, and realize that it wasn't a smart thing to do.

 

 

Man I just keep on ranting, I'll stop. :P

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7 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I think that depends on what classes and specs you've been playing I guess. I totally loved the Holy Power resource mechanic for Holy Paladins ever since it was introduced in Cataclysm, but then they went back on their decision and introduced more homogenization. Now we're back to the ever dull "You have a very large mana bar but just don't cast too inefficiently for too long".

 

It is removing mechanics like those that makes it very uninspiring and uninteractive. Making a split second decision to either spend your special resources on a powerful single target heal or wait for 2 seconds to do an AOE heal were things that made it cool. Now it's just "I'll just spam my only single target heal until I drop dead and spam AOE when I need to spam AOE."

 

Typically, I really like resource generation and spending mechanics, especially so if it's topped off with a proc here and there that allows for more generation and spending (Or sometimes free instead of spending) (And Holy Paladins had a lot of those, but definitely not exclusive to them of course). But for some of these classes or specs, Legion (And perhaps BfA depending on those legendary item skill replacements) set them back to before the cataclysm era.

 

Blizzard just keeps lowering the skill ceiling by removing important decisionmaking on what to use when, and then complain that people just use castsequence macro's and introduce GCD to skills that didn't have them to make it interesting, only to realize months later that it's just yet another step backwards. It's like they're digging their own grave, complain about it, and realize that it wasn't a smart thing to do.

 

 

Man I just keep on ranting, I'll stop. :P

 I completely understand what you're saying. I like the idea of  resource generation mechanic  they borrowed from D3 and implemented in WoW (which itself was a refined mechanic borrowed from Warriors and Rogues in WoW). I think all classes should have that instead of the typical mana bar; not only this would make combat more dynamic and engaging but also remove that pestering problem of going out of mana and becoming useless for the rest of the battle.

Edited by Valhalen

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On 19.05.2018 at 7:48 PM, Weltenfeind said:

Slightly OT: I wonder if this signals bigger changes to some of the other classes as well.

Not sure if any class or spec was nearly shit as balance druids, and need that much attention.

The only thing i could want more for moonkin would be moon spells, cause it still kind of blocks the talent row as it is kind of mandatory to generate astral power but don't think boomkins get more attention.

Anyone knows when the changes will be implemented?

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How many expansions have we had Stellar Flare now, and it has never been any good. A single-target DoT that required Starfall to be down, and required Astral Power, was a horrible design. If that Stellar Empowerment requirement goes away then it becomes a very good option for specializing in spread cleave or even single-target.

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