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Ehiztari

Balance Druid Balancing Guide is . . . sloppy?

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I spent more than an hour trying to figure how HOW to "stay in Moonkin form" at level 11 before realizing that you can't GET to Moonkin form until level 21.

That leveling guide needs work if that's as accurate as it's going to be throughout.

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On 3/19/2021 at 8:44 PM, Ehiztari said:

I spent more than an hour trying to figure how HOW to "stay in Moonkin form" at level 11 before realizing that you can't GET to Moonkin form until level 21.

That leveling guide needs work if that's as accurate as it's going to be throughout.

I think a lot of the guides are good and a lot of the guides need work - I think some of them are well maintained but others were written by "personalities" and are rarely updated. Honestly, I know that people demand credibility behind the guides in the form of player rank/accomplishment, but they are so poorly written at times I wonder if they would just have a "real" writer do research and compile them.

Especially when most of them boil down to the author reciting the meta or allowing their personal biases to radically alter the community perspective. I've seen Builds and Talents have the dreaded X through them, calling them "too weak to consider" when in reality they sim something like 1% different. There are still (a couple) broken bad talents in the game, and there's nothing wrong with letting people know that, but really nothing is out of play for most players.

Most guides end up being designed for the high end player, but high end players do not read these class guides, so why? Why not make them approachable and readable for players who actually use them: new, casual, and semi-casual players looking to bolster their knowledge of classes/specs they don't have a lot of experience with. As they stand, most guides on this site and others do nothing but lend to the general toxicity of the player base as they "empower" the average player with knowledge that carries, contextually, irrelevant expectations. The guides, by their very nature, suggest that nothing but a top parse is acceptable to play the game when in reality, that type of mentality only applies to cutting edge mythic raiders - which 95% of players are not.

Pick the "wrong" talent? Get kicked, noob. Never mind what it personally sims, or how it practically works out on a specific fight. Let people sim to find out; talent descriptions should only describe where and when the talent is most potent - let the player decide after that. We all need to stop telling people with six month experience with the game or just started a brand new alt that they shouldn't even try a build they might think is fun. These are the people reading class guides. Players with any real level of seriousness to them are going to sim themselves while reading/comparing logs. They are not going to come to a class guide for anything.

Edited by durdyenglish

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Got busy prepping my BM Hunter and Fire Mage for arena and finally got back to leveling my Balance Druid and ran into another oddity in the rotation instructions.

Starts with this:

Cast two Wrath IconWrath 3.5-seconds before combat and enter Eclipse IconEclipse.

If I'm supposed to cast two Wrath 3.5 seconds before combat, how do I do that without pulling something? That's a targeted ability.

The following line says to cast Starfire IconStarfire to avoid pre-pulling.

Clearly the assumption here is that you are NOT yet in combat when you cast Starfire, and yet the only way to cast Wrath (twice) prior to that is to cast it on something, to pull it.

Can we just wipe the guide and admit that it's so badly out of date or so poorly written as to be useless. Maybe find someone else to write a new one?

This is beyond frustrating

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13 hours ago, Ehiztari said:

Got busy prepping my BM Hunter and Fire Mage for arena and finally got back to leveling my Balance Druid and ran into another oddity in the rotation instructions.

Starts with this:

Cast two Wrath IconWrath 3.5-seconds before combat and enter Eclipse IconEclipse.

If I'm supposed to cast two Wrath 3.5 seconds before combat, how do I do that without pulling something? That's a targeted ability.

The following line says to cast Starfire IconStarfire to avoid pre-pulling.

Clearly the assumption here is that you are NOT yet in combat when you cast Starfire, and yet the only way to cast Wrath (twice) prior to that is to cast it on something, to pull it.

Can we just wipe the guide and admit that it's so badly out of date or so poorly written as to be useless. Maybe find someone else to write a new one?

This is beyond frustrating

Hey.

This is definitely not clear enough in the guide, and I've instructed Bora to make the necessary clarifications.

However, it's not incorrect. The point is that Wrath has a long travel time (4 seconds at max range), which allows you to cast two spells before the first Wrath hits the target and engages it. As I said, though, we'll make the page clearer, because it's definitely needed.

However, I don't believe there is anything out of date with the guide. I'd be happy to know if that's not the case, though.

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On 3/21/2021 at 2:15 PM, durdyenglish said:

I think a lot of the guides are good and a lot of the guides need work - I think some of them are well maintained but others were written by "personalities" and are rarely updated. Honestly, I know that people demand credibility behind the guides in the form of player rank/accomplishment, but they are so poorly written at times I wonder if they would just have a "real" writer do research and compile them.

Especially when most of them boil down to the author reciting the meta or allowing their personal biases to radically alter the community perspective. I've seen Builds and Talents have the dreaded X through them, calling them "too weak to consider" when in reality they sim something like 1% different. There are still (a couple) broken bad talents in the game, and there's nothing wrong with letting people know that, but really nothing is out of play for most players.

Most guides end up being designed for the high end player, but high end players do not read these class guides, so why? Why not make them approachable and readable for players who actually use them: new, casual, and semi-casual players looking to bolster their knowledge of classes/specs they don't have a lot of experience with. As they stand, most guides on this site and others do nothing but lend to the general toxicity of the player base as they "empower" the average player with knowledge that carries, contextually, irrelevant expectations. The guides, by their very nature, suggest that nothing but a top parse is acceptable to play the game when in reality, that type of mentality only applies to cutting edge mythic raiders - which 95% of players are not.

Pick the "wrong" talent? Get kicked, noob. Never mind what it personally sims, or how it practically works out on a specific fight. Let people sim to find out; talent descriptions should only describe where and when the talent is most potent - let the player decide after that. We all need to stop telling people with six month experience with the game or just started a brand new alt that they shouldn't even try a build they might think is fun. These are the people reading class guides. Players with any real level of seriousness to them are going to sim themselves while reading/comparing logs. They are not going to come to a class guide for anything.

The problem you run into as a guide-writer (or guide-writing website) is that the moment you start treating talents that sim 1% below others (in reality, a 1% difference is probably still one that wouldn't push a talent to not be considered viable, but it's not far from where it starts), you begin losing credibility.

You have a segment of players that literally just picked up the game and don't know better, and a segment of players who are at the top and who never even check the guide (or guides) in the first place, but among that large sector in between, you will have a people calling your site wrong/inaccurate/outdated etc. The problem is that when they say that, they don't say "your site is wrong because it's saying X is a viable talent but it's actually a 1% drop in performance", they say "your site is wrong, who in their right minds would ever consider treating this garbage X talent as viable? lol better go check <other website/discord/stream>". And so the brand new or almost brand new players will have the idea that your site or your guide is wrong on many levels and shouldn't be checked.

The result of this is that you have to, within reason, make your guides as accurate as possible and have them be as min-maxxed as possible. I've been playing games for over 25 years, and since the beginning, the tendency (for me, my friends, and people I played with along the years) was to try to "emulate" what the top players are doing, even if our skill level or time investment was never going to match theirs. It doesn't matter that I could be using a much less efficient strategy and still be extracting most or all of my (limited) potential, what matters is that I at least rest certain in the knowledge that I'm min-maxxing my performance and "playing like the pros".

If you were to make a website with guides for "new, casual and semi-casual players", as you suggest, that site would be universally panned by the greater community, it would never get off the ground, and any new players except those arriving straight from search engines and who just won't know any better will be directed instead to other "correct" resources. That's just the reality of competitive gaming communities these days (and as I said, I don't think it's particularly new).

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10 hours ago, Vlad said:

The problem is that when they say that, they don't say "your site is wrong because it's saying X is a viable talent but it's actually a 1% drop in performance", they say "your site is wrong, who in their right minds would ever consider treating this garbage X talent as viable? lol better go check <other website/discord/stream>".

Yea I agree - I think website guides are forced to cater to the perception of elitist players even though elitist players do not use the website guides. I think ultimately, like many issues with WOW and gaming, the problem is squarely on the toxic elements of the community. If you don't build a site and a guide to uphold against the scrutiny of a high end player, it won't be universally recognized. However, this in itself validates the elitist perspective and allows it to take root in new players who are quickly subject to the loudest voice in the room. It's a no-win for everyone, but I've always felt the new player suffers the most.

It's always funny to hear the clamor of "fun police" whenever Blizzard changes anything, but I've always felt the real fun police are the people that hate on those who choose an off-meta talent because they enjoyed it more.

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I don't have a problem with the "at 60 you should play it this way" and "this is how the 1%-ers play" at all.

My issue is with the leveling guides - which, thank you for by the way except that. . .they're abysmal in some cases.

Instructing new players to Balance Druid to "always be in Moonkin form" at level 10 when the form isn't available until 21?

Also, the leveling guide goes to 60 but the rotation at that level in the leveling guide and the main rotation data (presumably for a level 60 also) don't quite match up, although that may simply be sloppy writing and the intent is that they do.

It would also be a little bit useful if some additional thought was put into PVP setups. I realize this is predominantly a raider resource, but PVP is a huge part of end game now and most classes are given short shrift with regards to PVP talents, rotations, special considerations, and theorycrafting.

The entire leveling guide section needs to have a detailed going over (at least for Balance Druid) and preferably the final result needs to be looked at by a qualified technical writer (I am one) for ambiguities, inconsistencies, over-reliance on unexplained jargon, and incompatibility with other sources on this site by the same author.

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Instructing new players to Balance Druid to "always be in Moonkin form" at level 10 when the form isn't available until 21?

That's what the "Level by Level Rotation" slider is for. If it's set to level 21+, the rest of the guide assumes you have access to the Moonkin form already. Set it to your actual level to get a more accurate rotation.

 

Quote

Also, the leveling guide goes to 60 but the rotation at that level in the leveling guide and the main rotation data (presumably for a level 60 also) don't quite match up, although that may simply be sloppy writing and the intent is that they do.

The main rotation is written around instanced content (raids and M+). Generally you're not going to follow the same rotation in the open world. It's a bit unintuitive that the guide says "Rotation to Level Up as a Balance Druid" when it's set to the level cap, but you can just look at it as "Rotation to Grind Anima as a Balance Druid" once you hit 60.

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On 4/12/2021 at 2:09 PM, durdyenglish said:

Yea I agree - I think website guides are forced to cater to the perception of elitist players even though elitist players do not use the website guides. I think ultimately, like many issues with WOW and gaming, the problem is squarely on the toxic elements of the community. If you don't build a site and a guide to uphold against the scrutiny of a high end player, it won't be universally recognized. However, this in itself validates the elitist perspective and allows it to take root in new players who are quickly subject to the loudest voice in the room. It's a no-win for everyone, but I've always felt the new player suffers the most.

It's always funny to hear the clamor of "fun police" whenever Blizzard changes anything, but I've always felt the real fun police are the people that hate on those who choose an off-meta talent because they enjoyed it more.

The point of this guide is not to tell you how to have fun. If you pick up any game be it a sport, a board game, or a video game, there is a correct and "meta" way to play the game and there will be "meta" explanations (or guides) of those procedures. If you want to have fun you do not need a guide to do so. Pick the talents that you want to pick, cast the spells you want to cast, and then accept the damage that you do afterwards. That is fine to me and there will be no judgement from this corner but this is a guide for people who are new and want to learn the class and become good so that they no longer need a guide to read from.

All the data inside the Balance Druid guide is backed up by an entire community of theorycrafters on the class where I also take part in. If you feel that the information is inaccurate, provide proof of these inaccuracies and I will address them ASAP but for all intents and purposes this guide is accurate apart from any misunderstanding or minor errors that can come from transcribing all the proper information into a guide format.

Shadowlands has been awful for guide writers because we write for people wanting to learn what is best and not for what's most fun. In fact I received flak from the community for giving an alternate view on Covenant choices at the start of the expansion so I fully swapped to the most optimal choice afterwards. There are so many ifs, ands, and buts in this expansion that those who wish to play off-the-cuff are kind of on their own as there are so many mini optimizations that remain unexplored because there was never a reason to explore it due to how much worse it performed compared to the other. This applies to legendaries, soulbinds, covenant choices, and talents. 

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23 hours ago, Ehiztari said:

I don't have a problem with the "at 60 you should play it this way" and "this is how the 1%-ers play" at all.

My issue is with the leveling guides - which, thank you for by the way except that. . .they're abysmal in some cases.

Instructing new players to Balance Druid to "always be in Moonkin form" at level 10 when the form isn't available until 21?

Also, the leveling guide goes to 60 but the rotation at that level in the leveling guide and the main rotation data (presumably for a level 60 also) don't quite match up, although that may simply be sloppy writing and the intent is that they do.

It would also be a little bit useful if some additional thought was put into PVP setups. I realize this is predominantly a raider resource, but PVP is a huge part of end game now and most classes are given short shrift with regards to PVP talents, rotations, special considerations, and theorycrafting.

The entire leveling guide section needs to have a detailed going over (at least for Balance Druid) and preferably the final result needs to be looked at by a qualified technical writer (I am one) for ambiguities, inconsistencies, over-reliance on unexplained jargon, and incompatibility with other sources on this site by the same author.

I normally reply in one post but I will address this one separately. 

First of all, the major inconsistency you are referring to was just an extra line that I had forgotten to remove which is the be in Moonkin Form line. It has since been removed as the spell unlock was moved to level 21 and I had just forgotten. As far as what you want included in a leveling guide, I just do not understand what you want to actually see here? This is a PvE guide and I am a PvE player and I picked the PvE war mode talents that are useful for leveling. 

As far as things not "matching up" you're right, they do not. We get covenants, soulbinds, and legendaries which are not included in the leveling process. Having access to literally everything in the game changes how we will play the class and Balance Druid is no exception. At the bottom of the page it says congratulations you have hit 60 head over to the main guide and start diving into how to optimally play. The leveling guide is a one purpose page and that is to get to 60 optimally. 

Finally, I can make an additional section for the jargon in the leveling guide but much of it is basic RPG vernacular. Crowd-control, filler, spender, DoTs, but even still, the context clues are there as well as a spell summary page on the main guide which is linked to at the end. The main game starts at 60 for the majority of the players who play World of Warcraft you do not need to learn or understand anything on the way to 60 to actually reach level 60 it is something that has been nerfed time and time again that people can do it without putting any gear on.

That all being said, I have fleshed out some of it but its just a repeat of what is discussed in the main guide. This will be coming in a later edit.

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3 hours ago, Bora said:

The point of this guide is not to tell you how to have fun. If you pick up any game be it a sport, a board game, or a video game, there is a correct and "meta" way to play the game and there will be "meta" explanations (or guides) of those procedures. If you want to have fun you do not need a guide to do so. Pick the talents that you want to pick, cast the spells you want to cast, and then accept the damage that you do afterwards. That is fine to me and there will be no judgement from this corner but this is a guide for people who are new and want to learn the class and become good so that they no longer need a guide to read from.

I'm not suggesting you forgo one approach for the other. I'm suggesting that they can coexist and allow guides to be more inclusive. I like what this site in particular did a few years back when you started to include an "easy mode" section that was less concerned about passing judgment over a talent but rather focused on describing how the talent was designed to be used. 

I personally think a guide should first and foremost explain WHAT the the thing is before you're told not to use it. There are (admittedly less, but still) instances in certain spec/class guides where a talent is cleanly written off with a single sentence where we're told it simply is "noncompetitive." There's no reason not to include data or description of how it performs (numerically), but why completely skip the actual description of the talent/ability itself?

Sometimes people need information, not instruction. A guide can prioritize the first without failing to highlight the latter.

ADDITION: I also understand the complex nature of the game mechanics right now, with covenants and soul binds, etc. I think now more than ever is the time for straight-forward description with the strong disclaimer that results may vary by personal experience. The community needs to have a realistic expectation to meta-crafting and understand that a single guide maintained by one perspective cannot possible be the end-all answer, but rather act as an informed, considerate, and dedicated opinion with the goal in mind to assist as many people as possible.

Edited by durdyenglish

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1 hour ago, durdyenglish said:

I'm not suggesting you forgo one approach for the other. I'm suggesting that they can coexist and allow guides to be more inclusive. I like what this site in particular did a few years back when you started to include an "easy mode" section that was less concerned about passing judgment over a talent but rather focused on describing how the talent was designed to be used. 

I personally think a guide should first and foremost explain WHAT the the thing is before you're told not to use it. There are (admittedly less, but still) instances in certain spec/class guides where a talent is cleanly written off with a single sentence where we're told it simply is "noncompetitive." There's no reason not to include data or description of how it performs (numerically), but why completely skip the actual description of the talent/ability itself?

Sometimes people need information, not instruction. A guide can prioritize the first without failing to highlight the latter.

ADDITION: I also understand the complex nature of the game mechanics right now, with covenants and soul binds, etc. I think now more than ever is the time for straight-forward description with the strong disclaimer that results may vary by personal experience. The community needs to have a realistic expectation to meta-crafting and understand that a single guide maintained by one perspective cannot possible be the end-all answer, but rather act as an informed, considerate, and dedicated opinion with the goal in mind to assist as many people as possible.

While that is normally my goal and what I generally do (only fully dismissing 2 options on the talents page for example), shadowlands brings so much bloat to the equation with an expansion full of systems on launch. I have also received feedback on the opposite of what you are talking about with the comments on the guide being TOO verbose for the scope of what it should be covering and actually cut back on much of my writing in this expansion. 

Basically, I am trying to find a good middle ground here but it is tough to please everyone. The content is accurate and it is frustrating to see all the negativity surrounding it and I do appreciate a constructive response like yours from time to time. I will look into broadening some pages within reason in the coming patch as much more is seeming to be viable with the heavy handed nerfs to much of the kit and have already expanded on the leveling guide and on the rotational section in an upcoming edit. 

Thank you and have a nice day.

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As a brand new Boomie player, I turned to the guide as I main a fire mage and this is my first proper alt character. I'm level 50 after applying a boost so I've set the slider set to level 50, however, in the talents it says to pick "Solstice" as the 50 talent but in the rotation it says "6. Cast Fury of Elune on cooldown". That's a direct contradiction and very confusing since I have no idea which one I'm actually supposed to be using.
The guide also mentions "5. Enter Eclipse by casting two wrath or starfires". No mention is made of which spell procs which Eclipse; the knowledge is just assumed. As a newbie, I had to go looking for the info and leaving the guide to find out which spell to cast kinda defeats the purpose of a guide designed to tell me what to cast. 
In a similar vein, "9. Cast wrath or starfire as a filler to build astral power inside Eclipse". No mention is made of which spell works best in which Eclipse, again it's assumed knowledge. A quick clarification there of "Cast wrath in solar Eclipse or starfire in lunar Eclipse as filler to build astral power" would make a big difference.
Further down, in the PvP Talents, the guide talks about the Moonkin aura and Thorns and then says "Those are the only two truly damaging passives / abilities that the PvP talents have". That's confusing as at first glance it seems as though you're saying Thorns is a damaging passive talent

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Bora,

Thank you for the updates.

While this guide (in general) is indeed intended for players hoping for top-tier performance, extra care is (I think) warranted for the leveling guide as that's where the newer folks are going to be looking (if they have any sense).

My specific issues were with the apparent (perhaps not actual) sloppiness of giving global advice on Moonkin form many levels before it could be implemented and with the language surrounding the advice on the Wrath-before-combat/Starfire-to-avoid-pre-pull section (which the administrator explained).

Once I figured out that you couldn't enter Moonkin Form before level 21 the issue was more, "If this is this wrong, what ELSE is wrong here?"

Being unfamiliar with the Druid class in general and Balance spec specifically, I simply had no way of knowing the answer to that.

In an attempt to suss it out myself, I tried matching up what was in the leveling guide with the final guide - and that's where I found the inconsistencies between those two. Most of those were just language choice, but it was still confusing and it left me with the impression that the leveling guide had been either abandoned or jobbed out to a different author who hadn't cross-referenced it with the primary guide.

I'm not saying that's what actually happened. I'm saying that for a newcomer to Druid/Balance, that's what appeared to have happened and it rocked my trust in the guide somewhat.

In the case of my confusion about Wrath/Starfire happening "before combat/to prevent pre-pulling, I was looking at it from Blizzard's definition of "in combat" which starts the moment you fire the spells, not the more practical definition of "in combat" which in context here would be when the spells actually landed. That's likely the fault of a career in IT as an analyst and tech writer. You tend to develop a somewhat system-oriented/literalist view of things when it comes to documentation and that blinded me to the (in hindsight) obvious answer which the administrator gave me.

I have two other druids in my sphere that I am also trying to help and for them (after the clarification I got on those) I've told them to fire one Wrath 3.5 second before the pull, fire the second immediately while that one is still in-flight, fire Starfire immediately after those two land and the mob has already committed to you. My explanation on the latter bit is that Starfire affects nearby mobs and the intent is that there is no unintended inclusion in the pull - and that waiting to do it last and after the Wrath mob has committed reduces the chance of that.

I'm hoping I got that right. 🙂

Thank you again for the work you've done here. I do very much appreciate it.
 

Edited by Ehiztari

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Added a section clarifying the rotation and the priority which is difficult to do in the slider format. Let me know how that makes sense to everyone.

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