Friday, October 3, 2008

WotLK Balance Spec

Given that patch 3.0.2 is likely to hit in a mere eleven days, the talent trees probably aren't going to change very much, which makes me a little disappointed. My guild has asked me if Hana would still be my main in WotLK, given that I've devoted so much time to Gillien of late, and I think I can quite reasonably say yes, but honestly the new higher tier Balance talents have left me less enthused. The changes to the lower level Resto tiers actually get me much more excited because now every point I put in Restoration will be of use to me.

I remember just prior to BC a lot of people specced into their new 41 talents right away, but I stayed 31/0/20 with Hana and just added more points into Balance as I leveled in Outland. With WotLK I'm 95% certain I'm going to do something similar, and go with a 45/0/16. I'm quite certain that I'm going to want all the low level Resto talents, whereas the higher level Balance talents I may need to hear more about before I make a decision.

You see, in Resto I plan on taking:

Tier 1

Furor (5/5) - I never understood why an obviously Feral talent was placed in the Resto tree. As a moonkin I never gave it a second glance. Now that it's been changed to increase intellect in moonkin form, it's an obvious first 5 points into Resto for me. I still don't understand why it's in the Resto tree, other than as potential encouragement for moonkin and ferals to pick up other talents that might help them as healer, but it's a no-brainer.

Improved Mark of the Wild (2/2) - This used to be my first five points into Resto, but now it's been reduced to a heavenly 2 points instead of 5. Many restos in my former raid guild (R.I.P. Bloodl├╝st) passed this up in favor of Furor so they could by more useful arena, and of course the ferals did as well just because it's common sense for them, so most of the time I was the sole druid in the raid with Imp MotW. I admittedly have some fondness for the talent as well because it's our sole raid buff and I like bringing that extra bit to the table. (Old moonkin with something to prove stigma, I guess.)

Tier 2

Natural Shapeshifter (3/3) - I never had this talent before. In restrospect it would have been more helpful than say Naturalist, which I'd taken to reduce the cast time of Healing Touch (back when I was very reliant on it in order to heal), because it eats into my mana pool when I have to shift in and out to battle rez someone. Tier 2 is not very interesting to moonkin otherwise, because Subtlety no longer affects Balance spells.

Tier 3 (and this is where it gets busy)

Master Shapeshifter (2/2) - This is the first Tier 3 talent that really caught my eye. It's brand new and what moonkin could say no to 4% more spell damage? It's only 2% per talent point! That's just about as good or better than Wrath of Cenarius which is 4% and 2% for Starfire and Wrath only and deep in Balance to boot. No matter what we cast we get more spell damage. Yes, please!

Omen of Clarity (1/1) - This is another talent in the Resto tree that formerly only a Feral would use, because it relied on melee attacks to proc, but now it'll proc off spells too. Occasional spell cast free of mana? Can't pass that up for the meager cost of a single talent point.

Intensity (3/3) - So many good things in Tier 3! Other moonkin debating on various forums have argued whether to take Dreamstate or Intensity, because some people are having problems fitting in both. Generally they favor Intensity, but since I'm not a math person myself I had to think about it for a bit. I eventually decided Intensity would be better because of the fact leather caster gear will have so much more spirit now that it likely outweigh the bonus Dreamstate would get from my intellect. Spirit used to be crap for me, but since the spirit overhaul a patch or two ago I hardly ever run out of mana, and with the consolated spellpower gear in WotLK I'll be sharing gear with resto druids a lot.

I very much doubt that these 16 points will change from now until level 80. Whereas I'm not sure about many of the higher level Balance talents. My spec at the start of patch 3.0.2 will probably look like this:

http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=0xGbhicsVdhVZZbxcub

Of the new talents I'm definitely taking Improved Insect Swarm and Improved Moonkin Form. Most damage rotations I use have both Insect Swarm and Moonfire up so I'll almost always be able to capitalize on IIS, and the spell damage from spirit in IMF is great synergy with Intensity. I'm going to like spirit.

But among the other talents there are a few I just don't know about...

Typhoon - If I have the space for this I want to take it. I don't think it'll have much use in raids, but it might be fun while soloing or in 5-man instances.

Starfall - From what I'm hearing this talent isn't all that awesome, but I like the idea of a mobile AoE that follows me around. Again, I'm not thinking raids so much as soloing. Still, since it's actually a certain number of stars divided among the targets in range rather than a traditional AoE that does the same damage no matter the number of enemies, it might be good for boss fights.

Eclipse - I'll be honest, I don't like this talent. Blizzard means well by it, but introducing some unpredicatability and spell switching by it, but I don't want to be looking for a buff in the upper right corner of my screen to tell me which spell I should be casting. I already switch my spell rotations based on my remaining mana pool, whether or not I expect to keep my Innervate, how fast the boss is going down, etc. Tracking a short buff like this in the middle of a potentially hectic combat with a lot of moving around would just make my head explode. And so of course Blizzard buffs it to make it more desireable, and now I might actually have to take it, but I don't want to.

And of course...

Dreamstate - If I can squeeze it in I will. I like mana regen since I still remember my days as oomkin, but supposedly it's not as good anymore and people are having trouble getting it to fit. I can't at 70, but I might be able to at 80.

I'm thinking my 80 build might end up looking something like this:

http://wotlk.wowhead.com/?talent=0xGbhicsAdhVz0tZbxcub

No Eclipse or Improved Fairie Fire. No Owlkin Frenzy and I lose my Force of Nature, but I'll have all my regen and straight DPS talents. I think I could be happy with this build, supposing Eclipse really does turn out to be worthless.

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