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Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we list your Balance Druid (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Balance Druid will face you with. The other articles of our Balance Druid guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

The Balance Druid rotation can best be summarised as:

  1. Apply and maintain Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm and Moonfire Icon Moonfire (or Sunfire Icon Sunfire) on the target;
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge on cooldown;
  3. Cast Wrath Icon Wrath until you enter a Lunar Eclipse;
  4. Cast Starfire Icon Starfire until you enter a Solar Eclipse;
  5. Cast Wrath Icon Wrath until you enter a Lunar Eclipse;
  6. Repeat this cycle indefinitely.

When you enter a Solar Eclipse, Moonfire Icon Moonfire is replaced by Sunfire Icon Sunfire. When the Solar Eclipse ends, Sunfire Icon Sunfire is replaced by Moonfire Icon Moonfire. Note that you cannot have Moonfire and Sunfire up at the same time on your target.

2. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Balance Druid, you only have two DPS cooldowns. They should be used as follows:

  • The guidelines for using Starfall Icon Starfall are:
    • use it at the start of Lunar Eclipse. If this is not always possible, then
    • use it on cooldown;
    • if there are adds at a certain point in the encounter, delay Starfall to ensure it is available for that time.
  • Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. If possible, use it right before Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, as the treants benefit from the increased attack speed.

3. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Your most effective AoE strategy (when there are 3 or more targets present) is to:

  • Use Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom on cooldown (plant 3 Mushrooms and then detonate them) where the enemies are located;
  • Apply and maintain your DoTs on all enemies, if they will be alive for more than a few seconds.

Ideally, you should be in Eclipse (Solar) Icon Eclipse (Solar) for the AoE phase (because both the mushrooms and Insect Swarm's damage is buffed by Solar Eclipse). Failing that, you should be in Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar) (where Moonfire and Starfall Icon Starfall are buffed), but you should not be without an eclipse.

3.1. Lunar Shower

If you have taken the Lunar Shower Icon Lunar Shower talent, in AoE situations, you should:

  • Spam only Moonfire Icon Moonfire (and Sunfire Icon Sunfire, when in Solar Eclipse) on all targets present, if the AoE phase lasts less than 15 seconds.
  • Alternate casts of Moonfire Icon Moonfire (or Sunfire Icon Sunfire) with casts of Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm or Wild Mushroom Icon Wild Mushroom, if the AoE phase lasts more than 15 seconds. If the adds are grouped together, and Wild Mushroom is on cooldown, you can also allow for a tick of Hurricane Icon Hurricane (without letting your 3 second Lunar Shower buff drop off).

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. 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 moving.

By default (after you die), your Balance Power scale will be in the center, at the neutral position. At this point, 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. Nature's Grace

Nature's Grace Icon Nature's Grace is a talent that causes your casts of Moonfire Icon Moonfire or Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm to grant you 15% spell haste for 15 seconds. The effect has a 1 minute internal cooldown. However, each time you enter an Eclipse state (either Lunar or Solar), the cooldown is reset.

In order to make the most of this talent, you should aim to refresh your DoTs as soon as you enter a new Eclipse state. Moreover, you should first refresh Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm and only after that you should refresh Moonfire Icon Moonfire or Sunfire Icon Sunfire.

4.3. DoT Mechanics

One of the most important aspects of Balance DPS is proper DoT management. The first thing that you must do is keep a 100% uptime on both your Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm and Moonfire Icon Moonfire (or Sunfire Icon Sunfire), however there are certain other issues to consider.

Your DoTs (Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm, Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire) deal damage, over the course of their duration, based on your statistics at the time that the DoT was cast. More specifically, the DoTs will deal damage based on your Spellpower, Haste and percentile damage increase (such as the damage bonus granted by Eclipse) from the time that the DoT was cast, regardless of whether or not these values change afterwards.

There is a very clear implication derived from this fact: attempt to apply or refresh DoTs when you have certain procs active, making them stronger. The situations where you will have to watch out for the efficiency of your DoTs are the following:

4.3.1. Refreshing DoTs

There is no strict rule of when to refresh your DoTs. The idea is that you should monitor all the procs and events listed above, and try to maximise the amount of time that your DoTs are taking advantage of those statistics increases. Regarding eclipses, however, there are a few rules you can follow:

  • Always refresh your DoTs (Insect Swarm Icon Insect Swarm first and then Moonfire Icon Moonfire/Sunfire Icon Sunfire) after you enter an eclipse state, in order to maximise the benefit from Nature's Grace Icon Nature's Grace.
  • If your DoTs are about to expire soon after an eclipse ends, refresh them (in any order) just before it ends, so that your DoTs benefit from the increased damage of the eclipse.

While you should aim to maintain 100% uptime on your DoTs, it is acceptable to delay reapplying a DoT if it runs out 1-2 seconds before you enter a new eclipse state.

Finally, keep in mind that, when not taking into account the different buffs that your DoTs may benefit from, the ideal time to refresh a DoT is when there is 1 tick left on it.

4.4. Using Thorns

Thorns Icon Thorns places a buff on a friendly target that deals a small amount of Nature damage to players or NPCs who attack the friendly target. The buff lasts 20 seconds.

Thorns can prove to be a useful DPS increase, especially when the target (most likely the tank) is being attacked by multiple mobs at once.

Keep in mind, however, that Thorns has a high mana cost, and that it is generally not worth using if the target is being attacked by a single enemy.

4.5. Opening Sequence

When first starting an encounter, there are two things to consider:

  • Choose which eclipse state to enter first. This depends on the encounter. For example, you will want to enter a Eclipse (Lunar) Icon Eclipse (Lunar) first, if you will use Starfall Icon Starfall on multiple enemies early in the fight (Lunar Eclipse buffs the damage of Starfall).
  • After applying your two DoTs, use Wrath Icon Wrath or Starfire Icon Starfire (depending on which eclipse you are going for) before first casting Starsurge Icon Starsurge. This is because casting Wrath and Starfire applies the Earth and Moon Icon Earth and Moon debuff, that will cause your Starsurge to deal more damage.

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