"Don't tell me I'm allergic to feathers." [Balance Druid]

"Don't tell me I'm allergic to feathers." [Balance Druid]

by Keftenk » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:45 am

I'm sure most would never have thought that this day would come where someone so imbalanced would actually take the time to disect and craft the DPS potential of the Balance, aka "Moonkin", specialization.

Over the last 2-years the Druid community has worked on smoothing out the technicalities of the Balance Druid out of sheer curiosity. I'm excited to publish what we've learned about the specialization and how to make it the best it can be.

Download the Moonkin Bible: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... Druid.xlsm

The Vanilla Stigma
Everyone has heard it at least once, Moonkins often being referred to as "OOMKin". Which immediately trounces the willingness of most guilds to even allow someone to try and develop the specialization. In reality, players who would select the roll in Vanilla were poor players, across the board. We know so much more about Vanilla today where we can counter the label. I bet most of you don't realize how garbage Shadow Priest actually is in a PvE setting and yet raids continuously utilize them.

Balance Druid isn't the bottom performer when it comes to mana consumption and management and it isn't the bottom performer in terms of raw DPS. In fact, it has better mana consumption and conservation than both Shadow Priest and even the hog of all hogs, Elemental Shaman.

Additionally, far too many players don't have a basic understanding between "viable" and "optimal". Balance Druid is viable, Retribution Paladin is viable, Elemental Shaman is viable, and Shadow Priest is viable, etc. These classes however are not optimal. The specializations aren't going to be better than the best Mage and/or Warlock or the best Warrior and/or Rogue.

Moonkin Aura
It's very hard to weight the effectiveness of Moonkin Aura due to the severe lack of thorough theorycrafting in the Vanilla community. Only has the Warlock community published a concise and cohesive document which helps give a better understanding of different synergies between classes.

At Naxxramas levels, a Warlock will receive roughly a 25-26dps increase due to the additional crit, but also because of the Improved Shadowbolt upkeep. This in result also increases the effectiveness of any Shadow damage outside of the initial party as well, but through testing we found this to be quite marginal, ~5dps per user.

Thanks to Ayeri of Coalition in aiding with these tests.

This may be a decent number to gauge what Ignite and Fire Mage will receive, Frost Mage, Shadow Priest, Smite Priest, and/or Elemental Shaman, but again without developed testings from those respected communities we're a bit in the dark.

What we do know is for both Fire Mage and Warlock, it is always better to take 5 Fire Mages and/or Warlocks for Ignite and/or Improved Shadowbolt upkeep versus 4 Fire Mages and/or Warlocks + 1 Moonkin. The difference in total upkeep is very small, but nonetheless it isn't greater.

Moonfire
First and foremost, Moonfire isn't a priority debuff in a optimal raid setting. It should never be applied for its DoT effect. Secondly, even though Moonfire is instant cast, due to the GCD it can be considered as if it were a 1.5s cast spell.

Even if you could guarantee a critical strike with Moonfire, say on Loatheb with Fungal Bloom, it still would net as a DPS loss due to the hefty GCD penalty. Weaving it with Wrath is still a net-loss compared to Starfire's ceiling.

On a moving target, Moonfire is almost always going to be a DPS increase, but the question whether it's the optimal choice in that scenario has yet to be answered.

Wrath
Wrath unfortunately has very limited uses. It's useful on any trash which dies within 3-seconds and is great vs raid bosses such as Azuregos which has Arcane Immunity. It is possible that Wrath may scale even better with Spell Penetration in Classic, but due to private servers setting custom resistances without much of any evidence of what it should be. We sadly can't test this reliably.

Raids
This is where I set you loose onto the community. Hopefully with the power of the spreadsheet someone will be able to turn some heads by topping the DPS charts. I do have experience raiding Moonkin through Blackwing Lair and some minor raiding experience into Ahn'Qiraj. However, it wasn't anywhere nearly developed to the point which it is here in the spreadsheet.

In fact, my Best In Slot lists looked completely different. With that said, it's no doubt that Moonkin can actually compete in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. It's by Ahn'Qiraj where the gap becomes too large, mostly due to Mage turning to Fire and utilizing Ignite.

Additionally, come Naxxramas any Atiesh staff that is in your party will overwrite Moonkin Aura. Is this a bug or is this intended? We're not sure, but as it stands now a legendary weapon completely replaces the entire Balance tree for Druid, haha.

Last Words
I urge everyone to take a look at the spreadsheet. By no means do I guarantee all of the information is accurate or even all there, so please if you experience any errors in the data that is being represented. Please leave a note.

A taste of what is possible:
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* Level 63 Target Dummy with a controlled raid setting seeking ceiling damage. This damage is not ideal.

Come join the Druid Classic Discord: https://discord.gg/z6NZrDX
Join the Theorycrafting Discord: https://discord.gg/x4nbhte

Special Thanks
- To Viper, Daemon, and Nano for allowing me to develop Moonkin on Nostalrius's (Elysium) PTR instead of doing my QA work. Maybe you really didn't care :P
- To Brotalnia for releasing the Nostalrius/Elysium/Light's Hope core.
- To Coalition for allowing me to gauge the viability of Moonkin in a hardcore raid setting and in extension, NOPE. The friendly-competitive nature between our guilds allowed for outside thinking on how to improve speedrun times, which was the conception of Moonkin theorycrafting.
- To Azuregos for not being properly scripted on Nostalrius, resulting in me sitting in Azshara for tens of hours at any given time waiting for you to spawn. It gave me lots of time to work this out, haha!
- To the Druid community on the Druid Classic discord; noteably Taladril and Shedo.
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