Balance Druid 10.1 News

Summary of changes 2023-05-06

Patch notes can be found here https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/class-tuning-incoming-%E2%80%93-may-9/1582712/1

Wrath Astral Power generation reduced to 8 (was 10).
Wrath damage decreased by 5%.
Solar Eclipse now increases Wrath damage by 40% (was 20%).
Soul of the Forest now increases Wrath’s Astral Power generation while in Solar Eclipse by 60% (was 30%).

All of these changes are fine, on Single Target we will always enter Solar Eclipse because of it, it does have a side-effect on AoE.
On 2 targets we will continue to enter Solar eclipse and wrath
On 3 target we will enter Lunar eclipse instead, cast starfire inside lunar eclipse and wrath inside CA/Inc
On 4+ targets we will enter Lunar eclipse and Starfire

Damage dealt by Faerie Dragons summoned by Denizen of the Dream increased by 25%.
>Friend of the Fae now increases your Arcane and Nature spell damage by 10% (was 8%).

Minor DPS increase to ST and AoE.

These buffs equate to a ~3.5% DPS increase on single target.

Trinkets were also changed:
Igneous Flowstone was looking to be our best trinket but is now on the lower end of the trinkets we should aim for.
Our class trinket Neltharion’s Call to Suffering got its haste scaling removed, still our best trinket but only with a small margin.
Screaming Black Dragonscale also got its haste scaling removed, still a good contender but is behind Spoils of Neltharus, Vessel of Searing Shadow and Ominous Chromatic Essence

10.1 Updates

Summary of the changes

10.1 is on the PTR and we are once again receiving major changes and a new tier set. You can read the Blizzard post on the changes here: https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/feedback-druids-in-embers-of-neltharion/1541376 Additionally our tier set is the following:

(2) Set Bonus: Sunfire radius increased by 3 yds. Sunfire, Moonfire and Shooting Stars damage increased by 20%.

Looking to be a 4-5.5% dps increase in most situations and adds some QoL through the increased Sunfire radius.

(4) Set Bonus: Shooting Stars has a 20% chance to instead call down a Crashing Star, dealing (76.5% of Spell power) Astral damage to the target and generating 5 Astral Power.

Adds 60% Shooting Stars damage and 30% Astral Power on average. This roughly makes us have the same AP gen from ShS as we have currently since we lose Stellar Flare Shooting Stars. Also looks to be a 4-5% dps incrase.

The changes result in a large single target buff of about 10% compared to live, including the changes to our current tier set. How it affects our AoE damage is TBD.

Analyzing the changes

Shooting Stars can no longer be triggered by Stellar Flare.

Heavy nerf to Stellar Flare which results in it becoming a dead talent with the new talent Wild Surges and Astral Smolder. Even if tuned back up again, Stellar Flare would only see play in single target or spread cleave encounters.

New Talent: Wild Surges. Your chance to critically strike with Wrath and Starfire is increased by 15% and they generate 2 additional Astral Power. This is a choice node with Stellar Flare.

This talent has a lot of synergy with other talents, namely Astral Smolder and Soul of the Forest. The crit on fillers directly synergizes with Astral Smolder and the resulting Waning Twilight uptime. Soul of the Forest multiplies the 2 extra Astral Power generated by this talent.

Wrath and Starfire generate 10 Astral Power (up from 8). Moonfire and Sunfire generate 6 Astral Power (up from 2). Stellar Flare generates 10 Astral Power (up from 8)

All of these are mostly to make up for losing the free spender casts from our current 4pc. Moonfire+Sunfire generating more Astral Power is a very welcome change so we have something to press during movement that isn’t fully useless.

Nature’s Balance generates 2 Astral Power every 3 seconds (up from 1 every 2)

A buff is a buff but this talent was already only picked for pure single target and is still unpickable anytime you want do AoE damage since it requires you to skip either Twin Moons or Aetherial Kindling.

Starsurge and Starfall damage increased by 20%.

Another buff to make up for losing our current 4pc.

Astral Smolder deals damage over 8 seconds (up from 4) and its damage is increased to 40/80% of spell damage done (up from 20/40%).

As mentioned previously this synergizes with Wild Surges and more or less fully replaces both Stellar Flare and Fungal Growth as our ways of keeping up Waning Twilight. With current tuning a must-pick in every situation.

Cosmic Rapidity increases the rate at which Moonfire, Sunfire, and Stellar Flare deal damage by 20% (down from 25%).

A minor nerf that doesn’t really change anything. Will still be must-pick.

Touch the Cosmos, the 10.0 (4) Set Armor bonus, now reduces the Astral Power cost of your first Starsurge or Starfall after entering Eclipse by 5 and increases its damage by 20% (was free and 35% increased damage).

Expected nerf since we would be wearing the set until the end of times otherwise. This makes it roughly be a 2% dps boost so it will easily be replaced by our new tier set.

Soul of the Forest now increases Starfire’s damage and AP generation during Eclipse by 30% for each target hit beyond the first, up to 90%. (Was 150% bonus to Starfire’s AOE damage)

This more than halves the damage Starfire does currently which indirectly nerfs all talents that buff Starfire’s damage(Astral Smolder, Umbral Intensity and Umbral Embrace). To make up for that, Starfire no longer generate depressing amounts of AP in AoE and will have us need to cast just 2 Starfires on average until we can cast another Starfall.

Power of Goldrinn damage increased by 75%. Denizen of the Dream: Faerie Dragon damage increased by 20%.

Both of these are welcome single target buffs which is what Balance Druid is by far the worst at currently. Both of these talents will be required to do relevant single target damage.

Friend of the Fae now increases Arcane and Nature damage by 8% for 20 seconds (was 4% for 30 seconds).

This capstone was never used again after the last changes but since it becomes a ~5% dps boost with this buff, it will see play in nearly every situation. It also has to be noted that with 10.0.7 Denizen of the Dream is getting a 100% proc rate increase which is included in the calculation.

Elune’s Guidance now reduces the cost of Starsurge by 8 and Starfall by 10 during Incarnation: Chosen of Elune (was reduces the cost of Starsurge by 5 and Starfall by 8).

Relatively minor buff compared to the other capstones so this will unlikely see play. Comes out at a 3-5% dps increase depending on situation and talent setup.

Radiant Moonlight also increases Fury of Elune’s damage by 50% and now reduces its cooldown by 20 seconds (was 15 seconds). Radiant Moonlight increases the damage dealt by New Moon, Half Moon, and Full Moon by 25%.

While it may look tame on the surface, the real power of this talent is that it always grants both benefits independent of what talent you picked. This means that it buffs all Orbit Breaker Full Moons and Sundered Firmament Fury of Elunes even when having picked the other talent beforehand. Moons have been indirectly nerfed by the buff to our generators and Radiant Moonlight isn’t helping by giving a much larger benefit to Fury of Elune so Fury of Elune is locked for every situation including single target. Radiant Moonlight is currently about a 7% dps increase on single target and 6% in AoE so it will be must pick in more or less every situation.

New builds

As discussed in the previous section we now have a lot of talents that were previously ignored and are now strong enough to be picked in all situations. Due to this we are currently looking to be using the same spec tree for most situations which looks like this: AoE Talents

A 2 target build would look something like this: 2T Talents

When we don’t need Starfall we can talent it away to gain Nature’s Balance and Warrior of Elune which is slightly outperforming Treants: ST Talents

Wild Mushrooms+Fungal Growth are hard to argue for since you have to give up a very large amount of sustained damage for the burst they give. Nonetheless if all an encounter requires is AoE burst damage, they still exist and would be used but the chances of that happening are low.

Rattle the Stars is getting an indirect buff because our spender casts are now more spread out than before which naturally benefits Rattle uptime. Starweaver is still stronger on 2 targets and whenever you want to do efficient priority damage.

A side of effect of no longer using Stellar Flare, Wild Mushrooms and the less of the current 4pc means that the spec becomes far easier to play for better or worse. AoE is simply putting up dots and then spamming Starfire until you can press Starfall.

Umbral Embrace is simply not strong enough compared to another point in Astral Smolder but the dps difference between those picks is more or less irrelevant. Another result of this is that Sundered Firmament has fallen out of favor since you would need to waste another point in the middle tree and it’s not longer better than our capstones. Umbral Intensity is a dead talent with the Starfire damage nerfs and Lunar Shrapnel, Astral Communion, Light of the Sun and Stellar Innervation stay dead.

Will we go into Solar Eclipse on single target?

Yes we will always go into Solar Eclipse on Single Target