Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Balance, Borked, or Somewhere Inbetween?

A repost of mine from the Beta forums.

The Balance tree needs variety and talent choice in order to:

    - differentiate their talent arsenal from untalented spells. - give playstyle differentiation to the Balance Druid (relative to both other casters, and both Resto and Feral).
    - increase the amount of talent (and glyph) decisions required for the spec (eg. survivability vs utility)
    - increase the amount of sub-themes and sub-streams of talents within Balance that give the spec uniqueness (eg. such as the area control of WM/FG, Solar Beam, Overgrowth)


I believe making Starfall deal Spellstorm damage would be a healthy change, but I agree that it needs more functionality. A stacking haste increase on Starfire? Say "When you deal damage with your Starfall spell, the cast time of your Starfire spell is reduced by 20%. This effect stacks up to 5 times."

Starfall having such a short cooldown needs to be a spell you want to cast as often as possible. This very much so isn't currently the case. Having it never attack mobs that are not in combat and also not targeting CC'd mobs would go a long way to bringing back Starfall into our core arsenal.


I still strongly feel that there needs to be more talents in the Balance tree that dramatically change the function or add effects to Balance spells in comparison to Resto using those same spells. A Resto druid comes very close to being identical to a Balance Druid if using an offensive spell rotation; Resto's offensive spells act identically to Balance. This has begun to change with the introduction of Shooting Stars and the new Nature's Grace, but otherwise remains uninspiring. Resto does get such a unique spell change in the form of Fury of Stormrage.

I like the subtle theme of area control Balance has via Overgrowth and Wild Mushrooms w/ Fungal Growth.
Random ideas:

- Cooldowned, non-channelled Hurricane a la Vortex Pinncale mobs (especially if also adding a proc to cast it free, such as Flamestrike and FS/Blastwave combo)
- Void zone (eg. Increase duration of Lunar Power and have Starsurge consume charges to plant a void zone at target)
- Instant Wild Mushrooms for Balance (especially if able to be glyphed/talented for proximity explosion, or allow WM:Detonation to be toggled to off-GCD auto-cast)

Mana issues can be solved passively, but mana regen scaling needs to be carefully monitored so that the Balance Druid still relies on Innervate as Cataclysm ages. Otherwise we'll end up with Balance Druids having free Innervates, which will be unhealthy for the game in general.

While Resto has already stolen the concept of inceasing Omen of Clarity procs, I believe it is also a mechanic that will greatly benefit Balance. It would prevent us from going oom during our normal dps rotation while then also allowing overuse of instant utility to still potentially dent our mana pool.


Damage mitigation is in need of a solid implementation, especially against magic. It's debatable whether this should be in the form of a new active defense ability, however, it seems to be wholly agreed that there is a need for passive damage reduction. Barkskin gaining additional benefits in the Balance tree would be good too, imo.

What if a deep Balance ability allowed Bear Form to now be our emergency panic button by massively reducing incoming damage either as long as one remains in the form with an internal cooldown, or via some other means.
Perhaps "When you shift into Bear form, all damage deal to you is reduced by 60% for 12 seconds. This bonus is reduced by 10% every 2 se!%*!il the effect expires or you shift out of Bear Form."

Balance does not need another offensive means of protecting oneself.


What if deep Balance had a means of gaining combo points on a target so that they may switch to Cat form and unleash a Maim or what not?

"Shifting into Cat form instantly grants you 4 combo points on your current target." 

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