Feedback and Wishlist on Balance Druid for Season 4 and War Within

Hello fellow adventurers,

As a dedicated Balance Druid player, I wanted to share my feedback on the state of the spec from the last year and a small wishlist on how I would want to see it improved. I want to preface this by saying I am not a game developer, nor do I think that I know better than the game developers, but I spend a lot of my time answering questions and talking about Balance Druid in the Dreamgrove discord, and since hero talents came out and season 4 got announced I’ve seen a massive influx of players being negative in regards to the direction the spec is going, and I wanted to try and sum up the community’s feedback in a forum post.

Overall Class and Spec Tree Thoughts
The class tree desperately needs a rework, there’s no other way around it. It is the only talent tree in the game currently that features a 3 point node, for a stat-stick talent.
The talents that Balance Druid get for free are Starfire and Starsurge, forcing us to put 3 talent points to get Moonkin Form, Sunfire and AoE Sunfire, which all feel like things that should be baseline. For 10.1.5 we got the talent “Rising Light, Falling Night” which moved Improved Sunfire away from where it was previously, making the issue worse. Speccing into a Balance Druid and not instantly getting access to your form feels very bad. There are also some routing issues in the tree, like spending 3 points to get your Dispel, having to take Soothe to access Stampeding Roar and not having any good way to route down the Restoration side of the tree. The capstones Protector of the Pack and Heart of the Wild are also left generally unattainable for Balance Druid, especially outside of pure ST raid encounters in cases where you have to talent into AoE Sunfire. The extra heal from Protector of the Pack is also not enough currently for the talent to be taken. Heart of the Wild doesn’t even give Balance Druid any real benefit, where as before Dragonflight it had value in buffing your chosen Affinity talent and the spells related to your chosen affinity, which was a cool concept.

The spec tree overall feels good, and with the introduction of 10.2 we got some good changes, like moving Starlord so it connects to Rattle/Starweaver choice node gatekeeping the capstone level of the tree and removing Fungal Growth and baking it into Wild Mushrooms. Rattle the Stars also got its value nerfed, but was made completely passive, removing the skill expression in playing around the talent.
There is also good value in the talent Sundered Firmament, but currently it will never be taken since it’s locked behind 2 points in Umbral Embrace, which is never picked outside of some niche “chain pull 50 mobs in mythic+” scenarios.
Currently, most of Balance Druid’s damage comes from random procs; Orbit Breaker, Denizens of the Dream, Power of Goldrinn, Astral Smolder and Shooting Stars. This can lead to a massive difference in your damage from one pull to another. Not getting your Denizens proc inside your Pulsar window, Orbit Breaker dropping when you’re pooling for Starlord to expire and overcapping your AP, Orbit Breaker dropping outside of Eclipse, not landing a crit from Wrath in your opener so you don’t get Waning Twilight benefit are all things that feel bad.
There’s a few talents that could be reworked, moved or removed all together, namely the Light of the Sun, Stellar Innervation, Umbral Intensity, Umbral Embrace and Astral Communion talents. Light of the Sun and Stellar Innervation are cosmetic talents, and feel like they’re there to just to fill up the talent slot. Stellar Innervation is especially bad, because the only hypothetical situation you would play that talent is if you’re spamming DoTs as your primary way of generating AP, which would be an extremely uninteresting gameplay loop.
Overall, the spec tree could benefit from buffing the lesser used talents and getting more variety in builds, as the gameplay loop has become stale since Aberrus, and not looking to change going into Season 4.

Season 4 Tier Set Poll
This is the issue that inspired me to write this post. Back in early January there was a poll around which season had the best tier set, and the majority of the community voted for the Season 1 tier set because we were assured that “any bonus you choose will be tuned to be as strong as any others”. People took this as meaning the tier set would be buffed back close to it’s original value, and the news of Season 4 and the confirmation that it won’t be reverted to it’s original state has left a lot of Balance Druid players annoyed and feeling like they voted for the wrong one when voting for the set they found most fun. Season 4 is by all means a “for fun” season, and feeling like you voted for something you didn’t get feels bad.

Hero Talents and War Within
The hero talents for Balance Druid were some of the first ones announced, and from what I’ve seen the community consensus overall has been mixed. The Keeper of the Grove tree gets a lot of negative comments, while the Elune’s Chosen tree is more positive.

Keeper of the Grove feels like the idea was made specifically for Restoration Druid, and it was retroactively made to fit Balance Druid as an afterthought. The Treant aesthetic is not something Balance Druid players enjoy playing around, and with Force of Nature being in a choice node with Warrior of Elune, which is currently played in every challenging raid encounter, it would be actively detrimental to how the spec plays. There are issues that arise with Keeper of the Grove where the hero talents give you increased damage every 60 seconds (50 with the choice node), where as Pulsar procs every 40-45 seconds if played optimally, meaning you would either hold Force of Nature for Pulsar, or the other way around, which is not a very engaging or fun gameplay loop. The talent “Cenarius Might” is the most impactful node on the tree, and would incentivize you to pool all your Astral Power to 100% and Starsurge to 0, which can sound cool on paper, but would be very annoying to play around in a hectic raid encounter with a lot of movement, since Balance Druid’s main source of movement in raid is smart usage of Starsurge. Having windows like this where you stand still and pool for 10+ seconds is not feasible in a mythic raid environment.
Keeper of the Grove also features the talent Protective Growth, which mixed with Booming Infusion gives some much needed defensive value. The problem however, is that Protective Growth is a direct copy of a talent with the same name in the Feral tree, which Feral players won’t ever take because of the position of the talent in their tree. I think the best way to solve this is remove both talents from the Feral tree and the Keeper of the Grove tree and add it in the class tree instead, changing the wording for Booming Infusion to “your damaging periodic abilities has a chance to make your next Regrowth instant”, tuning this to be approximately the same value for Feral as they have currently, adding good defensive value to Balance Druid, and potentially making cat-weaving as Resto more fulfilling if it can proc instant Regrowth casts.

Elune’s Chosen is the other hero talent tree, and this one thematically fits Balance Druid a lot better, leaning into buffing signature abilities like Fury of Elune and New Moon, and feels like this tree was made more with Balance Druid in mind. There are some interesting gameplay interactions in this tree, Lunar Amplification, assuming it works with multi-school damage types, would incentivize you to Wrath 3 times and Starsurge once, which fits in with the way the spec already plays.
With Elune’s Chosen buffing your Fury of Elune and New Moon abilities, it would also make talents like Sundered Firmament gain more value as the free Fury of Elune proc also would scale with this, giving a lot more AP generation. It is unclear if Sundered Firmament would be played at all, considering it However, mixing this with the Boundless Moonlight and Eternal Moon talents, this could mean you generate too much AP, and not an ideal resource economy.
The talent “Lunar Calling” is bad. That’s it, that’s the feedback on it. It would only be good in extreme niche AoE scenarios that don’t currently exist. 40% damage increase of the primary target for Starfire is not nearly enough to make that talent good. And going permanent Lunar Eclipse is not a rewarding way to play the spec either.

Defensive Creep Issues
Since the launch of Dragonflight and the introduction of the new talent system, there’s been a noticeable trend where some classes have received significant improvements to their defensive capabilities, while other specs are left feeling behind. This is something Balance Druid has struggled with a lot since Vault of the Incarnates, and it was especially noticeable during Aberrus, with no real way to passively heal yourself. Dragonflight also introduced a lot of items with self-damage effects, like the Crit Phial, Shadowflame Patch, Fyrakk weapons and Neltharion class trinket, which all contribute to making Balance Druid feel weaker in raid than it needs to be.
No classes are created equal, and homogenizing defensives could lead to the game being stale, but the defensive state that Balance Druid has been in this expansion has been dreadful. Currently, in endgame item level, a Balance Druid has the same amount of HP as a mage, with a lot less tools to deal with incoming damage. Comparatively, a BM Hunter sits on 950k-1m HP, a full 100k more than Balance Druid.
Currently Balance Druid has no way of dealing with DoT effects without resorting to Bear Form, which results in a significant damage loss since you need to wait for Frenzied Regeneration to heal you, which stops working the second you swap back to Moonkin Form. Adding Ysera’s Gift back into the game could help remedy this, as well as getting some %dr nodes in the class tree.

TLDR: Rework class tree, give better defensives, diversify build paths in spec tree, give back season 1 4pc


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