Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hooonnnk! Pewpewpewpewpewpew!

"Resto's really good now!"
"Riptide is amazing. You should give it a shot"
"Holy cow! We're getting destroyed in BG's without a healer"

With some finagling and some encouragement, we finally got our resident Enhancement Shaman to give the new Resto a try. He used to be a full time Resto, but lost interest as the old Resto only really worked in two comps War/Sham and Shadowplay (Spriest/UALock/Resto Sham). However, through some encouraging, we snagged ourselves a pretty darn good healer last night for a set of BG's. Healers make everything so much better, even if you're somehow stuck with a team of all fresh 70's.

"Why are you all dead? The BG just started!"
"Why do you all have less than 7k health?!"

We may try to get an article out of our Shaman buddy, but sadly this isn't it. However, since we had a healer at our disposal, the agenda for the evening was to spec Deep Balance on our Druid (4/5 Brutal, Veng Shoulders/Weapon) and run around in BG's bringing the pain.

For those of you who have never yet experienced the pain brought by a Balance Druid (aka: laser chicken, boomkin, owlyak, moonchicken, oomkin, fat feathered freak, etc.), I'd recommend a reading up a bit on them as they're going to be quite abundant come WotLK. Why? 'Cuz Bliz screwed Resto's ability to efficiently deal with/mitigate Burst damage (aka, Lifebloom nerf and reallocation of Feral Charge).

"Oh god, I just got intercepted in caster form. Here comes the Ret pally. Yep, I'm dead."

So how did we spec? 58/0/3 was the tested spec, taking the anti pushback talent in the Resto tree as well as every Balance damage/crit boosting talent and Brambles while skipping Dreamstate and Eclipse. The concept behind this spec (usually an Arena spec) is to put out a ridiculous (take note, kiddies, that's how you spell this word) amount of damage in an incredibly short amount of time, especially if cooldowns are up. The cooldowns in question are Force of Nature (aka: Trees), Starfall, and Typhoon and the proc's to look out for are Celestial Focus Stun, Nature's Grace and Wrath of Elune (4/5 Wyrmhide set bonus).

If all of the cooldowns are up, it's possible to wade right into a battle and start to wreak havoc, dropping Trees, Starfall and making space for your fat feathered butt with Typhoon. However, my typical habit is to start at max range and bring the pain. Getting into melee these days is just asking to be focus fired. Starting a fight off with a Starfire, if possible due to the long casting time, is generally preferred as a crit or a Celestial Focus stun can be very devestating. If that's not possible, a couple of Wraths are the next best thing, especially to stack up Earth and Moon. I equate this to a fire mage stacking Scorch debuffs to prep for a big Pyroblast or Fireball. If you feel comfortable with being closer than max range, Pounce into a cc/nuke chain is very strong as well.

At this point, if there are several opponents on you, it is entirely feasible to pop Trees and Starfall and try to bring as many targets down, but if the opponents have yet to close the distance, Wrath spam can be a very efficient killer. At any point during the Wrath spam, if Wrath of Elune procs and if you have time, crank out a couple of Moonfires to hopefully proc Lunar Grace from the incredible Idol of the Unseen Moon. In addition to this 140 spellpower proc, Moonfire has a 10% greater chance to crit than Wrath or Starfire, possibly proccing a Nature's Grace. What you end up with, if all of the proc's align, is a 1 second Starfire on crack. I procced one last night in AB, while we were pinning the Alliance in their starting area, on a crafty Warrior in greens who almost got past the blockade. 6400 crit to the dome and he made the next rez a few seconds later.

As much fun as big crits are, lets talk about the new shiny spell that's our 51 point talent: Starfall. Typically used in a crowd of opponents, this talent is one of Balance's most amazing PvP talents as it not only has a 15% chance to stun per star (assuming you took 3/3 Celestial Focus), but it also has a 20%+ (assuming 5/5 Wyrmhide) chance to crit per star. Each crit will proc Nature's Grace (assuming 3/3 Nature's Grace), making your cast time's a half second faster, so, if possible, stand and cast as much as possible while Starfall is raining free 'haste' procs. Use it. Love it. Laugh at mace warriors. Mace stun what?

Sadly, looking into the future, there are few talents that a 70 Balance Druid will be able to get at 80 that will further change the gameplay. Intensity, Dreamstate, Omen of Clarity only add some longevity to the PvP Boomkin. Master Shapeshifter and Eclipse will further add a bit more damage, but that's about it. I'd personally like to see Nature's Swiftness affect Arcane spells, too, for some Starfire-NS-Starfire burst, but that's honestly not very likely. At some point, a Pounce into Lockjaw into a nuke chain combo may be viable, but in all reality, the base gameplay has been set. Regardless, we're looking forward to it and hope the nerf bat swings a different way!

/cast Moonkin Form

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