The 7.2.5 patch is a small patch that coincides with the launch of a new raid tier. Overall, balance and resto will be in a similar place in Tomb of Sargeras, which opens June 20th. Neither spec had any major rotation or spell changes, with almost all changes being minor or numeric balancing. That said, lets get into some of the highlights of 7.2.5.
The most important thing for druids is the new Moonkin Festival, where you can adopt a baby moonkin for a day! I’m pretty sure this involves dancing, napping, and moonfire. Sounds like fun right? I’m not sure what day it is, but I’ll be sure to post about it more before the celebrations arise. Okay, now down to business!
Starsurge does more damage. This should be a small single-target DPS increase.
Stellar Drift’s starfall bonus does less damage. This will result in a small nerf to AOE damage. The two changes combined make starsurge superior to cast on single targets than starfall (so the AOE build is less effective on single-target fights).
Emerald Dreamcatcher got changed but should be close to the same overall benefit. It now reduces the cost by 5 power, but the buff now lasts 5 seconds. This means that you theoretically should be able to maintain close to 100% up-time on the buff when using an ED rotation. This also means we don’t have the same hard haste breakpoints for ED. Instead, staying slightly above 24% haste is likely fine based on the preliminary math, as the breakpoint possibilities between 24% and 44% haste are too variable to aim for in TOS. However, the dreamcatcher is significantly weaker than other legendary items for heroic/mythic level TOS for high movement fights, so this may not be relevant at all.
What stats should you go for? With these changes to devaluing ED (and the fact starfall doesn’t scale with haste), we’re not going as heavy haste anymore and are favoring more mastery (e.g., mark of the trained soldier neck enchat), although you should sim yourself to get your own personal stat weights.
Restoration druid changes
Resto druids were coming ahead a little too strong and thus received a minor 4% nerf that really isn’t something to worry about at this point. Resto will still be competitive and otherwise got no substantial changes to spells.
The cultivation talent was also nerfed, but you’ll still want to use it for most situations.
The Aman’thul’s Wisdom legendary shoulders were also nerfed, making it much more situational.
Chameleon’s Song is a new legendary helm that looks like it might be pretty good for getting more wild growth targets during the duration of the buff.
That’s overall the main highlights of what is coming for druids. Keep in mind that number tweaks and changes will absolutely happen as the new raid tier gets underway. So, hang in there for the usual bumpy patch ride!
Overall, after the patch hits you want to unlock your artifact knowledge by doing the Armies of the Legionfall quest chain (complete this before doing world quests or anything else, as the increased artifact knowledge is important. Make sure you start learning your new AK ranks as fast as you can). You also then want to complete the Defending Broken Isles chain that unlocks the new artifact weapon paths.
There is also a bunch of other world content, leading up to things like being able to fly and completing quests that allow you to unlock your new druid class “mount” (owl bird shapeshift form).
At 35 traits, you unlock “Goldrinn’s Fury” to get access to the new traits & ranks. You will want to fill out your whole new mini-tree from Radiance thru the gold trait (Circadian Invocation).
Wax & Wane is a trait where moonfire/sunfire has increasing stacking damage. This doesn’t dramatically change your rotation, as moonfire spam is not intended to be a viable single-target strategy. This has undergone some tuning such that it’s an okay DPS increase during times you might want to spam moonfire (e.g, cleave or heavy movement fights where you might end up needing filler).
Circadian Invocation is the gold bordered trait. It gives 6% to arcane, 6% to nature and 12% to Astral (e.g., starsurge, starfall). This is a pretty big buff to our single-target damage.
After that, you can go back and fill out other ranks in your existing traits (e.g., scythe of the starts, sunfire burns, etc). Here’s the path:
6: Scythe of the Stars 4/4
7: Sunfire Burns 4/4
8: Solar Stabbing 4/4
9: Twilight Glow 4/4
10: Dark Side of the Moon 4/4
11: Empowerment 4/4
12: Falling Star 4/4
13: Bladed Feathers 4/4
14: Touch of the Moon 4/4
balance spell changes:
We didn’t have any major spell changes for PVE.
The starfall change isn’t a nerf. The patch notes only list one change that isn’t really something most people will even notice. While the haste scaling change for starfall seems like a nerf, keep in mind that haste only ever reduced the duration without adding extra ticks. Basically, starfall will now stay active longer but have a slower tick rate. You will get the same number of total ticks, with a slightly longer damage buffs on your DOTs or longer to cast while moving (the starfall circle stays up longer). In exchange, starfall is not really so great on things that die fast (and because it was never burst damage in the first place, that’s always held true). On mobs that died in a few seconds, you never got the full starfall/DOT ticks off in the first place, which has always been a glaring weakness for balance. In conclusion, the starfall change isn’t a nerf.
Promise of Elune (balance boots) got a buff that makes them better than they were (at least a small DPS upgrade now over equipping no legendary at all). Sephuz also now gives a 2% haste bonus passive. Ekowraith also got a haste stat bonus. Overall, I don’t think these changes impact the BIS list for balance legendaries (the strong ones are still really strong), but if you got stuck with crappy ones before, they are at least closer in their DPS increase.
Overall, resto druids don’t have a ton of changes, so the main thing will be how to advance your weapon with the new traits.
After 35 traits, you can put a point into G’hanir’s bloom to unlock your new traits. You should work towards your gold-bordered trait (deep rooted) first.
After you unlock deep rooted, you can go back in and fill out your ranks in other traits, starting with the really good ones (e.g., persistence, grovewalker, knowledge of the ancients, essence of nordrasil, etc.).
Drape of Shame got nerfed, but is still a great cloak at this point unless you need the set cloak for your set bonus.
The resto druid shoulder legendary got buffed but it is currently unclear where it falls in the list of legendary items, but should be better in cases where people are likely to hover at 100% long enough to accumulate extra HOT ticks.
Sephuz’s secret got the 2% baseline haste that makes it better, especially on fights where you can use the proc.
Tearstone was nerfed, but still a strong legendary.
Several other legendaries got slight buffs that make them somewhat better but not really change in their priority at the moment.
Happy patch day! Once we see how all the changes shake out, I’ll do another round of edits on the resto druid healing guide sometime next week with updated info.
The 7.1.5 patch had substantial changes to moonkin’s AOE damage, and the nerf to Emerald Dreamcatcher caused the ED single-target build to feel more clunky. So, what does this mean for DPS rotations? One strategy has been bouncing around the druid discord that I’ll briefly describe below (the primary focus being AOE cleave padding). As this rotation has existed for 1 whole day (after Gebuz did great damage with it in a TOV run this week), this is still not very well fleshed out. This post as a result will be updated as needed. This is based on the work by Gebuz & the writeup on Discord by Eratsu. Also special thanks to Velerion for being awesome.
The new AOE balance druid rotation is called Memekin! Or, if you don’t like the name memekin, you can call it Turkeyo Drift. Yeah, that name isn’t much better. 😉
The goal of memekin is to spend your astral power on Starfall (keeping up Sellar Empowement buffs). You can gain the damage benefit of more than 1 Starfall on the same target but Stellar Empowerment does NOT stack bonuses. You also maximize your DOT up-time on anything you can DOT.
Yes, that’s right. Starfall is back!
What talents do you take for Memekin?
Force of Nature (this got a pretty heafty buff and Starlord is useless if you never get empowerments).
Soul of the Forest (reduce starfall’s cooldown).
What is the Memekin “rotation” for AOE damage?
Keep up DoTs (sunfire/moonfire). Stack them as fast as you can on targets.
Try to keep up at least one Starfall at all times, in order to constantly benefit from Stellar Empowerment. You can stack multiple starfalls on the same spot on the ground, since Damage stacks now, so use it as your astral power spender to not overcap on Astral Power.
Use Moon spells accordingly (Just make sure to not overcap on Astral Power)
Use Solar Wrath to Generate Astral Power when you have nothing else to cast.
Use Force of Nature on Cooldown
Use Celestial Alignment as usual.
You don’t use starsurge at all? That’s right. No starsurge!
What does a “memekin” do for single-target damage?
This rotation does not really change for Single Target.
You can theoretically change to Starsurge During Celestial Alignment, if you are going for a pure Single Target Fight.
Not likely to be the best single-target damage, since it’s super cleave focused, but this is an option in things like Mythic+ where you don’t get to swap around talents to Single-Target builds for bosses. For actual single-target raid bosses, you are probably better off sticking with true single-target builds.
How do Legendary items interact with “memekin?”
If you have Oneth’s Intuition (OI), only cast Starsurge if you have free Oneth’s Intuition procs, and only use Lunar Strike when Empowered (so, rarely).
If you have been using Emerald Dreamcatcher (ED), unequip it if you have any other legendaries for Memekin AOE. Otherwise, ignore the Equip effect & use it as a high ilevel stat stick. You should still use can still use ED/Fell Essence build for single-target with regular single-target talents. Just make sure you don’t use OI & ED together in the same single-target focused build, since the effects don’t play nice together.
The Fell Essence ring is based on astral power you spend, so it works in Memekin builds just as well as ED builds.
What is my stat priority?
Use your highest ilevel stuff, prioritizing Haste > Mastery > crit > versatility. This is subject to change with more testing, so hold onto gear pieces you can swap around.
The patch doesn’t have major game play changes for balance & restoration druids, but there still are some changes to be aware of with the 7.1.5 patch. There are lots of small changes and talent revisions. There are also some general secondary stat changes & artifact changes that somewhat impact gearing. If your stats change after the patch, it’s due to general gearing changes. I’ll work on updating this as this week goes on and more of the changes get solidified.
Slight balancing changes were made to Dispalcer Beast (reduced speed duration), Mass Intenglement (reduced root duration) & Renewal (reduced cooldown, which is a buff to the talent). For resto & balance druids, the usefulness of these utility talents don’t change all that much for PVE, so keep using what you find the most helpful.
Restoration Druid Summary
There wasn’t any huge changes for resto druids. We were in a pretty good place before the patch. There are some minor things:
Moment of Clarity changed to also increase the healing done by the regrowths in addition to not costing mana; I still think its not really worth taking in most situations. Flourish’s AOE healing is just too useful for raiding.
Power of the Archdruid radius increased to 20 yards (so it’ll hopefully hit more people who are spread out).
New legendary: X’oni’s Caress When ironbark is on a target, that target also receives 75% of the healing from each of your active Rejuvenations. Other general changes to legendaries may impact what you have, but not necessarily enough to swap to different legendaries.
Balance Druids General
Our mastery specialization damage was increased, from a baseline of 16% to 18% for starfall/starsurge/empowerments. Mastery on gear will be slightly more potent, too.
The Emerald Dreamcatcher (helm) & Fel Essence (ring) legendaries were nerfed in their potency. To compensate for this, the baseline damage of balance druid spells was increased. So, if you were super unlucky and didn’t have these legendaries, your damage should go up.
New legendary: Lady and the child – When you moonfire, a second moonfire is cast on another injured enemy.
Buffed legendaries: many legendaries that gave utility have received some buffs to help them be more competitive.
Overall, balance druids will be better off in the next patch than we were before, with some potential new talent build options to help in some situations. The main weakness will only matter at the high end of raiding where lack of burst AOE damage will hurt – for everyone else, we should be in an okay place.
Balance Talent Changes (based on PTR test data). A lot of balance druid talents were buffed, which aren’t in the main patch notes. In general, a lot of these are targeted at AOE damage which was lacking especially in places like mythic+. However, as our damage is more sustained in terms of DOTs and starfall, without a ton of actual burst damage based on the spell design.
Level 15: Force of Nautre’s damage was buffed by ~30 or 40% (not included in the patch notes). Warrior of Elune buffed to make 3 Lunar Strikes instant (up from 2). Overall, this makes WOE and FON slightly better.
Level 75: Soul of the Forest’s damage for Empowerments in our single-target rotation was increased to 20% (up from 10%) and it also now reduces starfall’s astral power cost by 20 (up from 10). Stellar Flare’s damage was increased, in addition to reducing the astral power cost to 10. This makes the other two talents more competitive versus Incarnation, although situational.
Level 90: Shooting Stars had the damage component increased, making it more useful for AOE DOT spreading. Shooting Stars is definitely viable for AOE/Cleave fights.
Level 100: Stellar Drift now increases Starfall’s damage by 60% (up from 20%), making Starfall much more potent on AOE fights (especially when combined with SOTF’s cost reduction). Fury of Elune also received a DPS increase, also making it a potentially more attractive/viable talent.
Balance Artifact traits:
Echoing stars slightly buffed for increased Starfall splash damage.
Rapid innervation reduced; our target only gets 10% haste (down from 20) during the effect.
In general, the balance changes buff Starfall a lot (but mostly via talents), so in situations where Starfall was good it has the potential to be more potent. In general, there is still a lot of work to do with balance. Most of these changes are superficial number changes as a band-aid while we wait for potentially greater mechanic changes in 7.2. The sky definitely isn’t falling, so hang in there!