Moonkin leveling 3.2 update

Okay, so with 3.2 coming out sometime this month, I’m working on updating all my guides. Today’s update is for the Balance leveling build. I played around with this on my level 50 druid for a while, and I think I’ve better streamlined the lower level talents so that it’s a little better for setting up an AOE build when you hit Northrend. I dropped Nature’s Splendor (don’t need DOTs to last longer), and dreamstate (owlkin frenzy will help restore mana, too, and at level 50 dreamstate’s mana return was minimal and unhelpful). As usual, I’m doing a blog preview to get feedback before I post it in the guide & on the forums.

Balance leveling build Version 3.2

  • 10-14: Starlight Wrath 5/5 – Decreased casting time means more damage done.
  • 15-17: Moonglow 3/3 – At low levels, you’ll have to stop and drink all the time, but this will give you a little more mana efficiency.
  • 18-19: Nature’s Majesty 2/2  – A little crit is nice, and you have to take it to unlock later talents
  • 20-22: Nature’s Grace 3/3 – gives you haste bonus (speeds up your casting) after you get a critical strike.
  • 23-24: Nature’s Reach 2/2 – gives you longer range for hitting things that are far away. Also makes you have lower threat when you go in groups.
  • 25-29 Vengeance 5/5 – Increases the damage your spells do when you get critical strikes
  • 30: Insect Swarm 1/1 – Got a nice damage boost in the 3.1 patch. This should be worthwhile for leveling now.
  • 31-33: Celestial Focus 3/3 – Gives you spell pushback protection for starfire (yay!). Also speeds up your casting times (ie. gives you haste).
  • 34-36: Lunar Guidance 3/3  – Increases your spell power, based on how much intellect you have.
  • 37-39: Moonfury 3/3 – Increases your damage done for starfire, moonfire, & wrath
  • 40: Moonkin 1/1 – Yay! Finally moonkin form!
  • 41-43: Imp Moonkin 3/3 – Gives you and your group more haste (for even faster cast times), and gives you more spell damage from spirit.
  • 44: Balance of Power 1/2 – Put one point in this. It increases your chance to hit things and reduces the amount of damage you take from spells
  • 45-47:  Owlkin frenzy 3/3- When things hit you and this is active, your damage increases, and your spells can’t be interrupted (no spell pushback), and you gain back mana (in patch 3.2).
  • 48-49: Wrath of Cenarius 2/5 – Gives you more damage, however you won’t have a lot on your gear for it to buff yet, so we’re going to only put 2 points here for now.
  • 50: Treants 1/1: When you cast this spell, it summons 3 little tree buddies as your pet that help fight for you.
  • 51: Typhoon 1/1: Knocks things back and does damage to them. A good “get out of my face” AOE spell.
  • 52-53 Gale Winds: Increases the damage that your AOE spells do (ie. hurricane).
  • 54-56: Wrath of Cenarius 5/5: Go back and finish off this talent.
  • 57-59: Earth and Moon 3/3 – Puts a debuff on your target that increases damage done to it.
  • 60: Starfall 1/1 – A new AOE spell

Dipping into restoration:

  • 61-65: Furor 5/5 – Increases your intellect in moonkin form.
  • 66-67 – Imp Mark of the Wild 2/2 – Increases stats by 2% and also increases your MOTW buff.
  • 68-70: Natural Shifter 3/3
  • 71: Omen of Clarity 1/1 – When you gain this buff, your next spell cast doesn’t cost mana.
  • 72-73: Master Shapeshifter 2/2: increases your damage done by 4%.
  • 74-75: Intensity 2/3: Increases your mana regen. At this point, if you are doing a lot of AOE damage to packs of mobs in Nourthrend, having more mana regen may help.

Going back to balance:

  • 76-78: Eclipse 3/3: When you cast starfire, you have a chance to make wrath do more damage. When you cast wrath, you have a chance for starfire to do more damage. This is a talent which is going to be important at level 80, so you should pick it up before then and get a little practice with rotating between starfire & wrath.
  • 79: Balance of power 2/2: you can finish off this talent, or put that point just about anywhere you want (intensity, nature’s splendor, imp moonfire).

Your talents at 79 would look like:
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#0xG0hiIocdhAuRuZbxcdb
At level 80, you should be picking up an end-game moonkin spec. This leveling spec is not designed to be good at level 80 content.

25 Comments

  1. Erdluf
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Dropping Splendor seems tough. You might be right, but I wonder.

    If you always kill targets in twelve seconds, I guess it makes sense. I’m not sure that a leveling balance druid will be that effective. If not, an extra tick of IS, MF, and Rejuvenation will make fights easier, and more mana efficient.

    Of course finding the point won’t be easy. Early on I’d probably borrow the point from CF, but Nature’s Reach might also be a candidate.

  2. Lissanna
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I can do more testing with my low level druid to see how fast things are dying with my mostly green gear at level 50, but my gut feeling just says that DOTs lasting longer aren’t going to make much of a difference in leveling.

  3. Mystseer
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I just leveled my first druid to lvl 10 and am going to be giving this build a try on the way up. My main is an affliction warlock so I have some real experience with DOTs. I’ll be testing it out, but I think your on the right track dropping Splendor from the build. If your DOTs have run down after 12 seconds and one last insta cast spell doesn’t drop your target, you have bigger problems. I’ll see how this goes though.

  4. Posted August 3, 2009 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I agree with most of the talents you’ve picked up but would have done so in a much different order at times.

    First and foremost, I am not a big fan of dots while leveling and Moonkin DoTs are relatively weak when compared to our nukes. I wouldn’t use Moonfire much while leveling and I wouldn’t pick up Insect Swarm either unless I knew I as going to do a lot of instances.

    After that, I would flip flop Nature’s Grace and Nature’s Reach but thats not a big deal.

    I am very surprised that you would choose Vengence over CF at level 25. The way I look at it is that crit chance is very low for low level characters. Probably around 10% with talents. In my Opinion the pushback resistance and Haste are much more significant.

    I might also max out Lunar Guidance before I maxed out Vengance. I don’t have any math for it but I think it might have more impact on DPS given that the player has already built up a level of Int by this point.

    The other big differences I would have are waiting on Wrath of Cenarius and Gale Winds while picking up Dreamstate for more longevity.

  5. Posted August 3, 2009 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to drop in and say thanks. I used your previous balance levelling spec from level 40 onwards (sadly I didn’t discover it before Moonkin form, and struggled through feral levelling) and never looked back!

    So thanks for making levelling so easy and pleasurable for someone who greatly prefers her battles to happen at a distance :D

    ps I like the dots for levelling – my standard attack while levelling was Roots>IS>SF>MF>wrath til it dies. Usually death occurred before contact with my feathers :D

  6. Siobhann
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    How was mana with the O5SR nerf? I can’t imagine leveling balance without regen talents until level 74. It seems like it would require an awful lot of drinking. I’ve always had either dreamstate, intensity, or some combination of both.

  7. Posted August 3, 2009 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    The regen wasn’t fabulous, but I made sure I had gear appropriate to the level, and drank when necessary. Every four or five mobs I would need to drink.

    Compared to how much I died trying to solo as feral, I considered this a winning situation :P

  8. Lissanna
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    In 3.2, owlkin frenzy also becomes a mana regen talent, so for people that let things hit them, owlkin frenzy IS a regen talent next patch.

    There also seems to be 2 leveling options once you get higher level: root/dot single targets, or group things up and AOE with hurricane/starfall/typhoon.

    I can also have optional specs that are more dot/regen oriented.

    For dreamstate: my level 50 druid only has about 175 int, and so 10% of that is a pretty small number.

  9. Lissanna
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Graylo- some of the time the order at which I picked things was mostly for ease of presentation. A lot of the time, I end up with split talents (ie. pick up 2 points here and pick up the other 3 points later), and I work a lot to reduce how much I do that. It’s a little bit of a flaw with the system of giving people an order to pick things up, because there’s not really a one-size-fits-all spec for people. I can try adjusting it a little bit more. Also, some people really like using the DOTs, even if they aren’t super great…

  10. Erdluf
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    As a guess for fight durations, equal-level mobs.

    Level 34 Aged Kodo has 1570 health.

    Level 34 Druid:
    SF 272-328
    IS 234 (about 304 with Glyph, about 355 with Glyph+Splendor)
    Thorns: 12

    34 Druid with 1/3 Lunar Guidance probably has only about 100 Int = 4 SP (I’m assuming leather-wearing (of the Eagle). Cloth might be better).

    A kill is roughly IS(glyphed)+4*SF+4*Thorns+1*Melee swing, assuming no crits (and no misses), and costs 74% of base mana (4*.18*.91(SF) + .09(IS))

    So start of first cast to end of combat is about 15s (counting pushback and melee swing). Splendor seems kind of pointless for a solo pull (although if you pull two equal-level creatures it would be nice).

    Splendor might also be nice for mobs that run at low health. MF is too expensive to cast as a killer. On the other hand, an additional IS tick for 60 might do the job for you.

    Graylo’s assessment seems correct:

    A point of CF is 1% DPS, even before pushback considerations.

    If I’m right about 100 Int, a point of LG is about 1% DPS (maybe as much as 1.3%).

    If this guy has 10% crit, a point of NG is only about 0.6% to 0.7% DPS (IS and Thorns don’t crit, and even SF doesn’t crit very often, and when it does it may be a killing-blow, meaning the haste doesn’t help).

    At 10% crit a point of Vengeance is worth about .8% DPS (about a 1% increase to SF, but SF was only about 80% of the damage in my rotation).

    So for Solo, the preference order might be CF > LG > Vng > NG.

    If you mainly fight mobs at a level lower than you (not at all unlikely), you may be getting kills with not more than IS+SF*3 (all non-crit). In that case Vengeance might pass LG, since you’d consider dropping IS from the rotation. I’d think that NG remains at the bottom of this list.

  11. Lissanna
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    To unlock tier 4, you would have to get Nature’s Grace first, or skip it in favor of imp moonfire/brambles/nature’s splendor (in which case, I’d have to either drop 3 points from another point in the tree, or never go back to pick it up, which seems worse once you hit the higher levels).

    You could get nature’s reach before nature’s grace, but you still need to spend 3 points to unlock the next tier.

    My original strategy was doing:
    http://www.restokin.com/druid-leveling-guide/2-balance-leveling/
    However, the newer one seems a lot more straightforward and better at the higher levels by scaling back some of the lower level stuff to where it is now. You could delay getting insect swarm until after vengeance & celestial focus, otherwise I’m ending up with more split-talents that have to get filled back in later.

  12. Erdluf
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    In my earlier post I assumed 10% crit, but with Majesty, 14% SF crit may be a better guess. In that case the crit talents are much closer to Lunar Guidance in value. I think CF is still ahead of them for solo leveling, because of pushback.

    A more fundamental question is what people want from a leveling build. Kill “easy” things quickly and efficiently? Push the boundary on the “toughest” fight that can be won? Solo or group?

    Someone leveling an alt is probably trying for 80 at lowest time played. That means kill easy things quickly. Someone leveling their first main, might have a different view.

  13. Jamie
    Posted August 4, 2009 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    You said that gale winds helps starfall, but I don’t see that in the tooltip or the 3.2 patch notes. Am I missing something? I really like your talent guide by the way. It’s made turn from hating playing on my druid to loving it!

    Thanks!

  14. Posted August 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I used your old guide, and loved it, finding most of your selections right on, most of the time. Im going to try your new spec. I am curious about the DOT issue, and eager to test it out. Im a little skeptical, I recall many fights while leveling in which extra time on DOTs mattered (actually startred a new druid, so I can have one dual spec, and one making up the spec I missed), anyhow, no real critisicm or anything. Really, just wanted to applaud your efforts.

  15. Whorde
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    This was my first time leveling a Druid. I’ve raided at the highest level as a Rogue since vanilla WoW, so I’ve little interest in the feral side of Druids. This guide was a great primer for getting me rolling.

    I wanted to throw out my solo leveling rotation, as it seems to differ greatly from others I’ve seen. It seems most guides recommend a root & nuke method. I found a nuke – dot – root process to be efficient and fun.

    I begin at max casting range. If ‘Nature’s Grasp’ is off cd I trigger it before the pull. Standing sideways so I can strafe away from the target at full speed while casting, I open with ‘Starfire’. I then immediately strafe away and cast my instants on the run: ‘Faerie Fire’, ‘Moonfire’, and ‘Insect Swarm’. There is enough time on normal speed mobs to stop running and cast another ‘Starfire’ (or ‘Entangling Roots’ if ‘Nature’s Grasp’ was still on CD) before taking a hit and activating ‘Nature’s Grasp’. At this point I can step out of melee range and let the dots finish off the mob. If I need more I can toss in a ‘Wrath’ for the killing shot.

    I rarely took damage from mobs and had enough time not casting to regen mana for the next pull. It wasn’t until I spec’d into ‘Eclipse’ that I’d stand & nuke for the proc effect.

    Hope you find this to be a fun twist to leveling!

  16. Lorne/Milkexpress
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Long story of nostalgia incoming so just skip down to the “Story ends here” mark if you want my actual input on this whole Balance affair.

    My first character when wow launched was a druid. Back then my goal was to heal so i leveled as resto in bear form(!). Okey it went alot slower than my friends etc but i loved it and hell no one could jump me at.

    When hitting 60 i joined a raiding guild with my friends and had probably the best time in wow yet. When TBC came out i put my druid on the shelf to go for a rogue but thats another story.

    A few months before the launch of WOTLK i decided to dust of my resto druid and respec feral. I found this very effective and fast but increadibly booring (emphasizing with Whorde here :P). But i stood my ground and hit 70 and went back to my old days of healing, this time in pvp.

    My carer as a pvp healer was fairly short lived as the arrival of the Lich King spawned a new interest in the death knight class. Hence once again my druid was put on the shelf. Dont get me wrong here i love the druid class over any other, and ive played all classes except shaman over 60 (meaning some 60s several 70s and 2x 80s). But i still find the druid class the most interesting and fun class to play. After a few months of break i decided to start playing again as a class i’ve never experienced before: The Hunter Class.

    Since the arrival of 3.2 gearing has been a non-issue and this has resulted with me getting fairly good gear with the downside of me getting tired and bored of doing the same thing over and oooover again.
    This got me thinking of my beloved druid and so i decided to pay him a visit. Since i leveled vanilla as resto and TBC as feral i thought: heck why not test balance. Which i did. With mixed results. But my slumbering love for the druid class awokened once again and i decided to level an alt on my current server (as i got teh phat heirlooms there)

    ———- This is where the story ends——–

    So i tested out a balance spec on my 70 druid that i came up with on the go. Of course i read up on what was the deal nowadays but if you’re not a total wacko one can easily discern the good talents from the total useless, although it seems druids almost don’t have useless talents :P.

    After reading the comments here i found that Whorde’s playstyle wasn’t much different from my own when compared to the other dot/root or AOE rotations.

    I start out at max range with a wrath. as it flies towards the enemy i set of a starfire which lands almost exactly as the previous wrath which makes a nice opener. I then proceed with a root/NG and move away again while popping IS and FF. Depending on weather Eclipse proc or not i then cast wrath/starfire (not a big fan of moonfire since the term “moonfire spam” was invented way back in the days) until the mob is dead. Lather, rinse, repeat.
    I found this way of dealing with mobs very fun and entertaining as it can lead to ninjapulls that will keep me on edge, constantly giving me a challenge and making me use most of the druids arsenal.
    I like the hybrid playstyle a druid can have and i am kind of unhappy that blizzard doesn’t put emphasis on hybrid speccing as this would be REALLY fun imo.

    Anyways i hope we are getting some interesting changes in Cataclysm cause i sure am gonna play a druid when it launches.

    Here’s a hybrid spec that would be fun to try out just for the heck of it. im not a big fan of the moonkin form (hate the looks) so i went for something that would keep me in casterform while still being able to nuke from afar and being versatile with stealth as i see this is one of our class biggest advantages (ah good old TM days) while not burning to much mana on shapeshifts. this is not based on anything but my playstyle and wet dreams of hybrid gameplay =)

    http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#0xG0hiIoIb0VhoZxGMZbxcdb

    Cheers hope you found the read interesting, now im gonna goof around teh internets since all servers went offline a few hours ago =( WANNA GET BACK TO MY DRUID NAO DAMNIT

    Yours truly, Lorne; now known as Milkexpress

  17. Mark
    Posted November 8, 2009 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    My Druid is now at level 41 and this has been my bible. Thanks for all of the hard work and testing that went into it. =)

  18. Maaya
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I dropped feral and specced into balance following this guide at level 63. I’ve only got Hellfire Peninsula quest greens and two blues from a group quest, and I’m actually still wearing four feral greens. The self-buffed stats in Moonkin form is: 328 spellpower, 17.32% crit; 287int, 178spi.

    Against equal level quest mobs, SF-Wrath-SF-Wrath*n usually does the trick without even needing to root things. I may get hit once or twice, but it doesn’t really matter. If I get a lucky crit, mobs usually die on its way to me.

    With SF-IS-Wrath*n, insect swarm never get to run its course unless I get interrupted in some way. (Stun, silence, fear etc.) Although most of the time when the mob dies, IS is at about 4s or less to go, so it’s not that useless.

    I now mix in IS if I’m fighting equal/higher level mobs or if I know the mob has more health than usual. Some mobs start with higher health, some will heal themselves, so IS has its use. I’m even considering glyphing it.

    Frenzy is not paying off for me, since mobs don’t hit me much. From my recount mana gains (for doing random quests):
    Innervate 14238
    Moonkin 4373
    Frenzy 1680

    Frenzy pays 2% of base mana per tick for 5 ticks. I have 2892 base at level 63, so that’s 15% chance to return 57*5=285 mana over 10 seconds, or 142.5 per 5 seconds.

    Dreamstate will give me 28 per 5 seconds, non-stop.

    I think for solo questing and leveling, Dreamstate will return much more mana than Frenzy. Time between mobs, looking for mobs, gathering, waiting for a patrol to leave…etc.

    But. I can see Frenzy has its worth in an AOE build.

    For now, I’m having to drink every five to eight mobs. Innervate is constantly on cooldown. This is definitely much worse than feral. I’ve already turned off my low-mana warning because I found it irritating. :(

    Maybe it’s better to have 2/3 Dreamstate and 1/3 Frenzy?

    Finally for glyphs (not mentioned in the post). Wrath is a must, and then the other major glyph is basically a choice of playstyle. For my single-target style I would go for IS (30% more damage for IS) or Hurricane for the odd instance run. But root-dot style people would probably want Entangling Roots; while AOE style people would want something else.

  19. Ken
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    I respec’d at 60 with this build and killing mobs is like breeze without any mana issues (^_^)

    Thanks

  20. Diablitownd
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I been following your feral guide thru level 53 and quite honestly I’m super dissappointed with the slackin of multitarget dps output… im probably going to change to dual spec balance / feral tank… ill let ya kno how it goes after fiddling with it.

  21. Moolificent
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    1-16 is Wrath 5/5 not 1-14, since you get your first talent point at 9.

    I’m leveling using your guide, lol, just hit 16. YAY Travel Form!!

  22. Munn
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Im sort of dissappointed with the fact that i cant down a mob before they reach me and also how my current spec is not mana effeciant at lvl 56…im gonna give yours a try and see if it works any better…and btw if anyone who reads this guide and thinks “i dont need treants” your an idiot. theyve saved my life so many times…and last but not least i cant seem to find a good rotation either…if u just wanna add that =)

  23. Ephman
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Two (main) questions-
    1. Thoughts on Balance of Power?
    2. Instance healing as Balance- (currently level 43)- possible? pre-load hot and then top it off? Volunteered to heal ZF but was amazed at the criticism before we even got going- and I’m mostly stacked IQ/Stam/Agil
    Thanks for any responses-
    E

  24. KMill
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    1. I’ve been following this guide, since I was lvl 32 and I’m now lvl 40. It’s great. I started using root, but haven’t used it after the first few times. I saved mana that way. I took a little beating, but the rotation I used was Moonfire, Insect Swarm (at 30), starfire. I was able to kill 3-4 individual mobs until I ran low on mana. I only rejuvinated at 1/2 HP or if more than 1 mob, then regrowth. I was able to take 2-3 mobs at same time, if you watch your HP closely. I tried Owlkin last night on four mobs and survived without too much issue. Recommend take out casters first (it really hurts), plus it removes some incoming damage faster. I also tried to take individual mobs 4 lvls above me and survived without issue; Had a few misses, but overall good.
    2. Also, what helped were the glyphs. I started with Starfire, then Moonfire (helps each other out). Will then add Starfall later when I can. I believe lengthening Moonfire uptime will help with reduction of mana use. And Moonfire is additional dps, especially for those runaways, which I encountered many. With the 2nd glyph Moonfire (reduction to the initial dmg, but increasing periodic dmg) the longer its up the more oomph of your DOT.
    3. The Insect Swarm also helped, because it reduced incoming damage. That’s one of the main reasons I have it. Rooting is not always reliable, cause some can break it easily.
    3. I’ve healed in instances up until 40 with no issues, even with tank running through instance leaving me with little down time. Issue I had sometimes was when I critted heals, which was often, I ended up aggroing. I resolved this by making a Macro to yell: HELP!! SAVE THE HEALER!! or something like. I let group know at the beginning to look out for that and spammed that about 2-3 times so they can rescue me. Because I hade issue with tank not paying attention to me, and took me too long to type it. I will continue to try and heal as balance on occasion to see how it goes, and let you guys know.

  25. D
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    thank you for the leveling guide so much, im glad you posted it or i wouldnt know what to spend my talents on.. but what spells should i focus on casting?