Blizzard is currently celebrating the 13 year anniversary of World of Warcraft. I started playing the game soon after the original launch and started posting on the Druid forums shortly after. Over the years, I have written guides, taught people how to play druids, and contributed to theorycrafting class designs. My longest running guide is the leveling guide that I took over at the start of WOW’s first expansion, Burning Crusade. I’ve been a blogger and MVP for a number of years. So, I don’t take this lightly when I say that the end of an important era of my life is now coming to an end.
Over the last few months, I have been working on a career change and am leaving academia. In early December, I start a new industry job. This relocation and career change has caused me to need to leave the Blizzard MVP program and close Restokin. That’s right, I won’t be working on supporting the community as you launch into Battle for Azeroth testing. Next week, movers will come and pick up all my belongings and I start a week long road trip to my new home and career. I will still play WOW and other video games, but I need to have a less active role in the community so that I can focus on my new career.
Over the years, I have made many great friends in the gaming community. I plan to still have a presence on my Twitter account (@restokin). I feel good about leaving the Druid community in the hands of the very large Discord server, Dreamgrove, where there is an active and helpful theorycrafting community. They can do more as a group than I can do as an individual. If you have questions about druids, I suggest you go ask Dreamgrove (and not me). For me, this game has always been about community. It has been an honor to see the druid community grow over the years and I am happy to leave the community in good hands.
I wanted to thank all of my readers and fans over the years as you all have made this adventure incredible. I also wanted to thank my guest posters who helped this blog grow and flourish over the years. I want to thank everyone at Blizzard who has read my posts, talked to me at Blizzcon, and supported me in the MVP program. I also want to thank all the other theroycrafters, guide writers, and fansite creators who help to made the World of Warcraft community feel like home for so many years. I am sad to close the door on my past and excited to see what the future holds.
“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Update: I started in December as a User Experience Researcher at Daybreak games!
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.