[7.2] Balance Druid: Feedback

#1 - March 18, 2017, 1:24 a.m.
Blizzard Post
Going over various aspects of the spec. Feedback in mostly my opinion, but has been discussed with many top-tier balance druids and your average player. I moderate the Dreamgrove discord channel, so I see quite the range of feedback.

T20 Set Bonuses:
Druid T20 Balance 2P Bonus:
- Increase your Astral Power generation by 10% and your maximum Astral Power by 30.

Druid T20 Balance 4P Bonus:
- Starsurge and Starfall increase your Haste by 3% for 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times, but gaining a stack does not refresh the duration.

After sitting on it for some time (a month or so), I'm still not a fan of increasing Astral Power generation. It's reach is too wide and brings up some issues with talents. I am happy with increasing our maximum Astral Power, though 30 still looks weird to me (I prefer +20 due to common multiples of 40 and 60).

I like the 4pc. Nothing has changed. It's basically Erratic Metronome, but more controlled.

Starfall's Haste change:
Starfall duration and tick rate is no longer affected by Haste.

Honestly, I'm kinda bummed about this. It's not really a nerf, but it's not a buff in any reasonable situation. I don't disagree with the change, but I do think we should be buffed. Our AOE simply isn't god-tier, Nighthold proved that. Raid encounters play a huge part in the strength of Starfall. It's either average or bad, never great.

To keep it short, Starfall's burst AOE potential was removed. It wasn't even that good as a burst AOE option. You guys seemed to have abandoned Fury of Elune because you dislike the changes it makes to the rotation (removing too many Starsurges).

So, we go from mediocre at best to awful in yet another burst-oriented tier (Seriously, why is it ALWAYS burst? =/). Our cleave is non-existent, other DPS specs do more single-target than we do on 2-target spread. Our single-target is extremely reliant on Emerald Dreamcatcher (helm) or Impeccable Fel Essence (ring). Even with those items, it's awful damage...not even close. Even if other legendary items are being buffed, that goes for everyone, so it's a null change.

I honestly have no idea what you guys are planning with this spec's role in raids. Expressing concerns felt by multiple top-tier balance druids is the most I can do at this point.

TL;DR: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think ST and AOE buffs are in order.

Quotes from top-tier Moonkins:
Summary: "Why are we getting nerfed when we're on the bottom of the charts for basically everything?"
that change to starfall not scaling with haste, what do you think about it?

I'm not against it in a vacuum, but with how niche our aoe already is, it seems like a terrible idea to make it even more niche by making it super !@#$ for any kind of burst aoe. It's not a secret that balance is performing extremely poorly in Nighthold (bottom overall and bottom single target by a significant amount), this seems like a step in the wrong direction. On our best encounters (Spellblade, extrmely high uptime on AOE), we're only the 8th best spec. If anything, our aoe should get a buff, not a nerf, the fact that it performs below 7 other specs on the one boss out of 10 that favours us the most does not seem right.

The upsites of the increased duration are minor. In any situation where we want aoe, we can already maintain 100% uptime on empowerments by speccing SotF, so the increased uptime on empowerments only happen when we spec Incarnation, meaning Incarnation sustained AOE gets slightly better, but if you spec Incarnation in the first place, you clearly don't value sustained AOE very highly. The only other upside I can think of is allowing for more cast while moving with SD, but that is kinda ruined by the fact that your casts are randomly interrupted half the time anyway, so unless they fix that it's really not relevant.
The downsides are pretty obvious, our burst AOE will likely go back to pre 7.1 levels, to the point of us not even bothering with it. Sure, we can still do sustained AOE, but being #8 sustained AOE and #last single target and one of the bottom (honestly, anybody doing below average burst AOE usually just wont bother doing it at all) for burst AOE feels bad.

Sorry if I sound like a whiny %^-*!, It's just pretty annoying to play a spec performing so poorly, and then read patch notes and we're getting nerfed :(

Summary: "This changes nothing."
i cant see haste not affecting it doing much of anything to impact the value of haste overall, aside from on burst aoe which we suck %@%@**!% at anyway so who cares
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Game Designer
#74 - March 31, 2017, 9:44 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Wax and Wane: Best we can tell so far, there is no bug, simply a combination of two large multiplicative bonuses (Wax and Wane and Stellar Empowerment). Our goal was to make Wax and Wane, which we understand is weak, as strong as we could without causing any degenerate rotations such as single-target Moonfire spam. That was also the reason for adding Sunfire even though the tooltip will be slightly off until 7.2.5. But even at current tuning of Wax and Wane (post-buff) the incentive for a degenerate Moonfire-spam rotation is too high, as people are observing.

In an upcoming hotfix, we're going to further increase Wax and Wane's bonus, but also make Stellar Empowerment not buff the initial damage of Moonfire, Sunfire, and Stellar Flare. We're doing this not only because it's the most convenient way of solving the new Wax and Wane problem, but also because we actually think it makes the most sense long-term for what Stellar Empowerment should be. The intent of Stellar Empowerment is to buff your ticking DoTs while you AoE with Starfall, not to encourage spamming instant DoT casts during Starfall.

Edited for accuracy
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Game Designer
#76 - March 31, 2017, 9:56 p.m.
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I was glossing over the details--it would be possible in a sufficiently important case (the one you mention was adding a new talent, Cavalier). Wax and Wane not mentioning that it buffs Sunfire is not a huge problem. Anyway, that was an aside--main point was that adding Sunfire to the benefit was meant to double the value of the trait to get it closer to where it should be, and we were fine doing it immediately.
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Game Designer
#313 - May 10, 2017, 12:25 a.m.
Blizzard Post
The Incarnation change is a tooltip bug in this build.