The Balance Tuning Pass

Druid
Howdy CMs! Please forward these thoughts (or any of the other well done threads about Balance tuning) to the development team, thanks.

I'm sitting at nearly i350 now and have completed about 40 Mythic dungeons, including Mythic+ up to +5 and +6. I've also done 7/8 Uldir this week...

Balance is definitely lagging.

The principle issue is our single target damage although our AoE is disappointing too. There are numerous things that need to be addressed in this next tuning pass, including but not limited to;

Why is Starfall so terrible?
Why do our Empowerments feel so weak?
Why is our Mastery weighted so low as to be laughable?
Why are we so helplessly trait dependent?

1. Why is Starfall so terrible?

In Legion, Starfall was a big button. On any pull with greater than 2 mobs our Starfall grossly out-damaged a Starsurge and was the obvious choice. In BFA it is no longer a 2+ priority. Or a 3+. Sadly, given my own testing and the testing of the community, it would appear that Starfall only overtakes Starsurge at 5+ targets. How on earth did Starfall become so neutered over the course of 2 months that it went from being 2+ targets to 5+ target priority?! And it seems ridiculous to me that even on a 4-pull you're forced to Starsurge single targets... The [Lunar Sharpnel] talent was so heavily nerfed that it feels like hot garbage. With one trait of [Lunar Shrapnel] it barely touches Starfall performance. You practically need 3 traits for it to be noticeable. Even then it's underwhelming with our AoE being demonstrably out-shined by Rogues, DHs, Mages and Warriors that aren't forced to stack a 3x trait. And if you go this route, your Single-Target is horrifying. Please buff Starfall. By at least 50%. It should be your priority on 3 or more targets.

2. Why do our Empowerments feel so weak?

The principle issue with the underperformance of Balance single-target is the lackluster damage of our generators. At i350 my Solar Wrath is a baseline 2800 damage. With a Solar Empowerment it hops up to a whopping 3600 damage. Yeah buckle your seat belt, raid lead. I'm about to validate my raid spot with this 3600 damage casted spell. Lunar Strike is not a whole lot better. Our Empowerments should feel significant. It's an elegant way to incentive appropriate rotation use - which was your implied reason for nerfing the crap out of [High Noon] after all. Our Mastery needs to be like 30% BASELINE. It's ridiculous that if you have anything less than a show-stopping amount of Mastery (our worst stat) that you hardly feel incentivized to consume empowerments at all

Which leads us to...

3. Why is our Mastery weighted so low as to be laughable?

Mathematically, our stat weights are a mess. Haste is our best secondary, which is to be expected. But we have no further build synergy to offer another good secondary option. It's crit, just because? It should really be Mastery, as our Empowerments depend on it but Mastery is weighted SO LOW that even point-for-point the chance to critical grossly (almost double) outweighs Mastery. A higher ilvl piece with Mastery on it is almost a DPS loss. We need every point of Mastery to increase our Empowerment percentage by more than it currently does. I am not sure what factor would be fair, but it feels to me like 20-40%.

4. Why are we so helplessly trait dependent?

Man, I'm so glad Legion's RNG gearing is gone! I don't have to fish for months for that one legenedary item that makes me raid viab-- oh wait. Listen, Blizzard. [Streaking Stars] is a crappy trait. It's a stupid passive that doesn't really change our playstyle or add depth or immersion to our priority rotation. Sadly, it's our best trait. Hell, not even our best trait, it might as well be our only trait. 3x [Streaking Stars] is pretty mandatory if you want to parse anything above 50th percentile. At the cost of giving NOTHING to our AoE performance or our trash DPS (pretty important in Mythic+). [Power of the Moon] x3 can be argued for as well, as it does seem to be a net DPS gain on trash but it doesn't do much for our boss damage. Now that you've made it impossible to swap Azerite Gear mid-Mythic+ run (why?!) we are left to decide whether we want to contribute mediocre trash damage or mediocre boss damage to our groups. Certainly not both! We need this [Streaking Stars] damage redistributed throughout our baseline single target. Or, a more elegant solution; we could make [Streaking Stars] a talent in the final row, making Fury of Elune or Moonboi baseline. Shooting* Stars would have to be buffed to compete and then we would have a TALENT selection for AoE vs. Single Target.

In conclusion- I'm not suggesting all of these changes at once for risk of over-tuning Balance druids. But we need something. I would prefer we take our rightful throne as AoE monsters and leave our Single-Target middle of the pack. But right now we have neither, and no strong argument to bring us to raids and only our utility to argue our Mythic+ viability from. Please either buff the crap out of Starfall or our Empowerments or lightly tune up both so that I don't feel like a giant steaming pile of crawg dung every time I glance at the meters.
First steps are to buff Mastery, Builders and probably nerf our reliance on Streaking Stars and Lunar Shrapnel.
I echo these concerns, I'm ilvl 346 and have done probably 20 Mythic+ dungeons and tried the first 5 Uldir bosses with various pugs, downed 3 of them so far, and even though my numbers with 2x streaking stars are usually in the top half of DPS numbers, it's not a particularly satisfying playstyle to have all of my damage loaded in an unforgiving 20 second window, that one boss mechanic might ruin.

In addition to those concerns, I also hope Blizz is looking at Boomkin armor. Maybe I'm alone, but I feel like I get shredded if mobs beat on me at all in between treants/roots if I'm fighting a few at a time (at ilvl 346). I know I'm a caster, but it feels like my armor is just way below where Boomkin normally is, both in PvP and PvE.

My overall suggestion for the first tuning pass would be a nerf to streaking stars, a slight buff to most other balance azerite traits and a boost to base mastery or it's scaling.
i still believe that they will nerf streaking stars and dont provide buffs to our baseline spec to compensate leaving us as the feral 2.0
09/07/2018 07:54 AMPosted by Vaporeom
i still believe that they will nerf streaking stars and dont provide buffs to our baseline spec to compensate leaving us as the feral 2.0

Thank you for your optimism, and meaningful contribution to the discussion :)
09/07/2018 07:55 AMPosted by Blindworld
09/07/2018 07:54 AMPosted by Vaporeom
i still believe that they will nerf streaking stars and dont provide buffs to our baseline spec to compensate leaving us as the feral 2.0

Thank you for your optimism, and meaningful contribution to the discussion :)


well i gave a example of what they should not do.

its hard to still be optimistic, but lets see what happens
SS in its current form should be removed and they should simply make celestial alignment a better cooldown and/or just bake that damage into our empowerments. As it stands it is far weaker than some 2 minute dps cooldowns (wings being a great example). The azertie traits should make you better not be the only thing that allows your dps to be even remotely competitive. I only have gotten a single SS gear piece in all of BFA so far and it wasn't even a 5 man drop. This is a bad state for the spec to be in.

Our aoe needs a large buff which has been stated. We're not strong enough for how slow our aoe is (getting both dots rolling on every mob, having to spec into fury, starfall taking alot of time to generate).
Without streaking stars we are bad. I mean really bad. Take a look at my sims from last night's raid.

https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/dMNaYKGT4X9BqZv8#boss=-2&difficulty=0&wipes=2&playermetric=bossdps&type=damage-done&source=33

Over all the fights SS averages over 13% of my total damage. THAT IS HUGE for a trait. I got two ilvl 355 Azerite pieces which I cannot wear because they do not have SS. I'm stuck with my 340s.

Hello, this is a big problem.
Also shamelessly put this thread on the general forums because it is worth trying to get blizzard to see

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20768836751

If anyone wants to post on that.
09/07/2018 08:27 AMPosted by Nerfiryx
Without streaking stars we are bad. I mean really bad. Take a look at my sims from last night's raid.

https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/dMNaYKGT4X9BqZv8#boss=-2&difficulty=0&wipes=2&playermetric=bossdps&type=damage-done&source=33

Over all the fights SS averages over 13% of my total damage. THAT IS HUGE for a trait. I got two ilvl 355 Azerite pieces which I cannot wear because they do not have SS. I'm stuck with my 340s.

Hello, this is a big problem.


Depending on the raid fight or m+ fight Streaking is sometimes 20% of my DPS. It does make bloodlust phase really fun tho, lmao. Even on such an add heavy fight as G'huun it was 13% of my DPS last night
Nerf SS and POTM by 50%.

Buff the generic dmg aura by 10%.
Buff Mastery by 15%.

Thanks. I can wear 30+ ilvl gear that doesn't have those 2 traits again.
As I recall, they tried to alleviate ramp-up issues going into BFA by removing stellar empowerment from starfall and increasing our dot damage. Well, the dot increase wasn't enough and it left Starfall a steaming pile we hardly even use. Mastery is garbage now for the same reason. Why?
09/07/2018 06:33 AMPosted by Blindworld
At i350 my Solar Wrath is a baseline 2800 damage. With a Solar Empowerment it hops up to a whopping 3600 damage.


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Currently Solar Wrath single target damage is not increased by Solar Empowerment like it used to be, instead it does very little aoe damage. I think that if they reverted this and made Wrath just do more single target damage balance would be in a really good spot. We would maybe see a build around the azerite trait "Dawning Sun" and the tier 75 talent Soul of the Forest be really strong.
Make Mastery actually matter
Buff baseline damage/ empowerments
BUFF STARFALL TO MATTER
Buff CA/ Incarn to be 2 minute cooldowns
Nerf SS and PotM because you shouldn't NEED traits to compete, they should be little extra bonus', not what makes or breaks a spec
Great post by the OP. Its spot on with my experience so far as well, having run quite a bit of Mythics and 5/8 Uldir so far.

It feels bad watching a Pally tank beat you on AoE packs. :(
09/07/2018 10:56 AMPosted by Boofstick
09/07/2018 06:33 AMPosted by Blindworld
At i350 my Solar Wrath is a baseline 2800 damage. With a Solar Empowerment it hops up to a whopping 3600 damage.


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Currently Solar Wrath single target damage is not increased by Solar Empowerment like it used to be, instead it does very little aoe damage. I think that if they reverted this and made Wrath just do more single target damage balance would be in a really good spot. We would maybe see a build around the azerite trait "Dawning Sun" and the tier 75 talent Soul of the Forest be really strong.


Common misconception that I’ll try to clarify; the solar empowerment does increase single target damage. The aoe damage that it does acts as an extra tick of damage even on the primary target. It won’t show on the tooltip, but you’ll see it in the combat text.

I don’t recall the exact verbiage but it states that it does an additional like X% to all nearby targets (as opposed to saying “other” targets or “additional” targets). It basically just hits twice.
Just a reminder:

Prot paladins have Avenging Wrath. Buffs their dmg, HEALING, and crit strike by 20% for 20 seconds on a 2 min timer.

Balance Druids get CA. Buffs dmg and haste by 15% for 20 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.

Completely makes sense that a tank gets a better offensive cooldown. Not only is it much more potent, it has 66% of the cooldown!

Ridiculous.
09/07/2018 10:56 AMPosted by Boofstick
09/07/2018 06:33 AMPosted by Blindworld
At i350 my Solar Wrath is a baseline 2800 damage. With a Solar Empowerment it hops up to a whopping 3600 damage.


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Currently Solar Wrath single target damage is not increased by Solar Empowerment like it used to be, instead it does very little aoe damage. I think that if they reverted this and made Wrath just do more single target damage balance would be in a really good spot. We would maybe see a build around the azerite trait "Dawning Sun" and the tier 75 talent Soul of the Forest be really strong.
It does do extra damage, it does it as a separate instance of damage, so it would be 2600 then a separate 800 damage. you can verify this very easily by going to a target dummy putting no dots just spam wrath until you have a starsurge then use the proc and you will see 2 damages pop up
https://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/1101038-class-tuning-september-11/

No Balance changes whatsoever. I guess Blizzard likes where the spec is.
LOL pack it in, we get nothing. What a effing joke.

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