This is a 4.0 leveling guide for balance druids from 1-50. These are observations based off my own game-play, as I began leveling soon after the changes took place. In it, I aim to provide general information on when new abilities become available, tips on how to use those abilities effectively, and my talent and glyph choices as I leveled my own balance druid.
The title of the article should give you a good clue as to my experience with all things druid until this point, which is just a nice way of saying “Take everything I say here with a grain of salt.” There are definitely viable and alternative talenting choices in a number of different areas; however, this is a rebuild of how I chose to specialize and level, with my resulting spec looking like this at L50.
And, without further ado, how to get from 1 to 50 as a noobkin!
Level 1 – 10
Level 1 – 2
- Abilities: Wrath
All druids begin life as casters. The first few levels will require you to beat on your enemy as often as cast at them due to our limited repetoire.
Wrath is a base in the moonkin’s rotation. Energized by Solar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.
- Abilities: Healing Touch
Healing Touch is a druid’s first healing spell, and functions as a large, slow heal. It is difficult to cast effectively in combat due to its casting time. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.
Druids continue in the casting vein with the addition of Moonfire, and an additional healing spell. Although you may be tempted to spam Moonfire, be aware that it has a high mana cost, and the DoT effect provides more damage than the initial hit. Primary DoT for Lunar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.
Rejuvanation is a HoT, and is perfect for casting in combat when needed. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.
- Abilities: Thorns
Thorns is a buff that can be applied to yourself or a party member. It is great for soloing in that it allows you to inflict a large amount of damage when you have multiple mobs attacking you. Thorns can easily kill a mob, so be sure to hit or DoT everything–you don’t get kill credit for a mob killed solely by your Thorns.
In parties, Thorns is often best applied to the tank in order to aid in threat generation.
Level 8 – 9
Starfire is a base spell in the moonkin’s rotation. Energized by Lunar Eclipse, see Maximizing Eclipse for more information. Due to long cast times, best used prior to entering combat.
Entangling Roots allows you to control the flow of the battle a bit better, and *hopefully* find you leaving your battles with less overall damage. I’d suggest using ER only when you need it–to kite a hard-hitting mob or hold in place a surprising 2nd addition to a pull. While ER can be a life-saver on difficult solo pulls or to kite away from a bad encounter, use it when it’s needed!
At this level, utilizing cat form until level 10 may be your best option. While the number of spells has increased, the cast times of spells often makes battles seem overly long.
- Abilities: Starsurge, Moonfury (Talented) | Other: Mangle, Prowl
- Talent Choice: Starlight (1/3)
- Whether you’ve utilized cat form till now or not, you will definitely want to switch back to your native form to become a spellcaster again when you reach level 10. With the addition of Moonfury, you should notice an appreciable difference in the amount of damage being caused by your primary spells.Starsurge is a primary moonkin rotational ability, and in almost all cases, should be used off cooldown since it provides a faster casting time than Starfire, but more damage than Wrath. Starsurge also provides the most lunar/solar energy–see Maximizing Eclipse for more information.
You will also have your Lunar/Solar Bar appear at this point in time. See Maximizing Eclipse for more information.
At this point, reducing the cast times of your primary spells, Starfire and Wrath, can significantly improve the time it takes you to complete battles. Highly suggested as your first choice.
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Level 11 – 20
Level 11 – 12
- Talent Choice: Starlight(2/3)
- Abilities: Regrowth, Revive
- Regrowth is an interesting healing spell that heals a medium amount of damage and applies a HoT for a short time. I use this much more often than Healing Touch as it allows me to toss a single heal and continue fighting in that the short HoT provides a small buffer against the next mob’s damage. When pulling a large group, I often use Regrowth and Rejuvenation pre-pull to lessen overall damage. It should be noted that healing spells can only be cast in your native form. If you are in moonkin form, you will be knocked out when casting any type of healing spell.Revive is our out-of-combat resurrection spell.
Level 13 – 14
- Talent Choice: Starlight(3/3)
- Abilities: Teleport: Moonglade | Other: Bear Form, Demoralizing Roar, Growl, Maul
- Although switching into bear form pre-4.0 was a good survival technique for leveling, with the changes in talents/spells, it’s simply easier and faster to just lazer beam your enemies to death in almost all cases.
Level 15 – 16
- Talent Choice: Nature’s Majesty(1/2)
- Abilities: Aquatic Form, Travel Form
- Faster movement speed on land and in the water! Travel form can be activated while in combat.Either Nature’s Majesty or Nature’s Grace is a solid choice for a secondary Tier 1 talent. The increased damage should prove more useful at this stage.
Level 17 – 20
- Talent Choice: Nature’s Majesty (2/2), Moonglow(1/3)
- Abilities: Insect Swarm, Omen of Clarity, RebirthThis will be your first “dry spell” in terms of new abilities, as you won’t receive anything new until level 20.Insect Swarm completes our moonkin rotation, providing the Solar Eclipse DoT we’ve been lacking until this point. Unlike Moonfire, it provides no burst damage upon application. See Maximizing Eclipse for more information.
Omen of Clarity is a clearcasting proc that can be activated by any damage from your abilities (including DoT ticks). If you have the in-game auras activated, you will see your character surrounded by leafy greens when active.
Either Moonglow, Nature’s Grace or Balance of Power would be a good choice at this point. I suggest Moonglow since I personally had some mana issues starting in the 30’s, and regretted not taking Moonglow earlier. If you find yourself utilizing the LFD feature primarily to level, taking Balance of Power first may be a better choice as it improves your chance to hit.
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Level 21 – 30
Level 21 – 22
- Talent Choice: Moonglow(2/3)
- Other: Enrage, Ravage, Skull Bash
- No new abilities.
Level 23 – 24
- Talent Choice: Moonglow(3/3)
- Faerie Fire, Remove Corruption | Other: Tiger’s FuryFaerie Fire won’t impact you much as you solo; however, don’t neglect to find a spot on your bar for it. FF is a powerful armor debuff that is only provided by Rogues, Warriors, Druids and certain pets, so you may be called on to apply it during raids. FF must be stacked three times to reach its full potential.Remove Corruption removes debuffs (poisons and curses) from yourself or other players.
Level 25 – 26
- Talent Choice: Balance of Power(1/2)
- Other: Cower, Dash, Feline Grace
- Glyphs: Wrath, Thorns, Unburdened RebirthNow if you need to jump off a cliff, you can utilize cat form to take less damage.Dash is also nice when you are in an order area, although you must be in cat form to use it.
Balance of Power allows you to gain hit rating through spirit, which may or may not be particularly useful at this point depending on if you are doing dungeons or not; however, the additional damage to all your spells is a good bargain.
As for glyphs, there are a ton to choose from. While I would not suggest that you keep Glyph of Wrath for anything but solo’ing; but, in solo situations, I find myself casting Wrath more frequently than any other spell due to the low cast time and the high probability that a mob is trying to beat my feathers off. I chose Thorns for similar reasons, since a reduced cool-down allows me to produce extra damage at little to no cost very frequently. Unburdened Rebirth is a clear winner since it’s that or Aquatic Form, and how often are you a sea-cow?
Level 27 – 28
- Talent Choice: Balance of Power(2/2)
- Abilities: Innervate, Sooth | Other: Challenging RoarInnervate is tied to your own mana pool, so it will not provide miracles, but it can reduce down-time.Sooth can be used any time you see some crazy mob go red and start to beat the crap out of you. Although the cost is somewhat prohibitive in normal mob v. player situations, against elites or in a raid setting, you’ll definitely want to remember you have this one!
Level 29 – 30
- Talent Choice: Moonkin Form(1/1)
- Abilities: Mark of the WildAlthough they may seem slim compared to some earlier levels, level 29 is the best time to be a moonkin because you ARE a moonkin! Whatever you do with talenting, make sure that you are able to reach Moonkin form and TAKE IT NAO! The bonuses for being in form are too great to wait another couple of levels.Mark of the Wild is a flat 5% stat increase, and should be worn at all times. Kings does overwrite it, and I have yet to have a paladin in group who didn’t do just that.
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Level 31 – 40
Level 31 – 32
- Talent Choice: Tyhpoon(1/1)
- Other: Bash, Pounce, Track HumanoidsTrack Humanoids is the only ability you might find yourself using–simply use cat form and activate to find that pesky mob that is eluding you!Talents are once again a matter of some choice. You still have Nature’s Grace, and Shooting Stars is an awesome talent. For solo’ing, I still suggest taking Typhoon first as it greatly increases your survivability, although the knockback can you get you a sound scolding in a party setting.
Level 33 – 36
- Talent Choice: Shooting Stars(2/2)
- Other: SwipeThe talent Shooting Stars creates a new possible proc for you to keep an eye on. Activated by a Moonfire/Insect Swarm tick, this proc resets the cool-down on Starsurge and makes it an instant cast. If you have the in-game auras on, you will see a purplish “comet” of stars over your character when activated.
Level 37 – 40
- Talent Choice: Euphoria(2/2)
- Other: Savage DefenseEuphoria decreases the down-time between Eclipse procs by giving Starfire and Wrath a chance to produce more lunar/solar energy in the “downtime” between eclipses. Although Nature’s Grace is still taunting us from the first tier, I would wait until after talenting Euphoria to pick it up since having Eclipses occur more often also allows the talented proc from Nature’s Grace to be available more often. For more information see Maximizing Eclipse.
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Level 41 – 50
Level 41 – 44
- Talent Choice: Nature’s Grace(2/3)
- Ability: HurricaneHurricane is our first AoE ability. Although it can be quite strong, it is also prohibitively expensive if used for small enough groups. I would suggest a grouping of 4 – 5 enemies before casting, and then, only in a group setting. Thorns in addition to Moonfire and Insect Swarm can produce similar if not greater damage and are not interruptable when solo’ing. Using Glyph of Hurricanecan improve the efficacy of Hurricane when solo.Now is when you should see the greatest benefit from Nature’s Grace provided your other talent choices. You might prefer Owlkin Frenzy if you find yourself solo’ing primarily.
Level 45 – 46
- Talent Choice: Nature’s Grace(3/3)
- Other: ShredNo new abilities.
Level 47 – 48
- Talent Choice: Owlkin Frenzy(1/3)
- Abilities: HibernateHibernate is not the most useful CC tool available, affecting only beasts and dragonkin, but that is not to say you’ll never want it. Primarily a group/raid tool, hibernate can help in select situations where you want to limit the interference of a hunter’s pet or dragonkin patrols.When solo’ing, things are going to hit you, and Owlkin Frenzy can help. When it procs, it prevents push-back while casting, which is a blessing since you had to get a pop in order for it to activate. It also increases damage while active.
Level 49 – 50
- Talent Choice: Earth and Moon
- Abilities: Leather Specialization
- Glyphs: Insect Swarm, Monsoon or Hurricane, Mark of the WildMake sure that every armor slot contains a leather piece when you reach this level. Although pre-Cataclysm leather caster pieces are sparse, it is possible to get enough greens together to make sure you get the bonus. An additional 5% Intellect is awesome! Make sure you get it!At this point in the talent tree you have several very useful talents to choose from. I suggest Earth and Moon because it is self-applying whenever you cast Wrath or Starfire, which should be every battle! It has additional use for those partying as it will increase the damage for other spellcasters as well.
For prime glyph I chose Insect Swarm since I am most likely to cast it due to its low mana cost. Moonfire and Starfire would also be good choices. Monsoon and Hurricane are both useful for helping the solo player survive, and your choice will depend primarily on your style of play. Any minor glyph is fine, honestly, the mana benefit from Glyph of MoTW is minimal considering the spell lasts an hour.
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When choosing the balance tree, the player will gain a new “energy” bar, the Eclipse Bar. The Eclipse Bar shows whether the player is building towards a Lunar or Solar Eclipse, and whether the player is currently under the effect of an Eclipse. Moonkins base their priority system on what Eclipse they are currently in, and what Eclipse they are working towards.
Spells by Eclipse at L50
Lunar Eclipse: Increases damage done by arcane spells.
- Starfire – Primary
- Moonfire – DoT
- Starsurge – When AvailableSolar Eclipse: Increases damage done by nature spells.
- Wrath – Primary
- Insect Swarm – DoT
- Hurricane – AoE
- Typhoon – AoE
- Starsurge – When Available
- Sunfire (If Talented) – DoTWhen you are in an Eclipse state, at a minimum, you should apply the appropriate DoT for your current state, and spam your primary damage spell for that state. Starsurge is a nature/arcane spell, and so should be used whenever available regardless of state. When you lose the Eclipse affect, you will maintain your rotation UNTIL you hit the OTHER eclipse, and then reverse your spell choices.For example, if you have just started a Lunar Eclipse, you will cast
- Starsurge as available.When you reach the center mark of your eclipse bar, you will lose the glow effect (blue glow), but you will continue to cast Starfire and Starsurge until you proc Solar Eclipse and your bar begins to glow yellow.When Solar Eclipse procs, you will cast
- Insect Swarm
- Starsurge as available.You will continue to cast these Wrath and Starsurge until you proc Lunar Eclipse, and you repeat the above.These rotations will ensure that you proc Eclipses as frequently as possible. You want to cast your DoT first thing upon attaining an Eclipse in order to activate your haste buff from Nature’s Grace. When you have Shooting Stars talented and it procs, it will make your Starsurge instant cast, and should be used ASAP, but otherwise, upon every cooldown.
Only Starsurge, Starfire and Wrath allow you to gain/lose Lunar/Solar energy, so do not hold back when refreshing a DoT in the fear that you will waste some of the damage increase from an active Eclipse state.
Likewise, Hurricane does not consume solar power. In a party setting where frequent AoE for trash is required, it can be beneficial to force yourself into a Solar Eclipse and then refrain from casting Starsurge or Wrath in order to keep the bonus damage from Solar Eclipse for your Hurricane.
On bosses, you should keep both Insect Swarm and Moonfire active, regardless of current Eclipse state, although refreshing when you activate a new Eclipse state is suggested to gain the haste buff and empower your DoT with additional damage.
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Make those lazer beams go pew-pew! See you at 80!