- Author: bobodingo
- Date: July 20, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Druids have long been considered a jack of all trades, master of none. Balance in particularly used to be considered a complete meme, having terrible mana issues, low damage, and an incredibly simple rotation in Classic. These issues were slightly improved in TBC, but the spec was ultimately slightly on the weaker side, and didn’t pick up steam.
Thankfully, WotLK pushes us a few steps further away from the meme direction: Balance Druids do very solid damage now, thanks to the new Eclipse mechanic and several other buffs. Our new capstone talent meanwhile, Starfall, does some truly absurd damage on a very low 1-minute cooldown, and as a result, our AoE damage is actually incredibly competitive — it won’t be uncommon to see Boomkins on the top 5-10 spots of the DPS meters on more AoE-centric fights. Coupled with our staple Druid utility that got us spots even when we were weaker, nobody’s going to be laughing at our damage anymore!
This guide will detail everything you need to know about playing your Boomkin at its full potential. We will go over every aspect of the spec, from best in slot gear, to rotations and stat priorities. By the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll know everything there is to know about Boomkins!
Balance Druid Strengths & Weaknesses
- Top-tier AoE damage
Despite being casters, Boomkins were never really known for their incredible AoE damage, as our only AoE came in the form of Hurricane, formerly on a 1-minute cooldown. WotLK removes its cooldown, and more importantly, adds 2 more spells to our AoE arsenal: Starfall and Typhoon, the former of which is incredibly powerful and single-handedly propels our AoE to the upper tiers.
- Low loot competition
Warlocks, Mages and Shadowpriests are all incredibly powerful in WotLK — it won’t be rare to see raids that have 5-7 of those classes in total. While they’re murdering each other for the cloth caster DPS drops, you’re off in your own little corner, the only person who needs leather caster DPS items. As a result, you’ll find yourself getting kitted up very quickly, relative to other casters.
- Unmatched utility
Our utility has always been top-tier, even though our damage was historically lacking. In Wrath, our utility gets turbo-charged: we still have access to Druid staples, like Innervate and Rebirth, and Boomkin-only goodies like Moonkin Aura. Some of our utility is nerfed, as it is no longer unique, but on the flipside we actually get even more utility than we had before — Boomkins are truly monsters of utility in Wrath.
- Poor single target damage
Our AoE damage is top-tier, but our single target unfortunately is not. On fights with just 1 target for your raid to attack, you will typically be around the middle of the DPS meters, and sometimes slightly below the middle too.
- Highly reliant on gear
Boomkins really need a good amount of haste and crit before they can “pop off”. This is made easier by the fact that we have relatively low loot competition as explained in the Strengths section, but if you get unlucky with drops, it might be a while before you can really reach your damage potential.
- Simple rotation, difficult to master
Boomkins experience a bit of an odd transformation, going from a 1-button spec to having a far more complex rotation in Wrath. As a Boomkin, to master your single target dps, you have to constantly manage your Eclipse procs, as well as 2 DoT spells and a multitude of other procs. The baseline skills are, however, far easier to learn but if you want to parse, you need to be on point with your procs and watch your offensive CDs and time them right to maximize your damage and top the meters.
Balance Druid Utility
Besides their damage, Balance Druids bring the following raid buffs & debuffs to a raid:
- Gift of the Wild
Completely unique utility that only Druids bring. You only need 1 Druid for it, but every raid will want at least 1 Druid just for this. Balance Druids may occasionally skip the Improved Mark of the Wild talent, but usually you’ll be taking that talent and thus buffing the raid.
Also completely unique Druid utility. The more Innervates you have, the easier some of the more mana-demanding fights will be for your raid. There’s a good amount of different mana regen mechanics in Wrath, so you won’t need it for yourself as much anymore as a Boomkin, meaning it’ll be more common for you to help a healer out.
- Combat Resurrection – Rebirth
Druids are 1 of the 2 classes that possess the ability to resurrect someone in combat, which is always going to be a massive boon for your raid. Every expansion there are more and more methods of wipe prevention, but Rebirth will always be the best among them!
- 5% spell crit (does not stack) – Moonkin Aura
Disaster has struck — Blizzard has made this must-bring raid buff not exclusive to us Boomies anymore, as Elemental Shamans provide it with their Elemental Oath now as well. Many raids will elect not to bring an Elemental Shaman, in which case it’ll be up to you to buff your raid with this very important buff, but this is a nerf that stung a little.
- 5% armor reduction (does not stack) – Faerie Fire
Every raid will want to bring this debuff. Feral Druids have a really easy time applying it, and Warlocks can now offer it too with their Curse of Weakness. However, as the Improved Faerie Fire debuff increases your damage, you’ll always be casting Faerie Fire, even if you don’t strictly speaking need to be the one to reduce the target’s armor.
- 3% increased spell hit debuff (does not stack) – Improved Faerie Fire
Our bread-and-butter debuff is reworked, now benefiting our fellow casters rather than the stinky melee. Shadow Priests can also offer it with their Misery, but even so, the fact that having the debuff up increases your own damage means you’ll always be casting it — even if you don’t absolutely need to be the one to bring this debuff.
- 13% increased spell damage debuff (does not stack) – Earth and Moon
Blizzard decided that we needed even more utility, giving us access to the must-have 13% spell damage debuff. Previously exclusive to Warlocks (Curse of the Elements) and now offered by Unholy Death Knights (Ebon Plaguebringer) as well. The good news is that we’re amazing at applying it, as we do so automatically as part of our DPS rotation. DKs are better at applying it in AoE thanks to their Pestilence, but it’ll very often be your responsibility — specially in 10-man raids.
- 3% haste (does not stack) – Improved Moonkin Aura
Apparently Blizzard thought our utility still wasn’t enough! Boomkins are 1 of 2 specs in the game that can provide this brand-new haste buff to your raid, the other being Ret Paladins with Swift Retribution. Our version however is flat out better, as the talent boosts our individual damage as well, while it does absolutely nothing for Rets — meaning that this incredible buff is your domain!
- 20% attack speed slow debuff (does not stack) – Hurricane
Back when Hurricane had a 1-minute cooldown, its attack speed reduction component was more or less a meme — nobody in their right mind would mention it as a serious upside. However, now that its cooldown is gone and you can spam it to your heart’s content, the fact that it applies this handy little debuff is actually a great boon for us, as you can passively help your tank survive dangerous AoE situations.
Hopefully this guide gave you a general understanding of what playing Boomkin in Wrath is like! It is definitely one of the most rewarding specs to play out there, so we hope you check out the rest of the guide and can finally make a decision on whether a Boomie is the thing for you!