- Author: Passion
- Date: November 17, 2023
- Updated: December 2, 2023
- Expansion: WoW Classic
When I played WoW for the first time, close to 20 years ago, I made a Night Elf Male Druid. I loved the goofy Wrath cast animation, holding a green glow up to my forehead and gritting my teeth before aggressively pushing it into an enemy. Unfortunately, I only got to see that animation now and then for 10 levels, before never seeing it again once I unlocked Bear Form.
Season of Discovery brings the ability to play a Balance Druid by entirely removing the Mana cost of Wrath, allowing us to once again grit our teeth and stare into the mystifying green glow.
The vast majority of your casts will simply be spamming Wrath, and that by itself is fairly powerful. We do need to change it up a little bit though, even if it is just to avoid a repetitive strain injury. Keep Moonfire and Sunfire running when possible, and keep Starsurge on cooldown. Simple, right?
The main hurdle for Balance in Season of Discovery is that roughly one in 8 Wrath casts will grant us an instant cast Healing Touch. This is a great addition to our kit, giving us a solid emergency heal, and even allowing us to function as high-damage off-healers. The downside of this is that Healing Touch is a very expensive spell, and if we are rolling Moonfire and Sunfire, we are likely going to struggle to afford Healing Touch casts toward the tail end of a fight.
You will have to make a decision before a fight, on if you are going to focus on off-healing or pure damage. Of course, you can change it up as needed, but even opening with Moonfire and Sunfire will cost a significant amount of Mana that could be used on a Healing Touch instead.
Reduces the mana cost of Wrath by 100% and each time you deal damage with Wrath you have a 12% chance for your next cast of Healing Touch within 15 sec to be instant.
This is the bread and butter for this build and the only reason this build is at all functional. Balance Druids have always struggled with Mana in Classic, and this simply removes the Mana cost of Wrath. Spam Wrath all day and night, become one with the beloved green glow.
The only downside of this is that Nature immunity is very much a thing in Classic. On any boss or enemy that is immune to Wrath, I recommend assuming the fetal position in between your 3.5-second Starfire casts.
This Rune also comes with a bit of an odd benefit. Every time Wrath deals damage, there is a 1/8ish~ chance of your next Healing Touch being instant. This effectively turns us into a Wrath machine gun that occasionally throws a hefty single-target heal, just to prove our divine benevolence. Unfortunately, the Healing Touch may be instant but it sure isn’t free, and on any fight that requires us to regularly heal, we will likely need to use our Mana exclusively for healing.
Burns the enemy for 55 to 65 Nature damage and then an additional 110 Nature damage over 12 sec. This spell benefits from and triggers all effects associated with Moonfire.
Gee, how come Elune lets you have two DoTs? Sunfire is the Nature equivalent of Moonfire, functioning identically but dealing Nature damage instead of Arcane damage. In Phase 1 this looks to deal significantly more damage than Moonfire, but time will tell. When Mana permits you will want to keep both of these running at all times.
Expect to use this similarly to Moonfire, prioritizing Sunfire when possible.
Launch surging stellar energies that causes 57 to 70 Arcane damage. Starsurge benefits from and triggers most talents and effects that trigger or benefit from Wrath or Starfire.
This is a bit of an odd one, but a nice spell to have. Starsurge is an instant-cast Arcane spell that costs very, very little mana to use. This also benefits from talents that effect Wrath or Starfire, such as Vengeance and Improved Starfire.
There are some choices to be made with your talent tree, but in the end, I opted for full Balance. The main reasons for this are Improved Wrath and Vengeance. Improved Wrath is mandatory, reducing the cast time of your green machine gun to a GCD matching 1.5 seconds. Vengeance is optional, but even one point is enough to be a decent damage boost. Even if we decide to skip it, there just aren’t that many good talents available.
Improved Moonfire is not going to be a game-changer for us, but it is still one of the few DPS increases available in the tree at this point. It is also required to reach Vengeance, so you couldn’t skip it even if you wanted to. Nature’s Reach is a nice boost to have, but along with Nature’s Grasp and Improved Entangling Roots, we mainly grab it as a way to get further into the tree.
Players wanting to lean heavier on Support can skip Improved Entangling Roots, Nature’s Reach, and Vengeance, putting 5 points into Improved Mark of the Wild instead. This could easily be more valuable for most groups, but you lose some cast range and 20% increased Critical Damage.
Key Spells and Abilities
This is why we’re here. Combining Talents and Runes gives us a 1.5-second cast that costs no Mana. The damage may not be spectacular, but no other class can boast the longevity “free” brings to the table. Wrath may fall off later in the Season, but for Phase 1 it is almost on par with Warlock Shadow Bolts at almost half the cast time.
Spam this, become a lean green Wrath machine.
Unfortunately, I have to include this spell. We want to avoid using this whenever possible. It is a slow, expensive, mediocre damage nuke, and at level 25 we are one level away from the next rank. Starfire finds its niche against the many Nature immune enemies in Classic. During those fights, you will have almost 4 seconds to contemplate your life decisions or yell at clouds on the Classic Druid Discord.
Historically Moonfire has had some serious issues holding it back. The first of those is the debuff slot it takes. Fortunately, in a 10-man raid, this is not a large concern, meaning we can debuff to our heart’s content. The second issue is the Mana cost. Rank 4 Moonfire costs a hefty 105 Mana, more than even Starfire. This used to be unsustainable, and a Balance Druid trying to keep Moonfire up was unlikely to last the entire fight.
Fortunately, we have all of this Mana and nothing to spend it on. Who cares if we run out of mana, that won’t stop our Wrath anyway. This is also our only reliable “AoE” by default. On any multi-target fight, we want to blanket everything with Moonfire to make sure we have damage rolling on all targets.
Without Faerie Fire (Feral) available, keeping this debuff up falls to us. Reducing the targets Armor by 175 can be a significant DPS increase for all Physical DPS, as well as a Threat boost for your tank. With a duration of 40 seconds, this only requires a few casts per fight to maintain. For most solo content this spell has no use for us, but if you ever find a Rogue in Ashenvale, make sure to get this running on them ASAP.
Our one and only healing spell if you squint. While this build focuses primarily on DPS, the Fury of the Stormrage Rune gives us instant cast Healing Touches fairly regularly. This is a fairly big cast heal, for an equally big Mana cost. Having this available allows us to be a powerful flex healer or off-healer, but it can very quickly turn into an empty Mana bar.
Crafted through Engineering (Schematic: Spellpower Goggles Xtreme), this item increases both your damage and healing done, although it doesn’t have any other stats on it. It’s BoE but requires Engineering to equip. You won’t find a lot of other options for the head slot, so leveling up Engineering to craft these is worth doing. Engineering will also give you access to several other useful gadgets.
Dynamite is an iconic tool for Classic WoW, and Season of Discovery is no different. Make sure you stock up, at this level the damage is higher than any of your spells.
Magician Staff of Nature’s Wrath
Without a Mana cost on our primary damaging spell, we can entirely ignore Intellect, Spirit, and Mp5 if we want to, focusing instead on pure damage. By level 25 there aren’t any solid rares for Spell Damage, but this staff can net you an easy 14 Nature Spell Damage.
Armor of Nature’s Wrath
Instead of listing every individual piece of Nature’s Wrath armor, I’ll list a few highlights here. There may be better, or more accessible options available to you, so check your Auction House, don’t tunnel vision one particular piece here!
- Robust Shoulders of Nature’s Wrath
- Dervish Tunic of Nature’s Wrath
- Pathfinder Footpads of Nature’s Wrath
- Headhunter’s Bands of Nature’s Wrath
- Cutthroat’s Cape of Nature’s Wrath
Druids don’t have the luxury of choosing a race, we simply choose our faction and get what we’re given.
The four racials here are all negligible, but they’re nice to have. Nature Resistance is likely to be useful in at least some situations, even if that ends up being against a different Balance Druid blasting you with Wrath. Quickness is likely the least useful of the bunch. 1% Dodge chance is great, but you can’t Dodge while casting, and your hands will rarely not be glowing green. Shadowmeld is a neat little out-of-combat stealth, but unless you plan on ambushing players on the roads, you will struggle to find a time to use it. Finally, Wisp Spirit is (unfortunately) the most useful. We move 50% faster while dead, making corpse runs that much faster.
These four racials are the stronger of the two races. Nature Resistance is identical to Night Elves, likely useful in a few niche scenarios. Endurance gives 5% more total Health, which while not a massive boost, still sees some value. Cultivation gives a flat 15-skill boost to Herbalism, allowing us to pick later flowers earlier. Of course, that is only useful if you decide to go with Herbalism. Finally, War Stomp is a Melee range AoE stun. This is still fairly niche, but can see regular use for larger trash packs, or while soloing.