Thursday, July 26, 2007


So, I figured today I'd talk about synergy: in other words, how you fit in well with other classes as a Balance Druid. Now, we all know what we bring to the party - Crit aura, awesome buff, innervate, off-heals. Let's see what we can take advantage of based on who we group with.

1) Other Druids

Ironically, there's not a whole lot of synergy going on here. Sure, healing druids can benefit from your moonkin aura, and having more innervates to shuffle around is always nice, but there's not much more going on. If there's another balance druid in your group, it's usually best if one of you goes moonkin and the other one stays out just in case off-heals are needed: moonkin aura doesn't stack, so one of you in it works just fine.

2) Rogues

Again, not a whole lot going on. Your faerie fire/insect swarm can help a Rogue out, but no more so than any other melee class. Similarly, there's not a lot a rogue can do that directly helps you other than helping to down the mobs quicker.

3) Warrior

Apart from the warrior holding aggro if he's tanking, there's not a lot going on here either.

4) Priests

Now we get into some interesting stuff. Discipline and Holy priests (or rather, the discipline/holy hybrid that passes for a holy priest with the sucky talents they gave late holy) often have Improved Divine spirit. Each rank of this 2pt talent adds 5% of your spirit to spell damage and healing. Given the multiple boosts balance druids get to spell damage, this is great. Plus, the spell drops an extra 50 spirit on you as well, which helps for both mana regen and yet more spell damage. If you end up with a pure Discipline priest, they may have mana infusion too, which adds 20% to spell damage and healing for 15 seconds. On a side note, priests are normally your best target for an innervate, as they will get the most benefit.

Shadow priests have the lovely, wonderful ability to give their party back mana. If you are lucky enough to be in a party with one, love them, hug them, and call them George. Over a long fight, this can mean the difference between going OOM and plowing through the enemy.

5) Hunters

Not a whole lot here, but there's a BM Hunter ability that increases party damage of all types by 10% after a pet critical hit. The name escapes me right now, unfortunately.

6) Paladins

First off, Blessings rule. My personal preference for blessings is Salvation > Kings > Wisdom. Salvation first, because at least with me, it often means the difference between riding the edge with my aggro and just being able to full-out unleash everything I've got. Kings, because it translates into additional mana, hp, spell damage, and combat mana regen. Wisdom is just the mana regen, but it's still quite nice. Auras, while nice, don't particularly benefit us more than any other class.

If your pally friend is healing, your extra crit % = more Illumination procs for him = greater mana efficiency. Yay!

7) Shamans

Depending on the spec of the Shammy, you've got a couple different things going on.

First off, regardless of spec, Heroism/Bloodlust is great. Make sure that when you get the 30% speed increase, you start using your higher-cast time Starfire, as Wrath cannot benefit from it completely due to the global cooldown, especially if your nature's grace starts proccing too. Wrath of Air totem adds about 100 spell damage, which is great once again because of our added bonuses to received spell damage.

Elemental Shamans can provide the quite nice Totem of Wrath - +3% Spell Hit & Crit. Never something to sneeze at.

Enhancement Shamans have an interesting ability - Stormstrike. This increases the next 2 sources of nature damage dealt to the target by 20%. If there's a shaman thwacking the enemy with this, take advantage of it and start using Wrath more than Starfire if possible.

Resto shamans are great. The best thing about them is Mana tide. This totem is on a 5 minute cooldown and regenerates 24% of the affected party members' mana over 12 seconds. A great save, and in long boss fights it's sometimes possible to pull it out twice, if it is used early and then saved for the very end.

8) Mages

Mages have probably the single best buff for us - Arcane Brilliance. There isn't a whole lot of synergy otherwise, but that more than makes up for it.

9) Warlocks

Not a whole lot here, but watch for Curse of Shadow. This increases Shadow and Arcane damage dealt to the target by 10%, so start using Starfire/Moonfire more.

I'm sure I've probably missed a couple things. Anyone have anything to add?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Had the in-laws over this weekend, and at work I've been on the road for the past few days, so haven't had time to update. I'll be sure to do something by tomorrow at the latest. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Uber Leetness and You: Your Epic Flight Form

So, you've decided that you want to join the uber-leet squad of people who hang around outside banks and auction houses showing of their mounts in a bizarre online corollary to such social phenomena as "Pimp my Ride." Well, I have only one thing to say to such people.

Good for you! :)

So I'll start at the very beginning. The first thing you need to do is to collect 5000g to train your artisan riding skill. Ouch. Five grand. Obviously, this is going to be very dependent on your character professions and spec, so I'll just give some info that can help anyone - the basics of playing the AH.

First, if you don't use it already, get Auctioneer. Wonderful addon. Basically, every now and then you just need to sit at the auction house for fifteen or twenty minutes, and this addon scans every single item on there and starts building a database. I normally scan once every few days, but when I was making my gold, I'd try to make sure to do it at least once every 24 hours.

Soon, you'll find yourself with a nice database showing average prices for items, etc. Here's where the fun comes in. Immediately after you complete a scan, click on the tab at the bottom that says "Scan auctions" (In the AH window). Change the selection on the left from "Bid" to "Buyout," and set the minimum profit to 5 gold. Hit search.

And blam, like magic the addon looks through its most recent scan, compares the prices of items to what it has established as an "average," and shows you what you could buy for cheap. Example: I've been scanning for about 2 weeks steady, so I'm pretty sure my database is fairly accurate as far as staple items go (herbs, potions, primals, etc). Auctioneer is telling me that the average price for Primal Water is 20g. But some guy just posted an auction of 10 primal waters for 100g. When I do my search, Auctioneer will automatically tag it and tell me that there is an item I could potentially sell for profit.

Now of course, there are potential errors. First, if you haven't seen an item very often, it the price may not be accurate. The addon will tell you in the tooltip for the item how many times it has been scanned. So if the Magical Fez of the Mauve Eyed Barber is a purple, and you've only seen it once on the AH for 8000 gold, the addon is going to tell you the average price is 8000 gold even if it really is worth only 1000g or so. Second, it will not necessarily account for market spikes in either direction, so if you're not absolutely sure you can turn a profit make sure you look at what is on the AH currently. For example, say it's revealed that for some reason, using Shadow Oil on Gruul kills him within 10 seconds. For the 24 hours or so before it is hotfixed, Shadow Oil will be selling for enormous amounts. Your scans will see that, but they will average the new cost with the old ones, and you may end up selling for far less than you could. So do a bit of manual checking now and again.

So, you've gotten your 5000g. You've spent five minutes at the prompt trying to click the button, because OH DEAR GOD I'M ABOUT TO SPEND 5000 GOLD! You've clicked and promptly felt a pit open in your stomach. You drop an extra two hundred gold on an epic mount without thinking about it, because if you do you're going to gouge your brain out by way of your ear while babbling about having to get rid of everything grey after farming. And then you mount up...and epic flight is bliss. If you're a gatherer of any sort, this will improve your outland farming by an incredible amount. If you're not, well, it still rocks.

So, now that you've got that out of the way, what now? Head to the Druid trainer in Moonglade. If you don't know where he is, shame on you! (Pssst...he's in front of the building that overlooks the lake, to the left of the entrance). The quests are fairly self explanatory, but I will make a small note: there are three quests where you have to fight skettis "guardians" holding bird spirits hostage (Hawk, Eagle, Falcon). Each of these is meant to be done in a different form - Bear (Eagle), Cat (Falcon), and Caster/Moonkin (Hawk). As long as you have some decent gear for your off-spec, you should be able to solo them with only minor difficulty.

Now, when I say "meant to," what I really mean is "there is no freaking way you are doing this in any other form." I grouped with a feral druid to try this. Against the first two guys, my normally 3.2k starfire crits (at the time) were doing around 500(!) damage. And they had upwards of 100k HP. I switched to the appropriate forms, and my normal 200ish damage per hit in feral forms was all of a sudden doing like 1000. When we got to the caster vulnerable one, my feral druid friend reported doing about 100-150 damage per hit. On the other hand, I had two 10k (yes, that's 10,000) wrath crits and a 23k starfire crit. So do yourself a favor and do the fights in the appropriate form. :)


So, the last quest is to defeat the Raven God, in heroic Sethekk Halls. First, a note on gear. You should be, at minimum, in gear that is sufficient for Karazhan. Heroics are not forgiving. Sethekk seemed to be a bit more forgiving than some I've been in, but still...very nasty at points. You're going to want at least two forms of crowd control besides your hibernate (which will indeed get used here). We did it with a shackle and a sheep, you can probably replace either one of those with a hunter who is good at chain trapping. Finally, the pairs of ravenguards that stand to either side of each doorway are now immune to crowd control, even cyclone. Watch your aggro. Even in moonkin I could have been 3 shotted. Chances are, your moonkin opportunities will be limited, because you're mostly bringing off-heals rather than crowd control to the table in this instance.

The first boss of Sethekk is pretty much the same as before, except tougher. No real new abilities, although his elementals seem to spam their respective "X Buffet" abilities much more. You clear some more, and then you clear the room before the final boss. We pulled the last pull before the final boss too, just in case.

Now, before you start the fight by clicking on the stand in the middle, be aware of two things. First, let your tank know that the event takes about 45 seconds to start, so he shouldn't enrage right away before you start the event. Second, there are three statues that are going to be spawned, called Hawk Spirit, Falcon Spirit, and Eagle Spirit. These three things are going to be your main duty throughout the fight.

These statue come to life while a druid Heal over Time spell is active upon them. Each buffs your group/hurts the enemy in some way. Hawk reduces damage taken by 500 (before armor). Falcon increases movement, attack, and casting speed by 25%. Eagle does a 300DPS AoE that affects the entire room (enemies only). Now, to take full advantage of this, ponder a simple fact: Rank 1 HoTs have the same duration as full rank.

I set up a macro for each of the statues. The format is as follows

/target Hawk Spirit
/cast Rejuvenation(Rank 1)

Replace "Hawk" with "Eagle" and "Falcon" as appropriate. Now you can simply click on a button during the fight, and you will instantly activate one of the statues for less than 30 mana. Convenient!

The fight has two different "modes." Anzu will spawn, and it will be a tank and spank for the most part. The one thing to watch out for is a curse that Anzu throws on any casters in the group periodically. This curse does about 1k damage and mana burns you for 2k if you cast any spell while it is on you. It can be dispelled as long as you don't try to remove it from yourself. Also, Anzu will whisper to the person he curses, so watch for it on yourself, and remove it from healers especially. I suggest keeping the Hawk and Falcon statues active here. Eagle is not as necessary.

After being beaten down to about 66%, Anzu will summon a bunch of adds (birds) and banish himself. As soon as he emotes the summoning, have everyone run to the center of the room. Now is when you should activate the eagle statue. Keep the Hawk statue up. If you're inclined, keep the falcon up too, but that's not necessary. After all the adds are killed, or after 1 minute (this shouldn't be an issue - the eagle statue alone should kill the adds in 1 minute), Anzu reappears. Lather, rinse, repeat. He does another summon at 33%, and after that it's just spankage.

Congratulations, you now turn into a kick-ass looking bird. Well, at least if you're a Night Elf. My Tauren moonkin brothers, I humbly apologize for the epic flight form granted to you. I don't know why Blizzard saw fit to make your epic flight form look like a roadkill bird that some kid tried to turn into a kite with some leather, a few sticks, twine, and a sewing needle. Don't get me wrong, I like the whole "Tauren/rugged/horned" theme that permeates Tauren forms and architecture, it has its own appeal. But in my opinion, the Epic Tauren bird needs, at the very least, a more varied color palette to really look cool.

When you turn in the quest, at Cenarion in Zangarmarsh, don't forget to talk to the guy again. He'll give you back the summoning item so that you can summon Anzu whenever you feel like smacking him around.

So, in conclusion, I have only one question about my newly beloved epic flight form:

Where's my Dual Plasma Cannons?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On Scaling

This is just a brief stop for the morning, more coming later. But someone asked me what I meant in the last post by "scales well" and "scaling."

Basically, what it boils down to is that there's a lot of processing going on with Balance druids. Let's take a fairly simple situation: I cast a single Wrath. My spell damage (from gear) is +200, my int is 300. Here's what has to happen.

1) Add 25% of int to spell damage. Spell damage is now 275.
2) If I'm 5/5 Wrath of Cenarius, I add 10% of my bonus spell damage to wrath. That brings it to 302 spell damage.
3) The damage coefficient for wrath (i.e., how much of your total bonus damage is applied to the spell) is 57%, so that means about 172 of the damage will actually be added to the wrath.
4) Top-rank wrath does an average of about 405 damage, so the total damage goes to 577.
5) If I have 5/5 moonfury, Wrath does 10% more damage, so that brings me to a total of around 635 damage from a wrath.

Spell damage has an interesting relationship throughout this process. Look at Wrath of Cenarius and Moonfury, particularly.

If I only have 100 spell damage, Wrath of Cenarius is only going to be giving me another 10 spell damage on wraths, 20 on starfires. Not horrible, but come on, there are potions that give you 24 spell damage + 24 spell crit. However, if I have 500 spell damage, Wrath of Cenarius is giving me 50 spell damage. Much better. And the higher you go, the more bang you get for your buck. Moonfury takes that bonus damage and magnifies it.

Now, look at this in terms of total damage of the spell. I'll use starfire this time to make the math simpler.

Starfire's average damage at max level is about 588. I have 100 bonus spell damage. The damage coefficient is 100%, so that means the starfire will be 688 on average. If I factor in talents, you're looking at the following:

(588 + (100*1.2))*1.1 = 778.9

That means your talents are granting you about 91 damage, or roughly 13% damage from baseline (no talents). Now let's look at it with a higher bonus damage, say, 600. Baseline damage without talents is 1188.

(588+(600*1.2))*1.1 = 1438.8

Now your talents are granting you about 250 damage, or about 21% damage from baseline. As you can see, you get proportionally greater returns the higher you go in spell damage.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Moonkin Math

So, we've got spec out of the way. Let's talk a bit more about gear and habits.

Now, I've seen a couple posts on the WoW forums and elsewhere saying that the order in which you need stats is (in order of priority) Spell Hit, Spell Damage, Spell Crit. Usually, Int/Spirit/MP5 usually are tossed in somewhere after that in varying orders.

The problem that I have with most of these is that, in all the math examples I've seen, they do not calculate in the effect of some of the most essential Balance talents.

For example, Nature's grace. Reduces the next casting time by .5 seconds. Let's say that I'm casting Starfires, and I'm getting about 1600 damage per cast, non crit. My crit rating for starfires is, say, 20%. So, ten casts later:

8*1600 + 2*3200 = 19,200 damage /30 seconds = roughly 640dps.

Now, if we calculate in Nature's grace, we save 1 second of casting. 9,200/29 sec = 662 DPS.

Let's apply it to another 30 second scenario. Wrath this time, say 1000 damage, 2k on crit, over 30 seconds. For the sake of simplicity, let's keep the 20% crit rate.

16*1000 + 4*2000 = 24,000 damage / 30 seconds = roughly 800dps. Factor in Nature's grace, and it becomes 24,000 damage / 28 seconds = 857dps.

So basically, the more you crit, the more the time reduction boosts your damage output per second. Thus, spell crit scales not just because of higher damage hits, but because of more frequent hits.

So, what's most important? I don't think you can say one singular thing, as with our talents there are multiple paths to acheive the same goal. There are, however, a couple things to pursue.

1) Spell damage - Any way you can get it. Because of the large number of Balance talents that boost spell damage you have, moonkin scale very well at 500+ spell damage.

2) Intellect - Raw mana pool, spell damage, crit chance, and mana regen all in one. Intellect is your god. Don't neglect other areas, but make sure you've got a bunch here.

3) Spell crit - because of balance talents, spell crit becomes more valuable to us than many other classes. Doubled crit damage bonus + nature's grace is a wonderful thing.

4) Spell hit - with a caveat. If you have 2 points in Balance of Power, your spell hit will cap out on raid bosses at about 150 spell hit. There is never a reason to get more.

5) Mana/5 - Neglect this at your peril. We've come a long way, but mana issues can still plague moonkin specced druids. Do your math to make sure you have the endurance for long boss fights.

6) Spirit - With appropriate talents, this will add to your mana regen during combat. However, it's a far step down from intellect in most cases.

7) Spell penetration - I've seen conflicting information, and haven't been able to figure out a way to test it myself in any reasonable experiement, so let me just say this: There is a good amount of evidence that spell penetration has absolutely no effect in PvE. There is still some lingering doubts, so don't take that as gospel - but I personally will be investing in Spell Hit before penetration.

My personal take? I prioritize Int and Spell damage, put spell crit and hit on about the same level, though as I gain more spell hit I will be focusing more on improving crit.


So, that's what you're looking for out of your gear. So what is a typical fight like?

There are two cast sequences that I use. Since I generally don't have mana issues, I tend to use the slightly less mana efficent, higher DPS sequence.

Open with Faerie Fire, but do not repeat until it is down
Insect Swarm, Moonfire, Wrath x6, repeat

For a still high DPS, but saving a bit on mana efficiency, go with the following
Insect Swarm, Starfire x4, repeat

Theoretically, the starfire sequence DPS will catch up with the wrath DPS. However, this will be around +2000 Spell damage, so don't hold your breath. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Dear God Why Does Everyone Keep Bugging Me," or "On being a Guild Leader"

So I'm a bit of an odd bird. Most guild leaders are tanks, which can make sense. Tanks are often the ones with the attitude (*coughegocough*) to be guild leaders and tanks are usually the ones marking up pulls, leading the raid, etc.

Balance druids at endgame are pretty rare. I honestly don't know of any other Balance Druid leading a guild that's downed anything in Karazhan at all. Granted, I'm sure there's probably one or two on some other realm somewhere, but still, not common.

So, since I've had at least moderate success at building a casual raiding guild, here are some of the things that I think are required.

1) Be absolutely up front with people about your goals and what you expect to be doing. For example, I tell all new recruits up front that we're raiding, but not as often as many guilds, because we have outside lives. If you're going to be hardcore at raiding and expect strict attendance, let people know that. There's no point to someone joining only to leave because you're not for them, and being honest and up front with people gets you brownie points with them to boot.

2) Have a loot system ready, make it as fair as possible, and make it transparent. 90% of guild drama and breakups are caused by loot and the distribution thereof. Whatever you use, make sure everyone understands the rules when they start joining the raiding.

3) Get some good people to back you up. Running a guild alone is impossible. Make sure you have at least a few good people you trust as officers.

4) Be persistent. It's probably going to take a little while, maybe weeks, maybe months. You're probably going to have setbacks, but push through them. Eventually, you'll get things going the way you need them.

Yeah, somewhat generalized information, but it was in my head, so into words it goes.

The essentials of a Balance Druid

So, you want to try being a Balance Druid, eh?

First off, be aware that you will have a hard time getting gear. Blizzard just plain doesn't put much in there for you. As an example, there is literally ONE piece of leather caster gear in all of Karazhan, not counting the tier 4 tokens you can get and turn in for caster gear. One. I think there was something like 5 pieces of caster leather in heroics. So you face the dreaded decision:

To cloth, or not to cloth?

Ideally, I'd love it if Blizzard didn't all but force us to wear cloth. I'm managing to avoid it right now. But just doing the math, with the loot that's available right now, you're going to have to wear some cloth at some point in order to progress through endgame content.

Now, that being said, let's take a look at the foundation of any build: talents. This is my current build. I'm not going to say you must spec the way I did, but I'll explain the logic behind it. Also, please note this is presented as a "I'm level 70 and have a crapload of talent points to spend" situation. If you're leveling, don't follow this a "get X in Y order" type of thing.

Look at Fiord's Spec, or just look at the bottom of the page.

Starting off in the balance tree, you're going to want Starlight Wrath. You cast damage spells all the time, and those are your two non-instant damage spells. That means you're essentially taking .5 seconds off every cast. Duh. Nature's grasp is pretty much useless in PvE except to run away while you're outside. Useless for raiding.

Next, Focused Starlight and Improved Moonfire are must haves. As you'll see momentarily, crit % is very important to a Balance spec. This means your standard damage spells will be at +4% crit above what is listed in your character sheet, and moonfire will be at +10%. Verra nice. You'll have to take at least one point in Control of Nature to progress.

Next tier: Insect swarm, Nature's reach. Insect swarm because it's another DoT spell, and it reduces the chance that big nasty bosses are going to hit people by a little bit. Nature's reach because, well, it makes it more certain that you'll be far away from things that want to squish you. You have a choice here. You can either put some more points into Control of Nature, or pick up some Improved Thorns. I personally went with control of nature so that I could more reliably Cyclone something that is thwacking me and/or a healer. Improved thorns wouldn't be a bad choice either, help the tank keep aggro just a little bit more. It's personal preference there.

Next level, Take 5/5 Vengance first thing. A "normal" WoW spell critical does 150% damage, which means you're getting a 50% bonus to your damage. This doubles that bonus, so you get a total of 200% of normal damage on a crit. I also think that it is important to take Celestial focus. Not so much for the Starfire stun as the ability to mitigate casting interruption for one of your main damage spells. Sure, in a perfect situation, you're not going to be hit much. But if there are adds floating around, or the boss periodically hits everyone, or whatever, this helps you keep your casting flow smooth and uninterrupted. That being said, it's less important than some of the other talents on the balance tree, and is one of the areas where you might look to take points from if you feel you REALLY need X talent somewhere else.

Next level, again, fill 'er up. Everything on this tier is critical. Lunar guidance makes gear scale to a higher level automatically. What's not to love? Nature's grace speeds up cast times and helps you pour on the DPS faster, plus it's needed for the next ability up. Here's a dirty little secret I've noticed - the global cooldown is 1.5 seconds in general. So say Nature's Grace procs, and you get .5 seconds off your next Wrath, reducing it to a 1 second cast. Theoretically, you would finish the 1 second cast and still have .5 seconds left on the global cooldown before you could start casting again. This doesn't always happen. Whether it be the natural latency of the game (I generally run at a latency of ~100ms, for the record) or something else, I find that 2/3 times, I can start casting my next wrath right away. As for Moonglow, -9% mana cost to almost all of your staple spells. A mana saved is a mana earned.

Next tier up, Moonfury 5/5. It pretty much equates to +10% to your damage, period. 'Nuff said. As for Balance of Power: I tried raiding without it, and it makes a noticable difference. Your base chance to hit a raid boss level mob is 83%. This takes it up to 87%. What does that translate to? About 5% fewer resists, and thus about 5% more damage. Plus, the lessened chance of you getting nailed is better than a kick in the teeth. If you have a lot of +spell hit gear, you may want to pull points out of here. But the way I look at it, this lets me focus a bit more on spell crit gear and not have to worry quite so much about spell hit.

Up we go again, and you get your evil chicken of death form. It's quite nice to be a caster in low-plate level armor. Also, get Dreamstate 3/3. I cannot stress this enough. Dreamstate is a must have if you want any endurance in long fights as a Balance druid. Improved Faerie fire...the jury is still out. If your raid DPS is very physical heavy, it may be worth it to try to shuffle some points into here. If most of your DPS is done by casters, it's going to be all but useless. Potential things you could do are pull points out of Celestial Focus to put them here, or out of Balance of Power. Ultimately, it's up to you.

Next, not much choice here, but it's a good one anyway. Wrath of Cenarius 5/5. The thing to remember about this talent is that it scales in a nonlinear fashion. Example: You have a spell that does 1000 damage. You have +100 bonus damage. That means that this talent would increase the total damage of the spell by just under 1% (10 spell damage). Now, let's say that you get up to 1000 bonus damage. Now all of a sudden, you're increasing the total damage of the base spell by 5%. Much more respecatble.

Finally, Force of Nature. I personally like it - those trees may not hit for huge, but they're not wimps. Look at it this way: Each tree has a fairly quick attack speed - I've never seen exactly how quick, but I'm guessing around 2 seconds. Each hit does around 300 damage, and can crit. Even assuming they never crit, in 10 seconds that's 300 * 5 * 3 = 4500 damage over 10 seconds. If they last the full 30, that's around 13k damage. For less than 300 mana. Great deal.

Now, a quick detour over to the Resto tree.

First tier, get Improved Mark. There's no reason for Furor - if you ever need to go animal form, you should probably be ready for it anyway, at which point you can enrage for bear or just wait for cat.

Second, go for Naturalist. Nature's Focus would be my second choice, but I think that ALWAYS getting .5 seconds added to your cast time for Healing Touch will in the long run be worse than a chance to avoid spell interruption that may not always be there. Natural shapeshifter is generally a waste - shifting into and out of Moonkin is one of the less expensive shifts, and really, you should be needing to go to cat or bear frequently.

Finally, in the last level you're going to reach, grab Intensity and Subtlety. How much of each depends on your tanks, how you're doing with mana, etc. In general, Dreamstate is going to be more valuable to you than intensity will as far as mana regen in combat. That being said, it's never a bad thing to add in a bit more. I personally use 1 Intensity/3 Subtlety, as you can see. Find what works for you.

Finally, if you're using a build similar to this, remember a few things:

1) Intellect is your god. It not only gives you a mana pool and spell crit like normal, it also adds spell damage and mana/5. Load up on as much intellect as you possible can. Remember to take those numbers into effect when you compare gear.

2) Mana regen is your weakness. It's not as bad as it was pre-BC, but you're going to need to watch it. Ideally, you want to save your innervate for the healers of your group, so don't count on having it. Get a good cast sequence down, and follow it. If you need to, abuse the 5 second rule every now and then, but be aware that this will seriously cut into your DPS. Learn your mana needs - if you know you're going to need a potion at some point during the fight, don't wait until your mana is very low. Wait until the maximum effect of the potion would get you back to full, then drink. This starts the cooldown earlier, so if you end up needing a second potion, you're not waiting around doing nothing.

3) Spell crit is your friend. You have some key talents that come into play on crits - a lot of bonus damage ones which cascade through all your other bonus damage ones, a speed enhancement on your next cast, etc. Realize that because of this, casting more, lower damage spells can up your DPS. Basically, if you have an ability that procs on crits, you want as many crits as possible, which means as many hits as possible, period. If I crit 50 times during a boss fight, I saved 25 seconds of casting time. If I only crit 20 times, I only saved 10 seconds.

4) Moonkin is nice, but if you refuse to ever shift out of it and heal, you should've just rolled a mage. Remember, even in your normal damage gear, you're still a pretty damned good healer. In Kara, I normally don't do much DPS on the Valets - they hit hard enough that it's more valuable for me to keep all my HoTs up on the tank. There will still be enough DPS to take him down quickly, but there's much less risk that a lucky crushing blow or sequence of hits will take out the tank and leave the rest of us pretty much dead.

So, with sleep in my brain, I hereby close my first truly WoW related post here. Hope it shows you what you should be looking for in general.

Intro of Doom

So, you may call me Fiordhraoi. I'm the guild master of a Drenden casual raiding guild called Aetherial Circle. At this point, I still get goosebumps about that - I made this guild waaaay back at level 41 with five or six friends, and had to pay for some of the signatures. It's been a bumpy road at times (but fun), but we're now officially raiding. It's great. My wifey started a blog, and has infected me with her fervor. :)

So, as to the title here. The reasons are twofold.

First of all, I'm a Balance Druid. Yes. Commence mocking. Ha ha. Out of your system? Good.

I like to think that I'm at least somewhat proof that even though Blizzard has horribly undergeared us STILL (although it's better than it used to be), we can be a viable raid class if done properly. I think it takes a lot more attention to math than most people put into the game, but the potential is there.

That's not to say I wouldn't change a few things, in general. :)

And that's my segue into part 2. I love delving into the math behind WoW. So that's the second purpose of this, so to speak.

More to come!