Current as of Patch 5.1

Role | Talents & Glyphs | Stat Priority | Reforging
Cooldowns | Single Target Rotation | AOE Rotation

This guide aims to provide all of the most critical information that you need to know so that you can play a Balance Druid, or Boomkins as they are commonly called, at level 90 in PVE content.  It covers talents, glyphs, stats, reforging, and rotations. 

This guide will assume that since you are level 90 you will be able to take the basic information and run with it, simple topics like addons, macros, targeting, and more are not covered.

The Role of Balance Druid

As a Balance Druid your role in a group is to provide some serious DPS.  As of patch 5.1 Balance Druids are unfortunately one of the lowest theoretically DPS classes. However since they can provide some really good buffs and group benefits they are still a spec that is in demand. Just a few of the abilities and benefits that a Balance Druid has and can provide are as follows:

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Druids have some of the coolest looking sets but you rarely see them because you spend so much time in different forms.

  • Provides two great buffs to the raid in the form of Moonkin Aura which grants 5% casting speed and Mark of the Wild which grants a 5% boost to most stats.
  • Provides 2 long term CC abilities and a short term one as well with Hibernate, Entangling Roots, and Cyclone.
  • Solar Beam can provide a short term break from enemy spell casting.
  • Even though a DPS class can provide a huge raid-wide heal in the way of Tranquility.
  • Druids can resurrect even while in combat with Rebirth.

Balance Druid Talents and Glyphs

Balance Druids has seen multiple rebuilds over the years, so it should come as no surprise to players that they have been changed again in Mists of Pandaria. Luckily the changes are more of a tune up than a complete rebuild. However since a lot changed with talents and Glyphs in Mists of Pandaria with the introduction of the new Talent System 2.0 it is best to start with a fresh look at them.

The new talent system does however mean that for the most part you are free too chose talents and glyphs that you like rather than specific ones.  There are a few specific talents and glyphs that are required for the best DPS performance in PVE content. As a Balance Druid you should make sure you choose the following talents and glyphs:

Incarnation: Chose of Elune (Tier 4 talent) - This talent increases your Arcane and Nature damage by 25% for 30 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.

This is your best cooldown for huge burst damage and can be made even better when teamed with your other cooldowns or procs. While this is the best DPS boost for burst effect, you can also consider Soul of the Forest for a more stable continuous DPS increase since it will let you transition between your two different eclipse states. It is however not as much of an overall DPS increase as Incarnation.

Nature's Vigil (Tier 6 talent) - This talent provides a 3 minute cooldown ability that boosts all healing and damage by 20% for 30 seconds. In addition any damage that is caused heals nearby allies for 25% of the damage done and any healing done deals 25% damage to a nearby enemy.

This is another great talent that provides a solid DPS boost on a 3 minute cooldown. The healing that this done is a nice bonus but the damage caused is the main effect.

Glyph of the Moonbeast (Major Glyph) – Allows you to cast Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Rebirth, and Tranquility without cancelling Moonkin Form.

While this glyph does not provide any DPS increase it does boost your overall versatility by allowing you to stay in moonkin form while contributing some healing if required.

Balance Druid Stat Priority

It is critical to understand your stat priority for any class as going after the wrong stats can really hurt your DPS output.
The stat priority for Balance Druid is as follows:

Intellect > Hit (to 15% using either Hit or Spirit) > Haste (to 16%) > Crit > Mastery

Important Notes:

  • Hit - Balance Druids gain hit equal to the spirit on an item thanks to the Balance of Power ability. This means that you can honestly use healing gear as DPS gear as well since the spirit will help with your hit. Your aim is to have enough of the two stats combined to just reach the 15% hit while not running out of mana during a long boss fight, any more is just wasted stat points.
  • Haste– Haste decreases the time it takes to cast spells as well as increasing the number of ticks that your DOTs deal. The goal is to get to just under 36% so that Moonfire and Sunfire gets 10 damage ticks instead of the base 7, past which crit is a better increase to your damage. Since your self buffs will provide 20% haste (5% constant from Moonkin Form and 15% while in an Eclipse effect) your goal is just under 16% from stats, which will require 5300 haste.

Reforging as Balance Druid

When reforging simply follow the stat priority above for Balance Druids and move the lowest stat to the highest stat that the piece does not have on it. You can also follow the table below as long as you have not reached either the 15% hit or 16% haste goals.

If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat

Hit + Haste

Do not reforge

Do not reforge

Hit + Crit



Hit + Mastery



Haste + Crit



Haste + Mastery



Crit + Mastery



Spirit + Haste Do not reforge Do not reforge
Spirit + Crit Crit Hit
Spirit + Mastery Mastery Hit

Balance Druid Cooldowns

There are several cooldowns to worry about as Balance Druid.  They are as follows:

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Incarnation: Chosen of Elune – This is best used whenever an Eclipse phase starts to provide the most benefit.

Nature's Vigil - This stacks with Incarnation and should be used while it is active for best effect.

Celestial Alignment – While the above cooldowns are still active but as soon as Eclipse ends you should use this ability as well. Since they are all on 3 minute cooldowns they should be used every time together.

Astral Communion - Use this between fights to ensure that you are within one spell of being in an Eclipse effect.

Symbiosis - While this ability itself is not a real cooldown it can grant you access to a great one in the form of Mirror Images when used on a mage. This will allow you to summon 3 duplicates of yourself every 3 minutes for 30 seconds which will really boost your DPS, especially if you combine it with your other DPS cooldowns above.

Innervate - Use this in any boss fight that you are in as soon as you are down to about 75% mana, that way in a long fight you may get a chance to use it again. If you have enough spirit that mana is never an issue then you should use it as soon as a healer is down to about 85% mana at the start of a boss fight, again so that you can use it again later.

Balance Druid Single Target Rotation

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As with many classes now there isn't a specific rotation for abilities, but rather a priority based list that should be followed for highest DPS output. 

The priority rotation for Balance Druids against a single target is:

1 - Moonfire – Put this DOT up at the beginning of a fight and make sure it stays active.

2 - Sunfire – Keep this DOT active.

3 - Starsurge  - Use whenever Shooting Starts allows you to cast this as an instant.

4 - Starfall – Use whenever available.

5 - Wrath or Starfire - Use whichever is appropriate to get to your next Eclipse effect.

Important: Consider your cooldowns at all times to time them for maximum effect as entering or exiting eclipse stages as discussed in the cooldown section.

Balance Druid AOE Target Rotation

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There are three different AOE style rotations for Balance Druids, the first is for 2-3 targets the second is for 4-6 targets, and the third is for 7 or more targets.

For all AOE rotations you can increase your DPS by planting your Wild Mushrooms where the enemies will be tanked and then triggering them once they have been pulled. From this point you should base your rotation on the number of enemies in the group.

Against 2-3 targets you should keep your Sunfire and Moonfire up on all targets and then use your normal single target rotation against the groups focus target.

Against 4-6 targets the rotation can be simplified to using Starfall whenever it is available and spamming Sunfire or Moonfire on all targets repeatedly. Sunfire or Moonfire will deal increased damage due to the Lunar Shower ability which boosts its damage and reducing its mana cost when cast repetitively.

Against 7 or more targets you should simply use Starfall whenever it is available, and using Hurricane repeatedly for the rest of the fight.

Comments on Balance Druids

Do you have something to add on how to get the most out of a Balance Druid in a PVE setting? Let us know by sharing in the comment section below.


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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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