There is a lot of discussion going on regarding the upcoming changes to Balance Druids in patch 3.3. It has been determined that the way Eclipse currently works pretty much requires an add-on if you want to get the most DPS out of the class.
Blizzard had this to say in the forums...
Balance Changes in 3.3
Our intent was not to nerf Balance druid dps with this change. Our intent was to make a macro or addon that was quickly becoming mandatory at competitive levels not mandatory. It would be one thing if cancelling Eclipse auras was a fun or interesting choice, but since everything was so automated, the only thing I can really imagine anyone getting upset about was the dps loss, which we plan on offsetting.
We're not going to apologize at all for nerfing an old set bonus. Upgrading your gear is a -- if not the -- major motivation for most players to raid. We typically don't nerf set bonuses that turn out to be overly generous while they are still the highest available tier, but once new content is available it is time to make sure they don't remain overly attractive. There will always be some players who ask "Why can't you just buff the new stuff instead of nerfing the old stuff?" They would probably also ask why they couldn't have a 3000 dps increase from their T10 set bonus in order to make them upgrade from a T9 set bonus granted 2500 dps. Smiley When the increased stats alone aren't enough to encourage you want to upgrade, then the older bonuses are probably too good.
On the topic of Eclipse, we still consider it to be a major linchpin of the Balance talent tree and we have no intention of getting rid of it. Swapping from Wrath to Starfire is something we want to encourage and in a greater sense, fits the theme of the spec (finding a balance) really well. We're more sympathetic to the argument that it might provide too much of a dps increase relative to other talents, but at the same time given what I said above, we aren't really trying to promote an Eclipse-less Balance spec.
Back when I started playing WoW, there was a lot of theorycrafting for how players could overcome or even minimize the impact of random numbers on their gameplay, which totally makes sense. Over the years though that has sort of morphed into: all RNG is bad, and any mechanic that has an RNG element is also bad. We don't think Balance is saddled with an over dependence on RNG more so than other specs, and if you feel that way, you might want to talk to some Fire mage friends. Smiley Adapting to changing environments is one of the major ways players have to demonstrate mastery of the game. We don't think WoW was more enjoyable when all Balance druids just spammed Starfire (or Wrath if that happened to do more damage). Likewise, we don't think it was good for warlocks to just use Shadowbolt or mages to just use Fireball. Furthermore, we don't think a 1,2,3,4 rotation is a whole lot better. If your class mechanics invite you to be able to macro everything you do, then you as a player aren't really making decisions; you aren't playing a character so much as babysitting a bot. That's not what we're going for. (I wouldn't recommend turning this thread into "My Arcane mage / Ret paladin / Subtlety rogue doesn't have enough doing on.)
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