Shifting Perspectives: Everything you need to know about Druids in patch 7.0

The Legion pre-expansion patch is nigh and with it comes the class changes. For Druids that means big changes for some specs (yay no Eclipse mechanic!) and smaller changes for others (Resto healers, I’m looking at you). I’ve already talked about the new talent choices for each spec and which will be good for leveling in Legion, but now let’s dig in to new abilities, rotations, and exactly what’s changing for each spec.

A note for all Druids: You can now access all four specs and shift between them any time while out of combat. Legion neck, rings, and cloaks no longer have primary stats on them so when you do shift specs the only items you’ll have to swap out will be your trinkets. Your weapon will automatically swap. You can also easily change talents either in any rested zone (major city, tavern, your class order hall) or with a Tome of the Tranquil Mind crafted by a scribe, so feel free to experiment with talents.

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Balance

Of course, the big news is the Eclipse mechanic is gone and replaced with Astral Power. Certain damaging spells add Astral Power (AP) and others spend it. We’ll get more into that below. Also gone are Hurricane (though you have other AOE abilities that pick up the slack), Cyclone, Wild Mushroom, Soothe, and Mark of the Wild. The level 60 row of talents offers you a crowd control ability to replace Cyclone and you also still have Grasping Roots as well as the Force of Nature treants from the Level 15 talent row.

Major changes

  • Celestial Alignment is still a burst damage panic button, boosting all your spell damage by 30% and increasing the Astral Power generation of Lunar Strike and Solar Wrath by 50% for 15 seconds. It’s on a 3 minute cooldown.
  • Astral Communion is now a level 90 talent that instantly grants you 75 Astral Power to get you right into the fight.
  • Innervate now allows a friendly healer (yes, healer only) to cast spells with no mana cost for 10 seconds.
  • Mastery: Total Eclipse is now Mastery: Starlight so as you stack Mastery gear your Lunar Strike and Solar Wrath nukes will get even more powerful when fire off a Starsurge.

New Balance spell line up

  • Moonfire: Not much has changed for this DOT. It’s a good opener and good to spread around. Generates 3 AP untalented.
  • Sunfire: Great AOE DOT damage for tightly packed mobs which is most dungeon trash. Combine this with Lunar Strike which also does AOE splash damage and you can have a good replacement for Hurricane. Generates 3 AP untalented.
  • Lunar Strike: The larger of your two basic nukes, it also does splash damage. Combine with level 15 Warrior of Elune (WoE) talent to be able to instacast this twice in a row for quick Astral Power generation. Generates 10 AP per cast untalented.
  • Solar Wrath: Faster casting, but smaller damage single-target nuke. Good for finishing off low health mobs or when this spell is empowered by Starsurge and Lunar Strike is not. Generates 6 AP per cast untalented.
  • Starsurge: Your big nuke that costs 40 AP to cast, but also increases the damage of your next Lunar Strike and Solar Wrath by 20%. That damage empowerment can stack for 3 casts total and each time you add a stack you reset the 40 second timer on it. When you add in talents and mastery, the empowerment will be more in the 50-80% range.
  • Starfall: Your big AE damage ability, Starfall costs 60 AP to cast. It empowers Moonfire and Sunfire for more damage. Good for 3 or more targets.
  • New Moon/Half Moon/Full Moon: Affectionately referred to as MoonMoon, this is the base trait on your Scythe of Elune Moonkin artifact. It begins with the quick casting New Moon spell that does a good chunk of damage (almost as much as Starsurge) and generates 10 AP then transforms into the Half Moon spell. Casting Half Moon takes longer but does double the damage of New Moon and generates 20 AP, then it flips over into Full Moon. Finally, casting Full Moon takes a full three seconds, does absolutely massive damage (especially if it crits), and generates 40 AP. It then flips back to New Moon. It has 3 charges that regenerate once every 15 seconds.

Balance spell rotation

Your rotation is going to be dependent on if you are soloing or grouping, facing one mob or many, battling normal mobs or elites. That being said, here is a basic rotation that will get you started:

Moonfire > Sunfire > New Moon > Celestial Alignment > Half Moon > Full Moon

At this point you’ll have 76 AP built up. If you are facing 3 or more mobs, drop a Starfall and start laying down Lunar Strike for its splash damage keeping an eye on reapplying Sunfire. If facing fewer mobs, go with Starsurge and Solar Wrath and keep both DOTs refreshed. Reapply MoonMoon and Starfall/Starsurge as needed and consider a Fury of Elune fueled by Astral Communion.

I realize you won’t have your artifact from patch 7.0 until Legion launch so until then your rotation will be more about keeping Moonfire and Sunfire up while unloading Lunar Strike for multiple mobs and Solar Wrath for single mobs until you have enough AP to use Starsurge (1-2 mobs) or Starfall (3+ mobs). Use Celestial Alignment right before your big AP spender and Astral Communion (if you took the talent) either at the beginning of the fight to get right into an Astral Power spender or for a Fury of Elune.

If you’re interested a more in-depth guide on playing a Moonkin in Legion I can’t more highly recommend the Moonfarespam post on the official forums.
legion-feral-druid-class-hall

Feral

Some spells have been removed from all Druid specs including Soothe, Mark of the Wild, and Cyclone. Specifically for Ferals, you’ll also be missing Leader of the Pack and Faerie Fire. Without Faerie Fire you’ll have to rely on Moonfire for ranged pulling which is only available from the level 15 talent Lunar Inspiration.

Become a Watcher

Major changes

  • Berserk still reduces the cost of all cat form abilities by 50%, but now increases your maximum energy by 50%.
  • Savage Roar went from a baseline ability to a level 75 talent and had its duration nerfed to make the other talents in its row look attractive.
  • Tiger’s Fury still restores 60 Energy instantly, but instead of increasing physical damage by 15% for 8 seconds, it increases all damage for its full duration by 15%. Basically it affects the full duration of bleeds now.
  • Mastery: Razor Claws still increases the damage of your bleeds, but starts at 16% instead of 25%

Feral ability line-up

Nothing much new here, surprisingly. Your hotkey bar will stay much the same with the standard line up of Shred, Rake, Swipe, Thrash, Ferocious Bite, Rip, and Maim. You’ll also have Savage Roar if you took the talent and Ashamane’s Fury when you get the artifact. Predatory Swiftness still gives you a chance for free Healing Touches when you execute a finisher so keep HT on your action bar as well. You also have Survival Instincts for when things get crazy and Tiger’s Fury to fuel burst damage when you need it.

Feral ability rotation

Feral abilities, talents, and related artifact traits got a major adjustment on beta late Friday night. The gist of it is that single target damage abilities Shred and Ferocious Bite got nerfed by 35% and the DOTs Rake and Rip got buffed by 14%. So clearly Blizzard wants us to focus more on sustained bleed damage and not burst damage from multiple Shreds. What all this means is still up in the air as we figure out how this plays into the changes to the talents and artifact traits as well.

So I don’t have a suggested ability rotation yet for you. Also, the Feral talent recommendations I made earlier are likely no longer valid. I’ll revise this section as soon as this settles and rotations become more clear.
legion-guardian-druid-class-hall

Guardian

As with the other specs Soothe, Mark of the Wild, and Cyclone are gone. For the Guardian spec Faerie Fire, Savage Defense, and Lacerate are also no longer part of the line up.

Major changes

  • Mangle deals less damage up front, but gets a boost against a bleeding target to bring it back up. It also generates less rage and no longer slows the target’s movement speed.
  • Maul deals a little more damage, no longer gets a boost against a bleeding target, and no longer slows the target’s movement speed.
  • Frenzied Regeneration now heals you for 50% of the damage you take in a 5 second period over 3 seconds
  • Mastery: Primal Tenacity has been replaced by Mastery: Nature’s Guardian.

Guardian ability line-up

Not much has changed here, either. Lacerate’s chance to reset the cooldown on Mangle is now a passive called Gore and its proc chance moved to Thrash, Swipe, and Moonfire. Savage Defense has been replaced by two defense abilities depending on whether you need Ironfur and Mark of Ursol. Other than that it’s business as usual with extra Moonfire goodness, of course.

Guardian ability rotation

Head in with Wild Charge, Thrash to put a bleed effect on all the mobs, Mangle, Swipe, and Moonfire. Rinse and repeat as you build rage for Ironfur (or Mark of Ursol if it’s a magic-using mob). If it’s a boss winding up a big ability, get ready with Survival Instincts. If you need a health boost, Frenzied Regeneration will help. Your other panic buttons are Barkskin and Incapacitating Roar as well as Growl to peel a mob off an ally. When you get your artifact its base ability, Rage of the Sleeper, can be mixed in as needed.
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Restoration

Cyclone, Wild Mushroom, Soothe, and Mark of the Wild are now gone. The Genesis and Nature’s Swiftness panic buttons are a thing of the past, as well.

Major changes

  • Swiftmend will now heal anyone, regardless if they have a Rejuvenation or Regrowth on them.
  • Lifebloom‘s duration is no longer refreshed by a Regrowth or Healing Touch.
  • Innervate now allows a friendly healer (yes, healer only) to cast spells with no mana cost for 10 seconds. You can cast this on yourself.
  • The old and very confusing Mastery: Harmony has been replaced by a new a much more straight forward Mastery: Harmony.

Restoration ability line up

Nothing has changed here.

Restoration Druid ability rotation

If you liked your Resto Druid before, you’ll like them now. Your Mastery: Harmony increases your healing power when you stack HOTs up to 3 which is easy to do given your abilities. You’ll mostly be casting Rejuvenation (twice with the Germination talent) plus Lifebloom on the tank and Regrowth for free when Omen of Clarity procs. Place Effloresence under the tank and melee DPS for more HOTs and then spread around extra Rejuvenations as needed while keeping the HOTs on the tank refreshed. You have Healing Touch, Regrowth, and Wild Growth when health gets low. You can even open every fight with a very powerful Cenarion Ward HOT on the tank to give you time to set everything else up if you talent for it.

In emergencies you have quite a few panic buttons. Swiftmend, Ironbark, and Tranquility are still core to your kit. And, of course, your biggest panic button is the first trait on your Restoration artifact, Essence of G’Hanir, which will make all your HOTs tick twice as fast, but for the same duration. There’s also the level 100 talent Flourish which will make all your HOTs tick for an 6 extra seconds. Those two combined make for some amazing healing if you have done your job and have multiple HOTs running on everyone.

For yourself, you also have Barkskin and I recommend the level 30 Talent Renewal. Those are two instant spells that can keep you alive so you can get back to healing your team when things get crazy. Innervate is good to have in your back pocket, but you won’t be going OOM in Normal 5-mans.

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