2.0 How to get help
3.0 Choosing a race
4.0 Stats n’ caps
5.0 Stat weights
13.0 Eclipse Phases and Rotation
14.0 Tips, Tricks, and Variations
15.0 Useful addons
Welcome to the Mists of Pandaria Balance PvE guide.
2.0 How to get help
If you have a moonkin related question, feel free to post a reply to this topic, and I or the community will do our best to answer. However, to make it easier on yourself – and on everybody else – follow these tips first:
- Read the guide. Most basics are covered here.
- Identify your problem. Are you asking about gearing up, gems, enchants, rotation, addons?
- Check the guide again – maybe you missed something that answered your question!
- Post as much detailed, relevant information as you can; Armory link, maybe a raid log, and an explanation of what your issue is.
- Are you sure it’s not in the guide? It goes a lot faster if you just read the guide, rather than you waiting for us to repeat what is written here.
We love to help, but many times the information is readily available, and you can save a lot of time by scrolling down to whatever area might give you problems. If that doesn’t help, or something in this guide isn’t clear, don’t hesitate to post in this topic, and we’ll help you out!
3.0 Choosing a race
For PvE, the two clear choices are Worgen, for Alliance, and Trolls, for Horde.
Worgen offer an innate +1% critical strike through Viciousness and also gain Darkflight which is useful if an encounter event requires quick or far movement.
Trolls offer ~1% haste through Berserking and also gain Beast Slaying which can be of benefit on some encounters.
This is not to say that you can't enjoy being a Night Elf or Tauren Balance Druid -- only that those two races offer no PvE benefit to the Balance spec. By all means, if you prefer Tauren or Night Elf for other reasons, feel free to enjoy these races as well.
4.0 Stats n’ caps
With the addition of Leather Specialization in Cataclysm, you should always attempt to only use leather gear. Wearing only leather items will increase your intellect by 5%. Equipping just a single piece of cloth gear will remove this bonus, and that is a massive hit to your intellect, and thus spell power and critical strike chance. There is generally no gain from wearing a cloth piece that can outweigh the loss of the leather specialization bonus.
Second, to best equip your Balance Druid for what’s ahead, you must have at least a basic knowledge of how each stat affects you. Balance stat priority is a bit more difficult in Mists of Pandaria.
DoTs receive an additional tick (pre T-14) at 5273 haste. Achieving this DoT tick is a very large DPS boost. If you can reach the haste breakpoint of 5273, the priority is:
Haste (to 5273) > Hit = Spirit > Crit > Haste (post breakpoint) > Mastery
However, if you cannot reach that breakpoint, haste is valued less than crit. If you're unable to reach 5273, the priority is:
Hit = Spirit > Crit > Haste = Mastery
Basically, you do not want to reforge/regem to haste until you can be assured you reach the breakpoint.
A great spreadsheet that identifies stat values and allows you to setup gear, reforges, gems and see the effect on your dps can be found here: (Not yet updated for 5.0)
WrathCalcs at Elitist Jerks
That said, some more complete detail on each stat is below:
Intellect: Intellect is our strongest stat and, as such, obviously something you will want a whole lot of. Intellect gives you the following:
- Additional spell power. One point of intellect gives you 1 spell power (actually 1.169 spell power after figuring in talents and leather armor bonuses).
- Higher chance to score a critical strike with spells. One point of Intellect gives you 0.00046% crit chance. In other words, you need 2168 Intellect for 1% chance to crit.
Hit Rating: Hit is an important stat for every single class. Thankfully, it is fairly easy for us to attain hit, so this should always be your first priority. Each ~340 hit rating gives you 1% chance to hit. Additionally, each point of Spirit also gives you 1 point of hit rating, meaning that 340 Spirit increases your chance to hit by 1%. Because of this, we can simply assume that Spirit = Hit and treat them both as the same.
You will need 15% hit (5100 hit rating) to never miss a spell. You can also hover your mouse over your spell hit rating to see your chance to miss against mobs of equal level, or boss level monsters.
If you are new to balance and have very beginner level gear, remember that you can double dip hit and spirit on gear via reforging.
Haste rating (1% = 425 haste): Haste is very attractive to reach the breakpoint. After the breakpoint, it becomes devalued (until the next breakpoint can be reached).
Haste will affect the following:
- Reduces the global cooldown of your spells.
- Reduces cast time of your Starfire, Wrath, Starsurge as well as reduces channeled spells such as Hurricane and Tranquility.
- Increases the frequency of your Moonfire, Sunfire ticks.
Mastery (1% = 600 mastery): Mastery is slightly weaker than haste (post breakpoint).
Crit (1% = 600 crit): With the change to DoT refreshment as well as Shooting Stars, crit has once again became a very attractive stat for Balance Druids. 1 point of crit is worth approximately 1.25 points of haste (post-breakpoint) and mastery. Fortunately, the spell weights are still within reason for each other, not causing any single stat to be absolutely horrible.
Stat Addendum: Haste Breakpoints
Although I noted general Haste value above, it's worth being aware that haste changes in value at a certain breakpoints. Here's a list of these values with all typical raid buffs. You can also check WrathCalcs spreadsheet that is referred to above to see your exact caps in any setup.
Haste breakpoints where we gain extra DoT ticks (assumes Moonkin aura and Nature's Grace):
Base # ticks = 7
8th tick - automatic
9th tick - 228
10th tick - 5273
11th tick - 10289
Our T14 4 set bonus adds 2s to the base time of our dots, which changes our break points
Base # ticks = 8
9th tick - automatic
10th tick - automatic
11th tick - 3706
12th tick - 8089
You can find a handy and 'Favorite'-able chart at:
Sunfyre's Nest :: Haste Breakpoints
For cast-time spells, now that Wrath is a 2s base cast, it cannot run up against the 1s GCD minimum at any reasonable level of haste (outside of Heroism/Bloodlust, Haste procs). There is a weak haste cap where the GCD hits 1.0s with Nature's Grace active. This requires 1.5/(1.05*1.15) - 1 = 24.22% haste, or 10293 haste rating.
Reforging allows you to change 40% of one stat on an item into another. You can only swap between Spirit, Hit, Haste, Crit and Mastery, and you can only change one stat into another stat that isn’t already on the item. This means that if you have an item with Haste and Crit, you cannot turn 40% of the Crit into more Haste, but you can turn it into Mastery rating if you are so inclined.
When reforging, you should work from these principles:
Unable to reach 5273 haste:
- Step 1) Reach the hit cap. Steal from mastery and haste first.
- Step 1a) If needed, double dip spirit/hit on the same item.
- Step 2) Find any pieces of gear that do not have Crit as a secondary stat and reforge Crit there. I generally steal from Spirit or Hit first and leave throughput stats alone but I may steal from other throughput stats if a piece doesn't have any Spirit, Hit, Haste on it.
- Step 3) If you're over the hitcap and have full crit reforge, reforge spirit/hit to haste/mastery.
Post 5273 haste breakpoint:
Unable to reach 5273 haste:
- Step 1) Reach the haste breakpoint. Steal from mastery then crit first.
- Step 2) If needed, double dip spirit/hit on the same item on any remaining items to reach the hitcap.
- Step 3) If you're over the hitcap and have reached the breakpoint, reforge spirit/hit/mastery/excess haste to crit.
ReforgeLite is an excellent addon/tool to help manage your reforging.
5.0 Stat Weights
These are the normalized stat weights against 1 intellect for Moonkin:
Critical Strike: 0.67
Haste: 0.54 (post breakpoint)
Gemming is much different for Mists of Pandaria since yellow gems now carry such a high value of secondary stats. Here's how the gems play out via stat weight (post haste-breakpoint):
Brilliant Primordial Ruby- 160*1 = 160
Potent Vermillion Onyx- 80*1=80 + 160*0.67=107.2 == 187.2
Smooth Sun's Radiance- 320*0.67= 214.4
Yellow gems will always be preferred (non-socket bonus). Generally, the socket bonuses are weighted enough that using the proper gem color in the socket will be better than just socketing yellows.
As for a meta, it's still pretty straight forward to use the Burning Primal Diamond.
As a jewelcrafter, Brilliant Serpent's Eye ends up being stronger than the yellow crit gem due to the red gems receiving a 2x stat bonus (vice a 1.5x stat bonus for yellow gems).
Only two tiers of talents affect throughput in Mists of Pandaria. For level 60 talents, Incarnation is a pretty solid choice and easily beats Soul of the Forest and Force of Nature.
As for the level 90 tier, the difference between Nature's Vigil and Heart of the Wild is much smaller. For any sort of "damage modifier" boss, I'd suggest Nature's Vigil. For a standard tank and spank, Heart of the Wild should be better. One of the nice things with the new talent system is the versatility to change talents on a whim. WrathCalcs suggests that at high haste values and 4piece Tier 14, Dream of Cenarius may become a better option.
There are not any throughput glyphs for balance.
Enchants are usually pretty straight forward. Here is what you should generally go for:
Shoulders: Greater Crane Wing Inscription - Inscription
Back: Enchant Cloak - Superior Intellect
Chest: Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats
Wrist: Enchant Bracer - Super Intellect
Hands: Enchant Gloves - Greater Haste
Belt: Living Steel Belt Buckle
Legs: Greater Cerulean Spellthread
Boots: Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step
Weapon: Enchant Weapon - Jade Spirit
Offhand: Enchant Off-Hand - Major Intellect
Tailoring: Lightweave Embroidery gives 2000 int for 15 seconds, 20% proc on spellcast, 50 second cooldown. The average benefit is around 500 Int, minus the 180 Int you usually have on your cloak, for an increase of around 320 Int.
Engineering: Synapse Springs gives 1920 Int, for 10 seconds out of every 60, for 320 Int on average.
Leatherworking: Fur Lining - Intellect in place of 170 INT to bracer gives 330 intellect.
Jewelcrafting: Brilliant Serpent's Eye gives twice the intellect of a standard gem. Two of these can be socketed for a bonus of 320 intellect.
Blacksmithing: An extra socket each in your wrists and gloves, each with a Brilliant Primordial Ruby, gives 320 Intellect.
Alchemy: Mixology (with your Flask of the Warm Sun will give a bonus 320 intellect.
Inscription: Secret Crane Wing Inscription in place of the Greater Crane Wing Inscription grants 320 intellect.
Enchanting: Enchant Ring - Greater Intellect on both rings grant an additional 320 intellect.
The remaining professions increase the secondary stats of Haste and Crit instead of the primary stat Intellect and provide far less benefit as a result:
Herbalism: Gives a haste cooldown via Lifeblood, it averages out to 480 haste.
Skinning: Master of Anatomy gives 480 crit rating.
Use a Flask of the Warm Sun for an intellect boost. For food, Mogu Fish Stew provide 300 INT.
Pre-pot and during-fight potion usage is pretty much covered by Potion of the Jade Serpent for a DPS boost, preferably during Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp.
13.0 Eclipse Phases and Rotation:
Since the Eclipse mechanic has relatively stayed the same between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, I will not cover the basics of how to move the Eclipse bar. I'll assume at this point you understand which spells move the bar and which direction they move it.
A few slight modifications have occurred since Cataclysm:
Euphoria -- Now always doubles energy gains when outside of an Eclipse.
Energy gains -- Wrath now consumes 15 energy. There is no longer an oddity in energy gains every four casts.
Energy gains -- Wrath now consumes/accrues energy at the end of spell cast, vice spell land, like in Cataclysm. This means there is no delay for energy accrual (a problem in fights like Ragnaros).
Eclipse buff -- The eclipse buff immediately fires and expires, which means you can now immediately queue up empowered spells once an Eclipse lands, and no reason to cast an extra spell post-proc. This also means that you can't sneak in an extra Shooting Stars-Starsurge once leaving an Eclipse.
DoTs and Lunar Shower -- Insect Swarm was removed, but now both Sunfire and Moonfire can be cast at any time. Lunar Showers no longer consumes energy. You'll always want to cast the non-empowered DoT first so the empowered DoT receives one stack of Lunar Shower.
Astral Storm -- A lunar version of Hurricane now exists, called Astral Storm. This ability now morphs much like Sunfire and Moonfire did in Cataclysm. Astral Storm's damage is still much weaker than Hurricane.
Eclipse states -- Lunar Eclipse is now heavily weighted towards single target DPS, whereas Solar is now heavily weighted towards AoE. (Wrath damage is much lower than Starfire, and Hurricane is much higher than Astral Storm)
Starfall -- Starfall cooldown now resets every Lunar Eclipse.
Celestial Aignment -- 3 minute cooldown, resets energy to 0, gives benefits of both Eclipses simultaneously. Applying either Moonfire or Sunfire will also apply the other. Energy is not gained during the 15 seconds.
Astral Communion -- 4 second channel, gains 25 energy every second which ever way benefits you the most. (If starting at a reset Eclipsed state (such as instance change or death), will move towards Solar first). No cooldown.
Single target DPS
Single target DPS is now heavily weighted towards Lunar Eclipse, between both Starfall and the damage disparity between Starfire and Wrath.
A note regarding Starsurge: You will always want to cast Starsurge on cooldown and whenever it procs, exceptin Solar Eclipse, where you'll only want to cast one Starsurge until 5 Solar energy, where you may cast a second Starsurge. Casting a second one during the solar phase (pre 5-energy) will cause you to pre-maturely reach 0 energy. The below rotation does not list Starsurge, use the above strategy to know when to fill it in.
The optimum single target DPS rotation is as follows,
- Start fight one cast pre-Lunar.
- Wrath once
- Nature's Vigil (if you have it)
- Sunfire, Moonfire
- Starfall (when first Starfall duration ends)
- Starfire until 0 energy
- Celestial Alignment
- Starfall (when second Starfall duration ends)
- Moonfire (Sunfire will automatically be applied)
- Starfire (utilize shooting stars procs)
- Refresh Moonfire immediately before Celestial Alignment expires
- Starfire to Solar Eclipse
- Moonfire, Sunfire
- Wrath until Lunar Eclipse.
- Rinse and repeat (from the 'Starfall' below Celestial Alignment)
14.0 Useful addons
There are plenty of addons to choose from, and most are merely a question of preference. You don’t need all of these, but here is a list of common addons you could and should consider using:
- Balance Power Tracker: A highly configurable mod designed to track Lunar and Solar energy for Balance Druids in 4.0.
- Weak Auras: WeakAuras is basically PowerAuras on crack. It allows you to do icon notifications similar to PowerAuras, but also has many more powerful features such as Grouping, Dynamic Grouping, Progress Bars, etc. If you're comfortable with PowerAuras and would like to move onto something more powerful, I suggest you check out WeakAuras.
WeakAuras in action:
15.0 Other moonkin guides
Think you have the basics down and would like some more advanced reading? Check out the following Balance Guides:
Hamlet's Elitist Jerks Balance Guide 5.0
09.28.2011 -- Initial revision
09.29.2011 -- Clarified desired gems in regards to socket bonuses, clarified when to cast Force of Nature prior to Bloodlust
09.30.2011 -- Minor edits.
10.01.2011 -- Added detail on Tier 12 gear and bonuses, as well as trinket choices. Also added details on WeakAuras w/video.
09.21.2012 -- First re-edit for 5.0
09.28.2012 -- Continued 5.0 changes
10.02.2012 -- Added clarification for haste breakpoint, added 5.0 professions/consumables/enchants.
10.05.2012 -- Added in Eclipse details and single-target rotation.
10.17.2012 -- Cleanup