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What's changing for feral and balance druids in patch 5.4, part 2


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we talk trinkets.

In the last part of this column, we discussed all of the changes in the patch notes, and what that might portend for your feral or balance druid. This week, we'll look at the "other stuff" that might affect your play: set bonuses, trinkets, and the legendary cloak.

Set bonuses

  • Feral T16 2-piece: Omen of Clarity increases damage of Shred, Mangle, and Ravage by 50% for 6 sec.
  • Feral T16 4-piece: After using Tiger's Fury, your next finishing move will restore 5 combo points on your current target after being used.
The 2-piece bonus is somewhat boring, but reasonably powerful for single-target fights. It's tied to Omen, which means you'll always get at least one buffed Shred/Mangle out, even if you're low on energy when it procs. The downside? Less than 20% of a feral's damage comes from Shred/Mangle, and frequently less than 15%, which means that this isn't all that special. It's miles better than the dull T15 2P bonus, however, and likely comparable in strength to the T15 4P, meaning you should upgrade ASAP. I'm interested to see if it finds a home in PvP; the significant burst this gives makes much more of a difference there.

The 4-piece is pretty sweet, now that it's been changed from the original conception (TF granting 5 combo points instantly, which would make you have to burn your CP's before using TF). Not only does this directly address our problems with damage ramping when switching targets, it should work extremely well with the cooldown reduction trinket tentatively planned for Siege of Orgrimmar. As an end-of-expansion set bonus, I expect it to be memorable, and it definitely delivers.

  • Balance T16 2-piece: Arcane spells cast while in Lunar Eclipse will shoot a single Lunar Bolt at the target. Nature spells cast while in a Solar Eclipse will shoot a single Solar Bolt at the target.
  • Balance T16 4-piece: Every time you enter Solar or Lunar Eclipse, the cooldown of Celestial Alignment is reduced by 5 sec.
Okay, I take it back. The feral 2-piece bonus is somewhat boring, but this 2-piece is completely boring. It's not quite a "Your abilities do 2% more damage" bonus, but it's pretty close. I would expect it to change absolutely nothing in regards to stat weights or rotation priorities; you just have a few extra lasers and a bit higher numbers during Eclipse. Woo.

The 4-piece is just...odd, and I expect it will be very fight dependent. The first and very obvious thing it does is break the synergy between Incarnation and CA; you'll likely be choosing another talent, probably Force of Nature, if you have the 4-piece bonus. Second, it just doesn't seem all that powerful. Even if you're in a purely Patchwerk situation where you can zealously do nothing but cycle Eclipses, it's still roughly a 25-30s delay between each, which means you're cutting 20-30 seconds off CA...helpful, sure, but awesome? Not really. Let's not even mention the fact that the usefulness of CA drops every tier, anyway, as haste (and Eclipse uptimes) goes up. PTR is PTR, of course, but right now I'm not seeing it.


The "first draft" of the trinkets have been revealed via datamining, and are extremely interesting in their effects. As with Throne of Thunder, there's one trinket here that could completely change up your rotation, so let's take a look, starting with the agility options. As with the talents, assume the numbers are completely made up for now.
  • Agi Trinket 1: Increases the cooldown recovery rate of six of your major abilities by 39%. Effective for Agility-based damage roles only.
    Equip: Your attacks have a chance to grant you 11759 Agility for 20 sec.
  • Agi Trinket 2: +1959 Haste
    Equip: Your attacks have a [99 / 10]% chance to trigger Multistrike, which deals instant additional damage to your target equal to 1/3 of the original damage dealt.
  • Agi Trinket 3: +1959 Crit
    Equip: Your attacks have a [161 / 100]% chance to Cleave, dealing the same damage to all other nearby targets.
  • Agi Trinket 4: +1959 Mastery (3.27 @ L90)
    Equip: Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to grant you [1068 * 20] Agility for 20 sec. Each melee or ranged attack you make reduces this effect by 1068 Agility.
  • Agi Trinket 5: +1959 Agility
    Equip: When your attacks hit you have a chance to gain 11759 Mastery for 20 sec.
#1 is definitely the best one here, which means it's likely to drop from Garrosh, similar to Rune dropping from Lei Shen. Reducing TF from a 30s CD to a ~20s CD "feels" like a major buff, vs. all the others which are just bigger numbers. More TF's means more energy means more abilities means more active time, which is fun. (DPS wise, it's not bad either, since you're increasing the TF buff uptime from 20% to 30%.) Combine that with the 4-piece feral set bonus, and you're rocking. Of course, I imagine everyone will want one of these.

#2 is fairly boring, since there's no real way to strategize it and it's just random extra damage. Furthermore, no agility or mastery means bad things for our bleeds. I'd stay away from this one, unless Multistrike's proc from Rake does 1/3 of the entire DoT's damage (I can dream, right?)

#3 is interesting because it's completely terrible, unless you have a fight that has lots of adds, where it becomes great. I've seen situational trinkets for healers and tanks before, but this is a new thing for DPS.

#4 will either be mediocre or amazing, depending on whether white attacks cause a stack of the buff to drop off. If white attacks don't effect it, then we can likely buff multiple bleeds with it, which will be nice. If they do, then most of the benefit will be lost.

#5 is pretty dull in comparison to the others, but it works and works well. I'd guess that this'll be the second-most desirable trinket for ferals.

Finally, don't be surprised if they nerf Rune of Re-Origination. The scaling nature of the proc means it'll stay relevant into 5.4, and it could conceivably be VERY strong in conjunction with the 4 piece set bonus and Trinket #1.
  • Int Trinket 1: +1959 Intellect
    Equip: Your attacks have a chance to grant Amplification, increasing your Critical Strike damage and healing, Haste, and Mastery by 83% for 20 sec.
  • Int Trinket 2: +1959 Critical Strike (3.27% @ L90)
    Equip: Your attacks have a [99 / 10]% chance to trigger Multistrike, which deals instant additional damage to your target equal to 1/3 of the original damage dealt.
  • Int Trinket 3: +1959 Mastery (3.27 @ L90)
    Equip: Your attacks have a [161 / 100]% chance to Cleave, dealing the same damage to all other nearby targets.
  • Int Trinket 4: +1959 Haste (4.61% @ L90)
    Equip: Your attacks have a chance to trigger Wrath of the Darkspear for 20 sec. While Wrath of the Darkspear is active, each time you cast a spell you gain 2350 Intellect, stacking up to 10 times.
  • Int Trinket 5: +1959 Intellect
    Equip: When your spells deal damage you have a chance to gain 11759 critical strike for 20 sec.
As with the feral trinkets, #1 is nothing but pure awesome.

#2 is better than the feral version, as balance druids like Crit much more then feral druids do. Like ferals, though, balance druids get enough damage from DoTs that I don't think this one is the greatest. Also like ferals, #3 is wholly situational.

#4 looks to be very powerful, as each star from Starfall stacks it quite quickly. Once you 10-stack it, you can drop all your treants and just generally be OP for 15 seconds. Combined with #1 would be quite scary; it won't surprise me if they restrict #1 and #4 from simultaneous procs.

#5 is boring, but useful. Wouldn't surprise me if it's the Valor trinket for this tier.

Legendary cloak procs
  • Agility DPS Proc: Equip: Your damaging attacks have a chance to trigger a Flurry of Xuen, causing you to deal 60% weapon damage to all targets in front of you, every 0.5 sec for 3 sec.
  • Intellect DPS Proc: Equip: Your damaging attacks have a chance to empower you with the Essence of Yu'lon, causing your next direct damage spell to also burn the target with jade dragonflame, dealing 5000 damage and an additional 30000 damage over 6 sec. This damage also affects other enemies near the burning target.
In case you missed it, there might be a few adds this tier.

Anyway, while these procs are quite powerful, they're not all that interesting. The feral proc actually looks somewhat frustrating, as it locks you into position for 3 seconds to ensure all the damage hits. Annoying shaman Thunderstorms the add group? Cleave and a miss, boyo. The intellect one is much more forgiving, though it looks to be somewhat weaker in comparison. You'll likely want to add the Essence of Yu'lon buff to your display somewhere, so you can be sure to not waste it accidentally on a target that's about to die or not grouped with others.

That's it for this week! May your rolls not be gold!
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