Lunar Guidance, Patches, Spells and Talents
I’ve received several e-mails asking me about the best way to level in Wrath of the Lich King. Some Trees despair at the idea of abandoning their Healing roots for the kind that entangle while others seem to want to roll up their bark and don the feathered suit of a DOOMkin to pew pew all the way to Arthas! With as much variation as there is among readers and their playstyles, it’s safe to say that there is no clear ONE AND ONLY spec that you should use for leveling. So instead of linking you a talent build, I’m going to help you make the decisions that will determine which talents you should choose then show a couple of different specs that include them to – what I feel – is best effect! Let’s begin:
Question #1: How much do you want to heal?
This is a simple question that’s related to how much healing ability you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of improving your damage output. This assumes that the dual spec system won’t be immediately available after the release of Wrath and that you’re a cheapskate like me who is unwilling to respec to run instances. I’ve created a sliding scale of possible choices:
Question #2: How do you like to kill things?
Are you an “in your face” type of player that doesn’t mind getting her foliage mussed or are you more of a delicate flower who prefers the safety of killing things that can’t fight back?
Since the “lolwut” response to Question 2 isn’t actually a valid one (I love symmetry), there are six possible combinations that we can create. Here are six builds I would recommend to you, based on those preferences:
Build #1: The Pokey Peep, a.k.a. the Panzerkin
This type of build is heavy (HAHA) on the damage because it’s based on Moonkin, initially eschewing many of the trappings of Restoration in favor of many fun and powerful abilities at the bottom of the Balance tree. You’ll start at level 70 with a 55/0/6 build. This build focuses on many of the abilities that allow you to take a beating while you machine gun Wrath the mobs to death. Key abilities include:
- Brambles: Let the mobs munch on your thorny exterior while you gleefully blast them with Wrath, Moonfire, and Insect Swarm. You’ll pick this up instead of Nature’s Reach since root-and-nuke isn’t your goal.
- Insect Swarm: Insect Swarm is a cheap DoT that essentially costs the Global Cooldown to cast. It’s also uninterruptible. I opted to skip over Improved Insect Swarm because there are better options further down the tree.
- Moonglow, Lunar Guidance, and Dreamstate: These are pretty much staples for any caster dipping into the Balance tree, and you’d have feathers for brains if you skipped them.
- Moonkin Form / Improved Moonkin Form: Pretty obvious benefits. This gives you a lot of armor to stand in the face of your enemies. Not to mention an awesome dance.
- Owlkin Frenzy: What could be better than actually deriving a benefit from things hitting you in Moonkin Form? You’d opt to skip this 3-point talent if you were using root-and-nuke techniques.
- Typhoon and Force of Nature: It’s hard to pass up two 1-point talents as fun as these.
- Earth and Moon: Sounds like the name of a ballad-writing 80s band, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. This ability provides a big boost to your damage output.
- Wrath of Cenarius: Another expensive talent at 5 points. Provides a bonus to spell damage for Starfire and Wrath.
- Starfall: This spell is pretty mana efficient, even for single-target DPS.
As you continue to level up to 79 (because you ARE going to switch back to deep Restoration the moment you hit 80, RIGHT?), you’ll continue investing points in the Restoration tree, picking up such abilities as Omen of Clarity, Intensity, Natural Shapeshifter, Master Shapeshifter, and Furor. A level 79 version of this build ends up being 55/0/15 .
Build #2: The Marshmallow Peep
Unlike her Pokey brethren, the Marshmallow Peep cringes at the idea of having her feathers ruffled and prefers to keep her opponents at a distance. As a result, she will skip over talents like Brambles and Owlkin Frenzy, picking up Nature’s Reach instead. This build starts out at 70 as 52/0/9 ; as you may notice, our lower investment in tanking frees up more points for us in Restoration. We’ll start with three points in Furor, three in Nature’s Focus, Natural Shapeshifter and continue investing until we have all the Balance-oriented Restoration goodies, including Intensity, Omen of Clarity, and Master Shapeshifter. We end up with a free point at 79 to place in a Balance talent of choice. I’d probably opt for a point of Improved Insect Swarm. This build ends up being 53/0/17 .
If you’re planning to level up with a mixture of solo-questing and instancing with guildmates (but are too cheap to pay for respec costs), a hybrid build might be just what you’re looking for. I’ve started this build with Moonkin Form, one point away from nabbing Swiftmend, but there’s nothing to say you couldn’t do it the other way around if you want. This build begins at level 70 as 31/0/30 . Because we don’t have the points needed to bolster Regrowth, we’ll instead focus on Healing Touch, picking up Naturalist and Empowered Touch. Key abilities from the Balance tree include:
- Brambles: This is a staple in any “tanking” build.
- Insect Swarm: Once again, Insect Swarm is a really cheap form of damage that only costs 1 point to acquire.
- Moonglow and Lunar Guidance, and Dreamstate: We won’t initially have the points we need to pick up Dreamstate, but it’s a priority for talent point expenditures between 70 and 80.
- Moonkin Form: This is the reason we start with 31 points. We’ll pick up 3/3 Improved Moonkin Form as we level, though the points aren’t available at the start.
As you level up to 79, you’ll want to pick up Dreamstate, Owlkin Frenzy, and 2 points in Improved Moonkin Form (though you could opt to substitute points in Wrath of Cenarius for IMF). This build ends up being 39/0/31 at level 79.
This is the root-and-nuke variation Build 3, Hybrid Close-Combat. It also begins as 31/0/30, though again you can choose to start with Swiftmend and pick up Moonkin Form at 71 if you prefer. We’ll drop Brambles in favor of Nature’s Reach + Nature’s Splendor. As you level up with this build, you’ll similarly pick up Dreamstate and Improved Moonkin Form, though with no need for Owlkin Frenzy, you’ll make the choice to pick up Wrath of Cenarius. This build ends up being 39/0/31 at level 79.
This build is perhaps the least efficient in terms of suitability to tank since it doesn’t pick up Moonkin Form at any point and even the armored Tree of Life can’t cast Balance spells. Nonetheless, its strong HoTs may make this a feasible option for the player who wants to stay as true as possible to her Restoration “roots” but still pack a bit of firepower. In terms of Balance abilities, I’ve selected Starlight Wrath, Moonglow, Nature’s Majesty, Nature’s Grace, Nature’s Splendor, and Brambles. The 17/0/44 build at 70 is comprised of most of the “core” Restoration abilities up to and including Tree of Life but eschews Naturalist, Tranquil Spirit, and Empowered Touch, instead emphasizing Regrowth. Improved Tranquility is also omitted, though you may wish to consider it if you plan to do a lot of instancing.
Leveling up with this build, you have three options:
- Spend your points in Balance to boost your firepower with 5/5 Vengeance and Insect Swarm. Spend the remaining three points on additional spell power from Lunar Guidance. An example of this build is 26/0/47 .
- Spend your points in Balance to boost your healing with 5/5 Genesis and Insect Swarm. Spend the remaining three points on additional spell power from Lunar Guidance. An example of this build is 26/0/47 .
- Spend your points in Restoration to acquire Wild Growth. Definitely pick up Improved Tree of Life for its aura improvement and Spirit –> healing power conversion. Other talents that I recommend you consider include: Improved Tranquility and Empowered Touch. Spend any remaining points in Genesis once you have Wild Growth. An example of this build is 19/0/51 .
You are a delicate flower. You cringe at the idea that something should actually hit you. It might be carrying a Tree-eating parasite, after all. In any case, this build is quite similar to the Thorn Bush. You might even opt to include a point or three in Brambles as a damage shield for your adoring tanks. Should you not, your starting build would look something like 16/0/45 . You can choose to follow any one of the three approaches outlined under Build #5: The Thorn Bush above to help you decide where to spend your remaining points as you level to 79.
Keep in mind that these are suggested builds that you should feel free to adapt to your own preferences and playstyle. These are also recommendations from a Restoration Druid. Should you choose to pursue one of the more deeply Balance-specced builds, I can’t recommend Graylo’s articles over at Gray Matter highly enough. Read up over there, too, so you don’t look like a n00bkin.
So which (potentially modified) playstyle will you be trying out? (And don’t say “Feral” or I shall beat you about the shoulders with my branches.)