Druid Balance Talent Guide

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[TIER 1]
Starlight Wrath ***
Ranks: 5
Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 0.1 seconds per rank.
Changed to include Starfire, this talent now is the core first step for Balance builds. Even if you detour to take Nature's Grasp for one point, four here is probably a better use than the other option if you want to go farther in Balance.

Nature's Grasp ****
Ranks: 1
[prerequisite for Improved Nature's Grasp]
Instant cast, 50 Mana, 1 minute cooldown
[Rank 1] While active, any time an enemy strikes the caster, they have a 35% chance to become afflicted by Entangling Roots (Rank 1). Only usable outdoors. 1 charge. Lasts 45 seconds.

A great escape ability at low levels and very useful for PVP purposes, Nature's Grasp gives you a buff that has a chance to cast the appropriate rank of Entangling Roots on whoever's hitting you. This ends the buff. This is sometimes the first point taken, as druid escape measures before Travel Form (level 30) can be limited. Now that this ability is usable in feral forms, it's worth considering dropping a point here, even if it's your only point in Balance.

Improved Nature's Grasp *
Ranks: 4
Requires: Nature's Grasp
Increases the chance for your Nature's Grasp to entangle an enemy by 15% per rank (20% for the final rank).
Four points (and you'll either take all four or none) raises your Nature's Grasp chance from 35% to 100%. If someone's hitting you, plain NG will go off on average after three hits. With this talent, it's after one. Is that worth 4 points?

[TIER 2 -- require 5 points in Balance]
Control of Nature *
Ranks: 3
Gives you a 40% chance to avoid interruption caused by damage while casting Entangling Roots or Cyclone. Rank 2 increases that to 70%, and rank 3 increases the chance to 100%.
Again with the roots. The base ability, for Roots is probably not worth your point investment. It's possible that the added functionality for Cyclone will make it worthwhile, but I'll withhold judgement on that until Cyclone's in the game.

Focused Starlight ****
Ranks: 2
[prerequisite for Vengeance][/u][/b]
Increases the critical strike chance of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 2%.
A new and badly needed core talent for Balance builds.

Improved Moonfire ***
Ranks: 2
Increases the damage and critical strike chance of your Moonfire spell by 5% per rank.
An obvious and strong choice for Balance builds. Slimmed from 5 points to 2 for the same total effect in 2.0.3.

[TIER 3 -- require 10 points in Balance]
Brambles **
Ranks: 3
Increases damage caused by your Thorns and Entangling Roots spells by 25% per rank.
It's really not an awful talent, there just may be a better place to spend 3 points. It does now effect Entangling Roots too, which could be worthwhile if you use roots a lot.

Insect Swarm ***
Ranks: 1
[Rank 1]Instant Cast, 30 yard range
The enemy target is swarmed by insects, decreasing his chance to hit by 2% and dealing nature damage over 12 sec.

This is a moderately useful ability -- a mana-efficient DoT combined with a small but useful debuff. All in all, if you're taking 20+ points in Balance, it's worthwhile to spend one of them here, but it's not an ability you'd base a build around.

Nature's Reach ***
Ranks: 2
Increases the range of your Balance spells and Faerie Fire (Feral) by 10% per rank.
Range is generally a good use of talent points in caster builds, and this is no exception. It's far from exciting though, so depending on how you play, it's a potential skip candidate.

[TIER 4 -- require 15 points in Balance]
Vengeance ***
Ranks: 5
Requires: 2 points in Focused Starlight
Increases the critical strike damage of your Starfire, Moonfire, and Wrath spells by 20% per rank.
One of the key talents for a balance build. If you're this far into the tree, you should have this talent, hands down.

Celestial Focus **
Ranks: 3
Gives your Starfire spell a 5% chance per rank to stun the target for 3 seconds, and increases the chance you'll resist pushback when casting your Wrath spell by 25% per rank.
Now with pushback protection. By pushback, this means that getting hit may not cause you to lose time on your cast bar. The new part of it could very well be worthwhile, but I'm not yet sold. Could depend on your playstyle -- if you're in groups/raids, casting from the back, this isn't doing much for you.

[TIER 5 -- require 20 points in Balance]
Nature's Grace ****
Ranks: 1
[prerequisite for Moonfury]
All spell criticals grace you with a blessing of nature, reducing the casting time of your next non-instant spell by 0.5 seconds.
A very useful ability for one point, especially considering how slow a lot of important druid spells are. This talent is one good reason to consider a Balance/Restoration build.

Moonglow ****
Ranks: 3
Reduces the Mana cost of your Moonfire, Starfire, Wrath, Healing Touch, Regrowth, and Rejuvenation spells by 3% per rank.
Similar to Nature's Grace, helps with one of the key druid weaknesses -- a lot of our best spells are slow and mana hungry. Balance/Resto druids will take this as a key ability.

Lunar Guidance ****
Ranks: 3
Increases your spell damage and healing by 8% of your total intellect per rank.
The fianal tier 5 talent that's excellent both in its own right and in a balance/resto hybrid build. The best part is that this talent scales with gear, and it appears itemization is stressing stats come the expansion.

[TIER 6 -- requires 25 points in Balance]
Moonfury ***
Ranks: 5
Requires: 1 point in Nature's Grace
Increases the damage done by your Starfire, Moonfire, and Wrath spells by 2% per rank.
If you're this far into the tree, you're taking this talent. Why else have you put 25 points in?

Balance of Power ***
Ranks: 2
Increases your chance to hit with all spells and reduces the chance you'll be hit by spells by 2%.
Many caster trees now get this sort of defensive/offensive hybrid talent. I like this more than most, since +hit is a very nice stat if you don't already have a lot of it. If you do, it's largely wasted, so skip this. But, balance gear seems to be light on it, so it gets an extra star.

[TIER 7 -- requires 30 points in Balance]
Moonkin Form ****
Ranks: 1
872 mana, instant cast
Transforms the Druid into Moonkin form. While in this form, the armor contribution from items is increased by 360%, attack power is increased by 150% of your level, and all party members within 30 yards have their spell critical chance increased by 5%. Melee attacks in this form have a chance on hit to regenerate mana based on attack power. The Moonkin may only cast Balance spells while shapeshifted. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and movement-impairing effects.

Moonkin is an extremely odd ability, combining Dire Bear's damage mitigation with Leader of the Pack's shared critical bonus, and topping it off with Shadowform's spell-usage restrictions. Now add a melee bonus, plus they have a funny dance. All in all, it's a pretty nice package in the right situations, so if you don't need Swiftmend, and you're nuking a lot, dance away.

Dreamstate ***
Ranks: 3
Regenerate mana equal of 4% per rank of your Intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting.
It's an MP5 talent, and by this high up, your should have a good idea on how much that is, and how much it means to you. I'm guessing it will be a part of most Moonkin builds.

Improved Faerie Fire **
Ranks: 3
Your Faerie Fire spell also increases the chance the target will be hit by melee and ranged attacks by 1%
Kind of a reverse +hit ability. My initial reaction is that it's a somewhat handy talent for raid targets. So, if you're a raiding Moonkin, you should take it, but it's too expensive pointwise and too far into the tree for general use.

[TIER 8 -- requires 35 points in Balance]
Wrath of Cenarius ***
Ranks: 5
Your Starfire spell gains an additional 4% per rank and your Wrath gains an additional 2% per rank of your bonus damage effects.
Nice synergy with Lunar Guidance from tier 5. It's a kind of subtle effect that's more useful, the more dedicated you are in your role, and the better your gear gets. I don't feel its worth stretching to take it, but if you're dedicated to Balance, and choose Force of Nature over the other options, it's worthwhile.

[TIER 9 -- requires 40 points in Balance]
Force of Nature ***
Ranks: 1
374 mana, instant cast, 30 yard range, 3 minute cooldown
Summons three treants to attack the enemy target for 30 seconds

Much has been written on this talent by people who have worked on it a lot. Take a look, generally it's positive. Heavy balance builds who have taken this talent like it. Come level 70 and TBC, though, we'll come up to the same problem Moonkin used to have: is this better for a balance build than Nature's Swiftness?

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