Monday, April 23, 2007

Making the switch to Moonkin

When I used to play Warcraft 3 a few years ago, my favorite character class to use against the enemy was the Druid. Their ability to shift into different forms gave them what I felt was a tremendous advantage. So naturally when I picked up World of Warcraft a few months ago, my first character was a Night Elf Druid. Fortunately they'd gained the ability to shift into other forms besides Bear.

Going on the advice of a friend and veteran of the game I decided to spec Feral. This turned out to be a pretty good choice given the peculiar difficulties that a Druid presents and since this was my first character. As I learned more about the game play, I became better at using my Cat form in conjunction with Bear form to shred and tank against mobs. Yet save for the occasional role as a healer in instance runs, I felt my spell casting abilities were being severely under utilized.

By the time I reached level 45, I'd invested nearly 10 points in the Balance tree. This worked well in that I could use my DoTs to wear down an enemy to half their HP before they even got close whereupon I could easily finish them off in Cat form. Unfortunately, this also drained my mana pool very quickly. After reading up on the latest patch changes and how it vastly improved the Balance tree, I decided to re-spec and see if that matched by playing style any better.

Within an hour of going Balance and gaining Moonkin form, I did an incredible instance run of Zul'Farrak with my guild buddies as a high DPSer. Though Cat and Bear form had both decreased significantly with regards to damage output, in a sticky situation I could still switch to the latter and perform Frenzied Regeneration. Gradually, I changed out all my gear as well and went for those items with high intellect. I also switched to using a two-handed mace as my main weapon which upped my attack power and thus my mana regeneration.

At this point, I am a level 52 Balance Druid who spends about 95% of his time in Moonkin form. I haven't regretted the re-spec at all and in fact, I have only come to enjoy it more. Recently I attained Force of Nature thus giving me three treants to fight on my behalf and allowing me to easily take on enemies three or four levels higher. In PvP, I now have Warlocks of equal level complaining that I'm overpowered.

In short, the Balance tree has long been overlooked for Druids in favor of the easier-to-solo Feral build. But with the right equipment, good mana management and a desire to play more like a mage than a warrior, the Moonkin Druid can quickly rise to the top and become an invaluable member of raids and instance runs.

No comments: