So, as you may or may not know, I was in the Alpha, and of course, I'm in the Beta. I can't describe the overwhelming joy I felt when I first realized the extent of the change from +healing/damage to Spellpower. I have about 1700 +healing (which may seem low, but I have almost 700 Spirit, which I decided to gear for first.) Anyway, when I logged into the Beta for the first time after the Spellpower change had actually been implemented, I was overjoyed. I had almost 1000 Spellpower, which made me immediately realize, that I should spec Balance, and take advantage of this. (If you don't catch my drift here, I have no +damage gear, and wearing my healing gear in WotLK is the same as if I had geared for Spell Damage Moonkin gear the whole time.)
Anyway, let's take a look at some of the new Talents and Spells given to the Balance Tree.
Improved Moonkin Form 3/3, Requires 1 Point in Moonkin Form, and 30 Points in Balance Talents Your Moonkin Aura also causes affected targets to have a 100% to increase their Spell Haste by 20% when they critically hit with Spells for 8 seconds. This effect has a 30 second cooldown.
This talent is an immense upgrade to the viability of Balance Druids in the Raiding and Group setting in WoW. With the added bonus of Spell Haste reducing the global cooldown of all your spells, this talent is even more of a plus.
Owlkin Frenzy 3/3, Requires 1 Point in Moonkin Form, and 35 points in Balance Talents Attacks done to you while in Moonkin Form have a 15% chance to cause you to go into a Frenzy, increasing your damage 10% and causes you to be immune to pushback while casting Balance Spells. Lasts 10 seconds.
On the surface, this talent may only look useful while leveling, and then diminish when you get to the more Group style of play. However, this is also a huge bonus to the Moonkins out there who want to be able to Tank, or who are required to tank something (like one of the bosses in the High King Maulgar encounter). Also, as a note, spell pushback immunity is always fantastic.
Eclipse 3/3, Requires 40 Points in Balance Talents When you critically hit with Starfire you have a 60% chance of increasing the damage done by your Wrath spell by 10%. When you critically hit with Wrath, you have a 60% chance of increasing the Critical Strike chance of your Starfire spell by 10%. Effect lasts 30 seconds and has a 2 minute cooldown.
While this Talent may seem diminished by the 2 minute internal cooldown, that is overshadowed by the fact that this helps to reintroduce Wrath into your casting rotation to give your Starfire that extra 10% crit. While you may not be using wrath every 12 seconds to get this effect, it does allow for a DPS increase every 2 minutes when you can get your Starfire that extra 10% crit.
Typhoon 1/1, Requires 1 Point on Moonkin Form and 40 Points in Balance Talents. Instant Cast, 475 Mana, 20 Yard Range, 20 Second Cooldown. You summon a violent Typhoon that does 516-517 Nature Damage when in contact with hostile targets, knocking them back 5 yards
The mana cost and cooldown, as well as the lack of stupendous damage, paired with the fact that most end game mobs are immune to knockback, make this talent more aimed towards PvP.
Gale Winds 2/2, Requires 40 Points in Balance Talents Increased the damage done by your Hurricane and Typhoon spells by 50% and increases the range of your Cyclone spell by 4 yards.
Yet again, on the surface, this talent doesn't look like it offers much, but the fact that Hurricane does not have a cooldown makes this talent almost a must if you expect to have a Viable AoE Spell. 50% is a lot, and can you imagine having this with a Hurricane with no cooldown during Hyjal Trash? I can... and it makes me drool.
Earth and Moon 5/5, Requires 45 Points in Balance Talents Your Wrath and Starfire spells have a 100% chance of applying the Earth and Moon effect, which increases Nature and Arcane damage done to the target by 2%. Lasts 12 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
This talent, compared to other Tier 10 talents is slighly weak. 2% stacking up to 5 times would be better. However, it is still a 6% potential DPS increase. And eh... why complain? It's more DPS right?
Starfall 1/1, Requires 50 points in Balance Talents Instant Cast, 655 Mana, 30 Yard Range, 3 Minute Cooldown You summon a flurry of stars from the sky on all targets within 30 yards of the caster, each doing 111 to 129 Arcane Damage, and an additional 20 Arcane Damage to the targets within 5 yards of the caster. Maximum 20 starts, last 10 seconds.
I have deemed this a Ron Popiel spell. You set it and forget it. You activate it, and watch the damage fly up around you. When this spell was first implemented in early alpha, it was EXTREMLY OVERPOWERED. It did something like 433-455 damage to every target within 30 yards. It was absolutely rediculous. It however seems underwhelming now, and we'll have to see what kind of Spellpower cooefficient it gets. To clarify, the addition 20 Arcane Damage is added to each star that damages a target within 5 yards of you, the ones from 6-30 yards, don't get this extra damage.
All in all, Balance seems much more viable now, and I'm looking forward to going from 70-80 with a Balance Spec.