I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Rooftrellenx of Advent Fury on Hyjal (Horde – US) in the Whirlwind battlegroup about his successes in arena, his history, a few tips and even more. At the time of writing he is ranked at #9 overall (there are only 8 players in the world ranked higher than him) Rated 2723 in 2v2, 2886 in 3v3 and 2728 in 5v5, he definitely isn’t your average player and knows a thing or two (and I would vouch for a whole lot more) – Enjoy.
1. What appeals to you about balance?
Balance has always been my favorite druid spec, but only recently have I started playing it in arena. Before this season i mainly only played it in 2v2 (druid mage) and in battlegrounds. When I transferred from Garona to Hyjal, my partners thought playing boomkin would be fun, and it turned out it worked really well. The semi-recent Starfall change is what has made this spec viable, since it is a really good source of damage you can use even when focused. Typhoon is also one of the more fun aspects and why I enjoy playing balance.
2. If you went back and started WoW all over, would you choose a balance druid to PvP with or something else?
I would chose a balance druid. I have a lvl 80 mage, and a lvl 80 ele shaman, but neither seem nearly as fun to me as my druid. My only regret is not trying balance earlier.
3. Please explain your talent setup.
This is the talent setup i usually use. I dont spend too many points in mana regen talents because games usually arent super long. I personally do not get brambles, but it can be an amazing talent (mainly if your comp lacks a good snare). Some other balance druids I have seen do not spec into improved moonkin form, but even without spirit gear its 60 spellpower and 3% haste to your entire party, i think it is pretty much required.
4. Who are your teammates?
In 5v5, I play Destro Lock (Wafu), Balance Druid (Myself), Elemental Shaman (Kyma), Holy Paladin (Iso), and Frost Mage (Siphr). In 3v3, I play Affliction Lock (Wafu), Balance Druid (Myself), Resto Shaman (Kyma). In 2v2 I Play Affliction/Destro Lock (depending on how wafu is feeling) Resto Druid (Myself).
5. What are the pros and cons of your team setups?
Our 5s team has destroyed this battlegroup, we have played serval different comps on the team, but this comp has really dominated. We are at 100% win with this particular comp, about 130-0. As a 4-dps most matches we just blow stuff up, but if the game lasts too long we have a good chance at losing.
Our 3s team is really powerful, it utilizes alot of DoTing from both me and the lock on pretty much everything. Getting cyclones into fears on the healer, and cycloneing targets when their health is low and switching targets, it’s a really effective strategy. Usually when we get a kill in this comp multiple people are pretty low on health. Our main weakness is my mobility, it can be pretty tough trying to do stuff with a rogue on me.
2s is just a standard resto druid/lock team. We do overwhelming damage with insectswarm/lock DoTs, while haveing a ton of CC. It has always been a really powerful comp. Our only weakness is shadow Priest teams.
6. What bracket do you enjoy playing the most?
5v5. There is nothing funner in this game then popping starfall and watching the entire enemy team get to 50%. Everytime I use it the enemy team blows massive cooldowns just to live. with 4 dps casters our damage is just unbelievable.
7. How do you communicate with your teammates?
We use skype to talk. After useing vent for years, the switch to skype made arena easier, mainly because i dont have to hold down a push to talk key. It also has much better voice quality. Our communication in arena differs depending on what bracket we are playing in. In 5s, we selected one person (our destro lock) to call targets/target swaps. We all do alot of yelling for dispells and coordinating our CC, and our holy pally rages if we dont kill stuff fast enough :). In 3s any of us will call a target out if we see them in a bad position. In every bracket we usually call out a few targets we will be ccing before combat begins.
8. When you enter an arena, how do you start? On your mount, in cat form prowling, in moonkin form, or something else?
In 2s or 3s I always start in stealth, and if it turns out to be a rouge team, ill through a blind typhoon to get the rogue out, which surprisingly works a lot of the time. On RoV, start in moonkin form directly on the center of the platform (in shadowmeld if nightelf), and a typhoon as soon as the elevator gets to the top will get stealth out 99% of the time. In 5s ill start on my mount on blade’s edge ruins and dalaran, and stealth on nagrand and rov.
9. Do you feel that balance druids have underpowered or broken mechanics?
Yes, the largest issue i currently have with balance is, when you switch from moonkin form to travel form, you lose a massive amount of armor. Resto druids have access to Improved Barkskin which gives them armor while in travel form, and balance really needs this. There is no way you can travel form kite with, say a hunter on you because you will take that much more damage. Barkskin also seems pretty broken because, it is our only defensive cooldown, and it has practically no dispel protection – and even still it is only 20% damage reduction. If anything, another defensive cooldown would be nice.
10. What is the most common mistake you see from balance druids in PvP?
Managing damage from DoTs, against any team with an active dispeller, if you are not playing with a UA lock, then DoTing any team with an active dispeller is pointless unless the dispeller is CC’d. Sadly a good amount of the balance druids damage comes from DoT damage, but it is much better just to tunnel burst then have your DoTs be spam dispelled.
11. Are there any class/specs that you have trouble fighting?
The hardest class counter to a balance druid is a shadow priest, and pretty much all priest comps (anything with a shadow priest is really tough, but same with discs) are really difficult, mainly because of dispel. Rogues are also very difficult because they can lock out all your damage while them and their partner(s) wreck you.
12. What class do you find easiest to counter 1v1?
Ret or protret paladins are by far the easiest thing to fight one vs one. HoTs + moonkin form easily outheal their damage, and it takes one full starfall to make them bubble, and they have no interupt for cyclone. Hunters are just as easy in the same way, one starfall + DoTs will kill them (and their pet, lol) from full even through deterrence.
13. What are your strategies for healing?
Depends on what you are fighting, if you are fighting something with a ms you will want to prehot yourself with a rejuv and 2 blooms, then go moonkin and do some damage and refresh the blooms right before they go off. If you are fighting a caster you can do the same thing, just keep distance and typhoon them and travel form back and rehot yourself up when your hots fall off. Against a rogue that has all his cooldowns, your best not leaving moonkin form to heal (unless you can cc him – not really possible if he has all his Cooldowns.) Against anything LoS if possible while healing.
14. What classes do you feel are overpowered at the moment?
I personally feel that warlocks and shadow priests are highly overpowered right now, because of how well they scale with haste. Now days with the current PvE gear available, it is not uncommon to find these casters with 25-30% haste, and if they get Bloodlust, their damage is unhealable. I also feel hunters are doing way too much damage at the moment, they are very overpowered against alot of, mainly cloth setups.
15. What relatively unknown tip would you share with us?
Well, the one tip i would share would be to play 2v2 with a mage, start playing as Insect Swarm/resto spec(21/0/50), then switch to full balance as this is how I learned myself. You learn how to coordinate your CC’s together, and how to heal/kite when you need to. Knowing when to heal or not is very vital to being a good balance druid.
16. Fighting 2 opponents at the same time seems to be very difficult for a balance druid because of the lack of reliable CC. Do you have any tips on how to do this? If they trinket Cyclone you have very little you can do.
I’m guessing you are asking this as a 1v2 setup in say a battleground or world PvP. If you are fighting 2 people and you know they have trinkets up, don’t even cyclone. Try to fully HoT yourself before you engage if possible. Go moonkin, put dots up and Starfall/Treants, then typhoon and travel form away and try to heal yourself up, then keep dots up and try to travel form kite. If there is a healer you will want to try to cyclone it, and quickly burn all cooldowns on the DPS although 1v2 against a healer probably wont go very well.
17. What would you like to improve at?
I dont think i use entangling Roots enough. And I have recently started using it more. Combined with unstable affliction, Roots is a really powerful CC. Its really situation when to use it for best affect however, and im trying to get better at that.
18. What is your favorite thing to do in PvP?
My favorite thing to do in pvp is grab a few friends and just destroy battlegrounds. If anything I just try to get myself a healbot. Me and my mage friend Siphr like to compete on the damage/kill meter.
19. Do you have any major goals you are heading towards in arenas, such as #1 spot for overall ranking?
Currently, I am just trying to get rank 1 in all 3 brackets on my battlegroup (only 2v2 remains). I would really like to get #1 overall ranking, but the idea of trying to grind a 2s team up to 2900 isnt very appealing.
20. What do you think of the future of PvP in Cataclysm from what you know?
From what I hear its going to be less balanced around arena, and more around rated battlegrounds. I think playing as a balance druid in rated battlegrounds is going to be a really fun experience. Im guessing we will be really good at defending bases with the new mushroom skill we are getting cataclysm, paired with typhooning people off cliffs.
There you have it. The first of many interviews to come. Thank you Rooftrellenx for your time, glad to write this