Druid balance leveling guide 1 to 85


Hello, all. This guide is being updated for Cataclysm, so there will be some errors below.

Original author: Ataraxia
(Guide format shamelessly stolen from Trollvink and his awesome Enhancement Shaman guide)


Balance Druids are the caster DPS of the druid tree. This spec should be viable for leveling all the way to 85. However, you will have to pick up cloth gear for the most part, as caster leather is extremely rare before Outland. Given that, you may want to level as Feral until at least 39 (when you get Moonkin Form) or even 60 (when the gear selection becomes much better). If you do, check out Zerox’s Feral Guide.


This spec is for primarily for leveling. This is not an instance or raid spec.
(Full spec can be found here)

Starlight Wrath 1/3

Starlight Wrath 2/3

Starlight Wrath 3/3

Nature’s Majesty 1/2

Nature’s Majesty 2/2

Moonglow 1/3

Moonglow 2/3

Moonglow 3/3

Balance of Power 1/2

Balance of Power 2/2

Moonkin Form 1/1

Shooting Stars 3/3

Shooting Stars 5/5

Typhoon 3/3

Euphoria 5/5

Euphoria 3/3

Solar Beam 5/5

Nature’s Grace 3/3

Nature’s Grace 5/5

Nature’s Grace 3/3

Earth and Moon 5/5

Force of Nature 3/3

Dreamstate 5/5

Dreamstate 3/3

Sunfire 5/5

Lunar Shower 3/3

Lunar Shower 5/5

Lunar Shower 3/3

Gale Winds 1/2 OR Genesis 1/3

Gale Winds 2/2 OR Genesis 2/3

Starfall 1/1

Furor 1/3

Furor 2/3

Furor 3/3

Heart of the Wild 1/3

Heart of the Wild 2/3

Heart of the Wild 3/3

Natural Shapeshifter 1/2

Natural Shapeshifter 2/2

Master Shapeshifter 1/1

Genesis 1/3 OR 3/3

Spells and Rotations

  • Always start at max casting range.
  • Always keep Mark of the Wild on you once you get it

Take whatever 2-handed weapon/weapon and offhand that provide Intellect and spell power.

  • Until you get Moonfire, spam Wrath until the target is in melee range.
  • Once you get Moonfire, cast it after you’ve launched your first Wrath. (Wrath takes time to travel to its target while Moonfire hits immediately. Your first Wrath will hit the target as he starts runing towards you.)

Rotation – Pull with Wrath, cast Moonfire, spam Wrath. Refresh Moonfire if needed.


  • Open with Wrath.
  • Spam Starfire until the target is dead.
  • When fighting multiple mobs, use Moonfire followed by Entangling Roots on one. Then, focus on other mobs, healing as necessary.

Rotation – Pull Wrath, then spam Starfire.

Eclipse Mechanic

It’s important that you learn how the Eclipse mechanic works for a balance druid. Once you select the Balance talent specialization, you’ll get a bar under your portrait. To the left is a moon, and to the right is a sun. The spells you cast will move the bar towards one side or the other. Once you get all teh way to one side, you’ll trigger an Eclipse, the effects of which are pretty much the same except for the spells they effect.

First thing is to understand the bar’s motion. Once the bar starts moving, it’s direction will be shown by an arrow. Once the bar starts a direction, it will NOT go the other direction until an eclipse happens. The bar will move depending on what spell is cast. Certain spells move it a specific amount.

Wrath will move it towards a lunar eclipse, and Starfire will move it towards a solar eclipse. Starsurge will move it in whichever direction it’s going (if you’ve just logged in or ressed, it’ll go towards lunar).

A Lunar Eclipse will make your starfire do more damage, and a Solar Eclipse will make your Wrath do more damage. Because of how this mechanic works, you’ll be changing Wrath and Starfire in the rotation, depending on which way your bar is moving or if you proc an eclipse. WIth that in mind, here’s the rotation you should keep using:

That’s pretty much it. I’ll be covering some of the other options you’ll have as you acquire new spells, but the rotation above should take you to 85.

At this point, start using the rotation listed above. If you end up pulling multiple mobs, cast Moonfire on all of them, then concentrate on them one at a time.

Starting at 29, you’ll have access to the iconic Moonkin Form. Once you have this ability, you hsould always be in this form when fighting. The only reason to leave this form is to mount up or heal. You will automatically leave Moonkin Form whenever you cast a healing spell, but you’ll have to manually leave it in order to get on your mount.

  • There are some talents you’ll be picking up that will start affecting your rotation. The biggest one of these is Shooting Stars at 31, which can grant you a free cast of Starsurge. Use it whenever it’s up.
  • Next up is Typhoon, which you talent into at 35. Typhoon affects a cone in front of you, knocking targets back for a short distance. Use it to keep melee mobs away from you. Warning: The range on Typhoon is further than the animation. Get a feel for it before you use it often!
  • At 41 you get Solar Beam through talents. This calls a large area of light that prevents enemy casting while it’s up. As most mobs will just leave it and start casting again, it doesn’t provide any real long-term benefits to a fight. WIth that in mind, here area couple of the best situations to use it:
    • Cast is on a mob just as it’s about to finish a spell with a long cast time. This reduces your incoming damage considerably, as you’ll have gotten free shots on him while he was casting, as well as attacks on him while he moves and starts casting again.
    • When fighting multiple mobs, use cast Entangling Roots followed by Solar Beam on a caster. This will effectively keep him from contributing until one of the two spells runs out.
    • If you find yourself taking a lot of damage from a caster mob, run into melee range with it and then cast Solar Beam. If you’re in melee range, casters will switch to a melee weapon if they can’t cast. You’ll still take damage, but it’ll usually be a lot less than his spells would have done.
  • At 51, you’ll pick up Force of Nature though talents. This ability calls 3 treants to your side to fight for you. I personally save this ability for “Oh, crap” moments, such as when I end up with too many mobs, or when fighting elites. They can be directed to attack specific targets, but only as a group. Use them to occupy a mob if you’ve pulled to many, or as extra damage when fighting an elite.

Area of Effect Pulls

This section will cover your area effect spells and how to use them in pulls.

  • Your main AoE spell is Hurricane, which you get at level 44. This is a channeled spell, which means if you’re taking damage while channeling it you’ll lose some duration. For low HP mobs or groups of 3, this can do more damage than single-target casting. For groups of 4, it’s only useful once you get Barkskin at 58. This spell keeps you from suffering pushback when channeling or casting.
  • The second spell AoE spell is Starfall. This spell causes AoE damage to any targets within a certain distance of you. However, this spell is NOT limited to just creatures you’re fighting so be careful. Using it in the wrong situation could get you killed. That aside, it does excellent damage and is not a channeled spell, which mneas you can use that as well as Hurricane at the same time. Consider getting the Glyph of Focus. This slightly improves Starfall’s damage while reducing its area, meaning you’re less likely to kill yourself while using it.
  • Not to be underestimated, use Thorns on yourself when AoEing against melee mobs. The extra damage adds up fast.

While Typhoon is technically an AoE spell, I don’t include it here because the cooldown prevents it from being used more than once a pull and its knockback will generally push a mob outside of your other AoE’s effect. If you want to add this to your AoE rotation, make sure you get Glyph of Typhoon so you don’t knock them out of range.

There are other configurations for AoE grinding, but I tend not to use them (mostly because I’m on a PvP server and don’t want to have to worry about 3+ mobs when getting attacked by another player).





  • Tribal Leatherworking is a great way to go if you’re leveling as balance. There are some nice BoP pieces for balance.
  • Skinning is a good compliment to leatherworking, allowing you harvest your own materials. Additionally, skinning will give you a critical chance buff which helps your damage out.


In the following order: Intellect -> Spell Power -> Crit -> Stamina -> Spirit -> Hit Rating

  1. Intellect : This stat give you more mana, as well as increasing spell power and spell critical chance-
  2. Spell Power : Needed to directly increase damage
  3. Crit : Higher crit chance means more damage
  4. Stamina : Try as you might, you will get hit. This helps you stay alive longer
  5. Spirit : Also used to keep your mana up, but not as effective in combat. Once you get Balance of Power, spirit will increase your Hit rating.
  6. Hit Rating : Your spells arent’ any good if they don’t hit their target. Once you get Balance of Power, spirit will increase your Hit rating.



Click here for a complete list of druid glyphs


Glyph of Wrath
Glyph of Insect Swarm
Glyph of Starsurge


Glyph of Focus
Glyph of Starfall
Glyph of Hurricane


Glyph of Aquatic Form – This lets you swim at the same speeds as epic mounts. Especially useful at the lower levels

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
Glyph of Mark of the Wild


The gear listed below are just suggestions. There are plenty of other choices out there. If possible, try to upgrade your gear every 10 levels or so.


From 1-57, you’ll probably be wearing cloth gear since there isn’t much in the way of spell leather in Vanilla WoW. The biggest exception is the Embrace of the Viper set that drops from the Wailing Caverns instance. After that, the next major pieces of caster leather are the Ironfeather set.

Once you get to Outland, there are plenty of pieces of spell leather. The first you should be able to get are pieces of the Wild Draenish set.

Your caster weapons are limited to one-handed maces, daggers, fist weapons and staves. If you’re using a mace, dagger or fist weapon, make sure to get an off-hand item.

Lvl 18 –Emberstone Staff

Lvl 18 – Staff of the Blessed Seer

Lvl 22 – Staff of the Shade
Lvl 22 – Kam’s Walking Stick
Lvl 27Death Speaker Scepter (Main Hand)
Lvl 27Tome of Kings

Lvl 32 – Windweaver Staff
Lvl 34 – Illusory Rod
Lvl 39Hand of Righteousness
Lvl 40Fire Eater’s Guide

Lvl 40 – Darkmoon Magestaff (This comes from crafting/buying a Demons Deck. Get this if at all possible!)
Lvl 41 – Scepter of Celebras
Lvl 42 – Witch Doctor’s Cane
Lvl 42 – Zum’Rah’s Vexing Cane
Lvl 48 – Kindling Stave

Once you hit Outland, you’ll find several upgrades available through quests. If at all possible, get a group to do the Ring of Blood quest line at 65 for the reward. At 75, do the Amphitheater of Anguish.

Druid Quests

I don’t know how the original quests have changed with Cataclysm, but I’ll update this section as I come across them.


There are several add-ons that are directly useful to druids.

  • Decursive – This handy addon will allow you to remove any negative effect you are capable of removing from any member of your group with a simple click, without having to target them.
  • Recount – Recount lets you keep track of how much damage you’re dealing and your overall DPS.
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    Jan 5, 2011 @ 22:09 pm

    Thanks, BrianI haven’t played my Cata druid much, so I haven’t gotten to the class quests.  I’ll check out the link you’ve provided and see wht I can update.

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    Jan 5, 2011 @ 5:30 am

    Druid QuestsThere is a nice list of Druid Quest over at WoWHead: note  would be the quest at level 20, The Circle’s Future, which gives you a pretty good staff for that level. I am only a level 29 so far on my Cata Druid, but so far so good, thanks for updating the guide.

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    Dec 29, 2010 @ 20:02 pm

    Thanks for the catches once againThanks again for cathing these.  I’ve fixed everything you mentioned, and I’ll give it another once-over for other errors.  If you see anything else, or have any suggestions, please let me know!  Thanks.

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    Dec 29, 2010 @ 1:26 am

    Weapons ListThere’s a few mislinks in the weapon list as well.  Looks like:Death Speaker’s ScepterHand of RighteousnessFire Eater’s Guide

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    Dec 29, 2010 @ 1:11 am

    Glyph of Typhoon in the sameGlyph of Typhoon in the same section.  Looks to be the same issue (linked to /spell instead of /item).  Totally missed that one earlier. 😐

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    Dec 29, 2010 @ 0:07 am

    Thanks for the catch.It’s been fixed now.  Please let me know if you spot anything else or have any other suggestions.

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    Dec 28, 2010 @ 23:45 pm

    One minor nitpickThe Glyph of Focus linked in the AoE section links to wowhead/spell instead of wowhead/item, so it shows up as spell not found in the hover tooltip.  The one linked in the glyph section is correct.Looks awesome.

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    Dec 28, 2010 @ 23:00 pm

    Druid Balance Guide UpdatedHeya, all.  This guide has been updated for Cataclysm.  It was done based on what I used leveling from 80-85 and a little research.  I’ll be playing through with a new druid to test and tweak it, but I feel confident that it’s pretty solid as it is.  I’ve moved it back to the Class Guides -> Druid section.  If you have any suggestions, please add a comment below and I’ll try to take care of it!

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    Oct 20, 2010 @ 13:18 pm

    Copy paste fail.Copy paste fail. Fixed.

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    Oct 20, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    This has 4 Jiya… JustThis has 4 Jiya… Just pointing out 🙂


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    Oct 20, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    Moved to Archive SectionWe are recently working on improving the quality of content here on, both by limiting low ranked guides and by moving out of date guides into archives. For more information, see [url=]the full news post detailing this process[/url].

    Your guide has been moved to Work in Progress mode for the following reasons:
    [list][*]The guide is significantly out of date.[/list]

    If you improve your guide to address these issues, you are welcome to change it to Finished mode again. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to comment here.

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    Jul 3, 2010 @ 2:59 am

    Starfire is more efficientWhile Wrath does cast faster, the cast time for 2 wrath is equal to 1 starfire. There’s a small discrepancy between damages, depending on which spell you just got, but starfire will always cost less. For example:

    At level 20, compare [url=]Starfire[/url] and [url=]Wrath[/url]. Starfire is 3 seconds to cast, does 149 damage max and costs 16% of your base mana. Two Wraths would take 3 seconds to cast as well, do a max of 114 damage and use 22% of your base mana.

    At 22, when you get the next level of Wrath, your max damage increases to 156 but everything else stays the same. It’s still more mana-efficient to use Starfire.

    That being said, there are a couple advantages to Wrath and it is a viable play style. Wrath’s main advantage, in my opinion, is that there’s a travel time involved. Starting at max range, you can get a second one cast before the first reaches your target and he starts approaching. It’s second advantage is that it’s less likely that a mob will pat out of range just as your about to complete your spell. (That happens to me with starfire WAY too often.)

    Anyways, I hope this helps you. And please, feel free to post any other questions or comments you may have. I’ll help out if I can. Thanks.

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    Jul 2, 2010 @ 7:30 am

    Thank you.Just a quick thanks for the guide. I am leveling my first Druid (well, first one I got past 14) using this guide, and finding success.
    Spamming Starfire after wrath for 20-39 seems to be my only question. At level 23 anyhow, it takes a long time to cast and it sucks up the manna. Is it really more efficient than wrath>moonfire>starfire>spam wrath or starfire>moonfire>spam wrath? Wowhead suggests it uses less mana than 2 wraths, but speed seems to count for something. Also, even after the global cool down, it doesn’t seem to want to stack the next starfire or wrath until it casts out, am I missing something there?
    Perhaps I need more pots I can use while in combat?

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    Jun 11, 2010 @ 4:31 am

    I didn’t realize they had changed thatI haven’t used Nature’s Grasp in a long time, as it used to cancel Entangling Roots when it procced. Thanks for the heads-up!

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    May 29, 2010 @ 23:24 pm

    Entangling rootsYou wrote:

    BY THE WAY — you can only root one enemy at a time, and this includes both Entangling Roots and Nature’s Grasp,


    News to me, considering I’ve rooted at least two mobs at once using Nature’s grasp. Yes you can only cast Entangling roots at one mob, or rather only the last one you cast at will stay rooted, but Nature’s grasp can hold up to three mobs at a time. Plus the entangling Roots one.

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    Apr 23, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    All lines are open!Heya, everyone. I’ve finished a re-vamp of this guide and would love any and all feedback on it. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think or what chages/improvements it needs. Thanks!

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    May 31, 2009 @ 23:32 pm

    Clipping is great for anyClipping is great for any class, I know I do it as a holy pally as well. The comment below me is right on the money, Quartz is a great addon, it will show your latency on the cast bar, as soon as the cast has progressed into the ‘red’ area you can click your next spell. You can download it [url=]here[/url].

    I never knew what the word was either, I’ll check and see if it is in the WoW Dictionary. 😉

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    May 31, 2009 @ 23:28 pm

    Huh, I never knew what theHuh, I never knew what the word for that was (“clipping” that is). I’ve been doing that as a resto/balance druid for some time, noticed the phenomenon and went with it. It does indeed let you cast much more quickly than if you patiently waited for the spell bar to finish filling up.

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    May 31, 2009 @ 16:29 pm

    For the Clipping part youFor the Clipping part you can download Quartz AddOn. It will show you when you can start casting you next spell.

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    Mar 26, 2009 @ 11:36 am

    Good feedback.Good feedback.

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    Mar 25, 2009 @ 22:01 pm

    I have to disagree with a few things hereFirst, DOTs are all but useless when leveling, because fights don’t last more than 6-7 seconds unless you’re doing it wrong. Insect Swarm is a waste of a talent point, and Moonfire is only good for killing runners. Second, you should definitely not be using Entangling Roots on every fight, much less opening with it. In general, you want to open with Wrath (because Wrath has a travel time during which you can start casting your next spell), then spam Starfire, which is your most mana-efficient DD. If you’re following Jame’s guide, you will usually be fighting mobs slightly lower than your level, which means it should take a maximum of three Starfires to finish one off, usually less. Entangling Roots is very wasteful — you really don’t care if the mob hits you a few times; in fact, it can even be beneficial to do some extra Thorns damage, especially with the new, kinder spell pushback mechanics. Note that you will want to vary your casting sequence depending on the hit points of the mob, crits, etc. Use common sense, and keep in mind that mana is really your only resource. Be thinking about how to conserve it at all times. Overkill is bad. Roots and heals are bad, and should only be used in “oh sh*t” situations. BY THE WAY — you can only root one enemy at a time, and this includes both Entangling Roots and Nature’s Grasp, so that part of your guide is flat-out wrong. Don’t neglect Hibernate, which is a much longer CC than root, although it only works on beasts and dragonkin.

    Your talent build is OK except for Insect Swarm, Nature’s Splendor, and Owlkin Frenzy. OF is not a terrible talent but unfortunately doesn’t often proc until nearly the end of a fight, making you waste most of it unless another mob is right there. Take those out and replace with 3/3 Celestial Focus and 2/2 Balance of Power. Also, 5/5 Wrath of Cenarius is a big priority, since it affects the two spells that will be doing 95% of your damage.

    AOEs are not very useful when questing. Most quests are geared to killing mobs one at a time, and situations where you can effectively kill many at once are relatively rare.

    Your gear ratings are substantially accurate, but it helps to have a numeric priority rather than just saying “spellpower is the best”. A good rule of thumb for leveling gear is: 1 SP = 2 hit/haste/crit = 3 INT = 10 Spirit. (80 gear values are TOTALLY DIFFERENT! You will be swapping out most or all of your gear when you start doing 80 instances and raids, not to mention respeccing!) Enchants are not usually worthwhile because gear is replaced too quickly, but if you’re rich, go for it. They’re also good on heirloom weapons, although that may be changing in 3.1.

    Profession wise, I really recommend Skinning as your gathering profession. The passive crit rating helps a good bit, and it’s a nice money maker too. It’s much easier to skin your kills than waste time running around looking for resource nodes. This is assuming that it’s your first character; if you already have an 80, making a few hundred extra gold on the way up won’t matter.

    The biggest tip I would give to Balance Druids is to clip your spells. “Clipping” refers to the fact that your character actually finishes casting the spell slightly before the client-side castbar fills up. If you start the next spell a little early, you will begin casting it a little earlier than it looks like you should be able to. (Practice will give you a “feel” for when you should start casting, depending on your latency and PC performance.)

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    Mar 1, 2009 @ 18:34 pm

    Heya, you might want to addHeya, you might want to add the following add-ons to your guide:

    Druid specific addons:

    [*] [url=]Bang! Eclipse[/url], [i]This mod will inform you when to switch between starfire and wrath to maximise DPS via eclipse.[/i]

    Useful Addons while leveling:

    [*] [url=]RatingBuster[/url], [i]The design aim of RatingBuster is to provide detailed, meaningful and customizable information about items so you can easily decide for yourself which item is better.[/i]

    [*] [url=]AutoProfitX[/url] , [i]Adds a button to a vendor-window which, if you click on it, makes you sell all the gray items in your inventory.[/i]

    [*] [url=]XBar[/url], [i]Makes bars for things like Tracks, Buffs, Companions, Class specific stuff, etc.[/i]

    [*] [url=]ArkInventory[/url], [i] is a bag addon, which allows you te create seperate windows for different stuff, also shows the vendor price of items.[/i]

    I know most of these addons have nothing to do with Druids, but while leveling, these addons are god-like. You save alot of time if you have these installed.

    Feel free to copy this into your guide.

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    Dec 17, 2008 @ 19:26 pm

    If you have any questionsIf you have any questions about the codes, just tell me and I’ll help you 🙂

    PS. Why’d you want to be old ?:P

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    Dec 17, 2008 @ 15:52 pm

    Thanks for the quick replyHey Jame, tnx for your quick response (and also for your lvling guides btw). I will work on that one. I wrote it last night, when I was bored and servers were down. As soon as I have time, I will fix the big walls of text. 🙂

    Wish I was old and a little sentimental (8)

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    Dec 17, 2008 @ 9:08 am

    Hey, thanks for writing aHey, thanks for writing a guide.

    I just skimmed it and the content appears to be very useful, however, the presentation is a problem: big wall of text :p

    Please check out these guides written by other wow-pro members and try to use them as an inspiration for your guide:

    [*][url=]Jiyambi’s Tree Healing Guide[/url]
    [*][url=]Paladin Leveling Tips 1-80[/url]
    [*][url=]Shaman Leveling Tips 1-80[/url]

    If you don’t know how to make your guide look as good as theirs, don’t worry, we actually have guides to help you with that:

    [b]1.[/b] [url=]Jame’s Guide Writing Guide[/url]
    [b]2.[/b] [url=]Jiyambi’s Guide on how to make a Table of Content[/url]

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