Wrath vs. Starfire

Last night in guild chat, someone posted a trinket (I don’t recall the name, was too busy fighting multiple mobs) that gave +damage to Starfire. Our Balance druid (we only have one) remarked that two Wraths do as much damage as Starfire. His comment got me to thinking about this question: Which is more effective: Wrath or Starfire? To better answer that question, let’s apply the following criteria: 1) Mana cost, 2) Cast time, and 3) Damage.


The Basics

First, let’s consider the basic definitions of these two abilities. (I’m going to look at the highest ranks.)

Wrath
255 Mana

2 sec cast

381-429 damage

 

Starfire

370 Mana

3.5 sec cast

540-636 damage

 

On mana cost and cast time, Wrath is a better option. In terms of damage, Starfire is preferable. So, what if we compare two consecutive casts of Wrath to one of Starfire?

2 x Wrath:

510 Mana

4 sec (ideally, not considering lag or player ability)

762-858 Damage

 

If we replace one Starfire with two Wraths then we see (at minimum) an increase in damage of 222, but also a 0.5 sec increase in casting time and an 140 increase in mana used.

 

What about talents?

Let’s see what happens if we have 5 points in the talent Starlight Wrath, giving a 0.5 sec reduction in cast time. 2 x Wrath (at 1.5 each) becomes a total of 3 sec. and Starfire becomes 3 sec. So with that talent, no difference exists between cast times.

As you get deeper into the Balance tree, a couple of talents may make Starfire preferable over Wrath.

Three points in Celestial Focus gives Starfire a 15% chance to stun the target for 3 sec.

Five points in Wrath of Cenarius gives Starfire an additional 20% of your bonus damage effects as opposed to 10% for Wrath. (Although, that’s a talent very deep in the Balance tree.)

Conclusion
Definitely for non-Balance druids, Wrath would be a better alternative to Starfire. And if you invest in the first-tier talent, Starlight Wrath, then this option becomes even more viable. Of course, all casting is situational and therefore different circumstances will call for different measures. As well, talent points, gear, resistances, and other variables may make one option more attractive than the other. Still, considering the base values we have here, casting two consecutive Wraths can effectively substitute for casting Starfire.

 

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