Player Spotlight: Goopzilla

Hello everyone! Welcome to the fourteenth RaiderIO Player Spotlight. My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee and with this series, I am aiming to highlight the amazing players of World of Warcraft regardless of their chosen class, spec, language, and/or region. I hope to bring you valuable information and help you learn more about your favorite top players or discover new ones that you may not know.

Today we have Goopzilla (also known as Gapezilla), one of the top Balance Druids in the world in both Mythic+ and competitive raiding. Despite taking a 30 day break from WoW from mid-march to April, he is still among the top 2 world Druid DPS and is back to pushing high keys on live servers. He is the Guild Master of Encore, who finished in the US top 20 guilds for Battle of Dazar’alor and is currently 1/2M in Crucible of Storms progression. He can often be found streaming his gameplay live on Twitch.

“Lock down a solid, recurring group to run with if you want to push keys as a Boomkin. Excelling at the class requires good foresight and planning ahead on both a personal and group level.”

VitaminP: Hi! Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Goopzilla: Hi I’m Gape. I am a 25 year old from New Jersey. I’ve been playing WoW on and off casually since Wrath of the Lich King. I first started taking the game a bit more seriously in Mists of Pandaria, so I worked my way up through a couple normal/heroic guilds before eventually settling in Encore during Siege of Orgrimmar farm. I never really had an interest in competing for Challenge Mode dungeon times back then since Moonkin was giga awful when it was scaled to such a low ilvl, but I did eventually complete gold timing on my main and most of my alts. I found the format of Mythic+ much more interesting once it came out in Legion, but I only got into the key pushing scene in Season 1 of BFA.

VitaminP: What are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Boomkin in high Mythic+? What utility do you bring and what do you think your class may lack?

Goopzilla: Boomkin is a really interesting class. Our strengths include strong burst and sustained single-target damage, good sustained AoE damage, unparalleled tank utility with the Force of Nature treants, great survivability and mobility, and decent off-healing capability. In many dungeons, especially when combined with treants, Solar Beam can be a very powerful interrupt/silence tool, allowing you to pull more casters than most other comps would allow. It’s also very useful for Reaping waves. For cutting-edge Tyrannical keys, Innervate also has some usefulness as some bosses do drag on for upwards of 6 minutes, which is pretty much the only time healer mana is even challenging in Mythic+.

Our biggest weakness right now is a lack of good burst AoE damage due to our heavy ramp-up time with dots occupying a large share of our total damage. In Legion, Sephuz allowed us to ramp up much more quickly, and Shooting Stars had no diminishing returns on multi-target damage, so our Astral Power gain was through the roof and we could spam high damage Starfalls without much need for filler. We don’t have any of that in this expansion, so our ramp-up time on multi-target is quite long. They also nerfed both the damage and radius of Starfall and made Stellar Drift unusable by putting it on the same talent row as Twin Moons, so the direct damage of Starfall is kind of pitiful now. On pulls in lower level keystones (or even in higher keys when fighting mobs like the Saurids in Atal’dazar, various small or neutral mobs in Shrine of the Storm, Tol Dagor, Reaping waves in most dungeons, etc.), we have no time to even dot the targets before bursty classes have deleted the mobs in a few globals. Fury of Elune helps bridge this gap a little bit, since it generates some quick Astral Power and does a decent chunk of damage. However, with more than 50% of our AoE damage still being dots and Starfall, Fury of Elune is not enough to compensate for the detriment of our ramp-up time.

VitaminP It seems that there are less dedicated Boomkin mains that are pushing high Mythic+ in Season 2 compared to Season 1. Do you think that Boomkin struggles to keep up in damage with other DPS classes right now, or do you think that people may be a little mislead?

Goopzilla: In Season 1, we were pretty OP with the Lively Spirit Azerite trait. When patch 8.1 launched with Season 2, Lively Spirit was nerfed by 33%. Our class traits that should (in theory) help with AoE or multi-target situations are criminally undertuned, so we also didn’t gain nearly as much from Season 2’s additional Azerite power ring as the current “strong” classes such as Outlaw Rogue and Havoc Demon Hunter. Finally, the most popular tanking classes of Season 2 have much less need of Force of Nature outside of specific affix sets like Necrotic or Teeming + Fortified. Overall, Boomkin felt more like a “required” class in Season 1 similar to Rogue, whereas now our damage and utility aren’t up to the same level as before. Comparing the two seasons, I’d definitely say we were overpowered in Season 1, whereas we’re a much more Balanced spec in Season 2.

“Our strongest dungeons are Kings’ Rest and Temple of Sethraliss due to a large amount of Soothable mobs, poison or curse dispels, dangerous mobs that treants help to trivialize, and the most difficult bosses out of all dungeons, which our very high single target damage is well-suited for.”

VitaminP: Now that the MDI has passed, can you talk a little bit more about why no Boomkins were played in the tournament?

Goopzilla: In my opinion, anyone who would have tried to run a Boomkin in this MDI would have just held back their whole group. I can find good success when pushing 22-23+ level keys on live servers, but the lower level keys for MDI are all about speed. Any class with no burst damage for trash mobs will likely be a burden. Specs such as Havoc Demon Hunter, Windwalker Monk, and Outlaw Rogue are more ideal since they can execute their single target rotation while still doing full AoE damage. Our utility matters very little if the key is in the M+16-19 level range. A good tank is just impossible to kill at that level and mobs will die too quickly to need multiple kick rotations, so both our treants and Solar Beam utilities become irrelevant in comparison to what they contribute in high level keys.

If they had decided on having the keys in the 20+ range for the MDI, I think Boomkin might have been quite useable in most dungeons. Our weakest dungeons are probably Atal’dazar and Waycrest Manor where our utility isn’t particularly valuable and there are large amounts of low-health mobs that we contribute very little damage to killing. Our strongest dungeons are Kings’ Rest and Temple of Sethraliss due to a large amount of Soothable mobs, poison or curse dispels, dangerous mobs that treants help to trivialize, and the most difficult bosses out of all dungeons, which our very high single target damage is well-suited for.

VitaminP: What are your go-to talents and Azerite traits for Mythic+? Does this differ much from your raid build as Boomkin?

Goopzilla: My go-to talent build is:

If your tank wants or needs extra survivability offered by treants:

If less mobility is required, go for more survivability:

For Kings’ Rest and Temple of Sethraliss:

At level 15, I take Nature’s Balance or Force of Nature depending on whether my tank wants or needs the extra survivability offered by the trees. Nature’s Balance is a better personal damage option. For the level 30 talent, Wild Charge is my default option, although some keys won’t require the mobility, so Renewal is good for the extra survivability. For level 45, I always take Restoration Affinity, since a nice Swiftmend that crits can come in clutch and save someone’s life (including my own). For level 60, I generally take Typhoon, although both Mass Entanglement and Mighty Bash sometimes have niche uses. For level 75, I usually use Incarnation. I’ve been experimenting with Starlord and have found it good in Kings’ Rest and Temple of Sethraliss, but otherwise it’s not worth taking. For level 90, I always take Twin Moons with no exceptions. For level 100, I normally take Fury of Elune, although for Kings’ Rest and Temple of Sethraliss, I actually prefer Shooting Stars.

For Azerite traits, I aim for x3 Streaking Stars, x1 Arcanic Pulsar, and fill the last 2 with generic stat-buffing traits of some sort. Swirling Sands and Blightborne Infusion are both good options. Treacherous Covenant is good in theory, but can be less effective and sometimes even dangerous to use as you push higher key levels.

To simplify things a bit, the best 3 Azerite pieces you can take are Hood of the Slithering Loa, Gorak Tul’s Mantle from the Titan Residuum vendor, and Mekkatorque’s Bomber Jacket from the Battle of Dazar’alor raid.

Both my talents and azerite traits remain relatively the same between Mythic+ and raid, mostly because nearly all of our Boomkin class traits are completely terrible, so trying to take traits for more AoE damage, multidot, etc is a waste. For single-target raid encounters, I suggest always taking Nature’s Balance in talent level 15, Stellar Flare in level 90, and Shooting Stars in level 100.

VitaminP: What is the most underrated time management skill for Mythic+ dungeons for you and your group?

Goopzilla: Time management can be tough for us, haha. Trell and Jaam both work full-time, Avade and I both have weird sleep schedules, and everyone has a different raid schedule for progression and farm. I also have the pleasure of running a guild, so that eats up a bit of my free time as well. Generally these time constraints necessitate that we schedule time for Mythic+ key pushing or else it just won’t happen. Lately, we’ve been trying our hardest to come prepared for a minimum of a few hours of key pushing at a time and minimize downtime in between keys, since frequent AFKing has been a problem for us in the past. Ideally, you want to limit downtime between keys to stay “in the zone”. It’s also nice to keep cranking keys out as fast as possible for the sake of the viewers. No one wants to watch the group AFK for 30 minutes between every dungeon.

As far as strats go, Trell probably does the most research when it comes to route planning. We all have an idea of how each dungeon should go, but it is helpful to take a look at groups who have the freedom to play more than we do. We’re always weighing what other groups are doing vs what we are doing. I’d say this is a fairly common practice for all high-end teams. In this day and age, not much is really a secret and lots of knowledge is shared between teams at the highest level.

VitaminP: What are some of the funniest moments you’ve had in keys so far in BFA?

Goopzilla: There is only 1 really big moment that sticks out to me so far in BFA. For the first few months of the expansion, all knockbacks, knockups, and slows were scaled with the % modifier of the key level. So, for example, let's say that the mobs in a key had 200% more health and damage. This means that they would also have their slows, knockups, and knockbacks increased by the same amount. Despite a lot of complaining on social media and repeated reports going as far back as the alpha/beta of BFA, this obnoxious interaction wasn’t being fixed...until someone from wowhead tweeted the clip of mine above from a Freehold we did. The next week, slows knockups and knockbacks no longer scaled in M+ keystone dungeons. :)

Also, here’s an interesting way we found to deplete a Shrine of the Storm key:

VitaminP: What do you personally think some differences are between a good Boomkin player and a really great one? What are some small tiny technical things that make a huge difference? Do you have any last words and advice for aspiring Boomkins looking to get competitive?

Goopzilla: The difference between good and great Boomkins is using your utility correctly while also keeping up with the damage of the flavor-of-the-month DPS classes. I track my tank’s mitigation and personal/external use, my group’s debuffs (especially dispel-able poisons and curses), and my healer’s mana. I’ll discuss with my tank if he’ll need trees for each dungeon, and although I know and can see where he will want them most of the time, I’ll tell him to call them as if it were an external cooldown for him. As a group we will always discuss how to use all of our dps cooldowns effectively as the dungeon is ongoing, and sometimes will adjust pulls to be bigger/smaller based on available cds. Incarn usage is the biggest factor in doing mediocre dps or doing competitive dps, and having a tank who considers how much damage each dps player has available for any particular pull is huge for timing high keys. Once you’ve mastered the basics of the rotation like keeping all targets dotted and knowing when to Starfall or Starsurge, there isn’t much left towards min-maxing and it’s more about working effectively as a group to boost everyone’s damage.

In closing, my best advice its to lock down a solid, recurring group to run with if you want to push keys as a Boomkin. Excelling at the class requires good foresight and planning ahead on both a personal and group level. Using your Incarn with the greatest value, but also as many times as possible per dungeon, is the defining factor in contributing the highest effective damage possible — but in order to do so, you need to be on the same page as the rest of your group.


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and loves pushing keys with her teammates Synecdoche, Oddy, Sham, Hodonn, and Comfykins.