Preparing for Cataclysm: Moonkin Talent Feedback

So, I already posted once about people’s opinion on what is the “weakest” druid talent. I also posted about what the 3 new druid spells should be. In continuing with my pre-Cataclysm feedback series, I’m starting to look more at the talent trees, in thinking about how they should be shaped by the Cataclysm changes.

This week, I’m posting one of my epic talent review feedback posts. There’s nothing too special with the timing of this thread, since I’ve been working on it the last few weeks and finally had time to do the finishing touches over the weekend. This is the Pre-cataclysm post, where I’m making suggestions about things that could be changed for the upcoming expansion. This is just an analysis of our currently existing balance talents. I’m not expecting cataclysm to hit for another year, but it’s never too early to start giving feedback on existing talents. Also, I do this about once a year even if we’re not in the middle of testing phases. One common theme is that there are a lot of flat and boring talents, which are things that just give stat increases without changing what the ability does. GC has said multiple times at Blizzcon that they plan to remove a lot of those types of passive damage increasing talents.

Balance Talent Analysis for Planning the Cataclysm Revamp

  • Starlight wrath: Reduces cast time of our main nukes. This is a good talent to differentiate between resto & moonkin druids. However, the cast time reduction on wrath ends up being problematic with it clipping the Global Cooldown.
  • Genesis: Increases DOTs & HOTs. Generally regarded a resto talent in the balance tree. This is a general weakness. Not a significant boost for moonkin to invest 5 points. Would need to be removed if resto druids were going to be encouraged to not invest points in balance. It is also a rather uninteresting flat damage boost talent, and they said at Blizzcon that they want to remove some of the more passive talents.
  • Moonglow: Good option for people having mana problems. Good to get early leveling mana costs reduced, but not as useful for higher level moonkin.
  • Nature’s Majesty - Gives increased crit chance. It’s okay for sort of base stat increases. The crit chance is nice because it applies to both balance & resto spells, so it gives resto druids something they can invest in the balance tree to get to Nature’s Splendor.
  • Improved Moonfire - Was more useful before the moonfire glyph became pretty mandatory for PvE and the instant cast component got trivialized. This talent will likely need to be changed  to be more useful for end-game raiding builds so we have an alternative to be able to skip moonglow.
  • Brambles – An interesting talent, but it has a lot going on. It could probably use a little more refinement. It still usually gets skipped in PvE builds. Some PvP builds may pick it up.
  • Nature’s Grace - Adds some interesting flavor to the talent tree. However, it doesn’t interact well with Wrath at high levels of haste, since haste is clipping the GCD. I’m not sure changing the talent would really help with that problem, though.
  • Nature’s Splendor – Makes our DOTs & HOTs last longer. This is usually an okay talent to pick up, especially for 1 point.
  • Nature’s Reach - Increased range & reduced threat. We need the threat reduction from here, and being able to nuke from further away is good.
  • Vengeance - Increases critical strike damage. Costs us a lot of points. This is a talent that could get slimmed down.
  • Celestial focus - Adds pushback protection, and increases haste rating. Generally an okay talent. Lets PvE druids have some pushback protection without needing Owlkin Frenzy, however we have to be careful not to have too many redundant talents, since we DO get pushback protection from other talents, and also get haste rating from other talents, too.
  • Lunar Guidance - Probably becomes unnecessary when spell power comes from int in Cataclysm. It is likely that these kinds of stat conversions will disappear with the stat changes.
  • Insect Swarm & Imp Insect Swarm – The changes to insect swarm in WotLK made this DOT more worthwhile, and the improvement here is actually a nice bonus for helping our DOTs interact better with our direct damage spells.
  • Dreamstate - Like Lunar Guidance, this is another place where Blizzard is likely to take out stat conversions that go against their new goals for Cataclysm talents.
  • Moonfury - A flat damage increase is somewhat uninteresting, so this may be another place where Blizzard may decide to bake it into mastery instead. It’s not a bad talent, however, at the 3 points it got trimmed down to.
  • Balance of Power – A PvE (hit) bonus, and a PvP (defensive damage reduction) bonus. I’m not sure if hit bonus talents are going to get baked into Mastery, or if we’ll keep balance of power. Either way, having some hit from talents is good, so that we can have some gear overlap with resto.
  • Moonkin Form – There’s a lot going on in this talent right now. Armor Bonus = Fine. Should move the damage reduction while stunned to a different talent, so that we can benefit from it when we’re in caster form. The crit raid bonus is fine. Mana regen bonus is fine.
  • Improved moonkin form – Haste raid bonus is fine. The spirit to spell power conversion could get changed to something else, since there won’t be any more spirit on moonkin gear (and we can modify resto gear to remove some spirit if needed).
  • Improved Faerie Fire - Now that FF finally has a long duration, this talent is probably fine as is. It used to bug me a lot, but the current version isn’t so bad.
  • Owlkin Frenzy – There’s a lot going on here now, and we don’t seem to be picking this up for PvE builds, but it might be fine as is.
  • Wrath of Cenarius - Basically another boring flat damage increase, but only increases the damage of two of our spells. This talent might become outdated when we switch to the new mastery system.
  • Eclipse -  When (if) we get a new balance spell added, this talent will need to be removed or modified to adapt to the new rotation balance druids will hopefully have. (Please for the love of Elune add another spell to moonkin PvE rotation for single-target damage so we can have a more interesting rotation without the clunky part of the Eclipse mechanic).
  • Typhoon - With the 6 second daze, it’s working better.
  • Force of Nature – Might be more interesting if they did something besides just melee damage. The bramble’s effect that adds the random chance to daze seems to not be all that great.
  • Gale Winds - It’s hard to justify the talent points here in some moonkin PvE builds, since it only boosts the damage of 2 AOE abilities. The range increase for Cyclone is good for PvP, but the talent still feels a little clunky if we are trying to get away from flat damage bonus increases.
  • Earth and Moon – Gives a good raid damage buff, with a small increase for us to make the points justifiable. This is unlikely to change in Cataclysm.
  • Starfall - An interesting design, that runs into problems where it is either too powerful or not powerful enough. This may need some adjustments in Cataclysm depending on how it interacts with the other talents.

4 Comments

  1. Megami
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Great analysis! I personally still feel that Starfall needs something done to it. I don’t like how situational it can be, and how easily it can be shut down. I can’t pop it if I’m near anything that needs to be CC’d, and it doesn’t work if I’m stunned or silenced.

    I think the lower cooldown was a great change, and I’ve learned when to use it and when to wait in a raid setting. I realize all 51 pt talents are not created equally, but ours could use some more love. Ditto the treants, worst temporary pet of them all!

  2. Lissanna
    Posted October 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the link for the forum thread. Lots of good discussion.

    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=20122735919&sid=1

  3. Thúrièldrân
    Posted October 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Hm… i don’t think Blizzard considers Nature’s Majesty fine, as it fits their criteria for “boring” talents to a t.

    I’d imagine it will suffer the same fate as Moonfury and that Balance will get critical chance as its second mastery bonus (provided the model we saw at BlizzCon is still in use), although im not sure what the special bonus might be.

  4. Posted November 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I had this great idea awhile back for Improved Force of Nature, something like:

    Transforms your Treants into Ancients of War, Wind and Lore, increasing their Damage and HP, and granting them unique abilities. Also reduces the cooldown on Force of Nature by 30 seconds.

    Ancient of War: Increased HP, Melee Damage, and Armor. 5% of Melee damage done is converted into Mana for the Druid. (Assuming ~1200 a swing, thats 60 Mana a swing)

    Ancient of Wind: Increased HP, Melee damage, and Armor. Increases casting Druid’s and all nearby Ancients Movement Speed and Melee haste by 15%.

    Ancient of Lore: Increased HP and Armor. Casts Rejuvenation. Increases casting Druids spell power by 10%. (About 300 for me, raid buffed, compared to Maghia’s Misguided Quill: 716sp over 20 seconds, 2m CD)

    Anyway, just a random thought I thought I would share!