Moonkin basics for the new level 80 Raider

So, you just hit 80 and want to be a moonkin raider? Great! Lets get started.

First, you have to be aware of how many great resources there are for new moonkin players, such as the Balance 101 guide on Murmur’s guide covers a lot more than what I’m going to talk about here, and he covers it in greater detail. I am also including lots of links in this post to places where other people explained things, so if you are a new moonkin, I expect you to read all those other links, too! The more resources you read, the better you will understand the moonkin mechanics.

This guide will also assume (in places) that you haven’t raided before on another character. Murmur’s guide is very specific to things unique to moonkin, but a lot of the time, people who are very new to WOW raiding will miss over other important basics (like why you need addons, or how to learn the boss fights in advance). This is also going to be more of a resource list of things you need to know, and where to go find out about them.

The most important thing you need to remember is that it is your job to NOT be a faildruid:

From CAD-Sillies by Tim Buckley

How should you spec?

Talents are a very, very important thing. Having the right talent build can take you from being a failkin to being a boomkin. When you hit level 80, you need to choose a good talent spec for raiding. There is a little bit of flexibility, but not that much. Instead of explaining all the talents, I’m just going to give you 2 “template” specs that you can use:

For more discussion on talents, see Graylo’s talent guide, and Hamlet’s moonkin basics for more advanced raiders.

Get to know your spells.

Priority/rotation basics:

  • In a raid, always attack what your raid leaders/tanks tell you to attack. If they put a Skull symbol over something’s head, it means you should attack that. At the very least, follow directions about what kill targets you are supposed to be on. For example, there are often adds that spawn that you will need to single-target kill in boss fights. The raid leaders will ask you to kill those adds FAST and then go back on the boss.
  • For 3 or more mobs that are standing near each other (usually on the “trash” packs before bosses), you can AOE instead of doing single-target damage (ie. hurricane & starfall). If you have enough space to not aggro a bunch of other crap, then you can use starfall when it’s off cooldown. If you aren’t sure how big your AOE radius is on starfall, then skip it and stick to just using hurricane.
  • For your single-target rotation, you will basically be refreshing DOTs, using your cooldowns, and switching back and forth between wrath and starfire based on having a solar (orange = switch to casting wrath) or lunar Eclipse (blue = switch to casting starfire) proc. For how this all works, See Graylo’s “spells and rotations” guide. Graylo has great advice about being able to master the art of doing good damage as a moonkin druid, and should be considered “required” homework for you.


  • You have to WATCH your Eclipse buffs and your DOTs closely so what you should do is to install an addon called Squawk and Awe. (Advanced moonkin can find other options, such as Quartz, power auras, etc).

Here are some other addon things I find helpful. In general, try to keep your interface CLEAN and SIMPLE. Make sure you can see the world around you so that you can pay attention and your screen isn’t covered in windows, spam and crap. If you are a new player without other high level characters, here is a couple really basic addons that are helpful for raiding:

Gear for Success

  • Gem & enchant all your gear, and use the right kinds of gems & enchants. The worst mistake that you can do is to apply to a serious raiding guild without any enchants or gems in your gear. Even running PUGs, they will likely not accept you if you do poor damage and you look like you don’t care about your gear at all.
  • Run Random Heroics to get your triumph badges for the Tier 9 set pieces (which you will eventually replace with Tier 10 from frost badges) & make sure that you get a good idol, trinkets, and pick up enough stuff to replace all your blues with dungeon epics. Running 5-man dungeons will also be a good way to practice your rotations before you try to start raiding. Graylo has good loot lists to help you evaluate raid-level gear.
  • Make sure you have enough hit rating that your spells don’t miss (263 without a draenei, or 236 with a draenei in your group). You want to hit these marks, but not have a ton of extra, since you get zero benefit from hit after these points.
  • Try to have between 400 & 500 haste rating, and then focus more on crit after that point as you are gearing up.
  • Don’t forget your glyphs! What the “best” glyphs are will change in patch 3.3.3, but before the next patch, you would want moonfire, starfire, & insect swarm glyphs. You will likely trade out your insect swarm glyph for a starfall glyph when the next patch day hits, however this is subject to change.
  • Use flasks (Flask of the Frost Wyrm), and food buffs (usually fish feasts, but make sure you have your own spell power-increasing food if you need it).
  • Since you need to run 5-mans before you start running 10-mans or 25-mans, you may also want to read this rookie guide for advice on preparing to run 5-man dungeons at level 80.

Know the boss fights.

Additional Moonkin Resources:


  • Moonkin CAN do respectable damage, but often don’t live up to their potential.
  • The biggest places where moonkin lose out is by having a bad spec, not gearing correctly, not understanding the “rotation” well enough to maximize damage output, not using good raiding addons, not knowing enough about the fights (so you lose more damage time by moving too much or too little), and not using the resources available to learn how to do it right.
  • Try to run other raids (like Naxramas, Ulduar, ToC, VoA, etc) before jumping into Icecrown Citadel if you haven’t really raided much before. You can usually tag along with PUGs running 10-mans for the weekly raid quests.
  • Learn to maximize your potential – so that you can be a contributing raid member and to help your team to succeed.
  • Also, don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun!
Posted in Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS

11 comments on “Moonkin basics for the new level 80 Raider
  1. Deandre - Dalaran says:

    Consider crit food instead of spell power food. I found it seems to help get my Eclipse cycle running (seems, not backed by EJ).

    Also, Deadly Boss Mods is pretty much required raid gear for everyone I think.

    Another thing, especially if you’re new to raiding on your Druid, make sure you’re coordinated with your other Druids on things like Innervate and *especially* your Battle Rez. Having multiple Druids B-rez the same person is a big no-no.

    Finally, remember you can still decurse and abolish poison. Don’t be like 99% of Ret Paladins I run into and forget the fact you can still remove debuffs.

  2. Berry says:

    Sigh. Could I beg and plead for an amendment where you really really go back to the basics and explain what the Solar and Lunar procs look like above our heads and if there is a debuff on the boss and what it looks like? Everyone says… “cast wrath until eclipse, then starfire until Solar or lunar has worn off.” Nobody says, cast Wrath until you get a something over your head or a debuff on the boss that looks like this, it’ll last about x number of seconds which is about x number of casts.

    The basic assumption that every moonkin knows what they look like isn’t true. I’m an experienced raider. I ought to be able to figure this out, and I feel like an idiot because I can’t. We 4 heal Fester sometimes, and I want to be well above the tanks, darn it.

  3. Lissanna says:

    @Berry – You don’t watch the buffs over your heads. You download Squawk and Awe. You cast wrath until the words Eclipse Starfire (the blue icon) show up on that mod. Then, you switch to casting starfire until the words Eclipse Wrath (yellow colored icon) show up on that mod.

    I skimmed over rotations because I thought Graylo & Murmurs already had it covered pretty well. I can do another ‘how to Eclipse’ post, but if you get the mod, it’s as easy as switching to wrath when the mod says Eclipse Wrath, and switching to starfire when the mod says Eclipse Starfire. the name of the word in the mod is the name of the spell you should be casting.

    When it says Eclipse (starfire) cooldown, you should still be casting starfire trying to get the next one to proc. When it says eclipse (wrath) cooldown, you should still be casting wrath. So, the mod is really awesome because it tells you (in words) which nuke you should be casting.

  4. Relevart says:

    @ Deandre –

    You’re talking about your perceived rotation versus your actual DPS. While increasing your crit rate will help you proc Eclipse faster on average, that change will be minimal. Spell Power, on the other-hand, always provides the maximum amount of scaling.

  5. Lissanna says:

    Okay, I finished my “how to Eclipse moonkin rotation” guide post, illustrated with pictures and wowhead links, which I’ll release tomorrow. 🙂

  6. crankyhealer says:

    As always, an excellent guide. I’ve linked this to my guild website in the hopes that new moonkin will find it helpful.

  7. Berry says:

    I have S&A… but until I saw your followup post I was having trouble making sense of it. S&A isn’t actually visual enough for me, I think. Moonkin has always been my farming spec, where I cast starfall, giggle while the mobs run up and cast hurricane until they die. This doesn’t work so well in a raiding setup.
    Tomorrow I’m off to the training dummies to put theory into practice. Thank you again for your follow up post.

  8. Lissanna says:

    You’re welcome. If it is confusing to you, it’s probably confusing to a lot of other people, too.

  9. Treeboi says:

    I just want to mention two points that I think are important to a beginning raider.

    1. Figure out how much dps you should be doing in an ideal situation.

    Rawr tends to work pretty well for this purpose. Basically, you need to know about how much dps you should be doing, given your gear level.

    While you can set up Rawr for raiding situations, I would personally set up Rawr for self buffed, single target situations, so that you can….

    2. Practice your dps rotation on a heroic target dummy.

    Once you know how much dps you should do, practice your rotation on a target dummy, and try to hit that number.

    As a feral druid, it literally took me two hours of practice before I got my rotation down to a point where I could consistently get within 5% of Rawr’s magic dps number.

    Before I put in the practice time, I was literally doing 25% less dps than what Rawr said I should be doing.

  10. Sam says:

    Question that may seem stupid but i dunno: Why have you dropped dreamstate from your talent builds? at decent levels of gear that’s like 120 mp5, seems to me like a good choice, someone please point out my ignorance 🙂

  11. Lissanna says:

    Dreamstate is not worth the talent point investment. There is usually enough spirit on your gear that Intensity outweighs dreamstate, and then you wouldn’t need both, since you get mana from so many other sources. Dreamstate just ends up being a sucky talent that isn’t worth the points. There’s not enough “free” points in the tree to spend on it if you still want to do respectable damage.


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