Last year I was too busy to finish honoring all my elders for the Lunar Festival. So, it ended up being the last holiday that I needed to finish What a Long Strange Trip It’s been. So, I trekked all over Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend, and dungeons across the land. Finally, I finished the Lunar festival achievements, earning myself the title of Elder. At the same time, I also finished What a Long Strange Trip!
I got my violet proto-drake, which I showed off on the landing in Dalaran. Then, I remembered something that my character would have wanted to do after earning that big of an achievement. So, here’s Lissanna’s rendition of what happened next:
After completing my holiday celebrations, I returned to moonglade, what is usually my sanctuary away from the struggles of Northrend. What is usually a place of meditation and my connection to nature is now a festival ground for all of Azeroth to celebrate their elders. Since I had been awarded the title of Elder, I saw it fitting that I should go out to my home land, so that people could come to honor me. I went to my favorite place beside my friend Loganaar, where we can train young druids together. I started off training a young druid by showing him how to return back to Darnassus after he first learned how to come to my sacred home. However, I can not stay here for long, since there is little time to rest while the Lich King is still allowed to terrorize the frozen lands of Northrend and threaten all of Azeroth. The time of resting will soon come to an end and I will return when I am called to battle.
Okay, so Ghostcrawler has posted in multiple balance druid threads in the damage dealing forum in the last week. He shot down two ideas (ie. a glyph for wrath haste scaling, and Owlkin Frenzy buffs). He seems to be paying attention to moonkin, and to changes that will come before Cataclysm, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut way to fix moonkin’s problems without major talent tree overhauls.
What are the problems?
Wrath scales poorly with haste, causing there to be a soft-cap of around 400 haste rating, where after that rating level, your wrath cast time drops below a second and clips the GCD (when Nature’s Grace is active). Also causes problems when Heroism is up.
Eclipse has been buffed too many times, and now makes the crit cap for Starfire be too low, and Eclipse makes up too large of a % of our overall DPS. Eclipse is also a clunky & uncontrolled mechanic, leading to big RNG swings in our DPS not being reliable (ie. we have good RNG days and bad RNG days, with larger DPS swings up and down than other classes have to deal with).
Moonkin have to stand rooted in place to do good damage. For example, on Festgergut in ICC, I’ve deemed myself a “melee moonkin” so I can pump out between 2,000 and 3,000 more DPS than if I was in range (a bigger swing than any of our other ranged damage dealers). Lack of mobility effects both PvP and PvE moonkin.
Given that the fight mechanics require a lot of moving around and we scale poorly with stats, we tend to fall behind on DPS compared to people who don’t have those same movement or scaling problems. In some fights in ICC 25-man, I can come in 4th place on the meters & in the same instance, I can also come in 11th place; since my DPS goes up and down all over the place, which isn’t happening to the other people in my raid (ie. they stay relatively the same & I move up and down willy nilly).
Moonkin don’t do well in PvP. Given that all of Moonkin’s mechanics are designed around doing good PvE damage, moonkin have very few good PvP abilities, and lack the defensive cooldowns or escape mechanics that other classes have. Combined with clunky damage dealing mechanics and no burst-damage cooldowns they can use on demand (and how hard it would be to maintain an Eclipse rotation in pvp), moonkin haven’t been doing well overall in Arena teams all expansion (with very few exceptions of moonkin who have managed to “stick it out).
Are there ways we can fix these problems before Cataclysm? What are the real fixes these problems need?
No. Well, not without some clunky mechanic like the glyph that GC doesn’t like. The real fix for poor haste scaling is that Nature’s Grace needs to be removed for Cataclysm’s talent changes, where the trees can be designed around the talent’s removal without being a huge nerf. Anything else is just going to likely to be clunky (like the glyph option).
No. Eclipse can’t be fixed until Cataclysm either. What moonkin’s rotation needs is about 2 more spells that we can mix into our rotations, in which case Eclipse would be much more easily modified at that point. In addition, other talents can be put in the mix to reduce our dependency on Eclipse forcing us to do more than just cast starfire. In addition, Eclipse wouldn’t need to be as strong if Wrath didn’t clip the GCD so much (ie. wrath was actually desirable to use in PvE). They could also take wrath out of our rotation and give us something else that was a medium cast-time nuke, and save Wrath for being a PvP spell (where fast cast times are more favorable).
No. To fix our problems with movement-heavy or target switching fights, the changes they could make to our overall rotation and new spells could help address that “rooted” problem. For example, an instant-cast direct damage spell that did decent burst damage could be timed to use while moving when movement was predictable (and typhoon or refreshing DOTs just doesn’t fill that role well enough).
Yes, the developers can boost our overall DPS so that we don’t fall behind the other classes.
Not really. Moonkin PvP needs the talent trees redesigned, new abilities implemented, and new “on use” defensive/offensive cooldowns to stand much of a chance in pvp. Moonkin could also use an imp barkskin talent like exactly what they gave to resto druids instead of moonkin. There are little things Blizzard can do to make life for PvP moonkin more tolerable, but there’s no fix for a spec that is totally broken for PvP.
What can be changed before Cataclysm?
This is something that a newer moonkin blogger, Random Moonkin Generator, has been mulling over, and suggests things like: removing haste from celestial focus, changing improved insect swarm (ie. making wrath crit more & starfire do more damage to help increase the crit cap for Lunare Eclipse starfires), making nature’s splendor increase duration of IS & moonfire more, having our DOTs scale with haste or crit from talents. Some of these I’ll talk about below, but you should go read that thread, too.
The fastest solution to falling behind on DPS is just to give flat damage increases to talents like Earth & Moon that can easily be removed for Cataclysm, and work great without having to do too much testing. That’s what they did with Earth & Moon once already in 3.3. They could just tack on an additional damage bonus to imp moonkin form or something.
The easiest solution would be to do nothing and make us “wait until Cata”, so that in Alpha/Beta testing for Cata, the whole talent tree can just be re-designed from the ground up (or something like that).
Better scaling with gear? I like the idea of having DOTs scale better with gear. Our tier 9 set bonus allowed moonfire to crit, which was a nice temporary way of DOTs scaling with our crit. However, once you upgrade to T10 gear, none of our DOTs scale with either haste or crit. It might be interesting to have one (or both) of our DOTs scale better with either crit or haste. It doesn’t fix the immediate problems of wrath and starfire scaling, but it’s something interesting that could be examined.
Reducing Starfire’s Crit chance? If the possibility of crit-capping Starfire on Eclipse procs is problematic, the crit bonuses given to starfire through imp insect swarm or improved Faerie Fire could potentially be changed to flat damage increases instead of crit increases. Imp insect swarm would be the most obvious candidate, since only starfire gains crit from that talent. The crit for starfire on imp IS could also be turned into X% haste, and then the haste from Celestial Focus could be removed and turned into something else.
Celestial focus – If the haste was removed from CF, then it could be possible to give some PvP effect that helped with their survivability or offensive ability. Moonkin PvP could still really use something to give them a chance to be more than just a training dummy out on the field of battle.
Owlkin Frenzy is another talent that could be changed to help moonkin PvP. I’m sure the devs could think of something (ie. make it reduce how much damage the moonkin are taking from players as they get beat on, for when they’re not able to take advantage of the damage boost). They could also just put a clone of Imp Barkskin into the balance tree so moonkin could actually shift out of moonkin form some time, and increase the usefulness of barkskin for them. They could also give moonkin the ability to cast heal spells in form (maybe just 1 or 2).
Changing the moonkin Tier 10 2-piece bonus? This is somewhere that they could adjust something that would effect high-end raiders more than everyone else at this point. The OOC proc damage increase mechanic contributes to the randomness of damage swings, since you could have OOC proc 5 times in a row, or not proc at all. It would also keep moonkin from finding ways to “force” OOC to proc (even mana expensive ways that consume reagents). The damage bonus also doesn’t last very long, so you could miss out on it while moving too much. It doesn’t matter too much what they changed it to, so long as it gave a more steady damage boost, rather than more random burst. They could also just swap the T9 2-piece with the T10 2-piece, since people at lower gear levels are likely less concerned with gear scaling problems (ie. people wearing all T10 could really use the crit scaling for moonfire). People at lower gear levels would also be able to better absorb the RNG-nature of the OOC proc bonus, and would have absolutely no effect on people wearing 2 pieces of each.
There are many other changes the developers could decide to do to help moonkin PvP and PvE. However, only the developers can really decide what they want to change now versus what can wait until Cataclysm. Anything from minor changes to large changes could be done at any time, and it’s really up to them to decide what it is they actually want to do. GC seems to want community feedback at the moment, but he isn’t really giving us directions on what we should be focusing on for our suggestions. It feels more like trying to shoot at moving targets in the dark, where we only know when we missed the target.
The lunar festival is the last one that I need to finish off for my meta achievement. While I’d participated in this holiday a little bit before, I had never explored and gotten all the elders.
So, in my quest for Elders, I discovered that some of them hide in hard to reach places. The hardest one for me to find was the one outside of Scholomance. It’s not inside the instance. It’s not beyond the locked door. It’s actually on top of Scholomance outside… For as many times as I ran instances there, I don’t ever remember going up to the roof. I don’t remember ever noticing the doorway that led up there. I didn’t ever realize that building had a roof. I spent probably 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get to that elder. When you go into the first hallway to get to the entrance, instead of going inside the locked door on the left, you turn RIGHT and wind your thru some confusing hallways and up some stairs. Then, you eventually end up on the roof of Scholomance. Why an elder would want to stand up there, I have no idea.
I hope you guys have a good holiday, and that you are able to honor all your elders in those hard to reach places! In general, the right answer to “where is the elder”? Is “up there somewhere”. I think they’re trying to be closer to the sky.
I’ve been following the coordinates from the wow.com lunar festival guide. The coordinates are pretty easy to follow if you have some sort of coordinate addon (I downloaded ct map mod just for the event). Wowhead also has a neat guide for the lunar festival with all the locations mapped out for the elders.
I got through all of Eastern Kingdoms, and I got bored when I started Kalimdor. Sometime before the end of this holiday, I’ll finally be able to complete “What a long, strange trip” meta-achievement to get my drake. However, like last year, I’m pretty busy over this part of the semester, so it’s going to get dragged out a bit…
So, today is the “big reveal” for the Secret Admirer project. The blog that I was assigned to stalk all weekend was Angelya from Revive & Rejuvenate. Over the course of the weekend, I’ve gotten to know her blog a little better. First, she’s a druid blogger, who started writing in December. She seems to have leveled this druid up over the course of her blog, and just hit level 80! Congrats! Along the way, she has posted a lot of helpful advice (this isn’t her first character). She posts pretty frequently, and she writes very well. If you haven’t seen this one before, you should check it out. Also, it was nice stalking you this weekend.
Also, I want to say thanks to my very own stalker, Poneria of Fel Concentration! Okay, this is a funny story. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been helping recruit new players to my guild. Poneria’s guild had just blown up in her face, so she applied to mine. She posted the absolute longest recruitment post I’ve ever seen, and also had orange & purple colored headers/highlights that stunned my officers. Of course, her recruitment post was so wonderful that my officers invited her into the guild. This weekend, Dristanel (who didn’t know about the big guild move Poneria had made) assigned her to be my blog stalker. Of course, since I had just recruited her to my guild, I knew enough about her writing style that I guessed who she was just based on the length of my first comment & the fact it had warlock-type references. Oh well, it was a fun event, and it was fun running instances with her over the weekend and pretending that I didn’t know she was my stalker. In her defense, she joined my guild before she knew she was going to be stalking me, which is what makes it funny & not creepy.