Cataclysm: Moonkin and Eclipse discussion

The good:

Having some control over when Eclipse procs is a good thing, so that we can try not to proc it right before we have to move or whatnot. We also have much better haste scaling, so that we’ll be less likely to easily cap haste (and all 3 of our primary “nuke” talents, along with our HOTs, will greatly benefit from the haste).

PvP moonkin have several more useful tools, which should help off-set the change in wrath’s cast time. Without having actually done pvp testing, it looks like moonkin PvP should be in much better shape in Cataclysm, if things like solar beam really work well. Obviously, moonkin PvP needs more testing, but it seems to be in good shape.

Eclipse – like a broken record:

On the Beta server right now, Eclipse feels pretty much like it does on Live. It really doesn’t have a different feal.

I would like to see the Eclipse buff changed to being charges instead of an amount of time. That way, if we needed to cast an arcane spell while the nature buff was active (ie. needing to moonfire spam on the run), we didn’t necessarily lose out on anything. You could make the number of charges substantially fewer than what it would take to re-proc Eclipse in a fair and balanced way, but it would allow us more freedom for movement without having to worry about “losing” out on the proc that we worked so hard to get. Eclipse would still need to buff nature & arcane damage with the charges, but charges would be much more movement forgiving, and would add more flexibility to our rotation.

Right now, we really don’t have a good movement mechanic for moonkin, and so moonkin are still going to be one of the least mobile DPS in Cataclysm (if not the absolute least mobile), since Eclipse still sucks for any fight that requires random moving (which is… every fight).

With so much of our DPS & rotation tied to Eclipse, if Eclipse isn’t designed right, we have a high chance of not being any better off in Cata than we are right now. Our rotation doesn’t feel any different at all, and we lost improved Insect Swarm, so we have even less interaction between our DOTs and direct damage abilities. We don’t really have a functional rotation – we have Eclipse and then some spells that interrupt our Eclipse cycle and delay the next Eclipse proc, and it really feels like Moonkin are just an Eclipse gimmick experiment.

Moar DOTS:

In addition, moonfire can’t decide if it wants to be a DOT or if it wants to be a direct damage ability, so it’s losing the battle altogether (it’s neither good as a DOT or a direct damage ability). Insect swarm lost its’ miss chance debuff, and is now just a high-damage DOT with nothing else that it does – which I suppose is okay, but doesn’t feel purposeful or meaningful, especially since insect swarm is basically not effected by talents much at all. There should be something that ties in abilities like insect swarm and wild mushrooms into our rotation. We’ll have to spam moonfire on the run, so it seemingly has a purpose for that, but nothing at this point is really feeling cohesive.

Not feeling very talented:

- Genesis is a resto druid talent that doesn’t benefit balance druids much at all.

- We have pushback protection split between multiple talents still (celestial focus, nature’s focus, and owlkin frenzy).  Celestial focus lost the haste bonus, and now only gives the pushback protection. Owlkin frenzy could be useful for PvP, but it almost never procs in PvE anymore. Nature’s focus is really not a talent moonkin should invest in.

- Brambles looks like a “fun” talent, but it has very little (if any) real PvE usefulness, due to how little of an overall DPS boost it is (and the utility daze not having a purpose in PvE).

- Lunar Justice has very little usefulness in either PvP or PvE (it’s worse than Priest’s lightwell, since we likely have to land the killing blow to proc it).

-Too many talents tied to making Eclipse proc faster (Lunar guidance, Euphoria, & Improved Eclipse). What other clas/spec has to spend 8 talent points to make their Mastery stat work better?

- Moonfire’s direct damage is too low so that the 7 talent points that do nothing but prop up moonfire’s direct damage actually have very little impact on our overall DPS.

- Imp moonkin form is just a group buff with no personal buff, making it potentially unnecessary to spec into if you have someone else who can provide the buff.

Conclusions:

The Eclipse change feels cosmetic, and moonkin feel really incomplete, due to not having a PvE rotation that will be functional in a PvE world where encounters have a lot of movement.

Our talents feel like filler designed to have something to invest in that won’t actually do a whole lot other than make Eclipse more and more of a focus of what we do (essentially encouraging 3-button spamming), without any sort of real movement-friendly mechanic at all (other than making moonfire less useful as a DOT). We need a lot of work to get a functional PvE rotation, and most of the changes will have to come in the form of changes to Eclipse.

Now, it’s still very early in Beta, and I’ve said a lot of these points already on the Beta forums. However, moonkin went live without feeling cohesive for either PvP or PvE in Wrath of the Lich King, and we only have a short amount of time to get moonkin feeling like we aren’t always an expansion behind everyone else.

I also have this posted on the Live damage dealing forums to get a discussion started over there.

15 Comments

  1. Posted July 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I feel like some of your thoughts are misplaced. First of all, you have only been in the beta for a day or two. There is still loads of time to go.

    How can you say that our DOTs are still insignificant? If my IS is 5% of my damage, then adding crit and haste is a massive buff. That means that Genesis will have more value, and we have points to spare.

    Moonfire is generally supposed to be used when moving. Casting moonfire as you move around will increase its damage by a lot – thats probably the only time you will really use it.

    Knowing when Eclipse will proc is an insanely useful tool. If you know that you have to move soon, you can stay below proccing something, and then throw out a Starsurge when you stop to go straight into eclipse. If you have a suprise movement, then tough luck – thats the same as for everyone else. At least now we have more control.

    A lot of our talents affects eclipse, but this is a good thing. Euphoria, for example, is an amazing tool to make eclipse scale better: The difference between Naxx gear and ICC gear crit rating is huge, and having the amount of crit i have now means it scales great – it will be the same in Cataclysm im sure, where we:

    a) Wont be crit capped
    b) Wont be haste capped
    c) Crit and haste – and more you have – will proc eclipse faster. Haste for obvious faster casts, crit for more bonus power points.

    In any case, we are MUCH better off than we were before. Rotation seems straight forward to me, even if im not in the beta:

    Keep IS running. Wrath until eclipse, starfire until eclipse, repeat. When you are close enough to an eclipse, use Starsurge to get the last bit, and spam MF and CD’s when you have to move – finish off movement with a starsurge.

    Then there is the matter of Wild Mushroom – we don’t even know how that will come into play yet ^^

  2. Lissanna
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been playing with these for weeks, and this is about my 5th iteration of moonkin feedback on these talents. :)

    The rotation you described is pretty much exactly like what it is on live, and plays like it does on live, and has MOST of the same flaws that it does on live, and all the new talents/abilities does very, very little to change anything. If you love the way that moonkin plays now, you’ll be happy in Cata. If you have a problem with more than just our scaling with haste/crit, then you’re going to come up disappointed with the current version of moonkin on the Beta server.

  3. Posted July 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Do you want eclipse to be some switch we just throw? I sure dont. I don’t want it all too simple. I want to be challenged when I have to move, so there is a reason to reduce movement.

    Do you want a completely different rotation? Ofcourse not, the current eclipse rotation is fun enough as it is, now its just getting tweaked so we can better deal with movement. Not to mention it takes out RNG completely, as we will always know when we are going to proc eclipse.

    What are we currently missing from eclipse? Control. Thats what we’re getting. Do you want anything else from eclipse?

  4. Lissanna
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    They are giving pretty much every other class a better way of dealing with movement, and giving classes the ability to move faster and move more. If we have a rotation that forces us to root ourselves in one place and not be mobile (while all the other classes/specs have much more mobility-friendly mechanics than we do), then we’re always going to be a day-late, and a dollar-short. With Eclipse being our primary damage source, and not having a movement-friendly rotation, we’re going to fall behind without any way to catch back up. Priests will just have to tie their Leap of Faith to moving moonkin & trees out of bad stuff.

    Funny enough, I’m much more worried about moonkin’s ability to perform in Cata compared to the status of resto druids (and, the resto druid changes make sense in the context of Cata’s healing design changes overall). The resto druids have a hugely vocal community, and so every possible thing has been looked at every way possible from all the resto druids talking about it. There don’t seem to be very many people actually interested in what moonkin will look like in Cata, so I end up having to make sure that moonkin stays on the radar. :)

  5. Thorn
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I can’t post on the US forums but I tend to agree that while the mechanism for reaching an eclipse ‘state’ is better the mechanism for expending that charge needs to be moved to X charges and away from 15 secs. The PVE game isn’t just about end game raids anymore and I’m fed up with Eclipse proccing and disappearing before I have any mobs to use it on in heroics. I’m back to wrath spam and ignoring eclipse in pretty much every 5 man I run these days.
    As they’ve baked it into our mastery we’ll be using it and losing the proc from around level 10 which is pretty poor design for a ‘core mechanic’. Trying to think what takes more than 15 secs to kill with BOA gear.

  6. Lissanna
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    We actually don’t start getting our 3rd mastery bonuses until later levels, according to their current implementation of the mastery system. I’m not sure what level the 3rd mastery actually kicks in…

    However, we can proc Eclipse even when it doesn’t give us a damage bonus, which is actually more buggy & lame… Especially since I didn’t even have starfire at the level where Eclipse was proc’ing on my lowbie. lol.

    At this point, the 15 second duration on a 20% DPS buff is problematic, because we’re going to be balanced around using all 15 secs of that buff, even though we almost never will, meaning that we’re going to fall behind other DPS classes based on the Eclipse mechanic being designed only around fighting training dummies.

  7. Hamlet
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    As of close of alpha, 3rd Mastery started at level 35.

  8. Lissanna
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Hamlet. I have so much to keep track of that it’s hard to remember. We started out with all 3 working, and then they changed it at some point and I didn’t keep up with the change.

  9. Posted July 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    But we are already movement impared – while we will still struggle with it, things will be easier to manage. I don’t like the idea of a charge system at all, because that doesn’t scale one bit with haste. If you get charges, you know that the next 10 wraths will be eclipsed. If you get a buff, you might start out at 10, but later get 12, 13, heck even 15 wraths off. The charge system is *not* the solution to our problems, simply because it would destroy our scaling, a thing we have been complaining about for oh so long.

    Another point is eclipse being a 20% buff now (at full mastery), rather than 40%. As long as we are balanced correctly from the start, this means that we won’t suffer nearly as much from movement because the difference is just 20%, compared to losing a 40% buff that we are supposed to keep up.

  10. Hamlet
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    20% before the effect of the Mastery stat.

  11. Lissanna
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, we’ll scale well enough with haste that I’m not sure our Eclipse proc needs to scale with haste. I would rather have a charge-based system that is more forgiving of movement than to have the ability to do more damage when fighting target dummies where I don’t have to move… With how much I’m anticipating having heavy-movement fights, I think the current Eclipse is more problematic than what would happen under a charge-based Eclipse proc.

  12. Aelinna
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    How about talenting into a charge system? Lose X secs, gain Y charges after the buff expires. It seems a divisive issue which would gain adherents in both camps, isn’t that a perfect talent from Blizz’ PoV?

  13. Posted July 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    It seems that balance is an afterthought with Blizzard. I am pretty excited about the resto changes, the balance ones appear thrown together. Fixing natures grace isn’t worth their time when they can just give wrath a long cast time. Why give us a new spell we can cast on the move when we can just spam moonfire? It looks like they spent no more than five minutes coming up with this stuff.

  14. Moonlyt
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Just a thought here. I prefer the charges approach too, but am I wrong in thinking that the charges idea will decrease our DPS slightly when not moving? If it is charged (ie 8 starfires) then this means that haste loses value. If it is timed you may get your haste high enough to fit in another 9th starfire, but you can’t do that with charges. Even so, I do prefer the charged approach as in the long run we will do more DPS on movement fights.

  15. Lissanna
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    It is easier to balance moonkin DPS around charges than it is to leave moonkin as having high stand-still DPS that totally fails every encounter because we have to move.