Cata beta build 12803 – moonkin

So, I’ve been focusing a little too much on Restoration druids lately, and I think I owe moonkin a post to go along with the latest beta build. Unfortunately, this build has a lot of crashing problems, making testing challenging at best. Also, resto is harder to evaluate this build because some things look like obvious bugs (or not so obvious bugs), but without confirmation on what is intended or not, it’s hard to tell. So, balance is just easier to test this build.

Overall, the moonkin playstyle is starting to feel good. We aren’t quite there yet, but things are really starting to come together.

So, lets start with moonkin form. The current beta build makes moonkin form do 10% more damage when you are in form. This is fine, as we really didn’t need a creative damage increase. Sometimes, passive bonuses on things like shapeshift forms becomes the right way to get the form to be useful, and that’s fine with me. This actually partially makes up for the fact that the int increase from Furor is active outside of moonkin form now. So, moonkin form is essentially fine at this point, in terms of conceptual design.

Next, lets look at Eclipse & our direct damage spells:

Eclipse now requires us to move along a slider from -100 to +100 Eclipse power. When you reach -100, your Lunar Eclipse gives you a bonus to arcane damage. When you reach zero power, your Eclipse proc goes away. When you reach +100 power, you gain a Solar Eclipse proc, and that increases nature damage. It actually is a fun mechanic, except that you have to cast a lot of wraths or starfires to go from one end to the other, so it feels a little spammy. However, it has a neat interaction with Starsurge, since Starsurge will increase how long your Eclipse proc stays up, by moving you away from the mid-point when Eclipse is active (and pushes you closer to an Eclipse proc when Eclipse isn’t active).

So, wrath, starfire, & starsurge have a really great interaction with Eclipse that ends up being pretty fun. We also don’t have to worry about movement as much, since we get more time to use the Eclipse proc than it takes to actually use it. Moonfire & insect swarm do benefit from the damage increase from the proc, which is nice. Starsurge also works pretty well as a burst damage ability, and the cooldown is short enough that you get to use it pretty often.

Changes to Thorns: Has changed to a 20 second duration, 45 second cooldown ability. Only does damage when something hits you. Shifts you out of bear & cat form. Appears to only work as a resto or moonkin PvP ability at the moment.

At level 80, with 2557 spell power (in moonkin form, with moonkin talents), thorns hit for 620 per tick. However, thorns requires something to hit you. So, the current version really has a narrow range of use. At the very least, it’s not something that feral druids or PvE druids of any type will find useful at all in the current beta form.

DOTs (insect swarm & moonfire):

Insect swarm is currently something that packs a lot of punch, but it has no more utility (the -hit debuff is gone). It also has no real interaction with our rotation or talents, other than benefiting from Lunar Eclipse.

Moonfire is currently the weakest link. I’ve spent a lot of time & effort over the course of beta talking about moonfire. At this point, the direct damage portion of moonfire is less than a tick of the DOT portion of the spell. Even with all the talents to boost the direct damage, it still doesn’t pack enough of a punch. It’s not a huge deal, but it makes me feel like those talent points aren’t worthwhile. Basically, my insect swarm ticks for about the same (or more) than the direct damage over moonfire even if I have 3 stacks of Lunar Shower up.

At this point, I’d still like to see moonfire become a stacking DOT (where more of the damage is tied to the direct damage portion, and then the DOT is weak at one stack, but does a respectable amount when it stacks up 3 times). Another option is to leave the DOT as-is, and just boost the direct damage portion so it hits a little bit more respectably (but that balancing can always be done at 85, I suppose).

Not enough talent points in the balance tree:

Just about every other beta, I’ve complained about “bloat” (having too many talent points). However, we currently don’t have enough talent points to make anything resembling interesting choices in the talent trees. Tiers 3 has five points, tier 4 has six points, and tier 5 has 4 points.

I don’t really feel like I get to make interesting choices much at all. I think that one more talent, worth 2 or 3 points – in either tier 3 or 5 would have a huge impact on the ability to choose what talents I really want. Since we’re badly in need of something making our DOTs more interesting, I would suggest putting a DOT-related talent in Tier 3 or 5, to give us the option to better spice things up a bit (something that isn’t just a flat damage increase, but adds some of the interesting synergy back into the trees).

Waiting for glyphs:

One big unknown is what glyphs will look like. They are supposed to impact our rotations in interesting ways and allow for choice (and most of the existing moonkin glyphs won’t work that well in the Cata rotations). Glyphs could be where our DOTs are better tied into the rotations (I hope!).

Conclusions:

The design of the current Eclipse is fine. How our direct damage spells work is fine. Our DOTs need a little more attention & need to be better tied into the overall playstyle to make it a little more fun. We have a lot of good elements that just need more glue to hold it all together. Eclipse is fun, but it’s going to be either predictable or frustrating. I’d rather have something in addition to Eclipse to watch for that adds a little more spice.

5 Comments

  1. Posted August 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the current beta implementation of our rotations, I can’t actually test them out myself since I’m not in beta but I’ve read several blogs and posts about it now. I would love to see more synergy and more reactive procs and abilities which would go a long way in making the class more fun fto play but if it doesn’t happen then I think we’ll be okay. I had completely forgotten about glyphs until you pointed them out so I agree that it’s possible that they’ll spice up our rotations via the glyph system. I’m definitely excited to see if they’ll surprise us with the glyphs.
    I have an off-topic question regarding Starsurge, I’ve seen a video of it but it was low quality. Does it look exactly like the Shaman spell Lava Burst, only colored green? I was hoping it would look flashy like our Starfall stars with a green glow or trail.

  2. Lucrece
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Lissanna, please comment on the beta forums about how much magic damage we take. Shadowform decreases by 15%, mage armor and magic absorption along with absorb shields for mage, warlocks have a 20% decrease from soul link and another 15% if they’re destruction with nether protection. Only shamans are in our situation.

    Also, they have stated that they want our 31 pt’er to be something we want to take. They nerfed Starfall back to its poor form, so currently it has no appeal whatsoever. How do they intend to address this?

    • Lucrece
      Posted August 23, 2010 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      I forgot to add, the magic damage is not only a PvP concern. With Cataclysm taking a shift to conserving mana, damage reduction mechanics will increase in value for non-tanks in PvE significantly. When two DPS classes bring similar damage but take 15-20% more damage from magic, be it auras or unavoidable cleaves and other pressure mechanics, the raid appeal of those classes decreases as healers want to save mana now.

  3. Barkfurr
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Can thorns still be targeted? during a lot of adds or something else situational might it not make sense to drop thorns on the MT, OT and some DPS?

    • Barkfurr
      Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Nevermind. Just read on Wow.com that there is a 45-second cooldown now so that kind of answers that. Do wonder if you can still cast it on others though…….might be worth it on the MT