Edit: My timing sucked & this changed in the new calculator update. I edited this post to reflect the new changes. Edits are in itallics and outdated info has a strikethrough so you can see the changes.
So, we still have another month before we expect new Mists of Pandaria information. Today, I thought I would take a look at the new insect swarm ability as it is currently worded in the MoP talent calculators. Like all other things in MoP, this ability is subject to change.
The new insect swarm reads: (instant, 7% base mana, no cooldown, 40 yd range) “The target is swarmed by insects, increasing all damage taken from your wrath, starfire, and starsurge abilities by 30% for 1 minute. Limit 1 target”.
- The new insect swarm (updated 2/15) reads: (Instant, 7% base mana, no cooldown 40 yd range): “The target is swarmed by insects, increasing all damage taken from your spells by 25% for 1 minute. Limit 1 target”.
Why change Insect swarm? So, this spell is no longer a DOT in MoP. Right now, it can account for anywhere between 20% and 30% of our damage done in PvE. However, having both insect swarm and sunfire as DOTs that benefit from Solar Eclipse (and not having an arcane version of insect swarm) means that it contributes to the need to “solar cleave” for AOE damage. Removing one of our DOTs completely will make solar cleave much less beneficial for us. So, I believe that hampering solar cleave is the primary reason for the change.
The good: Changing insect swarm from a DOT to a debuff does several beneficial things:
- One less DOT to track & rely on for DPS
- Makes Lunar & Solar Eclipse more balanced. Combined with a better Arcane AOE rotation (where hurricane will comeback to be useful again), this pretty much destroys any chance for Solar Cleave to be as prominent in MoP.
- Update: The Feb 15 change makes it effect all damage instead of just your nuke spells, so it would increase moonfire/sunfire damage and the AOE damage done to that one target. This is a slightly better version than the previous iteration.
- Makes PvP damage much more difficult, since DOTs account for a lot of the damage done in PvP for moonkin right now.
- No longer available to resto druids (and resto druids don’t have sunfire).
- The new insect swarm still has to be managed & refreshed multiple times in an encounter, since it has a short 1 minute cooldown (ie. in a 10 minute fight, you will still need to keep an eye on the debuff to make sure it doesn’t fall off).
- It doesn’t do damage anymore, and it doesn’t provide any real utility. The tooltip suggests that it will only buff your spells (not the resto druid’s, not the other moonkin’s spells).
- You can only have it on 1 target at a time, meaning you will have to keep re-applying it often for target-switch fights and for PvP.
- We don’t know if it can be dispelled in PvP, and will leave moonkin largely unplayable in PvP if it can be dispelled.
- It will be balanced such that your nukes will do
3025% less damage when that buff isn’t up, and when your Eclipse is also down, it will make your nukes particularly weak. This will cause huge balancing issues for any PvE fight where you have to switch targets a lot, and will really suck for PvP in particular where they’re also getting hit with the removal of being able to rely on DOT damage. Normally, I ignore PvP in my posts, but this is one place where I’m really worried about moonkin ever becoming PvP viable if the new insect swarm makes things go from bad to worse.
- Makes moonfire/Sunfire our only source of movement damage right now, leading us to really need to have the ability to cast our nukes while moving to remain viable for any type of content.
Options moving forward:
- It could be possible to just leave Insect Swarm as a DOT and see if we still solar-cleave after all the other changes to the spec. I actually think that having Lunar Eclipshere effect some of our AOE abilities (ie. the new HurrArcane) will fix the solar cleave problem without changing IS.
- It could be possible to remove insect swarm altogether. Our moonkin mechanics are already complicated enough that it is hard to master the spec, and there is a huge DPS gap between good moonkin & great moonkin, making the spec hard to balance. Having one less timer to track means that we’ll be able to have more moonkin succeed, and will prevent the changes to the spec from over-complicating our rotations further. They could also just make moonfire/sunfire increase the damage that our nukes do if they want this spell effect without having to use a new spell to do it.
- They could make sure that it is PvP friendly. Make insect swarm undispellable in PvP or reduce the effect from insect swarm to make it less punishing when it’s not on the target (down to say 10% or 15%). They could also increase the duration so that it was a little more “set it and forget it” for single-target PvE fights.
- Make insect swarm a “finishing move” or a DPS cooldown. There are plenty of other tools moonkin could use more than the new MoP insect swarm effect. They could make it such that insect swarm was something we only cast when the target was below 25% health, or make it a cooldown that increased the damage from our nukes for only a short period of time. It would be a lot better if we could use it for controlled burst damage periods (say a 20 sec effect on a 2 min cooldown or whatever would be appropriate & balanced). Celestial Alignment doesn’t give us any burst damage if we are already in Eclipse (it only helps when we get caught outside of an Eclipse for an AOE or burst phase), so giving us another burst DPS cooldown (even if it only effected those 3 spells) would really help for burn phases in PvE and allow the PvP druids to get off more damage when they aren’t being focused (ie. pop displacer beast & then unload your cooldowns to nuke the target).
With how many changes are being made to the moonkin toolkit overall, it will really be hard to see how this all works out until we get into Beta
, or at least see the talent calculator updates. However, the current version is likely going to cause a lot of headaches as the tooltip is written. There is, however, still a lot of time between now & release, and this may be an ability that undergoes several revisions before it goes live (at least this prediction has already come true in today’s talent calculator update, lol). What do you guys think about the new insect swarm design?