Repost: What’s wrong with Melee moonkin (part 2)

This is the second in my series of posts on the 5.0 hybrid talents in relation to moonkin druids. If you still aren’t convinced, you can read Tyler (Murmur’s) post on the 5.0 moonkin shapeshifting problem here.

So, I keep talking about how some of the new talent direction is problematic for moonkin. A lot of people don’t really believe me. So, now I’m going to take a few of the talents that I feel are the “worst offenders” and I’m going to tell you why they are bad for the druid class as it stands and what we should have in their place.

Example 1: Tireless Pursuit and the Level 15 movement talents

Tireless Pursuit (V1): Removes all root and snare effects, and increases your movement speed by 70% while in Cat Form for 15 seconds. Does not break Prowl, and using this ability activates Cat Form. 3 min cooldown.

Why is this bad for any PvE spec besides cats? Well, the devs said in the last Q&A that we’ll still have Dash in cat form. So, this basically gives you a second dash in cat form. In addition, Disentanglement is going to also provide a root break (and how many PvE fights have required us to break snares/roots?). While in cat form, we can’t cast spells or heal. It’s unlikely that during this second dash you’d want to run up and melee something. So, this is a movement buff that comes with a 12 second silence, rather than a movement buff that allows us to cast spells while moving. Mages, on the other hand, get an entire talent tier dedicated to letting them choose how they want to cast while moving (whereas moonkin don’t have an option of what to do while moving – we can only cast instant-cast spells while moving, and most of our movement talents require us to be in cat form where we’re not doing any damage at all).

What talent would work better in place of Tireless Pursuit?

  • Replacement Option 1: One option would be to reduce redundancy and make Tireless Pursuit the cat version of Wild Charge and move Wild Charge (a movement talent) down into the movement tier. You can’t really take wild charge over Incarnation or Force of Nature because gaining 20 solar/lunar energy will never be a DPS increase over the other 2 talents.
  • Replacement Option 2: Another option would be to make tireless pursuit less cat-specific. This new version could look more like: Tireless Pursuit (V2) Removes all root and snare effects, and increases your movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds. Usable in any form. While in cat form, does not break prowl. In addition, Wrath, Starfire, and Healing Touch can be cast while moving. 3 min cooldown.

 This version 2 of Tierless pursuit sacrifices some of the movement speed (because I care about class balancing), and instead, you get the ability to cast certain spells while moving. This version is way more fun for everyone, since even feral druids could benefit from casting healing touch or wrath on the move while they can’t be in cat form (cats could actually shift out of form and cast stuff – still a hybrid talent!). (Update- removed armor bonus since the tank feedback said it made the talent too strong for them. That’s why I like collaborative work on feedback).

There’s nothing inherently more interesting about Tireless Pursuit (V1) over the two options I presented here just because it shifts you into cat form. Just being in cat form isn’t more fun than being able to draw upon your feline spirit to cast while moving, or being able to choose to spec into Wild Charge on a tier where it’s balanced versus other movement talents. None of these changes would hurt bears (they’d be able to actually keep feral charge instead of having to lose it to Incarnation’s likely far superior survivability increase, since they can’t dash in cat form while tanking anyway). They don’t hurt PvP (in fact, I believe either of the two versions would be better for PvP). Everyone wins, and they aren’t overpowered versus any other talent other classes get.

  • Fix the whole Tier 1 selection – Option 3: In fact, maybe Displacer beast should become baseline specialization for cats (they really need it since they’re losing a lot of survivability from bear talents with the spec swap). Then, have Feline Swiftness, Wild Charge, and Tireless Pursuit (V2) as your tier one options. Suddenly, all 4 specs would have three viable talent choices – all of which would give the option of having more fun than Tireless Pursuit (V1) provides. See how easy it is to take mediocre choices and turn them into really awesome talents you can be excited about? All you have to do is accept the notion that being shifted into a form isn’t actually more fun than the alternative of having utility that still allows options for specialization. There are ways to do hybrid talents, and I don’t really see how “shifts you into X form” really works for our talents in general.
The first healing moonkin

Master Shapeshifter:

Master Shapeshifter: Improves your effectiveness at swapping between forms; melee attacks grant a 10% buff to spell damage, and cast-time spells grant a 10% buff to attack power. Stacks up to 3 times, and using an ability that benefits from the buff reduces it by 1 stack.

This is the other talent that really bothers me the most, and what has spurred my concern of not wanting to return to the status of Melee-Moonkin that I fought so hard to end in TBC. Out of the level 90 talents, this one really doesn’t have a place at all as they released it at Blizzcon. I could even live with HOTW if they changed Master Shapeshifter into a viable alternative. On the Q&A recently, they said:

…So, interesting functionality themed around the different combat roles has been introduced. Some players have objected that they aren’t good at the other roles, and those abilities aren’t worth the global cooldown they cost. To address this, we are making the existing Nurturing Instinct talent baseline to both Feral and Guardian Druids, and making a new talent/baseline ability which grants attack power based on Intellect for Restoration and Balance Druids. That will make the occasional use of core class abilities that require other forms useful even to the Restoration Druid….

Increased Healing Power is good for bears & cats. The Nurturing Instinct part (getting spell power from Attack Power) is essentially required for making the healing ability talents worthwhile for feral druids (the argument was that things like Nature’s Swiftness couldn’t be useful to feral/guardian druids if they didn’t heal for enough). Anything that increases healing gone gives you a survivability increase, and is useful for any spec (pure or hybrid alike).

I’ve argued in the previous post that the reverse isn’t true: There is no reason for restoration and balance druids to have increased attack power to boost, well, anything. So, moonin & resto druids have both a talent option and a baseline ability that would give us attack power, to increase the amount of damage done by melee abilities. In what world is a moonkin ever going to want to melee a boss?

In addition, the current version of master shapeshifter gives a spell DAMAGE increase (not spell power) so it won’t buff healing even for feral druids (relegating the talent useless to any spec in any situation, except maybe for cats in PvP or for ranged pulling for bears using moonfire or hurricane). That makes it a DPS increase to the DPS abilities that the specs won’t use. This is not interesting utility, and there’s no reason for a moonkin to ever want to CLAW a boss (because the talent doesn’t give you access to mangle or shred) and a 30% buff to melee (combined with a 30% buff to spell damage when you shift back) is totally useless to resto druids – and won’t provide enough of a DPS increase to moonkin druids without over-complicating the spec to the point of being ridiculous. The talent as-is would probably need to provide a total of a 100% DPS buff to make switching worthwhile, and then moonkin would become a spec that spent half of its time in cat form and half of its time in moonkin form to benefit from the damage buffs. NOT FUN GAMEPLAY. It’s either a DPS increase (mandatory and used all the time) or it’s totally useless. There is no in-between for moonkin.

So, what should master Shapeshifter it be replaced with? Well, the devs keep using healing as their example for why druids would want to shift. So, make it another healing-increase ability.

  • MSS replacement possibility: Casting non-instant healing spells generates a buff increasing attack power and spell damage by X%, stacking up to 3 times and lasting for 15 seconds. In addition, when restoration druids cast wrath, their spell power and mana regen is increased by X%, stacking up to 3 times and lasting for 15 seconds.

So, if you pop out of form to cast a healing spell, you get to make up for some of that damage lost when you go back into your form. Healers can throw out some damage spells and get a healing buff. That gives you some cross-spec utility without having to lose a talent choice. That would be much more interesting “utility” without forcing moonkin to melee. Moonkin will heal when we need to, and we do things like pop tranquility fairly regularly in raids. Moonkin won’t melee. Ever.

These are just two of the many examples of how calling the talents ‘shapeshifting’ talents don’t inherently make them better just because you say ‘shapeshifting’ is more fun.