State of the moonkin PvE MOP edition

Now that we have been in beta a couple of weeks, it is time for me to start doing my moonkin beta posts, which I write a couple times each beta. I’m going to try and keep this reasonably short to just highlight some major areas where things are going well and where we still need attention. The beta forum version can be found here.

Overall rotation:

  • At this point, our single target “training dummy” rotation works okay. Solar and Lunar feel relatively balanced. Removing insect swarm works out fine. There is still a lot of skill involved in maximizing moonfire & sunfire “double-DOT” up-time. I’m fine with insect swarm being gone, though I wouldn’t mind if it came back as an instant-cast execute ability to help give moonkin a finisher and more instant-cast damage outside of shooting stars procs and moonfire spam.
  • For AOE purposes, the changes to hurricane (astral storm) makes our AOE rotations more balanced between the two specs. So, it’s likely that our AOE rotation in Mists will feel a lot better. The targeting mechanic for shrooms is also a lot better. Hurricane still costs too much mana, but that will likely be a balancing issue for level 90.
  • Our movement DPS options are still severely lacking. Being limited to moonfire spam is not going to cut it. In terms of how to fix this issue, I’ve been suggesting adding Spiritwalker’s Grace and Aspect of the Fox to moonkin’s Symbiosis spell list (where having either a shaman or hunter in your raid would allow for casting wrath & starfire while moving during the duration). A way to cast wrath & starfire while moving could also be a good option for glyphs.

Talents:

Glyphs:

  • Right now, moonkin lack any sort of real set of major glyphs that impact the spells we use. I do love glyph of moonbeast, since it allows me to be the true “restokin” I always wanted to be (I’ve been wanting to cast heals in moonkin form since moonkin form was created in patch 1.8). However, other classes are still getting glyphs that impact their main role (even if they come at a cost).
  •  Glyph of Focus (inreased starfall’s damage but reduced it’s range) is actually something I think should be added back. It had the cost of sometimes being out of range of the boss for starfall in exchange for sometimes not hitting things you needed to keep alive.
  • Other glyph options: We could have a glyph like glyph of flame shock, that reduced moonfire/sunfire’s direct damage but increased it’s duration.  Glyph of unleashed lightning could be adapted to moonkin, where we could cast wrath & starfire while moving at the cost of an increased cast time. We could have a glyph where starsurge was always instant cast but lowered the chance for shooting stars to proc. Glyph of Mushroom where you drop three mushrooms at once but it increases the bloom cooldown by 5 or 10 seconds.

Symbiosis:

  • Moonkin have a lot of options for PvP, but most of them won’t give you any type of real benefit in PvE at all (and some of the spells just don’t do anything for you). For example, you don’t need misdirect as a moonkin for PvP at all, and if you already have a hunter in the raid, you don’t need it for PvE either. Symbiosis is a good place to add ways of doing DPS on the move. Giving us a couple options that will have minor impacts on our DPS will not be overpowered or problematic as long as we have 3 or 4 different options of things that give us similar PvE benefits. I worked out a google doc spreadsheet thinking about ideas for what moonkin could want, to have a somewhat well-rounded ability list that wasn’t likely to be overpowered for either PvP or PvE purposes.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ow2iKen7eW-HyQ3Qo0u-kypD4BdRjOWrvpt0UMaRSgU/edit?pli=1

11 Comments

  1. The Gecko
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that most of the tanks get actual mutually symbiotic abilities that work to bolster their primary raid role (threat or mitigation). The only thing healers get that’s worth noting is Paladin rebirth – the rest looks like garbage. DPS largely get extremely situational or outright useless PVE abilities (long cast mage heal? Solar beam? Rogue taunt?)

    Healy druids seem to mostly get defensive emergency spells from symbiosis, which is probably not terrible? Losing healers can often mean losing an attempt, so that’s maybe not unreasonable. Few fights are straightforward tank-and-spank anymore, and I can personally attest that there’s often extra real, usable utility to be found in defensive spells. For example, Iceblock’s ability to grant invulnerability and clear debuffs has often let me ride out a damage burst or major raid debuff, and get back to DPSing faster (or never have to stop in the first place). Of these, iceblock, deterrence and spiritwalker probably look like the best… although druids have a number of heals they can still use while moving, so spiritwalker might be more situational than the others.

    As a tank, survivability cooldowns and burst mitigation or threat are all useful tools that can be used situationally in many encounters. For healers (druid healers, at any rate), the extra mitigation/survival/utility talents are probably not a bad overall gain. I question the effectiveness of Evasion (I think Cloak of Shadows is a better survival ability), and it’s weird that Leap of Faith is in there, since it’s so different than most of the other linked abilities.

    It seems to really fall apart with DPS. DPS is kind of unforgiving like that, though. A spell has to be either a performance cooldown, or situational (but useful enough to see frequent use) or it’s not going to work. If you’re swapping straight damage spells, one of two things will happen. Either the spell will be better than the recipient’s “built in” spells, in which case it will replace their normal class skills and they will feel weak without it (“why is the moonkin’s ____ spell better than my fireball?”), or it will be worse than their normal class skills and not see any use at all. There’s less room for variety than you see in healers, because healers can say “this situation needs a fast heal” or “this situation lets me queue up a slow, bursty heal”. But for DPS, the question is almost always “what’s the most damage per cast time button I can press right now”

    In general, I think the abilities that the druids gain from symbiosis far outstrip those that they give away. This is really to be expected, though. Druids are drawing on nine other classes worth of skills (ten once monks are working) to pick and choose abilities that suit a role. The other nine (ten) classes are drawing on one class to try to scavenge abilities that kind of suit their role without repeating too often. That may be where a lot of the problems arise, actually. There are plenty of tweaks that could fix the abilities that druids get, but very limited options as to what they give away – I honestly have no idea what a mage or warlock would really get from druid spells.

    Maybe that’s the crux of the problem, actually… I wonder what symbiosis decision-making would look like if you ignored what spells other people get and only considered what the druid gains?

  2. hercdeisel
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if our movement dps doesn’t suffer even more under the new paradigm than under the old one.

    With soul of the forest (no legendary, no di, ~2800 haste), my sunfire usually lasts until my last eclipsed starfire. That’s quite a high uptime of double dots in a target dummy situation!

    Now, if we have to move when we’re out of eclipse not only do we have to worry about not using lunar shower because it will overwrite the eclipsed dot, but we’ll also be massively losing out on our double dot uptime.

    So, not only has our relative damage proportion shifted to nukes, but we’re losing dot uptime on the new model, so losing dot uptime is even more painful than it would’ve been. It’s hard to believe but our movement dps looks to have gotten significantly worse…

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      At this point, you’d have to clip your moonfire and still moonfire spam on the run (which would solve some of the DOT up-time issue in that your first DOT would be at full duration when you pushed to the next Eclipse).

      • hercdeisel
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        The problem is that when we’re out of eclipse and going towards the next eclipse there’s going to be exactly the kind of tough calculation that they’re moving us away from about our dot/eclipse management. If I’m only moving for 4 seconds, is it worth overwriting an eclipsed dot with an uneclipsed one for the 1 fully buffed Lunar Shower MF, 2 partially LS buffed MF, and 1 unbuffed MF direct damage? At what point in terms of remaining duration am I best off overwriting? How about with the improved eclipse scaling, making raid levels of mastery even higher (not to mention the new raid buff) and the value of eclipsed casts even higher?

        Lunar Shower is deeply flawed. The problem is tying movement dps to moon fire. Everything else in the moonkin changes is about moving away from demanding these tough calculations on the fly. It’s sort of jarring that Lunar Shower remains in its current state given all the other changes made to the rotation.

        Not to mention that with the severe nerf to shrooms, we also take a further hit to our movement dps.

  3. Starfury
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I like your idea about insect swarm returning as something useful rather than completely vanishing. Same with Thorns that has been an iconci druid spell since forever.

    My view is that now rotation is very predictable and eclipse is quite symmetric, something that creates sudee n changes, like maybe an ability that will invert your position along the eclipse bar and reverese your direction (for e.g. you ‘re at 70 eclipse towards lunar, ability procs and you go 70 eclipse towards solar) every time this happens you get a small buff also, maybe 5% crit – the idea is that your wrath spam or starfire spam could suddenly change. They could make something interesting proc it too. An alternative would be that sometimes starfire gives lunar energy and twice as much and wrath give solar energy, twice as much something that makes it worth occasionally casting the opposite spell during the spam.

    2. Symbiosis, i still feel needs to give druids abilities that help their role, dps for balance druids from each class. Also i’ve notived that everyone will be getting their level 87 ability + our symbisosis ability, it only seems fair druids should get 2 abilities from symbiosis, not just one. Would be good if 1 was dps related and 1 was utility related

    3. still not sure if balance druids will get any glyphs that affect their role. Whiles i’m glad we get lots of utilty and i’m really glad for hybridisation abilities like HotW and killer instincts, i’m surprised at the lack of glyphs/talents/spec abiltiies that are actually affecting our role.

    my suggestion? Make DoC and HotW both trainable and HotW will need to activate the key abilities from each role. Then introduce a new set of abilities for Tier 6, and let symbiosis assist the druids role.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Glyphs are something that they tend to add towards the end (for example, monks have zero glyphs right now at all). It’s easier to wait and figure out what we need before adding the glyphs to our toolset. That’s why I’m tarting to suggest what glyphs would be useful (and what we’re willing to pay for them, lol).

      Other classes can’t be balanced around getting symbiosis from us, since you may have zero or only one druid in a raid or PvP. Honestly, I think it would be more balanced if we just didn’t give the other class anything at all (parasitosis FTW).

  4. Lenny V
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lissanna… First off: great blog! <3 Please keep up the great work you're doing, I love reading your analyses on us droods.

    Second:
    I'm still unconvinced Blizzard really knows what the heck they're doing regarding moonkin. It's always been the ugly duckling where specs are concerned, for the first six plus years of WoW it didn't even have a full-ish toolbox of spells, and even after adding starsurge and solar beam it still felt lacking compared to mages or warlocks in particular.

    Now they're screwing us over by giving two of our core skills to any druid, typhoon and treants. Any other class that had talents that were of the "duh" category under the current system get those as baseline skills, but owls are yet again pooped upon by the developers; our skills become talents for everyone to pick. Worse off, there aren't even any equally good or better talent choices for a moonkin than the skills we already got (except maybe unless you're running competitive PvP I dunno; I try to avoid that unbalanced mess as best I can), essentially pigeonholing us into forever picking the same talents, regardless. That's not what blizzard is trying to sell us with this talent system re-make, where you're supposed to be forced to make hard choices.

    Essentially not having any choice isn't much of a choice, IMO! Also, the level 90 talent tier is absolutely awful for owls currently, but that isn't really news so no need to dwell on it.

    What's more annoying is Symbiosis, which is just a terribly designed ability IMO. It seems almost like the devs just reached into a hat for the various abilities handed out to various classes and then had a big ole laugh over all the crazy stuff they ended up with. Heals for warlocks and misdirect for druids, are they intentionally screwing with us?

    All the other classes get awesome stuff for their level 87 ability while druids friggin don't get anything whatsoever unless they're in a group WITH SOMEONE ELSE. That sucks! Synergy is a really cool ability, on paper, but it just doesn't work in reality. It's too hit and miss. You can bet 90% of all druids you meet in random dungeon groups aren't going to bother synergying with anyone at all.

    If they're going to stick with this idea (I sincerely hope not), then they need to fix this so DPS spec players get a DPS ability, heal specs get a heal, and if no heals are applicable (hunters have no heals to give to trees for example) then you get some kind of utility ability WILL work in PvE, because that's the core of the entire game.

    • Lissanna
      Posted April 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      This is the start of a beta. Things always look bad for everyone at this point in testing. Moonkin’s rotation overall, however, is significantly improved for both single-target and AOE damage overall. It’s just that all our accessories aren’t finished yet. Hang in there, and make sure you have a backup plan if things go bad. ;)

  5. sound
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Symbiosis is fine:
    1) The fact that you only get utility or minor DPS cooldowns is intentional. This allows for Symbiosis to be a balanced ability and not another DI.
    2) You underestimate the value and fun of these utility spells; some of them might even contribute to dps indirectly by allowing you to survive a sticky situation.

    Lv90 Talents:
    Yes, they are horrible. Yes, they should be better. No idea how to fix them, if it is even possible. I think they should just be scrapped altogether.

    I have some questions for you, mainly PVP orientated.

    `1) How has the Moonkin mana model changed? Will Moonkins be oom in PVP ? Consider shapeshifting costs and heal costs, and long periods with no Eclipse cycling.

    2) Is the loss of Insect Swarm (a non directional DOT) a noticeable hit to PVP? I know damage hasn’t been tuned yet, but from watching MOP videos and the damage-dealing mechanics of other specs, it seems Moonkin may be in trouble. Moonfire, Insect Swarm and Starfall were a bulk of my DPS in PVP.

    3) This one is more of a suggestion:
    Mushrooms would make more sense as spellstorm damage; filler during both ends of Eclipse.
    Hurricane should provide a debuff similar to Arcane Storm. It needs a lower mana cost.
    Both Arcane Storm and Hurricane should work similar to Earthquake and Healing Rain. You set the AoE and it lasts a certain amount of time. This would free up time to supplement with mushrooms or nukes.

  6. Starfury
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    oh please, things aren’t that bad at all, these guys have never had it so good, they shoudl ahve seen what we had to put up with in classic and tbc for moonkin and wrath also. Keep up the constructive feedback Liss, and i think i shall fast be losing pateince with the doom and gloomers, MoP, the balance druid has never had it so good.

    yet, there are still some key areas needed for improvement.

    1. With a tidied rotation we need something spontenous to be happening during our wrath or starfire spams to an eclipse..like a sudden inversion of our position on the bar, sweetened witha small buff like 5% crit – and where you were casitng starfire you’re now casting wrath heading in the oposite direction

    2. Symbiosis does need to give the druid something for his role in addition to what he is getting from other classes. Currently they get an 87 ability + druids symbiosis ability.. so we should get something interesting just for our role

    3. HotW needs to activate other key abilities, a glyph could allow that at the expense of some of the power, but i’d rather it went trianalbe and did that anyway, as did DoC which i think a brilliant ideas as trainable spells.. then those who wnanna make use of htem are free too without feeling they lost a great tier

    4. Chosen of Elune form for Incarnation needs to do something interesting. anything from empower balance spells like ToL does for resto, wild eclispe swings, anything that makes it more complex, so it can be the complexity option. Maybe they should make it work like metmaporphosis does and also give it some unique abilities..they could also mrather than make it a flat up cooldown, a form you keep alternating between it and moonkin form to maximise your dps. they have options, but pls not a flat damage boost.

    5. Return insect Swarm and Thorns as newer improved spells. maybe IS could for enemies below 25% HP, instantly give the damge of MF & SF without consuming the dot. or better, IS casts as a swarm affecting all engaged targets, causing all arcane spells that hthit targets to do splash damage, giving all nature spells a chance to overload and pollinating extra wild mushrooms to grow (won’t override and can be overriden by manually placed mushrooms.) the insecs will also spread debuffs on any target to all affected targets. if thorns rfelces the damage recived, it shoudl be of the type received, so if it’s frost damge you get its frost damage it reflects back at you.

  7. sound
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting the following:

    “It looks like the talent revamp may help with getting more survivability, but moonkin are still going to have the problem of not being able to hard-cast either starfire or healing touch in arenas. With insect swarm gone, outside of the double-DOT time from celestial alignment, moonkin PvP is likely going to have problems actually killing things in terms of having the right kind of damage output (since everyone else is getting more survivability things, too). It might be nice if moonkin actually had more instant-cast damage options, or some sort of finishing move. It might be nice if Insect Swarm changed from a DOT to an instant-cast finisher or an instant-cast cooldown or something bursty. ”

    It seems you understand the mechanics of PVP ;) Starsurge could be our execute, something as simply as doing increased damage on targets below a % of health. Also, Insect Swarm should be the nature antithesis of Starfall ;) I read the euro forums and it seems I wasn’t the only one to come up with this idea.