Monthly Archives: July 2012

They fixed moonkin! Beta build 15913

The latest beta patch brought with it a large number of changes to the moonkin rotation, so I’ll take some time now to explain some of the changes. Overall, I am really happy with the latest beta build for moonkin, and as long as they don’t muck with it too much, we should be in really great shape for MOP.

So, what are the latest MOP moonkin changes?

  • Fae Empowerment was removed (good riddance!).
  • Moonfire and Sunfire are now two distinct spells that you can cast at any time (no more morphing from one into the other). This means that it is possible to have 100% up-time on both DOTs, and that things like  movement are less problematic.
  • Crits from our direct damage spells will extend our DOTs (starfire increasing moonfire, wrath increasing sunfire) instead of the original DOT extension mechanic for MOP. They also slightly increased the duration of moonfire & sunfire.
  • Also important, they changed how Euphoria works, so that it dramatically decreases the time you spend outside of Eclipse (and adjusted the timing of astral communion as a result). The new 4-piece PvP bonus allows astral commune to be cast while moving.

What does moonkin’s new rotation look like?

  • We will want to cast Astral Communion out of combat to get 1 cast away from Eclipse & cancel it before Eclipse procs (so we don’t trigger nature’s grace).
  • We will alternate between periods of wrath spam and starfire spam like we do in Cataclysm. We will have considerably higher up-time on Eclipse for both PvP and PvE (due to the new Euphoria), and the Eclipse cycle as a whole is shorter when we are rotating back and forth between starfire & wrath (ie. less time between exiting an Eclipse phase and entering a new one).
  • We get to keep two DOTs like we have in Cataclysm (though Insect swarm is out of the game, Sunfire becoming its own spell will take that place in our rotation without unbalancing the two Eclipses), so we will be managing both DOT timers. If you pick up Soul of the Forest (SOTF) as a talent, there will be times when you probably wouldn’t need to refresh the DOTs when outside the appropriate Eclipse that would buff it (especially at high enough haste values).  In some cases (especially without SOTF), you may want to go for having high up-time on both DOTs and refresh as soon as they fall off. With periods of movement in encounters, you likely will be using one of the moonfire/sunfire as movement damage, so that will have an impact on refreshing and such (which we need more math people to map out for us). In PvP, you will want to keep both DOTs on people as much as possible.
  • Starsurge overall hits harder again. We will still have random Shooting Stars procs, but they will feel a little more random since they are a chance on DOT crit, instead of a chance on DOT hit. Crit as a stat is also much more valuable in MOP’s changes now that we have multiple things tied to crit (shooting stars & DOT refreshes).
  • The new changes devalues Celestial Alignment as part of our normal single target rotation. When CE is up, you want to use moonfire (& not sunfire) since only moonfire applies double-DOTs during the duration. It is possible that CE may  be a better cooldown for PvP or for AOE periods than single-target PvE damage, though this still needs to be mathed out.
  • Hurricane (which morphps into astral storm in Lunar Eclipse) is now more useful, but it’s still unknown how the changes to our DOTs will rank multi-DOT strategies versus hurricane/astral storm spam. Wild Mushrooms are overall devalued enough that I’m still not sure how they fit into our overall rotation, aside from setting them up prior to pulls or in periods of down-time, or perhaps when we need the movement snare (the latest patch neutered the damage shrooms did even further).
  • Nature’s Grace procs from entering a new Eclipse state, which means that we still value cycling between Eclipses for the haste bonus, even after the changes to our DOTs.
  • Hitting a Lunar Eclipse will reset starfall’s cooldown, so you will want to cast starfall after you proc a Lunar Eclipse (so starfall won’t need to be managed quite as closely). However, it’s still hitting more things than it should and we lost the glyph that shrunk its’ radius, so there will still be encounters where starfall is bad to cast, and it will sometimes get you killed when soloing by attracting too  many unwanted guests.

What does this all mean?

  • Moonkin in MOP will be fun for you if it is currently fun in Cataclysm (and possibly more fun, given that we have a better overall toolset).
  • They fixed several major problems, such as making Lunar Eclipse a more worthwhile state to be in (the two Eclipse states are much more “balanced”).
  • They fixed these problems without over-simplifying moonkin’s rotation (like they did the first try) or adding in clunky mechanics (like they did the second try). This newest build overall may have some issues to work out as we do further testing, but they finally made moonkin fun again!
  • We should be okay for movement DPS with having two DOTs, and astral communion on the move will help PvP moonkin get back into Eclipses faster.
  • We have more access to damage increasing cooldowns and survivability cooldowns, making us far more viable in PvP in MOP.
  • There will still  be more work to do over the  next few weeks/months to work out what the details of the final PvE rotation will look like, and we don’t yet know the final gearing stat priorities or which talents will work the best due to all the changes. This means that the 5.0 patch may be a little rocky with how major the changes are so late in the build.

What this all really means is that I will still be raiding on my moonkin in MOP! I’m finally having fun on my moonkin (even when I’m just playing on the training dummies for working on the blog article). Looks like I won’t be switching mains. Lissanna is here to stay!

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Moonkin Balance DPS, Written By Lissanna

Should wild pets be tradeable?

There is a lot of activity on the beta pet battles forum. One of the hottest topics right now is about whether or not we should be able to trade/sell wild pets that we capture out in the world. As of now, we know that Blizzard isn’t planning on letting us sell these captured pets once the game is released initially:

We just finished a pass making all pets that are caught via pet battles in the world non-tradeable.  This means these pets cannot be put in cages for trading or posting on the AH.  We felt that the option to buy these pets on the AH would take away from the exploration/collection gameplay of the system.

This could always change in a future patch, but this is how it will go out with MoP.  You should see the change in our next build.

The problem with this system is that it is still theoretically possible to buy pets from vendors, level them to 25, and put them on the AH as a max-level pet. So, this doesn’t prevent someone from buying a level 25 pet. It just limits what pets will be available, and makes it such that only the super rich players will be able to afford to buy high level pets. In addition, I already have over 100 pets, so why would I really need to collect more wild pets if I already have at least a dozen of the pets off the rare list that will already have good stats on day one? It just encourages us to not bother capturing the wild pets if there are easier ways to play the system, and even then, people who don’t want to explore can still find some pets on the AH instead of using wild pets at all.

A lot of people in the forum thread are talking about how they want to be able to buy the pets if they can’t find them out in the world, or want to be able to give them away for free to friends or family members. People in the thread aren’t often talking about wanting to make a profit (there is still plenty of room to make profit off other types of pets). However, people still need to be able to create an economy and social activity out of the pet battle system, which you can’t do if you can’t trade useful pets. There are plenty of pets that shouldn’t be traded (like the Blizzcon pets or CE pets). However, if we can’t trade wild pets, then it sucks a lot of the fun out of the system because it sucks all the value out of capturing wild pets (you get more from leveling up cats you buy in stormwind, even if they aren’t rare quality). If  Blizzard allows any level 25 pets to be put on the AH at all, it circumvents the point of restricting wild pets to not be able to get put on the AH (it just means they’d be more expensive and restrictive as to who could afford to buy the pre-leveled pets).

If the purpose of the restriction is to prevent people without max-level pets from being able to buy max-level pets, then all you need is a quest or achievement to be able to unlock learning max-level pets. If the wild pets you collect have no value and you can’t give them to your friends, what exactly is the point of collecting wild pets at all? I already have more than three pets that are going to be rare quality in my bags when the system goes live, and leveling three pets up from 1 to 25 really doesn’t take very long at all, especially once they implement all the quests. If there isn’t any point for me to pick up wild pets, I probably just won’t trap many of them as I level up. I’ll just stick to my premade team and grind out the experience faster. I thought the point of this system was to entertain us longer than just the week or two that it takes to level a team up to max level and get bored of battling with our max-level pets. For longevity, there needs to be a pet trading economy to make it seem worthwhile to go through all the effort, since we don’t get any actual real rewards out of the system other than a handful of pets & achievement points.

It’s not that people want to make money, it’s that there always needs to be an incentive & reward for participating in content. The idea that you could make a couple gold off unwanted wild pets was a huge draw because it was the only real reward. Every other type of end-game offers you gold, valor/justice points, and actual gear. Having a pet battle mini-game without a real reward system in place just means that after the novelty wears off, or you get all the achievements, you have no real incentive to keep going. I’m still going to need gold to buy my materials I need for raiding, so if I can’t sell a couple wild pets I found along the way to help keep me from going broke, then I have to instead be out farming herbs, ore or fish to sell on the AH even if that’s a lot less fun to do. Allowing people to have alternative sources of revenue doing something they enjoy should still be supported in the game, and removing that support has consequences on the value of the system.

It doesn’t hurt anyone’s enjoyment of the game if I can put a level 25 rat up on the auction house for someone to buy, but it does help pet collectors pay the bills and potentially adds to peoples’ enjoyment of the game. The exploration and collection side of the gameplay benefits from being able to create an economy from our exploring the world.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Pet Battles, Written By Lissanna

New travel form graphics for MOP

So, in the latest beta, the un-glyphed travel form is now the new Stag form with updated graphics (see video on mmo-champion). I was really excited to get into beta and try it out. Apparently, other people were excited, too.

It looks like we may end up with a glyph for being able to have your friends ride stag form and the datamined files suggest there may be a future glyph for being able to use your old cheetah form, though neither glyph is functional in the current beta build.

I just wish it went faster so that I could use this instead of ground mounts in MOP!

Posted in Beta Feedback, Druid - General, Mists of Pandaria, Written By Lissanna

Miniliss the mage hits 85

So, after my dissertation had been defended and I found myself with something resembling “free time”, I finally got my mage (Miniliss) to level 85.  Yes, I do understand the irony of the fact that while I have maintained a leveling guide for druids for almost 6 years at this point, Miniliss is only my third max-level character. In  my defense, I have a bunch of druid alts that I have used to test leveling guide components over the years that are scattered between level 1 and 70.

The hardest part of my mage, however, is trying to muster up the will to actually gear my newly dinged 85. I bought two BOE pieces (the boots & bracers), and now I have a couple other pieces I have picked up. However, the 5-man heroic PUGs are really “hit or miss”. It is a lot more fun to run stuff with my guild members than trying to solo queue, especially since my mage’s DPS is so bad in a mix of mostly greens and an average ilevel of 337.

I am, however, really enjoying the arcane mage spec overall. I’m also really excited to see how arcane mages are shaping up for MOP. For now, I’m perfectly happy with my largely 1 button spam rotation on my mage alt (yeah,  it’s a little more complicated than that, but only a little).

I also like how my moonkin pet is almost bigger than  my gnome mage. For now, I’m still not sure what character will end up being my main in MOP. It’s possible I could go mage for raiding, or raid as a resto druid, or raid as a moonkin. I’m really being indecisive, and it’s good that I still have a few more months to figure it out!

Posted in Leveling, Mage, Written By Lissanna

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