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!