The new Eclipse mechanic is confusing a lot of druids. While Lore made a great intro video, some of the timing and advice is above what brand new moonkin druids can do. So, we’ll cover the general new player strategy below. If you are an advanced player, you should move directly to the guides written by Cyous.
Once upon a time, I was falling in love (with moonkin), but now I’m only falling apart. There’s nothing I can do. A Total Eclipse of the Heart.
What is Eclipse?
Eclipse is the most difficult mechanic to learn as a moonkin. Eclipse puts a bar under your name-plate (if you are using the default User Interface, without any addons). You get Eclipse at level 10, so you can start learning the mechanic early. Do not ignore Eclipse! There is a new Eclipse version again this expansion.
When you start combat, the new version of Eclipse makes the bar automatically swing back and forth, even if you aren’t casting anything. It starts out heading towards the moon (Lunar Eclipse) side. The closer you are to the moon (Lunar Eclipse), the more damage your Arcane spells (e.g., Starfire and Moonfire) do.
When Eclipse crosses into the yellow Sun side (Solar Eclipse) at the zero balance power mid-point, your moonfire turns into Sunfire. Sunfire does nature damage (instead of arcane damage). The closer you are to the sun (Solar Eclipse), the more damage your nature spells (e.g., wrath and sunfire) do.
Are there addons to make playing moonkin easier?
Yes! The most recent patch broke every previous addon tool everyone used to manage their Eclipse rotation. At this point, Cyous has made a tool using Weak Auras 2 for managing the new Eclipse rotation. This helps you with timing Eclipse for more optimal play. If you plan to raid at end-game with your druid, you want to get the Weak Auras 2 build that Cyous put together.
What do you cast in Lunar Phase as a new druid?
- Moonfire: This is a Damage over Time spell. You want this DOT on your target to tick over time. In the most simple rotation, you can always just cast this once every time you enter a new Lunar Eclipse phase (or refresh it at any point during the lunar phase). NOTE: While you get double-damage to the instant damage from moonfire/sunfire in the ‘peak’ Eclipse, the DOT isn’t impacted by this extra buff. Instead, the DOT dynamically updates every tick. Thus, maintaining high DOT up-time is the first step in learning the rotation (e.g., more ticks is more damage; regardless of when you cast moonfire).
- Starsurge: This is spell has three charges. The simplest time to cast this is at the start of a new Lunar phase. When you cast starsurge, it buffs the damage of your next two Starfire spells. Avoid casting starsurge when you are about to leave the Lunar Phase (otherwise, you can usually fit in one or two starsurges per cycle).
- Starfire is the main ‘filler’ spell you cast during Lunar Phase.
- Beginner Lunar rotation Summary: Moonfire -> Starsurge -> Cast a bunch of starfires -> Swap to Solar phase at the zero midpoint.
What do you cast in Solar Phase as a new druid?
- Sunfire: This is another DOT. You want this DOT on your target to tick over time. In the most simple rotation, you can always just cast this once every time you enter a new Solar Eclipse phase (or refresh it at any point in the solar phase). This shares the same mechanics as moonfire.
- Starsurge: The simplest time to cast this is at the start of a new Solar phase. When you cast starsurge, it now buffs your next three wrath spells in this phase. Avoid casting starsurge when you are about to leave the Solar Phase.
- Wrath is your main ‘filler’ spell you cast during Solar Phase.
- Beginner Solar rotation Summary: Sunfire -> Starsurge -> Cast a bunch of wraths-> Swap to Solar Phase at the zero midpoint.
Can I just spam moonfire all the time?
No, learning at least the very basic lunar vs solar distinction is helpful for building the foundation for learning the rotation. Also, now that moonfire turns into sunfire, you only have access to moonfire half the time, anyway. So, everyone who just spammed moonfire should learn the basic rotation described above for alternating lunar and solar phases. However, moonfire spam can be useful for movement. Keep in mind that the DOT updates dynamically with spell power buffs and such, so that the timing is more forgiving.
What are the more advanced rotation decisions?
- The optimal timing of when to cast your DOTs (moonfire/sunfire) and starsurge is different than the new beginner strategy. In addition, the shooting star mechanic provides extra Starsurge charges, that allows you to potentially use starsurge more than once in a lunar or solar phase. In the most basic strategy, when you cast your DOTs and starsurge spells doesn’t really matter all that much (as long as you use them in the appropriate phases). In the advanced strategies, using these spells at optimal times will increase your damage.
- The ‘beginner’ moonkin video produced by Lore at Blizzard actually describes a more intermediate play strategy in terms of thinking about more optimal times to use starsurge and your DOTs. However, for new druids, using starsurge and your DOT at the beginning of a Lunar/Solar phase is just simply easier to remember and doesn’t result in that big of a damage loss for solo, 5-man, or other introductory play.
- The Wowhead moonkin guide by Hamlet can help with learning more intermediate strategies.
- Cyous’ moonkin guide has more advanced details on how Eclipse works, targeting raiding druids. In addition, the moonkin guide written by Cyous also explains what the more optimal single-target, as well as multi-target (area of effect – AOE) damage strategies for high-end raiders.