Mathfall, or Alame re-learns Trigonometry

Today we’re going to talk about my favorite spell, Starfall.  It should be your favorite too, because this spell is incredible.  Starfall is the big driving factor as to why Balance Druids perform so exceptionally well in Highmaul.  Long story short; every fight in Highmaul except Butcher (unless you’re padding!) provides some period where Starfall is amazing.  You’ll be thrilled to know that Blackrock Foundry launches tomorrow and also has lots of fights that make Starfall great.

The math of starfall in 6.1.

There are a couple changes currently slated for 6.1.  These changes increase the spellpower scaling of Starfire, Wrath, and Starfall.  Once I got over my initial shock of Balance being buffed (as I and many others were expecting nerfs), I re-ran the math on Starfall versus Starsurge to see if I could justify even more Starfall usage.

It should be noted that all the following math is using numbers from 6.1.  These are neither final nor are they live.

To start with we’re going to evaluate starfall vs starsurge while ignoring mastery.  Mastery is tricky to calculate and apply as it is a dynamic value, so we’re going to keep it real simple and just look at base damages.  What we’re interested in is the damage dealt by each usage of a Starsurge charge at a given number of targets.  For using Starsurge, it’s the damage of Starsurge itself plus the damage of the empowerment buffs.

As you can see, Starsurge with either starfire (SF) or wrath (W) slightly outperforms Starfall at one target, and Starfall outperforms Starsurge heavily whenever there is 2 targets or more.  You’ll also notice that the lines corresponding to Wrath (W) and Starfire (SF) are virtually indistinguishable.  This is because the scaling adjustments for 6.1 brings them much closer in strength, so 2 empowered Starfires no longer do significantly more damage than 3 empowered Wraths.

Next we’re going to isolate Starfall’s 6.1 damage increase from Mastery.  This is where I had to re-learn trig, to properly establish a function for the dynamic Mastery that I could use to scale up the damage.  It took longer than I would care to admit.

The graph only looks at one target, in Lunar eclipse.  Solar obviously doesn’t give any mastery benefit to Starfall so there’s no scaling to account for.  40% mastery is a level you can expect around 680 ilevel.  100% mastery is only shown to display the scaling, as it’s much easier to see the two inflection points on the graph.

Putting it all together! So now that we’ve established the dynamic mastery benefit we can bring back our numbers from the first stage, combine them all together and see what the end product looks like.  I’ve scaled up the Starsurge damage for ~60 energy, and the empowered Starfire/Wrath casts for an average of ~95 energy which is slightly better than what you will usually fit in your rotation.

Look at that sweet, sweet mastery benefit.  Whenever someone asks you what a Moonkin’s best stat is you should show them this graph because it really speaks for itself.  In addition to Starfall being better than Starsurge in both eclipses (which is contrary to today’s common knowledge) the mastery makes Starfall almost on-par at 1 target and significantly better at 2 targets while in Lunar after the 6.1 changes.

So my original goal of wanting to Starfall more is achieved.  While previously I had been using Starfall at 2+ targets in Lunar and 3+ targets in Solar, once 6.1 hits I will be able to Starfall at 2+ targets in both eclipses.

Starfall is love, Starfall is life.

You can find me on Twitter at @Starfeathers.  If you’d like me to cover a certain topic tweet at me and I’ll see what I can do.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Alame
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4 comments on “Mathfall, or Alame re-learns Trigonometry
  1. Dan says:

    “The graph only looks at one target, in Lunar eclipse. Solar obviously doesn’t give any mastery benefit to Starfall so there’s no scaling to account for. 40% mastery is a level you can expect around 680 ilevel. 100% mastery is only shown to display the scaling, as it’s much easier to see the two inflection points on the graph.”

    Just a question on this above statement. With euphoria you are at a peak every 10 seconds. So basically the only way you will get full lunar cycle of starfall is if you cast it as 0 energy moving towards lunar.

    But you state that it doesn’t scale in solar…but don’t you mean doesn’t scale positively? Doesn’t starfall scale negatively with solar?

    Basically what I am saying is these graphs are all for the ideal case. I can understand that with ss+empowerments but I think you should have a few starfire curves, one completely lunar, one completely solar and one from 50% solar to 50% lunar. Please correct me if I am wrong and missed something in your explanation above!

    I definitely enjoy the theorycrafting aspect of WoW and noticed the boomkin community isn’t always the strongest on it compared to some others. Good work and continue the blogs!

    • Dan says:

      Just read through again and noticed I completely missed that last graph!!! Makes more sense now! Thanks

    • Alame says:


      The third graph shows the damage of Starfall in Solar eclipse. This is the same line as the Starfall line from the first graph, total damage of Starfall by number of targets with no mastery benefit. The Lunar line shows the total damage of starfall at X number of targets scaled up for the mastery.

      The mastery benefit is calculated using the function sin(x*(pi/10)). That takes a normal sine wave and expands it so that when X=0, Y=0, and when X=10, Y=0. Basically it alters the sine wave to fit the ten-second duration of one Eclipse. You then plug in Time value (X) to receive the percentage of mastery benefit (Y) which you use to increase the damage of starfall on a per-star basis (as each star falls at a different period during the eclipse, each wave of stars will receive a different mastery benefit.) I used the ideal case of starting Starfall at 0 energy, and starfall being active for the entire duration of that eclipse. I didn’t include this math in the post itself because if you know trig it’s pretty simple, but if you don’t know trig it’s quite confusing.

      Starfall in solar doesn’t need this adjustment because it doesn’t benefit from mastery.

      • Lericus says:

        First of all great post. However I do believe you are mistaken about solar eclipse not offering any mastery benefit to Starfall. I always thought that at 0 energy in solar or lunar you get 50% of your maximum mastery bonus for both lunar and solar spells. It’s only at solar peak that you get 0 benefit to Starfall from mastery. From 0 energy to 100 solar energy, the mastery bonus to Starfall scales from 50% mastery to 0% mastery.

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