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Happy 6.2 patch day for druids and mages

The 6.2 patch is hitting the servers this week, with a new raid, a new questing zone, and various class changes. With playing both a druid and a mage, I’ll cover a couple things for resto and balance druids, with a bonus “what should I be?” for mages.

General updates:

Resto druid updates:

  • The good news for resto druids is that you didn’t change very much this patch. So, healing should be very similar in 6.2 compared to today. Overall, resto druids are solid in terms of healing toolset and output.
  • Note, however, that hunters’ aspect of the fox went away and can’t be paired with tranquility anymore (so, no more Tranq on the move).
  • The Tier 18 set bonuses buff your Lifebloom. The 2-piece makes your lifebloom HOT have a chance to proc a big burst ‘bloom’ periodically, and the 4-piece allows you to put lifebloom on both of your tanks. This should help make you more competitive as a tank healer, though the lifebloom ‘bloom’ procs are totally random and risk overhealing.
  • The legendary healing ring comes with a group buff you have to be aware of. When one person activates the ring, it increases all healing being done and causes all raid members to share a shield blanket that absorbs damage for the amount that people heal for. So, this basically becomes a very powerful AOE heal for all raid members that needs to be timed in progression fights – BUT only one person can use it a fight (e.g., like heroism). In LFR, expect random people to pop it at the wrong time – because that’s just how LFR rolls.
  • The druid trinket from Archimonde (seed of creation) allows druid rejuv & lifebloom heals to sometimes ‘cleave’ to heal a second person.
  • Other than those minor things to be aware of, you can mostly continue on doing what you were doing. Druids are still fine for healing overall (not the best persay, but certainly good enough to bring to raids).

Balance druid updates:

  • All the major changes to balance druids shouldn’t impact your rotation. They just did fixes to make gear scaling work better, which has always been a problem for balance druids and a few other classes.
  • The balance Tier 18 set bonuses don’t change your rotation or healing style. You have a chance to gain a temporary damage-dealing pet (2-piece) and that pet increases your damage (4-piece), similar to some of the other set bonuses.
  • The damage legendary ring group bonus will be something moonkin won’t actually hit the button for, as the person who uses it should be in melee range. You do, however, get a damage bonus when one of your melee uses the legendary ring effect. If you want to use it at the start of the fight in LFR, you are welcome to run in and pop it in melee range (but I can pretty much guarantee you that if anyone else has it, they’re doing the same thing).
  • The trinket has a chance for starsurge to also cast a starfall effect. So, you should use this in guiding whether you glyph starfall (untamed stars) or not (e.g., do you want starfall to hit one thing or many things?). The glyph may be swapped out between fights as necessary.

Mage updates:

The changes to mages mean that mages have to make more substantial decisions than druids do in the patch – namely, which of the 3 specs should they be? As always, gearing and skill are going to impact how much damage you do. So, changing specs isn’t guaranteed to be a damage increase for you and will require practice time to perfect rotations (plus you have to change your gear/enchants/gems/food).

  • The ‘right’ answer of “what mage spec should I be for Mythic HFC?” is “arcane for single-target plus either frost or fire for cleave/AOE fights, depending on where you are in progression”. If you never intend to do Mythic HFC, then frost actually becomes a much more viable choice (see below).
  • They did some pretty major buffs to frost mages in 6.2, since frost was having a hard time keeping up as the other specs got more gear. Thus, while I had dropped my frost spec entirely for the end of BRF progression (in favor of fire for all the AOE fights), frost is now more viable for HFC raids; particularly if you are working on fights where you can cleave to two or more targets. Frost is going to suffer from scaling problems (and there is a risk that some future bug fixes might substantially nerf frost damage again); so frost is really only an optimal choice for normal/heroic raiders who want one good spec they can use for all the fights without having to swap between two specs. TLDR: Frost wins if you want one well-rounded spec, particularly for normal/heroic HFC.
  • Arcane is by far the best single-target fight but suffers from basically a complete lack of notable cleave/AOE damage compared to the other two options. So, if what you really care about is being the best single-target damage dealer you can be, then arcane is the best choice. Note that the stat priority changes for the Tier 18 arcane and makes haste more powerful when you have the pet that doesn’t scale with your mastery (See the altered time post). Basically, if you go arcane – mastery is better than haste until you have the 2-piece set bonus for Tier 18. After that, you want to spec for haste over mastery. TLDR: Arcane is good single-target and weak AOE.
  • Fire is by far the best at AOE compared to the other specs; this is what made fire so powerful in all the AOE fights the last raid tier. Fire is less helpful in HFC because there are fewer good AOE/cleave fights where fire was really ahead on the PTR and the changes that end up nerfing fire damage leave fire behind on single-target quite significantly (enough to make fire single-target outright bad on any of the simcraft data). If you don’t ever intend to do mythic, then you could probably get away with staying fire for normal or heroic, but even in lower gear levels, your single-target will likely leave something to be desired unless you have lucky crits that boost your damage. TLDR: Fire is weak single-target and good AOE.
  • There is a larger FAQ for mages over at the Altered Time forums covering all other important things you should know.

TLDR: Balance and resto druids are fine enough for now – you didn’t get redesigned this patch (YAY!). Mages have to drop fire for any single-target fights and go arcane (or frost) instead.

Posted in Druid - General, Mage, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.2, Restoration Healing Trees, Written By Lissanna

Moonkin Logs – Sorting the Feathers from the Fluff

Today I’m going to walk you through how to analyze Moonkin logs from Warcraft Logs.  Analyzing logs is the easiest way to find out what you’re doing wrong, and how you can improve as a Druid.  I’m going to assume you know absolutely nothing about Warcraft Logs, so bear with me if you have some familiarity.

First we need to find your logs.  Go to the Warcraft Logs home page and type your character’s name into the search bar.  Select the right name/realm combination to bring up the rankings screen.  If your name/realm combination doesn’t appear on the list you don’t have any logs uploaded.  You need to download the client from the link at the top of the page, and run it while raiding to record and upload your logs.  If you don’t have any logs of your own to use, you can use my logs and follow along.

With the rankings screen, we want to figure out how you stack up against other Druids of similar ilevel.  Using the ilevel bracket menu, select the ilevel of your character (select 695+ if using my logs.) This will filter out all logs not withing your ilevel bracket, and adjust the percentiles accordingly.  The number in the “Historical %” column is the important one – 50% is the average parse, and higher is better.


To find mistakes and target improvements we have to look at the actual combat log.  Click any one of your parses in the table to open up the logs.  This will open up the Damage Done tab of the log as seen below.

The first mistake we look for is Casting in the wrong eclipse.  This is one of the most basic principles of Balance, so you’re probably already doing it right, and it’s super easy to fix if you’re not.  Click your name from the damage done tab (see above) to open up your damage source graph as seen below.

From this graph we’re looking at the brown peaks.  These peaks correspond to Wrath casts, so double check the colors in your log.  Wrath peaks should be roughly symmetrical and span about 20 seconds (if using Euphoria.)  Peaks wider than 20 seconds means Wrath is being casted in Lunar eclipse, and peaks smaller than 20s means Starfire is being casted in Solar.  It’s not the end of the world if your peaks aren’t nicely shaped – it simply means you missed a cast for whatever reason.


The second thing we look for is Potion usage.  This is super easy to find.  Open up the ‘buffs’ tab and look for how many counts of the “Draenic Intellect Potion” you have.  You should have 2.

Next we want to look at Cooldown Usage.  We can do so from the screen we are already on, the buffs tab.  Look for Celestial Alignment and Incarnation: Chosen of Elune.  Incarnation should be used on pull and every 3 minutes afterwards (2 uses in 3 minutes, 3 in 6 minutes, 4 in 9 minutes etc.) and Celestial Alignment should be double that (if you have the 4 set bonus) or the same (without 4 set bonus.)  Check to make sure the cooldowns are being used enough, and then check to make sure that Incarnation and odd-numbered Celestial Alignments are being used together.  It should be noted that there are some fights in BRF where cooldowns are not used on pull or saved for specific mechanics, in those fights simply look for number of usages and usage at the correct times.


Our Fourth mistake to look for is Starsurge usage and Empowerement consumption.  First we want to make sure that Starsurge charges are being used enough.  We determine how many charges are available by adding our Shooting Stars procs to the base generation.  The forumla you should use is 3 + (SS procs) + (fight length in seconds / 30s).  Calculating from my Gruul log shown above, we have 3 + (25) + (294/30) = 37.8.  We always round this number down because you can’t use 0.8 Starsurge charges.  In my parse I had 37 available Starsurges and I used 33.  This means I lost SS charges to being charge-capped at some point during the fight.  The number of Starsurge uses can be found on the damage source screen we used earlier.

Looking for Empowerement consumption is quite difficult and time consuming, and I’d advise you don’t bother unless you’re trying to squeeze out every drop of DPS.  The buff stacks are not tracked in the combat log, meaning we have to use cast sequences to determine buff overwrites.  First click the “Casts” tab, then scroll down and click the “+” sign at the far left of the row for Starsurge, Starfire, and Wrath.  You should be left with a screen that looks like this:

To look for overwrites, look for each cast of starsurge (yellow peak, middle graph) and check the Starfire/Wrath graphs for 2 Starfire or 3 wrath casts before another Starsurge peak appears.  This is very imprecise and difficult, so as I said earlier don’t concern yourself too much with this.  Give it a quick once-over looking for obvious Starsurge casts without Starfires/Wraths in between.


The second-last thing we look for is Idle time.  Time where you’re not casting or performing actions.  We can do this from the casts tab.  On the very bottom graph (the one with grey & orange peaks) click on all the greyed-out spell names at the top of the graph to add peaks for each spell.  When the graph is showing all your casts simultaneously, there should be no large gaps.  Large gaps means downtime, and downtime means lost DPS.  If there are large gaps, make a note of the time they appear, and keep track of those timestamps for our final step.


The final step is examining Movement for mechanics.  In the top right of the page click on “replay” to bring up the fight replay.  Click on everyone’s name except your own to hide their movements, and show only yours.  Start the replay and look for large and unnecessary movements that kill your DPS.  Check the timestamps you recorded in the last step to see if the gaps in casting correspond with movement.  This is again one of the more difficult things to analyze as you have to be able to determine for yourself if movement is necessary or superfluous.


Outside of looking for those specific mistakes, the best way to figure out what you’re doing wrong is to compare your log to that of a more experienced/progressed Boomkin.  You’re welcome to use my public-access logs to compare yourself to, or I’d recommend using logs from Sepe-Ner’zhul.  Sepe is one of the top boomkins in the world and consistently has excellent parses throughout progression.


If you’re still struggling to figure out what you’re doing wrong, feel free to tweet your logs to me @Starfeathers, and I’ll see what I can pull out for you.  Also I highly encourage you all to support Kihra in the maintenance and development of Warcraft Logs by supporting the patreon at

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.0, Patch 6.2, Written By Alame

Patch 6.1 Balance Druid Rundown

Patch 6.1 will be downloading in your clients and the patch itself will go live this Tuesday.  There’s a handful of changes to Balance druids you should be aware of. Here’s the notes:

Force of Nature’s Treants has been buffed with a 35% increase to their health and spellpower, and an 80% increase to their armor and attack power.

Stellar Flare (Balance) damage has been increased by 16%, and now has a duration of 24 seconds (up from 20 seconds).

Healing Touch no longer heals for 50% more when cast-on-self for Balance Druids.

Balance Druids now learn a new passive ability at level 38, Nature’s Bounty.  – Nature’s Bounty causes Healing Touch to be Critical Strikes for 8 seconds after killing an enemy that yields experience or honor.

Starfall damage decreased by 16.6%.

Starfall and Sunfall now only hits targets affected with Moonfire or Sunfire by default. – Glyph of Guided Stars has been renamed to Glyph of Untamed Stars and is now a Minor glyph. Glyph of Untamed Stars expands Starfall and Sunfall to hit all targets within range.

Displacer Beast is now classified as an Arcane School ability and can no longer be used while silenced.

First up, let’s talk about the Starfall nerf.

Starfall right now accounts for around 20-25% of total DPS by Balance Druids across all ten fights in Blackrock Foundry.  The nerf means starfall will only be doing 83.4% of it’s previous damage.  The net result is that the average DPS for Boomkins in Blackrock Foundry will drop by 3.32%.  Single target fights like Gruul will see no change, while fights like Kromog and Beastlord Darmac will see a much larger reduction.  Overall, while no one is happy to get nerfed, this isn’t too bad.  There’s no playstyle changes here, you’ll just do a tiny bit less damage.

Next lets talk about the Talent changes; both of them have the same outcome. 

A slight damage buff to Force of Nature and a damage & duration buff to Stellar Flare.  This makes both talents a little closer to being competitive but at the end of the day you’re still not going to take either.  Why?  Force of Nature’s problem has always been rooted in the poor AI behavior and this damage buff doesn’t change that.  Even despite this buff Force of Nature still won’t compete with Incarnation.  As for Stellar Flare, Euphoria is too good for low-targets and Balance of Power is better for multiple targets.  To understand just how weak Stellar Flare is, here’s some math:

  • Stellar Flare does 39%+156% spellpower over 24 seconds, or 8.125% spellpower/second
  • Moonfire does 40.5%+292.5% spellpower over 20 seconds, or 16.65% spellpower/s
  • Sunfire does 40.5%+351% spellpower over 24 seconds, or 16.31% spellpower/s

Not only does Stellar Flare do approximately half the damage of Moonfire & Sunfire, but it’s hard casted!  The terrible damage combined with the clunky useability of the spell makes it simply not a viable talent choice in a realistic raid scenario.  There are extremely niche cases where 6+ high priority adds are alive for 30 seconds or more in which Stellar Flare will outdamage Euphoria or BoP, but this scenario simply doesn’t exist in the current Raid Tier

Next, the change to Starfall’s mechanics.

Starfall is now only going to hit targets affected by your DoTs.  This was previously the function of Glyph of Guided Stars, but they are making the Glyphed function baseline, and you can use the new glyph to return Starfall to it’s current state.

Do this immediately.  This change is catering to those learning to play Balance or unable to control their Starfall.  You are a raiding moonkin and understand the concepts of LoS and range.  You do not need this hand-holding to protect yourself from errant Starfall pulls.  Glyph of Guided Stars was always a DPS loss and they are now baking this DPS loss into the baseline skill.  The first thing you should do when patch goes live is acquire a Glyph of Untamed Stars and stick it in a glyph slot.  Fortunately this is only a minor glyph, and not a major (RIP Glyph of Aquatic Form.)

Time for self-healing.

Thanks to PvP, our self-healing got nerfed.  Where previously we were healing for diddly-squat, now we’re healing for two-thirds of diddly-squat.  This doesn’t change how you use Healing Touch, as if you were desperate enough to spam healing touch on yourself it doesn’t matter if it’s 100 hp or 66 hp, you need it and you need it now.  But hey, they gave us Nature’s Bounty so you can get 8s of free Healing Touch criticals when you kill something.  Yippie *eyeroll*

Finally, Displacer Beast was added to the Arcane School.

Just a useability issue.  If you get locked out of your Arcane School (by say, Hans & Frans roar) you will be unable to cast Displacer Beast.  This is pretty important if say, there’s a press coming down on your head and you can’t get out of the way without Displacer Beast.  This is what we call a ‘lose more’ change, as if you screw up and get locked out of Arcane, the potential to be punished for your mistake goes up.  Just don’t get locked out of your spell schools okay?

Welcome to 6.1.  Use the Untamed Stars Glyph, take a selfie of yourself crying about the Starfall nerf, and tweet it to me @Starfeathers.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Uncategorized, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Alame

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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