What changed for moonkin in 5.0 for Mists of Pandaria.
Moonkin overall in MOP are in a slightly better position than we were in Cataclysm especially since we now have more on-demand cooldowns. However, there is still a lot of subtlety and complexity in the moonkin rotation. I’m hoping that we’ll see more things change for moonkin once things are live, since we had some pretty major mechanic changes late in the Beta process. Things should feel fine overall for level 85 because most of the added complexity happens with our level 90 talents and at lower gear levels, but you won’t likely see any major changes to your single-target damage other than having better burst cooldowns for things like Heroic Spine. The AOE rotation ends up being a little different since Hurricane spam is viable for large groups of adds likely to die quickly. Most importantly, don’t panic!
By Ginny @mahoumelonball
Here’s a list of removed or added spells for moonkin in 5.0:
Insect swarm – Removed.
Also had many feral/guardian/resto abilities removed, including lifebloom & regrowth.
Relic slot removed (ranged slot removed from ALL classes). You can now disenchant or sell all relics. As pointed out in the comments, this led to the amount of hit rating needed being reduced by 2%. Thus, you should reforge down to 1537 hit rating for level 85.
Moonfire and Sunfire are now two distinct spells that you can cast at any time (no more morphing from one into the other). So, you will need to pull sunfire onto your cast bar.
Astral Communion: You can now set up your Eclipse in advance with Astral Communion. You should cancel your astral communion when you are 1 cast away from a Lunar eclipse when you start a DPS rotation. With the new MOP pvp set bonus, your astral communion can be used while moving.
Celestial Alignment: This is a new DPS cooldown, but it’s somewhat tricky to use. You want to use this outside of an Eclipse state (preferably right after you leave Lunar), as it resets your Eclipse power to zero but gives you the benefit of both Eclipse states. When CA is active, put up your DOTs, hit starfall, and then use Starfire.
General mechanic/rotation changes:
Hurricane now morphs into Astral Storm when you are in a Lunar Eclipse (only one is active at a time). Hurricane & Astral Storm are now viable AOE tools.
Starfire now hits harder than wrath for single-target damage by a significant amount, though you still cycle normally through your Eclipse.
Nature’s Grace now procs when you enter an Eclipse state, rather than when you cast DOTs. Starfall now has a cooldown reset when you enter Lunar Eclipse. The glyph to shrink starfall’s radius has been removed, so now you have to be more careful that it doesn’t hit unintended targets.
Lunar shower no longer generates Eclipse energy. Both moonfire & sunfire apply the same buff and benefit from it (so, your first moonfire would buff your next sunfire, and vice versa, though the damage increase is small).
Wild mushrooms had the damage done decreased, and had the mana cost moved to the bloom instead of when you drop the shrooms. In addition, the targeting mechanic changed so that your targeting circle stays active so you don’t have to press the button each time when you are dropping shrooms.
Our multi-DOT strategy changes since we no longer have insect swarm (see video here). For large packs of mobs that die quickly, using Hurricane is likely going to result in higher damage than trying to multi-dot. Shrooms should only be used when they are set up in advance of incoming AOE targets.
Here is a cookie cutter talent build: feline swiftness (wild charge also viable), nature’s swiftness -> Macro to Healing Touch, typhoon (or any other CC talent), Incarnation, Mighty bash (or any other CC talent).
Our major glyph choices are severely lacking, so you can basically take any glyphs you want (because none of them impact your damage abilities in any way at all). Glyph of the moonbeast (highly recommended), rebirth (though without the glyph, they now res with 60% health), stampede, stampeding roar, and innervate are all options that could work for PvE.
Minor glyphs have some fun choices. Glyph of stars will turn your moonkin into an astral form that applies a spell effect to your humanoid form to make you more translucent & sparkly. All the minor glyphs (including tree form) are viable options (choose the most fun for you).
Cyous of Illidan made a video talking about the MOP balance druid rotation, as of build 16004. Note that any changes in builds may have an impact on rotations. Incarnation and Nature’s Vigil are currently coming out highest on testing right now, so that’s what talents the video uses (though Cyous was posting on an 85, Nature’s Vigil would be in a macro with Incarnation since they share the same 3-min cooldown timer).
Macros from the video:
/use Incarnation: Chosen of Elune
/use Nature’s Vigil
For people looking at more basic info than what is in the video, Icy Veins has a good starting point. The rotation shown in the video will be higher damage than what Icy Veins talks about, but everyone has to start somewhere! The balance rotation overall is higher DPS at earlier gear levels if you re-cast your DOTs right before an Eclipse state ends, though it feels awkward to do that because you’ll clip the remaining time on the one you just cast at the start of an Eclipse. Especially at lower levels of haste, this can feel pretty awkward and I’m hoping this DOT-clipping problem will be addressed soon, which would require Blizzard to increase the duration of our DOTs so they lasted longer.
Cyous describes changes to a multi-DOT (AOE) rotation here. The multi-DOT strategy is good for when your targets are going to die slowly. If things are going to die relatively fast, Hurricane (or the arcane astral storm equivalent) is coming out okay to use.
Right now on beta, Moonkin form can mount! We’ve known all of beta that mounting in the astral glyph form has been working. However, moonkin was bugged until this latest patch where you had to shift out of moonkin form to be able to get on a mount. Sunfyre noticed today that we were able to mount in moonkin form (something people have been wanting for a long, long time). I’m fairly sure that the ability to mount from moonkin form will go live, since astral form would be overpowered if it could mount and moonkin couldn’t. Here are a few shots of me in the MoP beta. Please let us keep this!
This took a while to figure out since we were bugged and had no mounts at all in the latest beta build due to the new UI feature not working all that well.
Now that we have been in beta a couple of weeks, it is time for me to start doing my moonkin beta posts, which I write a couple times each beta. I’m going to try and keep this reasonably short to just highlight some major areas where things are going well and where we still need attention. The beta forum version can be found here.
At this point, our single target “training dummy” rotation works okay. Solar and Lunar feel relatively balanced. Removing insect swarm works out fine. There is still a lot of skill involved in maximizing moonfire & sunfire “double-DOT” up-time. I’m fine with insect swarm being gone, though I wouldn’t mind if it came back as an instant-cast execute ability to help give moonkin a finisher and more instant-cast damage outside of shooting stars procs and moonfire spam.
For AOE purposes, the changes to hurricane (astral storm) makes our AOE rotations more balanced between the two specs. So, it’s likely that our AOE rotation in Mists will feel a lot better. The targeting mechanic for shrooms is also a lot better. Hurricane still costs too much mana, but that will likely be a balancing issue for level 90.
Our movement DPS options are still severely lacking. Being limited to moonfire spam is not going to cut it. In terms of how to fix this issue, I’ve been suggesting adding Spiritwalker’s Grace and Aspect of the Fox to moonkin’s Symbiosis spell list (where having either a shaman or hunter in your raid would allow for casting wrath & starfire while moving during the duration). A way to cast wrath & starfire while moving could also be a good option for glyphs.
Moonkin have at least one viable talent from each tier except for the level 90 talents. The druids’ level 90 talents are one of those “good sounding bad ideas”, where I’m pretty sure no one is going to believe until they actually go live. I’ve written about the level 90 druid talents here: http://www.restokin.com/2012/03/mop-feedback-level-90-druid-talents/
Right now, moonkin lack any sort of real set of major glyphs that impact the spells we use. I do love glyph of moonbeast, since it allows me to be the true “restokin” I always wanted to be (I’ve been wanting to cast heals in moonkin form since moonkin form was created in patch 1.8). However, other classes are still getting glyphs that impact their main role (even if they come at a cost).
Glyph of Focus (inreased starfall’s damage but reduced it’s range) is actually something I think should be added back. It had the cost of sometimes being out of range of the boss for starfall in exchange for sometimes not hitting things you needed to keep alive.
Other glyph options: We could have a glyph like glyph of flame shock, that reduced moonfire/sunfire’s direct damage but increased it’s duration. Glyph of unleashed lightning could be adapted to moonkin, where we could cast wrath & starfire while moving at the cost of an increased cast time. We could have a glyph where starsurge was always instant cast but lowered the chance for shooting stars to proc. Glyph of Mushroom where you drop three mushrooms at once but it increases the bloom cooldown by 5 or 10 seconds.
Moonkin have a lot of options for PvP, but most of them won’t give you any type of real benefit in PvE at all (and some of the spells just don’t do anything for you). For example, you don’t need misdirect as a moonkin for PvP at all, and if you already have a hunter in the raid, you don’t need it for PvE either. Symbiosis is a good place to add ways of doing DPS on the move. Giving us a couple options that will have minor impacts on our DPS will not be overpowered or problematic as long as we have 3 or 4 different options of things that give us similar PvE benefits. I worked out a google doc spreadsheet thinking about ideas for what moonkin could want, to have a somewhat well-rounded ability list that wasn’t likely to be overpowered for either PvP or PvE purposes.