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Starsurge Recharge – How do I Use These Things Anyway?

Hi everyone! We have a new guest writer today, Alame. He will be covering moonkin topics on the blog to help new and experienced moonkin. I am happy to have him join the team! Since I’m busy writing mage and resto things, I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to moonkin. I hope that Alame can help answer some of your pressing moonkin questions! – Lissanna

Hi Restokin readers!  I am Alame.  I am a Balance Druid for Last Word on US-Ner’zhul Horde.  I have been playing World of Warcraft since the release of Cataclysm, as a Resto druid until Siege of Orgrimmar where Balance became my main spec.  I am very much into progression raiding and theorycrafting.  Outside of Azeroth I study Immunology & Infection, and can be found in the Gym or the local bar.

Starsurge management

Starsurge charge management is one of my favorite aspects of the new Balance Druid that Warlords of Draenor has brought us.  This is mostly due to the duality of the mechanic; you can manage your Starsurge charges very simply by using them and do quite well.  You can also go several steps further in analyzing and predicting recharge rates to pool and dump charges to push your DPS that little bit higher.

We’ll get to usage in a moment, but first let’s look at Starsurge Recharging.

You have two sources of Starsurge charges – the base recharge and Shooting Stars procs.  The base recharge is nice and predictable at a steady 1 charge every 30s.  Shooting Stars on the other hand can be unpredictable and in my experience very streaky.  Some fights I am swimming in procs and charges, and other fights I am struggling to keep up.

Shooting Stars has two levels of inherent RNG attached to it, which greatly contributes to how unpredictable it can be.  The first level of RNG is the proc chance itself, a 5% chance whenever your most recent DoT deals damage.  The second level is the critical strike bonus, where your 5% chance is doubled whenever the DoT deals a crit.  The important thing to take away from the mechanics of Shooting Stars is that you can increase your chances of receiving procs.  You do this through your Haste (more ticks!) and Crit (higher chance!) ratings.

The chart below shows the number of charges acquired per source over a ten-minute interval.  The graph operates under 2 assumptions which we will address up front:

  1. Haste and Crit levels are equal at either 1,100 or 1,500.  The 1,100 line represents around 680 ilevel, and the 1,500 line is approximately 710ilevel and used to demonstrate the scaling.  Haste and Crit are used in equal values as they are weighted very closely, and you should strive to balance the two wherever possible.
  2. The proc rate for Shooting Stars is calculated as a statistical average! In no way should you take away a message that you will always get 21 SS procs in 10 minutes. That’s not how RNG works.

Charges gained per source over 10 minutes

For those of you not quite in 680 gear yet (It’s a little high I know.  I hit that landmark recently so I’m a little excited about it!) you can extrapolate your gear from the given values.  Around 660 the Shooting Stars generation will be very close to the base recharge rate, and around 20 ilevels corresponds to an extra charge every 10 minutes assuming your stats are distributed evenly.

The key thing to remember looking at the graph is that you benefit from both the base recharge and Shooting Stars simultaneously.  At 680 ilevel you will on average, generate 41 (20 base, 21 SS) additional Starsurge charges over ten minutes for a rate of 4 per minute, or 1 charge every 14.5 seconds.  At our theoretical 710 ilevel, you’re looking at 1 charge every 14 seconds flat.

Now that we understand where the charges are coming from, lets move onto Starsurge Charge Usage.

There are four rules we try to follow when consuming our Starsurge charges, but it’s important to note that each of these rules has exceptions to them.  Rules are made to be broken you know.

Rule #1:  At no point should your available Starsurge Charges reach 3.

The reason for this is three-fold.  Firstly, reaching 3 charges will freeze the base recharge timer.  If this happens you are not actively generating an additional charge, and not maximizing the number of charges you will generate in the encounter.  Keep that timer working!  Secondly, any Shooting Stars procs received while charge-capped will have no effect.  Again in the interests of maximizing charges gained you want to make sure your Shooting Stars procs always have room to add another Charge.  Thirdly, reaching 3 charges via a Shooting Stars proc will reset the base charge timer.  If you are halfway through the timer (15s until next charge) and this occurs, you will now be 30s away from the next charge when you charge-dump.  The ideal place for your Starsurge timer to be, is 1 charge stored with 10-20s on the base timer until the next charge.

Rule #2: Lunar and Solar Empowerment should be consumed and not overwritten.

This is the most frequently-excepted rule, for reasons we will cover when we talk about charge-dumping.  The two (Lunar) or three (Solar) stacks of empowerment you receive when casting Starsurge in a given eclipse should all be used before casting Starsurge again in the same eclipse.  Overwriting these is a pretty straight up DPS loss.  Again there are exceptions to this rule that will be covered shortly.

Rule #3: Starsurge versus Starfall.

This is much more simple than it is made out to be.  When in Lunar eclipse, Starfall instead of Starsurge at 2 or more targets.  When in Solar eclipse, Starfall instead of Starsurge at 3 or more targets.  The exception to this rule is when you should NOT be AoEing (Hello Ko’ragh & Imperator Mar’gok) in which case you should use Starsurge regardless.  Seriously, Starfall is incredibly strong right now. Make the most of it before the nerf bat catches up to it.

Rule #4: When charged-starved, save charges for Empowered Starfires instead of Empowered Wraths.

Just simple math here.  Starfire does 234% of Spellpower, multiplied by 2 and empowered for 30% results in 608.4% Spellpower.  Wrath does 146.3% spellpower, multiplied by 3 and empowered for 30% spits out 570.57% Spellpower.  608.4% > 570.57%.  Good?  Good.

With those rules in mind the last concepts I have for you today are Charge Pooling & Dumping.

Charge pooling is super simple; it’s saving up charges past where you normally want to sit (1 available and halfway to the second) in anticipation of an event.  These events are usually Celestial Alignment coming off cooldown, add phases (hello Kargath, Tectus, Ko’ragh, Imperator) or the like.  Around 20-25s before whatever event I will stop casting Starsurge and being pooling.  With our 14.5s per charge recharge time we determined earlier, this will usually sit me very close to 3 charges when the event begins.  This is however, playing with fire in capping your charges and breaking Rule #1.  This is okay.  The DPS gain you will see from an additional Starsurge during Celestial Alignment, or an additional Starfall during an add phase will be much greater than the DPS loss from a small base-timer reset, or a wasted Shooting Stars proc.

Charge dumping is slightly more complicated.  The purpose behind charge dumping is to avoid breaking Rule #1.    It involves burning Starsurge charges where you normally wouldn’t in anticipation of your charges capping.  The three best ways to charge-dump are:

  1. Starsurge on the downswing of Eclipse, carrying the Empowerment buff through the next eclipse. (This does not mean casting Starfire in Solar!  Simply hold onto the buff until your eclipse changes again and you can consume them in the correct eclipse.)
  2. Starsurge while moving, regardless of Eclipse state / empowerment buffs.  Thanks to our WoD perk making Starsurge instant, we can cast it while on the move.  Whenever you are looking to charge dump (2 or more charges) and need to move, hit Starsurge with glee.  Not only does this charge dump for you, it also mitigates the huge impact movement has on our DPS.  You should never consume more than 1 charge at time like this, as you will quickly charge-starve yourself if you do so. You are breaking Rule #2 doing this, and that’s totally okay.  However, if you are overwriting 2 Lunar or 3 Solar buffs like this, do dump #3 instead.
  3. Starfall!  I love Starfall.  You should too.  If you can’t Starsurge while moving without overwriting too many empowerment buffs, hit Starfall.  Even on one target Starfall does excellent damage (in fact it does MORE single-target than Starsurge without empowerment buffs) and it’s an instant-cast you can use on the move.  However please do not Starfall where it will negatively impact your raid!  Ko’ragh and Imperator adds are the best example for this.

That’s all I have for you guys on Starsurge management.  If you need some clarification please leave a comment below, and if you’d like to see me cover a particular topic drop me a line on twitter @Starfeathers!

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.0, Warlords of Draenor

Resto gearing: And the winner is haste!

I have received a lot of questions about the ‘haste versus mastery’ debate for restoration druids. The winner of this debate all along was haste, but a bug to wild growth let people open up this debate. I believe Hamlet’s recent haste vs mastery post speaks for itself, but I wanted to put my support behind the “haste wins” conclusions.

While there was previously some room for debate, two recent major changes (in favor of haste) help boost the value of haste relative to mastery. Here are the changes:

  1. Bug fix for Wild Growth. Wild Growth launched with a bug that wasn’t giving the final partial tick, allowing it to still technically have a haste breakpoint. This drove some people to try and gear around the bugged breakpoint. This spell was fixed recently such that it now properly scales linearly with haste.
  2. They buffed haste for all classes. They lowered the amount of haste rating required to achieve 1% haste. This means haste is now more potent for all classes. While this buff also came with a nerf to the amount healed by rejuv, haste remains more potent overall in general.

With these two changes combined, haste comes out as a clear winner in the math versus mastery for resto druid. That said, a substantially higher ilevel piece with mastery is still a good item for resto druids. Even better are pieces with both haste and mastery, since all gear comes with two secondary stats.

If you happen to be in a position where you have two otherwise identical items and have to choose between the haste piece and the mastery piece, then the haste piece is going to come out ahead for resto druids. In general, as Hamlet illustrated in his haste post, unless you are trying to gear specifically to boost your tranquility spell, maintain 100% up-time on your harmony mastery (which, lets be honest, a lot of people fail at), and meet several other important criteria, then haste is going to give you the most consistent bang for your buck.

Now, this still means that both haste and mastery come out ahead of crit and versatility. With more raid dungeons and LFR opening up soon, we’re finally hitting the point where you get to make decisions other than about equipping a higher ilevel piece. This is also complicated by things like the tertiary stats that get rolled randomly when an item drops. Thus, gearing has been greatly over-complicated this expansion, during a time where Blizzard claimed to be simplifying. For resto druids, however, I think the community has finally settled on a general stat priority – for what that’s worth. Go forth and be hasty!

Posted in Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

Happy 6.0 Warlords of Draenor patch day!

The 6.0 pre-patch with all the class and systems changes goes live today! Here are some resources for surviving patch day! Returning to the game after a break, or haven’t been following all the dozens of changes? No problem! Below are some helpful links for druids (with a couple bonus mage guides!). I’ll add more resources as they become available – many people are working on finishing & publishing their guides today. For example, wowhead is still working on finishing up their class guides today.

General Druid Changes:

Restoration druids:

Balance Druids:

 Guardian Druids:

Feral Druids:

Frost Mages:

Blizzard’s Beginner Balance Druid video:

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Uncategorized, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

Resto druid WOD level 90 survival guide 6.0

Below is a summary of relevant Warlords of Draenor changes for restoration druids. This information is relevant to level 90 after the 6.0 patch. The patch is still at least a week away, but I wanted to get this posted for people to start preparing early! The below information is (to the best of my knowledge) accurate at the time of posting. Future updates will be done as needed. I will be updating the full healing guide at a later date to be relevant for level 100 closer to the expansion launch. Keep in mind that my advice for level 100 will vary greatly from what is posted below, as many level 100 decisions are not relevant for the month we are 90 or the time we spend leveling from 90 to 99. As usual, everything is still subject to change between now and when the patch goes live. Hamlet already has a level 100 druid guide up on WOWhead. In addition, my level 100 druid guide is now updated!

Major Stat Changes

Stat Squish: All the stats have been squished! All player and NPC health, damage, heals, stats, and other values have been reduced. This means that the time to kill something remains relatively constant, but the numbers shown on the screen are smaller.
• There is no reforging – what stats you have on your gear is what you get (and all previous reforging was reversed).
Spirit is now only found on accessories and not your primary gear (hit for DPS casters was removed entirely). Thus, healers and DPS casters now largely share all gear, with the exception of a few accessories with spirit. This means all your gear, gems, and such were changed to remove spirit.
• They made major HOT mechanic changes. Thus, there are no Haste HOT Breakpoints anymore (so, don’t ask for one). In addition, you can recast HOTs any time in the last 30% of the duration and not suffer any loss of ticks, so you get a little more wiggle room for refreshing HOTs without penalty. Instead of snapshotting stats, most HOTs and DOTs now update dynamically each tick.
Major stats at level 90. Most of your gear will have crit, mastery, and haste on it. Resto druids generally prefer mastery and haste over crit, but most of your gear resto tier gear will have crit on it. For the month we are all level 90, these stats aren’t terribly important for most of what you want to do, so most gear will be fine.
The other new stats (versatility, multistrike, etc) will be introduced to gear in the expansion once we start leveling and replacing gear in Draenor, and will be talked about in the level 100 guide coming “soon”.

Gearing at 90 (Summary): Accessories (e.g., neck, ring) with spirit will be better than accessories without. On your main gear (e.g., chest, pants, boots, etc), mastery and haste are prioritized higher than crit. You can’t reforge, however, so gearing optimally isn’t important for the month we wait for the next expansion. Wowhead has a gearing up guide if you need more gearing up advice (or more advice about the stat changes). Note that tiny differences in things like “optimal” enchants and consumables won’t have any real measurable effect on your performance for the month you are 90 (and are subject to change over the course of that month).

Major Changes to Abilities

Lifebloom is now limited to a single stack, instead of having 3 total stacks. The base healing was increased to compensate. This frees up more time in the fight, and means that sometimes you might want to let lifeboom actually bloom for the direct heal.
Wild Mushroom no longer has a bloom direct heal effect. Instead, it just provides a short Efflorescence ground-targeted HOT and then goes away after the 30 second duration ends. While it has no cooldown, only one can be on the ground at a time. So, as this is mana-expensive to move around, only move it if you have to.
• Swiftmend can no longer have efflo attached to it, so it only provides the instant single-target direct heal.
• Wild Growth has a cast time, but resto druids still maintain a fair amount of movement ability while healing overall.

Minor Changes to Abilities

• Omen of Clarity only benefits regrowth, and no longer gains additional procs from the Tree of Life form cooldown.
• Tranquility’s mechanic has been simplified, but it otherwise works the same in practice. It’s a powerful channeled spell that heals all nearby party/raid members over 8 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown (no more additional HOT component or strange scaling).
Level 90 talents no longer provide a strong main-role bonus, but Nature’s Vigil seems to be the best one for resto druids.
• They changed the combat res mechanic for raids. In a raid, your combat res ability will show the number of the shared pool of charges remaining for the boss encounter across all raid/party members. In a 20-person raid, we get 1 charge every (90/20 =) 4.5 minutes, or one charge every (90/10 =) 9 minutes in a 10-person raid.

Removed Abilities

The following abilities were removed from resto druids’ toolset:

• Nourish
• Symbiosis
• Innervate
• Hybernate
• Nature’s Grasp
• Some hybrid bear/cat abilities were removed from resto druids, including: Faerie Fire, lacerate, maim, (mangle is now bear only – with shred no longer having a positional requirement for cat), maul, might of ursoc, rake, survival instincts, etc.

What are the primary healing tools?

Single target direct: Healing Touch (long cast time), Regrowth (high mana cost), Swiftmend (instant-cast, but has a cooldown and requires a HOT on the target), nature’s swiftness (paired with healing touch).
• Single target HOTS: Lifebloom (1 stack, still limited to 1 target), Rejuvenation (mana cost similar to healing touch)
AOE HOTs: Wild Growth (1.5 sec cast time, 8 sec cooldown, 7 sec duration), Wild Mushroom (instant-cast, 30 sec duration, ground-targeted), Tranquility (channeled for 8 sec, 3 min cooldown), Genesis (high mana cost, emergency heal, consumes all your rejuvs and applies that HOT healing faster).
• Important Passive Procs: Living seed (procs from Healing touch, regrowth, or swiftmend crits – got slightly better), omen of clarity (only impacts regrowth).
• Other: level 15 talents and level 60 talents provide new healing spells or augments.

What are the primary utility tools?

Crowd control: roots, cyclone, choice of level 45 talents, and choice of level 75 talents.
Movement: Dash, travel form, level 15 talents, stampeding roar
Survivability: Ironbark (yourself or others) and barkskin (yourself only)
• Other spells: rebirth, revive, nature’s cure, Mark of the Wild, Teleport: Moonglade

How am I supposed to heal raids (summary)?

The healing strategy stays largely the same. Keep Lifebloom on a single tank. Use rejuv on as many targets as possible. Use Wild Growth on cooldown. Cast Wild Mushroom once every 30 seconds, or when everyone has moved out of it. Use Swiftmend as an instant single-target heal. Use regrowth when omen of clarity procs. Use Healing Touch if you need a big direct heal. Use tranquility as needed for big burst damage phases. Use other utility (e.g., ironbark, nature’s cure, rebirth) as needed.

What talents changed? What talents should I take?

  • For level 90 (and leveling to 100), take the talents you are most comfortable with. I generally prefer passive talents over active talents for leveling.
  • The only major functionality changes are to Soul of the Forest (now provides HOTs and regrowth with a healing bonus instead of haste – still makes HT cast faster), Heart of the Wild (no longer provides strong intellect bonus), and Incarnation (they changed what spells are augmented, and so now you spam rejuv instead of lifebloom/regrowth).
  • Everything else is largely number tuning and reducing the main-role bonus from the other level 90 talents (DOC & NV) to be slightly weaker relative to the health pool changes.
  • So, a build for a player new to resto druids leveling in dungeons could be: Feline Swiftness, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Soul of the Forest, Ursol’s Vortex, and Nature’s Vigil.
  • More experienced druids might take incarnation  instead of force of nature to have a cooldown that can be timed with end-game boss encounters.
  • Note that end-game raiding builds will end up with different talents that better suit the needs of the raid encounters or play-styles, especially given how the level 100 talents interact with the rest of the builds.

What’s up with my travel form button?

Travel form has merged the ground travel, water travel, and flight form all into one single button that is supposed to morph when you change environments. The Glyph of Stag will split Flight Form from this merged travel form (in addition to letting party members ride on your back). However, the “travel form” will still go into the swim/water form even when someone is on your back. So, if you are carrying someone on your back in stag form, don’t go in water or you will drop them!

“My new face is ugly!”

You can now have plastic surgery done to your character’s face by visiting the barber shop.

What race should I be?

The new racial trait info can be found here.

What glyphs should I use?

Note that the Efflorescence and innervate glyphs were removed. If this is still in your talent page, remove it – it does nothing. You can take any of the glyphs designed for resto druids that are helpful at 90 and leveling to 100. Generally keep the ones you were using before, and update any removed glyphs with new options that augment spells you are using. For more glyph advice, see the level 100 healing guides.

Posted in Patch 6.0, Restoration Healing Trees, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

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