So, I’ve given a lot of attention to the resto changes lately, but with the most recent patch notes, I wanted to shift my focus for today’s post onto the moonkin changes.
Moonkin has always been an endangered species in PvP, mostly because it’s a spec that just never had good PvP tools, and they bear the brunt of nerfs that are directed at either feral or resto druids.
The latest problem comes from a round of changes in 4.0.6, where moonkin are getting neutered in some respects due to changes intended to weaken feral PvP.
- Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
- Glyph of Entangling Roots redesigned. It now reduces the cast time of Entangling Roots by 0.2 seconds, rather than making it instant cast.
- Along with the duration reduction of pretty much all forms of CC for all the classes for PvP purposes shortening roots/Nature’s Grasp duration.
So, moonkin got a double-whammy where they lose the ability to escape when they get rooted by another class, but also lose the instant roots that helped with moonkin survivability.
The change makes it such that moonkin druids are vulnerable to root effects, which we now can’t break out of, and moonkin also lacks the ability to self-heal (we can’t heal in moonkin form, and shifting out of moonkin form leaves us incredibly vulnerable) and the spec only has barkskin as a survivability cooldown.
Running away used to be the moonkin’s defense system, and now moonkin don’t have one – because we can’t effectively kite away from melee, even after the other moonkin buffs coming in 4.0.6 are taken into consideration.
The good in 4.0.6:
There are, however, a couple good changes that will help (but not solve the problem).
- Barkskin is no longer dispellable.
- Moonkin Form now grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor.
- Fungal growth duration has been increased to 20 seconds, up from 10. In addition, it should now be much more responsive when detonating Wild Mushrooms.
- Wild Mushroom is now instant cast, down from 0.5 seconds. In addition, the radius of detonation has been increased to 6 yards, up from 3, and damage done increased by 30%.
- The Shooting Stars buff duration has been increased to 12 seconds, up from 8 seconds.
So, what we get to “compensate” for lack of survivability seems to be a more reliable wild mushroom & Fungal Growth. However, if moonkin can’t shift out of roots, then any team with roots and fears has the ability to easily control moonkin. Without the magic dispel that resto has, moonkin will have no way to escape from roots (unless someone else on their team dispels them – which they’re unlikely to do, since we have a 6+ year long tradition of not needing assistance when rooted). So, fungal growth won’t be that effective at keeping people off the moonkin if moonkin can get rooted in place while their opponents catch back up with them and slices their low-survivability faces open.
They actually seem to have reverted the root break change for restoration (but not moonkin) druids with this specialization change:
- Restoration: Disentanglement (new specialization): Causes shapeshifting to remove roots in addition to snares.
So, resto druids get to be happy, since they can both dispell and shapeshift out of roots. They also are going to keep it such that resto druids can’t be sheeped when they are in tree form.
Moonkin, however, are still really nervous at this point. You could argue that the change to have 15% damage reduction in moonkin form is how Blizzard is compensating moonkin. However, based on the fact that the 15% comes at the cost of losing the increased armor bonus, I’d like to argue that the change to a 15% damage reduction (that will reduce both physical & magical damage by 15%) is likely going to mean that it either increases our physical damage taken by a very small amount (or comes out neutral on physical damage), and will only serve to reduce the magic damage we take. Now, gaining 15% magic damage reduction is really nice (especially for PvE, and for PvP against caster-heavy teams). However, against physical damage, running away seems to still be our best option for dealing with melee opponents.
There is, however, some hope for moonkin:
Zarhym posted on the forums yesterday that there were more upcoming changes planned for moonkin:
The below post is correct. We will share additional information with you regarding our plans for Balance as soon as we can, though it’ll probably have to wait until after the holiday weekend.
What does that mean? Really, anyone could guess.
My Speculation/recommendation: What would make the most sense to me is if they left the root break attached to moonkin form (which is out of reach of feral druids) so that balance druids could use moonkin form (but not travel/cat/bear) to break roots, which would be clunky if you had been trying to use travel form to break away, but would still give you something.
Conclusion: The only major problem for moonkin with the 4.0.6 patch is the problem with not being able to break roots. I believe that everything else would be okay if we had a root break (where the changes overall would be positive for the spec). If they reverse this somehow for moonkin, we should be in a lot better shape. We’re just going to have to hang in there and see how things go. I’ll post more once Blizzard does their follow-up post to tell us their intentions for moonkin. The hardest thing to do is wait.