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Moonkin 4.0.6 feeling rooted

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.

Mainly, this set of changes is likely to weaken moonkin PvP ability:

  • 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.

Posted in 4.0.6, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patches

Resto & moonkin 4.0.6 patch updates

So, there are a handful of changes (mostly positive) that hit the PTR, from both the official PTR patch notes and the unofficial MMO-champion notes. We’ll be talking more about these changes during the second episode of the Team Waffle Podcast, which we are pre-recording tomorrow (the 7th), which should be released early next week.

Also, remember that since we are talking about things on the PTR, they are subject to change without advanced warning.

For moonkin, the primary change of interest is to wild mushrooms:

  • Wild mushrooms are instant cast, with a 6 yard detonate radius. Their damage was also increased by 15%.

Since Wild Mushrooms are not widely used, any buff is a good one. This fixes two of their major problems: not being able to cast them while moving (due to their super annoying .5 sec cast time while still having the  normal GCD time) and the fact their radius was so small (at 3 yards) you risked wasting a bunch of time if they didn’t hit the target. This new version of Shrooms should be easier for moonkin to use, and will make them a better tool than they were before.

Leveling Resto changes:

They are changing the levels at which you get 3 abilities:

  • Rejuv will be lowered to level 3
  • Nourish will be lowered to level 8
  • Healing Touch will be increased to 78.

There was a huge problem for people leveling restoration druids – where we didn’t have any mana efficient heals at lower levels. Low level restoration druids have been complaining to me since Cataclysm came out that healing for lower level dungeons (before you got Nourish) was really difficult due to mana issues. So, Blizzard has fixed this really huge problem by swapping the levels you get Nourish & HT. That change, combined with making rejuv more mana efficient, will have a huge impact on leveling as a resto druid. So, if you were thinking of making a new resto druid healer, you might want to wait until 4.0.6 to start running dungeons with your sapling.

Resto changes targeted at max level:

The rest of the changes for restoration druids come in the form of things targeted at end-game healing. The set of changes will have big enough effects that I’ll have to release an updated guide version when the changes go live. For now, some highlights are:

  • The return of rejuv-spam with the decreased mana cost of rejuv (I swear they change rejuv’s mana cost every patch).
  • Nature’s Bounty is going to have an effect where you will lower Nourish’s cast time (by up to 30%) if you have rejuvenations on 3 or more targets.  This means that we may need to reconsider the points we’ve been dropping from Nature’s Bounty.
  • Omen of Clarity is only going to proc off healing spells through the Malfurion’s gift talent. So, as a resto druid without Malfurion’s Gift, you won’t get any OOC procs from your heals. When you spec into malfurion’s gift, you will be able to proc OOC off lifebloom ticks (only), according to the current tooltip. For feral & balance – our damage abilities & spells will still proc it like normal.
  • Regrowth buffed in several ways. First, it benefits from Empowered Touch, which will directly increase it’s healing done. In addition, they are changing the regrowth glyph to refresh the HOT when the target hits 50% health (which used to require the target to hit 25% health). I will probably still not use the regrowth glyph (since I don’t want to give up the rejuv, lifebloom, or swiftmend glyphs), but it makes the glyph less bad.

The set of changes for resto druids in the 4.0.6 patch is overall a buff. The changes should help raid/AOE healers find a more efficient way to keep people alive. This set of changes doesn’t fix the problem of having to rely on HOTs or single-target spells for most of our multi-target healing. However, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, since these are buffs – and all buffs are good…

The changes to our talents will likely have an impact on what talents you will want to pick up for your healing. However, I’m likely going to wait until much closer to the patch’s release before I start talking about what talent build I would pick up.

Posted in 4.0.6, Patches

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