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3.3.3 Druid changes – for moonkin pvp (or not)

First, the changes:

  • Typhoon mana cost has been reduced from 32% of base mana to 25% of base mana.
  • Starfall damage has been increased. Now causes 563 to 653 Arcane damage (Up from 433 to 503) and 101 Arcane damage (Up from 78) to all other enemies within 5 yards. Spell Power coefficients also increased.
  • Nature’s Grasp: Now has 3 charges, up from 1.

Typhoon:

First, the typhoon mana change is designed to help make typhoon not cause moonkin in PvP to go OOM. Typhoon needs to be something that moonkin can use often, so making it slightly less of a drain on their mana pools is a helpful change.

Starfall:

Designed to help starfall feel more useful. Gives probably a small-ish DPS increase for PvE (depending on how much you use starfall already). Unlikely to do anything significant for moonkin PvP. If each tick does a couple hundred more damage (at most), and you only get off 2 or 3 ticks in a PvP situation (at most), then it’s not really going to do what the developers had hoped it would do. Starfall is always going to be interrupted by Crowd Control, and no amount of crying is going to convince the developers otherwise, so the best hope for making starfall more useful for PvP is being able to capitalize on getting off the first couple ticks when you can.

UPDATE: It looks like starfall should be doing somewhere around 3x’s more on the PTR compared to what it is on Live. Should be a nice PvE boost. Not sure for PvP yet how it’s going to work out.

Nature’s Grasp:

Now has 3 charges? I’m really confused on how this could actually work for moonkin in terms of being something useful. It’s much more likely to help resto druids escape, since resto has the mobility to keep HOTs going while root-kiting. Feral  already has instant-cast cylones & roots with their cat form talent, which doesn’t require them to get hit in the first place. Moonkin can’t rely on nature’s grasp as an actual escape mechanism. Moonkin PvP’ers are worried that more procs that go to waste is not going to be helpful because it will just contribute to the diminishing returns (or just snag pets that you don’t want snagged). Unless it could root all 3 targets at once, then the charges won’t help moonkin (and it’s unlikely that they would give feral & resto an AOE root).

The nature’s grasp change, combined with all the other changes, really need to be tested on the PTR, and people need to post constructive feedback about why they are (or aren’t) working. However, anything that makes this a viable escape mechanism for moonkin would likely be overpowering for resto druids. In fact, resto probably benefits the most from this in PvP because they have improved barkskin and other mechanics (like instant-cast spells) that help them escape while also being able to cast something worthwhile on the run. We really need to see this in action to get a better idea of how it’s effecting the 3 specs.

UPDATE: GC says that the roots from Nature’s Grasp can apply to other people without breaking the previous roots (so you could potentially have 4 people rooted at once if you were super lucky).

Conclusions:

All 3 of these are buffs. The typhoon one buffs PvP moonkin’s mana. The second one buffs moonkin PvE. The third is likely to benefit resto druids the most. None of these are the actual moonkin PvP fixes that they were looking for, which is why there has been a string of rather non-productive posts on the damage dealing forums. The lack of focus in all the moonkin threads, however, makes it particularly hard to see if the buffs are actually going to help moonkin PvP or not. I’m hoping that people will start talking about their actual PTR PvP results once things settle down. I gave up on moonkin PvP so long ago that I don’t even think I could do any worthwhile PTR PvP testing at this point. The good, productive, posts are also being lost in the low signal-to-noise ratio on the forums.

UPDATE – More info on Starfall:

Hey Hamlet, sorry for any confusion. We probably should have just waited until you guys could test it on the PTR.

I think I figured out how you all are calculating the coefficient, so maybe this will make more sense. Again, I’m not 100% sure we’re speaking the same language here. If I have time, maybe I will just log in with a moonkin and compare the before and after and post numbers.

Main star
Old coefficient: 4.8%
New coefficient: 37%

Splash damage
Old coefficient: 1.2%
New coefficient: 13%

As I said, these numbers are very generous. If Balance druids melt the world we may have to back off of them.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.3 WotLK, Patches, Player Versus Player

Can moonkin be fixed before Cata?

Okay, so Ghostcrawler has posted in multiple balance druid threads in the damage dealing forum in the last week. He shot down two ideas (ie. a glyph for wrath haste scaling, and Owlkin Frenzy buffs). He seems to be paying attention to moonkin, and to changes that will come before Cataclysm, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut way to fix moonkin’s problems without major talent tree overhauls.

What are the problems?

  1. Wrath scales poorly with haste, causing there to be a soft-cap of around 400 haste rating, where after that rating level, your wrath cast time drops below a second and clips the GCD (when Nature’s Grace is active). Also causes problems when Heroism is up.
  2. Eclipse has been buffed too many times, and now makes the crit cap for Starfire be too low, and Eclipse makes up too large of a % of our overall DPS. Eclipse is also a clunky & uncontrolled mechanic, leading to big RNG swings in our DPS not being reliable (ie. we have good RNG days and bad RNG days, with larger DPS swings up and down  than other classes have to deal with).
  3. Moonkin have to stand rooted in place to do good damage. For example, on Festgergut in ICC, I’ve deemed myself a “melee moonkin” so I can pump out between 2,000 and 3,000 more DPS than if I was in range (a bigger swing than any of our other ranged damage dealers). Lack of mobility effects both PvP and PvE moonkin.
  4. Given that the fight mechanics require a lot of moving around and we scale poorly with stats, we tend to fall behind on DPS compared to people who don’t have those same movement or scaling problems. In some fights in ICC 25-man, I can come in 4th place on the meters & in the same instance, I can also come in 11th place; since my DPS goes up and down all over the place, which isn’t happening to the other people in my raid (ie. they stay relatively the same & I move up and down willy nilly).
  5. Moonkin don’t do well in PvP. Given that all of Moonkin’s mechanics are designed around doing good PvE damage, moonkin have very few good PvP abilities, and lack the defensive cooldowns or escape mechanics that other classes have. Combined with clunky damage dealing mechanics and no burst-damage cooldowns they can use on demand (and how hard it would be to maintain an Eclipse rotation in pvp), moonkin haven’t been doing well overall in Arena teams all expansion (with very few exceptions of moonkin who have managed to “stick it out).

Are there ways we can fix these problems before Cataclysm? What are the real fixes these problems need?

  1. No. Well, not without some clunky mechanic like the glyph that GC doesn’t like. The real fix for poor haste scaling is that Nature’s Grace needs to be removed for Cataclysm’s talent changes, where the trees can be designed around the talent’s removal without being a huge nerf. Anything else is just going to likely to be clunky (like the glyph option).
  2. No. Eclipse can’t be fixed until Cataclysm either. What moonkin’s rotation needs is about 2 more spells that we can mix into our rotations, in which case Eclipse would be much more easily modified at that point. In addition, other talents can be put in the mix to reduce our dependency on Eclipse forcing us to do more than just cast starfire. In addition, Eclipse wouldn’t need to be as strong if Wrath didn’t clip the GCD so much (ie. wrath was actually desirable to use in PvE). They could also take wrath out of our rotation and give us something else that was a medium cast-time nuke, and save Wrath for being a PvP spell (where fast cast times are more favorable).
  3. No. To fix our problems with movement-heavy or target switching fights, the changes they could make to our overall rotation and new spells could help address that “rooted” problem. For example, an instant-cast direct damage spell that did decent burst damage could be timed to use while moving when movement was predictable (and typhoon or refreshing DOTs just doesn’t fill that role well enough).
  4. Yes, the developers can boost our overall DPS so that we don’t fall behind the other classes.
  5. Not really. Moonkin PvP needs the talent trees redesigned, new abilities implemented, and new “on use” defensive/offensive cooldowns to stand much of a chance in pvp. Moonkin could also use an imp barkskin talent like exactly what they gave to resto druids instead of moonkin. There are little things Blizzard can do to make life for PvP moonkin more tolerable, but there’s no fix for a spec that is totally broken for PvP.

What can be changed before Cataclysm?

  • This is something that a newer moonkin blogger, Random Moonkin Generator, has been mulling over, and suggests things like: removing haste from celestial focus, changing improved insect swarm (ie. making wrath crit more & starfire do more damage to help increase the crit cap for Lunare Eclipse starfires), making nature’s splendor increase duration of IS & moonfire more, having our DOTs scale with haste or crit from talents. Some of these I’ll talk about below, but you should go read that thread, too.
  • The fastest solution to falling behind on DPS is just to give flat damage increases to talents like Earth & Moon that can easily be removed for Cataclysm, and work great without having to do too much testing. That’s what they did with Earth & Moon once already in 3.3. They could just tack on an additional damage bonus to imp moonkin form or something.
  • The easiest solution would be to do nothing and make us “wait until Cata”, so that in Alpha/Beta testing for Cata, the whole talent tree can just be re-designed from the ground up (or something like that).
  • Better scaling with gear? I like the idea of having DOTs scale better with gear.  Our tier 9 set bonus allowed moonfire to crit, which was a nice temporary way of DOTs scaling with our crit. However, once you upgrade to T10 gear, none of our DOTs scale with either haste or crit. It might be interesting to have one (or both) of our DOTs scale better with either crit or haste. It doesn’t fix the immediate problems of wrath and starfire scaling, but it’s something interesting that could be examined.
  • Reducing Starfire’s Crit chance? If the possibility of crit-capping Starfire on Eclipse procs is problematic, the crit bonuses given to starfire through imp insect swarm or improved Faerie Fire could potentially be changed to flat damage increases instead of crit increases. Imp insect swarm would be the most obvious candidate, since only starfire gains crit from that talent. The crit for starfire on imp IS could also be turned into X% haste, and then the haste from Celestial Focus could be removed and turned into something else.
  • Celestial focus – If the haste was removed from CF, then it could be possible to give some PvP effect that helped with their survivability or offensive ability. Moonkin PvP could still really use something to give them a chance to be more than just a training dummy out on the field of battle.
  • Owlkin Frenzy is another talent that could be changed to help moonkin PvP. I’m sure the devs could think of something (ie. make it reduce how much damage the moonkin are taking from players as they get beat on, for when they’re not able to take advantage of the damage boost). They could also just put a clone of Imp Barkskin into the balance tree so moonkin could actually shift out of moonkin form some time, and increase the usefulness of barkskin for them. They could also give moonkin the ability to cast heal spells in form (maybe just 1 or 2).
  • Changing the moonkin Tier 10 2-piece bonus? This is somewhere that they could adjust something that would effect high-end raiders more than everyone else at this point. The OOC proc damage increase mechanic contributes to the randomness of damage swings, since you could have OOC proc 5 times in a row, or not proc at all. It would also keep moonkin from finding ways to “force” OOC to proc (even mana expensive ways that consume reagents). The damage bonus also doesn’t last very long, so you could miss out on it while moving too much. It doesn’t matter too much what  they changed it to, so long as it gave a more steady damage boost, rather than more random burst. They could also just swap the T9 2-piece with the T10 2-piece, since people at lower gear levels are likely less concerned with gear scaling problems (ie. people wearing all T10 could really use the crit scaling for moonfire). People at lower gear levels would also be able to better absorb the RNG-nature of the OOC proc bonus, and would have absolutely no effect on people wearing 2 pieces of each.

Conclusions:

  • There are many other changes the developers could decide to do to help moonkin PvP and PvE. However, only the developers can really decide what they want to change now versus what can wait until Cataclysm.  Anything from minor changes to large changes could be done at any time, and it’s really up to them to decide what it is they actually want to do. GC seems to want community feedback at the moment, but he isn’t really giving us directions on what we should be focusing on for our suggestions. It feels more like trying to shoot at moving targets in the dark, where we only know when we missed the target.
Posted in Cataclysm, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.3 WotLK

Patch 3.3.2 – Moonkin fixes

Okay, so moonkin are getting some attention in the 3.3.2 patch.

The main patch note for moonkin is:

Earth and Moon: This talent now increases the druid’s spell damage by 2/4/6%, up from 1/2/3%.

What this means is that moonkin’s DPS should come out 2.91% better. This change has no effect on the debuff that gives the whole raid 13% damage. It effects only the moonkin’s damage directly. This is a straight buff, which is good. It doesn’t address any underlying problems for moonkin, however we didn’t really expect major changes. This is actually the best way to address moonkin’s damage falling behind, as they didn’t just buff Eclipse again. ;)

Moonkin Tier 10 – 4 piece bonus

While I don’t have the set piece yet, a handful of other moonkin have. They reported that it was having a high amount of resists (above and beyond what is a normal resist amount). It was verified that the bug was that Languish was being treated as a level 1 spell. The patch note for it reads: Fixed a bug to allow for this bonus to properly trigger. This should (hopefully) mean that it should stop having resist problems, so that it will actually become a decent set bonus again.

PvP changes for everyone

They are changing the way that resilience works (to reduce the amount of damage done in pvp), however they are also reducing the amount of healing done in PvP by 10%. Since I don’t pvp, I’m not really able to analyze these changes. My bet is that it’s not going to change druid balance compared to other classes all that much, if at all.

Walk faster!

They also made some improvements to 5-man dungeons such as:

Brann Bronzebeard has been getting into shape and now feels comfortable walking faster when escorted.

Yes! Take those exercise classes! Even with all the moonkin buffs, this is by far my favorite patch note, because it shows that the patch note writers have a sense of humor. :)

If anything else is discovered that didn’t make it into the notes, I’ll update as needed.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.3 WotLK

Resto/Moonkin loot in ICC’s Crimson Halls

So, the Crimson Halls opens up this week. As I did for the last wing, I wanted to highlight some of the good resto & moonkin gear from the new wing’s loot table. The two new bosses are: Blood Princes and Blood Queen Lana’Thel.

Also, please note that you don’t have to defeat the Plagueworks to gain access to the Crimson Halls.  This means that people struggling on Putricide (or the other Plague bosses) can still make attempts on the Blood Princes & such. MMO-champion actually posted a good spreadsheet talking about how things will work in the dungeon (the gating, limited attempts, & instance design). So, I won’t spend a lot of time talking about what you can learn more easily from the graphic display.

Okay, so with 2 bosses worth of loot, lets look at the haste/spirit gear (more resto-oriented):

  • Shoulders of Frost-Tipped Thorns - From Blood Princes 25-man. Since the set shoulders have crit, these are a good haste option for resto if you aren’t going for set bonuses.
  • Shoulderpads of the Searing Kiss - From Blood Queen Lana’thel 10-man (pretty similar to the 25-man shoulders).
  • Heartsick Mender’s Cape - From blood Princes 10-man. This cape is great for resto. It could work for moonkin, but a crit cape would be better (though there aren’t many options for cloaks in general for casters)
  • Dying Light – Staff from Blood Queen Lana’thel 25-man

Both haste & Crit: Would be good for either resto or moonkin (but slightly favoring moonkin, since resto should still need regen stats):

  • Shadow Silk Spindle - Off-hand item from Blood Princes 25-man. For moonkin, this would pair great with the dagger from Morrowgar. For resto druids, you could use this with a haste one-hander (though I recommended using staves in my resto weapon itemization piece).
  • Cerise Coiled Ring - From Blood Princes 10-man. This ring is a good choice for people running 10-mans, for either resto or moonkin – especially with the red socket on it.
  • Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker - From Blood Queen Lana’thel 25-man.

Crit Pieces (more moonkin-oriented):

  • Incarnadine Band of Mending – Ring from Blood Princes 25-man. This probably isn’t the best option of ring for us in the instance, however it has crit on it, so this could work as one of your gearing options. This is going to be better for moonkin than Valanar’s Other Signet Ring, unless you need the hit rating.
  • Set piece tokens? This wing is light on leather, and crit leather pieces are few & far between in ICC. Moonkin will be fighting with the other casters for crit/haste accessories in this wing. If you are having a hard time filling out your moonkin set, cloth is an acceptable alternative for things like belts & bracers. Haste is okay for some pieces, but try to pick up haste/crit over haste/spirit when you can.
Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 3.3 WotLK, Restoration Healing Trees

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