Blog Archives

Improved Barkskin: Explaination and suggestions

Okay, it has taken me a few days of watching the forums to get a really good handle on what’s going on with the improved barkskin change.

Originally, I thought the extra armor bonus would only be active when barkskin was (which made sense in my head). However, ghostcrawler clarified what the talent will do here:

The caster and travel form armor benefits occur if you have the talent even if Barkskin is not up.

While we were succesful getting Resto druids into tree form in Arena, we were a little too succesful. We’re not sure it’s fun for either the druid or the people trying to kill the druid to be locked in tree form all the time. This change will hopefully make the fights a little more dynamic.

Okay, so it’s a constant armor bonus for caster form and travel form for a 2 point investment, in addition to the original benefits (dispell protection  & more powerful barkskin damage reduction).

I think a lot of resto druids really wanted access to their crowd control tools (ie. cyclone) which can’t be cast in tree form. So, the armor bonus for caster form gives PvP trees a chance to not get instantly killed by melee the minute they shift out of form. Yay for resto druids. However, there is another point I need to emphasize when talking about this talent:

This new talent seems like something moonkin needed.

Right now, improved barkskin is super high in the restoration tree, and only restoration druids have access to it.

Seriously. What’s one of the worst parts of moonkin PvP? Having to shift out of moonkin form to heal and thus losing the armor bonus when you are out of moonkin form. If moonkin had more armor in caster form, then they could heal themselves without it being such a high risk of stunlock-death. So, the resto side of me thinks this is a great idea for encouraging resto druids to be able to shift out of tree form in arenas, but the moonkin side of me is incredibly jealous and confused about why resto keeps getting more and more survivability in heaps, wheras the moonkin pvp community has basically vanished due to lack of viability and survivability in general.

I think it would really help moonkin if this talent was low enough in the tree that they could pick it up, however that would cause problems for feral druid tanks who would pick up the extra barkskin bonus for tanking. I still think Improved Barkskin should be moved to the balance tree, probably where Brambles is (and then GC could take away Brambles from resto PvP and solve their thorns problem). Feral druids aren’t going to waste 12 points just for a 5% more powerful barkskin shield. This would make moonkin viable without hurting resto PvP in any serious way. So, why not make the switch?

I’m sure you guys are probably tired of me making so many posts about moonkin PvP, but I have a long-standing tradition of finding the weakest areas for druids and repeatedly asking for fixes for what I think is broken…

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player, Restoration Healing Trees

Please don’t re-nerf innervate.

There has been many tears spilled on the WoW forums regarding druids in Arena PvP. Some think they are too hard to kill. Others have decided that innervate is the root of all evil, and have started crusades against my beloved mana regen spell.

Most of what gets posted in “nerf innervate” threads is a LOT of missinformation, general bad forum flavor, and mostly just frustrate me to no end.

While resto druids may be powerful for PvP, it’s not innervate (alone) that makes them powerful. Nerfing the amount of mana returned by innervate would have these consequences:

  1. Make moonkin even worse for PvP
  2. Make hard-mode Ulduar content even harder (as all the druid specs that are able to use innervate on the casters would have less powerful tools)
  3. Generally make resto druids and moonkin have worse PvE raiding mana problems in instances past Ulduar – where our mana pools get bigger and innervate doesn’t get more powerful.
  4. Most importantly –  it would not have any effect on resto arena 2v2 representation that people are QQ’ing about

Something like reducing some of the armor buff from tree form, or changing/removing improved barkskin would have an effect on resto druid PvP, and would have little-to-no effect on the PvE druids, OR moonkin PvE.

We know that balance druids need survivability more than resto druids, so it would be easy to move some version of improved barkskin to the balance tree & remove it from the resto tree. This would force resto arena druids to have to use Line of Sight to help prevent dispells on innervate & other abilities, which should be possible in a lot of the arena settings.

Please don’t nerf PvE resto druids because of PvP. Please don’t nerf moonkin PvP because of resto PvP.

Oh, and have a happy Memorial day!

Posted in Druid - General, Player Versus Player

Thorns nerfed – moonkin further crippled by a resto “fix”

So, after spending all last night and today working on my UI project, I seem to have missed a hotfix that went into the game recently:

The bonus damage from spell power on the Druid ability Thorns has been reduced by half.

This spell power change also effects paladins’ retribution aura. Well crud. I’d go into a long post about how moonkin PvP already sucks, but I JUST finished doing that. Somehow, no one really thought about how changing thorns was going to hurt the few moonkin who were actually desired for any sort of Arena team. That’s the only real reason why I’m being so dramatic-sounding with this post.

Just because restoration druids are powerful, that doesn’t mean moonkin need to be hurt AGAIN by changes designed to balance our resto counterparts. It’s not like moonkin were living long enough for that extra damage to make a huge difference, however for the moonkin who were surviving, the reflective damage was probably about the only damage moonkin are actually doing in PVP half the time. Moonkin don’t even have access to the dispel protection given to resto druids through improved barkskin.

If Blizzard wants to balance resto druids for PvP, then they need to give improved barkskin (in some version) to moonkin druids instead of resto druids. Or, put improved barkskin where brambles is, and move brambles further up the balance tree to put it out of reach of resto druids.

Simply nerfing the only real anti-melee ability anyone had doesn’t really seem like it’s going to fix anything.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player

Moonkin PvP failure – and how to rise again? (part 2 of 2)

This is part 2 of my moonkin PvP analysis series. Part 1 can be found here (read part 1 before part 2). There was also some good feedback from part 1 in the moonkin repository cross-post. I suggest reading the moonkin repository comments, as well.

So, lets jump right in!

If typhoon was the answer, what was the problem?

Moonkin survivability has been the #1 moonkin PvP complaint, that crops up in many different forms ever since we all hit level 80. The developers toned down some of the burst damage, which allowed resto specs to regain their standings in arenas, but somehow moonkin still got left behind.

I found a PvP guide for moonkin on the laser chicken blog, when I was doing a google search for reference material for this post. I read through it and thought a lot of the advice was pretty good, and then I realized that the advice was over a year old, and it was still pretty much the advice that I would give people today. It also highlights problems that are still present in moonkin PvP. Yes, you can tell that in some ways it’s out of date, but in other ways, it’s really not. The only new PvP tool we got was Typhoon (another nature spell). It works as a knockback, with a 3 second daze. It’s the “get out of my face” PvP ability, on a moderate cooldown.

Typhoon on it’s own isn’t enough to make moonkin PvP strong enough. We’re still dieing too quickly in stunlocks and such, with no real counter to a lot of the abilities that lock us down. We’re not a burst-damage spec. We’re not a high survivability spec. We’re not really a kite/dot spec. We were supposed to be casters that could soak up damage with our high armor – however after multiple armor nerfs due to the bear form changes, we can’t soak up anything. We didn’t get any good PvP survivability talents in the WotLK talent tree revamps, and we are really just squishy chickens. While Arena PvP is about being part of a team, it feels like moonkin hold back their team members rather than having anything to contribute.

What goes up must come down

One problem right now with moonkin PvP seems to be that moonkin damage is too strong when moonkin are allowed to stand still and nuke. I know, at this point you would say “wait, how is having good damage a problem?!?” This is what I mean: In PvE, moonkin are dependent on a large chunk of their damage to come from Eclipse procs. In PvP Eclipse is really, really worthless – because the last thing anyone is going to do is let a moonkin stand still and nuke them to death. So, the moonkin is either locked down (in ways we can’t counter), or they are forced to move around in ways that makes Eclipse pretty pointless.

I think the problem with 3.0 when it first came out was that moonkin were probably being ignored too much, and thus moonkin were able to get off big starfires that they hadn’t been able to do before. In addition, starfall was actually a good PvP tool before the multiple nerfs (no more mana return, stun, unstealthing rogues, or shapeshifting to bear/travel/cat), and we also had a stun proc on starfire.

So, right now, moonkin are suffering from a lack of survivability, since no one would listen to moonkin asking for survivability talents when moonkin were doing okay at level 70 PvP with the WotLK talents. Once everyone leveled up to 80, as I predicted, everyone else passed by the moonkin and moonkin became a horrible PvP spec. Since arena PvP is not about the individual, but about the team, it comes down to moonkin just not fitting well on any team combination – compared to the BETTER tools they can get from other classes.

So, now that we know what the problems are, how do we fix moonkin pvp?

A while back, I suggested another survivability talent should be added to the balance tree. I’m not going to go over it again, because I stand behind my last post on that subject here. We got some good typhoon fixes after that post, but we didn’t get the survivability buff to go along with it. Since we needed both for moonkin PvP to be viable, it’s still hanging on in a pretty weak place. It’s much, much easier to spec resto and HOT your way to a high arena rating, rather than struggle and hold teams back as a failing moonkin. We could stand to have something that reduces the damage we take while stunned/feared.

Another option is to add in another PvP spell (arcane, NOT nature), following what I wrote in my last post. It could do something like consume insect swarm or moonfire’s DOT and turn it into direct damage (with the ability to glyph for the DOT to not get consumed).

We could also maybe have something like “strangling roots” that would be a channeled spell that roots the target and does damage to them.

Or, they could change cyclone (just for moonkin) to allow us to do damage to them. Or, they could give us just about anything offensive or defensive that will help us:

  • Last long enough to get through the initial burst
  • actually be able to kill people if we last through the initial burst
  • and be taken seriously enough that we aren’t holding back our team, but rather adding to it in a valuable way. At this point, anything moonkin bring, so do resto druids (and resto druids are powerful enough to keep their party alive while cycloning/nature’s grasp/rooting/hybernating!).

We’re lacking both of these in a major way. Typhoon helped, but we’re a spec designed for stand-and-nuke PvE encounters, and not at all designed to be good for PvP. This is going to need to change “soon”. Just buffing innervate is also not enough, since it’s more likely that the moonkin will die before being able to cast enough to run OOM in the first place.

In the end, it’s not really my place to say how to fix moonkin PvP. I can give ideas and options, and I can restate other people’s good ideas, but it’s the developers job (that they get paid for) to develop the classes – so it ends up being their problem to figure out how to fix it.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player


Featured Blogs