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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

Why moonkin pvp failed at level 80 (part 1 of 2)

counterspell1Okay, so one of the reasons why I hated the children’s week achievements so much was that I went into each battleground as a moonkin wearing PvE gear. My focus really isn’t PvP, but with all the nerf resto druid posts on the WoW forums (half of which are misplaced in the damage dealing forum just to add to confusion), I really feel the need to speak for the moonkin so that we can try to avoid any collatoral damage to moonkin’s struggling spec in the process. I pretty much hate PvP and I hate arenas even more. I did PvP back in the days of the pre-BC ranks, so I did like PvP at some point. It’s just not really fun to heal in both PvP and PvE, and resto has really been the strongest PvP spec for druids since… way back in the day.

I’ve heard about a hundred different possible solutions, so it’s hard to not just repeat and sound like a broken record. I really want to take a closer look at things here, in a way that’s hard to do on the regular forum posts. This post also got to be really long, so I’m going to break this up into 2 chunks, the first of which I’ll post today.

Problems with the spells available to moonkin:

  1. Roots (nature)
  2. cyclone (nature)
  3. Wrath (nature)
  4. Insect Swarm (nature)
  5. Typhoon (nature)
  6. Force of Nature (nature)
  7. Barkskin (nature)
  8. All our healing spells (nature)
  9. Moonfire (arcane)
  10. Starfire (arcane)
  11. Starfall (arcane)

If we get locked out of the nature school, we can’t cast anything but moonfire spam (lawl). This is probably why so many moonkin are focused on making starfall a better PvP spell – because it’s one of the 3 arcane spells available to moonkin. This is also why the moonkin are asking for roots to be instant-cast (so that casting roots won’t risk locking moonkin out of 90% of their spells). You could say “but nature’s grasp is instant!” However, nature’s grasp requires them to hit you for it to proc, wheras regular roots can be cast from a distance to prevent your target from closing the gap.

To make moonkin PvP better, some of these existing abilities need to be arcane, OR moonkin need better/new arcane PvP spells. While it mostly goes against fuzzy feelings- changing treants, cyclone, roots, and/or Typhoon to something other than nature (to arcane or even a third school of magic that could be added) would actually go a long way towards making moonkin playable in PvP.

The developers may actually want to think about turning starfall into a PvP spell. I have been the champion of “but starfall is a PvE spell” on the forums for months, trying to support Ghostcrawler’s decisions regarding starfall. However, as one of the 3 arcane spells we have access to, if they aren’t going to change the school of magic of any of our spells, they need to make our arcane spells better for PvP. We need to have something we can do when we get locked out of the nature tree, besides just moonfire spam or pray that we can get off a starfire.

Spell lockouts isn’t just a moonkin problem

Either our spells need to change, or it needs to not be so easy to lock classes out of casting. If you think about why melee dominates, it probably comes down to this question.

  • How do you lock out a melee from attacking? A. You either prevent them from getting into melee range (which they have ways to counter), or you crowdcontrol them (which they have ways to counter).
  • How do you lock out a moonkin from casting? A. Counterspell, interrupts, any form of spell lockout, and any form of crowd control.
  • How can casters counter spell lockout? A. We can’t.

My bet is that moonkin would become a lot more popular for PvP if we were given a PvP disarm ability that allowed us to disarm the melee that is killing us. We don’t even currently have a counterspell to counter the other casters, and disarm abilities in the hands of casters are either rare or non-existant. In the game of rock-paper-scissors, moonkin needs to be the counter to something else – and right now, we can counter nothing.

At the very least, casters are suffering because they aren’t able to cast. This isn’t just a moonkin problem, but it’s amplified by the lack of PvP tools that moonkin have, and the fact that most moonkin damage & crowd control tools are on the same school of magic as our heal spells (and thus all our survivability is easily locked out from us with a lockout of our nature school). With our nerfed armor values in WotLK, and lack of PvP survivability talents, moonkin are pretty much turkey dinners without access to our nature spells.

Posted in Moonkin Balance DPS, Player Versus Player

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