Inspired by a certain “other” address last night, I decided to craft a “State of the Moonkin” address, to both reflect backwards on where we’ve come from the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, to where we are now, to where we are headed.
Naxxramas was a pretty good place for us. Most of the fights did not require a whole lot of movement, and we were well below our caps, so we still scaled well. There was an abundance of gear available to us, and even a caster fist weapon was included! Tier 7 was a solid set with solid bonus, and there was plenty of off set gear to be found as well. Moonkin shone on Patchwerk, as it really was the epitome of a stand and nuke fight. Other fights, like Gluth, were great as it allowed us to put up some big numbers due to the heavy AoE. Loatheb was another great fight, as it allowed us to run crit capped for Starfire. This was back in the day where Eclipse had a 30 second shared cooldown, and you tried to sharpshoot Lunar Eclipse.
The Obsidian Sanctum
The Obsidian Sanctum was another decent fight for moonkin. While there was a bit of movement (especially with 3 drakes), our decent AoE damage really helped make up for it. The only problem I noticed with many moonkin was the fact that everyone was so concentrated on their Eclipse cooldown, to ensure a lunar eclipse proc, they often missed the big swirling shadow vortex beneath their feet. Changing the vortex to purple usually fixed that problem. The cloth bracers from bonus loot were also a BiS item until Ulduar.
Due to the spark buff, Malygos was a decent fight for us, as we could time our eclipses and nuke Malygos, throwing up pretty good numbers. Phase 2 was alright despite needing to swap to multiple targets. Another good instance for gear, the belt and boots were best in slot.
Ulduar was for the most part a decent environment for moonkin. Hodir and Hard-mode Vezax were some of the more stellar moonkin fights due to their damage buffs. There were some challenges, however. While a lot of people liked Ignis as a DPS benchmark, I always found that all the times you interrupt casting due to scorch to be a hinderence in Eclipse uptime. The same could be said for Kologarn, however the AoE usually made up for that. Auriaya was another major pain due the feral defender locking out a spell pool, preventing you from utilizing the right Eclipse.
Trial of the Crusader
I was never impressed with Trial of the Crusader. It seemed like a hastily thrown together stopgap between Icecrown Citadel and Ulduar, with very gimmicky fights. ToC was basically a loot pinata. The hard modes were semi-interesting, but not to the level of Ulduar. The best thing about ToC was having 6 days off from raiding a week. None of the fights were extremely moonkin friendly, except perhaps faction champions simply because our armor gives us a higher survivability rate. We also began to see moonkin scale worse and worse as our haste cap was blown by, and due to the changes in Eclipse, we began to rapidly approach our crit cap.
Icecrown Citadel is a much more fair playing ground for moonkin. Most fights seem to be decent for us. Lady Deathwhisper is a great fight if your raid leader knows to leave you on the boss the entire time. Due to our very poor scaling and most well geared moonkin quickly approaching our crit cap, our scaling is rather horrible, and it’s becoming harder and harder to stay in the middle of the pack let alone get near the top. At this point it seems we will need to wait for Cataclysm to see some real changes.
Eclipse has seen many changes over the last year. While I still do not really like how our DPS is centralized around one talent, it seems to be here to stay. Eclipse started out with a short duration buff (10 seconds if I recall correctly), and a longer cooldown, shared by both lunar and solar eclipse. This was quickly changed to a 15 second ability with a 40 second cooldown, with the bonuses doubled. Between Ulduar and ToC is where we saw the changes to Eclipse, which put both abilities on separate cooldowns, allowing us to switch between the two. For a brief time, WiseEclipse allowed us to squeeze out a bit more DPS by allowing back to back lunar to solar procs.
Tier 7 was a decent starter set, however spirit was too abundant on the gear. The bonuses, while not extravagant, were solid.
Tier 8 was another decent set, however again, spirit showed up in too many places. The best thing about tier 8, however, was the 2 piece bonus. This bonus would have lasted well into Tier 10 if it had not been nerfed. The 4pc bonus was always useful for pulling snap agro and dying at the beginning of a fight, as well.
Tier 9 was again, not stellar due to the spirit. The 2 piece tier 9 bonus was rather strong, and paired well with the 2pc tier 8 bonus. The 4 piece bonus, however, was worse then the Tier 7 bonus, and only viable once Tier 8 2 piece was nerfed.
Tier 10 was finally a well itemized set. No spirit! Just as Blizzard promised, they were saving the best for last. The tier 10 bonuses were also well developed, despite there being a bug with [spell]Languish[/spell], causing it to be a level 1 spell, thus giving mobs a 80 percent resist chance. Let’s hope Blizzard can carry this trend into Cataclysm.
Blizzard has already stated that critical strike rating, etc, will be much harder to obtain in Cataclysm. Hopefully that will fix our issue with the crit cap. I think it’s pretty well agreed, however, that to make a second PvE DPS spell viable, it has to be separated from Wrath. Currently moonkin like Wrath being such a quick cast in PvP, as it gives them a quick attack, however due to it’s short cast time, the haste cap is just too low. A new 2.5 second (reduced to 2.0 second by talent) spell would fix a lot of these issues. The developers have also hinted at Eclipse possibly becoming charge based, instead of time based. This will keep us from being penalized so heavily in heavy movement fights. In my opinion, the key to moonkin success in cataclysm will be to reduce our dependence on RNG, and find a way to raise our caps, especially our haste cap.
This has been a brief synopsis of my opinion of the moonkin class in the past, present, and future of Wrath of the Lich King into Cataclysm. I intend to continue playing my balance druid into the next expansion (although possibly as a Worgen, if they let us race change), and really hope they follow through on promises to fix us. We have had great strides in each expansion to make our DPS more viable. Hopefully the fourth time is the charm. Please leave feedback and tell me what you loved the most about WotLK, what you didn’t like, and what you hope to see going forward.