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.
This gripe really has nothing to do with being a druid. Although it was a druid who caused my ire. I was pugging ToC on my hunter this week, and a druid decided to claim feral as their mainspec, even though they were healing the instance, and WoW armory showed their specs as resto/balance, wearing balance gear, and the tier 10 balance idol. They won the roll for [item]Lupine Longstaff[/item], and the pug raid leader, like a dolt, just gave it to him, even though I pointed out that he’s not feral.
I had my revenge on Anub’arak. Apparently he doesn’t shapeshift into bear form fast enough when the adds are misdirected to him. The raid ended up wiping, falling apart, and I had my revenge.
I just had a reader email me with some questions regarding TotC/TotGC, and I’d like to take the time to answer them and help him and possibly others out. These are just my opinions and I’m betting others can give their input as well.
Wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog regularly and quite enjoy it. I’m a recent conversion to moonkin after a full career of resto, and I really appreciate the tips I’m picking up.
I wondered if you’d consider a blog entry about some moonkin specific questions w/r to Tot(G)C. If not, maybe you’d just e-mail me your thoughts on these questions.
1. Northrend Beasts. What’s the best thing to do when Icehowl is stunned? Does this change if there is heroism?I try to pop cooldowns when Icehowl is stunned. I starfall and throw treants. I generally don’t waste time with GCDs putting DoTs up, I just try to proc Lunar Eclipse ASAP and drop a few Starfire crits on him.
2. Jarraxus. I always seem to be on the wrong side and have to run for the adds. Is there certain positioning that is better here?I’ve always done the “Star Method” on Jaraxxus. If you look at the floor below you, you’ll see there’s a star. We stack our ranged in clumps of two at each of the points around the star. Unless the mistress decides to book after someone who’s running away from legion flames, you should always have range on her.
3. Val’kyr. If not on soaker duty, do you actively pursue orbs? Or just dps and let them come to you?I don’t actively pursue them unless they’re a few steps away. I do actively dodge the opposite color orbs though.
4. Anub. What’s the best way to keep dps up during P2? I’ve been doting scarabs as they emerge, and aoeing them once they are gathered, but my dps is still weak (relative to the raid).Don’t know what to tell you regarding your DPS being weak. It probably will stay that way, unless they change our mechanics. I still like direct damaging Anub’arak during phase 1 instead of AoE, because our AoE on 5 targets isn’t that strong and it consumes a lot of mana. I believe us staying directly on Anub’arak *is* important though. If you look at DPS charts of damage done to Anub’arak, you should be in the top 1-2. It’s important to keep enough damage in him to get him into phase 3 after two kite phases. As for DPS during phase 2, I generally make up some chart space in phase 2 by finishing off the burrowers at the beginning, then staying on the scarabs. I don’t bother much with AoE, just pick them off as they pop up.
Thanks for your time.
I updated the ToC BiS after Chardev upgraded to version 7 and broke all their previous profiles. I also cleaned up the BiS page a bit, and included Alliance BiS pages as well. Please let me know what you think!
The loot gods smiled at me tonight in Trial of the Crusader, and I was able to pick up [item]47422[/item], and then by virtue of being the only druid in the raid, I picked up [item]47438[/item]. I think this puts me at 9 slots BiS towards my T8/T9 BiS list. I’m hoping for [item]47469[/item] next. The non-leather pieces, (ring, cloak, trinkets) are going to be the hardest to pick up.
Not much more to update on [npc]34564[/npc]. Still struggling in phase 3, or more recently, even getting to phase 3. After looking at our own parses and other guilds parses who’ve killed him, this just doesn’t seem to be a good fight for moonkin dps. I think our best option is to stay on Anub’arak, and only AoE when adds are up right after he burrows, but that still keeps me in the bottom quartile.
A friend of mine, Firstaidspec from Blood Legion (US-Illidan) sent me an AddOn he had written for phase 3 Anub’arak. It displays the absolute health of all those in raid below 1500hp. Bind it to “Center Text 2″, and if you have anything bound to Center Icon, consider moving it to side icons with an addon similar to GridIndicatorSideIcons. Hopefully this, along with a [spell]Healing Stream Totem[/spell] and occaisional [spell]Holy Nova[/spell] will help you keep your healers alive during [spell]Leeching swarm[/spell].
You can download it here.
I’ve drafted a moonkin guide for ToC BiS, but I really would like your input into it. It’s done from a Horde point of view, and includes a few different gear combinations. The BiS guide is available to the right under “Moonkin Guides”, or you can click here.
Bornakk posted the following in-game “fixes” to Trial of the Crusader:
- The Val’kyr Twins will now heal for more in Heroic difficulties and ignore any heal dampening effects.
I think the intent is to ensure (or nearly ensure) a raid wipe if you fail to meet the dps check during the [spell]67306[/spell]. As long as your raid doesn’t fail, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The following in-game fixes were applied to Trial of the Crusader today:
- The Faction Champions encounter in the normal 10-player and normal 25-player Trial of the Crusader instances have had a number of spells and abilities altered which should result in less overall damage.
- The Anub’arak encounter has been changed on all difficulties. Anub’arak now attacks faster, the Nerubian Burrowers should hit a little harder, and their Expose Weakness ability now caps at 9 stacks.
The faction champions encounter was nerfed most likely as a direct result of the [spell]Throwing Specialization[/spell] nerf. We’ll see if it truly is a nerf, or still much much harder without [spell]Fan of Knives[/spell]. Heroic was not nerfed, so that will definately be a challenge.
The Anub’arak buff is interesting. Anub’arak already hit like a truck, and I’m curious if perhaps they reduced his damage per attack although his attack speed has increased. The nerubian burrower change is interesting, and I’m not sure if they were buffed or nerfed, with the change to it’s expose weakness. I’ll keep you updated.
Update: So we were still able to one-shot heroic faction champs. We kept a melee on each of the healers interrupting, and focus fired the top DPS down first. (Rogue, then hunter). It definitely seemed more manageable then I thought.