Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WotLK Moonkin News (Now With Blue Post)

Lisana is apparently a long time Blizzard Alpha and Beta tester going back to the early WoW days and plays a Moonkin. She posted a thread on the offical Beta forums to let European WoW players know that she was paying attention to their concerns, addressing some of them, and forwarding them on to Blizzard using the ingame feedback.

Well here post prompted Koraa, a blizzard class designer, to respond with some of his thoughts on the current moonkin design. While none of the following is all that shocking, I must say that it is very intersting to hear blizzard's perspective on our spec. Here is a Link.

Edit: There is a good discussion about these topics on the WoW forums with lot of good moonkin that I respect. You can find it here.


"Bloat: Bloat is another word for "I can't have everything I want!". We want every class to feel their tree is "bloated" to a degree. We want classes to have to make choices and sacrifices over good talents, because that is ultimately what makes talents interesting. If it weren't that way, we would just make it a linear progression without any choices. That said, if you feel the flow of the talents makes you spend points in something that doesn't necessarily benefit you what that build is for (i.e. spending too many "PvE" talents for a PvP build), then that can be addressed. "

My thoughts: First off Moonkin are forced to invest points in several talents that I believe are not that useful for a PvE Raiding Moonkin. Personally I would rather not put 6 points in Nature's Focus, Naturalist, Natures Grasp, or Control of Nature. Unfortunately there aren't any better talents in the first two tiers of the Balance and Resto Trees.

Now looking at Bloat. You know, in some ways I agree with him. Players should have some choices in their spec on how to play them. I think the resto tree is an example of where "bloat" isn't a bad thing. I have seen Trees spec several different ways. Some go a full 0/0/61 and pick up all of the AoE and Healing Touch talents. Others deside to ignore the Healing Touch talents and deside to pick up some talents in the Balance tree. Both specs make very affective healers. Its just that one spec provides more DPS and the other provides more healing options.

Where Bloat goes bad is when you have so many talents that are fundamental to your primary job that you can't take any of the more situational talents. For example, I have created a sample Moonkin build using the WotLK talents. Here is the Link.

A moonkin's primary job is currently single target DPS. So, I think most of us would agree that our first priority when choosing a spec would be to maximize our single target DPS. With that in mind I created my sample build. You will notice that I skip 4 of the 6 talents in the top 3 Balance tiers, and one of those talents I did pick isn't maxed out.

Now, I know many raiding Moonkin out there will disagree with some of my "Core" choices. Many players consider Eclipse to be a useless talent. They may be right, but I think they will change their mind once they realize how much the Starfire vs Wrath competition has been shifted in Wrath's favor. If things stay as they are Moonkin will be casting a lot more Wrath in WotLK even without Eclipse. The other main disagreement will be around Mana regen talents. Some will say will say that we can sacrifice Dreamstate, Intensity or Omen of Clarity. In my opinion our mana regen is still way up in the air and we may need all we can get, but I will talk more on that later.

However, even if we ignore Eclipse and reduce our mana regen, that still leaves us with only 5 or 6 extra points, and look at all the talents we've passed up:

Force of Nature - A good source of threat free DPS, but not useful in all fights and requites some finess to use them correctly.

Starfall - A nice AoE spell but it has a very long cooldown and requites the caster to stand among those he is DPS. AoE is a fairly situational need in Raides and is more than adiquately covered by Locks and Mages with out using a ton of talent points.

Earth and Moon - More on this later but Koraa says that this talent is going to be buffed. Depending on what it is we may want to put a full 5 points in it.

Typhoon - I consider this more of a PvP talent but it is an AoE and I'm sure it will have its uses in raids.

Gale Winds - Buffs the damage of Hurricane and Typhoon. PvPers may pick it up for the extra range on Cyclone but from a raid perspective it is very situational

Brambles - I have said a lot of bad things about this talent in the past, but they may have finally buffed it enough in the WotLK to make it a requited 3 point investment. Lisana says in the forum post I linked above that Thorns will now scale with our spell power. If true then the added damage of another point may noticably increase a tanks threat.

To sum it up, Bloat is ok when your choosing between talents that are outside of your "Core" roll. However, as it is now, it seems like all of our talents are taken up by our core role of single target DPS, and we don't have much opportunity to take some of those cool but situational talents like Starfall and Force of Nature.

Put another way, Bloat is ok when choosing between vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Its not ok, when choosing between medication or food. I don't mean to over dramatize it but I think the balance tree currently leans towards the later.

"Dreamstate: If we deem Moonkins to have mana issues we can change this talent to work with Spirit/improve it, but from what I've seen it's the total opposite right now. If anything we might of gone too far in Moonkin efficiency . "

My thoughts: I agree that Moonkin Mana Efficency has improved quite a bit. The past two patches have done wonders and the Mana on Crit is a dream come true, not to mention Omen of Clarity now including Spells. However I am very worried that they might think they have gone to far. My worry stems from the new Potion Sickness.

Currently, Moonkin get a lot of their mana regen from Mana Pots if they don't have a Shadow Priest. Now that a player can ue only one potion per encounter where is our mana regen going to come from? I can't get to worried, because there are still alot of questions to be answered. For instance we don't know how raid encounters are going to be changed for the lack of potions. However I am concerned that blizzard my take a couple of our new goodies away.

"Earth and Moon: I realize that the talent doesn't really justify more than a few points of investment. We'll do some changes here."

My Thoughts: I think Koraa's comment is dead on. As of right now I would put only 3 points in this talent. It may take a little while to build a stack, but it would be fairly easy to maintain. I am interested to see how they will improve it, but don't really know how I would put two more points in this talent. This could increase the Bloat problem mentioned above.

"Eclipse: Eclipse is intended to be a good DPS upgrade when you utilize it, if it isn't resulting in that then we will change the damage bonus effects it gives you. Your specific results with Eclipse testing would help. It is intended to be a long cooldown, though. Otherwise you'd get fatigue from swapping between Wrath and Starfire too much. "

My Thoughts: Their are problems with this talent, but I think most people dismiss it to quickly. I agree that it is useless in leveling. By the time you get the buff the mob will be dead. Its use in 5 mans and pvp will be limited also since those fights are very quick. The Mobs will probably die before the buff expires most of teh time.

The other big problem with Eclipse right now is that it is so unreliable. If the Random Number Generator (RNG) desides to screw you one night your going to have issues. Right now there are 3 things left up to the RNG. You have to crit to get the buff. Then only 60% of yoru crits will activate the buff if it isn't on cooldown. Finally if you're using the Starfire buff then your not quarenteed any extra damage because it boosts your crit by 10%.

However, I still maintain that from a raid perspective this talent has a lot of potential. I think most moonkin are still caught up in the Wrath is for PvP and Starfire is for PvE mindset. I don't think they have done the math yet and don't realize how much Wrath has improved in WotLK. If things stay as they currently are, I predecit that Wrath will be a prominant spell in the moonkin raiding rotation.

There are two changes I might make in the talent. First, I would definately increase the proc chance from 60% to 100%. It wouldn't increase the damage to much, but would decrease a lot of the luck involved in the talent. The second thing I may change is the Starfire buff. Ten percent doesn't sound like much, and again you can get really unlucky with this buff. It would be interesting if they chould make it like the Darkmoon Wrath card that increased your chance to crit after each spell cast.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Toon/Guild Update:
I have left Wandering Alliance sort of. I have transfered Graylo to the Hyjal server to raid with the guild Lastt Standd (extra t and d are intended). It has been a really hard decision, but one that I felt like I had to make. I won't go into detail now, but Wandering Alliance just didn't feel like the right place for me anymore.

I don't know anyone at the new guild. I choose this guild because their progression is very similar to mine, they wanted a moonkin to be a regular raider, the server has very good progression with a US top 50 guild, and their raid times fit my schdule very well. I'll be honest, I am very worried about the move. I have no idea what to expect.The good news is that the Guild Leader is an Elemental Shaman, and he has got to want my aura, but that is of small comfort right now. I guess the worst that could happen is that I don't like it or get kicked and get stuck on the server with no friends for a month.

Anyway, whats done is done. I have left Graypal and Grayfel on Eitrigg and have asked to keep them in Wandering Alliance. I may transfer them over if everything goes well, but I think that is at least a month or two in the future. For right now they are a way for me to continue playing with my friends.

Wish me luck.


Fero said...

I think its probably for the best gray, after i was informed about the types of things that were happening ultimately i made the decision not to come back. It has been a hard decision but i simply do not have enough time to dedicate to the guild. Not to mention i lost alot of my closest friends in small painful chunks. When mark, shell , and big red walked and i had a hostile takeover on my hands i decided to wash my hands of WA since i've always tried my hardest for the last 3 years..You and I always had similar views on progression and just in general.. Good luck on the new server, and i'll be checking in now and then. also... nice blog!

Darryl (aka. Fero.)

Kadomi said...

I wish you the best of luck with your new guild. I have a moonkin alt that I enjoy playing when I play her (which isn't often), and always find your blog postings highly informative.

Stephen said...

Hey Fero! Drop me a line once in a while on my facebook.

Graylo best of luck on the move. If ya find a good guild lemme know. As you know I am keeping my options open for the time being.


Cdin said...

Thanks Fero. For what its worth I thought you were a very good GM. I have said it many times but it is a tough job that I know I am incapable of doing well. In my raiding life I watched 5 GMs, You and Tainee were the only ones I thought did it well.

If you have vent access pop into Lots's vent some time. I hang out there every so often. If you need the vent info send me an email to Graymatterwow (at) Gmail (dot) com.

john said...

God damn it Fero, come over and say hi on Arathor.


BTW Gaylin what did you want to catch up with me about.

Graylo-keep writing this.