Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FSU: The PvPkin

I have said it before many times. I am a PvP noob. I have a hard time running in circles and can’t fake cast to save my life. So, I thought it was time to talk to someone who clearly knows more about Moonkin PvP then me and probably everyone else.

Who would be better to talk to then FSU. He will list some of his accomplishments below, but there are two I would like to highlight. According to the SK-Gaming Arena ranking his 5v5 team Hopesfally We Win is ranked 13th in the US. Before the patch I looked at the arena ranking for just moonkin. At the time he was ranked 24th in the world without an active 2v2 team. If he had had a 2v2 team with an average rating he would easily have been in the top 10. I don’t think anyone would disagree that FSU knows how to PvP.

Gray Matter: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Please tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been playing WoW? Why PvP? Why Moonkin?

FSU: Hey, my name is Jason, but you probably know me better as Fsu, Balancedruid, or Influenza. I've been playing WoW since release, where myself and quite a few others came over from WC3: The Frozen Throne. I enjoy PvP just because I feel it is the most challenging aspect of the game where individual skill can stand out but you only are at your best when you and your teammate(s) have good coordination. I play Moonkin because I think it's one of the most fun specs in the game and although it has many problems it has enough to work with that I can continue to make it work, especially in 5v5 where it is probably at its best.

In terms of arena accomplishments I didn't play until late s1 but still managed gladiator in a double healer warrior comp. S2 I was very active, holding #1 in 5s on bg3 and then bg9 when we transferred. I also finished top 5 in 5s as moonkin, top 5 in 3s as resto, and top 20 in 2s as resto. In s3 my 5s was #1 at one point on bg9 running shaman / priest / moonkin / rogue / mage. I then transferred to Boulderfist (bg cyclone, dunno the number) and played on a top 5 5s team. S4 my 5s is currently #1, my 3s was top 20 when we were playing, and I hit 2200 as full balance / rogue in 2s early in the season.

GM: Are you or have you been active with a PvE Progression Raiding guild? If so, what is/was your progress?

FSU: I was in Predestined of Mannoroth at level 60 and saw and killed up to 4H. They continued on to kill Saph and Kel'thuzad but I was inactive at the time due to playing lacrosse for my school. In BC I joined Bloody Knuckles for a few months and we made it to Kael before the guild died out due to leadership issues. It was at this point that the team I played on, Spray n Pray, decided to transfer to Tichondrius. After we did quite well there my friend Realz went casual and transferred to Boulderfist to play with RL friends, and after being inactive for quite a few months he got me back into the game by begging and pleading (slight exaggeration) and eventually paying for me to come to Boulderfist.

GM: What do you think is the moonkin's roll on an arena team? What are a moonkin's core strengths and biggest weaknesses?

FSU: The Moonkin's role on an arena team can vary depending on what sort of make up you play on. One thing (and for those that read my guide on the druid forums I mentioned this) that is important in playing arena as Moonkin is playing to your strengths and weaknesses. I think the main role for a Moonkin is to DPS and CC (order changes depending on what you're playing) as well as offheal when needed. For example, on my 4 dps team, I often times will pop tranquility as soon as we land a kill on someone so that our team can stabilize. A strength of Moonkin is our extremely high damage as well as great cc, especially against melee classes. If you use those tools correctly you can put yourself into great situations to win matches. The main weakness of Moonkin is our complete and utter lack of true outs. If a rogue is on you and you can't fake their kick you get into trouble very fast, as despite our large amount of armor we still take damage very fast from rogues, and warlocks can shut us down too easily often times.

GM: Your current build on the armory is 44/0/17 and seems to focus entirely on Moonkin DPS. In the past I have seen people advocate a build that includes 11 points in feral to get Feral Charge and Brutal Impact for the interrupts. Are their any merits to this type of build, and why have you chosen against it?

FSU: My 44/0/17 build is made for having dispel resistance on my DoTs for 2s and 3s while still maintaining all the DPS I need for my 5s comp which as I said earlier is for dps. I think people that advocate 11 points in feral are BG enthusiasts, because a build such as that used in arena is just a waste of mana. The amount of mana you have to use to feral charge then go back to Moonkin form is too much, and I prefer just using cyclone offensively to help interrupt heals instead of wasting mana and losing out on valuable talents such as subtlety and intensity. It can be helpful for a Moonkin to get furor sometimes for 2s to get that instant bash off, but my 3s and 5s teams (I only play 5s right now but I was serious about 3s earlier) I don't have time to be bashing and the like because I'm busy cycloning and pewpewing.

GM: Spell Power, Stamina and Resiliance are obviously key stats for a PvP moonkin. How would your rank Haste and Crit for PvP?

FSU: Crit is now arguably the most important stat, especially once you reach at least 1050 spell power. The toss up is between crit and intellect, and it will be interesting to see how the math works out as to whether gemming for intellect or crit is better (more crit from gemming just crit obviously, but intellect gives you more mana, spell power, and crit; this means that when you do crit you get even more mana back from the new mana mechanic). I've been lazy and haven't done any math yet, and probably won't until wrath is actually out and I have the gear available to me. But for now, I think the gemming ideals will be either crit or intellect. Haste is a good stat, but I prefer less haste because the more you get the harder it is to time your starfires out of cyclones.

GM: What are the most common mistakes you see/hear moonkin make when the start PvPing? What advice would you give to some one looking to get more involved with PvP?

FSU: Something I've noticed is a lot of Moonkin seem to be against starfire usage in arenas. This couldn't be further from correct, and if you're not using starfire you're missing out on a lot of potential DPS and burst DPS from starfire crits. Also, you should be prepared to heal, especially in 2v2, because many times you will have to play like a healer if you expect to win. I think some druids get into the mindset of being a fully offensive caster sometimes, but you have to remember our heals are decent as well as our mana regen, and you should always use them to your full advantage when playing arenas or even bgs or world pvp.

GM: What Addon's do you think help you most when you PvP?

FSU: Proximo is invaluable to pvping in arenas. It makes targetting people extremely easy and should definitely be used by all people that want to be serious in arenas.

GM: Do you have any macros that you find are particularly useful that you can share? If so, why are they so valuable?

FSU: The only real macros that I use involve shape shifting, and are something I think all druids and moonkin should have. The first one is a travel form to travel form macro, allowing you to break snares instantly and continue running without having to hit travel form more than once. The other one is moonkin to moonkin form for the same purpose, breaking snares insantly in one button while staying in moonkin. This macro is used often vs rogue / mage teams where they try to get shatter combos off.

GM: You play Horde. I play Alliance. The few times I have PvPed in BGs and Arena it seems to me Horde always win even when I'm in a premade. This is probably because I suck, but a lot of people seem to have had the same observation. Do you think there is/was a faction imbalance in PvP? If so, what do you think caused it? Does horde attract better players or was it the racials?

FSU: Each faction thinks they suck. I'm pretty sure that horde wins wsg / ab more, but alliance win av (a lot more) and eots slightly more. This is from playing on 3 different bgs, this is normally what it feels like. I think it switches from time to time (before the av changes horde were winning a lot more (right after afk was made a punishable offence)). Really though, until perception was changed I think alliance had the best racials between that and escape artist, for pvp anyways. Those 2 racials are so strong, and as Blizz even stated no other racial increased one's ratings like having perception did for alliance players. I think Horde is probably stronger now, but with human's getting a free pvp trinket it's pretty close. Will of the Forsaken and War Stomp will always be great though. Also, I think, avoiding the stereotypes, that horde might have attracted more PvPers. I know at least from my experience that many RTS guilds from wc3 rolled horde, mostly because it was expected to be the underdog in terms of population. Don't know if RTS experience helped make better PvPers (I was ranked 4th on the US ladder on The Frozen Throne at one point :P) but then again there's some good RTSers who suck at WoW.

GM: Wrath of the Lich King is just around the corner and you have been one of the lucky one's to get a Beta Key. Is the Arena system at all active in Beta? Have you gotten a chance to test moonkin out in an arena environment?

FSU: I haven't really participated too much in beta arenas. I find beta somewhat depressing at the moment mostly because deathknights, ret pallies, and mages are all so strong that it is hard to have fun getting so utterly destroyed by players you can tell aren't very good. I did get to play moonkin on ptr with my rogue partner, we still seem to do very well but arcane mages have 4 shot me and ret pallies are obviously just as insane on ptr as they are on beta. Blizzard has acknowledged 2 of these 3 classes, and I can only hope that at level 80 arcane mages aren't as crazy, but playing against some they are still quite strong, especially with their ability to spam spell steal now, basically killing my HoT production.

GM: In general how are Moonkin shaping up from a PvP perspective? What are the positives? What would you like to see changed?

FSU: The positives are that we finally got some bloat reduction in our talent tree. I still think we need more, but I doubt Blizzard will give any. We also gained 2 new spells, both of which we can use while being attacked. This is very helpful to PvP where before when you're focused if you don't fake an interrupt you end up only being able to spam DoTs. I like starfall as a gimmicky sort of out, where I can use it to stun melee chasing me as well as doing damage. Typhoon is pretty bad overall, I only like it for it's damage; the mana cost and knockback are laughable at best. I also like the new eclipse for PvP. Ironically Blizzard made it for PvE but 30% crit to starfire after a wrath crit is no laughing matter; my plan currently is to spam wrath until I have wrath of elune and eclipse up, then throw out a 1-1.5 second starfire that crits for a ton.

I'd love to see us given a 4-5 second silence instead of typhoon. This would be infinitely more helpful and allow us to finally be able to interrupt casters more consistently. I also still must advocate for a PvP survivability talent. The amount of damage classes can do is very strong, and our inability to do anything while stunned or feared after our first trinket and barkskin is very disheartening. A simple 2 point talent that gives us 30% reduction on fear duration and 30% damage reduction while stunned (primal tenacity for Moonkin basically) would help so much. It boggles my mind that we haven't been given any survivability talent yet.

GM: From my perspective Lake Wintergrasp seems to be the most exciting PvP related change in WotLK. What do you think of it? Have you had any problems with faction imbalance?

FSU: I've only participated in Wintergrasp once when it was first released and it was pretty buggy. It seems like it could be fun though. To be honest I only like to arena or duel on beta / ptr because I don't want to spoil the game for myself. I'll have plenty of time to test wintergrasp and the new bg when I hit level 80 and I don't want to take away any fun I might have with my own character.

GM: Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to say or anyone you would like to recognize?

FSU: Shout outs to my partners in crime Realz and Girlz, my 5s team Hopesfally We Win (and get Brutal Glad!), Hafu, my druid Queen, and ym.

If you have any questions for FSU please feel free to post them here in the comments and I will pass them on. You can also ask them in the guide thread he wrote that I linked above.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that its good to use Starfall as a way to break rouges from stealth before they eat you? For example when my partner gets sapped or i hear the annoying little stealthy sound. I found that it works really well because it not only catches them off gaurd but stuns them too giving me time to use typhoon to knock them away from my partner (yes i know its kind of pointless but it makes me feel better about myeslf lol) and root them while I DPS them. From what ive seen Starfall actually does have alot more potential in PvP than its given, though you do have to spend 4 talent points in order for it to have multiple uses. :/ Oh well... I still love it, afterall... it is very shiny!!! =D

Fsu said...

Starfall is great for getting rogues / druids out of stealth in the beginning of matches. I'd suggest only doing it if you're in the middle of the map or if your partner has just gotten sapped, because if you mistime it and get stunned you'll end up wasting part of the duration.

Starfall is shaping up to be very strong in PvP, as it basically is a guaranteed 3 second stun, often times a 5 second one. I like to use it when I need to get away from someone or just to overload the other team in the beginning, e.g. my rogue opens on the target, I starfall, dots the target and the healer, then go to town on the target. This makes the healer's life hell because if he trinkets any of the stuns he's getting cycloned within a second.

Anonymous said...

I dont have a question exactly, but thought i should say big up to the Q&A blog there. Great advice all around, i will be using this come lvl80 arena.

Anonymous said...

I have a question... Is Eclipse in its current form of very much use in PvP in its current form? From what i have experienced its way too random and i usually wind up waisting the proc because its too late to use it effectivley both in arenas and battlegrounds.

Fsu said...

Eclipse is going to be one of our best PvP talents come wrath. With the right amount of crit it will proc very consistently and with a 15 second duration you should easily be able to make use of it in both arenas and BGs.

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