Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Moonkin Builds: Leveling to 80

Wrath of the Lich King is being released in just over a week, and I think a lot of us are starting to think about how we are going to level. With that in mind I have come up with a little guide talent guide for moonkin looking to level from 70 to 80.

It is important to remember that leveling is different then raiding. Both play styles are technically PvE, but the nature of the fights are fundamentally different.

Raid builds are created for maximizing personal DPS over the long hall and buffing raid members to increase raid wide DPS. Survivability is important but predictable. As long as you have enough Health to withstand the fight mechanics, you can survive the fight with a little self awareness.

Fights are much shorter while leveling, and damage can be fairly unpredictable with unexpected adds. Leveling builds should focus more on short term DPS and survivability. You want talents that can give you a controlled burst of DPS and help you run away if needed.

On top of that I think there are two distinct leveling styles that dictate some of your talent choices.

The first style I call the "Root and Nuke" style. A person that uses this style likes to stand at max range, root the mob, cast starfire, and repeat. They try and control the mob as much as possible and take as little damage as possible. This style favors some one that has a relatively low level of gear and can't take many hits. This style also fits someone that instances a lot while they level.

The second style is the "Tanking" style. This is the style I think I will prefer in WotLK. The primary goal of this style is to kill the mob as quick as possible. Since you will take some hits using this style, it favors some one with a high level of gear for the extra DPS and Stamina. Using this style you're a little more prone to getting yourself into bad situations. Therefore, survival talents are a little more important.

Core Talents (link)
This is what I consider to be the core of the talents of a moonkin leveling build and I expect most moonkin would pick all of these up without any help. Most of these are self explanatory, but lets take a look at a few of them.

Balance of Power - Obviously this is a core talent for a raiding build, but some may argue that it isn't needed for a leveling build. It will be less useful for experienced raiders with quite a bit of Hit from gear, but Hit is useful while leveling. You still have a 5% base chance to miss a target of the same level as you. Higher level mobs will have an even grater miss chance.

Owlkin Frenzy - This one depends a little on how you level. Someone that is very good about using Roots to keep the mob away from them and avoiding adds will have less use for this talent. This is how I leveled to 70, but I think my path to 80 will be different. My gear level allows me to kill mobs quickly, and don't have the patience for rooting anymore. Using this "tanking" strategy for leveling makes Owlkin Frenzy a very valuable talent.

My Expected Build (Link)
This is the build I plan to use for leveling when Northrend opens up. I will go over the talents I picked and the talents I skipped, but the general theme to my choices is DPS and killing things mobs quickly.

What I picked up:
Brambles - This talent goes very well with my Tanking style. The primary benefit here is the 75% increase to thorns in my opinion. Since the thorns damage now scales with Spell Power, Thorns packs a punch that hasn't been seen before. On top of that the possible stun with Barkskin makes this a great survival talent to help get you out of those sticky situations. Root and Nuke players may like this talent also for the extra damage to their roots.

Typhoon - I have been very critical of this talent in the past, and I'm still not a big fan of it to be honest. I'm picking it purely as an Oh S#*t button. If I get to many mobs on me I hope to be able to use the knock back to get a little space and run away.

Force of Nature - I've picked this talent for a burst of DPS after a bad pull or when trying to solo an Elite. You can also use them to tank a mob temporarily. They won't change the way you play but the give you a couple of options.

Starfall - This talent is particularly good for bad pulls. It gives you a little extra damage and has a chance to stun the mobs. Again, it won't change the way you play, but does give you more options.

Nature's Focus - This is an all around good survival talent. If you use the Tanking style it allows you to get Wrath off with very little push back. It also helps you get off emergency heals or CC when things are going poorly.

What I skipped:
First off, I skipped pretty much all mana regen talents. I'm not having many mana issues as a raider, so I don't expect to have big issues while leveling. Really the only thing mana regen does for you is allow you to drink less while leveling.

Eclipse - Its just to random for leveling. It can and will give you a DPS boost, but a lot of the buffs will be wasted on down time.

Nature's Splendor - In most cases the mob shouldn't be alive long enough to take the extra tick of your DoTs. It just won't increase your DPS in most situations.

Genesis - Plain and simple, it is a horrible talent for DPS. Investing 5 points increase DPS by just 1%.

Gale Winds- Since Hurricane is a channelled spell and Typhoon doesn't do a whole lot of damage, there just no point in picking it up. Moonkin aren't able to AoE grind mobs that are the same level as the us. (Did not find picture.)

Talent Points from 71 - 80
Really these points won't have a huge impact on your leveling. I've already picked up all of the main talents that increase your DPS, and there is nothing else that significantly increase your survivability. For a rough guideline, I would put the first five points in Furor. This will give you a little extra DPS, a little extra mana, and little more regen from mana on crit. After that I would probably put the next three in Dreamstate, just to reduce the amount of drinking needed. Finally, I would probably put 70th point in Eclipse for potential extra DPS, and respec at 80 to a raid build.

Again, none of these have a big impact on your performance but you have to put the points some where.

Other Points of View
Phaelia over at Resto4Life wrote a post a while back on the choices Resto's face when picking a leveling build. She provided several different options from pure Moonkin Pew Pew to pure Tree form.

I disagree with some of the choices Phae made in her Moonkin builds, but if your think about healing part of the way to 70 she has presented some good options. You can find the post here.


Anonymous said...

The build you linked is basically the one I will be using to level with. The only difference is that I will take the 3 points from IIS and put them into Dreamstate for longevity.

Anonymous said...

Before you said only 1 point in Eclipse is effective, but now you said that your last 2 would go into Eclipse. I was a little confused by this.

Jon said...

Good post, but I think it's nuts to skip dreamstate. Over the course of 70-80 that one talent will probably save hours of time sitting around drinking.

Cdin said...

@Anonymous 2

Good Point. I understand the confusion, and I should probably be a little clearer.

First and for most I don't think it really matters how you spend your last 10 talents. I think Furor, Eclipse, Dreamstate are all "Nice to have" talents. None of them will have a significant impact on your leveling, and there aren't any other options that would have a big impact on leveling.

Second, this is a leveling build verse. My eclipse comments were made regarding a raid build. In a raid build your going to have a lot of mana regen so you wont have any extra points like I do in this leveling build.

Finally, In actuallity I probably won't put that last point there because I will respec to a raid build. I think I will change my post to reflect this also.


I just don't think Dreamstate is going to have a huge impact on mana regen. If I prove to be wrong then I will change my spec.

mithmorph said...

Hi Gray,

You've been a great help working through the new patch talents (and grats on the WowInsider link). I've looked through your site and The Moonkin Repository for discussion, but I'm still not convinced Improved Moonfire is worth the 2 points if the Moonfire glyph is taken. Any thoughts?

Erdluf said...

Great article.

I disagree about Splendor. Leveling with Splendor, and the glyphs for IS and MF, you'll find that SF MF IS does the same damage as SF*3, for about the same mana cost. However it uses less casting time, and allows more moving time, to get to your next target.

Likewise, for tough fights Splendor does more damage (and healing) than IIS, while for easy fights IIS does very little.

Gale Winds/Hurricane may not be enough to kill a pack of equal-level mobs, but with Starfall/FoN/Hurricane/Typhoon you can take quite a pack, and Gale Winds is a big boost to that.

I'll drop your IMF and IIS. I'll take Splendor, Winds, and put a point each into Dreamstate and Eclipse (Eclipse more for "fun").

Really though, at equal gear levels, both builds are pretty similar.

Artorin said...


The thing about splendor is that while it may add damage and deal an equivelant amount of damage as SFx3... the fact is after 3 SF the mob is probably going to be dead. Infact most of the time while grinding I don't use insect swarm at all unless I am fighting more then one mob (in which case I root one and use insect swarm and moonfire to tick while nuking the other)

Additionally the moonfire glyph may actually hurt you while leveling since having that instant burst to burn down a mob can be more valuble then larger ticks.

Generally speaking for leveling unless its an elite you aren't going to get the full effect of IS or Moonfire. (I do still talent into moonfire mainly for the quick burst damage or sustained damage with the glyph for raid)

Siobhann said...

Funny how everyone chooses different leveling strategies. I hate stopping to drink, or even worse getting repops on my head when I'm OOM. My leveling build will have both dreamstate and intensity at the sacrifice of a little damage. I find I kill faster with slightly less DPS and a lot less drinking.

Macbook said...

Interesting build. I'm currently speced 48/0/13 and am loving it.

Its a pure raiding build, focused on doing insane DPS on boss fights.

I'm planning on keeping my build while leveling (never thought much of spending gold to respec just to solo/PvP).

I guess you plan to do a lot more AoEing of mobs than I do, my goal is to be able to nuke mobs down before they even reach me, one at a time.


Cdin said...


Glyph of Moonfire has definately reduced the affectiveness of Improved Moonfire, but it isn't as much as most people seem to think. The 10 crit really didn't add much to the talent.

I did some quick math and Imp MF improved an unglyphed Moonfire by only 12.9%, and that gets worse if you have Splendor or the Glyph of Starfire.

A glyphed Moonfire is improved 10.2% by Imp MF. As you can see, it is less but not a whole lot less.

On top of that you have to look at how much of your DPS comes from MF. In a typical raid MF is about 10% of my damage. So two points in Imp MF increase my DPS by about 1%. There are better talents but it isn't horrible.


I can see how that style would work. It sound kind of like a Moonkin Drain Tanking style. The main issue I see with it is that you would have to pull multiple mobs at one time, but that may not be so bad when everyone is fighting for mobs.

I will say though that if your going to use a DoT heavy rotation then your crazy not to pick up Imp MF. Using that style MF is going to be at least 30% or 40% of your DPS. In such a case Imp MF is a big boost to your damage.

No don't really buy your Gale Winds reasoning though. Sure you can take down a lot of mobs with Starfall, FoN, Barkskin, and Hurricane, but you got 3 minute plus coooldowns in there. On top of that I don't see the point of Typhoon in that stratagy. Sure it would give you alittle space but it can't be much.


Obviously this depends on gear level but I think you may be over estimating your mana needs. Most of the things I've read say that mana is not an issue in WotLK. In my opinion it is probably 6 of 1, Have a dozen of the other. The time you save from not drinking is probably lost to your reduced DPS.

Daenon said...

I'm not sure why you say Gale Winds isn't useful because Hurricane is a channeled spell. Pre-hotting combined with Owlking Frenzy and Hurricane let's you AE stuff down quite well and more damage on Hurricane (and Typhoon) means you can do it quicker and at a lower mana cost.

Cdin said...


I didn't have access to the beta and couldn't test it but I don't see how AoE grinding can reasonably work for a Moonkin against same level mobs.

I took a look at some WWS information where I did quite a bit of AoE. Fully raid buffed I have well over 1500 spell power and a atleast a 30% crit rate. I think it is fair to say that my damage out put is above average.

According to the WWS my hurricane ticks it for about 809 on average. So an uninterupted Hurricane would hit each mob for 8090 damage on average.

If you look at Wowhead, you can see that the level 70 mobs in WotLK have about 8k health. That means fully raid buffed I might be able to take down a pack of Wotlk Mobs with one Hurricane. Without the raid buffs it's going to take at least two for me to take them down.

On top of that Owlkin Frenzy is far from guarenteed even with 3 or 4 mobs beating on you. If a couple of hits get through and intrupts your cast, your now casting a 3rd Hurricane.

Taking into account the time it will take to gather up the mobs and the things I've said above, I doubt AoE grinding is as quick and mana efficent as you think. Plus your putting your self in a fairly risky situation. However, if it works for your great. I just don't think it's going to work for your average moonkin.

Askalon said...

I just wanted to thank you for this post. I've been playing resto for awhile and have found great joy in the boomkin repec (prompted by this blog). Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


I have to agree with that line of thinking. Gotta think in terms of "mob tagging" you know how many people are gonna be fighting over mobs in northrend for the first three months? Gotta be able to spam that moonfire early and often.

Anonymous said...

Great job, I love your posts and always watch your blog as it helps me gear/play my moonkin.

For tbc you had an excellent post on best moonkin gear (pre-Kara) to enter Karazhan. I geared as you suggested, was welcome in heroics, cleared Kara and found a spot in a raiding guild :). At the end of tbc, 3 months after reading your gear guide (ofc with different gear at that point) we downed illi 3days ago :).

Naxx time is coming soon, already on my way to ding 72 now. personaly I would be thankful (I am sure alot more people will also be interested) if you could compile a similar list for Naxxramas with crafted items (tail/lw/jc/bs), dungeon drops, heroic dorps, quest rewards. Please do that :D all the fellow moonkins in this world ,of warcraft, will /hug you.

bigblackbull said...

Wishes the PVP 4 set bonus was a talent deep in the tree.. its TOO much fun for burst grinding. Here' hoping my S4 lasts for a few levels.


Anonymous said...

When I AOE grind as a moonkin I tend to be on the move in between hurricanes. I'll pull 3 mobs with moonfire, hit hurricane, maybe move to get in range of another couple of mobs moonfire pull finish the first pack if they are still up and start on the second pull. This was UNBELIEVABLE in the beta when I got mana back on each hurricane crit. I'd have 5 or 6 mobs either beating on me or running away, chain casting hurricane, and my mana would be going up rapidly. Get down to 2 or so mobs and maybe typhoon and catch a big heal then stomp and add a couple hots or even barkskin if those were on cooldown.

Its too bad that this got nerfed, although I can totally understand it. It was invincible, the only limit was how many mobs you could get into range of moonfire.

Good times.

Anonymous said...

Well, I used gale winds an dhurricane to grind some mobs from the quests. Always 4-6 mobs, max of 8. Pulling them with IS+thorns dmg+1 hurricane and they are down.
Pretty easy and rlly good way to kill everything.
The problem is that in some high populated areas is hard to find enough mobs. But anyways is the faster way to lvl. And for that u also need DS, 50-60 mp5 always help to minimize downtime.

Oh, my spec at 70 was 45/0/16 with DS and intensity. And at least until today at lvl 77 I only needed to rest 2 times after rlly bigbig pulls.
In my opinion ur old spec was more optimal for pvp and for carry few stacks of water not for a optimal solo-leveling