Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Technical Changes

I have made a couple of changes to the format and look of the blog.

First, I created a graphic head as you can see. I don't think it is perfect but it works for now. Thanks are owed to The Pugnacious Priest via BBB for showing me how.

I also made the the text portion of my blog wider. I have hated how squished my blog looked for a long time and couldn't figure out how to change it. Thanks to Behemothdan on Blog Azeroth for showing me how. If you would like to check out his blog click here.

If anyone is having a problem with the new format of the blog please let me know in the comments. I won't guarantee that I will change it but I value may readers and don't want to do anything that makes my blog harder to read.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spell Damage Vs Spell Crit (for Moonkin)

Note: This guide was written well before WotLK as released. The information and modeling done here is based completely on a BC version of WoW. While I thing this information is still generally correct, It does not apply direct any more. I do plan on writting a new guide and will post on my blog when it is done.

If you have done any reading on moonkin DPS then you have probably seen the basic hierarchy of DPS stats. Spell Hit > Spell Damage > Spell Crit. You may have also seen the generally accepted relative values of each of those stats. Spell Hit is considered to be worth 1.2 Spell Damage until the hit cap. Spell Crit is considered to be worth 0.7 Spell Damage. These numbers are a good general guideline for your average raiding moonkin but they are way to static to really be accurate. In this post I would like to lay out the math and show why Spell Damage is always better than Spell Crit on a point for point basis.

1. A spell’s chance to hit is unaffected by its chance to Crit or by how much Spell Damage a caster has. Therefore it affects both Spell Damage and Spell Crit equally and will not be included in this analysis.

2. Spell Haste does not impact the amount of damage caused by Spell Damage or Spell Crit. It only affects the speed at which the damage occurs. Therefore it affects both Spell Damage and Spell Crit equally and will not be included in this analysis.

3. I have tried to structure the analysis in such a way to favor Spell Crit and give it every benefit of the doubt. Therefore I will be focusing on Starfire Since it gets the most benefit from Spell Crit.

4. I have excluded the affects of any of the moonkin idols from the calculations since which one you use really depends on the situation. However, the [Ivory Idol of the Moongoddess] and the [Idol of the Unseen Moon] will will increase the value of Spell Crit a little since they increase the damage of your Spellfire before crit. On the other hand [Idol of the Raven Goddess] will reduce the value of an additional point of crit since it increases your base chance to crit.

Talents Affecting Starfire DPS:
Starlight Wrath – Reduces casting time by 0.5 seconds.
Focused Starlight – Increases Crit rate by 4%.
Vengeance – Increases the crit bonus damage by 100%.
Nature’s Grace – Reduces the cast time of your next spell by 0.5 sec after a crit.
Moonfury – Increases damage by 10%.
Moonkin Form – Increases Crit rate by 5%.
Wrath of Cenarius – Increases Spell Damage Coefficient for Starfire by 0.2.

The Math:
There are a couple of important things to remember when comparing Spell Damage and Spell Crit. The first is that they are interrelated. So we have to determine how an additional point of Spell Damage is affected by your current level of Crit and how an additional point of Crit is affected by your current level of Spell Damage.
Also, due to Nature’s Grace, crit not only determines how much damage is dealt but how quickly it is dealt. So with regard to Starfire, the numbers will be converted to DPS.

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Damage?

Moonfury, Wrath of Cenarius and your Crit rate all affect Spell Damage. Starfire has a base Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and let X equal your Crit rate for Starfire. So the additional DPS from one point of Spell damage is:

DPS = (((1 + 0.2)*1.1)*(1 + X))/(3 - 0.5(X))

So if your crit rate is 25%, Then
DPS = (((1 + 0.2)*1.1)*(1 + 0.25))/(3 - 0.5(0.25))
DPS = (1.32*1.25)/(3.00 - 0.125)
DPS = 1.65/2.875 = 0.5739 DPS per point of Spell Damage at a 25% Crit rate.

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Crit?

First we need to figure out how much damage Starfire does. It has two components, base spell damage and bonus spell damage. Base spell damage is the damage that comes with the trainable spell with no bonus from gear. A max rank Starfire can hit for between 550 and 646. It is increased by 10% because of Moonfury, so the average base spell damage for Starfire is 657.8. Bonus spell damage is what you receive from gear and is calculated on your character screen. It is modified based upon the base casting time of the spell and talents. Starfire has a Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and it is modified by Wrath of Cenarius and Moonfury as I said before. So the damage of your average non-crit Starfire is equal to:

Damage = 657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)
Damage = 657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1) = 1977.8, If you have 1000 Spell Damage

To get the damage of your average Starfire you have to include crit. To do that, multiply the entire equation by one plus your crit rate:

Damage = (657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + Crit Rate)
Damage = (657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + 0.25) = 2472.3, If you have 1000 Spell Damage and a 25% crit rate.

To get your average DPS for Starfire you have to divide by your average cast time.

Damage = ((657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + Crit Rate))/( 3 - 0.5(Crit Rate))
Damage = ((657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + 0.25))/(3 – 0.5(0.25)) = 859.91304, If you have 1000 Spell Damage and a 25% crit rate.

Now, if we had one point of crit rating to the percentage then we change the out come in a couple of ways. First, you will crit more often therefore increasing your damage. Second, criting more often will decrease your average cast time due to Nature’s Grace, thus increasing your DPS. To increase your Crit rating by 1% you need 22.06 points in crit rating, so one point of crit rating increases your chance to crit by 1/2206 or 0.00045331%. If you slip this into the equation you get the following results:

Damage = ((657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + Crit Rate + 0.00045331))/( 3 - 0.5(Crit Rate + 0.00045331))
Damage = ((657.8 + (1000)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1))*(1 + 0.25045331))/(3 – 0.5(0.25045331)) = 860.29271, If you have 1000 Spell Damage and a 25% base crit rate plus one more point of Spell Crit.

So from one point of Spell Crit you gain 0.37967 DPS with 1000 Spell Damage and 25% base Crit rate. Lets compare this value to the DPS value I calculated for one additional point of Spell Damage.

0.37967/0.5739 = 0.66156.

So, at 1000 Spell Damage and 25% crit rate, one additional point of Spell Crit is worth 0.66156 points of Spell Damage.

I have calculated this value for several levels of Spell Damage and Spell Crit. Here is a graph that shows the results.

There is one way to significantly improve the value of your Crit rating. It is the [Chaotic Skyfire Diamond]. How this gem impacts your critical strikes is a little more complicated than it sounds. Due to some strange math from blizzard your critical strikes will hit for 209% of your normal spell cast. Having this gem socketed will increase the value of spell crit rating by 4% to 5%. Here is another graph that shows the impact of having this gem socketed.

1. My results do confirm the relative value of one Spell Crit to be worth about 0.7 Spell Damage for your average raiding Moonkin with about 1000 to 1100 Spell damage. However, it also shows that that value changes significantly depending on your level of Spell Damage. The rule of thumb I would use is 0.7 if geared from T4 content, 0.8 from T5 content, and 0.9 from T6 content.

2. It is also often suggested that at some level of Spell Damage, Spell Crit becomes more valuable than Spell Damage on a point for point basis. While this is true in theory it is really not practical in the game because of how gear is itemized, and I am not convinced that it is possible at all.
Spell crit is unavoidable as you progress through raid content. As you pick up more Spell Damage gear you will also get quite a bit of Spell crit. I tried to take a look at the best gear available from Sunwell and T6 content. I found that it is possible to get to 1450 -1475 spell damage. thise means that you could get to 1750 - 1800 Spell Damage fully raid buffed. However, at the same time you would be pushing your crit level to 35% or more, thus reducing the marginal value of Crit rating.
Needless to say, while the highest tier of hardcore raiders may get close or even cross this barrier, the average moonkin raider has no hope of ever reaching this point if they make the correct gear choices.

I did do an analysis of the other three Druid DPS spells. Most of the information would be very similar in structure to what I have posted above and wouldn’t change the conclusions in any significantly. In fact, they only make Spell Crit look worse. However, I would like to give a quick summary how each spell looked with regard to the Spell Damage vs Spell Crit comparison.

Wrath – Wrath looks very similar to Starfire, but a little worse. The reason is that Wrath does not benefit from Nature’s Grace due to the global cooldown.

Moonfire – The initial burst of damage from Moonfire can crit but the DoT cannot. Thus, a significant portion of Moonfire’s damage is unaffected by Spell Crit. According to my analysis one point of Spell Crit is worth between 0.30 and 0.35 points of Spell Damage for most reasonable levels of Spell Damage.

Insect Swarm – Insect Swarm cannot crit and therefore is completely unaffected by Spell Crit.

I owe thanks to Phaelia over at Resto4Life for giving me the idea for this post with her Versus posts. She was also kind enough to look over my post before it was published and give me a few pointers. Unfortunately due to my lack of blogging/HTML knowledge I was not able to implement some of her great ideas. Hopefully someday I will figure this stuff out had have a blog that looks half as good as hers.
I also owe thanks to Erdluf from the comments section for pointing out a couple of mistakes in my analysis.

Toon Update
- Not much here. I ran Kara with him on Friday night and picked up 22 badges but that is about it.

Graypal - Didn't play him a whole lot over the weekend but I am working towards getting him the spell strike set and the Belt of Blasting. I farmed a whole lot of Primal Fire over the weekend with graylo. Still need to pick up about 15 more primal fires but it wasn't all that hard.

Grayfel - Didn't work on him as much as I wanted to. He is almost level 43 but I had some issues with spawns and such and didn't get him up

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back on Track

After a horrible Thursday last week we seem to have bounced back. It's a little hard to tell since we changed our schedule for this week , but our Monday and Tuesday raids went pretty well. On Monday, WA went to give TK another shot. We didn't have the tanks online to do Al'ar but did down VR and Solarion. We also got Mag down on Sunday.

On Tuesday night we changed our schedule a little bit to focus on a little more progression for two weeks. Normally we try and kill 4 or 5 SSC bosses, but last night we killed Lurker and went straight to Vashj. All things considered it went pretty well. We started out the attempts fairly poorly and I was worried that we wouldn't make it to phase three at all on Tuesday. We were having the same old problems. Strider DPS was slow, Naga DPS was slow, Elementals were getting through, and Tainted Cores were despawning. Fact of the matter is we still had a couple of people that had no experience with the fight and were not sure of their role. After a couple of attempts where the best we did was to get two barriers down the officers had a quick discussion about how the night was going. We decided to make a couple of changes and give it two more attempts.

We ended up making only one more attempt. We changed the way we did the Tainted Cores and I changed the way I DPSed the Naga/Striders. We did make it to phase 3 in that final attempt and got Vashj down to 20%. We decided to all the raid after that attempt because we used all of our Battle Rezes, a couple of people need to leave, and we wanted to end the night on a good note.

Obviously, we have room for improvement. We need to improve the way we DPS the Striders, Naga, and Elementals. On that last attempt we let one Elemental get through and we had one strider and two naga up when we started phase 3. We also need to get a little bit better at surviving phase 1 and phase 2. We had to use our battle rezes early on healers and such to make the attempt possible. We need to transition to phase 3 a little smoother. A lot of us paniced a little bit and and didn't focus our DPS. We also had some people die to the spore bat puke and just didn't have enough people up to get here down. However I do think that getting Vashj down to 20% with several people down at the start of phase three is a huge accomplishment and shows just how easy the phase is if people can stay alive.

Patch 2.4.2:
It has only been a few weeks since 2.4 dropped and we have a new patch with some interesting notes to discuss. Here are the highlights from my perspective. You can fine the entire patch notes here.

- All 23-hour profession cooldowns are now 20-hour cooldowns. - I Think this a great change. I don't always log in at the same time each day and often forget to do my transmute until late at night. Then I have to wait until it is late the next day to do the transmute. This change will still limit me to only one transmute per day but gives me a lot more flexibility.

-Removed the cooldown from Void Shatter, and the recipe now correctly requires 375 enchanting. - I like that they removed the cooldown, but I am interested in what this will mean for Graypal. He has the recipe learned but is not 375 Enchanting. Will he unlearn it with the patch, Will he still have it but not be able to use it, or will he be grandfathered in to the recipe?

- Void Reaver's Arcane orbs now generate combat log entries. - WOOT!!!! VR became significantly harder after patch 2.4 because Deadly Boss Mods and Big Wigs couldn't track the orbs. Hopefully this will make it possible for those mods to track them again.

- Creature versions of the Polymorph spell no longer heal the affected target. - This may not seem like much but it has the potential to be pretty significant for some people. This could possible change the way we farm Kara and with how many groups. Since I am in a guild that is primarily geared from T5 content we end up plowing through Shade of Aran without concern for interrupts. If we have them great, but we don't worry about not having them. The worst that happens is that we get sheeped, pyroblasted, and then we take him down the last 10% or 15%. We can easily live through the pyroblast because we have such high stam values and the polymorph heals us all to full. With this change it is likely that the pyro blast will kill a couple of us at least.

Toon Update:
Graylo - Nothing really to say here. Just raiding and such. I am working on getting him some Haste gear from badges and ZA though.

Graypal - He dinged revered with SSO last night and was finally able to buy [Seeker's Gavel]. It is a pretty big increase to my spell damage from the crappy green dagger I had. The main question I have now is should I enchant it? I have the mats for the +40 Spell Damage enchant and I could use the skill up, but here is a decent possibility that It will be replaced in the next month or so. My main goal for Graypal now is to get him into a normal Magister's Terrace run so that I can start running it on heroic. I also would like to farm a lot of primal fire so that I can get a couple tailoring items made.

Grayfel - I worked on my lock quite a bit over the weekend. I used up all of his rested XP and got him to level 42. Most of that time was spent in Dustwallow Marsh doing the new quests from Patch 2.3. I must stay they did a great job with those quests. They were fun and well laid out. Also, quite a few of them provided well thought out gear rewards. As someone who doesn't instance much while leveling this is a god send. Some of the pieces are a little strange like the Healing off-hand I currently have equipped, that is just a sign of how lacking the gear is before these quests.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Worst WoW Night Ever!!

Last night I experienced the worst night of raiding in my life. It was one of those nights where nothing went right. What made it even more disappointing was that we had been having a pretty good week but I will get to that later.

Last nights target was TK. We hadn't done any bosses in there this week and our plan was to get Al'ar, VR, Solarion, and maybe Mag if we had time. I should have known that it wasn't going to go well because there were several people willing to sit out but we had just 25 or 26 people. Ok, the night started with Al'ar. We ended up wiping on him 6 or 7 times for various reasons. Some of it was bugs. Tanks were were killed by the quill when they were clearly walking on the ground. Some of it was lack of attention. Several people were killed by the flame patch several times. The main issue though was healing in my opinion. WA tends to run raids a little light on healers because we don't have a ton. Last night I think we went with 6 maybe 7. The fight is very doable that way but it requires all of the healers to be on the top of their game. Last night we had a new healer in and from what I have heard he did not perform well.
When it became clear that we were not making progress on Al'ar we decided to head to Solarion. Since it is an easy fight we figured it would give us our confidence back. Well we wiped a couple of times on the way there due to bad pulls and it was clear that people were getting frustrated. It was clear that it was just not our night so we decided as officers that it was clearly not our night. Lets just go do Mag and call it early. Well, we wiped twice on Mag. The first time we got him to 20% or so and the tank was killed due to lack of healing. The second time someone didn't click their cube.
So the score from Thursday was Bosses 10 Raid 0. Didn't even get any trash loot. Oh well, hopefully everyone will be able to put it behind them over the weekend and we can start fresh on Monday.

As I said before, the rest of the week went pretty well. Monday we headed to Hyjal. The guild had gone once before, but didn't down any bosses. We ended up one-shotting Rage and getting the second boss down to 50%. I must say I am not a fan of how they do trash in that instance. Having to kill 8 waves before each attempt sucks.
Tuesday night was a great night in SSC. I did not attend because of family matters but the guild was able to kill all of the bosses except Vashj in one night. Old WA never did that and we raided longer back then. The nice part about this was it set up a nice long night of attempts on Vashj on Wednesday.
I have been itching to get back at Vashj for a long time. I want to see her dead and I would like to get my Hyjal and BT Attunements before we get to far in either instance. We also made decent progress last week so I figured that we had a small chance that we may kill her on Wednesday. Well, things didn't start out as well has I had hoped. First of all we had a new kiter for the stryders, and it took him a little time learn how to do it. We also had an issue with the Elementals getting through causing Melee to come off of Naga to help. Getting the shield down was also a little messy. People had a hard time killing the tainted elementals, looting the cores and throwing them to the right people. All of this really amounts to is that phase 2 is hard and we are still learning it. We did end up getting all 4 barriers down on our last attempt, but a good portion of the raid was dead, several elementals had gotten to vashj and we had a lot of adds still up. While we did not mean my high hopes for the night we did make progress. Hopefully next week we can get to phase 3 cleanly.

Toon Update:
Graylo - I was able to pick up the [Cuffs of Devastation]. This was kind of a surprise pick up for me. I haven't looked at Hyjal loot all that much and never really saw these bracers, so I had to make a quick decision and put my name out there for them. After looking at them a little more closely I realized that they were not a huge upgrade for me and I said that I would old off and pick them up later. Well, not many people raised their hand or them and I ended up getting them. DPS wise they are a slight upgrade to my old BoJ bracers, but they do provide about 4 Mp5 from spirit and have a little more stam. So they don't increase my damage but they do increase my longevity.

Graypal - Not much here. Did some dailies but that is about it.

Grayfel - I have been trying to clear out his rested XP. I am not sure how successful I have been but I don't think I am letting to much of it go to waste. I dinged 38 last night. I also sent him to Exodar to level his Jewelcrafting a little bit. I am a little behind on his professions because I am not mining enough to get the mats. I will probably end up buying some of the mats soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Al'ar Down Twice

It was a pretty good week for WA. We have been clearing past Al'ar for months to get to VR and Solarion but never trying him. For me it has been quite frustrating because I new that with a little effort we would get him down in no time. Plus, I hated having raid called early because Al'ar trash started to respawn and people didn't want to reclear.

Well anyway, on Monday we finally had enough tanks to make some attempts. Most of the old WA members has made some attempts on Al'ar before so we had a decent idea of how the fight worked. To be honest, its not that hard of a fight. Phase one is a joke. Letting a bunch of caster DPS go wild without a worry of pulling aggro is a dream. This wasn't my situation because I was put on add duty but we have a thousand warlocks and they were going nuts. The only real trick to phase one is the Quill and making sure the tanks jump down quick enough. If you can't get through phase one after a couple of attempts then you either have a problem with the quality of your gear or the quality of your people. Phase 2 is much harder. DPS has to actually worry about aggro and the tanks and healers have to be on the top of their game due to the armor debuff. Couple that with the meteor and random patches of flame on the ground then you have very chaotic fight. We ended up 3 shotting him on Monday and then one shotting him on Thursday. Both kills were sloppy, but that is to be expected when you don't have a lot of experience with the fight.

We didn't have a whole lot of time left after downing Al'ar on Monday, so instead of going and trying out Hyjal or BT we went and put a couple of attempts on Kael'thas. Old WA had never tried Kael before so 80% of us were clueless about the fight and it showed. We did get through phase 1 but were not able to get all of the weapons down in phase 2 and wiped when all the adds repoped in phase 3. It is obvious that we have a lot of work to do before we down him. The main things we need to work on here is killing the adds in the right spot. Then waiting AOE the weapons. If we can pick that up quickly then we should be able to get some good attempts on phase 3. I am not disappointed by our performance at all since it was our first try. I also don't know when we will try him again since our primary focus has become Vashj.

On Wednesday we tryed Vashj for the first time as New WA. Quite a few of us had experience with it from old WA and a few of the people that had left the guild and come back have actually killed her. I must say that our best attempt on Wednesday was better than the best attempt by old WA. Phase 1 went very smoothly as you would expect. Phase 2 is obviously where the problems started. We ended up getting two of the beacons down which I think is pretty good. We had some trouble transferring the Tainted Cores and might have been able to get one or both of the other beacons down if it wasn't for that. We also had some trouble with the elementals getting through. I think this is related to our Tainted Core trouble since it took some people out of action for quite a while. On a personal note I needed to watch my aggro a little better,because I pulled aggro on a Stryder once. Hopefully they will fix Omen soon to make this easier. On a positive note, Stryder DPS was very good. If we can work out the kinks with the cores and people figure out the elementals a little better we should have Vashj down soon.

Toon Update:
Graylo - I didn't get anything from raiding but Graylo had a bit of a big week. As I mentioned in my previous post I have been doing SSO Dailies like mad to get to Exalted. I stepped it up a notch this past week and did all of the SSO dailies ever night. I ended up hitting exalted on Sunday and was able to craft the [Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone]. I replaced my [Darkmoon Card: Crusade] with the it. In some situations I may be losing a little damage here, but I doubt I keep 10 stacks of the buff up all that often. My average plus damage from the card is probably close to what the stone provides, but the stone also has the bonus to pots.

I had also been farming badges for a while so that I would be ready when the new badge vendor dropped. Oddly enough the new badge vendor also became available on Sunday. From the 2.3 badge vendor I picked up [Blessed Elunite Coverings] & [Mask of Primal Power]. I thought about picking these pieces up earlier but didn't because I would have lost 27 Spell Hit doing so. However, with the 2.4 badge vendor I was able to pick up [Fused Nethergon Band] to replace the lost hit. So, in one day I upgraded 4 of my items.

Graypal - I haven't done as many dailies with him, but I will be doing a lot more now that Graylo is exalted. I would like to get him to revered for the mace if I don't get a better one first. The necks at exalted aren't that bad either, but I doubt I will be focusing on this rep grind like I did Graylo's. The upgrades just aren't that big or that important right now. I do need to get him into normal MagT to unlock heroic mode. That way I could get in on some of those runs with him. There are several items in Heroic MagT that I would like to have on him. I did run Kara with him on Friday. Wasn't to bad, our group was very strange and kind of thrown together. I ended up only getting badges from it but that isn't that bad.

Grayfel - Once again Grayfel, fell victem to me focusing more on my 70's. There was just to much to do for Graylo and Graypal. I did work on him a little Sunday night. I had hoped to get him to 37 before the I quit but I was just to tired and only got him halfway there. Luckily for him there is less I need to do with the 70's now. I hope to work on him some during the week this week to use up his rested XP. Other than that there is not a whole lot I can say.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Moonkin Raiding Professions

Professions are one of the most important parts of the game. I have at times regreted the professions I chose for Graylo over a year ago at level 5, and other times I have been very happy with my choice. Any class can be played competently with any combination of professions. None of the professions are required for anyone. However, picking the right professions can really complement your play style and can give you an edge that other players will not have. With that in mind I want to look at what are the best professions for a raiding moonkin.

As with most of my posts, I am looking at this only from a raiding min/max perspective. I really have no clue as to which profession will make you the most money. I also don't care about all of the BoE items or services a profession produces. You can easily have an alt or a guildie make them for you. What I do care about are the items and services that this profession can give me that I can't get without having the profession on my main.

Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that all moonkin go out and drop one or both of their current professions and level up new ones. You will notice that I still have Herbilism on Graylo even though it provides me very few benifits that I can't get another way. The fact of the matter is I don't want to buy herbs to supply my alchemy. If I had an alt with Herbalism I would drop it, but I don't so I keep it for now. These are just some things to think about if you are trying to get the most out of your moonkin or any toon you have.

Gathering Professions: Herbalism, Skinning, Mining
There are only two reasons to pick up these professions; 1. Make Gold, 2. Supply a crafting profession. There is really no reason to have these professons on your main if you can get an alt to do them for you or if you don't mind buying the mats off the AH. They do provide one or two profession only benifits but they are not earth shattering and don't really need to be discussed.

Alchemy has come a long way recently, but there are only two reasons to consider it as a raiding profession for a moonkin. The first is the [Mad Alchemist Potion]. It is very cheap, but returns less mana then the Super Mana Potion, and the random buffs won't apply in most raid situations. The best reason to consider Alchemy for one of your professions are the Upgraded Alchemist's Stones. The [Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone] is one of the best damage trinkets in the game and is the best mana regen trinket in the game if you pot on cooldown. This trinket alone has halted all thoughts of me dropping Alchemy on Graylo. It is a little expensive to make, but it will serve you well from Kara to the Sunwell.

Engineering got some love in patch 2.1 with the addition of the craftable BoP goggles. I don't have an engineer but I did consider switching after 2.1 came out because the goggles are awesome. To make things even better blizzard made the goggles upgradeable in patch 2.4. The pattern needed to do so drops in the Sunwell but they are BoE. The new 2.4 goggles are better than almost every other head in the game, combine that with the fact that ever raid leader likes to have an engineer in raid for repair bots, taking up engineering isn't a bad choice.

Jewelcrafting offers a couple of BoP advantages for your main. The first are BoP unique equip gems like [Don Julio's Heart] and [Blood of Amber]. The upgrades here aren't huge but they are transferable when you upgrade your gear. Jewelcrafting also offers several BoP Trinkets and necks. The best of which is [Pendant of Sunfire]. This pattern is also a BoE sunwell trash drop so expect it to be expensive.

Tailoring is an amazing profession for cloth wearers. Some of the crafted gear available from the trainers is equivalent to T5. For moonkin, it is a very nice profession, but not quite as amazing. The reason you may want to pick up Tailoring is for the craftable gear. The [Spellstrike Set] is BoE, but you have to be a tailor to get the set bonus. the [Spellfire Set] is nice also but it does very little for your nature spells. There are also some very nice BoP pattern drops in T5 and T6 content, however you will out grow a lot of these pieces if you advance to higher level raiding.

Enchanting is a very expensive profession to level but is a favorite among high end raiders for one reason, ring enchants. For a moonkin this means an extra 24 spell damage that is not available otherwise. Plus, it doesn't matter how many times you upgrade your rings because you can always enchant the new one. This is a favored profession of many high-end raiding casters spicifically because of the ring enchants.

This is another profession that has improved dramatically since TBC came out. The [Windhawk Set] is the most obvious reason to consider taking up Leatherworking. This set has received several buffs since the expantion and is finally to a place that I consider it worth while. If you have checked out my gear guide you already know that I consider this to be the best pre-kara gear available. You will eventually replace most of these pieces with badge gear, but this will allow you to focus your badges on other slots. The second reason you should consider Leatherworking is the Drums. For a spec that at times has difficulty asserting its raid viability, these are a god send. With them you are able to expand your parties DPS. These are so good that Nihilum has actually had many of its members (including Mages and Warlocks) switch to Leatherworking so that they can have a rolling 80 haste buff. If I was rolling a new raiding moonkin today, this would be one of my professions without a doubt.


There is really no point for a moonkin to be a blacksmith. There are a couple of BoE epic caster weapons that they can cast, but you can always buy them or farm the mats for someone else.

Two Questions:
Choosing professions for your raiding moonkin really comes down to three questions in my opinion.
1. Am I looking to maximize my moonkin's raiding performance? If the answer is no, then there is really no point in going on. Pick the two professions that best fulfill your goals. For example, Mining and Jewelcrafting are not necessarily the best professions for a warlock, but I have them on mine because I want to be able to prospect my own gems.
2. How far do I expect to raid before the expansion? Do I expect to replace my craftable gear? Tailoring is a very nice profession, but most of the craftable items will be replaces if you raid the highest level of content. In which case transferable buffs like the ring enchants and drums become much more desireable. This is what the high end raiding guilds do. However, it will cost you a lot of gold unless you have alts to support your mains professions.

Guild Update:
Attendance has been lagging a little bit. I can't tell if people can't show up at our raid time or if they assume we will be a little late and show up a little late. Our raid time is 7:30 but we can't seem to get a full raid until about 8:00 for some reason. On top of that we lost our main tank on tuesday. At first I thought it was an April Fools Joke, but it wasn't. He had grown bored with the game and didn't enjoy it anymore. I understand his reasoning and which him the best of luck. From a guild stand point we are ok. He was our most consistant tank but he always had to leave around 10 pm, and we usually had a tank or two that we had to ask to sit. It sucks, to lose such a good tank but I don't think it will hold us back.
Tuesday night we downed Hydross and Lurker. It doesn't sound bad but it kind of sucks. With both fights we had several wipes that shouldn't have happened. Plus we got started late and didn't have a lot of healers online. Wednesday I wasn't in raid, but they downed VR and Solarion. Thursday we planned on doing Al'ar. The fire mages respeced frost and everything. Unfortunately we only had 3 tanks show up on time. While it is doable with only 3 tanks its not really the way you want to try a boss for the first time. So we headed over to SSC hoping to clear it to Vashj. Leo when very bad. We had a number of wipes for a number of reasons. Some of it was people not being focused and doing stupid stuff like not waiting for tanks to pick up the boss. Other times it was inopportune DCs of main healers and the Warlock tank. We did eventually get him down with about 30 mins left in the raid time. So we desided to try and get FLK down quickly. That ended up going very well despite it being the first attempt for several key people in the raid. We got him down and salvaged the night.

Toon Update:
Graylo - When I am not raiding I am doing Dailies for the SSO. My server started phase three yesterday and I hit revered with the SSO. I also got over 210 badges total on him so that I can by the 2.3 head and chest and the 2.4 ring as soon as the SSO badge loot becomes available. I know that I can already get the 2.3 stuff but I would lose a lot of hit if I switch it out now. The ring makes up for most of that so I am waiting. Hopefully I will be able to get a lot of the dailies done this week so that I can hit Exalted over the weekend and get my trinket.

Graypal - It was a pretty big weekend for Graypal. I ran kara with him on Friday night. Between him and graypal I got 32 badges from kara that night. He got a couple of good pieces of gear, they are [Talisman of Nightbane] and [Soul-Collar of the Incarnate]. I almost got the [Nathrezim Mindblade] but was barely out rolled for it. He is also up to 24 badges. I can't deside if I want to get the wand once I get another badge or if I want to save up for the spell damage trinket. I also did all of the SSO dailies with him which I find to be a real pain. For obvious reason Graypal doesn't survive near as well as Graylo in the feeding frenze that is the SSO dailies. Having to tag things so quickly with SW Death as caused be to pull more mobs than expected multiple times. I don't have a good reason to get him to exalted yet other than the Neck, but I do want to get him to Honored so that I can get the rep mace. The other goal I have for him right now is to farm up 15 primal fires so that I can get the [Belt of Blasting]. The guild is getting enough Nether Vortexs now for alts. I have 2 primal fires that I can spare but thirteen more could take a little while.

Grayfel - I had planned to do more with Grayfel this weekend but I ended up spending most of it on my 70's. I was able to level him to 36 and free up a bit of rested XP. Hopefully I will work on him more this weekend, but I've said that before haven't I.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pre-Kara Moonkin Gear Guide Part 4

Here is the final part of the gear guide. Sorry that it has taken so long. I have been quite busy lately an not able to get to it. This section will deal with Trinkets and Weapons. As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them at the bottom.

1. [Darkmoon Card: Crusade] - Quest Reward - Darkmoon Blessings Deck - One of the best damage trinkets in the game for raiding, but it is not as good for farming or other activities with a lot of brakes. Calling this a quest reward is a little misleading. You obtain this trinket by combining the 8 cards of the Blessings Deck and turning them in at the Darkmoon Fair. It is unrealistic to try and farm all of the card yourself, so you will probably end up buying most of the cards off the AH. I was able to buy all of my cards for around 700g but that is better than anyone else I have heard. You should expect to spend something closer 1000g or more. If you are interested in buying this trinket then I suggest you watch the AH early and often. Waiting for the Fair to open is not a good idea since that is when cards will be most expensive.
2. [Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone] - BoP Crafted - Alchemy - This is the second best trinket in the game in my opinion and is listed second here because it is only available to Alchemists. It has the highest amount of static spell damage of any trinket in the game, and is the best mana regen trinket in the game. It returns the equivalent of 40 Mp5 if you pot on cooldown. The only trinket I rate higher is [Hex Shrunken Head].

3. [Scryer's Bloodgem] - Rep Reward Revered - Scryer - A great trinket if you are looking for more spell hit. It is a lot better than most of the other trinkets available.
4. [Xi'ri's Gift] - Rep Reward Revered - Sha'tar - As I have stated before spell crit is not the best stat to stack for a moonkin, but compared to most of the alternatives this is a decent trinket. However, I wouldn't expect it to last long.

Honorable Mentions: [Starkiller's Bauble] & [Glowing Crystal Insignia]

Weapons: I want to give you a quick note on weapons. You have a choice between going for a Staff or a Main Hand and an Off hand. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Staffs tend to have better base stats like Stamina and Intelligence but lower damage stats relative to a main hand and off hand. The opposite is true for a main hand and an off hand, plus there are quite a few more options for these slots. I prefer a main hand and an off hand because of the higher over all damage stats, and there are a lot more options available for this choice. However, the choice really comes down to what available option is best. If you do choose a staff, I suggest that you still look for a good off hand to put in the bank. You never know when a great main hand will drop.

1. [Sun-infused Focus Staff] - Magisters' Terrace - Kael'thas Sunstrider - This is a new item that became available in patch 2.4. This is a great staff with a lot of damage stats, base stats, and includes three sockets. This is clearly the best pre-Kara staff in the game.
2. [Warpstaff of Arcanum] - Botanica -Warp Splinter - Another great staff. It has every stat I could ever want in a weapon and a good amount of each of them.
3. [Auchenai Staff] - Rep Reward Revered - Aldor - If you are aldor this is almost a no brainer since it is so easy to get. It has every damage stat I would want and even has a little more damage than the staff in the number 2 slot. However, the lack of stamina and the fact that it is an Aldor rep reward knocked it down a slot.

Honorable Mentions: [The Bringer of Death] & [Bloodfire Greatstaff]

Main Hand:
1. [Talon of the Tempest] - BoE Raid Drop - A very nice dagger that will now be available on the AH. However, be perpared to spend thousands of gold for it.
2. [Hammer of Righteous Might] - BoE Crafted - Blacksmithing - This will be very expensive and is really more of a pally mace. However, if you can get a hold of one without to much trouble it is best weapon available without raiding. It has a little less dps than the crafted dagger below but makes up for it with Stam and Mp5. A word of caution, It will be replaced by the prince dagger or ZA mace. Consider this before spending a lot of gold.
3. [Eternium Runed Blade] - BoE Crafted - Blacksmithing - This will also be very expensive, but a very nice dagger that you can get without raiding. Just as above, this is fairly easy to replace when raiding. Consider this before spending a ton of gold.
4. [Gavel of Unearthed Secrets] - Rep Reward Exalted - Lower City - Lower City rep is a pain to grind. None of my toons are exalted and I don't plan on working at it since I am no where close to it. However, If you can get to exalted this is a very nice mace and is cheap relative to the other options above.

Honorable Mentions: [Seeker's Gavel] & [Runesong Dagger]

Off Hands:
1. [Lamp of Peaceful Radiance] - Arcatraz - Harbinger Skyriss - A great all around off hand that has every stat you will want. It is by far the best choice available. Other items have more of individual stats but none of them are as well rounded.
2. [Star-Heart Lamp] - Black Morass - Temporus - A nice off had with a good amount of damage and hit on it. The base stats are fairly good also.
3. [Crystal Orb of Enlightenment] - Rep Reward Exalted - Ogri'la - The best thing about this off hand is that you can farm it solo. It will take a long time but it is possible. Stat wise it is very nice but don't expect to hold on to it long if you raid.

Well there it is. I plan on going back through it all and reorganizing it, but this is a good indication of the things you should look for. I will warn against trying to get the number one item on every list. Look to see what is best for you with the current gear you have.

Patch Update:
Well, the patch hit last Tuesday and it has been fast and furious ever since. I plan on doing a post about the final patch as a whole if I get around to it before the patch gets to old. There are also several little things that didn't make that the patch notes that I wouldn't mind talking about.

Guild Update:
The guild is doing pretty well. It has been very busy since the patch came out so I have a hard time remembering when everything happened. My raid time has also been a little limited lately so I am not a 100% on what has happened. Tuesday night we did Lurker and Leo with out much trouble. We had a little time left after that so we decided to go check out the new Mag. They really nerfed the heck out of it. On Wednesday, we did Tidewalker and then took down Fathomlord on the first real attempt with the new WA. Thursday, the guild worked on a much harder VR. I wasn't in the raid but apparently it is much harder due changes in the combat log and how the raid warning addons work. They didn't have a good pally to tank the Solarion adds so they decided to go take a look at Black Temple. They mainly played with the trash, but did get two attempts on the first boss. I didn't raid last night either so I don't know what was accomplished then but I do know that they were going to Solarion. Hopefully they got some attempts on Al'ar also.

With the FLK kill the new WA officially matched and passed all of the old WA's progression. This is not bad considering it has only been a couple of months. Over all I think we are still a little behind the old WA. A couple of our members still need quite a bit of gear upgrades, but I think the people are just as good if not better. Hopefully we will be working on Vashj soon.

Toon Update:
Graylo - I finally have something to say. First, Graylo finally got his Champions of the Naaru title when we killed Mag this week. Its not that big of a deal but it is important to me. Second, I got the T5 gloves of of Leo. His give me 3/5 T5. One more piece and I get an amazing 4 piece set bonus that will increase my dps by 8% to 10%. This also changes how I will spend my badges. I am up to 181 and need about 210 when the SSO badge vendor finally become available. Finally, I have been working on his SSO rep. I am trying to do all of the daily quests every day and running MgT as much as I can. However, I have been pretty busy and haven't been able to play that much so my progress is a little slow. I am currently about 2000 into Honored.

Graypal - Not a whole lot has happened here. I have done a few dailies with him to get rep but Graylo has been my focus.

Grayfel - Nothing since the last update. He is building a lot of rested XP and I will have to try and burn some of it soon.