It has been almost two months since the expansion was released. In that time a lot has happened. All of that theoretical stuff we talked about before 3.0.2 is now in game and available to be tested. We also have a better idea of what the gear is like, how buffs work, and what our over all stat totals will are. So, some of the stuff I posted in the past isn't all that correct anymore, and I dread the day I get an e-mail saying:
"Graylo, Back in October you said that we should only put one point in Eclipse. Why do you have 3 in it you hypocrite"
I had high hopes before the expansion that I would be able to update all of my old versus posts quickly and be on the cutting edge of Moonkin Theorycrafting. Sadly I realized fairly quickly that was not my spot in the WoW community. I just don't have the time necessary to be on that cutting edge. Instead I will continue to tray and make new information available relatively quickly in a way that is easy to find and understand by the average raider.
For that reason, in this post I would like to go over some of the new conventional wisdom regarding how to raid a moonkin. I do plan on doing more detailed posts on some of this information, but I want to give you the general idea first. Most of this information is based upon information I have read at the Elitist Jerk's Druid forum. If your looking for cutting edge information or just really like math I highly recommend checking these forums out.
Back in October I did two posts on Eclipse. In those posts I said that that you would want to put at most 1 point into it. However, if you've looked at my armory anytime recently you would have seen that I have 3 points in Eclipse, and some of you may have been thinking: What gives?
Well the truth is that Blizzard buffed the talent into usefullness. When I wrote those posts Eclipse had a 10 second duration and a 40 second cooldown. In the current version of the game Eclipse has 15 second duration and a 30 second cooldown. That is a huge change. Most if not all high end raiding moonkin now use this talent, and put 3 points into it.
So how should you use it? First, get the addon Squawk and Awe. It does a couple of things but he most important feature is that it displays a bar that shows you the duration of your Eclipse buff and the cooldown.
Second, I recommend using the Precasting method. What I mean is that you want precast Wrath to buff Starfire. The Starfire buff is larger and is less mana intensive on average. With this in mind I have three rotations that I use.
1. Eclipse not up and not on cooldown: (MF, IS, W ) In this situation I try and keep my dots up and cast Wrath to proc Eclipse.
2. Eclipse is up: (SF spam, maybe MF) With the buff up you want to get as many SFs in as you can, but if your MF falls off early in the first couple seconds it is worth it to reapply.
3. Eclipse not up but is on cooldown: (MF, IS, SF) In this stage I stick with Starfire, but I go back to keeping my dots up.
Finally I want explain why I use Starfire over Wrath. As I have said before Wrath is a much improved spell in WotLK, but must raiding moonkin still favor Starfire to be their go to spell. The reason is that Starfire scales much better with haste then Wrath does, and it is much more mana efficent. On paper Wrath does have a DPS advantage, but in real life it shrinks quite a bit.
This is a great talent and no one debates that. The question is does Nature's Grace affect the global cooldown?
If you remember back to the beta this was big news but then dropped off the face of the earth. Beta testers were saying that they saw no eveidence that NG was reducing the global cooldown, and it was widely assumed that it had been stealth removed from the game. Then the 3.0.2 patch notes said "Nature's Grace (Balance): Now also reduces the global cooldown of your Wrath spell by 50% while in effect."
This obviously brought the debate back to life, and after some testing and looking at WWS reports it appears that Nature's Grace does in fact reduce the global cooldown for Wrath. Their does appear to be a 1 second floor, so the GCD isn't reduced by 50% as indicated in the patch notes.
This does make Wrath a more attractive spell but it's impact will be felt more by casual players with a relatively low level of gear more then hardcore raiders. Since the GCD has a 1 second floor the affect will be reduces as your haste increases.
(Thanks to Erdluf for pointing out some of this information for me.)
Improved Faerie Fire:
I don't think there was a talent critized more in the beta then Improved Faerie Fire. It is much easier for a shadow priest to apply the 3% chance to hit with spells. Ferals, can easily apply the armor reduction without issue, and the personal 3% chance to crit didn't make up for the DPS lost by using a global cooldown on Faerie Fire. However, there was one question that no one could seem to answer.
If you look at the tooltip you will see that it says "increases the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 3% on targets afflicted by Faerie Fire." It does not say that you have to apply the Faerie Fire or that it even has to be applied by a moonkin. The theory was that you could get the 3% crit if a feral in your raid applied the buff, but none seemed to be able to prove it.
Well the EJ poster Dirm did came up with a smart way to test it. He reduced is talented crit rate to just under 9% by taking his gear off. Then he had a guildie were resistance gear to reduce crit chance by 9%. Theoretically the guildie was now un critable by Dirm. Dirm then had a feral druid apply FFF to his guildie and he started casting rank 1 Wrath, one of them crit.
I think this is pretty conclusive evidence that Improved Faerie Fire does increase your crit chance no matter who puts up Faerie Fire.
Now what does this mean for us. Realistically there is no reason for a raiding moonkin to not have Imp FF now. If you have a feral in raid then you have an extra 3% chance to crit. If you dont' have a feral in raid, you need to have FF up for all of the melee, because it is a better option then Curse of Recklessness or Sting.
Picking it up could be a little tricky. You basically have two options. Most high end raiders drop mana regen to pick it up. Personally I am not having any mana troubles in 25mans and can easily drop some to pick up Imp FF and I suggest that you look here first. If that's not an option because your having mana issues I suggest dropping Improved Insect Swarm.
I have a post planned to cover this but I want make a quick note about it now for you. Most high end raiders are finding that they don't need a lot of mana regen. In fact some have dropped all mana regen talents from their spec. I'm not suggesting that any one go out and mimic them, but if you thing you can drop some mana regen I want to make sure you can do it smartly. As a general rule this is how the mana regen talents stack up for a well geared raiding moonkin:
Omen of Clarity > Intensity > Dreamstate > Moonglow
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment or send me an email.