This is Part four of my four part series looking at Eclipse. In this post I will summarize my findings from the first 3 sections and provide some of my thoughts on the talent. Part one looked at the two Eclipse buffs and showed which is the better buff. Part two looked at the value of Eclipse and tried to provide you with an idea of how it will help your DPS. Part three tried to answer the question, Should I refresh my DoTs during Eclipse.
For those of you that don't like reading math, please feel free to skip to the bottom for my TL:DR version of the post.
In part one I took at a look at the two potential buffs, and tried to determine which had the greater impact on our DPS.
What I found was that an Eclipse buffed Starfire did very similar DPS to an Eclipse buffed Wrath, and in several cases actually did a little more DPS. Eclipse buff Starfire by 25% to 30%, but buffs Wrath by only 16%. On top of that, since the Starfire buff is a crit buff it also increases the mana efficiency of Starfire very dramatically.
Since Wrath and Starfire have similar DPS with the Eclipse buff, then the debate drops to other issues like mana efficiency. In this area Starfire is the clear winner. (i.e. spam wrath to get the SF buff)
In part two I tried to put a value on Eclipse. I found that investing 3 points into Eclipse can increase a moonkin's DPS by 8% to 13% under ideal circumstances. In reality this number will be reduced due to fight mechanics and the randomness of the talent. However, even if the value is cut in half, it is a significant increase to our DPS.
I also ran the evaluation with only 1 or 2 points in Eclipse. The results showed that you can receive 75% to 90% of the benefit by investing just 1 point in the talent. I however will continue to invest 3 to reduce the randomness on an already very random talent.
In part three, I looked at what we should do about DoTs during Eclipse. I found that it was technically possible to increase your DPS by refreshing Insect Swarm at the beginning of Eclipse but the benefit is so small that it is not worth the effort. For Moonfire the affect can be more significant. I found that it was a DPS increase to refresh Moonfire at the very beginning of Eclipse, but lost its value about 5 or 6 seconds into the buff's duration. In short, don't refresh Insect Swarm. Only refresh Moonfire at the very beginning of the buff.
As a community we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Eclipse. It was widely criticized when it was originally announced and Blizzard had to buff it several times before it was accepted by the community. Now, everyone agrees that it is a must have talent, but that doesn't mean we all like it. In my opinion Eclipse has two main issues that stem from the randomness of the talent.
The first issue is that it is inconsistent. Since most DPS classes rely on crit to some extent, we can all fall victim to the RNG at times. However, Eclipse increase our exposure to that devil.
Look at the Starfire Eclipse for example. First it procs off of Wrath critical hits. Second, the Wrath critical hit only has a 60% chance to proc Eclipse. Third, once Eclipse procs the buff improves our crit rate, another RNG calculation. This is what is disturbing about Eclipse. Our DPS depends on 3 RNG calculations.
We all have stories of when we caught the bad end of an RNG. Last night for example, we were fighting Malygos. At the very start of the fight I put up FF, IS, and MF. I then started to Wrath spam. I had 4 wrath crits in a row, but none of them procced Eclipse. Of course, I'm not QQing about the times that I procced Eclipse off the first Wrath cast and then when on to get 6 critical hits in a row (but on one of those situations I did pull aggro and wipe the raid).
Of course this all averages out in the end, but the inconsistency has other consequences. Raid Leaders don't like inconsistency. The two main goals my guild is working on currently are the 6 minute Malygos achievement and Sarth 3D on 10 man level. These are both DPS races to some extent and we've had great attempts were we get really close and the next attempt we are far behind. Obviously that is not all me, but it is part of the problem.
On top of that the inconsistancy makes me look like a slacker if the Raid Leader doesn't know any better. It is possible for me to play my class perfectly and have 4K DPS on both Patchwerk and Grobbulus. If I was a Raid Leader and didn't know the class, I would wonder why I was slacking on Patchwerk.
I realize my opinion is worth a grain of salt here, but in my opinion, Eclipse makes moonkin one of the most difficult DPS specs to play in WoW.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying all of the other classes are easy. In BC I always said Shadow Priests were one of the hardest classes to play with with 2 DoTs and 2 long cooldowns. Affliction locks also have it rough with 5 DoTs and one long cooldown. However, they have one advantage that we don't.
Their rotations are completely predictable. A Warlock knows exactly when his Unstable Affliction is going to run out. A Shadow Priest knows exactly when the cooldown on his Mind Blast is up. They can calculate in their heads when they can nuke and when they need to refresh DoTs. This is not the case for moonkin. I am rarely 100% sure of what I will be casting next, or if I am going to refresh my DoTs.
The really issue here is that I have only so much attention span to spread out among all the things I need to pay attention to and mistakes are costly. Watching for a buff lowers my situational awareness and makes me more likely to stand in a void zone and die. If I miss that my cooldown is up I don't lose jsut a tick or two of a DoT. I miss my buff for 30 - 35 seconds.
How would I fix it?
To be honest I'm not sure what the best way is to fix it. The two popular suggestions are to either make it an activated ability like a trinket or to give it charges instead of a duration.
I don't really like the idea of making it an activated ability. We have enough of those, and it just feels kind of cheap to me. The charges idea sounds interesting. It will definitely reduce the number of wasted buffs, but you still have to watch for the proc and such.
The idea I had won't help eclipse directly but I think it will help our playability in general. I think they should revert the Glyph of Starfire back to its original form. It basically takes a DoT out of our rotation which is something Blizzard has been trying to do for Shadow Priests and Affliction Locks. Why not us?
Anyway as you can see I don't have any great suggestions. Please feel free to lend me your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.