Friday, February 6, 2009

Eclipse: Part 4 - My thoughts

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.


The Summary:

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.

My Thoughts:

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.
Inconsistency:
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.

Unpredictability:
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.

18 comments:

Jason said...

"This is what is disturbing about Eclipse. Our DPS depends on 3 RNGcalculations."

Better words have never been spoken. Great job talking about this talent.

I will have to pass this on to my buddy who ask why I can go from 3K to 5k on different tries on 3 Drakes.

Ebonhorn said...

Hello Graylo. Thanks for the nice serie of posts, it provides a great insight into the talent. I agree with your summary and honestly I don't like the talent at all: since when it was introduced I find raiding so much more demanding, I don't have time anymore to decurse or depoison or throw that critical heal that can save someone because I'm looking at procs. And after 4 hours of raiding I'm tired like it were 10.

Anyway I write to give my advice: I think on harder fights where a lot of situational awareness is needed, it's far easier to use the Wrath eclipse. As you showed the damage boost is similar, but I find it way easier to proc and manage: basically I only have to cast starfire, at the first crit I know the buff procced, I switch to wrath and as soon as the buff ends I go back to starfire and can ignore the cooldown since I'm already casting the correct spell to proc the buff. With this rotation I guess the best idol would be again the raven goddes one, since the damage is made by 50% starfire and 50% wrath, isn't it?

Regards,
Ebonhorn of Argent Dawn EU

Macbook said...

Not to mention our rotation is already dependant on so much RNG calculations, but so are the majority of our trinkets!

Dying Curse and the Sundial trinkets are always proccing when I can use them, its retarded.

Calaziar said...

The devs have announced they'd like skill>gear etc. and it seems one of the ways they are implementing this idea is by favoring more and more complex rotations. Feral Cat dps mirrors many of the problems we have; look at some of the Hunter nerfs as well as what has happened to warlocks and their rotations. The days of Sac/Destro 1 button spam being the 'best dps' solution are gone I'm afraid, so I don't believe there will be any 'relief' from these contortions we have to go through to max our contributions.
Get your RL an antacid and remind him/her of the realities of dps for most classes in WotLK. As an aside. I think the older devs still cling to their original vanilla release vision of our class as a viable 'tank or healer' and they make dps as difficult as possible for us. Thankfully enough folks enjoy 'killing stuff' in raids and pvp with their droods that at least we are able to do that now...even if it can be a struggle compared to other classes.

Boukev said...

I have to say, I personally love the eclipse talents, it really takes concentration and skill to get the best DPS possible. I always feel so good when i have done well and maximized my DPS. If I could do this all the time (like some DPS classes) then I would get bored soon and reroll Tree again.

Jason said...

From a design standpoint the talent does not seem to fit what they are going for. The whole bring the player and not the class really goes out the window here.

I can not see any raid bringing more than one Boomkin. I can be top dps or dead last on a given boss. No reason to sit a mage for a second Boomkin.

Savian said...

Thanks for an excellent series of posts on Eclipse. It tallies with my own calculations and qualms but it's nice to see it written out in a clear and concise manner.

I like eclipse, it adds extra challenge, and rewards you if you pay attention. Most of the time.

However, watching closely for procs does take away from situational awareness. Like Ebonhorn I feel worn out after raiding. I'm so busy watching SquawkandAwe, timers on boss abilities, voidzones, etc, at my feet, I end up not actually seeing half the instance. And it's pretty frustrating when even having played as best I can, if I get smacked by the RGN, meters make it look as if I need to learn my class.

Having Eclipse be a proc ability would probably make life too easy for us ('s not hard to write a macro that tries to proc it every time a spell is cast). I do like the idea of having Eclipse be charges. That makes the decision to reapply dots a bit easier and if you're keeping IFF up for the raid, makes you want to kill fewer people (on seeing aforementioned meters). Having the SF glyph revert to its original form would be very helpful. I reeeeally hope a dev somewhere is reading this blog.

Bottom line: overall Eclipse is a good thing, I do not wish the good old days of MF, SFx4 back. But there are few other classes that have to watch their abilities as closely and lose quite as much dps if they make a mistake. And let's face it, when someone is performing worse than their gear suggests they should, we seldom look to the RGN as the first explanation.

Eclipse would not f___n' proc... honestly, I don't suck. Really.

Toque said...

I am a new 80 balance druid, and I read your posts, and the elitist jerk forum posts, and still found I was getting better dps on the training dummy and during fights by using Starfire to proc my eclipse then spamming wrath.

I was thinking this could be due to a few things. One of them is that this only gives you one rng calculation. So its a LOT more dependable. I would get 2 eclipse procs before I went oom consistantly. As opposed to wrath spamming for the proc when I went oom a lot quicker and usually only got 1 proc.

So thats just the target dummy, and I don't go oom during 25 man fights, but the consistancy also helps alot during boss fights. Its much easier to maximize the benefit from the wrath proc since the casting time is quicker allowing you movement in between casts.

Anyways, during boss fights I am also getting better dps using starfire to proc eclipse.

Perhaps its just my gear level. I have about 1600sp and 24% crit self buffed in moonkin form. Also I don't have the starfire idol.

Beefiest said...

Very nice series.

Just an idea I had and found that if increases my DPS by quite a bit on training dummies.

When shaman casts BL, I will cast Starfall. This gives me all that BL Haste as well as (nearly) a static NG from all the starfall crits. Ill spam SF until Wrath Eclipse (usually 4-5 1 second casts) I now have 2-3 seconds left on starfall and ~20 seconds left on BL. This is when i spam now Imp Wrath (from eclipse) and pop my spell power trinket. with all that haste, ill be getting .2 second wraths and my GCD works fine. Only very rarely will i get a "spell not ready yet" error message.

Thanks again,

Beefiest, Moonkin
Haumarush

Shem said...

I have to say that I agree with Ebonhorn. On fights with movement/ decursing duties it is much easier to use a Wrath Eclipse without it being wasted. Even on movement intensive fights you can get a couple of wraths off during your move if Eclipse has just procced. It also helps knowing when the buff is going up instead of relying on RNG.

Mana becomes a bit more of an issue, but is still not usually that problematic.

And I'm sure most of us know that if a Wrath Eclipse DOES happen- just go with it :-P It's not that bad.

Cusper said...

This is great... Thank you for posting it... I also had a question about idols... I currently have the Naxx25 Starfire idol, but I was wondering about with the rotation that I currently use, which is the one that you suggest, should I get the badge one that buffs wrath? Any suggestions would be great!

Have a delicious day!

Megami said...

"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."

Agh, my worst fear right there. Sometimes I can top the meters, or stay in the top 5 with a lucky string of crits. Other times it seems to take forever to get an Eclipse proc and I'm bottom 10 or worse. I also worry about the arcane mage with a little bit worse gear than me but can sometimes do way more damage (~500 dps) on bosses. Unfortunately my feral and leafy friends have been MIA with school these past several weeks and I've been stuck with applying FF.

Quick question... sometimes with 2 or 3 seconds left of the Eclipse internal cooldown, I try to get off 1 last starfire and it crits (yay!) but procs Wrath Ecplipse. Should I keep spamming SF until the cooldown is over again, or use the buff and spam Wrath?

Merlot said...

Druid dps certainly looks a lot more complicated in Wrath, but isn't that part of the attraction? Taking the mf dot out of the picture might make it easier to manage eclipse, but I think you'd get bored :)

So I like the idea of charges - or at least something that enables you to perform more consistently without dumbing down. The arcane mage system seems the most elegant and applicable, but I'm sure nobody wants just a clone of that for moonkins.

Hotball said...

I think we certainly need a less random Eclipse for Starfire. Wrath Eclipse is less random, but it also doesn't have the benefit of mana return on crits. It can be troublesome on long fights.

A way to remove the randomization of Starfire Eclipse would be dramatically increasing it's crits rate. For example, if, when proced, it increases crit rate by, say, 60%, then a lot of randomness will be gone with reasonable equipments. Of course, this will be overpowered, so the internal cooldown may have to be increased too, for example, maybe the internal cd increases from 15 seconds to 30 seconds (it would need some simulation to make sure that the benefit stays more or less the same).

Cdin said...

@Cusper

The SF idol improves SF more then the Wrath Idol improves Wrath. So, Unless your using Wrath for 60 - 70% of your damage the SF idol is better.

@Megami

Go with what ever buff you have. The Wrath Eclipse is good, just not as good as Starfire Eclipse.

@Merlot

We're all different, but I wouldn't get bored. I didn't get bored during BC after 3.0.2 when all we had to do was spam SF.

Pushing buttons isn't the fun part of raiding for me, because Ideally we shouldn't even be really thinking about what buttons we are pushing. It should be second nature.

I get more into the positioning and optimizing my performance in that way. However we are all different.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm willing to give Eclipse rotation and spec one last shot before I chuck it and all your advice right out the window.

I did spec for it the other night and practiced on the boss dummies. Result = Eclipse rotation 1000dps less than my current wrath spam spec on average.

Under my current spec (minus eclipse), I average between 3000 - 5000dps on bosses - depending on the fight. I want to consistantly be in the 4k+ range.

I saw a mention of an addon that tracks cooldowns, but I cannot seem to find it. Can you provide the name/link again? I'll try the rotation with the addon and if it still blows moonkin dingleberries, then I'll never use it again and you'll lose a reader...

JK - you have a great blog, I just don't know if I agree with some of your calculations.

Thank you.

Hoots - Alexstraza

Anonymous said...

Hello!,

I just had to add my comment because i can't agree more. I have exactly the same thoughts as you about Eclipse being so RND.

Sometimes i can push up to 5k DPS and sometimes i'm down to 3k DPS, my guild already achieved Sartharion 3D but we're still trying Malygos 6min (got a very close try once tho, 9 sec over the timer) and some trys i do very nice dps others i do shit :<.

Annoys me so much we 'can't' really choose when to proc eclipse, on complex fights like Sartharion 3D where you have to move quite a lot sucks to get an Eclipse proc and "oh, flame tsunami coming i have to move :<" same goes for Malygos with the vortex... Also about when shamans use heroism/bloodlust, ok most of the time you will get an Eclipse there but sometimes you wont (another RND).

With patch 3.1.0 i was really hoping a change to Eclipse, i was thinking about making it an Active skill (like mages got Combustion or Icy Veins) also the Glyph of Starfall should go back to its first version... i think letting us remove one DoT from rotation will help a lot about our already a bit complex rotation.

Quetzal from Ravencrest (EU).

Frenzy/Mazrigos(EU) said...

I couldn't agree more about the difficulty of the class to play. Being forced to watch procc, using mods to be able to view internal cooldowns and having to adapt your spell rotation on the fly all while making sure you don't get yourself gibbed makes raiding quite a chore at times.

I also don't see why they nerfed the starfire glyph, it made the class much more enjoyable and didn't really have that big an impact on the class's DPS