Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mailbag: How to level Moonkin.

I am a rather casual player, still at level 75 with my main (Disc priest) and 70 with my hunter-armer alt. I do not plan on raiding in my lifetime, due to the limited time in-game I currently have. I play to RP and just unwind from work by ticking off a quest or two a couple evenings a eeek.

I have recent dusted off a level 31 alt that has sat unplayed for about 1.5 years. I realize I'm not Boomkin yet, but I am trying to find a decent overall technique for Balance Druiding.

Do you have any pointers for a PvE casual like me to start picking up?

-N. F.

(I have edited and paraphrased the email so that it fits in the blog better.)

Over the past couple of months I have gotten this question a lot. I've been a little hesitant to answer it publicly, because I don't think I have any great insight into the topic. I think that for two reasons.

First, it has been over two years since I created Graylo. He was my first character and I was a complete noob all the way to around level 50. We all make mistakes while leveling, but mine were huge. When I finally respecced around level 50, two thirds of my talent points were in balance, one third were in Resto, and I spent half my time DPS in Cat form. My gear was a mixture of melee and caster leather. I am 100% sure there experienced players laughing their but off at me.

Second, I've raided for so long that my playstyle is different then most players. When I level my alts, my goal is to do it quickly and I don't care about skipping instances or zones. On top of that, my gear is of a level that I don't have to worry about multiple mob pulls. I can kill mobs quickly enough that having one beat on me is not a big issue. Therefore, my experiences my not be applicable to new moonkin.

Basically, I just want everyone to know that I have no great insights in how to level. There is very little math involved in what I am about to post, and I fully encourage my readers to post other suggestions in the comments.


There are a couple of different strategies you can choose here. I generally go with an all out DPS strategy because I want to kill things quickly. At level 31 this is the spec I would go with (link). My level 40 Moonkin build (link). Level 60 (link).

If your looking for more longevity, I would put more points into Moonglow first and Dreamstate second. If your looking for more survivability then you may want to pick up Nature's Focus and Insect Swarm earlier then I have listed.

Talents to avoid:

Genesis - Its just a bad talent that do little DPS for moonkins. Plus DoTs are less affective while leveling.
Nature's Splendor - In my experience a mob is rarely alive long enough for a DoT to fully tick on the mob even without this extension.
Improved Faerie Fire - This is purely a raid talent.
Eclipse - The buff will be wasted more often then not.

Questionable Talents:

Nature's Grace - For a 3 point investment it could help but it could also easily be wasted.
Insect Swarm - Honestly I didn't use it at all while leveling. I didn't spec into it.
Balance of Power - If your consistently killing mobs 2 or 3 levels below your level, then this talent is a waste.
Gale Winds - I don't AoE much while leveling, but if you want to try AoE leveling this is a must have talent.
Typhoon - The knockback could be helpful but it is also easy to pull extra mobs with it's range.


There are generally two ways to kill mobs while leveling: 1. The Root and Nuke method, and 2. The Machine Gun method.

I used the Root and Nuke method from 50 to 70. The rotation is basically Root, DoT, Nuke, Root, Nuke, ......

This rotation is slow but it's safe. You generally don't have to worry about adds and won't lose much health. The downside is that it uses a lot of mana and takes more time. It is best for undergeared players.

I used the Machine Gun method from 70 to 80. It's basically Nuke spam with the possibility of DoTing up adds.

This rotation is quicker but more dangerous. With this strategy your going to lose health. So, when bad luck strikes and that pat sneaks up on you from behind your in greater danger of dying. This method is best for well geared players or players that are a couple of levels above the content.

Which Nuke is better for leveling?

Starfire is always the best spell to pull with since it does the most damage. After that it depends on your level, talent build, and the situation.

If you have Nature's Focus and are getting beat on then Wrath is the best Nuke. After that it depends on what spell you've trained most recently. A brand new Wrath will generally do a lot more DPS and similar DPM to an old Starfire. On the flipside, a brand new Starfire will do similar DPS to an old Wrath but be much more mana efficient.

Gear & Stats:

Two words: WEAR CLOTH! There is very little leather caster gear before you get to Outland. If you insist on wearing leather then you will be gimping your DPS. Also, if you do happen to run instances on your way up, don't be afraid to roll on Cloth items. You may get some aggro from the clothies in your group, but remember two things. 1. You don't have better options that are leather. 2. All of your instance gear will be replaced as you level. Your not taking a long term best in slot item away from them.

From a Stats perspective Spell Power is king, but there isn't a lot of gear with Spell Power on it. After Spell Power your looking for items with Stamina and Intellect. Crit Rating is a very minor stat at this point. Hit rating could be nice if your going up against mobs that are a couple of levels higher then you. I wouldn't worry about stats to much at this point because most upgrades are fairly obvious.

Random Points:

* Carry lots of water and some food. When ever I stop at a town I make sure I have 2 stacks of water and 1 stack of food before I leave. Also, make sure you have the highest quality of water and food that you can. This will minimize down time.

* Don't break your neck to train new spells. Check WoWhead to see what new spells are available. Then determine if it is something that is important enough to drop everything and go get it or if you can wait for a more convenient time.

* Leveling Guides - People that are really into the lore may not be happy with them, but as I've said before my goal is to level quickly. Therefore I really like leveling guides. WoWpro.com has a lot of very nice free guides. I used Jamie's Alliance guide to level Graylo from 30 to 60. I used the Brian Kopp guide to level Graypal and Grayfel from 1 to 70, and Graylo from 60 to 70. I have also used the Zygor guide to level Graylo and Grayfel from 70 to 80. All of them are very nice. If you don't want to spend money then definitely go with the WoWpro guides. However, the Zygor guide has a great ingame interface if your willing to pay for it.


Maebius said...

Maebius (NF the mail-inspiration for this post) here,

Wow, thanks for the quick and easy to follow help!
I never even considered Cloth gear, and my priest is a Tailor, so I'll be whipping up a set of Azure cloth this weekend just to try things out.

Also good to know I'm on almost the right track with my "Root-> Dot-> Nuke-> OOM-> Kitty" technique I fell into this past weekend. I was staying in Killy/bear-form to regen mana in between "Root+Nuke" rotations, which is what prompted the question. It just felt very unnatural to be doing. I'll make sure to bring more water now that I hear mana is an issue at this level of gear.

Muchly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

As for free lvling guides, one i use is Tekkubs' "Tourguide" Addon.

can be downloaded from wowinterface.com

also if nuking i found sending a wrath then casting starfire whilst the wrath is traveling will make them hit at roughly the same time :)

happy lvling

Anonymous said...

I just leveled a Moonkin from 1 to 80 and I don't think I cast Moonfire or root once the entire way.

Starfire, Starfire, starfire then a wrath if needed until you get good enough mana regen to use more wraths.

Let the mob beat on you. With owlkin frenzy and thorns scaling with spell power getting hit is a good thing.

When it is up pull 6 or 7 mobs with starfall and AE them down. Then a couple minutes later do the same again but add in forces of nature and use barkskin+hurricane.

With moving around while questing I never even had to drink after level 40 except after extremely intense AE pulls like when i pulled the entire mine under the town in hellfire to finish that quest in one pull, etc.

Anonymous said...

Oops can't edit. What I meant with the starfall/forces of nature thing is you want to set them up so you can alternate them.

one big pull using starfall+barkskin+hurricane. Then when barkskin comes back up you do the same thing using forces of nature instead of starfall.

Anonymous said...

very nice guide, i tweeked mine a bit to suite my play style added insect-swarm and dreamstate early on so i can kill more mobs in one go i actually graind more mobs then i would do in cat from , so now at 42 i basicly insect -> monfire -> starfire -> optional starfire or wrath :)

now to the big problem what proffesion to choose, any hints.. seems that at a moment there is only one good in each trade skill.. my intention is to go resto at 80 and raid heal

gray keep up the good work

Requisition said...

Must level a balance druid from 1 to 80! What professions do you recommend for a fledgling balance druid? I'll be doing it on my main server, so I'll have my other characters to provide me with cash. Tailoring for the clothie gear? Or does Leatherworking eventually get some good caster leather?

Graylo said...


In my opinion professions don't really matter while leveling.

I've started picking up two gathering professions on my low level alts to make money.

You'll probalby get more gear from tailoring, but you will replace it all as you level. I suggest you pick the two you want for when your max level, or just take two gathering professions and sell the stuff on the AH.

thefool808 said...

As far as professions go, I leveled enchanting and tailoring, but now that I have flight form it's pretty obvious that druids have a sizable advantage with herbalism in that they can gather while shape-shifted (and don't forget underwater herbing in swim form).

Also, I try to eat instead of healing myself. It's just too expensive to shape-shift back and forth, especially when my HPs are so low, I only have to eat for a couple seconds if I have the right food. And I try to keep barkskin up as much as possible to prevent spellcasting delays.

Anonymous said...

This comment may not be much help since I don't remember what talents I picked or avoided off the top of my head. My Moonkin is also 70 still but I leveled the entire way as Balance.

I avoid using Root as much as possible, usually saving it for multi mob pulls as a way of CC. It costs mana and 9 times out of 10 broke as soon as I fired off a Starfire.

Once you get Starfire (which you have now at 31), I pulled with that, usually had enough time for 1 more Starfire and spammed Wrath until it was dead. I also avoided DoTs since they usually died before it finished it's duration.

I'm with Graylo on this one where when I level alts (9 70+'s, 1 80, numerous 60s across multiple accounts) I aim for speed. I quest more than I instance and I opt to take talents that increase nuke/burst damage over anything and then talents that reduce cooldowns by a decent amount to reduce downtime. I also can't stress the "wear cloth" advice enough. You're a 10 foot lazor owl 90% of the time so who cares if it's leather or not. Sorry clothies =).

Anonymous said...

I'd say every character should level with herbalism as one of their choices. The self heal makes things so much easier at low levels, helps with tough pulls and erases downtime.

Anonymous said...

Graylo & Bambislayer may both be interested in this - Jame has developed his leveling guides (as well as the other wow-pro guides) to be used within Tekkub's TourGuide addon.

I'm using them on my hunter and it's going fantastically quickly. I'm a huge fan of Jame's guides anyway, but having them as an addon within the game itself is even better.


Anonymous said...

I levelled as feral because of the lack of leather caster gear... I didn't even think to use cloth. I might have been a moonkin all along if it had ocurred to me, nonetheless I suspect it is quicker to level as feral and make the shift to balance at 60 or 70. Here's what I would do as balance against single mobs: starfire, insect swarm, moonfire, roots if you need to heal, wrath until mob is dead. Vendor crappy food and buy good stuff. Always have your two buffs up.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done. I would make one edit. Someone touched on it but....to clarify. I think you were looking for wow-pro.com no wowpro. Not positive but I believe that is what you were going for. GL

Gunsnbutter/Cerdwyn on Uther

Anonymous said...

I don't think this will help much but what I used to do even before moonkin form is I would cast starfire, root, wrath, wrath, if the target isn't dead root again and the wrath till dead.

Rachat de credit said...

That has been a good help, thanks a lot, now to level moonkin. is very easy with your help. Thanks