Anyway, there has been some debate running around the moonkin community as to the current state of Moonkin DPS. Some have said we are to low, and others are saying we are just fine.
In an effort to get to the bottom of the question Murmurs sent out a Plea: "Friends, Azerothians, Moonkin, Lend me you Parses." (Ok, that wasn't an exact quote.) In a nutshell, what he wanted was information to see why some moonkins were still topping the DPS charts and why other moonkin seem to be falling behind. Is it gear, rotation, skill or some there issue that is causing the disagreement within the community.
After quite a few people decided to lend parses to the project, Ghostcrawler stepped in with some of his own thoughts on Moonkin DPS and some of the other issues we face. Here are the highlights.
The State of Moonkin DPS:
First, I should weigh in on the debate regarding Moonkin DPS. Pre-3.1 Moonkin DPS was fine in my opinion. Post-3.1 I expected Moonkin DPS to be fine also. We lost some DPS to the Improved Scorch nerf and Ulduar itemization is less then optimal. However, those nerfs affected all casters to some degree, and we also received buffs to Insect Swarm and Natures Grace. I expected it to all balance out in the end.
On top of that, it is hard to get a full view of Moonkin DPS by looking at parses or even looking at personal experience. It is hard to know why anyone is high on the charts or low on the charts. One moonkin could consistently be in the top 5 of one guild because they are a good player playing with a much of not so good players, and the same good moonkin could switch guilds and be at the bottom of the DPS charts because the people he plays with now are excellent.
All that said, since we have been raiding Ulduar for almost a month now I am seen myself drop lower on the charts. Some of that can be chalked up to inexperience with the fights and the fact that I haven't taken any gear upgrades while others have, but I am also starting to think that some of it is systematic. Fortunately Ghostcrawler agrees that Moonkin DPS is a little low on live.
GC's DPS comments and the Imp Moonkin Form buff:
Here is Ghostcrawler's first comment in the thread.
We think Balance dps is a little low on live, but changing Improved Moonkin Form to 30% Spirit to Spellpower in 3.1.2 should be something like a 5% spellpower boost to raid-buffed druids, which should be around a 5% dps increase. YMMV.
Also keep in mind that the Ulduar fights are pretty diverse. Fights like XT are a dream for melee, especially rogues and cats. (source)
As I said before, I like the change to Imp Moonkin Form, but if GC thinks its a 5% DPS increase he is crazy. Its not even a 5% Spell Power increase.
Fully raid buffed, I currently have about 2880 Spell Power and 550 Spirit. So, the buff to imp Moonkin Form will give me an additional 82 Spell Power. That isn't bad, but it's only 2.85% of my current fully raid buffed Spell Power.
You could also argue that I've avoided Spirit like the plague in the past and that my spirit levels will be higher after I am fully geared in Ulduar gear. So lets say I am fully geared in Ulduar gear, with near BiS gear. To be conservative I'm going to estimate that I have 3200 Spell Power at this point. For GC's comment to be true I would need to have about 1016 Spirit fully raid buffed. This translate to about 790 without raid buffs and would be a 120% increase to unbuffed spirit total.
Is it possible for me to increase my unbuffed spirit by 120% in Ulduar? Probably, but I highly doubt that it would happen with BiS gear. Realistically, I would estimate this buff to be worth about a 3.5% Spell Power increase in full BIS gear. (This number is just off the top of my head.)
GC's Comments on Eclipse:
Ghostcrawler then goes on to talk a little more about our love/hate relationship with Eclipse.
The basic design problem for Balance, as I know you know, comes down to Wrath and Starfire just being very similar spells. One is always going to win out by virtue of damage or cast time. Eclipse was our attempt to make which one wins more dynamic. I think it accomplishes that, but I think it's also fair to say that there aren't a ton of druids who are in love with the talent. Or maybe it's more fair to say that there are druids who just can't stand it. It's also not swell that the talent has driven many druids to mods to help manage it. (source)I think this comment is very interesting. Yes, the fact that Wrath and Starfire are too similar is a problem, but it is made worse by the fact that we have only 4 DPS spells to use as a part of our regular rotation. Yes, Eclipse does make the Moonkin rotation more dynamic, and I can see how that is a good thing. However, when you have only 4 spells in the book, there is only so much you can do without tying virtually all of Moonkin DPS to a single mechanic.
We're not going to give you a rotation that ends up being something like SF, Wrath, SF, Wrath or even SF x4, Wrath x4. We just think that's too boring and ultimately bad for the game. You can argue that you like Balance because it's very predictable and macro-able, but it should be
clear that we view that as a problem. (source)
I also find this comment fairly interesting. I somewhat disagree that standard rotations like the old MF, SF*4 disagree are boring. I didn't have a big problem with it, but I can see how a more dynamic rotation is more interesting and leaves more room for skill to shine.
My real issue is with this comment is if rotations are supposed to be dynamic, why don't they do it for every class. As most of you know my main alt is an Affliction Warlock. Pre-3.1 that rotation was about as dynamic as rock, and then they made it simpler. If you want DPS to be dynamic then do it across the board.
I'm in total hand-waving, brainstorm mode here. This is not a design we have cooking that we're all ready to implement, but imagine Eclipse worked something like this: Every Starfire you cast has a 20% cumulative chance of making your next Wrath do 30% more damage. So after SF1, the chance is 20%, but after SF5 the chance is 100%. That encourages you to swap spells somewhat randomly, but less random than the system we have now. The goal is to have something where you sometimes switch after SF 3 and sometimes after SF 5. Good druids would always switch at the right time and those who are still trying to maximize their potential could get better about switching at the right time. You could also have a system where every SF has a chance of making Wrath slightly better, with a stack on that effect, so that at some point it's the right time to switch.I want to reiterate GC's first sentence. Please realize that the comment above is off the top of GC's head. This is not a current plan, and don't expect to see it in the next major content patch. I am not going to model it until/unless something official is announced to say that Blizzard is working on this.
Don't feel the need to point out how you could game this system -- I spent all of 2 minutes coming up with it. If and when we decide to change it, we'd put far more work into the design. (source)
That said, it is an interesting idea. The big problem with Eclipse is that it is tied so heavily to timers and cooldowns. If it procs at the wrong time then it's wasted, or if there is a time when you need to DPS particularly hard you can't use it then.
I really like the idea of having a system where you could store the buff to use at the right time. Maybe combining the two ideas that GC presented would be a good idea. That way you get some of the randomness, but if SF is still the better spell due to Heroism then you could continue to cast SF without losing procs.
The Rest of the Thread:
From there the thread goes into a lot of discussion about how to improve Moonkin and such. I suggest that everyone at least skim through because there are a lot of interesting ideas. I however, will focus on just one post.
Murmurs made a post deeper into the thread with a lot of suggestions on how to rebalance Moonkin DPS. Once again I think he is just spitballing here, but there are some interesting suggestions. You can find the post here.
The idea I like best out of those suggestions is adding minor glyph that increases Wrath's Cast time and damage. So that Wrath as similar DPS for a single cast, but isn't as negatively affected by increased haste as the current Wrath. Of course this doesn't fix the problem that Wrath and Starfire are to similar, and probably makes it worse.
I also like the idea of a new spell. We need some sort of neutral nuke to fill the space when we don't want to proc eclipse, or just something different the then the straight DoTs and Nukes we currently have.