Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mailbag: A Twisted Explination

I have raided a moonkin for a little over 2 years. I know some of you raided as a moonkin back in the dark ages, I mean during vanilla WoW, but I think 2 years is probably a lot longer than the average. I think that experience is one of the things that makes my blog successful. On the other hand it is sometimes very easy to forget that what seems clear to me my not make immediate sense to some one that is newer to the spec.

So when I got an email from Sydera from World of Matticus, I realized I may have made a mistake. Lets take a look at her email.
Hi Graylo,

As always I love your blog, and as our guild has lost our moonkin to summer school woes, I'm going to be changing over from resto. I have used your site to figure out what I need to do currently, but my question is about 3.2. You are suggesting a "Twisting" rotation. I'd like more exact details on that. If you get on the PTR (or once it goes live) can you sticky a little guide with EXACTLY what to do (moonkin for dummies, if you will). I haven't played moonkin long enough to intuit what the changes to my rotation will be, or even what I'll be looking for on Squawk and Awe now.

I'm not quite sure I understand how both Eclipse procs and both cooldowns will function.

Great question. First, lets take another look at what the change to Eclipse is doing.

With the old (3.1) Eclipse, you have two buffs on the same cooldown. The best example that I can think of to describe it is the old Potion mechanics used in TBC. You could have multiple pots in your bag for Health, Mana, or DPS, but once you used a one, all of your pots were on cooldown for 2 minutes. So you had to choose which was most advantageous to use.

With the new (3.2) Eclipse. you will have two buffs on two connected cooldowns. The perfect example of how this should work are "On Use" trinkets. Back in TBC I had two "On Use" trinkets, and both trinkets had a 2 minute cooldown. If I used trinket A it went on cooldown for 2 minutes. Trinket B would also go on cooldown, but only about 15 seconds. This prevented me from using both trinkets at the same time, but could effectively use both trinkets in a fight without losing any of the benefits.

Basically, we are currently choosing which Eclipse we uses. After 3.2 we will use both Eclipse buffs.

So when I call our future rotation a "Twisting" rotation I mean that it switching or changing rotation, where we will "twist" or switch which of the Eclipse buffs we use with each proc.

I took the name from the old Shaman practice of Totem Twisting. Because of how the Windfury totem worked it was possible to have the Windfury buff and that of another Air totem for most of the fight. The practice is dead and gone, but when I was looking for something to call the new rotation Twisting seemed to fit.

So, how exactly will the new rotation work?

Actually, it is fairly simple. You will start your rotation the same way you do now. FF, IS, MF, Wrath until Eclipse, Starfire. The change comes when your Eclipse buff drops off. At this point you continue to cast Starfire until Eclipse, and then switch to Wrath.

What about DoTs:
The big question that no one really has a great answer for is when do you refresh DoTs. Obviously, you don't want to refresh DoTs before the old DoT drops off. You will always want to refresh your DoTs when neither buff is up, but there is some debate on what to do while you have an Eclipse buff.

Some people say, that you should never refresh DoTs during Eclipse, but that doesn't seem to be a popular opinion. I presented the most common opinion back in February with this post. The basic theory is that you refresh DoTs early in the Eclipse buff, but wait if they don't drop off right at the start of the buff. I don't think this is bad advice, but I'm no longer convinced that it will result in the absolute best DPS.

When I looked at this question before, I looked at it as if I was losing a Nuke GCD when I cast the DoT. However, I now think it is more of a trade. I'm casting a DoT now instead of in 8 seconds from now, and I will be casting a nuke 8 seconds from now instead of right now. So the cost of casting the DoT now is not the entire cost of the GCD, but only the change in DPS between a Nuke now and a Nuke later.

I will have to sit down and do the math some time, but this idea has changed the way I reapply DoTs. I will now reapply Dots very late into an Eclipse buff. As long as I have about 5 seconds on the buff I will reapply the DoT. I don't have any solid evidence to support my opinion yet, but I think the logic is sound.

Addons like Squawk and Awe (SnA) are going to be much less important with the new Eclipse. The most important piece of information that SnA provides is when the Eclipse cooldown is up. After the new Eclipse that won't matter.

This doesn't mean that SnA won't still be useful. If your using it as a DoT timer then that benefit will still be there. It will also be good for reminding you which Eclipse is up since the Blizzard animation fades fairly quickly. There also may be a couple of times when it is good to know when a buff is off cooldown.

I plan on keeping Squawk and Awe for the foreseeable future, but you could get the same benifit from a more global addon like Power Aura's or Scrolling Combat Text.


Anonymous said...

[quote] Actually, it is fairly simple. You will start your rotation the same way you do now. FF, IS, MF, Wrath until Eclipse, Starfire. The change comes when your Eclipse buff drops off. At this point you continue to cast Starfire until Eclipse, and then switch to Wrath. [/quote]

hmm are you sure you cant proc lunar eclipse over solar and other way? i read that you cant have both at the same time, but does it mmean you cant proc other one while first one is at half timer? so you lose one eclipse but gain other 1 ?

i'm not on ptr so i dont realy know and havnt seen anything about this. but if you can proc other eclipse only after 1 is ended that would be great and a huge dps boost

Hamlet said...

Modeling it is tricky, but I think I agree with DoT refreshing as a high priority. In 3.1 my best attempt at modeling constant DoT refreshes, regardless of Eclipse, showed slightly better DPS than casting DoT's only during post-Eclipse.

In 3.2, one would expect holding a DoT until Eclipse ends to be less valuable. There's no more post-Eclipse phase where you can cast DoT's with no opportunity cost to your Eclipse cycle.* You either cast them during Eclipse and lose Eclipse uptime, or cast outside Eclipse and delay your next Eclipse proc. (Also for this reason, the value of DoT's has dropped generally since 3.1).

I've talked about how to set up the inequality for evaluating DoT refreshing during Eclipse on the EJ thread. Briefly, say you have X seconds left in Eclipse and you want to know whether to refresh Moonfire, you should be comparing:
(X*MoonfireTickDPS + X seconds of IIS benefit + (1-X/24)*GCD*UneclipsedStarfireDPS) vs. (GCD*EclipsedStarfireDPS).


* One slight subtlety which may be beyond the scope of this post. You can watch for Nature's Grace refreshes while casting Wrath to see when one "might" proc Eclipse. If you have enough Wrath travel time, you can sneak in DoT refreshes while the Wrath that's going to proc Eclipse (60% of time) is in the air, minimizing the opportunity cost of casting the instants.

Apis said...

Gray, your posts are always informative. This is one of your best!!! (and it doesn't even include math!)

kokokatze said...

on the ptr test dummies i did my rotations and as soon as lunar eclipse was over i got the next proc. it seemed i did about 450dps better than on live realm dummies.

basically i was seeing a lot more eclipse time. hopefully uld bosses where i always seem to be in the slag pot when my eclipse procs, at least now when i'm back on the ground i'll have a chance to see it proc again quickly

Adoriele said...

Two notes:

1: The original "twisting" in reference to Eclipse pre-dates 3.2. It was a tossed-about idea where you would, in pre-Eclipse, cast W-SF-W-SF-etc.. You'd never know which Eclipse would proc, but the beauty would come in the fact that, when it did, you'd already be casting the right spell to take advantage of it. The practice never saw widespread use because a.) It takes a lot of bandwidth to control your rotation that precisely, even for such a short period, and b.) it seemed to show such a small DPS increase that it really wasn't worth the extra input. Obviously, in 3.2, this sort of thing would only be necessary at the beginning of the fight as, once Eclipse procs the first time, one of the two should always be on cooldown.

2: SAA really does become superfluous after 3.2, especially since, due to the nature of the Eclipse changes, it will survive the transition without any changes (unless Blizzard changes buff API again). About the only argument I have for maintaining it past 3.2 (other than that I use it, obviously), is that it's relatively small in performance footprint (especially after v1.3 and the framework changes). I may change the scope of SAA somewhat once 3.2 comes out to give it more of a purpose, but for now I think it works simply as a catchall for Balance Druid timers.

Anonymous said...

My SAA bugged out a while back. I had already been using quartz to minitor my DOTs, so I added the quartz eclipse monitor. I will continue to use this in 3.2. If I have to BR someone or CC or anything that takes my mind and my fingers out of the rotation, I will have the name of the eclipse proc showing right above my cast bar as well as the time left. I won't have to look through my buffs to see which if any is still active. This way if I get out of my rotation for other raid purposes, I may want to repeat the proc that just came off cooldown rather than twisting.

Anonymous said...

I guess you guys havn't been on the PTR cause that's not how eclipse is working. Also, SAA is totally broken on PTR.

Kring said...

Assume the following.

a) you cast wrath
b) eclipse procs, you cast starfire

c) wrath eclipse does not proc because you didn't crit after your starfire eclipse until the starfire eclipse internal cooldown is up.

You should probably switch back to casting wrath and try to get the more powerful starfire eclipse.

So, SnA might still be required, especially for starter moonkins with a low crit rate in 10 mans who cannot get the buff that often.

Adoriele said...

@Anon: Could you make a post on the SAA page at WoWInterface (or at EJ) desribing how it's broken on the PTR? I'm not aware of any related API calls that have changed, so if it's broken it's a bit of a surprise.

Phil said...

I did some live experiments on Patchwork..
One I started out with FF, IS, MF, Wrath till ellipse then SF keeping my DoTs up at all times before they go away no matter if I was in ellipse or not, I hit 4200 DPS, I then changed letting the DoTs drop off completely and one of my guildies whispered me after we downed him as he always watched the DPS meters closely, he asked why my DPS dropped so much half way through the fight... I don’t use SaA so I just go by the animations and I find that it works much better just tossing the DoTs up just before the animations disappear... Just a noob's experience

~Gargen of Vek’nilash

Neren said...

Excellent Post as always
The question for me regarding 3.2 & on SR is as follows
1.)Will Blizz add a third spell to the rotation as mentioned in the Q&A session
2.) DOT's & Glyphs: Currently I use a mix glyph set of utilty & dps. I love Glyph of Starfire because of course it increases your MF burn. The question though is whether Blizz Dev will add a IS glyph that does the same for Wrath. (IE you run a solar rotation eclipse procs & instead of re-apply IS it re-upped)
3.) It's good to see an old-school raider we need to swap stories sometimes

Phil said...

Just an odd note, feel free to delete this if you want,

I have had the same glyphs and talent tree order from the time I hit 80... one would think that if gear changes and stats change we would need to adjust our talents or glyphs, but yet we haven't: well at least this noob hasn't.

Come to think of it my idol, steadfast, all the gems and chants I use are the same they were the day I hit 80... It would be nice to see some new glyphs, and a stronger idol or two.

I think there are a few other things that haven't changed from day one of 80 but I cannot recall them.

What do you guys think?

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Anonymous said...

Gargen do you raid or only do heroics? raiders would know, that talent spec is individual for some fights. you need mana regen / more aoe dmg / single target dps ect. and about idols. there are idols dropping everywere. in naxx25 and ulduar 25. offcorse now you can buy naxx idol at vendor, but still there are a choice.

Phil said...

Sry Graylo but I can't email an Anon...
So I sould adjust my talent tree? I have it set up for more single target damage but still with great AoE (hit 14k in araknid but AoE dps doesent count..)and I have done well in naxx 10/25 and 10 man Ul. I raid just about everyother week... I have Dying curse and The sun dial thing for idols when dpsing... I haven't run across a stronger idol(one from emblums but like 4 of one stat isn't worth them) in three months and I normaly am number one or two in the charts as far as dps goes... I dont think I have ran out of mana from the day I hit 80 up to now... you can feel free to wow-hero's me and send me advice... I don't have much for gear but the other day in 25 man Vault I was #5 on the chart on Emalon with 4800 single target DPS... I only have one T8 item and only one item from Ul... I think i know how to use a durid by now but I am still the noob, only started playing in Nov 08

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Graylo said...

In my experience there generally isn't much reason to respec from fight to fight for moonkin. Your only real choice is picking up a little more Mp5 or a little more AoE. By the same token there isn't much reason to switch glyphs or idols much either. The best choices are the best for a reason.

That said there are exceptions. I use the glyph of rebirth for Hard IC. I have a special build for vezix hard mode, but those are the only times I make changes currently.

Ben said...

My question is how does this affect the value of haste on our gear? I currently use a lunar rotation and have a ton of haste, but this change would make me use wrath a lot more often and I would assume the value of haste would go down compared to crit as a result.