EnchantsMost new raiders would assume that Icewalker is the best Moonkin boot enchant. This is understandable because it provides two DPS stats and is very cheap.
Boots - Run speed/15 stam. Run speed/9 stam is a cheaper option until you need the HP.
I'm not trying to call anyone a noob here, because I used this enchant at one time also. When I pull up the armory profile of several prominent moonkin I see that some of them still use it as well. The benefits of the Icewalker enchant are clear and reasonable, but the Moonkin that use it are missing an opportunity to pick up a little utility that they can't really find many other places. So in this post I want to try and look at the benefits that each enchant provides so you can choose the enchant that makes sense for you.
First, lets look at what you gain from the Icewalker enchant. With this enchant you gain 12 Hit rating and 12 Crit rating. It's great for early raiding because you may not be at the cap yet, and raid bosses are a little simpler. However, if you think about it, you may realize it is a pretty weak enchant. Just look at the two stats it provides
Hit rating is a really good stat, but you need it in limited quantities. Many Moonkin I know are looking for ways do decrease their Hit rating since we get so much hit chance from talents and we have a lot on our tier gear. So, for many moonkin that extra 12 hit is useless. Even if you do need a little extra it is just as easy to socket a Veiled or Rigid gem instead.
Realistically it is impossible to cap Crit Chance, but Crit rating is one of the weakest stats for Moonkin and only gets weaker as your Crit Chance grows. An extra 12 Crit rating will have very little impact on your over all DPS.
The benefit of the 15 stam is obvious. The additional health is always helpful, but that is not the reason why you should consider this enchant. The 8% speed increase is a fairly unique quality that can have a significant impact on your raid performance in terms of survivability and DPS.
1. Survivability: Take a quick look at the raids in Ulduar and you will see many opportunities where a little extra speed could be helpful.
Flame Leviathan: Getting back to your vehicle if your a launchie.
Razorscale: Getting out of the fire.
XT-002 Deconstructor: Moving away from the group when you get Searing Light or Gravity Bomb.
Iron Councel: Avoiding Lightning Tendrils and/or Rune of Death.
Kologarn: Avoiding the Eye Beams.
Auriaya: Avoiding Void Zones and grouping back up after a fear.
Freya: Avoiding a lot of different damaging abilities.
Hodir: Avoiding Icicles and jumping on drifts.
Thorim: Avoiding Lightning Charge and more stuff in hard mode.
Mimiron: Tons of stuff to avoid in normal mode and more on hard mode.
General Vezax: Avoiding Shadow Crashes and Mark of the Faceless.
Yogg: Getting together for Brain Link or avoiding Death Ray.
That is 12 out of the 13 main bosses in Ulduar where a little extra speed can help you survive. I know that it is completely possible to survive these things without the speed boost, but none of us are perfect. We all have had that moment when things seem to be going a little crazy and you see the void zone spawn under you a little late. So it is possible to survive without it, but it will help you to recover from those small mistakes that we all make.
2. DPS: I'm not going to make a big list like I did for survivability, but there is a lot of movement in the Ulduar Boss fights. Unfortunately for Moonkin, there is very little we can do for DPS while we are moving. We don't have a lot of instants. We don't have an auto attack. Typically, if we are moving we are not DPSing. Therefore it is extremely important to get to our next spot as quickly as possible.
It is really hard to quantify how the extra speed will translate into DPS, cause it won't always mean you get an extra spell cast off, but there will be those times when you get a spell of right before you have to move that you wouldn't have gotten if you had gotten to that spot .2 seconds later.
Now that you know the benefits of a speed boost some of you may be asking "why do I have to sacrifice DPS stats to get it? Can't I get it another way?"
Yes, there are other ways to get a speed boost, but they have issues that make the Boot Enchant more attractive. First off, Unlike some other specs Moonkin don't have any talents that increase our run speed. If you want this buff you have to get it from gear or raid buffs. You could get it from Aspect of the Pack, but that has a down side of getting stunned and would seriously hurt your Hunter's DPS. You could also get it by gemming a [Tireless Skyflare Diamond], but picking up the speed boost this way would really hurt your DPS. Since the Icewalker Enchant is fairly weak comparatively then this is a perfect place to pickup the minor speed increase.
Taking the Icewalker Enchant is not a bad way to go, but many high level raiders choose to go a different way. The DPS increases gained from the Icewalker Enchant are fairly small, and you could gain more survivability that is not really available without the Tuskar's Vitality boot enchant. There is so much damage to be avoided in Ulduar that a little extra speed can mean the difference between life and death, and a dead moonkin can't DPS.
P.S. Just in case anyone is wondering. The Greater Vitality enchant shouldn't even be considered in this debate. Mana is not a concern and 6 MP5 is very minor even if you do have mana issues.