Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blue Post: Druid Q&A

For the last couple weeks Blizzard has been publishing some Q&A's regarding each of the classes and Druid Q&A was just released. For the most part there doesn't seem to be any big revelations. I am not an expert on the other trees, but most of the answers given seem to be fairly standard or restatements of prior blue posts. That said there is one comment in the Q&A that may cause a lot of trouble for raiding Moonkin:
Q: Have we considered providing more tanking leather and to prevent extra loot clutter possibly finding ways for Balance and Restoration druids to use solely cloth item since they often use them already?

Ghostcrawler: No. Druids are a leather-using class. We are just going to have to make three types of leather (melee, ranged and healing). You have to understand that even though we have pushed bears and cats farther apart, we still consider them to be part of the same spec. We can’t get into the business of itemizing for niches within a particular spec or we’re just going to have too many items per tier. I can see the argument for having tanking and dps leather and making the casters use cloth. That’s just a different design and we currently like for certain classes to be associated with certain types of armor. We like that druids look different from say priests or mages (even ignoring the forms thing). We like that we can kit druid tier piece armor to look a certain way.

Also note that if we buffed bear mitigation through more tanking-oriented leather that we’d just have to nerf them in other ways. In my experience, most bears end up with “tanking leather” anyway because they want to gem and enchant their bear gear differently. Having one set of gear that you wear as cat or bear isn’t really feasible in Ulduar.
This comment doesn't address the Cloth vs Leather debate directly, but expect a lot of clothies and raid leaders to use this comment to exclude druids from rolling/bidding on cloth.

However, lets focus on what Ghostcrawler actually said. He said "Druids are a leather-using class." He did not say that druids should only use leather, or that druids should not wear cloth. He is saying druids are designed to use leather and I think we all know that. If there was quality Leather gear similar to the cloth equivalents then I would freely pass. However, a majority of Cloth gear is better itemized for Caster DPS then the Leather equivalents. On top of that the quantity of cloth gear is significantly higher especially at the high item levels.

In the end GC's comment probably won't change much in how guilds are ran. I am fairly sure that if GC came out and said moonkin are designed to wear cloth, then clothies would still say they should have first dibs. This is one of those debates where the sides are fairly well entrenched and I don't think anything could move them.

Other Comments:
There are the other Moonkin relevant comments from the Q&A:
Community Team: Let’s take a look at the Balance talent tree. Eclipse is a crucial talent for players who are looking to perform a damage dealing role and invest in the Balance tree. There has been a lot of discussion though regarding the gameplay it provides as there is a lot of randomness involved. The buffs to a solar rotation were very well received, but the lunar rotation still has to wait for a critical strike to happen as well as an additional random proc to occur which can lead to some long gaps of nothing happening. Then when these finally fall into place players have complained about threat issues which force them to slow down or having to move to avoid something which ruins the procs they have and significantly hurts their overall damage.

Q: What are our thoughts on how Eclipse is functioning and do we have any plans to change how this talent works?

Ghostcrawler: The goal of the Eclipse talent in the first place was to give moonkin a more dynamic rotation that involved the player paying attention and responding to the environment rather than falling into a monotonous rotation. The Eclipse in 3.2 should less strongly favor one half of the Eclipse over the other since the cooldowns are independent. Ultimately however the problem we are trying to solve is that Wrath and Starfire are just too similar. In PvP you get a little bit of interest out of the fact that they are in different schools, but in PvE by the time talents are factored in, the two spells just become fairly quick (but not instant) nukes and it’s easy to math out which one to use and which one to ignore. Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic. I’ll give a couple of example of caster rotations that “work” in our opinion: Destruction warlocks want to Immolate before they Conflagrate, Frost mages can proc a Brain Freeze and throw out a fast Fireball.

Community Team: Another aspect of Balance talent tree that has seen a number of discussions lately is the survivability of Moonkins while in a Player vs. Player setting. Many players agree that they have a very low survivability rate and that a spell like Typhoon doesn’t provide enough help to prevent classes like Death Knights and Rogues from doing some serious damage to them.

Q: How do we feel Moonkins are doing in PvP and do we have plans to improve their survivability?

Ghostcrawler: We don’t think Moonkins are quite there yet, though
we’ll see how they look after 3.2 ships. Some of their problems are not
limitations with the spec so much as they are ramifications in other parts of the PvP environment, such as some classes being able to burst them down too quickly. Of the casters, and as of this writing, only Frost mages really seem to be a potent PvP force, but it requires multiple forms of CC and escape mechanisms to get there. We really don’t want to go down the road of every caster needing that many unique tools – it homogenizes the classes and makes the mage tools less compelling. We understand some players are desperate to play Balance in PvP, but our priority is on getting underperforming classes viable before we worry about the second or third spec of classes that already have a strong PvP presence. We’ll get there.

Community Team: Players have also been discussing how they feel the overall playstyle of a Moonkin is just not very exciting. The best damage dealing rotation for them requires very few spells and a deep Balance spell like Starfall doesn’t help them very much.

Q: Are there plans to make any changes to the general spell rotation for deep Balance/Moonkin Druids?

Ghostcrawler: As I mentioned above, we do want to improve the spell rotation of Balance. We think the spells are interesting when considered alone (expect for perhaps Starfire and Wrath) but they don’t necessarily play together in interesting ways. You don’t try to save up a Starfall for example for great synergy with another spell. We have no problems with Starfall itself -- it is an AE with smart targeting that doesn’t require channeling. It is basically just bonus damage. Often players with a gripe about Starfall are wishing that it still proc’ed stuns with Celestial Focus or was a stealth remover. But those uses meant players saved Starfall for only those specific situations instead of using it when they needed extra damage, which was the original intent.

There is nothing huge here. Most of these comments have already been made before, and anyone that follows moonkin closely has already heard them. That said, there are some interesting comments made regarding the moonkin rotation.

He reiterated that the problem with Moonkin rotation is that it involves too few spells and that those spells are too similar. What is interesting about his comment are the possible solutions he suggested.
Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic.

First off, please note this is a list of possibilities, not a definite plan of action. If the next expansion comes without a new DPS spell don't go and say "GC lied to us."

That said, I like the idea of a new spell. I had always thought about it as giving us a direct damage spell that doesn't interfere with Eclipse, but adding something to be a more significant part of our rotation would be interesting also. The big question is can they create a spell that is desirable but doesn't trump any of our existing spells?

I also thought it was very interesting that he suggested that they might "separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more." I would love to know what options they are considering, since these spells are critical for Eclipse to work. Since Eclipse is such a big part of Moonkin DPS changing either of these spells significantly would have a huge impact on Moonkin DPS. I'm not saying it would be a bad impact, but it could fundamentally change the way the spec is played.

The comment about making the DoTs more dynamic seems to have been in practice for a little while already. It started with the addition of Improved Insect Swarm. Now they seem to be expanding the concept with the new set bonuses. In fact 4T8 and 2T9 could be a trial runs for a new talents that might come later.

While all of these comments provoke some thought don't expect any changes anytime soon. They are definitely not coming in 3.2 and I would be extremely surprised if we saw any hit of them in 3.3. My guess is that these comments are an outline of what Blizzard is thinking about for the next expansion that is likely to be named at Blizzcon.


Kerry said...

Hopefully the fact that GC said that 3 types of leather would be needed means that we actually will see proper moonkin leather. :)

As to the suggestions for a more "interesting" rotation, that would indeed be something to see. I definitely wouldn't mind a new spell, or new interactions of existing spells (or *gasp* both? *faint*). Friends of mine have druid alts that they're thinking about turning into moonkin, at least one of which was disappointed that our rotation was as "boring" as that of a shadow priest.

Maestro said...

Dang, you sniped my post. Curse having to teach the morning classes in summer school for 4 hours straight.

"No. Druids are a leather-using class. "

You're damn right they are gonna pull this out and say "Lookit! GC said you jerks have to wear leather! And here's a /gkick for lying to me this whole time." (A similar post showed up on my guilds forum by one of the greedy loot locks).

Hopefully, the guild leaders and raid leaders of your guild are as competent as mine. He basically said "If it makes his DPS better, he should be able to roll on it. We're interested in min/max here, not your feelings or desires to exclude him so you can have more loot. Forcing him into subpar gear will hurt our progression more than you having every piece you want will help. Deal with it."

I <3 my Guild Leader.

Adoriele said...

I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed by GC's response in that first blurb. I've been a long supporter of Blizzard's meshing of Resto and Balance gear, as it's an easy way to consolidate loot tables. Before, when pieces were only Resto or Balance, putting high drop rates on Balance gear meant that it was taking up a drop slot for something that in most guilds would get sharded fairly quickly. Giving it a low drop rate alleviated that a bit, but at the cost of making it much harder for a Balance druid to gear up.

Merging the gear requirements handily solved that. You're likely to have 2-3 people in the raid looking for spellpower leather, rather than 0-1 looking for a solely Balance piece. Yes, I think they needed to do more work making sure Balance and Resto stat priorities lined up, but given the changes to iMkA in 3.1, they've shown that they're willing to do that.

Which is why his specific comment that they're going to go back to splitting the drops worries me. Unless we see a Sunwell transmute system, we're going to go back to either guilds complaining that too much Moonkin-specific leather drops, or Moonkins complaining that it doesn't drop enough. There's just no way to cater to 30 different gearing schemes, especially given only 5 bosses in the coming raid.

Jormundgard said...

I agree that the statement regarding "cloth vs. leather" is weak, and does not say much that couldn't have been inferred already. But it is a public admission that they design the leather pieces to be favored by moonkins, despite their lower performance compared to cloth. Either the team is fine with this (which I doubt), or they aren't properly testing these things. My guess is that it's an example of reduced QA staff.

Lherin said...

I zoomed in on this too when I read it. Like everyone else, I have no problems wearing leather pieces that are best in slot, except that almost no leather pieces are. If you compare two items of the same iLVL the stats should be comparable for leather and cloth. For whatever reason they just don't seem to want to do this, and so our best in slot pieces continue to be mostly cloth.

Beanlover said...

I know how bad leather is, spirit = 1 dps stat, no spirit = 2 dps stats (which was cloth only 3.1)

please look at the drops before complaining, you'll see dual dps stat leathers (ie legs, shoulders) and overall better itemization for everything (cloth and weapons too).

I can see us having 50% crit w/ raid with 3.2 items.

I was disappointed with the Q& was more a summary of 3months+; but then again, there are 3 other specs so we can't hog it. I would rather of them answered why they didn't just institute the change before 3.2

Jed P. said...

Druids are a leather wearing class.. The thing is that ya cloth would help druids in tree or moonkin form but the priests mages and warlocks.. they cant wear anything BUT cloth, they cant roll on leather items, so it would be unfair imo to allow druids to roll on cloth against them.

Lherin said...


The part you are glossing over is the fact that, as has been pointed out, leather items are inferior to cloth items. Look at all the ilvl 239 items out of ulduar. Most of them are cloth. If you equip your moonkin only in leather, then what you will have is a player playing below his potential, because he won't have the best gear available. If you are ok with that fine, but don't complain when your moonkin does inferior damage due to inferior equipment.

havelock1982 said...

Please note that "pure§ Moonkin Leather might support two other predominant Specs in he game:

Resto Shaman and Holy Paladins.

Their gear is cluttered with Spirit, which they don´t need/ want.

The Cloth to Clothclass Discussion might get a different twist with the Moonkins being outbid on "their" new leather...

Anonymous said...

From a min/max perspective Moonkins should be able to roll on cloth, however moonkins were never designed to out dps locks/mages. Being inferior dps to them should be understood.

I am a druid and believe all druids should wear leather only even if the gear is inferior to cloth. Blame Blizz.

Graylo said...


I was a big fan of Blizzard merging Spell Damage with Healing, but I'm not sure I want Blizzard to merge the gearing needs of Resto and Balance.

I would like to see a solid distintion between DPS gear and healing gear. I think a big part of the current itemization problem is that Blizzard is trying to make caster leather go both ways. Moonkin are getting stuck with large amounts of spirit and Zero Hit Leather. Resto's are picking up less spirit then they may like and more crit rating then they need. The current situation isn't good for anybody.

I think that because a majority of cloth users are DPSers then, cloth is generally better designed for DPS. On top of that there are twice as many cloth drops as their are leather drops, so they can put a little more diversity in the design.

If I had my way Leather caster gear would be designed so that it is great for one spec and decent for the other. That way Restos and Moonkin have distinct choices to make. Those DPS items may get sharded a little more then the average piece of gear, but I'm finding that most of the leather caster gear is getting sharded anyway as it is.


Dispite GC's comment I still don't think they expect moonkin to use Leather exclusively. That would require expanded loot tables then what we have and I know blizzard doesn't want that.

@Jed P.

I understand your arguement, and I even agree with it to some extent. The problem is that blizzard has set up a situation where someone is going to get screwed. If you let Druids roll on cloth then they technically have more options than cloth wears do. However, there are many more cloth drops than leather, and the cloth items are generally better then comparable leather items. So if you exclude druids from cloth then you are putting them at a disadvantage and that is unfair.

Its not the clothies fault, but it's not the druids either.


"The Cloth to Clothclass Discussion might get a different twist with the Moonkins being outbid on "their" new leather..."

Not from my perspective. I don't have any problem with Pally's, Shaman, or any other class bidding on gear below their armor type as long as they are reasonable in their choices.

If blizzard doesn't provide a quality alternative to a leather item the I don't see why a Pally or Shaman couldn't bid on it. On the flip side if a Pally started to bid on Mail or leather when there was a comparable Plate piece reasonably available then i would get up set. I would expect the same to happen if a moonkin was being inconsiderate when rolling on cloth.

Graylo said...


So your basic arguement is "Moonkin are designed to be inferior, therefore we shouldn't try to maximize our performance." That is how your comment reads to me.

I do blame blizzard for the itemization problem but that doesn't fix it.

Caanrial said...

Again, people are missing a huge point that needs to be restated: Blizz gave boomkin +370% (was +400%) armor bonus For A Reason! They *knew* we would be wearing cloth items because of itemization. They KNEW IT folks!

Sheesh. And if a leather piece was BiS for a shammy or pally then I would have no problem with them rolling on it, since it probably wouldn't be BiS for me.

It is an issue with Blizz and their loot itemization, and since boomies are casters and cloth caster gear has the very best stats and we can wear cloth then what's the issue?

Increasing our dps helps the raid almost as much, if not just as much, than increasing the dps of a mage or lock. Over time we will all get our items but it's not fair that boomies have so much less leather to roll on than clothies, and, again, we are allowed to wear cloth with our armor bonus for a reason.

Adoriele said...

Caanrial, the reason we're given so much armor is because we're supposed to function more like an Elemental shaman than a mage. We don't have many escape maneuvers, so we make up for it by being less vulnerable to melee damage. It's a PvP tie-in to the ability, nothing more.

Adoriele said...

Also, (wtb edit) @Gray: The problem is that we need less sharding, not more. I understand that sharding is natural, and part of blizzard's plan for keeping people playing (otherwise we'd be at a completely tokenized system by now). But there's little-enough use for spellpower leather in most guilds already, splitting the two makes things even worse. When you've got, say, 4 plate melee DPS in your raid (one ret, one warrior, one DK, and one extra of the three), and only one Moonkin, either you need to make the moonkin piece drop less often (which pisses off the moonkin), or it will take much longer to gear up the melee (which piss them off instead). Merging it so you have closer to 3 spellpower leather-wearers in an average raid really alleviates that issue. So while I'd love for moonkin-specific gear to drop, it's really really bad for the game.

The solution, as I mentioned before, is to instead design Restos and Moonkin to want the same gear. Put hit on non-armor items (jewelry, weapons, anything that isn't restricted by armor class) and tier sets. Make Moonkin and Restos value the other stats similarly. Not necessarily equally, that's difficult. But increase our benefit from Spirit, and their benefit from Haste and Crit. An easy way to raise crit value for trees would be to lower the base healing of HoTs, then make them able to crit somewhere high in the tree (i.e. somewhere near ToL), rather than putting it on a set bonus.

Phil said...

Just another view or two..

My opinion... if its better its better, screw the armor value

like Lehrin said... ilvl239 vs a 212 hmmm.... I want the ilvl239 so I get the extra 50-100 DPS on one item... just this noobs opinion

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Lherin said...


You don't see the logic loop that is created by what you are suggesting?

Moonkin Damage is Inferior to Pure -> Moonkin awarded inferior loot -> Moonkin does inferior damage -> People complain moonkin damage is too low -> People stop using moonkin.

Usually when I see a guild complaining that their moonkin doesn't do enough damage, it's because of exactly this kind of logic. They willingly admit that they don't give their druid the best tools available, but then complain about his/her performance. They don't stop to think that maybe they themselves are part of the problem. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Take a look at what some of the best moonkin DPS'ers are wearing, and I guarantee you will see cloth.

Eleena said...

What worries me more then anything is the fairly big absence of proper hardmode bracers/belts/boots. For leather casters. (that and I'm finding few trinkets that actually are good for us, when you take into account the stat balancing we need to do, albeit the lower hit on tiers might solve this largely)

That and I'm seeing a fairly big inflation on haste which in 3,2 will be only "slightly" better then spirit, from what I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Moonkins should only take cloth when all other clothies are fully gear'd. This could take a long while in the new patch, so start getting comfortable in leather.

Any noobkin who feels they have just as much right to cloth as other classes that can only wear cloth, should be banned from wow for being an idiot.

Cloth is for Cloth wearers. When they are all gear'd, for sure, go for it. Until then, learn how to be a team player. Don't touch the cloth!

Maestro said...

@ Anon

Normally I don't respond to posts that are so blatantly biased but your logic simply floored me. By your logic, the Moonkin is being a team player by passing on cloth. However, you fail to consider the possibility that what might be best for the team is to have that piece of gear in the hands of the Moonkin.

You naturally assume that all clothies reap a greater benefit from cloth gear than a Moonkin might garner. At its very base, this is flawed logic. The only time the Moonkin would be playing against the team, as it were, is if he rolled on a piece that had a leather equivalent. If you've been following, you will notice that the problem Moonkin are facing is a lack of leather equivalents.

Any true raider or raiding guild understands that some classes might have to search outside their armor tier to get the very best gear. Any true raiding guild will trust that these individuals have done their research and are making intelligent gearing choices with an endgame perspective in mind.

But even more compelling than the idea of intelligent raiders is the idea of EPGP/DKP or any type of loot system that rewards players for participation and contribution. If the Moonkin has the priority or points necessary to bid/win the item, then by all rights he has earned it by being a team player.

I'm sorry to say but you're likely to get blasted for that comment as this is not a place for blind biases but rather open-minded discussion, of which you brought none.

Phil said...

@ Anon

If as you say, "Cloth is for Cloth wearers" then why can I dawn it? Why does Bliz allow for us to even equip an item that is not for us? Is this part of their skeem to confuse us and disrupt the order of things? Is this why Ghostcrawler says they expect us to wear cloth...?

Confused by Anon
~Gargen of Vek'nilash
(I gess they should ban me for /rolls on cloth eeee)

Anonymous said...

Bliiz should make something like:
each 180 Armour gives 5SP, then this WAR would be over.