Monday, November 16, 2009

Moonkin Basics: Stats

This is my second post in my Moonkin Basics series. In this series I hope to address a lot of the basic questions asked by people that are new to raiding as a balance druid. For additional reading, please refer to the Moonkin Think Tank and the Moonkin Sticky.

If you're anything like me you don't pay a whole lot of attention to stats as you level. Sure, we make some basic choices like favoring Spell Power over the other stats, but you don't really worry about the Hit cap or if Haste is better then Crit. When you're leveling getting into the details on stats doesn't really matter because your gear improves so quickly and your talent tree isn't fully developed.

Once you get to level 80 all that changes. You can no longer improve yourself by getting a new level and a new spell. The only way you can improve your toon is by improving his gear. On top of that, if you want to get into raiding, you have to pay attention to things like the Hit cap or you will have a hard time even getting into a raid. Therefore, it is very important for you to understand how each of the stats affect your toon, and generally how you should equip each stat.
In this post I will go over some of the general concepts when evaluating stats, and then I will go into more detail on each stat to hopefully answer some of the more specific questions.

Stat Interaction and Valuation

If you're a long time reader of my blog then you know that I've provided specific numerical valuations of each of the stats in the past. To be honest, I don't like providing those values because a lot of people take those values to literally and don't understand the assumptions that were made to develop them.

When I provide specific numerical valuations of stats it's like a point in time snapshot of a Moonkin. My valuations are true for that snapshot, but it doesn't take into account player variation and evolution. For example, when I built my last gear list I used myself as the basis for the stat valuation. Since then my gear has improved, and I guarantee that those valuations would be at least a different now then when the were a couple of months a go. This leads me to my first point.

The first thing that every DPSer should understand is that stats don't operate in a vacuum and there is a lot of interaction between the stats. If you get more of one stat, it will improve the marginal value of the other stats. For example, lets say you increase your spell power by 100 points. Lets look at how this will increase your DPS.
  1. The most obvious way it helps your DPS is by increasing the damage that a single spell cast is capable of doing. However, this decreases the marginal value of Spell Power.

  2. Since your normal spell hits for more, then your Critical Strikes will hit for more as well. Therefore addtional Crit rating will have more of an impact due to the addtional spell power. This increases the marginal value of Crit Rating.

  3. Cast time is also a big component of calculating DPS. If you increase the damage a spell does, decreasing the cast time will have a bigger impact. This increases the marginal value of Haste Rating.

  4. Increasing the damage of a spell per cast also increases the damage lost if a spell misses. This increases the marginal value of Hit Rating.

I could write out this example for any of the four primary DPS stats, but I think you get the basic picture. Increasing the quantity of one stat increases the Marginal value of the other 3 stats.

So, I think you can see how using specific numerical stat valueations can be problematic. Someone gearing up for Naxx will have different valuations then someone who has cleared Heroic ToGC.

The Stat Equation

That said it is important to understand how the Stats generally relate to each other. Here are two quick equations you can use to evaluate the stats on gear.

If you are below the Haste rating soft cap (400 Haste rating for most):

Hit Rating > Spell Power > Haste Rating > Crit Rating > Intellegence > Spirit
If you are above Haste rating soft cap:

Hit Rating > Spell Power > Haste Rating = Crit Rating > Intellegence > Spirit

Hit Rating:
  • Point for point, Hit rating will improve your DPS more then any other stat if you are below the hit cap.

  • In a raid situation all bosses are considered to be 3 levels above the player. This means our spells have a base 17% chance to miss the boss. We can Improve our chance to hit some with talents and raid buffs, but most of your chance to hit will come from Hit Rating.

  • You would need 26.23 points of Hit Rating to increase your chance to hit by 1%.

  • Balance of Power and Improved Faerie Fire are core talents and should not be excluded from any Moonkin Raid build. Therefore, determining your Hit Cap depends on if you have a Draenei in your Party or not. Without a Draenei the Moonkin Hit Cap is 263 Hit Rating. With a Daenei the Moonkin Hit Cap is 237 Hit Rating.

  • Being a point or two above or below the Hit cap is generally not a big deal. However, every additional point of Hit rating you have above the Hit cap has zero impact on your DPS and is wasted itemization.
Spell Power

  • Spell Power increases the damage that all of your spells do. It is the core stat of any Caster DPS build of any class.

  • Generally, Spell Power is the best stat to stack when choosing Gems, Enchants and Consumables. The only exceptions are if you're trying to reach the hit cap or receive a socket bonus.

Haste Rating:

  • Haste Rating reduces the cast time of your spells and reduces the Global Cooldown preventing you from casting another spell.

  • To improve your Haste by 1%, you would need 32.79 points of Haste Rating.

  • Different Haste sources stack Multiplicatively.

  • Haste CANNOT lower the Global Cooldown below 1 second.

  • Since Moonkin have quite a few available haste sources from talents and raid buffs, it is actually quite easy to reduce the Global Cooldown and Wrath's cast time to 1 second. This results in Haste having a "Soft Cap" for Moonkin.

  • A Soft Cap is a point at which a stat loses significant value, but still has some value beyond that point. For Moonkin with full raid buffs and standard talents the Haste Soft Cap is 401 Haste rating. If your raid is lacking a Wrath of Air totem, the Soft Cap increases to 585 Haste rating.

Crit Rating

  • A Critical Strike is a spell cast that does more then normal damage based upon random chance. Crit Rating increases your chance to inflict a Critical Strike.

  • To improve your Crit Chance by 1%, you would need 45.90 points of Crit Rating.

  • Moonkin have several talents and buffs that proc off of Critical Strikes. This does increase the value of Crit Rating a little, but it is important to know that it isn't really significant. The value for Crit rating is almost entirely provided by the extra damage of a Critical Strike.

  • Due to the Mana on Crit mechanic, Crit Rating is actually a key mana regen stat for Moonkin.

  • Finally, Crit rating does have a Hard Cap of 100% crit chance. While it is impossible to reach this cap with gear alone, many moonkin have been able to reach this cap temporarily using a combination of Raid buffs, Lunar Eclipse, and the 2T8 set bonus. This does impact the value of the 2T8 set bonus some, but is not something moonkin should really worry about.

Other Stats:

Stamina - It is an essential stat for raiding, but not something that should be actively stacked. The Tuskarr's Vitality enchant is the only time I would ever gem or enchant for it. There are very few items in the game without it. Therefore, you will get plenty of stam just by picking up normal upgrades.

Intellegence - It does provide some DPS in the form of extra Spell Power and Crit Chance. It also has a big impact on our Mana regen since Mana on Crit and Replenishment are based upon based upon our mana pool. However like Stamina, Int should not be stacked in any way. You will get plenty by picking up normal gear up grades.

Spirit - Improved Moonkin Form converts 30% of our spirit to Spell Power and is the best mana regen stat if you take Intensity. That is really nice given the amount of Spirit we are forced to pick up on our gear, but as a DPS stat Spirit is the weakest we have. Spirit should not be stacked on it's own, but it is common to see people Gem for it and Enchant for it because those gems and enchants are the best available for the socket or armor peice.

Mp5 - Horrible stat, and I am glad they are getting rid of it in Cataclysm. It only provides mana and Mana is currently not a concern for most moonkin. If you are having issues with mana I suggest you try picking up some more of the mana regen talents. If your still having mana issues you need to look at how you play and the group you play with. Mana should not be an issue for any raid geared player.

Spell Penetration - This is not a raid stat. Hell, I'm not sure if they even like it in PvP. Do not stack it under any circumstances. It will not help you and people will laugh at you.


Anonymous said...

I finally leveled my boomkin into Northrend after spending a lot of time with paladins (strength), warriors (more strength) and hunters (agility and AP). Druids just seem a lot more complicated, so thanks for posting this -- it'll be a huge help as I press on to 80.

Aeiedil said...

There I was about to write up a post detailing almost exactly this hehe :) I guess I'll just be throwing up a link instead for now because you seem to have covered the bases I was going to :D

Nerdy Bella said...

Great post. It's nice to find a lot of good information on one blog instead of having to piece to together or read through forum posts.

Matthew said...

My name is Matthew and this is an original post.

I liked your article alot. I especially found it helpful about what to gem and when. Thanks for explaining this 'soft cap' thing too.

I would personally find it useful if you did a thing on Raid (END GAME) talent tree. To invest in mastershapeshifter or not, etc.

Aeiedil said...

Personally I would go with master shapeshifter, it helps with a good route up to Omen of Clarity among other things, and gives a flat 4% damage increase up the tree which is always nice albeit at a bit of a large cost.

At the end of the day there's not much by way of a better choice on the way up there though

Gaelion said...

Great post. I've been a raiding moonkin for some time, and I still learned a thing or two from here. I had always prioritized crit over haste due to a desire to ensure serial eclipse procs. Thanks for directly addressing that issue.

Is there a theoretical crit cap or optimal crit% with respect to eclipse procs, based on the chance to crit and the duration of the buff, that you are virtually guaranteed (>90%) to proc an eclipse on the next cast after the buff expires? Obviously 100% crit would get you there, but that is unrealistic.

Matto said...

Hi Graylo

Wondering what your thoughts are on the no spirit on T10 gear? Do you think more talent points in regen will be needed to compensate? I see you have 1 spec build with 2/3 intensity.