Monday, November 2, 2009

Moonkin Basics: Talents

I'm starting a new series called Moonkin Basics. The purposes of these posts will be to answer the basic questions a new raider or offspec raider would ask. My intention is to keep them up to date as things change in the game and have links to them on the right side of my blog. Obviously, most of what I say in these posts will be common knowledge to experienced Moonkin raiders. Please feel free to comment if you have a difference of opinion.

To some extent these posts are inspired by or stolen from Hamlet's Moonkin guide in the Elitist Jerk's Think Tank (link). It is the best "How-to-Moonkin" guide I have ever read. I think that anyone raiding a mookin should read it. You may also want to check out the Moonkin Sticky on the official forums that has been compiled by Wisprunner.

Some of you may be asking: "If Hamlet wrote such a good guide, and you could get similar information from the Moonkin Sticky, why do you need to post anything?"

Very good question. I'm doing for several reasons.

  • This will be something I control. In the history of WoW, many guides have come and gone, and many are dead before people realize it. I won't maintain it forever, but as long as I'm blogging and playing WoW I will try and keep it up to date. I can't make the same commitment for the other guides if I point people to them.

  • I regularly get asked basic questions about Moonkin DPS. I love it when people ask me questions, but to be honest, I am pretty bad about answering my mail. These posts should give the answers more exposure so that people can find them on their own. It will also give me a quick place to point to if I have already answered the question.

  • Finally, I don't always agree with the answers provided by other guides. The differences aren't huge generally, but they are common enough that I think it is helpful to the readers.

Now, on with the guide.

The Core Talent Build: (Link)

This is what I consider to be the core talent build of almost every raiding moonkin for a majority of encounters. I did leave two points unspent, because how you use those points really depends on your raiding situation. If you have mana issues you'll probably put them in Intensity. If you focus more on single target DPS Brambles is probably the better choice. Gale Winds is a good choice if you have to do significant amounts of AoE.

In addition, to the two points I left unspent, you may want to consider a couple of variations to the core spec I've provided.

  1. Moonglow vs Imp MF - Tier 2 of the balance tree doesn't have a lot of good options. Moonglow is the worst mana "regen" talent we have. Improved Moonfire has very little impact if you also use the Glyph of Moonfire. Unfortunately you have to spend three talent points in these two talents to move on to the 3rd tier of the tree.

    I chose Moonglow in the Core build because it is a simple way to get some Mana regen without really hurting your DPS. The one exception I would make to policy is if you have the 2T9 set bonus. If your Moonfire ticks can Crit then the talent improves significantly.

  2. Imp IS for Mana - The core build ignores almost all of the Mana Regen talents. Most Moonkin I've talked to don't have any problems with mana regen as long as they have replenishment. If they do have issues then Innervate fixes them easily. Therefore, I expect that most moonkin don't have mana issues.

    However, I'm sure this isn't true for everyone. If your looking to pick up more regen from your talent build, I suggest you skip Improved Insect Swarm. It is a decent DPS boost, but probably the smallest one we can reasonably get rid of.

  3. Resto Tier 1 - Currently, there isn't a lot of debate about this tier of the tree, but that may change at some point. Improved Mark of the Wild and Furor are currently favored because they provide a little extra DPS and regen. However, it is really pretty minor. In a heavy damage situation pushback resistance can be a big DPS boost. Since most guilds have Imp MotW covered by a Resto or Feral Druid, don't be surprised if you see many Moonkin taking points out of Imp MotW or Furor to put a few in Nature's Focus, if the situation calls for it.

Talents: A Quick Look

Starlight Wrath - A straight DPS boost. A must have talent.
Genesis - A horrible Moonkin talent. It is really a way for restos to start the balance tree.
Moonglow - Our worst "regen" talent, but relatively cheap. Many moonkin have 1 or 3 points here.
Nature's Majesty - Straight DPS boost for our two main spells. Also plays well with Eclipse.
Improved Moonfire - Very poor talent when combined with Glyph of Moonfire, but is revived with the 2T9 set bonus.
Brambles - Minor talent. Small single target DPS boost, but primarily for PVP.
Nature's Grace - Must have talent. One of the keys to moonkin DPS.
Nature's Splendor - Straight DPS boost.
Nature's Reach - Extra range and threat reduction are to very nice things to have as a raider.
Vengence - Boosts critical strike damage. It works very well with the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.
Celestial Focus - Pushback resistance is an often overlooked asset. Combine that with haste and this a great talent.
Lunar Guidance - Spell Power for Int. It buffs an unavoidable stat.
Insect Swarm - A high DPET spell when glyphed.
Improved Insect Swarm - Buffs our two nukes but relies on high DoT uptime.
Dreamstate - Good regen stat for leveling, but last one picked for raiding.
Moonfury - Straight DPS Boost
Balance of Power - The extra Hit chance is critical, but don't over look the damage reduction.
Moonkin Form - The key to the whole tree.
Improved Moonkin Form - Raid wide haste + spell power from spirit = great talent
Improved Fairie Fire - Provides a static 3% crit chance to the moonkin and hit for the raid.
Owlkin Frenzy - A PvP talent, but may find a place in very high level raiding.

Wrath of Cenarius - Straight DPS Boost
Eclipse - Love it or hate it, it is the final key to moonkin DPS.
Typhoon - Primarily a PvP spell, but has limited uses in PvE
Force of Nature - Better known as trents. A great single target DPS Spell.
Gale Winds - Only useful for a AoE heavy fight or if you have no need for regen.
Earth and Moon - Straight DPS boost, and provides an essential raid buff.
Starfall - Provides a solid DPS boost in both AoE and single target situations.

Improved MotW - A minor boost to DPS and survivability
Nature's Focus - Provides push back resistance for Wrath and heals.
Furor - Minor DPS and regen boost.
Natural Shapeshifter - Needed for Master Shapeshifter, but would pass if possible.
Master Shapeshifter - Straight DPS boost
Omen of Clarity - Best Moonkin "regen" talent.
Intensity - Great regen talent when fully raid buffed.


lissanna said...

Thanks Graylo!

I've been trying my best to NOT do a moonkin end-game guide because I just can't stand the idea of having to update 3 guides every patch day...

Anonymous said...

Imp MotW is not what I would call a debatable talent. 2% stats wins over pushback in a PvE setting. If you want to pick apart the cookie cutter builds, you should get into the third tier of the resto tree and argue there or maybe Owlkin Frenzy vs Gale Winds. Furor is 10% int, it deepens the mana pool but is not a regen talent unless combined with dreamstate. Overall I felt your talent descriptions could use some work.


Graylo said...


Imp Mark of the Wild: My gear level is pretty high. Imp MotW gives me 3 or 4 Spell Power and 8 or 9 Crit rating. That is better then nothing but hardly significant.

Nature's Focus: Pushback is a bigger issue then many people give it credit for. Unmidigate a single hit will increase your cast time by .5 seconds. With haste buffs and other pushback resistance that is lowered some, but even with my stats a single hit will increase my cast time by 0.2 seconds. Since wrath has close to a 1 second cast time that is a huge loss of DPS. By my math, each point of NF can increase the DPS of Wrath Cast by 7% if hit. If you consider that wrath is about 40% of our DPS, then this is a 2.8% DPS gain if every wrath is hit.

I know that that is unrealistic, but there are situations in BT and Sunwell where the raid gets hit by damage every 2 or 3 seconds. In such a situation pushback becomes huge.

I didn't say that everyone should have NF now, I said it may become an issue in the future once we know a little bit more about the ICC raids.

What is questionable about the 3rd tier of the resto tree? MSS is a straight DPS boost. OOC is better then Intensity. There are no questions there.

OF vs GW: Again, where is the question? If your looking for a single target DPS boost I would take brambles before I took OF.

Furor: I didn't say it was a regen talent, I said it boosts regen, and you don't need Dreamstate for it to do so. Both Mana on Crit and Replenishment are based on your total mana pool. Since Furor boosts your mana pool, it boosts the regen you receive from Mana on Crit and Replenishment.

Erdluf said...

If you go for Nature's Focus, consider taking the points from Furor, rather than IMotW.

Possible numbers
Move two points from Furor to IMotW:
Lose 0.1% DPS
Gain 2.0% Health

dom said...

Owlkin Frenzy - A PvP talent, but may find a place in very high level raiding.

I play hard a hard core raiding boomer and since im the only one in my guild i run 2 pve specs. Normally my main trash/single target spec has one point in this talent and my other spec 3/3 for bosses with 3+adds like anub. Spec choice really should be picked based of your gear and stats as many substitutions can be made ie: if you run 500+ haste drop Celestial Focus and go with the OF as mentioned above. I think the hardest choice to make out of spec is trinkets as these should be made on the fly depending on the mob encountered. Free free to comment on my post thnx Warwagon Windrunner

ps thank Graylo though i dont always agree with you i look forward to your blogs each week. Keep it up "B"

Berdache said...

I think in AoE heavy boss encounters Typhoon becomes very useful. (needs to be glyphed)

shifting for position => typhoon on the move, suffient mobs => crit => nature grace => 20% faster hurricane.

Useful in ulduar, admitably much less so in TotC and Naxx, dont know about IC yet.

Also when I do the figures on improved insect swarm it always comes out as quite a weak dps talent (slightly above improved moonfire without the tier bonus). I know most moonkin take it but is it really that good?

and again cheers for the blog, pleasant lunch time reading

Graylo said...

First of all, after rereading my first responce I think I came off a little harsher then I intended. I encourage people to disagree with me, but I will respond if I think your arguement flawed.


Good point. An extra 400 or 500 health will rarely save you, but I think we've all experanced those times when it has. I will note it in the guide.


In my opinion, dropping CF for OF is a horrible idea, always. Even if you have 500+ haste rating, Haste is still a good stat with 3/3 CF. OF is a 10 second buff that has just a 15% chance to proc off of some damage. The EJ folks have shown that it doesn't proc off of all damage. Since damage in the current raidng enviroment is pretty infrequent, OF has a very low up time. If OF does become viable at some point, I would drop Imp IS before I dropped CF.


I agree that there are times when Typhoon is useful in PvE, but as I said in my post those times are limited. I also don't think that Typhoon is a good on the move spell. It is difficult to aim while moving and you could easily lose more time then its worth doing so.

Chase said...

Can Owlkin Frenzy proc off of Penetrating Cold damage or Leeching Swarm in p3 of the Anub'arak encounter?

Edmund said...

Thanks for the guide. I'm leveling a boomkin using your guide and it's going well. My main is a warlock, and I find Druids just different enough to keep my interest.

Hamlet said...

Thanks for the link!

If you want to take Nature's Focus, it's numerically best to drop iMotW instead of Furor--Furor is worth a tiny amount more DPS and a little bit of regen. You can weigh that against the increased Stamina and the chance you'll be the only Druid to buff a group.

I believe OF can proc from the inital application of both Leeching Swarm and Penetrating Cold, but not the ticks. It doesn't matter at Anub anyway, since you need Gale Winds there (and Genesis might be useful, but I haven't worked out whether it's worth taking over other talents for that fight).

Typhoon is useful even when stationary in AoE-heavy situations to force NG procs for Hurricane.