Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blue Post: A PvP Response

Lissanna, probably the most well known Moonkin Beta tester, wrote up a good post that listed some of the core issues facing Moonkin PvP. Well her efforts were rewarded with a blue post from Ghostcrawler.

We are looking at Typhoon.
This is welcome news. Even PvP moonkin have had issues with this spell since beta. While the damage is decent for an AoE and an instant cast, the knockback is very underwhelming in terms of added survivability.

I believe we fixed the Starfall coefficient already.
Erdluf posted a good post regarding the Starfall Coefficients in the same thread. The coefficients were increased by about 150%, but I don't know if that is enough. Really Starfall has got to be tough to balance. its not really a single target spell. It's not really an AoE spell either. So what do you compare it to.

While I am not sure about the damage aspect of Starfall, I am sure about one thing. The current Starfall tool tip says "Any effect which causes you to lose control of your character will suppress the starfall effect." This needs to be removed. Starfall has a 3 minute cooldown. It shouldn't be so easily countered.

We will probably just leave the Owlkin Frenzy talent as is on live rather than risk the PvP nerf. If druids want to stand in the fire with the paladins in PvE, we'll live. Take it up with your healers. :)
Good news. Yes, we could get a buff in this way but I'm glad Blizzard could see that it comes at a cost.

We are also looking at (sigh) Eclipse yet again to make sure the Wrath part of the equation holds up.
It will be interesting to see what they can come up with. The Wrath buff is definitely not as good as the Starfire buff, but I'm Ok with that to some extent. Currently, Starfire needs something special to make it desirable. That something special is Eclipse and the SF idol. However this may change if mana becomes a bigger issue in 3.1.

We discussed looking at Insect Swarm. It's been a long day, and I can't recall what we decided. :(
Interesting. I hadn't really considered buffing IS to be a priority or even on the radar. What is unclear is if he means giving IS more PvP utility or taking a look at is as a whole since the original post was very PvP oriented.

All that said a good point was brought up on the forums. It is kind of sad that one of our Talented Spells has to be glyphed and have a set bonus to be useful. It would be great if they could make it more interesting in some way.

One final note:

It is very nice that we've gotten the attention we have over the past couple of days with the new patch. It really sucked back during BC when content patch after content patch was released with little or no attention paid to moonkin.

That said, I am disappointed that no attention has been paid to Faerie Fire so far. There needs to be a way to increase its duration. Adding a minor glyph to do so is a great solution. On top of that Blizzard has proven that they can offer differing durations for PvE and PvP with the new design for Vampiric Embrace. Something needs to be done here.

On top of that, why does Sting overwrite Faerie Fire? I understand that they are both minor armor debuffs, but FF has other utilities that the raid may want or need.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blue Post: Owlkin Frenzy Nerf Explanation

To be honest, I didn't see the Owlkin Frenzy nerf as a big deal because I don't use the talent and most raiding moonkin don't. However, it is a curious change that I didn't understand the reasoning for. Luckily GC graced the forums with his precense and game us an explination.

The nerf to moonkin frenzy was because moonkin kept standing in the fire in order to enhance their dps, which seems like not the kind of gameplay we should be encouraging and makes healers write us nastygrams in all capital letters.

We realize it's a PvP nerf and we're trying to come up with other ways to solve the problem. It may be that the current implementation on Live is the best one after all.

This is why you nerfed Owlkin Frenzy?

I can see how on the surface this can seem overpowered. I would love to get a static 10% damage buff and 100% push back resistance. However, you seem to only be looking at the benefit of the Strategy and not the costs. Lets really look at the merits of this Strategy.

1. For this to work you have to get hit frequently but for a very low amount of damage. If your not hit often enough then the buff won't proc enough. If Frenzy isn't up near constantly all your DPS gains will be lost to spell pushback when the buff is not up. If your taking near constant damage then each tick needs to be fairly insignificant otherwise you would either die or need constant healing.

If we look at the 17 encounters currently available in WotLK there is only that might fit this criteria. The only way this might work is if you stand in the lava during Sarth. Every other damage mechanic I can think of in game is either to infrequent and/or to severe to be withstood.

So your nerfing one of the few PvP talents Moonkin have because you think it might be a little OP on one fight that nobody is going to care about in a couple of months. Sorry, but that sounds a little like using a revolver to kill a fly.

2. If someone is doing this lets not forget that it is a very risky move. Unlucky lava strikes can already kill raiders quickly. Plus voidzones are probably more difficult to see in the lava especially if your swiming. Basically, someone who stands in the Lava is increasing this risk and the dead don't DPS.

3. Sarth is a highly moble fight. Therefore it is unlikely you can stand in the lava constantly and if you do you have to worry about range issues with your healer to keep DPSing.

4. By standing in the fire, you will require healing. We don't have a mechanic like Shadow Priests that automatically heals us as a part of our normal rotation. Therefore we will have to waste a GCD to heal our selves or have a healer waste their GCD and mana on us. So the raid loses DPS because the healers are more stressed and you may lose someone else. If the healers aren't stressed then your preventing them from throwing out a Smite or Moonfire.

So at best a moonkin who stands in the lava to proc Owlkin Frenzy is taking damage for a relatively minor DPS increase.

5. Finally, If this really is a big problem, is this really the best way to fix it? You could just as easily adjust the frequency and severity of the lava damage. Maybe have it tick for triple the amount every three seconds instead of every second?

In conclusion, I agree that the original post was a bit dramatic. Raiding Moonkin are more viable now then they have been in the 2 years I've been playing the game. However, you have to admit that PvP moonkin have been beaten up quite a bit lately with the the changes to Starfall and such. And nerfing ond of the key PvP talents to elimanate such a minor situation in PvE is just overkill.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Patch Notes: 3.1

We all know about the big things coming in patch 3.1. Obviously Ulduar is what I find most exciting since I am a raider. It will also be interesting to play around with Dual Specs and the in game outfitter should make life a little easier.

However, with all content patches we see small (and some not so small) tweeks to class balances and such. There isn't a hole lot of changes that affect moonkin directly in the patch notes but there are some interesting things I would like to discuss.

Balance: Owlkin Frenzy is now properly considered an Enrage effect. Now also does not trigger from spell hits, only physical ranged and melee attacks.
This is a straight up nerf that PvE moonkin won't care about, but PvP moonkin will probably horrible. It is now also dispellable by a hunter using Traq Shot. From my PvE perspective this isn't a big deal. This change firmly plants this talent in the PvP category, but very few moonkin picked it up now anyway. Owlkin Frenzy might have become valuable in higher levels of raiding but you can't miss what you didn't have.

Resto: Improved Mark of the Wild: Now also increases all of your total attributes by 1/2%.
For a little while now I've been debating if I should put two points in Improved Mark of the Wild or Nature's Focus. With a resto in raid there was no need for Imp MotW, but my 10mans don't always have one and the benefit of Nature's Focus is small. So I've kept Imp MotW for utility. This change reinforces that choice, but it is a minor benefit at best. In moonkin form it means I will have a about 20 to 25 more Int and Stam, and even less spirit. This is not a big deal.

Shadow Priest: Vampiric Embrace duration increased to 5 minutes, up from 1 minute. PvP duration is now 60 seconds. Cooldown removed.

I bring this one up to focus on the mechanic. The argument given for not increasing the duration of Faerei Fire is that the preventing stealth portion of it would be to overpowered with a longer duration. This change now indicates that it is possible to change the duration for PvE and PvP. So why not implement this for Faerie Fire? I still wouldn't be opposed to adding a minor Glyph that extended the duration of FF but removed the stealth prevention, but a change needs to be made some way. Now Blizzard has no excuse not to.

Shadow Priest: Shadowform: Bonus damage from critical strike chance removed and replaced by the ability of those periodic damage spells to generate critical strikes.

Affliction Lock: Pandemic: This talent has been reduced to a 1-point talent, now grants your Corruption and Unstable Affliction the capability to critically hit.
If there DoTs can crit why not ours? I don't think Moonkin are far behind in DPS, but I would love to have a talent similar to this.

Shaman: Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but this appears to be the dumbest change I've seen Blizzard make for a while. I could understand increasing Exhaustion to 10 minutes, I could understand reducing the cooldown to 5 minutes, but combining the two makes no sense at all. Blizzard has said repeatedly that they don't want raids switching players in and out of raids between bosses and that is the only way this change could be useful.

However there is a way that they could change this to make it awesome. Have Exhaustion last 10 minutes or until you leave combat. I can't calculate how much time has been wasted in my raids waiting for the Heroism cooldown to come back up when we are attempting Sarth3D or 6min Malygos. If they changed Exhaustion in this way then Blizzard wouldn't have to worry about guilds chaining Heroism, and guilds could have it available for every encounter and attempt.

Affliction Lock: Eradication re-designed: Eradication: When you deal damage with Corruption, you have a 2/4/6% chance to gain the Eradication effect. The Eradication effect increases the critical strike chance of your Shadow Bolt spell by 30%. Each critical strike reduces the critical strike bonus by 10%. Lasts 30 sec.

I flip flop on my opinion of Eclipse's randomness. I love when the RNG gods favor me but hate when the ignore me. That said if Blizzard did decide to reduce some of the randomness this is definitely a possible way to do it. However, I worry that it would nerf our DPS to much.

Enchanting: Added a recipe for enchanting staves with spell power.
Interesting. I don't use staves so I haven't tried putting a SP enchant on one lately, but I assume that the current 50 SP and 63 SP enchants can be applied to two handed weapons. If my assumption is correct then we can assume that the new Staff SP enchant would give more SP then the enchants currently available.

Caster DPS has long favored MH/OH combos because they always provide more DPS stats then equivalent Staves, but this change has the potential to upset that assumption. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Edit: WoWInsider has two screenshots of the enchants (link1 , link2). They offer 19 more SP then the MH enchants. Ultimately I don't think this will change behavior much.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Graylo is "Of the Nightfall"



I when in to Normal OS tonight with a Caster DPS stacked raid and downed Sarth3D in 10man. Stacking the groups to favor physical or casters is definitely the way to go. Tonight felt a lot smoother then our mixed group runs the DPS just went quicker. Funny how 13% extra crit from a mage and Ele shaman can do that.

Its not a guild first but it is still awesome. Grats to everyone that got the title with me.

Now the main goal before Uldar is the Immortal. I am sure we can do it. Everyone just needs to stay focused and get it done.


On a side note, I'm sure many of you have seen this already but incase you hadn't, Phae over at Resto4Life is closing down her blog. While her reasons for leaving are the best possible it is still a sad day for WoW bloggers new and old.

I just want to say that if it wasn't for Phae and her Blog, Gray Matter wouldn't be where it is today. She was the first blogger that got me thinking about theorycrafting. My "versus" posts were modeled after her comparisons of the different mana regen buffs and talents. When I asked for advice on my blog she offered it freely. She was one of the first people to link me and promote my blog, and I was honored that she would ask me to write a guest post for her blog. Since I started using google analytics almost 8 months ago almost 10% of my traffic came from her blog, by far the biggest source.

I'm know she knows this already but she will be missed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spell Power vs Haste Rating: The WotLK Edition

When I wrote my original SD vs Haste post last year Haste was a very misunderstood stat. Things have gotten better, but there still seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the stat. I regularly receive questions about the relative value of Haste vs Spell Power and how much we should stack of it. In this post I will try and present the math on haste. As always, if you math adverse please feel free to skip to the bottom for the TL:DR version.

1. This analysis has been written using both Starfire and Wrath. Haste affects Starfire and Wrath very differently when Haste is added to the equation, due to Nature's Grace. However, when calculating a relative value for haste I will assume a Starfire dominant rotation. For this reason, I will aso assume that the moonkin has the [Idol of the Shooting Star].

2. I am excluding Moonfire and Insect Swarm from the calculations. I've wrestled with this choice for a while, but I don't think it would have a big impact on the out come. While haste can have a large impact on both spells Damage per Cast Time, it has a very small impact on overall DPS due to infrequent casts.

3. Crit chance is included in the calculation this time, since it impacts the cast time of spells. While it doesn't have any impact on the DPS of Starfire, it has a significant impact on the DPS of Wrath since wrath is limited by the global cooldown (GCD) .

4. Spell Hit is excluded from the calculation due to the fact that it affects Spell Damage and Spell Haste equally in terms of DPS. I ran the numbers with several levels of hit and the ratio between Spell Damage and Spell Haste is the same for all levels of Spell Hit used.

5. I have made these calculations using this build:

6. I'm using fairly entry level DPS stats for a fully raid buffed Moonkin. They are 2000 Spell Power, 35% Crit chance (38% for SF), 6% haste from gear, and 100% hit chance. On the armory this moonkin would probably have 1650 SP, 15% Crit chance, and 6% haste.

7. Calculations assume that the caster is level 80.

Talents and Buffs Affecting Haste:
Celestial Focus - Provides 3% haste to the moonkin.
Improved Moonkin Aura - Provides 3% haste to those affected by Moonkin Aura.
Wrath of Air Totem - Provides 5% haste to casters

General Haste Rating Info:
* 32.79 haste rating = 1% haste

* Spell Haste lowers a spells casting time and lowers the global cooldown. Haste cannot lower the global cooldown below 1 second. However it would take at least 1137 Haste Rating to lower the global cooldown to 1 second. This level is not possible to achieve long term with gear currently available in game.

* Spell Haste has no affect on the damage caused by a single spell. It only changes the casting time.

* Spell Haste has diminishing returns. Your first point of Spell Haste will affect your cast time more significantly then your second point.

* Haste Rating is additive. Meaning if you have two pieces of gear each with 20 haste rating then you have a total of 40 haste rating which is equal to 1.22% haste.

* Haste affects are Multiplicative. All raiding moonkin should have Celestial Focus and Improved Moonkin From. Each of these talents provide 3% haste. When you combine that with your haste from gear, the affect is larger then most people thing. For example, lets assume you have 9% haste from gear, 3% from CF, 3% from Imp Moonkin Form, and 5% from Wrath of Air. This combination results in 21.4% haste instead of 20% as most people expect (1.09*1.03*1.03*1.05 = 1.214).

The Math:
(Please note that I have rounded these values to 4 digits to easy the reading. However, they are calculated using more. Therefore some of the math might appear to be slightly off, but it is due to the rounding.)

As with all of the Spell DPS stats the value of Haste and Spell Power are highly dependent on each other. Obviously the amount of DPS you gain from one point of Spell Power increases the more Spell Haste you have since Spell Haste will decrease your cast time. The amount of DPS you gain from one point of Spell Haste increases with the amount of Spell Power you have because Spell Power increases how much damage your spells do per cast.

First lets look at how haste affects our cast time for Starfire and Wrath.

For Starfire the normal cast time equation looks like this:

Avg SF Cast Time = (Base CT - (0.5 * Crit Chance)) / ((1+(Haste Rating / 3279))*1.03*1.03*1.05)
Avg SF Cast Time = (3 - (0.5 * 0.38)) / (1.06*1.03*1.03*1.05)
Avg SF Cast Time = 2.8100 / 1.1809 = 2.3798 Seconds

For Wrath the normal cast time is more complicated

Avg W Cast Time = (Base CT / ((1+(Haste Rating / 3279))*1.03*1.03*1.05))* (1-Crit Chance) + (1* Crit Chance)
Avg W Cast Time = (1.5 / (1.06*1.03*1.03*1.05))* (1-0.35) + (1 * 0.35)
Avg W Cast Time = (1.2703 * 0.65) + 0.35 = 1.1757 Seconds

So, if we now add a single point of Haste Rating, how does this change our average cast times. A single point of haste rating is equivalent to 0.03050% haste.

Avg SF Cast Time (+1 Haste) = (3 - (0.5 * 0.38)) / (1.060305*1.03*1.03*1.05)
Avg SF Cast Time (+1 Haste) = 2.81 / 1.1811 = 2.3791 Seconds

Avg W Cast Time (+1 Haste) = (1.5 / (1.060305*1.03*1.03*1.05))* (1-0.35) + (1 * 0.35)
Avg W Cast Time (+1 Haste) = (1.2700 * 0.65) + 0.35 = 1.1755 Seconds

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Power?

Moonfury, Wrath of Cenarius, Master Shapeshifter, Earth and Moon and your Haste all affect the amount of DPS you gain from Spell Power. Starfire has a base Spell Power Coefficient of 1. So the additional damage from one point of Spell damage is:

SF DPS = (((1 + 0.2)*1.1*1.04*1.03)*(1-0.38)+(((1 + 0.2)*1.1*1.04*1.03)*2.09*0.38))/2.3798
SF DPS = 1.9997/2.3798 = 0.8403

For Wrath the value of one Spell Power looks like this. Wrath has a coeffient of 0.5714.

Wrath DPS = (((0.5714 + 0.1)*1.13*1.04*1.03)*(1-0.35)+(((0.5714 + 0.1)*1.13*1.04*1.03)*2.09*0.35))/1.1757
Wrath DPS = 1.1227/1.1757 = 0.9550 DPS

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Haste Rating?

To learn this we need to find out what the average DPS is for Starfire and Wrath given the hypothetical moonkin in my assumptions. If you've looked at some of my prior theorycrafting posts these equations will be familiar to you.

Avg SF Dam = ((1285 + (2000 * 1.2))*(1.1*1.04*1.03)*(1 - 0.38)) + ((1285 + (2000 * 1.2))*(1.1*1.04*1.03)*2.09*0.38)
Avg SF Dam = (4342.11*(1 - 0.38)) + (9075.01*0.38) = 6140.6120

Avg SF DPS = 6140.6120 / 2.3798 = 2580.3277 DPS
Avg SF DPS (+1 Haste) = 6140.6120 / 2.3791 = 2581.0701 DPS

Avg W Dam = ((588 + (2000 * 0.6714))*(1.13*1.04*1.03)*(1 - 0.35)) + ((1285 + (2000 * 0.6714))*(1.13*1.04*1.03)*2.09*0.35)
Avg W Dam = (2337.15*(1 - 0.35)) + (4884.64*0.35) = 3228.7706

Avg W DPS = 3228.7706/ 1.1757 = 2746.1973 DPS
Avg W DPS (+1 Haste) = 3228.7706/ 1.1755 = 2746.7522 DPS

So, by adding 1 point of Haste rating we increase the average DPS of Starfire by 0.7424 DPS (2581.0701 - 2580.3277). Wrath's average DPS increase by 0.5549 (2746.7522 - 2746.1973) when you add an additional point of haste rating.

If we compare these DPS values to the DPS values of a additional point of Spell Power we see that for Starfire, 1 point of Haste rating is worth about 0.8835 (0.7424 / 0.8403) Spell Power. For Wrath 1 point of Haste rating is worth about 0.5810 (0.5549 / 0.9550) Spell Power.

As you can see Haste rating has a much greater impact on Starfire then it does on Wrath. Since Wrath is now a significant part of our rotation, to get a real value for Haste rating we need to try and blend these two values together. After looking at my own WWS reports and some reports from other moonkin it seems that for most of us Starfire represents about 60% of our total damage output, and Wrath represents about 20% of our damage output. So if we use these to values as weights we can say that Haste Rating is worth about 0.8079 Spell Power ((0.8835 *0.75)+(0.5810 *.25)) for my hypothetical Moonkin.

Break-Even Point for Haste:
In the Burning Crusade we talked a lot about the Break-Even Point for haste. At that time it was easy to calculate, because we didn't have to think about Wrath, and Nature's Grace didn't reduce the GCD. However, in Wrath of the Lich King it is an out of date concept.

Calculating the Break-Even Point for Starfire is still fairly easy. Assuming you have the Starfire Idol equipped the Break-Even Point for SF is:

SF Haste Break-Even = 2209 + Haste Rating

For Wrath it is much more complicated because Crit rating has such a huge impact on Wrath's cast time. On top of that Haste and Nature's Grace don't stack very well for Wrath since Natures Grace already brings Wrath's cast time down to the GCD. As a result the Break-Even Point for Wrath is very high and grows higher as your gear improves.

The math is very complicated and I'm sure I would mess it up if I tried it, but using some trial and error I've found the Break-Even Point for Wrath with a 50% crit chance. It is:

W Haste Break-Even = 4840 + (Haste Rating * 2.5)

As you can see this value is much higher then the Starfire break even point. Using a little bit more trial and error the break even point I found if you combine the these to equations with SF being weighted 75% and Wrath being weighted 25%. It is:

Combined Haste Break-Even = 2631 + (Haste Rating * 1.2)

Currently the best quality gear allows for about 500 - 600 Haste Rating, and about 3000 Spell Power fully raid buffed. At which point Haste is still inferior to Spell Power in terms of DPS point for point.

Gemming and Eating for Haste:
I've seen several questions on the forums and such asking if Moonkin's should Gem for Haste or Eat Haste food. The short answer is that it is ok to put a [Reckless Monarch Topaz] in a yellow socket to get the Socket bonus, but other then that it is currently not a good idea to Gem for Haste or eat Haste food. You would be better off gemming or eating for Spell Power.

It's not a good idea because of itemization cost. In terms of Itemization cost Spell Power is cheaper then Haste rating. You can see this in Gems and in Buff Food. For example the Spell Power Food has 46 Spell Power, but the Haste food has only 40 haste. Therefore Haste rating has to be 12.5% more valuable then Spell Power for it to be worthwhile. The itemization difference in Gems is even higher. So, since we we can't even meet the current break even point, there is no way that we will over come the itemization cost with gear currently available.

In my opinion it is unlikely that we will ever be at a point where it is beneficial to gem for Haste instead of Spell power, because of how poorly Haste works with Wrath. However, it is impossible to know that since we don't know what the gear will look like in Tier 8 or Tier 9

TL:DR Version:

For the entry level Moonkin I have described in the assumptions, 1 Point of Haste rating is worth about 0.8079 Spell Power. As gear improves this number will go up since Haste stacks very will with Spell Power. If we use the best gear currently available 1 point of Haste rating worth between 0.9000 and 0.9300 Spell Power.

The Break-Even Points for Haste do still exist, but they are fairly difficult to predict and seem to be high enough that they don't really matter.

Gemming for Haste or eating haste food instead of Spell Power is generally a bad idea. Since the Itemization costs are so different and the Break-Even points so high, it is hard to imagine a point where the value of a Haste Gem could overcome a Spell Power gem.

So, assuming you don't have mana issues, Haste rating is a very good stat to have on your gear. It is very close in value to Spell power even at early levels of gear. However, it is better to use food buffs and gem sockets for Spell Power.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Toon Update: 2/17/2009

The Guild:

The guild had a very good week. We completed both [Heroic: You Don't Have An Eternity] and [You Don't Have An Eternity] on Wednesday. The 10man version wasn't a big surprise. We had been flirting with it a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago we accidentally killed him when we were 10 to 15 seconds over the time. The next week we thought we had it and killed him just a second or two over time. DBM said that we killed him in 6 minutes but the official clock said we were a little off. This week phase 2 was a little sloppy but we had an awesome phase 1 and phase 3 and we killed him with 15 seconds on the clock.

The other big achievement this week was [The Twilight Zone]. Unfortunately I was not in the group. The raid leader decided to start stacking the raid to favor Physical or Caster damage. Since the majority of our group was melee already, they decided to drop me for an Enhancement shaman. I thought our more mixed group was getting really close and could have killed him but I completely understand the raid leader's choice. I have no ill feelings about it, but I am very jealous. Given all of the weeks I worked on that fight I really wanted to be in on the first kill. The other sad part is that I will probably be unavailable for our next attempt since my playing time will be limited next week. Anyway, Congratz to Myraxa and the guys that got him down.

With those three achievements done there is only one left we need to complete before the release of Uldar. That is [The Immortal]. The funny thing is, its not a hard achievement. We've killed every boss without anyone dying, we just haven't done it in the same lockout period. Mainly its people dying to stupid stuff. One week we had someone standing in the wrong spot on the pull and Raz came over and wacked him. Last week we to many people got close to Sir Zeliek and chained a Holy Wrath that ultimately hit a healer for 22k damage. Don't get me wrong. I know how easy it is to make a mistake. I've made my share, and I've seen very skilled players stand in a void zone and die. However, Naxx isn't that tough. If we can all just get our heads in the game and don't take any risks then it should get it no problem. Lets hope it happens this week.


The interesting thing about Graylo is that I actually went feral for a couple of hours on Saturday. With dual specs coming out some time soon I've been thinking about using it to go Feral as my second spec. My guild currently doesn't have a feral druid and it is so different that I might be interesting. As a result I have been putting together two feral sets for DPS and Tanking. On top of that due to the holiday and such it was a little difficult to find people to play on Saturday. Since my pure Stam tank set was done they decided to use me to tank Sarth during Sarth 3D on ten man.

Given that I haven't tanked anything since Deadmines I think it went pretty well. I'm sure my threat was horrible but that isn't really the goal of a Sarth tank. I could have done a little better keeping myself alive but I was learning from my mistakes. The sick part was my health. Fully buffed fro 10man I had 52k health in bear form. Since then I've picked up another trinket that should give me close to another 2k health, and I think I survived some of the breaths without any mitigation.

I did try and tank a little bit of a heroic afterwards and that was a big failure, but all and all a good night.

Other then that Graylo has been involved in some clean up. I've been trying to do some of the Icecrown quests that I haven't gotten to yet. I've been working on that because I spent a couple thousand gold on enchants, gems, and mats to get my tanking gear up to quality and I want to make the money back.

I also want to get the phasing completed. I thought all the group quests would make that a big issue but I'm finding that there are still a lot of people around trying to do those quests, and that most of them are easier then they seem. Any quest that says it needs 3 people I could solo. I even soloed some quests that needed 5. If I couldn't solo the 5man quests I found that just one person was usually enough to do it. the armory doesn't seem to be fully up today but It seems I have about 30 - 40 quests left in Icecrown.


I've been trying to run lots of heroics to improve his gear and get rep for gem patterns and such. Things have been going ok. I've still got some big holes in my gear but it is starting to look a little respectable. I got into a Naxx10 pug on monday night and picked up several upgrades. I also got yelled at a little bit for not having my gear all enchanted, but then again most of my gear isn't worth enchanting.

All in all, I think I did pretty well. My gear was seriously lacking but my DPS wasn't to far behind the other lock in the raid. I picked up some big improvements to my gear that are worth enchanting. Hopefully with a few more heroics I can get him into the more formal Alt runs by guild is talking about.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm looking for a new Banner

I would like a new title banner for my blog, but am in no way a graphic artist. In fact, I don't have a solid idea of how I would like it to look. I'm just tired of it and would like to have it updated.

Since I'm sure that some of you have more experiance with this sort of thing then I do, I thought I would open it up to you guys. I would love to see what you guys can come up with. So, so if your are an artist of some sort an would like to have some of your work displayed at the top of my blog please submit a picture to my email address (graymatterwow (at) gmail Dot com).

Here are the guidelines.

1. The banner above is 1000 by 200. I would all submissions to be about the same size. It could be a little taller if needed but no wider.

2. Obviously it should say "Gray Matter" some where on the picture. I would also like it to say "All the Matters of Gray" and "A World of Warcraft Blog" somewhere in the banner, but please feel free to leave it out if you think it takes away from the picture.

3. It should be Moonkin related.

4. I don't care if it is computer generated or done by hand. I just want it to look good.

So, other then that you have free reign. Please try and send me all the submissions by February 28th. Obviously by submitting a banner your giving me permission to use the picture for my blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eyonix: "<3 Graylo's blogs :D"

Tuesdays are slow WoW days for me. My guild doesn't raid so I try and spend a little extra time with the wife and kid. So, last night I put my son to bed. I'm about to go down stars to watch a little TV with the wife, but she is finishing a few things up so I have a couple of minutes. Why don't I take a quick look at my blog email to see If I've got any comments or questions.

Hmmmm, I've got an email Phae. This is should be interesting.

I'm sure you've gotten a hundred e-mails about this already, but just in case:

Eyonix reads Gray Matter :-)


What that heck? :-/ ....... (I click the link)

(Heart) Graylo's blogs :D
What???? :-O

A blue poster reads my blog. That is awesome!

Really it's not that surprising that the CMs and probably other Blizzard employees read WoW related blogs. Phae has over 2500 subscribers, Matticus isn't far behind, and I'm sure BBB is way up there also. There is no way blizzard could miss these excellent blogs.

However, I don't put myself into that category. I still think of Gray Matter as a fairly small blog. Its not well designed and polished like those I mentioned above (I should really switch to wordpress). I service a small (but growing) community that doesn't have a whole lot of resources. In turn I get to comment on an excellent game and have people respond in a way that is much more satisfying then posting in the WoW forums.

So, to think that one of my 130+ subscribers might be a blue poster blows my mind. I would have considered it wishful thinking to think that I was on their radar.

I think Phae put it best when she offered congratulations on her blog.

It is really exciting – for all of us – to think Blizzard might read some of the many fantastic class/spec-based blogs out there.
I agree completely. It's amazing to think that we as bloggers and commenters might have a small impact on how Blizzard develops the game.

So great job to everyone that takes the time to write about and comment on their class/spec. It is a task with few tangible rewards, but the satisfaction you can get from helping your fellow players makes it all worth it. Plus, you never know who might be reading.

Special thanks are owed to Starkfist and all of the people that have promoted my blog across various places of the Internet.

Also want to point out that this is not a solo effort. I may be the one writing the posts, but the info is generated by the community. Thanks go out to Erdluf and Badeggplant for correcting my math. And thanks to all of the EJ and Moonkin Repository posters for being so helpful and providing so much information.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mailbag: How to level Moonkin.

I am a rather casual player, still at level 75 with my main (Disc priest) and 70 with my hunter-armer alt. I do not plan on raiding in my lifetime, due to the limited time in-game I currently have. I play to RP and just unwind from work by ticking off a quest or two a couple evenings a eeek.

I have recent dusted off a level 31 alt that has sat unplayed for about 1.5 years. I realize I'm not Boomkin yet, but I am trying to find a decent overall technique for Balance Druiding.

Do you have any pointers for a PvE casual like me to start picking up?

-N. F.

(I have edited and paraphrased the email so that it fits in the blog better.)

Over the past couple of months I have gotten this question a lot. I've been a little hesitant to answer it publicly, because I don't think I have any great insight into the topic. I think that for two reasons.

First, it has been over two years since I created Graylo. He was my first character and I was a complete noob all the way to around level 50. We all make mistakes while leveling, but mine were huge. When I finally respecced around level 50, two thirds of my talent points were in balance, one third were in Resto, and I spent half my time DPS in Cat form. My gear was a mixture of melee and caster leather. I am 100% sure there experienced players laughing their but off at me.

Second, I've raided for so long that my playstyle is different then most players. When I level my alts, my goal is to do it quickly and I don't care about skipping instances or zones. On top of that, my gear is of a level that I don't have to worry about multiple mob pulls. I can kill mobs quickly enough that having one beat on me is not a big issue. Therefore, my experiences my not be applicable to new moonkin.

Basically, I just want everyone to know that I have no great insights in how to level. There is very little math involved in what I am about to post, and I fully encourage my readers to post other suggestions in the comments.


There are a couple of different strategies you can choose here. I generally go with an all out DPS strategy because I want to kill things quickly. At level 31 this is the spec I would go with (link). My level 40 Moonkin build (link). Level 60 (link).

If your looking for more longevity, I would put more points into Moonglow first and Dreamstate second. If your looking for more survivability then you may want to pick up Nature's Focus and Insect Swarm earlier then I have listed.

Talents to avoid:

Genesis - Its just a bad talent that do little DPS for moonkins. Plus DoTs are less affective while leveling.
Nature's Splendor - In my experience a mob is rarely alive long enough for a DoT to fully tick on the mob even without this extension.
Improved Faerie Fire - This is purely a raid talent.
Eclipse - The buff will be wasted more often then not.

Questionable Talents:

Nature's Grace - For a 3 point investment it could help but it could also easily be wasted.
Insect Swarm - Honestly I didn't use it at all while leveling. I didn't spec into it.
Balance of Power - If your consistently killing mobs 2 or 3 levels below your level, then this talent is a waste.
Gale Winds - I don't AoE much while leveling, but if you want to try AoE leveling this is a must have talent.
Typhoon - The knockback could be helpful but it is also easy to pull extra mobs with it's range.


There are generally two ways to kill mobs while leveling: 1. The Root and Nuke method, and 2. The Machine Gun method.

I used the Root and Nuke method from 50 to 70. The rotation is basically Root, DoT, Nuke, Root, Nuke, ......

This rotation is slow but it's safe. You generally don't have to worry about adds and won't lose much health. The downside is that it uses a lot of mana and takes more time. It is best for undergeared players.

I used the Machine Gun method from 70 to 80. It's basically Nuke spam with the possibility of DoTing up adds.

This rotation is quicker but more dangerous. With this strategy your going to lose health. So, when bad luck strikes and that pat sneaks up on you from behind your in greater danger of dying. This method is best for well geared players or players that are a couple of levels above the content.

Which Nuke is better for leveling?

Starfire is always the best spell to pull with since it does the most damage. After that it depends on your level, talent build, and the situation.

If you have Nature's Focus and are getting beat on then Wrath is the best Nuke. After that it depends on what spell you've trained most recently. A brand new Wrath will generally do a lot more DPS and similar DPM to an old Starfire. On the flipside, a brand new Starfire will do similar DPS to an old Wrath but be much more mana efficient.

Gear & Stats:

Two words: WEAR CLOTH! There is very little leather caster gear before you get to Outland. If you insist on wearing leather then you will be gimping your DPS. Also, if you do happen to run instances on your way up, don't be afraid to roll on Cloth items. You may get some aggro from the clothies in your group, but remember two things. 1. You don't have better options that are leather. 2. All of your instance gear will be replaced as you level. Your not taking a long term best in slot item away from them.

From a Stats perspective Spell Power is king, but there isn't a lot of gear with Spell Power on it. After Spell Power your looking for items with Stamina and Intellect. Crit Rating is a very minor stat at this point. Hit rating could be nice if your going up against mobs that are a couple of levels higher then you. I wouldn't worry about stats to much at this point because most upgrades are fairly obvious.

Random Points:

* Carry lots of water and some food. When ever I stop at a town I make sure I have 2 stacks of water and 1 stack of food before I leave. Also, make sure you have the highest quality of water and food that you can. This will minimize down time.

* Don't break your neck to train new spells. Check WoWhead to see what new spells are available. Then determine if it is something that is important enough to drop everything and go get it or if you can wait for a more convenient time.

* Leveling Guides - People that are really into the lore may not be happy with them, but as I've said before my goal is to level quickly. Therefore I really like leveling guides. has a lot of very nice free guides. I used Jamie's Alliance guide to level Graylo from 30 to 60. I used the Brian Kopp guide to level Graypal and Grayfel from 1 to 70, and Graylo from 60 to 70. I have also used the Zygor guide to level Graylo and Grayfel from 70 to 80. All of them are very nice. If you don't want to spend money then definitely go with the WoWpro guides. However, the Zygor guide has a great ingame interface if your willing to pay for it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Eclipse: Part 4 - My thoughts

This is Part four of my four part series looking at Eclipse. In this post I will summarize my findings from the first 3 sections and provide some of my thoughts on the talent. Part one looked at the two Eclipse buffs and showed which is the better buff. Part two looked at the value of Eclipse and tried to provide you with an idea of how it will help your DPS. Part three tried to answer the question, Should I refresh my DoTs during Eclipse.

For those of you that don't like reading math, please feel free to skip to the bottom for my TL:DR version of the post.

The Summary:

In part one I took at a look at the two potential buffs, and tried to determine which had the greater impact on our DPS.

What I found was that an Eclipse buffed Starfire did very similar DPS to an Eclipse buffed Wrath, and in several cases actually did a little more DPS. Eclipse buff Starfire by 25% to 30%, but buffs Wrath by only 16%. On top of that, since the Starfire buff is a crit buff it also increases the mana efficiency of Starfire very dramatically.

Since Wrath and Starfire have similar DPS with the Eclipse buff, then the debate drops to other issues like mana efficiency. In this area Starfire is the clear winner. (i.e. spam wrath to get the SF buff)

In part two I tried to put a value on Eclipse. I found that investing 3 points into Eclipse can increase a moonkin's DPS by 8% to 13% under ideal circumstances. In reality this number will be reduced due to fight mechanics and the randomness of the talent. However, even if the value is cut in half, it is a significant increase to our DPS.

I also ran the evaluation with only 1 or 2 points in Eclipse. The results showed that you can receive 75% to 90% of the benefit by investing just 1 point in the talent. I however will continue to invest 3 to reduce the randomness on an already very random talent.

In part three, I looked at what we should do about DoTs during Eclipse. I found that it was technically possible to increase your DPS by refreshing Insect Swarm at the beginning of Eclipse but the benefit is so small that it is not worth the effort. For Moonfire the affect can be more significant. I found that it was a DPS increase to refresh Moonfire at the very beginning of Eclipse, but lost its value about 5 or 6 seconds into the buff's duration. In short, don't refresh Insect Swarm. Only refresh Moonfire at the very beginning of the buff.

My Thoughts:

As a community we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Eclipse. It was widely criticized when it was originally announced and Blizzard had to buff it several times before it was accepted by the community. Now, everyone agrees that it is a must have talent, but that doesn't mean we all like it. In my opinion Eclipse has two main issues that stem from the randomness of the talent.
The first issue is that it is inconsistent. Since most DPS classes rely on crit to some extent, we can all fall victim to the RNG at times. However, Eclipse increase our exposure to that devil.

Look at the Starfire Eclipse for example. First it procs off of Wrath critical hits. Second, the Wrath critical hit only has a 60% chance to proc Eclipse. Third, once Eclipse procs the buff improves our crit rate, another RNG calculation. This is what is disturbing about Eclipse. Our DPS depends on 3 RNG calculations.

We all have stories of when we caught the bad end of an RNG. Last night for example, we were fighting Malygos. At the very start of the fight I put up FF, IS, and MF. I then started to Wrath spam. I had 4 wrath crits in a row, but none of them procced Eclipse. Of course, I'm not QQing about the times that I procced Eclipse off the first Wrath cast and then when on to get 6 critical hits in a row (but on one of those situations I did pull aggro and wipe the raid).

Of course this all averages out in the end, but the inconsistency has other consequences. Raid Leaders don't like inconsistency. The two main goals my guild is working on currently are the 6 minute Malygos achievement and Sarth 3D on 10 man level. These are both DPS races to some extent and we've had great attempts were we get really close and the next attempt we are far behind. Obviously that is not all me, but it is part of the problem.

On top of that the inconsistancy makes me look like a slacker if the Raid Leader doesn't know any better. It is possible for me to play my class perfectly and have 4K DPS on both Patchwerk and Grobbulus. If I was a Raid Leader and didn't know the class, I would wonder why I was slacking on Patchwerk.

I realize my opinion is worth a grain of salt here, but in my opinion, Eclipse makes moonkin one of the most difficult DPS specs to play in WoW.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying all of the other classes are easy. In BC I always said Shadow Priests were one of the hardest classes to play with with 2 DoTs and 2 long cooldowns. Affliction locks also have it rough with 5 DoTs and one long cooldown. However, they have one advantage that we don't.

Their rotations are completely predictable. A Warlock knows exactly when his Unstable Affliction is going to run out. A Shadow Priest knows exactly when the cooldown on his Mind Blast is up. They can calculate in their heads when they can nuke and when they need to refresh DoTs. This is not the case for moonkin. I am rarely 100% sure of what I will be casting next, or if I am going to refresh my DoTs.

The really issue here is that I have only so much attention span to spread out among all the things I need to pay attention to and mistakes are costly. Watching for a buff lowers my situational awareness and makes me more likely to stand in a void zone and die. If I miss that my cooldown is up I don't lose jsut a tick or two of a DoT. I miss my buff for 30 - 35 seconds.

How would I fix it?

To be honest I'm not sure what the best way is to fix it. The two popular suggestions are to either make it an activated ability like a trinket or to give it charges instead of a duration.

I don't really like the idea of making it an activated ability. We have enough of those, and it just feels kind of cheap to me. The charges idea sounds interesting. It will definitely reduce the number of wasted buffs, but you still have to watch for the proc and such.

The idea I had won't help eclipse directly but I think it will help our playability in general. I think they should revert the Glyph of Starfire back to its original form. It basically takes a DoT out of our rotation which is something Blizzard has been trying to do for Shadow Priests and Affliction Locks. Why not us?

Anyway as you can see I don't have any great suggestions. Please feel free to lend me your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Eclipse: Part 3 - What about my DoTs?

This is Part three of my four part series looking at Eclipse. In this post I will try and answer the question, Should I refresh my DoTs during Eclipse? Part one looked at the two Eclipse buffs and showed which is the better buff. Part two looked at the value of Eclipse and tried to provide you with an idea of how it will help your DPS. Finally, Part four will summarize my findings and I will share my general thoughts about the talent.

For those of you that don't like reading math, please feel free to skip to the bottom for my TL:DR version of the post.

Should I refresh DoTs while Eclipse is up?

Please Note: Most of the assumptions I made in part one will apply to this post as well. The one exception is to my 5th assumption. For this section I am assuming that you have the [Idol of the Shooting Star] equipped when casting both Starfire and Wrath to maximize the Starfire Eclipse buff.

This is probably the most common question I hear regarding Eclipse, and I'll be honest. I've had a hard time figuring out what is the best way to tackle it, but lets give it a shot.

What do you lose by casting a DoT?

The cost of casting the DoT is the global cooldown (GCD) that could have been used to cast Starfire. The problem is know what the value of that GCD is, because it is near impossible to know if the Starfire cast will receive the Eclipse buff or not. So I will look at it both ways and take an average.

First lets look at the average cast time for Starfire with and without the buff and the global cooldown.

Global Cooldown = (1.5 / 1.17) = 1.2821 seconds
SF cast time w/ buff = ((3 - (0.5 * 0.65)) / 1.17) = 2.2863 seconds
SF cast time w/o buff = ((3 - (0.5 * 0.35)) / 1.17) = 2.4145 seconds

So we know now that the GCD is 56.07% of a buffed Starfire's cast time and53.09% of an unbuffed Starfire's cast time. Next we should look at the damage for a buffed and non buffed Starfire.

Avg SF (buffed) = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*(1-0.65))+((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.65) = 7418.49 damage

Avg SF (un buffed) = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*(1-0.35))+(((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.35) = 5998.62 damage

With this information we can say that the GCD is worth 4159.55 damage for the buffed Starfire (7418.49 * 0.5607), the GCD is worth 3363.43 damage for the unbuffed Starfire (5998.62 * 0.5309). Since we have no way of knowing which value is more likely, I will assume each of them have a 50% chance of occurring. Therefore by using the GCD for a DoT, on average, you lose 3761.49 damage from Starfire.

What do you gain by casting a Insect Swarm, and is it worth it?

For Insect Swarm this is easy, because we only have to look at Insect Swarm's DPS. It can be calculated like this:

IS DPS = (((1290 + (2000 * 0.76)) * 1.3) * 1.0712) / 12 = 326.09 DPS

(This ignores Natures Splendor because it doesn't change the results.)

So, now we know we gain 326.09 DPS by casting IS. We learned above that for Insect Swarm to be worth casting, it needs to do 3761.49 damage before your next opportunity to cast IS without clipping Eclipse.

This means IS must be on the boss at least 11.5351 seconds for IS to be worth casting. Since IS has a talented duration of 14 seconds it is theoretically worth it to refresh insect swarm if Eclipse just procced. However, in reality the benefit to refreshing IS is very small and our reaction times will make it difficult to be worthwhile.

Therefore, it is my opinion that there is no need to refresh IS while you have the Starfire Eclipse buff.

What do you gain by casting a Moonfire, and is it worth it?

Moonfire is more complicated for a couple of reasons. First, we have to consider both the direct damage and the DoT. Second, we have to consider the extra damage from Starfire due to Improved Insect Swarm.

First lets look at the direct damage portion of Moonfire. Its not large due to the Glyph of Moonfire, but it does factor into the equation. Basically since it happens up front we can subtract it from the damage lost by using the GCD for Moonfire. Here is the math.

Avg MF DD = (((((441 + (2000 * 0.1487)) * .3)*1.0712)*(1-0.41))+((((441 + (2000 * 0.1487)) * 0.3)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.41)) = 343.34 damage

If we subtract this from the GCD value that means the Moonfire DoT and extra Starfire damage only have to make up 3539.34 damage.

The DoT portion of Moonfire looks like this:

Avg MF DoT DPS= (((800 + (2000 * 0.5224)) * 1.95) * 1.0712) / 12 = 321.12 DPS

To figure out the affect of Moonfire on Starfire lets calculate Starfire with and without the 3% chance to crit.

SF w/ MF = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*(1-0.68))+((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.68) = 7560.48 damage

SF w/o MF = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*(1-0.65))+((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.65) = 7418.49 damage

So, refreshing Moonfire will increase the damage from Starfire by 141.99 per SF cast. Since a buffed SF takes 2.2735 seconds to cast on average this increases our DPS by 62.45 DPS.

Lets calculate how long moonfire must be on the boss for it to be worth the cast.

Break-even Point = (3761.49 - 321.12 ) / ( 321.12 + 62.45 ) = 8.9693 seconds

So, theoretically Moonfire must be on the boss at least 8.9693 seconds for it to be a net increase in your DPS. In reality you probably want a little more because of reaction times and such.

My recommendation is that you only refresh Moonfire if it runs out right as Eclipse procs. Otherwise the benefit is small and not worth worrying about.

TL:DR Version

One of the most common Moonkin questions is, Should I refresh my DoTs during Eclipse?

The results are mixed. It is theoretically possible to increase your DPS by refreshing both Insect Swarm and Moonfire at the very beginning of the Eclipse buff. However, reality makes this a little difficult.

The benefit of refreshing Insect Swarm during Eclipse is very small at best. Therefore I recommend that you never refresh Insect Swarm during Eclipse.

The benefit of refreshing Moonfire during Eclipse is more sizable, and can be worthwhile if you do it quickly enough. I recommend that you only refresh Moonfire during Eclipse if your are at the very beginning of the Eclipse buff.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eclipse: Part 2 - What's it Worth?

This is Part two of my four part series looking at Eclipse. In this post I will look at the value of Eclipse and try and provide you with an idea of how it will help your DPS. Part one looked at the two Eclipse buffs and showed which is the better buff. Part 3 will try and answer the question, Should you reapply DoTs during Eclipse? Finally, Part four will summarize my findings and I will share my general thoughts about the talent.

For those of you that don't like reading math, please feel free to skip to the bottom for my TL:DR version of the post.

Ok, How will Eclipse affect my DPS?

Please Note: Most of the assumptions I made in part one will apply to this post as well. The one exception is to my 5th assumption. For this section I am assuming that you have the [Idol of the Shooting Star] equipped when casting both Starfire and Wrath to maximize the Starfire Eclipse buff.

It is difficult to assign Eclipse a concrete value. Given it's random nature it is impossible to nail down an exact DPS rotation to measure it, and when it does proc the buff might be wasted due to fight mechanics. So, the number I am presenting in this section are kind of a best case scenario.

There are 5 steps to providing a value to eclipse.

1. We need to determine how long our Precasting period will be and how much damage we will do during it. We can determine the average number of Wrath casts it is going to take to proc the Starfire Eclipse using the following formula:
# of Casts to proc = 1 / (proc rate * crit rate) or
# of Casts to proc = 1 / (0.60* 0.35) = 4.7619 Casts

Since it is highly unlikely that you will see the buff proc before your casting your next spell I will assume a 1 spell cast buffer. This will increase the number of Wrath's cast by 1 and reduce the Buff period by Wrath's casting speed.

So our Casting Time and Damage for the Precasting period looks like this:

Avg # of Wrath's = 4.7619 +1 = 5.7619
Avg Wrath Cast time = (((1.5/1.17) * (1 - 0.35)) + 0.35) = 1.1833 seconds
Avg Wrath Damage = ((((588 + (2000 * 0.6714)) * 1.13)*1.0712)*(1-0.35))+((((588 + (2000 * 0.6714)) * 1.13)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.35) = 3228.77 damage

Precasting period cast time = 5.7619 * 1.1833 = 6.8181 seconds
Precasting period damage = 5.7619 * 3228.77 = 18603.85

2. Now we need to determine how long our Buffed period will be and how much damage we will do during it. The Duration of the eclipse buff is 15 seconds, but I am assuming that we will cast one Wrath before we recognize that we have the buff. So the buff's duration is reduced by Wrath's cast time of 1.1833 seconds. Also remember that Damage is calculated at the end of spells cast. Therefore I will ignore any partial casts and round down to the nearest number of whole Starfire casts.

So the numbers for the Buffed period look like this:

Avg SF Cast time = (3 - (0.5 * 0.68)) / 1.17 = 2.2735 seconds
Avg # of Buffed SF casts = (15 - 1.1833) / 2.2735 = 6.077, rounded down to 6 casts.
Avg SF Damage = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*(1-0.68))+((((1285 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.1)*1.0712)*2.09 * 0.68) = 7560.48 damage

Buffed period cast time = 6 * 2.2735 = 13.641 seconds
Buffed period damage = 6 * 7560.48= 45362.88

3. The combination of the Precasting period and the Buffed period are what I call the Eclipse Rotation. So lets combine the values from the previous two steps.

Eclipse Rotation cast time = 6.8181 + 13.641 = 20.4591 seconds
Eclipse Rotation damage = 18603.85 + 45362.88 = 63966.73 damage
Eclipse Rotation DPS = 63966.73 / 20.4591 = 3126.57 DPS

4. Now that we have the DPS of the Eclipse rotation we need to compare it to what we would be casting otherwise. Once again I am ignoring DoTs and assuming that they don't need to be refreshed. Therefore, the only other DPS options are Wrath Spam or Starfire Spam.

The average DPS of Wrath Spam can determined using information from step 1 above and the average normal Starfire DPS is also listed above.

Avg Normal Wrath DPS = 18603.85 / 6.8181 = 2728.60 DPS
Avg Normal SF DPS = 2556.78 DPS

Therefore, the Eclipse rotation increases DPS by:

Value of Eclipse Rotation (Comp w/ Wrath) = (3126.57 - 2728.60 ) / 2728.60 = 14.59% DPS increase
Value of Eclipse Rotation (Comp w/ SF) = (3126.57 - 2556.78 ) / 2556.78 = 22.29% DPS increase

5. The above numbers ignore the cooldown, so we need to determine what portion of our total casting rotation is taken up by the Eclipse rotation. We already know that the Eclipse rotation will last 20.4591 seconds on average. The total casting rotation is the sum of the precasting period minus the buffer cast, plus the 30 second cooldown.

Total Casting Rotation Duration = 30 + (4.7619 * 1.1833) = 35.6348 seconds
Eclipse Rotation "Up Time" = 20.4591 / 35.6348 = 57.41%


Value of Eclipse (Comp w/ Wrath) = 14.59% * 0.5741 = 8.38% DPS increase
Value of Eclipse (Comp w/ SF) = 22.29% * 0.5741 = 12.79% DPS increase

As I said before these numbers are a best case scenario. In actuality the will be significantly smaller. This is because you will have to refresh dots and you will miss some of the buffs due to movement and such. However, even if the benefit is cut in half you're still talking about a 4% to 5% increase in DPS from 3 points in Eclipse.

Edit: Down Ranking Eclipse A couple of people have asked in the comments that I value Eclipse point for point. I won't detail the math because it is really just repeat of the math above with a change in a variable. However, please know that I have used the same approach to come up with these numbers.

In the math above I showed that an Eclipse rotation is a 12.75% DPS increase over a normal Starfire rotation and a 8.45% increase over a normal Wrath rotation if you put a full three points into Eclipse. Please remember that these numbers were calculated under ideal circumstances.

If you put just one point in Eclipse it will increase your DPS by 11.27% over Starfire and 6.42% over Wrath. With two points in Eclipse it will increase your DPS by 12.31% over Starfire and 7.83% over Wrath.

This means that mathimatically you can receive 75% to 90% of the benefit of Eclipse from just 1 point. This is because of the 30 second cooldown. It has a greater impact on determining when Eclipse procs then your Crit chance.

Personally, I will proably still put 3 points into Eclipse, eventhough those last couple of points will have a much smaller impact then the first point. I will do this for two reasons. First, there isn't a great talent to put the points into. I would love to pick up Gale Winds but It is hardly necessary. Second, I want to cut down on the randomness. Eclipse is already very dependent on the RNG and I want to reduce some of that impact.

TL:DR Version

The Eclipse buff is very powerful buff. In an ideal situation it can improve your DPS by up to 12%. However the ideal situation is near impossible to achieve, but even if you miss half the buff your still increasing your DPS by close to 6% for a 3 point investment.

This indicates that Eclipse is a must have talent for raiders. However, you don't have to invest a full three points into the talent. You can receive a majority of Eclipse's value by spending just one point on the talent. However, Eclipse is already a very random talent, and for that reason I recommend investing 3 points to reduce that randomness.

GC: Starfall to be Buffed Soon (tm)

With the recent nerf's to Starfall there has been a lot of discussion on the WoW Forums about the purpose of Starfall. Now that it doesn't stun or de-stealth people PvPers don't like it, and the damage scales so poorly that most PvEers don't really care if they have it. Well, the discussion has prompted Ghost Crawler to chime in with these two posts (one, two).

The purpose of Starfall is to do extra damage. What I mean by that is that the spell is not channeled so you can use it along with a Hurricane or whatever other spell you want to cast. It was never intended to be a de-stealther and we've become unenamored with random stun chances added to other spells.

One criticism which we think is totally valid is the paltry coefficient on Starfall. We will be hotfixing in a more reasonable number soon (tm).

As I said, Starfall is a damage spell. While it does AE damage, that does not mean it is ineffective against single targets. If you cast it and keep using Starfire / Wrath etc. on bosses then your dps will be higher than if you did not cast it. I realize its large area can bring in extra groups, but this is rarely a problem on actual bosses.

The PvP utility spell, as Lissanna (I think) pointed out, is Typhoon. If your primary concern is
Arenas, you might want to direct your feedback toward Typhoon rather than trying to turn Starfall into a different spell.

My Thoughts:

1. It's great to hear that they are going to buff the Spell Power coefficient on Starfall. I just hope they bump it up enough. The current coefficient is so low that we can take off all of our gear and Starfall's damage wouldn't drop much. For a 51 point talent and a spell with a 3 minute cooldown that sucks.

However, I don't think that the spell in it's current form is a complete waste as some have indicated on the forums. Even on a single target it has a very high DPCT (damage per cast time), and if used correctly that can increase dramatically. Its like Force of Nature. It just has to be used properly to get the most out of it.

2. I could easily be completely wrong about this because I am not a PvPer, but I don't see why PvPkins are so harsh on this spell now. I understand that the stuns and de-stealthing was awesome. I would hate to lose them also, but it is still a decent damage spell that you don't have to target. Unless it is really easy to counter, I don't see why it is trashed so much.

3. I think all of us knew this already but it is nice to know that Typhoon is meant to be the spell with PvP utility. I am not saying that it doesn't have PvE uses, but I have never understood why some very smart moonkin insist that it is a good PvE spell.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eclipse: Part1 - Which Buff is Best?

My long time readers know that I did a couple of posts back in October on the state of Eclipse. Those posts are now very out of date and it is long past time to present the new math to you guys.

This is part 1 in a four part series looking at the Balance Talent Eclipse. In this post I look at the two Eclipse buffs and show which is the better buff. Part two will look at the value of Eclipse and try and provide you with an idea of how it will help your DPS. Part 3 will try and answer the question, Should you reapply DoTs during Eclipse? Finally, Part four will summarize my findings and I will share my general thoughts about the talent.

For those of you that don't like reading math, please feel free to skip to the bottom for my TL:DR version of the post.

Which Eclipse is Better?

Eclipse: When you critically hit with Starfire, you have a (33%, 66%, 100%) chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 20%. When you critically hit with Wrath, you have a (20%, 40%, 60%) chance of increasing your critical strike chance with Starfire by 30%. Effect lasts 15 sec and has a 30 sec cooldown.

So, obviously you can use Eclipse to buff Starfire or Wrath but not both within the same cooldown. So the question is: Which spell should I try to buff with Eclipse? To determine that we need to see how Eclipse both spells.


1. I'm using fairly entry level DPS stats for a fully raid buffed Moonkin. They are 2000 Spell Power, 35% Crit chance (38% for SF), 17% haste, and 100% hit chance. On the armory this moonkin would probably have 1650 SP, 15% Crit chance, and 6% haste.

2. I assume a build very similar to this one. I realize that some of you will have more mana regen and will probably drop Imp IS or Imp FF to get there. Even if that is the case I don't think you will have a hard time getting to the 35% crit represented in the math.

3. I assume that Moonfire and Insect Swarm are always on the target and don't need to be reapplied. Therefore, my calculations take full advantage of Improved Insect Swarm.

4. My calcs assume that a [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond] is equipped.

5. When calculating the DPS numbers for Starfire and Wrath I am assume their respective idols are equipped. Please note that I am not suggesting you do any kind of idol swapping. Idol swapping is bad. I'm just doing this to balance the numbers and be fair.


The average DPS for a normal Wrath Cast looks like this:

Avg Non-Crit Wrath = ((((658 + (2000 * 0.6714))) * 1.13) * 1.0712) = 2421.88
Avg Wrath Crit = (((((658 + (2000 * 0.6714))) * 1.13) * 1.0712) * 2.09) = 5061.73
Avg Wrath Cast Time = (((1.5/1.17) * (1 - 0.35)) + 0.35) = 1.1833


Avg Normal Wrath DPS = ((2421.88 * (1 - 0.35)) + (5061.73 * 0.35)) / 1.1833 = 2827.54 DPS

The average DPS for a Wrath Cast with Eclipse looks like this:

Avg Non-Crit Eclipsed Wrath = ((((658 + (2000 * 0.6714))) * 1.33) * 1.0712) = 2850.53
Avg Eclipsed Wrath Crit = (((((658 + (2000 * 0.6714))) * 1.33) * 1.0712) * 2.09) = 5957.61
Avg Wrath Cast Time = (((1.5/1.17) * (1 - 0.35)) + 0.35) = 1.1833


Avg Eclipsed Wrath DPS = ((2850.53 * (1 - 0.35)) + ( 5957.61* 0.35)) / 1.1833 = 3327.99 DPS

So, as you can see Eclipse will increase Wrath's DPS by 17.70% ( (3327.99 - 2827.54 ) / 2827.54).


The average DPS for a normal Starfire cast looks like this:

Avg Non-Crit SF = (((1285 + (2000 * 1.20))) * 1.1) * 1.0712 = 4342.11
Avg SF Crit = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.20))) * 1.1) * 1.0712 ) * 2.09) = 9075.01
Avg SF Cast Time = (3 - (0.5 * 0.38)) / 1.17 = 2.4017


Avg Normal SF DPS = ((4342.11* (1 - 0.38)) + (9075.01* 0.38)) / 2.4017 = 2556.78 DPS

The average DPS for a Starfire Cast with Eclipse looks like this:

Avg Non-Crit SF = (((1285 + (2000 * 1.20))) * 1.1) * 1.0712 = 4342.11
Avg SF Crit = ((((1285 + (2000 * 1.20))) * 1.1) * 1.0712 ) * 2.09) = 9075.01
Avg SF Cast Time = (3 - (0.5 * 0.68)) / 1.17 = 2.2735


Avg Eclipse SF DPS = ((4342.11* (1 - 0.68)) + (9075.01* 0.68)) / 2.2735 = 3325.48 DPS

So, as you can see Eclipse will increase Starfire's DPS by 30.07% ( (3325.48 - 2556.78) / 2556.78).

How they Compare:

As you can see Starfire gets a much larger buff from Eclipse then Wrath does. In fact, Starfire with the eclipse buff does more DPS on average then Wrath does with the eclipse, but they are very close. I have run these numbers at several gear levels. The margin between Starfire and Wrath will decrease as Crit increases but it's not much and Starfire still beats Wrath in total DPS if there is a comparable increase in Haste.

On top of that it goes with out saying that Starfire with eclipse is more mana efficient and will benefit more from raid buffs like Heroism then wrath will with the eclipse buff. I think we can conclusively say that the Starfire Eclipse buff is the superior buff.

TL:DR Version

In terms of damage out put the two Eclipse buffs are very close with Starfire buff doing a little more DPS per spell cast. From a DPM perspective the Starfire buff is the clear winner since Starfire is the more mana efficient nuke and the buff just makes it more mana efficient.

In my opinion the Starfire Eclipse buff is clearly the superior buff. (i.e. Wrath until Eclipse and then Starfire)

Edit: There is one exception to this that I know of. My math assumes normal levels of crit. In fights that buff your Crit Chance like Loatheb, the Wrath Eclipse buff becomes better. (Thanks to Beefkin for reminding me of this.)