Those days are long gone. Now spell rotations are better described as spell priority lists where you have to make quick choices based upon the buffs and cooldowns currently available. Therefore, it is very important to understand how each of your spells work so that you can make the correct choices.
ABC: Always Be Casting
This is a modification from a phrase in the Glenn Gary Glenross, but I think it applies very well to caster DPS. There is one simple rule that every caster should know. Casting the wrong spell is better then not casting a spell at all. If you’re casting Wrath and Lunar Eclipse procs, do not cancel your current spell to cast Starfire. If your not sure what to cast next, cast a nuke. Which one you choose doesn’t really matter.
The main point here is that down time is a real DPS killer. Therefore, Always Be Casting.
Starfire: This is one of the two main moonkin nukes, and is critical for the Glyph of Starfire. It scales very well with all the DPS stats but scales bets with Haste Rating and other Haste effects.
Wrath: The second of the two main moonkin nukes. Wrath scales very well with Spell Power and Crit Rating, but does not scale well with Haste Rating after the soft cap has been reached. Wrath is a good default spell because of it's shorter cast time
Moonfire: Since you should always be using the Glyph of Moonfire, this spell really behaves like a typical DoT. It does have a small direct damage portion, but it is insignificant when compared to the DoT. It scales mostly with Spell Power, but Crit Rating will have some impact if you have the 2T9 set bonus. It does scale with Haste a tiny amount but not enough to worry about.
Most raiding Moonkin will want to try and have 100% uptime with their Moonfire. However, there is some discussion that it does not scale well at the very top levels of gear. In the Simulations, I've run lately Moonfire still increases my DPS, but that may change as I gear up. his may alter how we apply our DoTs, but I am waiting on more information before I say anything conclusive. To be clear, this only matters to you if you are raiding ICC hard mode content.
Insect Swarm: This is our other DoT, and is very typical of that type of spell when glyphed. It scales very little with Haste, and doesn't scale with Crit at all. Unglyphed the spell does not perform as well in terms of DPS but debuffs the mob by giving him a 3% chance to miss. This is obviously not necessary for all fights, but may become necessary in hard modes with hard hitting bosses.
Faerie Fire: This spell debuffs the boss in multiple ways. It reduces the targets armor value, increased the targets chance to be hit by spells, and increases you personal chance to crit with spells.
Starfall: This is a fire and forget spell. Oddly enough that is it's best and worst quality. What the spell targets is out of your control. This is nice because you just have to hit the button ever 90 seconds, but that also makes it a liability in some fights. For example, I never use this spell on Algalon or the Blood Princes. Both fights have targets that you don't want incidental damage on. Since I can't control who Starfall targets, I just don't cast it during those bosses. In general, you will want to use this spell as often as possible, but it may be a DPS increase to wait if multiple mobs are not currently available. However, do not wait more then 15 or 20 seconds.
Force of Nature (trents): Another good fire and forget spell. The trents do quite a bit of damage, and benefit from standard raid buffs. If possible try to cast Force of Nature right before Bloodlust or Heroism is used. That will significantly increase their DPS. Other then that, use them as often as possible.
Hurricane: This is a very basic AoE spell. It does quite a bit of DPS with two points in Gale Winds and can crit. However, it does not benefit from Vengeance so it Scales with Haste best.
Typhoon: This is primarily a PvP spell but does have some situational uses in PvE. The only good times to use typhoon in a raid is if you need the knockback affect, or if you need to buff Hurricane. Other then that, do not use it in PvE. Typhoon is fairly expensive mana wise, hard to target, and does not have the damage output that our other spells have.
Entangling Roots: A very situational spell. It's not a good spell for CCing DPS targets, but it is good for slowing targets down. What I mean by that is that Roots doesn't prevent the target from DPSing. It just prevents the target from moving. If the target has any kind of ranged ability then roots will do little to it. The main times I've used it in raid are when we need to prevent something from getting to the raid like the bomb bots in the Mimiron fight.
Cyclone: Primarily a PvP, spell but may be useful as a temporary CC on fights like Faction Champions.
The Spell Rotation:
As I said before, Moonkin spell choice is more of a priority list then a Rotation. Here are the general rules you want to follow when in a raid situation.
- Debuff the boss first. This means casting Faerie Fire and possibly throwing a Wrath at the boss as your first two spells. The reason is you want to get the armor debuff, hit buff, and Earth and Moon up on the target as soon as possible.
- Use Long Cooldowns as often as possible. In some situations you will want to wait to use your long cooldowns, but generally the loss of DPS from not using them on cooldown is greater then the buff they get from being used at a specific time.
- Try Maximize DoT uptime, but don't clip the last tick. Always refresh your DoTs on the boss, but do not refresh them early.
- Always Be Casting. As I said above, if you don't know what to cast next cast a nuke. Casting the wrong thing is better then not casting anything at all.
Here is how I start most fights. First I put up Faerie Fire and throw a Wrath at the target if we don't have an Unholy DK. Then I DoT the boss up and use my long cooldowns if the situation calls for it. Then I cast Wrath until Eclipse procs and switch to Starfire. Cast Starfire until you get a Solar Eclipse or until the Lunar Eclipse cooldown has worn off. Finally I refresh DoTs and debuffs when the fall off, and use my long cooldowns when are available.