Posting about the Alpha:
I am a little paranoid about posting on Alpha leaks. I have no contacts with Blizzard as far as I know, and therefore have no hope of getting in to the alpha, but I would like to get into the beta. It's probably just wishful thinking that Blizzard would give me any kind of key priority as a blogger, but I have hope. That said, if there was anyway to piss off blizzard and lose any kind of special treatment posting on alpha leaks is probably a good way to do it. However, as one of the main moonkin bloggers, I'm having a hard time ignoring it. So, even though I am posting about the alpha I would like you guys to keep a couple of things in mind.
1. I'm not going to post on anything unless it pops up on a major WoW news site like MMO Champion or WoW.com. I figure it is generally available if it is on those sites and I will be using it as a discussion point.
2. Remember the context of this information. THIS IS JUST ALPHA LEAKS. This brings two concerns to mind. First, who knows if these are correct or not. Second what goes live with the expansion will likely be very different then what is hitting the servers now. There were huge changes between my first alpha post last time and what went live. The two barely looked a like at all. For these two reasons, I don't want to see any proclamations of doom and gloom. We don't know how any of these things are going to work and the people who can actually test it right now can't talk about it.
All that said, I might be jumping around a little bit, to combine some of my comments.
Haste Talents - The current Balance tree has three haste talents Celestial Focus, Nature's Grace, & Improved Moonkin Form. In this first alpha build, both Celestial Focus and Improved Moonkin Form have lost their haste affects. This isn't surprising given that one of our mastery bonuses is for Haste and the issues we've had with capping haste. Ghostcrawler has said many times that they view stat caps as a bad thing and this is one way to combat that.
The semi strange thing is that Nature's Grace has been left unchanged. I can only assume that this means they haven't finalized what they want to do with Nature's Grace yet. Ghostcrawler has said multiple times that Nature's Grace is overpowered and an issue. Therefore I don't expect it to last.
Moonkin Form Changes - I'm sure this will have a lot of people up in arms. The Moonkin Form talent only increased your armor while in Form and shifting free's the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects. Improved Moonkin Form increases the Crit Chance of the raid by 6%. So, we gain an extra percent chance to crit, but lose mana on crit, reduced damage when stunned, the haste effect, and spell power from spirit.
I'm not really surprised by any of this. I expected the loss of spell power from spirit. As I said before the loss of the haste effect makes sense, and the damage reduction has never been something I thought about. The loss of mana on crit doesn't surprise me but is a little shocking. I think most moonkin agree that it is a little OP. I never have mana issues as long as I am nuking and have plenty of Replenishment. However, I am a little worried about where our mana will
come from if no mana on crit is permanent. It may be overpowered, but it is also needed. I would have expected a nerf rather then a out right loss.
Hit Talents - Imp Fierie Fire is gone. Balance of Power still provides 4% chance to hit but it also converts Spirit to Hit chance as well. Neither of these things are a surprise. Blizzard has said they are doing away with the Hit buffs, and that makes Imp Fierie Fire useless. The 3% chance to crit was nice but lets be honest and say that it was not the main attraction of the talent.
Lunar Justice - When you kill a target that yields experience or honor, a ray of moonlight will shine underneath the fallen enemy instantly restoring 2%-6% of your base mana to you or the first ally who stands underneath it. Lunar Justice lasts for 15 sec. - This sounds interesting but I'm having a hard time seeing how this would be more then a leveling talent. First, I assume that the moonkin has to get the kill shot for it to proc. If that is true then it will have very limited usefulness in PvE. If it's not true, then Moonkin could proc a ton of them on heavy add fights and make the mana issue trivial. Second, since it spawns on the dead target, it is unlikely that the moonkin will get it in a party. Most likely it will be consumed by pally's and shaman who are in melee range by default. It may be useful in BG PvP, but I'm not sure how they could balance this.
Solar Beam - You Summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target's location, Disorienting all enemy targets under the beam for 3 sec. and silencing all enemy targets under the beam while it is active. Solar beam lasts for 10 sec. - The talent that was first mentioned in the Twitter Developer chat. It sounds more PvP oriented but could have some uses in PvE. On a fight like LDW it would be nice to be able to silence multiple adds at once, but also sounds pretty tricky to use perfectly. Since it is listed as a prereq for two other talents my guess is that most PvE moonkin would pick it up in this set up.
Starsurge - You Fuse the power of the moon and sun launching a devastating blast of energy at the target Causes 1025 to 1027 Spellstorm damage to the target and knocking them down. - This sounds pretty sweet for both PvE and PvP. The knockdown is basically and interrupt if you can time it well. The damage may sound low to some of you guys, but remember that this is available at level 30. The equivalent Starfire does 189-231 damage and has a second longer cast time. This thing hits hard and has other benefits.
Lunar Guidance - Increases the radius of your Solar Beam by 6 yards, and your Starsurge also instantly generates 15 Lunar or Solar energy depending on which is greater. - Obviously the current version wouldn't work in Cataclysm since Int will provide spell power on its own. I like what they did to it. It significantly buffs both Solar Beam and Starsurge.
Wrath of Cenarius - What MMO champion has listed for this talent is very strange. Rank one has a completely different tooltip then rank 2 or 3. Who knows whats going on here.
Rank 1: While moving, the direct damage portion of your Moonfire spell is increased by 5% and it's mana cost is reduced by 10% for 3 sec. This effect can stack up to 3 times and lasts 3 sec., but is refreshed as long as you are in movement. - Depending on how this talent stacks, and if it has multiple ranks, Moonfire spam could be a viable strat while moving. For example, if it does really have 3 ranks and can stack up to 3 times then it could have a 15% Damage increase to the direct damage and a 90% reduction in mana cost. This could be huge in Battlegrounds, but I don't think it would be really big in PvE, unless it stacked really quickly.
Ranks 2 and 3: These are the same as the current 2nd and 3rd ranks of Wrath of Cenarious. So my guess is that they are not correct, but I am a little surprised that they would be getting rid of this talent.
Eclipse - Increases the amount of Lunar or Solar energy generated from your Starfire and Wrath by 12% and when critically hit by a melee or ranged attack, you will instantly generate Lunar or Solar Energy. - Hard to tell what affect this will have on Moonkin DPS without knowing how Eclipse as a whole will work, but it looks it feels pretty weak at the moment.
Earth and Moon - Increases Raid Wide Spell Damage taken by 8%. The personal buff is still 6% - The Raid buff is down from 13%. We are losing some utility through this but, I have to admit that 13% was pretty powerful. Since blizzard is making buffs feel even less mandatory, this change makes sense. I also don't expect the personal buff to stay since this is the type of thing they are trying to get rid of with mastery.
Fungal Growth - When your Trents die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards slowign all enemy targets by 70%. Lasts 10 seconds. - PvP talent that could be situationally useful in PvE. For example i would love to have it in Valithria Dreamwalker. DPS and slow the suppressors all at once? Yes please.
Insect Swarm - Since its not there, I'm assuming it becomes a base spell, though they could be taking at a way completely.
It's clear that the balance tree isn't done. Several of the talents don't look finished. That said, I'm not overly impressed with the new additions as a PvE moonkin. Solar Beam and Fungal Growth seem very PvP oriented. Lunar Justice doesn't seem to be that significant of a talent. Therefore it's hard to make any real judgements. That said, I am left with one question.
Where are we going to get Mana from? If Mana on Crit is permanently gone then the days of the OOMkin could come back unless other changes are made. Obviously Moonglow and Dreamstate would be staples in such a situation, but I don't think they would be enough.