Friday, June 11, 2010

Cataclysm Talent Builds Released

In what I think is a surprising move Blizzard released the preliminary versions of the talent trees for Druids, Shaman, Priests, and Rogues this week. The Balance tree they released is very similar to the leaked tree I commented on a month ago, but there are some changes we can discuss.

New Talent: Euphoria

Euphoria (2 Points): When you critically hit with Wrath or Starfire, you instantly gain an additional 2/4 Lunar or 4/8 Solar Energy. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 6/12% of your total mana.
I am not surprised by this talent, given Blizzard's goals for Eclipse and some of the other changes in the Balance Tree.

Blizzard has said many times that they don't want an entirely predictable rotation of SFx5 then Wrathx10, and the Energy on Crit mechanic helps with that. The real question is how big of an impact it will have. Will it mean that you will only cast 4 Starfires on average instead of 5, or could you possibly get an Eclipse in just 2 or 3 casts if you get very lucky with crits?

I am very happy to see the second aspect of the talent. Blizzard has said many times that they want Mana to be a bigger issue for healers. As a result they are changing the way everyone regens mana quite a bit by removing the 5 second rule and nerfing Replenishment. For Moonkin, they are also removing Intensity and the leaked talent tree no longer included the mana on crit mechanic in Moonkin Form. All these combined I was very worried about where Moonkin would get mana from with just Dreamstate and the weak new talent Lunar Justice.

My first reaction is that I like the Mana on Eclipse concept. Moonkin will never be Oom on the highest DPS section of your rotation and should be procing Eclipse regularly by default to regen mana. I still question if the current implementation is enough to support the needs of moonkin, but it should be fairly easy to balance by changing the rate at which Eclipse Procs or the rate at which mana is returned.

Modified Talents:

Starfall - You summon a flurry of stars from the sky on all targets within 30 yards of the caster, each dealing 303 to 348 Arcane damage. Maximum 20 stars. Lasts 10 seconds.

It's hard to say if this is a buff, nerf or neutral change. The splash component of the spell has been removed, but the base damage of the spell has been more then doubled from the 145 to 167 damage of the current version. The question is if the Spell Coefficient has been increased as well. Either way, it seems as they are abandoning this spell as an AoE spell entirely.

Moonkin Form - While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 120%, and increases the spell critical strike chance of all nearby friendly and raid targets within 100 yards by 5%. The moonkin cannot cast healing or resurrection spells while shapeshifted. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and movement impairing effects.

Obviously it is a nerf, but not as big of one as was leaked last month. The 5% crit buff is still with the main talent, but mana on Crit is still gone and the armor contribution is nerfed from 370% to just 120%.

As primarily a PvE player the loss of armor isn't that big of a deal for me. Armor rarely matters in PvE and I will be wearing more Leather, it's not like I'm loosing 70% of my armor. It's probably more like 60%. This could be big for PvP players, but most seemed to think the 370% armor increase was overrated. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Improved Moonkin Form - You also grant 2/3/5% spell haste to all nearby friendly party and raid targets within 100 yards while in Moonkin Form.

This change was hinted at last week, and I commented on it here. As I said before, it is likely that this won't stack with Wrath of Air or the Improved Shadowform buff from Shadow Priests. However, I like that this buff is getting spread around.

Old Concerns:
These talents aren't all that different then what was leaked in early may, but they are still on the tree and I have issues with them.

Lunar Justice - When you kill a target that yields experience or honor, a ray of moonlight will shine underneath the fallen enemy instantly restoring 2/4/6% of your base mana to you or the first ally who stands underneath it. Lunar Justice lasts for 15 seconds.

This would be great for leveling or grinding, but I don't think it would be useful in any kind of Raiding or PvP build. I assume that the moonkin has to get the kill shot for the LJ to proc and that is just not going to happen often even in an add heavy PvE fight. In PvP there just aren't enough targets to make it all that useful when it would be necessary and not all that necessary when there are enough targets.

Fungal Growth - When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 35/70%. Lasts 10 seconds.

Fungal Growth could be very handy. Saurfang is a great example of a fight where slowing abilities are very useful. My problem is that it combines a slow with two DPS abilities. Most of the time I want to damage my targets without slowing them. If I slow them unnecessarily that hurts the tank trying to position adds or even the boss. Therefore, it's likely that this talent will never be a part of my standard build, but I may spec into it if I know I need it for a specific fight.

Optional Talents Revisited:

Clearly the talent trees are not done, but I have made a stab at what would be my spec if Cataclysm was released tomorrow. I would advise people to use this as their base spec and spend the last 6 points as they like.

In the base spec, I have 8 options to spend 6 talent points. On the surface this sounds like a success for Blizzard given their new goals for the talent trees. I disagree though. I consider Gale Winds and Fungal Growth to be situational and the other 6 to be practically useless. I spec into Gale Winds by default, and would change specs when needed for Fungal Growth. The other 4 points I don't really care how they are spent.

As I said before, Situational and Useless talents aren't good talent options. Situational talents will be picked up by default like I would pick up Gale Winds. If you don't pick them up by default then there is something wrong with them, and not really optional. The useless talents I could care less about. It doesn't matter to me if I pick up Brambles or Genesis, because neither are very good. In the end I go with the lesser of two evils.

In my opinion the talent trees are not good enough yet and don't provide real options. Yes I could spend the points in more PvP friendly talents but that is not an option when there are no real alternatives.


Anonymous said...

"Optional" talents is a difficult situation and one I think "hardcore" bloggers will never be satisfied with.

IMO the idea is to let you take "convenience" talents that you just couldn't rationalize before.

In your opinion they're useless points.

Ah well.

Graylo said...


I don't think we disagree, I just don't think you see my point.

If I was a moonkin who liked to PvE and PvP, then your "convenience" arguement would be completely accurate. I am not a PvP expert, but with the extra talents you could pick up usefull things like Brambles and Owlkin Frenzy and would probably be able to PvE and PvP in the same spec. If I enjoyed both aspects of the game then it would be very convenient.

Unfortunately I do not. So, how is it convenient for me to be able to pick up Brambles or Owlkin Frenzy. They are clearly PvP talents and have little use in PvE.

It isn't an option when you have only one alternative, and that is the current situation. Now If I could spend those last few points to be affective at something other then Raid DPS or PvP then I would have some options.

Eilthis said...

I, personally, think the five points in Perseverance is a little, much. I can see what you're talking about, but all they wanted was to "Have these talents with this many points, then put the rest wherever you want" and, effectively, they did.

If you're going to be a Moonkin, then, in reality, if its something "other then Raid DPS or PvP" then, what really is there? PvE is more or less the same.

Graylo said...


As I said before, maybe they could make some talents available that could boost your healing to be affective for a short period of time in an emergancy. Maybe provide talents that make you an effective ranged tank.

I realize that if a talent is a good DPS talent then it will become mandetory for DPS builds. So, you have to provide talents taht buff different rolls. For example, Gale Winds buffs AoE. Maybe they could add a talent that would add the splash portion of Starfall back in.

AoE DPS, PvP, Healing, Tanking, and single target DPS are just roles. Since Moonkin are primarly single target DPS any talent that significantly buffs that role will become manditory. So, for blizzard to truly provide options then they need to allow players to perform other roles. Otherwise the last 5 -10 talent points that you can put where you want really have no purpose.

Daedalus said...

Notice, also, that there's no longer any kind of selfish benefit to Moonkin Form. If there's another boomkin in the party, there's actually no reason to stay in form. There's no reason not to, sure, but it feels like there should be more. In addition, I don't understand why you think Lunar Justice would even be good for leveling. I mean, 6% of *base* mana is nothing.

Anonymous said...

I just wonder if we'll end up needing Moonglow, Dreamstate, Euphoria, and OoC. Obviously because Euphoria isn't just a mana talent we would need to keep the points in that as well as Dreamstate, but if the other talents aren't necessary at all, where would we even put the points?

Villainus said...

All the obvious points of contention aside, I'm very disappointed we have SIX points spent if we want pushback resistance on our two nukes.
That's what I call bloat in a talent tree.

I would have thought they could at least have moved the Wrath benefit over to Celestial Focus since they took away the haste benefit from the talent. Other classes get the full resistance (when added to concentration aura) in just one talent.

Tilgare said...

I think that a lot of people undervalue Gale Winds. It might be situationally useful on boss fights, but trash matters too. If an entire raid was able to completely discount AoE buffing abilities in their talent trees, trash would be a nightmare. Tanks would get wailed on for longer, healers would get run dry, and most likely and importantly, the down time between boss fights would be much longer. Off the top of my head, I may not have come up with the best arguments for my case, but trash does still matter for those and probably many other reasons.

I think ICC trash did a good job bridging the gap between your basic WotLK trash that you just AoE down and the Cata philosophy of more complex pulls with cc and single targeting - but you still use plenty of AoE. (ie, single target the Valkyrs @ Upper Spire since essences can heal, then aoe them down.) Even in Cata, I know I've read that AoE will not be completely dead, just not the answer every time like was basically the case in Wrath.

I don't have room with restoration as my main spec for a trash spec, but I know that people occasionally run a boss spec and trash spec. I'm sure that's a viable option still. And for boss fights that it's useful, there's always the option to port and respec like you've mentioned. I just find that I prefer those few points to help here and there, especially considering you don't lose much as a result anyways.

Incidentally, I've always run with things like Typhoon that are very often useless if only for the sake of having fun talents or being well rounded for any scenario (in or outside of a raid environment.) Our extra 5 points and the talent tree reworking will hopefully give us the flexibility to grab things we want, but don't necessarily need.

Last thing - 5 points in Perseverance feels like overkill... I find there are lots of more interesting places to place those points. When I saw the talent a few weeks/months ago, I first jumped to it being a pvp talent. I've also realized it'd be a very strong talent for bears. For instance, I get the feeling we'll see a few dragons, and 10% off that breath I'm sure will be nice. But from a dps/healing perspective in a raid environment, I get the feeling that it just won't be needed. Sure, it's available to spec in to for high damage fights (if healers are struggling) like Sind, Festergut, or Blood Queen, but I don't see myself using more than 1-2 points if any in a normal dps spec. Just curious why you chose to put it into your prelim spec.


Anonymous said...

I'm just notice, Starfall CD is 1 minute instead of 1.5 minuite.
Does it be, when I apply it with glyph of starfall, CD was 30 seconds? ...

Lespaul said...

This is what could be considered a 'base' spec for raiding Moonkins imo.
It leaves out all the situational or optional talents and has 12 points left to spend.

LJ could end up being a raid utility talent if all you have to do is land an attack on the target but until more is known about that I'm leaving it out.
Perseverance is interesting too: given that we've lost 250% armour contribution, could this be suggesting more raid-wide spell damage in Cata?
Personally I think OkF will be in my starting build, which to some extent will negate the need for either of the 2 pushback talents, although given how bad we already know how genesis is per point, you could happily transfer 2 or 3 points into CF as Graylo has suggested.
The jury is still out on Brambles and Gale winds for me, and Id probably only take either if there was really nowhere else to put the points. The aoe on trash argument doesn't really hold water with me.
I can't see mana being an issue ever, and given the 5% haste buff will be offered around by multiple sources, Imp Moonkin form will become optional too. (although Id wager this was added to before it goes live)
You could even use the points to forrage a little further into the resto tree if you wanted, to create a sort of a hybrid build that would allow some situational healing.
Overall tho, I think theres still a lot to come and we shouldn't be making too many judgements based on what we're seeing yet.

Murmurs said...

A couple of things Graylo -

1) I would suggest using WoWhead's talent calculator instead of MMO's right now. MMO's is coding something incorrectly with the links to certain builds which causes the talents to shift around. I don't think it happened to yours, but it's happened to several others.

2) Is there a particular reason that you would choose to max out Moonglow in order to access the lower Tiers instead of maxing out Celestial Focus? Pushback resistance is a pretty important thing to pick up -- it seems silly that you would choose Moonglow, the worst mana talent, over it.

3) If you want to pick up an extra defensive cooldown (for PvE at least) and have emergency healing, then you can throw 2 points into Improved Tranquility. You take 50% less damage while channeling with that.

4)Euphoria should not be linked to Dreamstate if the preview information released by Blizzard is correct. On both MMO-C and WoWhead,the actual information page does not say "Requires 3 points in Dreamstate" for Euphoria, yet it does say this for every other talent that is linked. Further, as gear increases, points should be dropped out of Dreamstate as we need less of it, allowing players to spend talents else where.

5) Even though Genesis is a weak talent, it is now the only multiplier, beyond the Mastery bonus, that increases the damage of our DoTs in anyway. Given that our DoTs will not scale with Crit and Haste, it -might- be worth a tad more. Not a requirement, but you have nothing else to put points into to increase your damage.

6) Brambles is just as much a PvE talent as it is PvP. The increased damage from Thorns and Force of Nature is pretty decent. Thorns especially can contribute a good amount of damage over the course of an encounter, more so against fast hitting mobs.

Tilgare said...

I never even noticed the drop in cooldown for Starfall. I may have seen it, but I'm so used to Starfall being a 1 min cd it may not have registered properly in my head. It'd be neat to have Starfall on a 30 sec cd glyphed.

Also, I like the idea of using Imp. Tranquility as a defensive cooldown. I read it more as just an additional benefit when using Tranq initially, but using it defensively would be very useful. Popping Barskin and Tranq for 70% damage reduction would be a pretty strong combo.

paperclip said...

I haven't seen it mentioned that the spell damage reduction from perseverance (or the first three points anyway) is the same benefit that we currently get for free with balance of power. Also, depending on the encounters, if we are using more CC as has been suggested, genesis and brambles may have some additional value compared to where they stand currently for entangling roots.

Graylo said...


2)Making this build I went in with a couple of assumptions that may or may not be true.

First, I assume that mana is going to be a big deal in cataclysm. In fact I always seem to assume that since I had two points in Intensity well into Ulduar. I could be wrong, but at this point I'm assuming that mana talents are mandetory.

Second, I assumed two points in CF was enough because of concentration Aura. I haven't followed the pally changes since I don't play one, but 96% protection was good enough for me.

3) I hadn't really concidered Imp Tranq because I didn't like Imp Rejuve or Tranq Spirit, but I could put the two points needed in Nature's Focus. It's a good option though. I will have to consider that if it makes it to live.

4) It is impossible to say if Euphoria and Dreamstate are linked or not. Patch notes and other forms of offical communication are notorious for omitions and such. Therefore, I would not assume that they are not linked.

Should they be linked is another question entirely. As I said before I am paranoid about mana so I don't see a problem with them being linked. I'm assuming we will need all the mana we can get.

5) Not necessarily. We don't know what is going to happen with Glyphs in Cataclysm, and Glyph of MF and IS were what made it exceptionally useless for most of WotLK.

6)I disagree. While the increased damage of thorns and trents is helpful in PvE, it is hard to argue that either is significant. Thorn damage against a raid boss is minimal and only matters on the thinest of kills, and the increased trent damage is really limited by a 3 minute cooldown.

Though I admittedly know very little about PvP, I think the real value of brambles comes from the chance to Daze. The additional damage from thorns and Trents is also more significant given the lower health pools ofthe targets. In my opinion Brambles is definately a PvP talent.

silverfang said...

I don't quite agree with your view on "optional talents". By looking at the new talent tree, I think blizzard did well on giving us "optional" points to spend.

Looking at the 2 suggestions you gave: First One is to boost your healing to be affective for a short period of time in an emergency. You can already do that by getting Nourish cast time reduced and NS. Combine these 2 together, you can spam for a good 10 seconds for a decent throughput. That's healing in a pinch when tank is about to bite the dust (assuming fight mech isn't MT getting hit for 30k like now). Your second example of effective range tank is also doable. With typhoon, mushroom and bramble, you can grab agro from adds and kite them for a short period of time. Of course, doing either of these will eat a good chunck of your dps but you have the "option" to do that at a sacrifice of your personal dps when fight mechanics allows and you choose to do so. Also, while I am assuming there are fight mechs like this, let's not assume there won't be fight mechs like this and mark talents useless for PVE.

You might wish for new talents to not eat such a large chunck of personal dps if moonkins were to perform any sort of utility or you might wish for new talents that'll be useful for the majority of the raid encounter. That would certainly be nice but that would also create a huge problem for PVP and in terms of class balance. If moonkin can truely heal in a pinch without going oom, that might make moonkin too powerful. If moonkin can truely range/melee tank for a good 10 seconds in raid while MT gets brezzed and buffed, that would also make moonkin too powerful compared to other classes.

Blizzard did give us a lot of "options" in terms of giving moonkin more utility that's useful in PVE. Just keep in mind that Blizzard needs to worry about game's overall balance. If moonkins can truely take over a healer's role for 15 seconds or a tank's role for 10 seconds and go back to DPS unhindered, that would make moonkin overpowered compared to other classes. In order to compensate, blizzard will need to increase moonkin's hybrid tax which I think a lot of people would dislike.

While providing mediocre heal/tank and some utilities at a steep cost of personal DPS might mean the raid would wipe anyways so it doesn't help to down the boss. But when someone fills in that role and make the encounter successful that one time out of 50 times, that's the moment people will remember. So while "true optional" talents that enhances moonkin's hybridness doesn't exist and prob never will and Blizzard can probably come up with more interesting utility spells without upsetting hybrid's balance, I think we already have a good set of optional talents for PVE.

(I hope my English is clear enough since English isn't my first language)

Superku said...

@Tilgare re: Gale Winds.

One of the things we do know about the upcoming dungeons is that Blizzard does not want us to be able to AoE the trash down. There probably will be some AoE, but not to the extent we've seen in Wrath. As such the value of Gale Winds diminish even further.

Cæli said...

The balance druid talent calculator is almost done... here is a recap of the changes (pve point of view)

What we loose :
-10% moonfire dot
-3% haste
-3% dmg on wrath, -3% crit on sf
-10% dmg on sf, wrath, moonfire
-30% spirit into spell
-12% int into spell
-old wrath of cenarius
Nature's grace will likely be nerfed

What we have to balance it :
+ 6% direct damage on mf
+ 10% int in moonkin form (spell boost)
Starfall cd reduced
(+ 4 lunar / 8 solar energy on crits)

At level 80, this is quite a loss (no wrath of cenarius hurts). But what matters here is mastery

Eclipse is (now) +40 % dmg on wrath / +40% crit on starfire. To balance the talent tree with mastery, the new eclipse must be more powerful that it is now, but I hardly think of a +60% dmg buff on wrath and starfire. Eclipse can even be nerfed from the current values

This would not be a problem if other hybrids got the same losses ... but this is currently not the case. For instance, ele shamans got only a 10% crit loss to gain +20% dmg on overloads and the ability to reset lavaburst cd.

If we assume non pure casters are currently roughly equal in term of dps, then we can be worried about the new eclipse values.

So with no mastery, the balance druid got nerfed. If we add the mastery, he will likely be on par with ele shaman only if the new eclipse is more powerfull (more % dmg) than the current version (assuming the two first mastery bonuses from balance / ele are roughly equal in dps gain).
I'm a bit worried about that

Now blizzard may have planned to balance it through the new spell ranks that will be slightly better than expected, we can't figure out, but currently I hope they'll think about all that

Otherwise, I agree that mana management will be important in cata. In wotlk we got nearly infinite mana, even when using battle rez and innerv on the. At cataclysm, I don't think the fact that we will be wearing some spirit gear will grant moonkins infinite mana, so mana regen talents should be important.

I also noticed a strange new dps mechanic : when you moove, mf does more damage for 3 sec. Does it means that if we want to have the highest dps we can do, we'll have to do sometimes very little mooves on a patchwerk style boss in order to maintain the buff ?

Graylo said...


I wouldn't say that the Balance druid Calculator is almost done. Remember that there were several versons of the talent trees during the WotLK beta, and we aren't even to the Cata beta yet. I wouldn't be surprised if we see more new talents and such in the future.

As far as Wrath of Cenarius goes, remember that the new version only buffs the Direct Damage and lowers the mana cost of the spell.

This is giving us something to cast while we move. Since it stacks upto 3 times our MF DD will do 45% more damage but the mana cost will be reduced by 90% (I think). This means we Moonfire spam while we move.

Boobah said...

A few things:

1) The armor nerf on moonkin form is less than it appears, since they're closing the gap (somewhat) between plate and the other armor type.

2) Murmurs mentioned DoTs not scaling with haste or crit? I could've sworn that every DoT and HoT was going to be getting hasted and critting in Cataclysm; they've been moving closer and closer to this throughout Wrath; it'd be nice to not need a scorecard to know which ones are affected by what.

3) Just reiterating that the talent trees are by no means even close to done. What they are is functional, which is nowhere near the same thing. Ghostcrawler has mentioned that they've not even started going through possible builds yet, much less started to balance them.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that Omen of Clarity only procs from healing and melee attacks!

Graylo said...


That's not true. Here is the tool tip:

"Each of the druid's damage, healing spells and auto-attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana, rage or energy cost of your next damage spell, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%."

You're probably looking at an old version of the talent, but the cataclysm stuff released by blizzard indicates no change.