The WotLK expansion has been out for quite a while, and over the past year and a half we "experts" have said a lot of different things regarding haste and such. That is why I try to be understanding when it comes to questions where the answer seems obvious to me.
The question of the week seems to be centered on Celestial Focus and Haste. I've seen several questions asking what is the value of Haste? Should I drop Celestial Focus for another talent since I am way over the Haste Cap? Should I Gem Haste or Crit?
In this post I hope to answer some of these questions or show you where to find the answer and also explain why we "experts" seem to be contradicting ourselves.
The Value of Haste:
I can't give you a precise value for Haste Rating. That depends on a lot of things that are different for everyone. How I value Haste will be slightly different then how you value haste. If you do want a precise value of Haste Rating I suggest you read this post I wrote a few months ago.
That said, I can try and give you the big picture. As a general rule Haste Rating is better the Crit rating for ICC geared moonkin. Moonkin that are geared with ToC and Ulduar level epics will value Crit Rating more then Haste because it is unlikely that they have reached the Lunar Crit Cap. Prior to that it doesn't really matter because you should be running as many instances as possible to get badges and 5man epics.
Why is Haste > Crit Now?
I know what some of you are thinking. Last year everyone was telling you that Crit is better then Haste. What changed? What did we "experts" screw up? Well, we didn't mess anything up. The truth is that two things changed.
The Lunar Crit Cap is the first thing that changed. Having some of your Crit Rating rendered useless for 30% of the fight does diminish the marginal value of Crit Rating. That said, the Lunar crit cap is probably over credited for the late rise of Haste Rating. The fact is that the marginal value of Crit Rating was already pretty low if you have a 99% crit rating during Lunar Eclipse. Taking it over 100% doesn't change a lot.
The less obvious reason is Spell Power. Many people forget just how well Haste scaled with Spell Power for Starfire in TBC. Haste Rating was and still is more valuable on a point for point basis then Spell Power for well geared moonkin if you only consider Starfire. So, with the massive amounts of Spell power we are receiving by upgrading to ICC level gear, haste is improving dramatically even with the soft cap.
I won't detail the math but take a look at this graph.
What I did here was find the marginal gain in DPS by adding 1 point of Haste Rating and Crit Rating to various levels of Spell Power for the spell Starfire. The base levels of Crit and Haste were held constant at 55% and 31% respectively.
Notice that the gap between the lines at the start of the graph is much smaller then the gap at the end of the graph. This shows that the slope of the +1 Haste line is bigger then that of +1 Crit, and therefore Haste scales better with Spell Power then Crit Rating does when not held back by a soft cap. When you combine this with the fact that we've been holding our Haste levels relatively low and the dramatic increase in Spell Power we have received from ICC, it is easy to see why Haste Rating is surging in value relative to Crit Rating.
Yes, You Do Want Celestial Focus.
I can understand why some new moonkin would consider dropping Celestial Focus from their talent build. We "experts" tell everyone that Haste drops significantly in value after you reach 400 Haste Rating, and any moonkin who makes the right gear choices will be well over 400 haste rating by the time they are raiding ICC. Logically, if the soft cap diminishes the value of Haste Rating it also diminishes the value of Celestial Focus. If you don't have a lot of experience with the balance tree you may question if there is a better talent option past 400 haste. The answer is no, there is not.
First, as I showed above Haste Rating is very good for Starfire well past the Soft Cap of 400 haste rating. While that extra 1%-3% of haste that CF provides may be useless to Wrath and the instants, it is still very good for a good portion of your rotation with Starfire.
Second, if you drop Celestial Focus you are ignoring the value of pushback protection. In today's raiding environment it isn't a huge need, but it does help your DPS. Therefore, it is important to remember that if you drop CF from your talent build you are loosing more then just the Haste.
Finally, where else are you going to put the points. Genesis sucks. If haste is unimportant to you then Mana Regen should be as well. Brambles and Owlkin Frenzy are only minimally useful. Typhoon and Gale Winds are only situationally use full. Fact of the matter is, even though Celestial Focus is diminishing in value with our increasing level of Haste Rating, there is no better place to put the talent points.
If you want to find a precise valuation of Haste Rating you will need to use a tool like WrathCalcs or SimulationCraft, but I am confident in saying that Haste Rating is better then Crit Rating for ICC geared moonkin. I realize this may confuse some people given the number of times we "experts" have flip flopped on the value of Haste over the course of this expansion, but it is true.
When you combine the huge amounts of Spell Power we receive ICC with the Lunar Crit cap, haste surges in value as we close out this expansion, though it is still lower then it would be with out the Soft Cap.
This also shows that the Haste provided by Celestial Focus has value even past the soft cap. Given that there are no better options on how to spend those 3 talent points and Haste is still very valuable for Starfire, Celestial Focus should remain a part of the core moonkin talent build.