Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cata Build 12942: The Frustrated Graylo

Once again Blizzard releases a new beta build with few Moonkin, but nothing that really addresses the issues talked about Lissanna, Murmurs, Relevart, and the other beta testers. I am an advocate for patience. I don't believe that Blizzard wants Moonkin to suck and in no way do I believe that Blizzard will let moonkin suck. That said, I am getting very frustrated. Each patch comes out with a few changes here and a few changes there, but nothing that seems to address the real issues. Here are my thoughts on the most recent changes.

Tier 11 Balance Set Bonuses:

These are pretty hard to evaluate when you don't really know the context that they will be operating in. I still think Blizzard needs to do quite a bit of tuning on moonkin to make them competitive. That said there are couple of things I noticed right off the bat.

  • Two Piece Set Bonus: Increases the critical strike chance of your Insect Swarm and Moonfire spells by 5%.
The two piece set bonus seems decent. If you assume that we will have about a 25% crit chance in Tier 11 content and that our DoTs will make up between 25% to 40% of our total DPS, then this set bonus should increase our DPS by 1.0% to 1.5%. It may not sound like much but it is pretty good for a 2 piece bonus from the first tier of raid content. At this point, I would not be upset if this one went live.
  • Four Piece Set Bonus: Whenever Eclipse triggers, your critical strike chance with spells is increased by 99% for 8 sec. Each critical strike you achieve reduces that bonus by 33%,
How the four piece set bonus would impact moonkin DPS is hard to tell but I can see one issue with it right away. The 8 second duration of the buff is way to short and it will be a problem for a couple of reasons.

  1. Any experienced moonkin is no stranger to the first reason. An 8 second buff is very easy to lose to movement, stuns, or anything else that prevents you from casting for a short period of time. That is one of the main problems of the current version of eclipse that we are trying to fix with the new system. Therefore it doesn't make sense to structure the buff this way.
  2. The second reason 8 seconds is to short, is because you can barely fit 3 Starfire casts in 8 seconds, and it might be impossible when you consider lag and reaction time if procced early with Euphoria. Plus, while the first two casts are pretty much guaranteed to crit, the third probably had a 60% chance at best. If it does not you've lost that 33% chance to crit because there is not enough time left to cast a fourth Starfire with the buff up.
If this set bonus is to have any chance of being used then the duration on the buff needs to be increased. I think it needs to be 15 seconds at minimum, but 20 or 25 might be better if Blizzard really wants to protect it.

If it is fixed it will be interesting to see how this affects the Cata rotation debate. The primary way seen discussed to do that would be to extend the Eclipse buff for the full 45 seconds and then instantly proc the same eclipse when the old one drops. That increases the time between Eclipse procs and obviously devalues this set bonus.

Talent Tree Changes:

Has Blizzard abandoned the interesting and fun talent design goal that they couldn't stop talking about 6 months ago? If you remember, Blizzard kept saying they wanted players to have more interesting and fun talent choices and to get away from all the passive bonuses that have traditionally been the glue of talent trees. Now with each patch it seems like a new passive bonus is added or expanded. Two builds ago we had 10% damage to moonkin form. Last build they expanded Nature's Majesty to affect all spells. Now we are getting these changes.

  • Nature's Grace revamped - Increases your spell haste by 1/2/3%.
In this change Blizzard is taking what could be considered an interesting and fun talent and turning it into a passive bonus. Not only that, but it's a complete nerf. If you assume a 25% crit chance and a Patchwerk style fight the old Nature's Grace would have resulted in an average haste value of about 6.5%. Granted that value would be lowered by movement and such, but I doubt it would be cut in half.

The other impact of this change is that it simplifies the moonkin rotation. With the old version it would be best to cast DoTs while NG is up because it's a large buff that would last for the duration of the DoT. Therefore, turning Nature's Grace into a passive buff should make the moonkin rotation easier. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing really depends on your point of view.

  • Balance of Power no longer increases your chance to hit with spells, increases your nature and arcane spell damage by 1/2% instead.
I don't have a problem with the chance to hit being removed from this talent. I have a feeling that we will have Spirit coming out of our ears by default and needing more could actually help us some with itemization. However, I am a little annoyed that they slap another passive buff on there to make up for the loss. How many of our talents now have passive buffs on them? It's got to be 5 or 6 of them.

  • Lunar Shower now increases the direct damage done by Moonfire by 15/30/45%. (Old - Increased all damage dealt by Moonfire)
Not a big surprise here. I don't think Lunar Shower was ever intended to buff anything other then the direct damage portion of Moonfire. This probably isn't a real change. It's just a case of Blizzard correcting a mistake.


There are not a lot of changes to discuss in this new talent build, and the few that we do get are just following the trend of previous builds. Blizzard continues to add more passive damage buffs to the Balance tree despite it being a stated goal of Cataclysm to do away with passive buffs.

The Nature's Grace change is a straight up nerf, but should make our casting rotation easier to manage. I don't think the Balance of Power change isn't horrible, but it's completely uninteresting. Why not just add that 2% the Moonfury mastery. Finally the Lunar Shower change is probably just correcting a mistake.

The 2 piece set bonus seems ok, and would probably be fine if it went live. The 4 piece set bonus leaves a bit to be desired, but if it does survive to live in some form it will be interesting to see how it impacts the rotation discussions that have been going on,

The Blog Birthday:

Gray Matter's blog birthday came and went this past Monday and I didn't even notice it. I've been writing this blog for over three years now and that just doesn't seem possible.

As it seems to become an annual tradition, I want to thank all the people have supported, read, and helped this blog over the years (despite the grammar issues). Though it isn't perfect or flash, I am extremely proud of this blog, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction to know that readers find it useful and entertaining. As cliché as it is to say, this blog wouldn't be possible or as rewarding without you guys.


Keeva said...

Happy belated blogaversary!

Gevlon said...

What if the increased direct damage and the 8-sec T11 connect. You can't cast 4 SF during 8 sec, but you can cast 3SF-MF, for an increased crit-increased direct damage. Maybe even worth clipping old MF

Anonymous said...

oh I like that :) Happy blogaversary :D
Also I have to say I don't like these changes either. Removing hit from balance of power will make leveling harder. Not just that, but this means we need more spirit or hit on gear, so less spirit is available to be reforged into crit or haste.


Mobus said...

Congrats Graylo! And I've been reading for over a year of that. I haven't been resto since about february but I've kept up on your blog anyway due to the vast wealth of information that you give. Thank you so much for the blog and good luck for many moar years :D

Anonymous said...

meant to say boomkin in my last post. I wish I had an edit option instead of double posting =\ sorry gray :(

Anonymous said...

You might not have noticed, but on the calculator the arcane/nature damage is added on the tooltip. It doesnt replace the hit gain from spirit. I suppose it was a misunderstanding from boubouille on that one.

Tex said...

Congo Rats on the blogoversary, Please keep at it. I need you to, so that I don't suck come cataclysm. This is easily the best place I've found for mathematical translation that I can actually understand.

Tsuki said...

It's kinda frustrating to follow beta changes. You can see they don't really have a plan for certain classes/specs, they'll just keep messing around until something clicks.

Repeating mistakes, like the 4pc bonus, makes it even more obvious.

Sadly, I'm not even surprised.

Anonymous said...

Happy blogday! Read your blog for about two years now but never comment it so keep up the good work, like reading your thoughts!

/ Kanio, Argent Dawn - Europe

Anonymous said...

I really think they should take the spirit to hit conversion out of talents altogether and place it in one of the masteries.

Having to spend talent points to compensate for lack of properly itemised leather dps caster gear is about as far away from 'fun' as you can get.


Graylo said...


There might be ways to game the buff. For instance if Moonfire and Insect Swarm hold the crit rate they had when cast then you could have to DoTs up for 12 seconds were almost every tick is going to crit.

Also, as you indicate, there might be some situations where this buff is very helpful when you combine it with things like Lunar Shower.

However, I don't think set bonuses should be situation. I also think that if they are unwilling to have glyphs change rotations then Set bonuses shouldn't either. There might be ways to make it work but I still think it's poorly designed.


I don't think the change to BoP is that bad. First of all people seem to forget that we start with 100 or so spirit before gear at level 80. I'm sure the same will be true at 85 but at a higher amount. So, there is some hit baked indirectly into BoP. Second, If we are swimming in spirit, I would rather have 2% damage then 4% hit.


The change is regarding the 4% Hit that was baked into BoP. Not the spirit to hit rating conversion.

Anonymous said...

it seems the way its currently working on beta right now, your base spirit is not converted to hit, only added spirit from gear. When I hover over spirit in my stats I get (172+427) and adding the +hit that I have on some of my gear (209) I get 427+209=636 which is what I see when I hover over my hit rating in my character screen. Which is +6.21% hit chance, still 10.79% chance to miss raid bosses. and this is at level 85.


Pewpewkitty said...

Also don't forget about the reforging option to change all that additional spirit into spellpower crit or haste. Balancing stats will hopefully be alot easier and not require regemming every time :D

Fantasma said...

Grats Graylo! It's blogs such as yours and the wonderful support of fellow boomkins that have kept me trudging along over the years. Best wishes for Cataclysm.