Monday, September 13, 2010

Cataclysm: Moonkin Glyphs

None of the major WoW news sights are reporting them but several beta testers are reporting that the druid glyphs are available in the Beta now. Who knows what stage of development the glyphs are in, but it is something interesting to talk about. Lissanna has the most complete list here on her blog (and I've stolen her list), but you can also find them on the Moonkin Repository. If you haven't seen the glyphs elsewhere, here is what we can look forward to in Cataclysm.

In case you don't remember, there will be three types Glyphs in Cataclysm instead of the two we have now. Blizzard is adding a third category of glyph called a Prime glyph which is really what we think of as Major Glyphs now. These will be the clear DPS boosting glyphs have been the bread and butter of the Major Glyphs in WotLK. In Cataclysm, the Major Glyph category will be the more situationally helpful but generally ignored Major glyphs we had in WotLK. The Minor Glyph Category is so far unchanged.

Prime Glyphs:

  • Starsurge – When your starsurge deals damage, the cooldown remaining on your Starfall is reduced by 5 sec.
  • Insect Swarm – Still increases damage by 30%, no longer mentions debuff.
  • Moonfire – Increases the periodic damage of moonfire by 20%.
  • Starfire – Unchanged (Starfire increases duration of Moonfire by 3 sec up to a maximum of 9 sec)
  • Wrath – Your wrath does 10% additional damage to targets afflicted by your insect swarm.
If Cataclysm was going live today, what would I pick? I don't have any math to back it up, but my gut reaction is to go with the classic WotLK combo of Starfire, Moonfire, and Insect Swarm. I would choose these three right now because every report I hear out of the beta says that DoTs are strong and Nukes are weak. Therefore it makes the most sense to pick the Glyphs that boost the DoTs.

At this point I think the Glyph of Insect Swarm (GoIS) and Glyph of Starfire (GoSF) are no brainers. With a 30% damage boost GoIS was a very strong for most of WotLK and only fell because our DoTs didn't scale well. Since that is changing in Cataclysm, I assume that GoIS will be very strong once again.

I am a little surprised that GoSF hasn't changed, though it still can. When I pick it I am assuming that it actually adds 3 seconds to the duration of MF and scales with haste, instead of just adding an additional tick. If that is the case, then GoSF should be very strong.

The big question is should we go with Glyph of Wrath (GoW) and increase our Wrath damage by 10% or with the Glyph of Moonfire (GoMF) and increase our MF DoT damage by 20%. It's a tough call. Buffing DoTs over nukes is generally not a good idea because nukes tend to make up a much larger portion of our DPS then DoTs do. However, what I'm reading is that our nukes are currently very weak in the beta and that the DoTs are very strong. On top of that there is some synergy between the GoSF and GoMF that shouldn't be ignored. Therefore, I have to go with GoMF right now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that change by the time Cataclysm is released.

Glyph of Starsurge (GoSS) is the "also ran " of this category. There are a couple of things that make this unattractive from my perspective. First, Starfall has been nerfed quite a bit in the Beta. Reducing it's cooldown is nice, but won't pack the same punch that it does currently on live. Second, Starfall isn't always an ability you want to use on cooldown. If you're saving it for an add phase each time then the cooldown reductions are wasted. Though it is possible that GoSS might allow you to use Starfall every add phase instead of every other add phase assuming the timing is right.

Major Glyphs:

  • Focus – unchanged (Increases Starfall dmg by 10% and reduces range by 50%).
  • Thorns – Reduces cooldown by 20 sec.
  • Barkskin – Unchanged (reduces chance to be crit by melee attacks).
  • Entangling Roots – Reduces cast time of roots by 100%.
  • Hurricane – Slows movement speed by 50% (up from 20%).
  • Innervate – When innervate is cast on a friendly target other than the caster, the caster will gain 50% of inntervate’s effect. (up from 45%)
  • Monsoon – Unchanged (reduces cooldown of Typhoon by 3 sec)
  • Rebirth – Unchanged (res with 100% health)
  • Solar beam – Increases the duration of your solar beam silence by 5 sec.
  • Starfall – Reduces the cooldown on starfall by 30 sec
That is a lot of choices. Also, pretty much all of them are only situationally useful, and it will be difficult to pick out three and say "these are the best to use." I won't be surprised if we will be switching out of several of these choices quite often.

If I had to choose my standard three I would probably pick Glyph of Starfall (GoSFall), Glyph of Innervate (GoI) and Glyph of Rebirth (GoR). Unless you are saving it for adds GoSFall is a pretty clear DPS increase for a Major Glyph. GoR is a clear winner for me, because you never want to see your rez target die due to a poorly timed AoE or rez acceptance. Finally, I choose GoI because of all the mana talk that Blizzard is making for healers, and there is talk that Cataclysm will be the return of the Oomkin. If healers need mana and we need mana then GoI is a smart choice.

Glyph of Focus could be very nice in the right type of fight, but I am not a fan of the range reduction. In general, I think it reduces the usefulness of Starfall rather then helps it's damage output. Glyph of Hurricane would also be very helpful in the right situation, but I think there has been only one fight in all of WotLK where I thought it might help. The other Major Glyphs are primarily PvP related, but could have some impact in PvE. However, I expect most of them to be rarely used if at all.

Minor Glyphs:
  • Aquatic form – increases swim speed by 50% in aquatic form
  • Mark of the Wild – Reduces cost of MOTW by 50% (NOTE: GOTW is gone and MOTW is now group & already costs no reagent)
  • Unburdened Rebirth (unchanged) – rebirth no longer requires a reagent
  • Challenging Roar – Reduces cooldown by 30 sec
  • Dash – reduces cooldown by 20 sec
  • Typhoon – reduces cost of the spell by 8%, increases radius by 10 yards, but no longer knocks enemies back
The Minor Glyphs haven't changed much. The only big change was that the Glyph of Thorns was made into a Major Glyph. Unless, they add a new minor glyph I will probably stay with Unburdened Rebirth, Mark of the Wild, and probably take Glyph of Typhoon as the third.


Hyperion said...

I did some testing myself on the PTR, and although Insect Swarm is indeed quite strong, Moonfire falls short, even combining the damage from the dot and the nuke portion. I would suggest taking Glyph of Wrath over Glyph of Moonfire. Note that this was on a test dummy, so no movement was involved... I don't know how movement will change Moonfire's direct damage, but it certainly won't change it's dot damage.

Relevart said...

With the new system, swapping glyphs should be a cinch. I'm interested to see where Thorns ends up as far as damage is concerned because currently, it's pretty intense, especially if the boss/mobs are hitting quickly. In the same vein of glyph swapping, the GoSS looks pretty attractive on fights where you WILL want to use Starfall on cooldown.

Depending on how we end up gaming the Eclipse system, it's plausible that the GoSF won't really be that great for us (when compared to GoW).

On the whole, I think the pro druid will be doing some glyph swapping.

Hamlet said...

So far, the best two Glyphs are looking to be IS and W (IS is by far the best). MF and SF are pretty close for the third spot.

I would not discount Thorns a Major slot. Thorns is crazy good right now on the beta.

Tsuki said...

I doubt that GoStarfall is staying as major. Nerfed or not compared to its live version, cutting 1/3 of Starfall's CD is still a dps increase.

Tyler said...

Aye, I have to go with what Relev and Hamlet pointed out; Glyph of Thorns is probably going to be a pretty big deal for a DPS boost -- especially as an additional movement based ability to quickly toss up on the tank. I wouldn't be surprised if either Thorns or the Glyph takes a nerf before release.

Although, mana may become an issue using Glyph of Thorns and Thorns every CD. Thorns is crazy expensive right now.

Oh, and you'll certainly want to use GoW for trash, soloing, and 5-mans, if not raid bosses too.

Orrak said...

As much as i'd like to take Rebirth, i can't see myself taking it over thorns, given how powerful it is on beta right now. Frustrating since major glyphs were supposed to be "non-obvious dps increases or not dps increases at all" don't see how we're being given much choice here

Xenoe said...

An interesting glyph combination would be to take glyph of Starsurge, glyph of starfall, and glyph of focus... basically putting all your eggs in one basket. Then, when you proc a lunar eclipse, keep it for the full 45 seconds by casting starsurge off cooldown and tossing a few wraths in. I havn't tested this but with the increased arcane damage hopefully benefiting moonfire and starfall, the output could be good. Since starsurge has a 15 second cooldown atm, this means you can get at least 15 seconds off your starfall cooldown. Chances are this would not work since you wont be getting mana return from euphoria but it is still an interesting idea...

Le_Chimp said...

Question i have is what about balance. one of the important things is wrath and starfire are balanced in dps terms. so you switch from solar to Luna eclipse, any difference is so small that it's not worth loses the spill over energy.

now if they are balanced before Glyph of wrath then we have a problem, with glyph of wrath wrath hence solar eclipse be comes stronger then lunar eclipse. are we going to have to time our eclipses so we have solar up on the burn phases. or as 10% is quite a high buff we going to only use solar eclipse.(charge solar use it all then go straight back to solar never going for lunar eclipse)

Anonymous said...

I do think that on some fights like saurfang where range isn't an issue we could perhaps try starfall, focus and starsurge, it might do some nice damage during lunar eclipse. I'm not sure however if it will beat other glyph combinations.

Also I'm not sure I'll go for glyph of moonfire if the fight has a lot of movement. We will be spamming moonfire on those fights and clipping our dots so we won't see the full benefit.

Villainus said...

I'm very happy with the change to Thorns, but in a selfish aspect, I hope they take this notion further. Since it's no longer a raid buff and can't be precast to everyone, the damage it generates could be credited to the casting druid.
It's quite expensive to cast with a moderate cooldown (25 sec glyphed) and costs us a global and target switch (easily countered with a smart targeting macro).
Both the cooldown and it providing nature damage lend themselves to casting during Solar Eclipses.
ICC examples are of course irrelevant but...
Add tank on H Lady DW
Horde ship tank on H Lootship
Abom tank on Valithria before Rot Worms spawn
Add tank on H LK Phase 1

While many of these examples are situations where we could choose to AoE and do similar damage, we could Thorns the aggro target instead and have free time to nuke a higher priority target.

Looking at the meta tree that blizzard has provided to dps classes, we can see a strong shift towards multiple target encounters. There are numerous talents that reward a player for maintaining multi-target dps.

If this is the case, then the Thorns change makes strong synergistic and thematic sense for dps roles and encounter mechanics. The only thing missing then is credit where it's due. Unlike current raiding, Thorns will cost us time, raid awareness and mana, making its resulting damage our responsibility and our bonus.

Conghaile said...

Who cares who gets credit for the damage? The only practical concern we should have is who gets the threat generated. I sure as heck hope it won't be us, not that there's any reason to think it will be.

Try to think of it in the same light as Power Infusion, which is a huge damage increase to the target at the cost of a disc priest's GCD, mana, and attention (especially if cast on a moonkin, since they will wait for the right Eclipse if they are nice).

Thorns won't even take up that much attention anyway. You could just make a one-button macro to focus your hostile target, target the tank, cast Thorns, retarget your focus, and clear your focus and hardly have to blink.

Neodarkmatter said...

Thanks for the overview on glyphs. Was wondering when someone would talk about this.

Any thoughts on rotation in Cataclysm or 4.0? With the new eclipse bar it seems easier to time your dots or renew your dots without having to worry about losing eclipse.

I have even noticed that after you activate eclipse, say lunar, use up the lunar bar you can charge it back up (start using wrath again) and still get the lunar eclipse buff again as long as the timer didn't run out on the original proc.

I know there is a lot to think about with this and the right combination of glyphs but if you have time to get on the PTR I would like to hear what you think.

Graylo said...

@Relevart, Hamlet, & Murmurs (Tyler)

Those are good points about the Glyph of Thorns. I am not an expert on boss melee mechanics, and I think I assumed that their swing timer was fairly slow. I assumed Thorns would primarily be used on an add tank if at all. If Thorns does remain this good I am sure it will be one of my 3 major glyphs.

Regarding GoMF, for some reason I thought MF was similarly strong as IS, but I will defer to your judgement.

lissanna said...

I'd pick up wrath over moonfire. Wrath is still going to do more DPS than moonfire's DOT. You will now have more of the damage & talents supporting moonfire boosting the direct damage portion (which wouldn't be boosted by the moonfire glyph).

Anonymous said...

If the devs are right about using CC, GoER might just be a glyph in some situations. I know I will be making a hand dandy little macro, just in case.