I do want to make one thing very clear though. This is not a level 85 Cata guide. While a lot of these points will apply to Cataclysm raiding, there are some differences. When we get to Cataclysm I will make the necessary changes.
At level 80 we will have only 36 points, and 31 of those have to be spent in the Balance tree before we can put any points in the Feral or Restoration trees. This makes the Tier 2 talents in those trees unreachable until Cataclysm is released. It doesn't have a huge impact on my choices, but I do a few things a little different at level 80 then I would at level 85.
Level 80 Raid Spec: Link
Edit: Ok, I'm a wimp and I caved. I'm dropping Dreamstate and Moonglow from my level 80 raiding build. In their place I picked up Owlkin Frenzy and Gale Winds.
In my opinion there are three debateable choices in this build. They are the two points in Blessing of the Grove, the three points in Owlkin Frenzy, and the two points in Gale Winds.
In the first tier of the Resto tree I would normally put two points in Natural Shapeshifter instead of Blessing of the Grove to get access to Master Shapeshifter. However, that is pointless since Master Shapeshifter is unreachable until we gain another talent point.
Mana will be a big concern at level 85 unless something changes, but as a couple of commentors pointed out Mana probably won't be a big concern at level 80. Owlkin Frenzy is a weak talent and Gale Winds is very situational when it comes to actual boss fights. However, they are probably the best DPS options available.
However, the other possibilities don't offer a lot of utility to a PvE enviornment.
- Overgrowth - It's still in the beta but there are reports that it is gone from the PTR. I'm not exactly sure what it's status is. Either way it is not a very good PvE talent.
- Owlkin Frenzy - Still a bad PvE talent since it rarely procs in a raid environment.
- Gale Winds - It's lots of fun for big numbers during trash, but there isn't a fight at the moment that really needs this kind of AoE.
- Solar Beam - Primarily a PvP talent. May be situationally useful, but other classes provide better interupts.
- Fungal Growth - Nearly useless at level 80, since we won't have Wild Mushroom, and we can't control where the trents die.
- Dreamstate & Moonglow - Will be manditory at level 85, but mana is not an issue at level 80.
In this build I dropped Blessing of the Grove, because it doesn't have much of a DPS impact unless you game the system. Dreamstate is also less important because you can drink for mana.
I picked up Owlkin Frenzy because it procs quite often while leveling, and the added damage is helpful. I picked up Solar Beam because interupt can be very helpful for leveling. It allows you to pull casters away from other mobs and can save you from taking some damage. You culd also take two of these points and put them in Natural Shapeshifter so that you have Master Shapeshifter available as soon as you ding 81.
Key Talent and Spell Changes:
Eclipse: You should know this already but Eclipse has gotten a complete overhaul. It is no longer a random proc or a timed buff. Now, Eclipse is procced when you generate 100 Lunar or Solar Power and lasts until use the 100 Lunar or Solar Power you had generated. In short, Eclipse now comes with charges, which solves many of the Eclipse problems we had in WotLK. Starfire generates Solar power, Wrath generates Lunar Power, and Starsurge generates both.
Also, the Eclipse buff is now a percentage damage increase for both Lunar and Solar Eclilpse. It no longer increases the crit chance of Starfire during Lunar Eclipse.
Starsurge: Our new Nuke. There is nothing really special about this spell other then being much stronger then either Wrath or Starfire. It also has a 15 sec cooldown and can become instant cast with Shooting Stars.
Scaling DoTs: Both Moonfire and Insect Swarm will scale with Crit, Haste, and Eclipse. There are still some bugs with Sunfire not scaling properly, but I expect these to be fixed soon.
Rebirth: Now has a 30 min cooldown. This means it will no longer be available every attempt, therefore you want to be careful how you use it.
Thorns: Now lasts only 20 seconds, but is much stronger then it was before. Some are advocating putting it on the tank on cooldown, but I'm not sure this is viable since it is a mana hog. That said, it is a good idea to throw it on a tank at the start of fight or when they are picking up adds.
- Omen of Clarity and Insect Swarm are now trained abilities
- No more Mana on Crit
- Mark of the Wild is now raid wide and has no reagent.
- Wild Mushroom is a level 85 abilty and not available when 4.0.1 is released.
Key Gearing Issues:
No More Cloth: Leather Specialization now increases our total Intellect by 5%, but only works if you are not wearing any cloth. Since Int is now converted to Spell Power this is a required buff. You probably already have at least 4 leather items with your tier set if you are an active raider. If you haven't already I suggest you start looking for leather replacements for your cloth pieces.
I'm a big fan of the tier pieces for the Head, Shoulders, Chest, Hands, and Leg slots. For the Waist slot, the [Belt of Petrified Ivy] is good and easy to get. The [Cord of Dark Suffering] and [Professor's Bloody Smock] are good if you need the hit. For the Wrist slot you should look at the [Phaseshifter's Bracers] or [Bracers of Eternal Dreaming]. For the Boot slot I would go with the [Boots of the Frozen Seed] or [Boots of Unnatural Growth]. Of course there are other options from other instances and crafted items, but these are the best options from ICC.
Hit Capping: The static hit chance buffs we currently receive from Imp Faerie Fire, Balance of Power, and Heroic Presence if you're Alliance have been removed from the game. This increases the Moonkin Hit Cap to 446 Hit Rating. The good news is that the new Balance of Power converts Spirit to Hit Rating for Moonkin. Please know that this does not include the base Spirit you get from leveling up.
It's likely that most of you will have to make some adjustments to reach the 446 hit cap. If you are under the hit cap it might be a good idea to pick up of the leather pieces I mentioned above that have Spirit. I will go in greater detail below, but there are several good changes you can make to your Gem and Enchant choices. You can also adjust your Hit Rating by Reforging your gear which I think will be available in 4.0.1 but I'm not 100% positive on that.
Reforging: I am not 100% positive that this will be available with 4.0.1, but if so it is a great tool to adjust your stats so that you can better optimize your performance. Here are the basic rules.
- You cannot reforge to gain or lose a primary stat. (Int, Stam, Agi, or Str)
- You can reforge any secondary stat (Spirit, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery), but you can only gain a stat not currently on the item. For example, if you have an item with Spirit and Haste, you can turn 40% of the Spirit into Crit or Mastery but not Haste.
- If you are over the hit cap, reforge Spirit and/or Hit Rating into Haste if possible. Crit Rating would be your secondary choice if necessary.
- If you are under the hit cap, reforging Crit Rating into Spirit is your best option. Don't convert it to Hit Rating since it is less versatile.
- If you are at the hit cap and have some items with Crit Rating but no Haste rating you may concider converting some of that Crit to Haste Rating. This isn't really necessary but will probably boost your performance a little.
However, the amount of Intellect on an item post 4.0.1 does not equal the amount of Spell Power before the patch. THIS IS NOT A NERF. There are several talents and buffs that increase Intellect by a combined percentage of 16.865%, and the Spell Power to Int conversion that Blizzard made takes these buffs into account. For example, if an item had 100 Spell Power before the patch, then the item will have 86 Intellect after the patch. This equals 100.5 Spell Power and you get the added benefit of additonal Crit Chance. This is actually a slight buff.
Stats at level 80:
The first thing to know about stats at level 80 is that there are no more soft caps. The Haste Cap no longer exists because Wrath's cast time was increased to 2 seconds and Nature's Grace was change to be less of a static buff. The Lunar Crit Cap is gone because Eclipse no longer provides a crit bonus for Starfire. However, there are plenty of changes to stats.
Spell Power: This stat does still exist in the game, but not in the same way that you find currently on live. Most of your gear will have Int instead of Spell Power, and Int is converted to Spell Power on a one to one ratio. That said caster weapons will still provide Spell Power as an individual stat. Many of the Enchants and Socket bonuses are not coverted to Int as well.
Intellect: This is the new key stat for moonkin. It is converted into Spell Power on a 1 : 1 ratio, but is better then Spell Power since it also grants Crit Chance and is increased by Leather Specialization, Mark of the Wild, and Heart of the Wild.
Hit Rating / Spirit: For the purposes of a Moonkin these are the same stat. Hit capping is still a priority after the patch but oddly Hit Rating /Spirit are not as valuable as Intellect. If you have to choose between picking up Hit Rating or Spirit, choose Spirit since it is a little more versatile if you ever have to go Restoration.
Haste Rating: As I said above the Haste cap no longer exists and Haste will be the best secondary stat after you are hit capped.
Crit Rating: Still a good stat but doesn't pack the punch that haste does.
Mastery Rating: You are unlikely to have any of this on your gear after the patch, so you shouldn't have to worry about it for patch 4.0.1. That said, it is probably our worst DPS stat. Do not make any effort to pick it up until Cataclysm is released.
The New Stat Equation:
This is based upon my simulator using my stats at level 80 on the Beta.
Your Runed Cardinal Rubies will be converted into Brilliant Cardinal Rubies and provide Int instead of Spell Power. If you have Hit Rating gems equipped they will change color from yellow to blue or orange to purple. You may lose a socket bonus as a result. All of your other gems should stay the same.
As a general rule I am a fan of matching Gem color to Socket color to get the socket bonus, and assuming you are below the hit cap, going for the socket bonuses makes more sense after 4.0.1.
The blue sockets are a good way to pickup some Spirit to help you reach the Hit Cap. That said every gem you socket should have some Int on it. Do not use pure Spirit gems.
I will socket my this way for most of my gear.
Red - Brilliant Cardinal Ruby
Yellow - Reckless Ametrine
Blue - Purified Dreadstone
Meta - Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
The only time I found that it didn't make sense to go for the socket bonus was if you have a double yellow or triple yellow item, or if the socket bonus was not Spell Power or Int.
For most of your gear, you will want the same enchants after 4.0.1 as you wanted before 4.0.1. There are a couple of exceptions though.
Head - Arcanum of Blissful Mending
Shoulders - Greater Inscription of the Crag
In both of these cases you are trading Spell Power for Int and Crit Rating for Spirit. Even if you are over the hit cap that is probably a good trade since you can convert some of the excess Spirit into Haste Rating.
Back - Greater Speed but maybe Wisdom
You'll probably want to stick with the Greater Speed enchant in the back slot, but I have heard a lot of tanks complain about threat. There is a possibility that Wisdom might be better because of the threat reduction and it gives you some Spirit.
Did Not Change:
Chest - Powerful Stats
Wrists - Superior Spellpower
Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower
Belt - Brilliant Cardinal Ruby in Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs - Brilliant Spellthread
Boots -Tuskarr's Vitality
Weapon - Greater Spellpower or Mighty Spellpower
Rings - Greater Spellpower - Enchanters Only
Minor: Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth is the only required minor glyph in my opinion. Pick what every you want for the other two.
Add-ons and UI info:
Squawk and Awe: Since Eclipse has been completely redone Squawk and Awe we currently use will be broken and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. The good news is that Adoriele is planning a new version that will support the new Eclipse. The bad news is he doesn't expect it to be complete by the time 4.0.1 comes out, especially if it comes out soon. There is a possibility that a stripped down version will be available at 4.0.1 so keep your eyes open, and will link it if I see it.
Balance Power Tracker: This is a new addon that addresses most of my issues with the standard Blizzard Eclipse UI. It allows you to move and enlarge the Eclipse bar to make it more notice able. It also tells you if your current cast will proc Eclipse and has several other features that should help you manage your rotation. (link)
DPS and Rotation Strategies:
There are a lot of strategies floating around but most of them are based upon bad information or just don't make sense. Here are a few basic rules that you can play with until we get a better handle on the more complicated ideas.
DoTs: Insect Swarm and Moonfire are our to highest DPET spells. Therefore their up time should be as close to 100% uptime as possible. Generally you should refresh your DoTs if they have about a second of time left, how ever, if you are about to proc the appropriate Eclipse it may make sense to wait 2 or 3 second to refresh the DoT.
Also, if you need to refresh them both about the same time, cast Moonfire first, so that Insect Swarm gets buffed by Nature's Grace. There also looks to be a little benefit to double casting Moonfire, so it's DoT is buffed by Nature's Grace. According to my rough calculations the second Moonfire has a slightly higher DPET then the nukes. Definately do it on the move if you can.
Starsurge: Should be cast on Cooldown. Starsurge has a much higher DPET then our other Nukes and I have found no rotation were it makes sense to delay its cast.
Nukes: If your DoTs are up and your cooldowns are down, your nuke strategy is as simple as "Cast the right one." Just remember that Wrath will not generate Lunar power after Lunar Eclipse has been procced until Solar Eclipse is procced. This is also true for Starfire in reverse.
Cooldowns: Force of Nature should be cast on cooldown or when you need particularly high DPS. Starfall should be cast with Lunar Eclipse if possible or when extra DPS is needed.
Thorns: Some are advocating casting Thorns on the tank on cooldown. This may be viable, but because it is mana hog I am not recommending it at this time.
Hurricane: Hurricane is buffed by Solar Eclipse but does not consume it. If you have an AoE phase coming up it is a good idea hold Solar Eclipse so that your AoE damage is buffed by Eclipse.
Other 4.0.1 Guides:
Qieth's Quips - Moonkin Guide 4.0
Arawethion/Hamlet on EJ - Balance in 4.0