My Gear list:
I've said this a couple of places before, but I keep getting questions so I will say it again. No, I am not updating my gear list for patch 4.0.1.
I realize that the patch changed the way we gear quite a bit. However, I don't think it's worth the effort for several reasons. First, Cataclysm is going to be released in less then two months, and very little progression raiding will be done during that time. Second, it's not a simple matter of changing the weights and getting rid of the cloth gear. The stats on all of it changed to some extent, and would require a lot of data entry. Third, if you made the right choices before the patch most of your choices after the patch will be the same.
I realize that some of you like a clear and decisive list to go by, but I can't provide that to you at this time. Though here are a few simple rules you can follow that should help you make your choices along with the suggestions I made in my 4.0.1 guide.
- No Cloth: Think of it this way. One piece of cloth is likely to cost you 75 to 100 Int if you have ICC level gear. Also, our gear was redesigned assuming we would have the Leather Specialization buff. Not having means we are weaker in some respects then we were before the patch. Using Cloth gear would only make sense if you were making big jumps in ilevel.
- The Hit Cap: The new hit cap is 446 hit rating. It doesn't matter if you're Horde or Alliance. It doesn't matter what your raid comp is. The hit cap is 446 for every moonkin and I think every caster period.
The hit cap is a lot higher then we are used to, but there is good news. We have a lot more tools now to try and get to the hit cap. First, Balance of Power converts Spirit to Hit Rating. Most of the leather gear we avoided now has a benefit to us. Also, Reforging is also a god send for hit capping. Our Blue Gem sockets are now more valuable and there are several enchants with Spirit that are helpful.
- The Equation: When in doubt remember the stat equation:
Int > Hit > Haste > SP > Crit > Mastery.
If you are having a hard time choosing between two items, compare the stats in relation to the stat equation. If you do that you can't go too horribly wrong.
As most of you know, moonkin came out of 4.0.1 hugely overpowered. If you looked at the WoL rankings you saw several moonkin competing with fire mages and other specs for the top spot. While I'm sure this was fun for a lot of people, I don't think anyone expected it to last and blizzard soon responded with:
Balance Druids – we lowered the base points and coefficients of several Balance spells, especially Insect Swarm.Hamlet then spent a good amount of time to test the changes and posted his analysis on his EJ blog.
As many people have noticed by now, a number of hotfixes went in after the first night or two of 4.0 raiding, to adjust the wildly disparate DPS values of some classes. I spent a long time last night retesting essentially all of the Balance spells to see how they'd been affected. Here are the results:I think if we can be honest with each other we would all admit that the Balance tree was overpowered right after 4.0.1 came out. Moonkin were all over the WoL rankings for almost every boss. I'm not saying Moonkin should be weak, but we shouldn't shoot to the top like that either. The question then becomes how should Blizzard ton Moonkin DPS down.
--Insect Swarm base damage and coefficient reduced by 50% (122 base damage per tick, 0.13 coefficient). This one many people noticed right away.
--The other big one: Moonfury is now giving only a 15% bonus to most spells. To every spell in fact, except for IS and the MF DoT.
--Also Moonfury is stacking additively with all other additive buffs (Glyph of IS, Glyph of MF, Gale Winds, Blessing of the Grove, probably Glyph of Wrath and Glyph of Focus as well). Not sure if this is new, I may have just missed it before.
--I heard reports of a Thorns nerf, but I'm not seeing any evidence of that. 0.421 coefficient seems fine. I think people were confusing this with the reported changes on the beta.
--Typhoon coefficient seems to be up to 0.126.
--Sunfire is now affected by haste, but is still on a 3 second base tick period.
--Sunfire does identical damage to Moonfire and is affected by the same buffs. I've a seen a lot of comments on this so I want to clarify.
You should be able to verify all these if you want, but they predict my damage on live perfectly. A new spreadsheet will be shortly attached to the guide which includes all of these changes.
The first way is obvious. Insect Swarm needed a nerf, and I expect that it will never get as powerful as it was right after the patch. I realize that DoTs are supposed to be powerful, but Insect Swarm was easily 5 times as powerful as our nukes and that just seems out of wack to me.
The other nerfs seem fair. By just changing how Moonfury impacts our DPS they aren't changing the rotation at all. They are just toning down our DPS. What's nice about this is that it shows how easy it is to to adjust DPS now. If you assume that Blizzard has found a set of mechanics that they like then they can leave them untouched and adjust Moonfury to get our DPS where they want it to be. This is good news for the future because they can change it back if they find we are underpowered at level 85.
I haven't raided since the patch, but I have tried to test/practice the new rotation on target dummies. Overall, I'm not real happy about having a 5th button in my rotation, and it's going to take some getting used to.
At the moment if feels awkward. Managing Eclipse and two DoTs requires a lot of attention. Adding a random proc on a cooldown spell like Starsurge just adds another thing to look at. I think I'm getting over it with the use of Power Auras, but I need to get into a raid to really test it out.
The other issue I'm having is DoTs. I've gotten used to not making them a priority. Getting back into the habit of watching timers is a little more difficult then I expected. I think this is really a function of not having my UI set up right yet. With Squawk and Awe, I had my DoT timer and my Eclipse bar all in one convenient spot. Which made it easy to watch all three. Right now they are a little spread out, I'll have to make some adjustments to see if that helps.
The other big news of the week for me is that I changed Guilds. I love my old guild Lords of Eternity, but I felt a need for a change and joined the guild Skunkworks on Balnazzar.
First and foremost, I recommend that you don't try and transfer any toons the day of a major patch like 4.0.1. I started the transfer Tuesday afternoon, but didn't get access to Graylo until Saturday afternoon due to a variety of issues. It was frustrating because I didn't get to experience the OPness of Moonkin while it lasted. I also couldn't get in and test.
The other big part of the change is that I am now a Horde toon on a PvP server. Having always played Alliance toons on a PvE server this is a pretty big change in my mind. In reality, it's probably not that big of a deal since Balnazzar is a low pop server that is Horde dominated. However, figuring out where things are is strange. I haven't walked into the wrong inn in Dalaran yet, but finding Auction Houses and target dummies took a little bit.
Anyway, I am excited by the change. Hopefully it will work out.