Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eclipse Changes in 4.2

Now that Patch 4.1 is here everyone is looking to patch 4.2. With the patch expected to hit the PTR any day now Blizzard released a preliminary version of the Patch notes and it's not looking good for moonkin.

  • Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse.
  • Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for druids with Eclipse.
  • Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse

"for druids with Eclipse"?

When I first read the patch notes I assumed that Moonfire, Sunfire and Insect Swarm would generate Eclipse power all the time. Unfortunately, I don't think that is correct.

The patch notes are very specific. IS and SF will provide 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse. MF will provide 8 solar energy for druids with Eclipse. Those notes make a lot of sense. Of course MF wouldn't provide Lunar energy when a druid has Eclipse, because that would move the energy bar backwards. The IS and SF patch notes fall the same pattern.

The question is what happens when the druid is without Eclipse? At this point I have to assume that DoTs don't generate any power when you don't have Eclipse. As I said above the patch notes are very specific. If Blizzard intended to have DoTs generate power all of the time I would assume they would make a more general patch note like "Moonkin DoTs will now generate 8 Eclipse Power".

Plus, having DoTs generate power outside of Eclipse raises additional questions. For Wrath and Starfire it's simple. When you move from Lunar to Solar, Starfire generates power but Wrath doesn't and there is no reason you would want to Wrath in such a situation. For DoT's it's more complicated. The DPET of our DoTs is very high, so it could make sense to cast MF when transitioning from Lunar to Solar when you don't have Eclipse. Plus if DoT's did generate power, what kind of power would they generate? Would DoTs behave like Starsurge or the other Nukes? These problems can be solved, but it's not as simple as some may assume.

Single-Target DPS Impact:

We'll need to check out the PTR and do some simulations to know what the impact is for sure, but we can make some educated guesses right now. My bet is that this will be slight nerf for Single-Target DPS.

On the negative side, DoTs consuming power during Eclipse means you will generally get one less Eclipsed nuke per Eclipse transition. For example, at the moment we can get five Starfires and one Starsurge in during solar Eclipse. Adding in solar power from Moonfire means we will only be able to get four Starfires and one Starsurge without any Shooting Stars procs. The same is true Solar Eclipse, but having two DoTs only reduces the number of buffed Wrath's by one.

On the positive side, there are two things to consider. First, if DoTs generate power then we will be transitioning from one Eclipse to the other more quickly and procking Nature's Grace more often. That should be a slight buff. Second, Shooting Star procs lessen the negative impact a little. In my example above I said that we currently can get five Starfire's and one Starsurges during Lunar Eclipse. If we have a Shooting Star proc during Lunar Eclipse that changes to four Starfires and 2 Starsurges. The good news is if DoTs consume power in 4.2 a Shooting Star proc during Lunar Eclipse won't eat one of your Eclipsed Starfires, because we will still be able to get four Starfires and two Starsurges.

Overall, I think the negatives outweigh the positives, but from a single target perspective I doubt the nerf is huge. Though we can’t know for sure without testing.

Multi-Target DPS Impact:

Multi-Target DPS is where this change really starts to have an impact. On a fight like V&T where you have two viable targets casting additional DoTs takes a way additional Eclipsed nukes. As the number of targets increases the number of Eclipsed buff nukes decreases. This shouldn't in anyway change our rotation during Eclipse, because trading an Eclipsed nuke for an Eclipsed DoT is definitely a good trade, but I would much rather have both an Eclipsed Nuke and an Eclipsed DoT as we do now.

The biggest impact will be to our AoE rotation. If we need to do AoE DPS for an extended period of time then the DoTs will definitely lose their place in the rotation. As of right now there is no indication that Wild Mushroom, Hurricane or Typhoon will consume any Eclipse Power. The goal will still be to maintain Solar Eclipse, but the filler used between WM casts will be Hurricane and Typhoon instead of the DoTs.

If I had to guess this is Blizzard's reason for making the change. Moonkin AoE damage was very strong, and my guess is it didn't sit well with them that moonkin were avoiding the traditional AoE spells. If I'm correct, this change might serve two purposes. First it likely makes Hurricane a part of the moonkin AoE rotation again. And second, it nerfs moonkin AoE DPS which is admittedly very high. That said, there are other classes/specs that are quite high as well that I don't see being nerfed.

Death of Lunar Shower:

I'm going to chalk this one up to unintended consequences but this is going to significantly reduce the usefulness of Lunar Shower. If I have to move during Eclipse there is no way I'm going to cast Moonfire. Consuming my Eclipse power with just the direct damage portion of Moonfire, is obviously a bad choice. The better moonkin out there were also using Lunar Shower and MF spam to delay Eclipse and line it up with significant DPS boosts to get an overall higher level of DPS in the game.

Spamming MF while moving without Eclipse will still be a DPS boost, but it makes our situation a bit more difficult. It creates another choice we have to make in an already complex rotation. It also creates a bit of a DPS trap which Blizzard said they want to avoid in the run up to Cataclysm. Is a new player really supposed to figure out that spamming Moonfire on the move is good without Eclipse but bad with Eclipse?

Final Thoughts:

It's important to remember that this is a very early look at the 4.2 patch notes and that they are in no way complete. A lot will happen between now and when the patch is released. The question I have is will there be a buff for us in the future.

I still don't think moonkin are over powered in any way, and if anything I think we are a little underpowered after the change to Starsurge in patch 4.1. If there is anywhere Moonkin are overpowered it's in our Multi-target DPS and this change definitely takes care of that, but Moonkin weren't alone at the top. Yet, I don't see those other classes getting nerfed as well.

Overall, I'm just confused. I'm having a hard time figuring out what Blizzard's goal is for the Balance spec at the moment.

Other changes:

Here are a couple of other little changes that you might be interested in.

  • Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
  • Innervate now grants an ally target 5% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds, but still grants 20% of the druid's maximum mana over 10 seconds when self-cast.

I like the crowd control change. It should make Trash a little bit easier. We do lose our Entangling Roots damage as a result but that isn't a big deal at least for PvE.

The Innervate change is good for Feral, but bad for Moonkin for Restos. As you know innervate is currently based off of the casters Mana pool. As a result when a feral casts it it provides very little mana because Ferals don't have a large mana pool. So Ferals should be happy about this change.

For moonkin, we lose a big piece of utility. Moonkin were in a unique position in that we didn't have mana issues and could give away our innervate without issue. Now the utility of our innervate is reduced by 75%.

For resto's, this is a bit of a nerf as well. I don't know how much it is done any more, but I know that early on in the expansion Resto druids were trading their innervates to get a greater amount of mana returned. The druids would use the Glyph of Innervate and then cast their innervate on the other resto druid. This way they would get both the mana from the Glyph and the other druids Innervate. Now this practice will result in less mana then just casting innervate on yourself. This basically makes the Glyph of Innervate useless.
Innervate and CC


ghost said...

For ferals, it'll result in about the same amount of mana grant to an ally:

Before it was 20% of the feral's ~25k mana pool --> 5k. Now it is granting 5% of the targets ~100k mana pool --> 5k. Its just that the non-feral druids now get to give the same amount of mana the ferals were. Which is a straight up nerf of raid utility. On the flip side, I can see why they did it. I suspect they did not like the innervate trading going on in 25s - it meant there was more mana for healing floating around than they wanted.

Oleander said...

"it meant there was more mana for healing floating around than they wanted. " So you're expecting a nerf to Mana Tide and Hymn of Hope as well? Those were stronger than innervate.

"Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse." Even while in lunar eclipse?

Shyner said...

The changes to dots will cause our rotation to change and most likely hurt on single target fights. Putting dots up at the beginning or middle of an eclipse will only push us out of it faster, but waiting till the end will also cause us to have a non eclipsed NG.

I don't think we're overpowered at all when it comes to an AOE fight. I like that I'm able to keep up with pure dps classes on some AOE fights. I'm not sure I understand their reasoning for wanting this change..

Bob said...

We should be used to feeling "confused" at Blizzard's muddling, by now. Eclipse is a fundamentally poor idea, and while it will have highs and lows in terms of efficacy, Blizzard is never going to turn this bad idea into a good one.

typhoonandrew said...

The CC change is fantastic for the 5 mans. This will make pulls much easier, whic in turn might mean less silly deaths.

In defense of the Eclipse mechanic - I'm not against the concept as it offers Boomers more control of their damage than random procs did. At least now I have an idea of when I'll have boosted damage. That said, I'll trust the advice here as my Boomer is still crawling through the mid-80s.

Anonymous said...

Oh great, back to WotLK where movement eats our DPS. Must be more of a (bg) PVP based move to reduce the massive damage and mobility we can cause by just spamming Sunfire. Way to make us floppier in arena too! Thanks Blizz!

Anonymous said...

This change is going to impact experienced players and novice players in varying, but very signicant ways.

Novice players will see a dps decrease due to incorrectly timing a mf/sf at the end of the eclipse cycle rather than casting a nuke. Or by spamming mf/sf during movement which is easy to do.

Experienced players will lose dps as they will no longer be able to muli-dot multiple targets before they leave a eclipse cycle and reapply once reapplying before sub 2- second dot ticks. Coupled with this, no longer (well without dps decreases) planning eclipse for when you need to multi-dot (ie Magmaw).

A more viable solution would be to have multiple applications of mf/sf decrease in potency back down to a non-eclipsed state. Each application on a different target would reduce the power of the mf/sf by (say) 8%.

Drake said...

Ooops, forgot to put my name in above

Anonymous said...

"Overall, I'm just confused. I'm having a hard time figuring out what Blizzard's goal is for the Balance spec at the moment."

I don't know--this seems mostly in line with at least the last expansion. We had a small bit of time when we were somewhat competitive, then they nerfed balance while buffing other classes to the point of barely being viable for raids.

It's a shame, really--but hardly surprising. The sad thing is that they're hitting resto druids too this time. Ferals are still their favored children, at least.

Erdluf said...

Death of LS?

The Damage per Energy of LS3 DD is almost exactly the same (2% less on the WrathCalcs I'm looking at) as the DpE of Wrath.

Obviously that isn't the entire story. Not all MF casts will have LS3. Most MF casts will also give you an extra (eclipsed) tick. In some cases one more MF will cost you a full Wrath, and in some cases one more MF will not cost any Wraths.

I'm guessing that unless you are "saving" Eclipse for a burst event (in which case you stick to WM and heals or your off-nuke), you'll still want to strongly consider MF during any movement.

Raysa said...

i'm just one step from leaving WoW....
i'm fed up with those moonkin-hating blizzard-idiots.
its so damn annoying and tiring that moonkin are never allowed be anything near "good". till the end of BC moonkin was just an unused druid-talenttree without any viable potential in PvE and even less in PvP... nearly 4 years with nearly nothing.
that changed in wotlk *hallelujah*. we got some nice new mechanic and were able to be "viable" in Raids. most moonkin were satisfied with that. me too, but it was obvious to me that most raids only took 1 or 2 moonkin and that just because of their buff, innervate und brezz AND if they were better then the average skilllevel of that raid. how many times have i been bashed by mages or hunters (or...) doing tons of mistakes while i was bending over backwards and playing nearly perfect.
wotlk-pvp? cant say much about that, never played seriously in that time, but i would be very surprised if moonkin had any shiny moment back then (oh, just remembered the short period of OP starfall...).
At the beginning of Cata i thought: "oh ok, moonkin are finally viable as a class not only as a supporter". Of course we were/are a little overpowered with multi-doting in some fights. And we were also a little OP in PvP with instant-roots i think. rootglyph nerfed, nothing bad about that. but what did we see then? first the form-switching-root-nerf that was supposed to hit ferals, but hit moonkin equally hard. ok, we got some compensation for that but its still a "nerf". second, the starsurge nerf. i never could agree with that. i see the burst-potential in it, but i play alot of pvp since cata and even in normal BGs with tons of (low geared) targets i cant remember many situations bursting somebody with lucky SS procs. we supposed to get a compensation for that, we didnt...
i almost missed the lifebloom-endhealing-nerf, whats pretty hard for pvpmoonkin too.

and now this new upcoming nerf. many people will say again that we will see a compensation for that, but i cant trust in that anymore. :-/

i am not an ambitious pvp-player but its making me crazy seeing warriors and mages beeing that strong with pushing seemingly only few buttons and getting only some small gentle nerfs. while we struggle in pvp since the beginning of time and see every little pvp-potential getting nerfed instantly.

one loud scream: AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

ok now its better, it helps to write down some of this anger, knowing some fellow sufferers hopefully feel with me. thanks. ^^

Adios Raysa

Teranin said...

As a heads up, looks like the wording has changed on the dot energy gains. Looks like the energy comes all the time, instead of just while in eclipse.

# Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance druids.

# Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for Balance druids.

# Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance druids.


Dreslav said...

These dot-eclipse changes are horrible. I am extremely disappointed over them.

Anonymous said...

The official and MMO Champion druid forums are full of QQ threads about this so I think there is a good chance that Blizzard won't go through with this, or they will at least buff us elsewhere.

Personally I think that even though Eclipse is a poorly made mechanic, the way Moonkins dps now is very fun and I really hope they don't mess it up.

Heezashee said...

every change to balance spec lately has been a "slight nerf", but after 6-7 of these, they have added up to a significant dps loss compared to other classes which are getting lots of buffs they didnt need in the first place.

i think its high time balance druids got something of a buff. im perfectly fine keeping the nerfs they've given us if it truly corrected something they didn't intend or causes imbalacing issues, but they've reduced us too much now when we didn't need really need to be nerfed and we need to be compensated in another way...

i raid and i pvp arenas. i feel like i am working my ass off to get wins in arenas at the moment, survivability for balance is laughable at the moment. i would propose a change to entangling roots/natures grasp. since in the next patch they are taking away the damage roots does, id like blizzard to add something that lets us get away from our enemy, like maybe add a stun or a disengage or something to the root to give us a chance to 1 - get away and 2 - to not take as much damage if we get stunned right on top of the root...isnt that what roots were supposed to do anyway? make this a balance only option...

id also like them to give us back some of the nature and arcane % damage they took away from us in 4.0.6

or maybe give us something else new that makes up for all the nerfs, im tired of them to be completely honest...they buff mages who definitely didnt need any buffs and were overpowered alreayd, they give death knights buffs, warriors unneeded buffs, hunters buffs, sigh....but boomkins are just average good solid dps and we must be nerfed into the ground...sigh....please blizz, enough is enough...

Drake/Convertible said...

I agree with the above commenters. Maybe its time to switch to another MMO. Star Wars and Guild Wars are coming out relatively soon.