Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blizzard has been teasing us with patch 4.3 information for weeks now, and this last weekend we finely got some class specific information. If you haven't seen it already Blizzard released the T13 set-bonuses for all classes and specs. Here are the new moonkin set-bonuses:

  • Balance, 2P -- Insect Swarm increases all damage done by your Starfire, Starsurge, and Wrath spells against that target by 3%.

  • Balance, 4P -- Starsurge generates 100% extra Lunar or Solar energy while Eclipse is not active
A Quick Look Back:

Before I give my impressions of the new set-bonuses, I want to take a look back at the T12 set-bonuses as a basis for comparison. Using WrathCalcs and SimulationCraft I took a quick look at the old set bonuses to see how they turned out.

With the 2T12 set-bonus, my estimate was horribly wrong because the Burning Trents didn't behave at all like our Force of Nature trents. As it turned out the Burning Trents just stood around throwing fireballs at the boss and increased our DPS by somewhere between 1.6% and 1.8%. That's not completely horrible, but I think set bonuses should be between 2% and 3% in general.

For the 4T12 set-bonus I'm getting conflicting results from SimulationCraft and WarthCalcs. The SimulationCraft results agree with my original estimate of a 2.1% DPS increase, but WrathCalcs is estimating the DPS increase between 3.3% and 3.5%. I tend to agree with the SimulationCraft numbers and not just because they match my original estimate. Eclipse energy and how it relates to our rotation results in a fairly fuzzy math equation. Because of procs like Shooting Stars and Euphoria we don't always know what type of impact extra energy will have and that makes it difficult to estimate what kind of impact a set bonus like 4T12 will have. In this type of situation, a simulation tool like SimulationCraft has an advantage over a formulation tool like WrathCalcs, because the simulation tool plays through the actual rotation with random events like a player would.

In short, the DPS increase from 2T12 turned out to be worth about around 1.7% and 4T12 DPS increase turned out to be around 2.1%.

2T13 - Insect Swarm Boosting Nukes

The 2T13 set-bonus is a simple, straight forward set bonus. Insect Swarm is a high DPET spell that we want to have up 100% of the time, and the buff includes all three of our nukes that we would use as filler. This makes estimating the impact of this set bonus fairly easy using SimulationCraft and game data.

I looked at several World of Logs parses from several different moonkin using only boss kills from Firelands as my data set. In that data the damage from our three Nukes represented about 50% of the moonkin's overall damage. If we assume that Insect Swarm is up 100% of the time, then this set bonus would result in a 1.4% to 1.5% DPS increase. In Patchwerk style fights that percentage goes up to about 1.8%, but there hasn't been a true Patchwerk style fight since Patchwerk.

It's also, important to note that Insect Swarm isn't going to be up 100% of the time. We can expect to lose a little bit of the buff, because some of the nukes will hit when Insect Swarm slips off the target. So, in reality my original estimate is a little optimistic. The actual DPS increase will probably be a little bit lower between 1.3% and 1.4%. With that in mind I think this set bonus is a little weak, but could easily be fixed by changing the buff to 4% or 5% instead of 3%.

4T13 - Double Energy for Starsurge

My first gut impression of this set-bonus is that I don't like it. I don't like basing my evaluation entirely on a gut reaction, but set-bonuses like this are incredibly hard to evaluate without a tool like SimulationCraft, and unfortunately it has not been updated yet to include the new tier set-bonuses. Here is my reasoning.

I don't have a problem with a set-bonus affecting how we generate energy. The 4T12 set-bonus showed that it can be done effectively with solid results. My concern is that because Starsurge as the driver of this set-bonus, that this set-bonus will just be a weak version of our current 4T12 set bonus and limit overall Moonkin DPS..

The problem with a set-bonus like this is that it's only effective when you are not in Eclipse. Because of Euphoria and the energy caps we are guaranteed to be in Eclipse less then 50% of the time and are only going to be able to take advantage of a set bonus like this for a short period of time during each Eclipse transition. For buffs like Euphoria and the 4T12 set-bonus this is a problem that can be managed, because a moonkin is guaranteed to cast several Starfires or Wraths during the time that Eclipse is down. As a result you can adjust the amount of additional energy generated and guarantee that the buff will have an impact. For Starsurge, this is not true.

As we all know Starsurge is a cooldown based spell. It is also a moonkin's highest DPS nuke, and has significantly higher Damage per Energy then Starfire during Eclipse. This all adds up to the fact that we want to cast Starsurge on cooldown, which may or may not fall with in the small portion of the Eclipse transition where extra energy from Starsurge would be effective. This means that the benefit of the 4T13 set-bonus will be a bit random and inconsistent. It will be possible for us to go through a transition without casting Starsurge while not in Eclipse. It will also be possible for us to go through a transition where we cast two Starsurges while Eclipse is down due to Shooting Stars. I can't guess how this will balance out, but I don't like the lack of consistency.

My 4T13 Thought

While thinking about this new set-bonus I thought of a question for Blizzard. This is the third time Blizzard has used this style of buff where additional energy is only generated when Eclipse is down. Why is Blizzard being so one sided? Why can't a spell consume less energy while in Eclipse as well?

After thinking about it a little while I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but here is my thought.

There are two benefits to Euphoria and 4T12 buff style. First, is that they increase Eclipse uptime by reducing the number of spells a moonkin needs to cast while Eclipse is down. The second benefit is that it increased Nature's Grace uptime by speeding up the transitions between Eclipse buffs.

My thought is that Blizzard could also increase Moonkin DPS, by reducing the amount of energy consumed while in Eclipse as well as generating more energy while Eclipse is down. For example, instead of having Starsurge generate double energy when Eclipse is down, why not have Starsurge consume only 7 energy while Eclipse is up and generate 23 energy while eclipse is down?

The down side to this suggestion is that it doesn't have the Nature's Grace benefit because Starsurges during Eclipse would cause the Eclipse transition to take longer. That said, I think that the numbers could be balanced to provide a DPS increase equivalent to the 4T13 set-bonus but is more consistent and still based off of Starsurge.

These types of buffs work because they increase the uptime of Eclipse and Nature's Grace by reducing the time it takes to transition between Eclipse buffs. When applied to common spells like Wrath and Starfire it works nicely because they are spells that are used in a consistent pattern.


Anonymous said...

it's pretty much the same but different in that it would lower ooe casts by 1, in an ideal 0-100. I haven't seen any of these math nerds list an ideal rotation after eclipse such as definitely cast a surge during lunar because then you end at 5and still have 5 sfires, assuming no instants that you use. Which leads to the next issue. Using instant surge on last cast to be included in eclipse. Will it count the dmg as in eclipse but the energy count as after eclipse? Curious since energy change is after landing.

Now you're basically trying to get it to be up outside of ecplise, which shouldn't be too demanding with a short and triggerable CD. Should list the pros and cons like everything in life, then compute some energy variables. What would be a better bonus that involved surge?

increase % of reset and instant by 4 or some other number? Always double the energy output of surge (go end to end within a grace?)? surge increases crit chance of next dd? surge lowers CD on treants or even starfall (beyond glyph)?

They love eclipse and are all in. Is it currently good and this is end product or is this another spec fail? How many more buttons are moonkins going to get (though in pve it's considerable less, i find WM clunky, 3is too much)

Anonymous said...

My intuitive thinking was that the 4t13 bonus was the same idea as the 4t12 bonus, but less reliable. It's hard to see how the bonus alone would math out to a better dps increase than 4t12 due to there being "bad" cases (no starsurge available during out-of-eclipse time, which is a likely scenario since we usually want to use starsurge during eclipse when it will hit harder).

2t13 bonus is meh. It has straightforward implications to dps but with no cool effects like the burning tree buddy. It may be worse than 2t12 bonus overall since in pure aoe situations main nukes aren't used and mushrooms get no benefit.

Since I may as well put on my thinking cap, here's two suggestions for alternative bonuses:
1) On gaining Eclipse you get a Shooting Stars proc. Similar to the planned 4t13 it will have an impact on how we play with Starsurge, but in this case it is more reliable - the only "no benefit" case is when you already have shooting stars going into eclipse and that can be made rare with the right rotation. Modelling would still be tricky since it makes you want to cast starsurge out of eclipse, but this is offset since you could know for sure there will be another starsurge that you can use during eclipse.

2) On leaving eclipse, gain a temporary boost of (pick the stat you like here, probably not haste since it would overload with Nature's Grace, not that I would mind that =) ) for x seconds. 4t12 and the planned 4t13 aim to shorten the time spent out of eclipse as a way to boost dps. This approach would come at it the other way, rather than make time out of eclipse shorter, make the time out of eclipse not as weak. Depending on how long X is, the boost could potentially roll into the next eclipse as well.

For more predictably, for #2 you could gain "Lunar Residual" or "Solar Residual" when leaving eclipse, where you maintain some of the mastery boost to your nuke spells, either permanently until triggering next eclipse, or for next x spells/nukes, or x seconds. This could math out to a substantial dps boost, and at the same time provide interesting changes to the stat weights for gearing.

In summary, I think there are a lot more potent and more interesting ideas out there for the final tier bonuses of the expansion. What we have right now is ok but hardly impressive.

Tj said...

Well 2p13 is pretty terrible, considering we had a talent that did the same thing and they decided to remove it....

4p13 is just, boring. I know they want to somehow tie our new cata abilities into the final set bonus, but they could have done cooler/better things. Extending IS/MF would be my favorite, would make it too linear for them though. It is too late to think of any other ideas at the moment, but overall a terrible set as listed. 4p might not even be worth wearing if poorly itemized.

Euin said...

I like the idea of something like they have, but modified to the instant starsurges:

4pc-T13: Shooting stars causes your next instant cast Starsurge to generate 200% energy outside of eclipse or increases it's damage by 15% if eclipse is active.

First of all, I want to always *want* to cast those instant Starsurges. This adds to our in-eclipse dps, shortens our out-of eclipse time, and increases the uptime of Nature's Grace. I didn't put a lot of thought into the the values, but those could be balanced around the randomness of the proc so that it gives the average effect desired.

Anonymous said...

So is the new change to 4 pc better? i.e. Balance, 4P -- Reduces the cooldown of Starsurge by 5 sec

Lespaul said...

The new 4pc is even worse imo. Given the strength of Wrath and Starfire, Starsurge is only really worth casting in Solar or with a SS proc. The bonus would be better as Graylo suggested; a reduction in the energy Starsurge generates during eclipse (or a total removal thereof), or a boost to SS, say to 8 or 10% so you get more instant casts.

As for 2pc... well as mentioned above, we used to have IIS to do something similar for us. A quick fix would be to make it a boost to nature damage while IS is on the target so we dont loose out on multiple target encounters. That, or as mentioned, increase the damage to nukes to 5 or 6%

Sam said...

Very informative post man, keep them coming :)

Tj said...

If 4p is as bad as it seems, and they do something stupid like this tier (spi/crit legs, and crit/mas shoulders) to attempt to just haste stack.

The 3783 BP might be possible with epic gems and reforging(Most I can get is 2935 using 3 set right now Gloves/chest/helm).

Solron - Shandris said...

I agree with you but I think that the bonus should be a cool one. Think about a buff like this. "When you proc lunar/solar for 10 seconds none of your spells deplete your energy." This will allow a lot more decision in what you would like to do for those 10 seconds. Even the solar cleaving like before would be something worth looking at again and thus it wouldn't kill that talent that gives direct damage. I believe many didn't keep it after they made the change to have moonfire and insect swarm take energy. This would help starsurge, moonfire and insect swarm as well. I don't understand personally why our mastery is something that must be triggered. Many other classes get their mastery constantly active and I know that isn't the direct discussion at hand the whole point for them putting energy set bonuses in is because we as players are trying to think of the best ways to use our limited time in our eclipses.

Solron - Shandris said...

I think that the change to the 4 set isn't all that bad either, people wanted to use starsurge more and this will allow it in addition to glyph of starsurge which will allow people to use starfall more often to boost dps. I don't know the math so maybe this isn't as much of a buff as it should be but I kinda don't see how the last 4 set bonus was much better since one could just dual cast wrath/moonfire starfire/moonfire during downtimes to quickly move to our next eclipse since they took out cleaving. [sorry for seperate post but I remembered they changed the bonuses]