- 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
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.