Thursday, February 16, 2012

MoP Talent Calculator Update: Feb 15th

With Dragon Soul raid being two months old, it has lost a little of it's shininess, and players have been asking for new Mists of Pandaria information for weeks, but have only received the traditional Blizzard response of "soon". "Soon" arrived yesterday when Blizzard dropped an information bomb by updating the MoP talent calculator with tons of changes for most of the classes and Moonkin were not left out. Over the course of an hour my total number of tweets more then doubled as Lissanna, Murmurs and I (along with others of course) explored the new changes and gave our first impressions.

The best part is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The MoP press tour is scheduled for March and there’s a vague comment on twitter by a Blizzard CM about cool things happening before the weekend that may or may not have anything to do with WoW or even video games. It's hard not to get excited.

Anyway, there's a lot of information and it's some times hard to tell what’s new and what’s not since I don't have the old version of the calculator available to compare to. Please feel free to comment on anything I missed or expand on anything I didn't cover in enough detail.

Eclipse Changes:

  • Solar Eclipse: Wrath damage to refresh Sunfire's duration.

  • Lunar Eclipse: Starfire damage to refresh Moonfire's duration.
This change isn't the "WOW!!!!" moment I originally thought it was (it's amazing how often that’s true when you jump to conclusions before you think), but it's a very solid change that is another step towards the simplification the moonkin rotation desperately needs. What this means for the moonkin rotation is that once you enter Eclipse you cast will cast your DoT once and not worry about it again until it either falls off, or you are about to enter the opposite Eclipse. It completely removes the question of should you clip a DoT during Eclipse, because your nukes are constantly refreshing it.

This change solves one of the biggest issues with our current rotation, but it doesn't remove the potential for DoT clipping from the table completely. There's still going to be a question of if we should clip our shorter Eclipse buffed DoT with a longer unbuffed DoT as we are about to enter a new Eclipse since we won't be able to refresh the DoT after we enter the new Eclipse. However, I have a feeling this choice will be less significant and less punishing if we get it wrong then our current choices.

There are also some balancing questions on how the "refreshing" mechanic will work with temporary buffs that need to be answered, but as long as Moonkin DPS is competitive in the long run I won't be very concerned about this.

The only change I would make to Eclipse at this point would be to add Starsurge to the refresh mechanic so that SS would refresh SnF in solar like Wrath and refresh MF in lunar like Starfire. It's not a huge deal, but without it some people will suggest that Moonkins shouldn't use SS as their last spell in Eclipse because it won't refresh the DoT.

Soul of the Forest:

Balance: When a Lunar Eclipse ends you gain 20 Solar Energy and when a Solar Eclipse ends you gain 20 Lunar Energy.
This is the 4T12 Moonkin set bonus from Firelands. You may not recognize it because the mechanic is different but the impact will be exactly the same. If you don't remember, the 4T12 set bonus increased the amount of Energy your Starfires and Wraths generated outside of Eclipse and the increase was roughly totaled 20 energy each way. As a result, it shortened the amount of time you are out of eclipse increasing your total Eclipse uptime and the percentage of nukes buffed by Eclipse.

This was every solid buff as a set bonus in Firelands and will be a very solid set bonus as a Talent in MoP. The only question is how it will stand up to the other Tier 4 choices of Incarnation and Force of Nature. We can't know that until we get more details.

Dream of Cenarius:

Dream of Cenarius: Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge increase healing done by your next healing spell by 30%
I LOVE this change. Not because of what Dream of Cenarius is, but because of what it is not. And that is Master Shapeshifter. In case you don't remember, Master Shapeshifter was the talent that caused feral abilities to buff Moonkin abilities and vice versa with some other hideous affects as well. It was a horrible talent with disaster written all over it and I'm ecstatic that Blizzard saw the light on this one.

Now that I'm done dancing on Master Shapeshifter's grave, let’s talk about Dream of Cenarius. This is exactly the type of low maintenance hybrid ability the Druid talent tree needed. It allows DPSers and off-tanks to throw an emergency heal on themselves or another player if needed, and would be especially powerful when combined with a talent like Nature's Swiftness. For healers, they can throw out a little DPS when healing is light which can be especially helpful on DPS races like Ultraxion and Spine of Deathwing.

Starsurge Improvements:

  • Shooting Stars now has a 20% chance to trigger (up from 4%) but can only trigger from a periodic critical strike from your Moonfire or Sunfire.

  • Euphoria now also procs off of Starsurge.

  • Starsurge generates 20 lunar or solar energy.
One of the strange things about Moonkin in Cataclysm is how weak Starsurge has become relative to our other spells. It was originally billed as this powerful cooldown based nuke, but the flaws started appearing almost immediately. The first was that it didn't generate energy in the same way as Wrath and Starfire because it wasn't affected Euphoria. Then in patch 4.2 Wrath and Starfire had their damage buffed which made Starsurge relatively weaker. Finally, in Firelands the 4T12 set bonus made it unattractive to cast at times because it also did not affect the energy generation of Starsurge.

As a general rule it is a good idea not to pay to much attention to the numbers this early in an expansion's development because they could be errors and there's a high probability that they will change if they their real. However, in this version of the talent calculator there are three pieces of info suggesting that Blizzard is trying to return Starsurge to its original role as a powerful cooldown based nuke. The Euphoria change is obvious and required in my opinion. Increasing SS's energy generation to 20 sounds like a good idea to me, but it could very easily also be an unintended typo. I think change to Shooting Stars is being made primarily to improve how Moonkin scale with Crit (something we don't do well currently), but it has the potential to buff our Starsurge damage as well if it increases the proc rate.

Quick Thoughts on Other Changes:

Symbiosis may not be cast on other Druids and the effect is lost if the linked targets are too far apart. 6 sec cast time.
It still sounds cool with the additional info, but there's still way to few details to make any conclusions. There is one question that I have though. Whose idea was it to have Symbiosis give warlocks Rejuvenation? Unless there's something I don't know about warlocks or it modifies the spell in some other way, that just seems silly.

Insect Swarm now increases the damage taken by 25% (down from 30%) but affects all spells.
On the surface, this isn't a big change but I like it. I realize there are still a lot of people that don't like the new Insect Swarm at all, but I'm starting to think it's a great idea. It will really help Blizzard balance moonkin DPS, but I will get more into that in my next post.

Celestial Alignment had its bonus damage reduced by 5% but causes Moonfire to also apply the Sunfire effect. 3 minute cooldown. (Up from 2 min)
I'm not surprised by this change, but I'm still wondering what role Blizzard expects Celestial Alignment to fill. Is it meant to be a DPS cooldown, or is it more of a utility to provide an on demand eclipse? We won't be able to tell until we see it in beta.

Ursol's Vortex can now be cast at a specific location instead of being used on the Druid. 30 yd range.
This is a big improvement over the old version. It never seemed like a good idea to pull a mob of targets to you unless you are a tank or possibly melee. This change gives it a ton of new utility. You can still pull mobs to you, but you could also pull mobs a way, or into a trap, or possibly off a cliff.


Tuscarora said...

> This change solves one of the biggest issues with our current rotation, but it doesn't remove the potential for DoT clipping from the table completely. There's still going to be a question of if we should clip our shorter Eclipse buffed DoT with a longer unbuffed DoT as we are about to enter a new Eclipse since we won't be able to refresh the DoT after we enter the new Eclipse.

I think that they announced that we would have both Sunfire and Moonfire applied at the same time. If that is true, we would no longer need to think about DoT refreshing (just refresh each one when it's going to fall off). A sharp contrast with Cataclysm DoT refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Wowhead's news blast about the talent calculator update helpfully notes the changes between the old and new versions of the talent tree - you may want to look at that as a reference.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to cover changes to base abilities, but MMO champion covers that well enough.

I share the concerns Lissanna expressed about the change to Insect Swarm, and how Moonkin damage may be subpar on non-debuffed targets if we are balanced around it. We won't really know until we see it in play on the beta server, but the concept worries me. So much positive news for moonkin seems almost too good to be true.

Dream of Cenarius is certainly superior to MSS. Heart of the Wild still seems weak for any spec on paper, and unless it synergizes well with some of the stat conversion skills like Killer Instinct, I do not see why any druid would consider it over Dream or Disentangle.


Azuric said...

It's too soon to write off HotW over Dream. Can you heal your way TO eclipse so as to start each fight in eclipse instead of at 0?

Plus if you are in eclipse, you can benefit from the 30% eclipse bonus multiple times, though it sounds like at the cost of that eclipse. Still for emergency healing this sounds like a better trade, as if I need 1 big heal I will simply pop renewal for 30%. That is what it is there for. Hotw also has emergency bear armor.

Dream seems to win out on fights with transitions where you have idle time to hard cast a heal on yourself for a 30sec 30% damage buff. It will probably be what I take for that reason if I cannot heal myself to full eclipse via Heart, because if I am healing past casting Tranq then everything has already gone tragically wrong.

Milhouse said...

Quick question Graylo, where did you get that Symbiosis gives warlocks Rejuvenation? I can't find anything specific on that spell.

Orrak said...

I foresee the list of what Symbiosis gives the other classes being a hilarious treatise on the state of the druid toolbox. Namely that we don't have much of one. You look at all of our specs and how many abilities do we have that aren't directly related to our rotations. 2? 3 if you include rebirth? Solarbeam, Roots, bear hug? barkskin?

I am a bit suprised, both you and Lisanna had a much more positive reaction to Dream of cenarius than I. I can't escape the feeling that it suffers from the same problem master shapeshifter did: too weak to be noticable in its current state, but with much more power it becomes mandatory (particularly for restos). I really wish they'd just scrap the 'hybrid tier' idea for our talents. If their that die hard on us having an ability like that just make HotW baseline. I don't see any way that tier is ever going to feel good, and not simply a take this because theres nothing better choice.

Unheilvoll said...

I really can't believe that they're going to retrieve the old version of nature's grace and let balance druids loose AGAIN our control over it. How many times did the moonkin comunity explain all the pain in the ass that was that? So in MoP, we get back on doing a special strat ONLY for moonkins so we don't waste 15% spell haste every time we get into eclipse and a "dance-phase" of the boss begins? How fucking hard is to code into the game that the first dot that activates Nature's Grace also gets the haste benefit?

I'm very sorry for the crying but really, with all the good changes that moonkins are going to get, that seems that finally we are going to get considered by the devs as a damage-dealer and not an accident, why? Why this? Can someone please explain me this sudden change of mind? Am I missing some big rock here?

Graylo said...

Yes, MF and SnF can be on the target at the same time, but they are still cast using a single button. Which one is cast depends on where you are in the eclipse cycle. So, if you are one nuke away from Lunar Eclipse and 9 seconds of a SnF dot on the target you have to make a choice. Do you refresh the DoT to get 18seconds and higher uptime, or do you cast the nuke, transition to Lunar and lose the ability to cast SnF. I don't know how it will math out, but there's potential or a DPS gain there.

I think you're missing the point on Insect Swarm. I'm going to talk about it more in my next post but I think it's intended to limit our multi target DPS, and that's a good thing.

I'm not writing any talent off. Neither HotW or DoC are awesome talents, but in the right situations both would be helpful.

There is a blue post giving more info on Symbiosis, and one of the things it mentions is "Warlocks: Rejuvination"

Maybe I'm not getting your point, but I think you're blowing it a little out of purportion. 1) Moonkin have never really had control of NG. Yes, it does proc off of a dot cast now, but we don't really control when those casts happen since we want 100% uptime. 2) NG is wasted quite a bit now even with our limited "control" over it. There are many times when we DoT while moving which can proc NG and cause it to be wasted. 3) Given how our DoTs are going to work in MoP with Eclipse the first spell we cast in Eclipse will be a DoT, causing NG to be up even if it was procced based on the DoT instead of the eclipse.

I personally like that they baked NG in to eclipse.

Jabari said...

Lots of nice improvements.

Going to suck losing the Treants, but Soul of the Forest is sooo good...

I don't think that Dream of Cenarius is "all that" as it has a 30 sec ICD (according to wowhead at least). To me, it basically looks like "your Tranquility skill is buffed 30%", and not much more. (You can't "hard cast a heal to gain the buff for damage" as you have the buff from your previous spells and it gets used on the heal.)

Not sure why they bothered with other "level 15" stuff when +15% move speed is an auto-take. Coulda just left those other 2 spots blank.

Nature's Swiftness looks nice as you stay in Owlkin when you use it, especially if it "double-dips" the bonus on Regrowth.

As an aside: Whatever blackmail material you guys had to get them to improve the Druid's tree, could I have it so I can get them to improve the Shaman one?
(My other character is an Enhancement Shaman, and I think there's only a single talent in that whole mess I'm even remotely interested in. And that one isn't even as good for Enhancement as it is for the other two specs)

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point on Insect Swarm. I'm going to talk about it more in my next post but I think it's intended to limit our multi target DPS, and that's a good thing.

I think you are right about the multi dot approach, seems Blizz are trying to make hurricane useful again so we dont need to rely on multi dot and mushrooms. That said I worry that its too much of a dps boost. You have said previously that eclipse gives us such a large bonus to our dps that we are crippled somewhat without it now imagine a place where you are out of eclipse and don't have IS on the target you are on (PvP anyone). At a eclipse level of ~25% and an IS level of 25% you would do 2/3 of the dps out of eclipse and without IS than you would with it.

Anonymous said...

following the post about dramatic drop off in dps out of eclips and without IS. I don't think the numbers will stay this way in mists but just looking at them as they are now.

My moonkin on the armoury has nearly 9 mastery. Thats an 18% boost to eclipse damage plus the 16% from total eclipse plus the 25% from eclipse is 59% damage boost. Add to that the 25% from IS and you get 84% more damage in eclipse with IS

Without both of them you only do about 55% of the damage.

I appreciate that we are balanced around having eclipse up about 50% of the time but that would mean we do about 70% of our average dps without IS and eclipse.

Ephemeron said...

Considering that Warlocks have a strong Cast From Hit Points theme in their MoP talents, giving them Rejuvenation makes a certain kind of sense.