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.
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.
- Solar Eclipse: Wrath damage to refresh Sunfire's duration.
- Lunar Eclipse: Starfire damage to refresh Moonfire's duration.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.