Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Toon Update: 1/28/2009

It's really funny. I started this blog to talk about myself, and know I always seem to forget to write these toon update posts. Other then the little Undying post I did, I haven't written one of these in almost a month and it is time to change that.

The Guild:

We have had the usual ups and downs, but things have been going well for the guild. We have downed Sarth 3D twice now. Once before patch 3.0.8 and once after. It is by no means an easy fight, but I think it is a little funny how my opinion has changed on it. It used to seem impossible, but now I realize that it is very manageable with good people and a little bit of practice. Anyway, we now have the Twilight Vanquisher title but I still wear the Undying title.

I have to say the [Reins of the Twilight Drake] is very pretty. I would love to have one but I can't bring myself to roll on it yet. I would never use it because Swift Flight Form is just so awesome in so many ways. I will get it eventually because we have at least a year to farming it.

Now that we have cleared all content we are focusing on achievements. We've done most of the easy ones, so our two main goals are [The Immortal] and [Heroic: You Don't Have An Eternity].

[The Immortal] shouldn't be too hard. As long as we remain focused and have a little bit of luck there shouldn't be a problem. Really, we've killed most if not all of the bosses without someone dying. We just haven't done it in one lock out period. The big issues seem to be Razuvious - we have issues with the pull and a healer usually bites it, Thaddius - DCs are death, Sapphiron - I don't know why but someone always seems to die. Really we have the skill to do it and have done it on 10man. We just need to put it all together and do it.

[Heroic: You Don't Have An Eternity] is another story. Personally, I think it is the harder of the two main achievements we have left. We tried it one night before 3.0.8 dropped and I thought we made some real progress. I think we could have easily gotten it with another night of practice. However, Patch 3.0.8 has made it much tougher. The spark placement now needs to be perfect and that requires some combination of Luck and skill. Unfortunately our luck has been horrible and the DKs have to work their butts off to get the sparks placed correctly. I think we will get it but I don't think it will be quick.

From a 10man perspective things have been going well also. Our main focus there is downing Sarth 3D. The 10man version is definitely harder then the 25man version. Its just really hard to stack the right combinations of buffs and debuffs to make it possible. We also have [You Don't Have An Eternity] to do but I think it will be easier. We killed him in just over 8 minutes missing two DPS. Putting those two DPS in should make it easy. Realistically as a guild we are about done with 10mans until 3.1 comes out. We don't need the gear, and most of the achievements are done.


From a toon stand point Graylo is going about as well as I could hope for from a gear stand point. Over half my gear is best in slot, and those pieces that aren't are very close. From a play stand point I do have some areas to work on. I'm still working on my rotation during busy fights like Sarth 3D, but I am getting better.

I have to say I think moonkins are the hardest caster class to play right now. I used to think it was Shadow Priest because of all the dots and cooldowns, and I can see how Affliction Locks have it tough having to manage 5 dots and Haunt. However, they have the advantage that all of their spells are predictable. They all have set durations and cooldowns and we know exactly when the are going to finish.

The though part about moonkins now is the unpredictability. Not knowing when eclipse is going to proc makes it tough to manage. On top of that to get the most out of Moonfire you have to cast Starfire 3 times with MF up. This causes me to let MF drop early and sometimes proc the wrong eclipse. All the while we have to watch for environmental hazards. I somewhat miss the days where all I had to manage was Moonfire and Starfire.

Back on track, there isn't much to do with him at the moment other then raid. My Sons of Hodir rep is now exalted. I still have work to do on some of the other reps but there isn't anything that I really need. The only thing I really need to do is work on the Icecrown quests to complete the phasing, but I have a hard time getting motivated for that right now.


He has been the man focus of my free wow time. He is how up to level 75 and going strong. Now that raiding is slowing down a little bit I have more time to play him. I hope to get him to 80 quickly so that I can start to raid him. Not much to say, but he is going well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Moonkin Meta Gems

Warning: This is a little bit of a rant, but the I think the theory behind it is solid.

Allison Robert over at WoWInsider. com recently did an article on how to gear a balance druid (Link). It's a good article that comes at the topic from a different angle then I did and I'm sure some people will find it more helpful then my gear guide. (I'm not just saying that because she linked by blog for a 3rd time. Woot!!!!)

I want to assure you that the ranty nature of this post is not directed at Allison in anyway. She has done a great job of covering moonkin recently and her job is definately harder and her posts are more closely scrutinized then mine. As a result she has to make some concessions to try and prevent backlash, but there is one comment in her post that sent me a little over the edge.

When talking about gems for the head slot she said:
Meta: [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond]. Some prefer the [Ember Skyflare Diamond], however.

Sure, some people say that the Ember Diamond is better, but they are wrong.

Wrong Wrong Wrong!

Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong! I can't say they are wrong enough.

What Allison's post should have said was:
Meta: [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond]. Period!! End of Discussion!!!

Here is why.

In terms of DPS:

First off, I want to say I can understand some of the confusion. If we sat down and wrote a moonkin rule book one of them would surely be Spell Power > Crit Rating, and anyone that knows basic math knows that 25 > 21. So I can understand the confusion if someone only looked at the gems very quickly. The [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond] is a bit of an exception to the rule. However, if you focus on the 21 crit rating then your looking at the wrong part of the gem. It is the 3% Increased Critical Damage that makes this gem so valuable.

First lets look at what that 3% Increased Critical Damage really means. It's not as easy as you may think.

Your spells non-critical hits always hits the mob for 100% damage. Critical hits then increase the spells damage by 50% for a total of 150% without modifiers like talents or the meta gem. The meta gem increases the total damage of your critical strikes by 3%. So without any talent modifiers, the meta gem will cause your critical hits to hit for 154.5% (150 * 1.03 = 154.5) of your normal strikes. Then Vengeance increases the bonus portion of your Critical strike damage by 100%. The extra damage from the meta gem is concidered part of the bonus damage of the critical strike. So, with Vengeance and the meta gem your critical strikes will hit for 209% (54.5 * 2 + 100 = 209) of your normal damage.

So you may be asking how significant is this extra damage. In short, it's huge. Lets look at some numbers.

1. I'm going to use a fairly average moonkin. I would consider this person to be partially geared or fairly entry level. For my calculations I am using a moonkin with just 2000 Spell Power, 35% crit (38% for SF with Imp IS), and 17% haste fully raid buffed. I will aso assume that he his hit capped.

2. I am also going to assume that he uses this build. It is a fairly high level raiding build, but I don't think there are any reasonable changes that could significantly affect my results.

3. I'm only going to detail the math on Starfire since it is our primary spell but I have run the math on Wrath also, and will provide the results below.

4. I assume that Moonfire and Insect Swarm are on the boss when calculating the damage for Wrath and Starfire to take full advantage of Improved Insect Swarm.

So lets look lets look at the average damage of a normal Starfire spell cast.

SF Damage = ((((1120 + (SP * 1.2)) * 1.17) * 2) * Crit Rate) + (((1120 + (SP * 1.2)) * 1.17) * (1 - Crit Rate))
SF Damage = ((((1120 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.17) * 2) * 0.38) + (((1120 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.17) * (1 - 0.38))
SF Damage = (8236.80 * 0.38) + (4118.40 * (1 - 0.38)) = 5683.392
With the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond the average damage of Starfire is:

SF Damage = ((((1120 + (SP * 1.2)) * 1.17) * 2.09) * Crit Rate) + (((1120 + (SP * 1.2)) * 1.17) * (1 - Crit Rate))
SF Damage = ((((1120 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.17) * 2.09) * 0.38) + (((1120 + (2000 * 1.2)) * 1.17) * (1 - 0.38))
SF Damage = (8607.456 * 0.38) + (4118.40 * (1 - 0.38)) = 5824.2413

So as you can see the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond increased the average damage of Starfire under these circumstances by 140.8493. Now, we all know that 1 spell power does not equal 1 damage. So, we need to find out how much damage 1 point of Spell Power provides. We can find that with the following equation.

Damage from SP = (((1 * 1.2) * 1.17) * (1 + Crit Rate)
Damage from SP = (((1 * 1.2) * 1.17) * (1 + 0.38) = 1.9375

Since 1 Spell Power is equivalent to 1.9375 damage and the extra crit damage increased the average Starfire Damage by 140.8493, then the extra crit damage is equivalent to 72.6957 Spell Power for Starfire (140.8493 / 1.9375 = 72.6957). I have also run the numbers for Wrath and the results are a little bit lower. For Wrath the extra crit damage is equivalent to 65.5716 Spell Power.

It is also important to remember that not all of our damage can crit, but after looking at WWS reports I find that leaste 80% of it can on average. So I think it is safe to say for the middle of the road moonkin that I have presented the extra crit from the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond is equivalent to 55.3068 Spell Power ( (((72.6957 + 65.5716) / 2) * 0.8) ).

The Ember Skyflare Diamond on the other hand has a static 25 Spell Power and an extra 2% Intellegence. The extra Intellegence will give you a little extra Spell Power and Crit Chance, but even for a well geared moonkin like me it is only and extra 3 spell Power and 7 Crit rating.

Simply put, I have run this comparison for several different gear levels. The only way I could make the Ember Skyflare Diamond equivalent to the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond in terms of damage was to use rediculously low stats of around 1300 Spell Power, 20% Crit and 11% haste.

In Terms of Mana:

The only real argument that the Ember Skyflare Diamaond has is mana. In fact, I will conceed that it is better in terms of mana returned, but the difference really isn't that big.

Lets take the hypothetical moonkin I used above and assume that he has 1000 intellegence fully raid buffed. This means the Ember Skyflare Diamond will give him an extra 20 Int. The most obvious impact is that this will increase Mp5 by 2 due to Dreamstate. It also increases your mana pool by 300 mana, which increases the amount of mana returned from Moonkin Form.

Note: I am going to ignore Replenishment for now because it is impossible to figure out what the impact of that will be. In fact, it could be negative because the extra Int may cause someone else to get Replenishment instead of you.

The extra 300 mana means that every time you crit you get an extra 6 mana back with a crit chance of 38% for SF this means you will get an average of 2.28 mana back per SF cast. The average cast time of SF for the hypothetical moonking is 2.4017 seconds ((3-(0.5*0.38))/(1+ 0.17) = 2.4017). This means the extra 300 mana is equivalent to 4.7466 Mp5 (2.28 * (5/2.4017) = 4.7466).

When you combine this with Dreamstate the Ember Skyflare Diamond is equivalent to 6.7466 Mp5. However, this isn't a pure advantage over the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond because the 21 Crit rating on it has some mana affects also.

The hypothetical moonkin with 1000 Int will have a mana pool of at leaste 17000. This means that every time he crits 340 mana is returned. The 21 Crit rating from the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond increases his Crit Chance by 0.4575%. This means that on average each spell cast will return 1.5555 mana more then without the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (340 * 0.004575 = 1.5555). This is equivalent to 3.2384 Mp5 (1.5555* (5/2.4017) = 3.2384).

Now, we can clearly see that the Ember Skyflare Diamond does have an Mp5 advantage over the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, but the difference is very small. Again I have run the numbers for several levels of gear, and the Ember Diamonds advantage is between 3 and 4 Mp5 for all realistic gear levels.

TL:DR version:

In terms of damage, the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond is clearly superior. For the middle of the road moonkin I've presented it provides more then twice the damage of the Ember Skyflare Diamond. On top of that it is significantly better for a well geared moonkin and will only improve more as we progress into Tier 8 and Tier 9 content.

In terms of mana the Ember Skyflare Diamond is Superior, but the advantage is small and will not help anyone with serious mana issues. Realisticly Mp5 is not a good stat for moonkin. A majority of raiding moonkin don't have big issues, and if they did they could get more Mp5 by resocketing normal gems or by changing their talents around a little bit. Simply put, the 3 - 4 Mp5 that the Ember Diamond provides is not worth the 30+ spell power loss.

Addition: There are other meta gems available then what I have listed. However, none of them are great for raiding. If you would like to look at them you can find a list here. Most are PvP focused and I wouldn't recommend any of them over the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Moonkin Mana Regen

If you played a Balance Druid in Vanilla WoW you are very familiar with the term "Oomkin." Our mana issues were so pervasive that this term survived through most of the Burning Crusade, even after most of our mana issues were fixed. In Wrath of the Lich King, our "Oomkin" days are far behind us, and anyone that uses the term is either uninformed or joking.

However, I still regularly receive question asking: How much mana regen do I need? Which talents are best? Can I give up Talent X to get more DPS talents?

With that in mind I wanted to provide this little guide for Moonkin mana regen.


Moonglow - This talent reduces the mana cost of your primary DPS spells. Due to how it works it does not scale well relative to the other talents available. It does improve with haste, because more casting means you will be saving more mana, but the affect is small. This talent is best for people with an entry level of gear (i.e. Leveling gear , preraiding gear), but it quickly gets out classed by Dreamstate and Intensity as your Spirit and Intellegence levels increase. Moonglow is also best in fights with near constant DPS casting.

Note: You will see most Moonkin with at least one point in this talent because it is needed to get to the higher tiers of the Balance tree.

Dreamstate - This talent increases your Mp5 by 10% of your Intellegence. Dreamstate scales very well with gear since almost all Moonkin gear will have Intellegence on it and we have other talents like Furor that increase our intellegence level. This talent continues to regenerate mana until your mana is full and shines in choppy fights that don't allow for constant casting.

Intensity - This talent allows 30% of your out of combat mana regen to continue while in combat. Intensity also scales very well with gear since your out of combat mana regen is based upon Spirit and Intellegence. This talent shines in fights where there is near constant casting and few breaks where you will exit the 5 second rule.

Omen of Clarity - With this talent each of your spells has a chance to reduce the mana cost of your next spell by 100%. I haven't been able to find a definative discription of how this talent works, but most sources agree on a few points. The proc rate is normalized based upon the casting speed of spells. Therefore it doesn't favor faster spells like Wrath. The proc rate seems to be about 2 procs per minute.

Like Moonglow this talent doesn't scale well relative to the other talents, since the mana of each spell does not change. Some people suggest that you switch to a high mana spell when it does proc to maximize the benefit, but I recommend against it because you will loose DPS looking for the proc.

Omen of Clarity is best in fights where there is near constant casting because it can proc off of any ability (including making bandages). What makes this talent really nice though is that it costs just 1 talent point.

Moonkin Form - I don't really think about this as a mana regen talent but it should be listied. While in Moonkin form a druid has a chance to return 2% of their total mana when the crit with a single target spell. Amazingly I tended to get a majority of my mana regen from this talent even when I had all 4 of the other regen talents. The affect is huge especially when you have crit enhancing buffs like Improved Scorch.

From here on out I am going to ignore Moonkin form because I assume that you have it. If there is such a thing as a balance druid without it then they are probably beyond help.

How much regen do I need?

This depend a lot on your group make up, but as a general rule your going to need more regen as your group gets smaller and the fights get longer.

In 25mans I have absolutely no mana issues, and I have seen some high end raiding mookin drop all of their mana regen talents without issue. In 10mans, I have issues on the longer fights like Sarth2D because my group doesn't have mage, Shadow Priest or Ret pally. In 5mans I don't have any issues because the fights are to short, but my experiance may not be relevant to you. My gear level makes up for my low mana regen.

If your play style focus on 5mans and you don't have a lot of gear then your probably going to want as much regen as you can get. If you raid 10man's regularly then its going to depend on your group compition. If you regularly raid 25mans then you probably have most of the buffs covered and can sacrifice some mana regen for some DPS talents. However, the best way to tell if you need more regen is if your consistantly running out of mana on boss fights.

Ok, I need some regen, but which talents to I choose?

If you've looked around the various moonkin forums then you have probably seen this equation.

Omen of Clarity > Intensity > Dreamstate > Moonglow
This equation was written with well geared raiders in mind, but it is a pretty good guideline and fairly vague. Lets see if I can put some numbers to it to explain it better.

The Numbers:

Omen of Clarity - Numerically, this is a hard ability to nail down. It's very random, you may get it but not use it, and its hard to determane which spell consumes it. To calculate its value I looked at several old WWS reports. Look at a couple of high casting fights like Patchwerk and Razuvious the proc rate does indeed seem to be about 2 times per minute but highly variable.

Next I tried to figure out what is the average mana cost of the spells I cast during a boss fight. Looking at the WWS report from the raid where I got the Undying acheavement, I got at my total spell casts for a naxx clear. (I know this is a 10man instead of a 25man. However, I don't think my casting habits change much if at all from 10mans to 25mans.) I won't give you the boring details but I cast a total of 1,326 during boss fights at an average mana cost of 458 per spell with one point in Moonglow.

Now, even though Omen of Clarity procs twice per minute on average, not all of those procs will be used and it is highly variable. So, to try and get a minimum value lets assume that you only use Omen of Clarity one and a half times per minute.

We can get a Mp5 equivalent by dividing the mana saved per minute by 12. Therefore the equivalent Mp5 is equal to:

(458*1.5)/12 = 57.40 Mp5 Equivalent - Assuming you have one point in Moonglow

This may not seem like much, but since it costs only one talent point it is far ahead of what you would get by investing that point in Dreamstate or Intensity. Just for reference, if you invest a full 3 points into Moonglow, Omen of Clarity would be worth 54.10 Mp5 Equivalent.

- This talent was much easier to quantify, but it is very easy to present misleading information. If you look around the web, you may find a person or two that will indicate one point in Moonglow is equivalent to 45 - 50 Mp5. Their numbers may be theoretically accurate, but here not practial because they are evaluating the talent under ideal circumstances. For Moonglow to reach those levels of mana saving you have to be constantly casting with no brakes and no latency. In real life that isn't going to happen.

So to accurately quantify the value of Moonglow, I will have to look at WWS reports again.

Looking at just the boss fights in my latest Naxx run I cast Starfire 488 times, Wrath 525 times, Moonfire 113 times, and Starfall ~10 times. All 15 boss fights took a total of 46 minutes and 6 seconds (2766 total seconds).

For each spell cast I saved the following amount of mana:

Starfire: (3496 * 0.16) * 0.03 = 16.78
Wrath: (3496 * 0.11) * 0.03 = 11.54
Moonfire: (3496 * 0.24) * 0.03 = 25.17
Starfall: (3496 * 0.35) * 0.03 = 36.71
So, to get Mp5 equivalent for the raid, you take the total mana saved and divide it by the time spent in combat times five.

Mp5 Equivalent = (((488 * 16.78) + (525 * 11.54) + (113 + 25.17) + (10 * 36.71)) / 2766) * 5
Mp5 Equivalent = ((8,189.03 + 6056.82 + 2844.35 + 367.08) / 2766) * 5
Mp5 Equivalent = (17457.28 / 2766) * 5
Mp5 Equivalent = 6.31 * 5 = 31.56 Mp5

These numbers will vary from person to person and night to night, but I doubt it will vary much. In fact I think my estimation of Moonglows value is a little high because I used Wrath a little to much.

Dreamstate - This one is really easy to quantify. All you need is your total Intellegence fully raid buffed. To calculate it look at your armory and get your unbuffed Int. Then add 60 for Arcane Intellect and 51 for Improved Mark of the Wild. Then multiply that value by 1.1 for Blessing of Kings, and by 1.1 again for Furor. For me the equation works out like this:

Total Int = (889 + 60 + 51) * 1.1 * 1.1 = 1210 Int.

When you have your fully raid buff Int you multiply that value by 0.04 to find the value of the first point, and 0.03 to find the value of the second and third point. So, for me Dreamstate is worth:

Dreamstate(1pt) = 1210 * 0.04 = 48.4 Mp5
Dreamstate(pt 2 & 3) = 1210 * 0.03 = 36.3 Mp5

Intensity - This one is a little more complecated to calculate. First we need to find our Out of Combat mana regen. To do that we use this formula at level 80:

MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + sqrt(Int) * Spirit * 0.005575 )
I've already showed you how to find your raid buffed total Intellect. Finding your raid buffed Spirit is very similar. Look at your armory and get your unbuffed Spirit. Then add 80 for Divine Spirit and 51 for Improved Mark of the Wild. Then multiply that value by 1.1 for Blessing of Kings. For me the equation works out like this:

Tot Spirit = (371 + 80 + 51) * 1.1 = 552 Spirit
So my Out of Combat mana regen is:

MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + sqrt(1210) * 552 * 0.005575 )
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + 34.79 * 552 * 0.005575 )
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + 34.79 * 552 * 0.005575 ) = 535 Mp5
Therefore, to get the value of each talent point is just multiply t his by 10%. So for me, each point I put in Intensity is worth:

Intensity(1pt) = 535 * 0.10 = 53.5 Mp5

The TL:DR Version:

As a general rule you can currently use this priority when evaluating mana regen talents:

Omen of Clarity > Intensity > Dreamstate > Moonglow
Please remember though that Omen of Clarity and Moonglow are very static since they are based primarily upon the spells mana cost. This means that they favor relatively low levels of gear, but will be out paced by Intensity and Dreamstate as your gear improves.

That said, Omen of Clarity is still the best mana regen talent currently because it only costs one talent point. I do not expect this to persist until the end of Wrath of the Lich King because Intensity and Dreamstate will Improve significantly in Teir 8 and Teir 9.

Note: Thanks are owed to Phae at Resto4Life for cross posting this article with me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GC: "I was wrong" - Imp FF works with any FF

Ghostcrawler made a third (and probably final) post on this topic and it is the one we wanted to here.

I went ahead and looked at this in game, and I am happy to report that I was wrong. Any Faerie Fire should allow you to get the 3% crit, even if you didn't cast it.

So the tooltip should probably read:

Your Faerie Fire and Feral Faerie Fire spells also increase the chance the target will be hit by spell attacks by 3%, and increase the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 3% on targets afflicted by [anyone's] Faerie Fire or Feral Faerie Fire.

I don't always have the game right in front of me when I am reading forums (most often I am on a painfully topical beach sipping mai tais) so I try not to guess unless I am pretty sure about something. I was pretty sure about this, but I was wrong. It happens. There are like 15,000 spells in the game.
This is exactly what we wanted. A final and definitive statement about Improved Faerie Fire. The bonus here is that by the tone of GC's post there isn't any plan to change it. This is a true win for moonkin.

Now that this is confirmed, Improved Faerie Fire is a core talent of any moonkin raiding build. There is really no other way to get around it. If you have a feral druid in your raid it is a static 3% increase to crit. If you don't have a feral druid in raid someone has to apply the minor armor debuff and Faerie Fire is the best option.

Thank you Ghostcrawler for taking the time to look into this and clearing it up. Any rational player doesn't expect you know everything about the game off the top of your head, and you can't possibly research every question presented on these forums. So, a misunderstandings like this is bound to happen once in a while. As long as it is cleared up I'm fine.

Thanks to Foofy for being a pit bull on this topic. If you hadn't pushed it so hard I'm sure we would still be having this debate for months.

Monday, January 12, 2009

GC: Imp Faerie Fire not intended to work with Feral FF.

Update: Ghostcrawler made another post regarding Improved Faerie Fire. You can find it here and I have quoted it in full at the bottom. It doesn't really add anything to the conversation. My opinion it comes down to this. Even if it's not working as intended there is no reason to "fix it" because it's not "broke." Moonkin are clearly not overpowered relative to other classes.

Foofy, a Moonkin Repository Moderator, has been on a quest lately to figure out if Imp FF works with someone else's Faerie Fire. She has done some testing on the target dummies. She talked to a GM in game for quite a while to try and get answers from him, and he indicated that Imp FF should work with FFF. She had a screenshot of the comment up but it appears to have been taken down. Finally she made a post on the Damage Dealing forum asking GC for an answer and bumped it regularly. Her persistence was rewarded with a response.

I am almost positive the talent is looking at your spells. So if you cast Wrath, it does a check to see if you also have FF up on the target.

The intent of the talent is to encourage you to cast Faerie Fire, compensating you a
little for the fact that you are debuffing the target. It isn't intended to just be "here have some crit." The intent is that if you cast FF, even if the debuff is already on the mob, you are rewarded for it.

I suspect it isn't smart enough to detect Feral Faerie Fire now that it's a base spell, so we should probably fix the case of a Balance druid who casts FFF and then goes back to Wrath or whatever.

I am just guessing based on the way spells usually work. I did not try this myself so I could be wrong.

I will also admit that there are some inconsistencies currently in the game between whether you are supposed to apply a debuff again on a mob that already has it (because sometimes you get a "More Powerful Spell" error). This is something we're trying to clean up though.

So, you may now be asking yourself: What does this mean? In my opinion, very little.

First off, GC seems to be talking of the cuff. This is the way he thinks it should work, but he probably doesn't know the coding completely and hasn't thought about it much. That is the impression I get.

I still think Imp FF works with Feral FF, but there is more testing needed, and several people have stepped up to say they are going to do it. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone that is heavily into pvp or a feral druid so I can't test it myself.

If it does work, I'm not sure what we should expect. It's clear that GC would consider it a bug, and it may be fixed in a future patch. On the other hand, its clear that Moonkin are not OP DPS killing all of the charts. I wouldn't be surprised if blizz treated this as a happy accident and let it stand even if it wasn't intended.

I know that some of you are probably wondering: Should I spec into IFF or not? Really I think it is up to you if you have a Feral Druid and Shadow Priest in raid. I still think it will help you but if you would prefer to have more mana regen, Gale Winds, or Imp IS then go for it. If you don't have a Feral Druid or Shadow Priest in raid regularly then you should spec into IFF and casting FF anyway.

The second GC post:

I am saying the tooltip, which currently reads:

Your Faerie Fire spell also increases the chance the target will be hit by spell attacks by 3%, and increases the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 3% on targets afflicted by Faerie Fire.

Should probably read:

Your Faerie Fire and Feral Faerie Fire spells also increase the chance the target
will be hit by spell attacks by 3%, and increase the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 3% on targets afflicted by your Faerie Fire or Feral Faerie Fire.

One of the issues we are currently discussing is what to do in the case where someone chooses a talent that they end up not using because someone else in the group also has the same buff of equal or greater potency. To be fair though this is not a new problem. Raids always had to manage buffs like Spirit or Kings that were talented. I think groups usually worked around that by just grouping with the same people a lot and making sure someone had the talent. We are seeing a lot more raids pugged these days, and in any case, you often still want the buff when you are soloing. It is something we're discussing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm Undying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Headed into Naxx on Saturday night and look what happened..

You know. It felt good when we downed Malygos, and Sarth 2D. It even felt good when we cleared Naxx, but this is the first time I've had that awesome feeling you get when you do something special. I haven't felt this way since I downed Vashj.

Realistically it's not that hard. None of the 15 bosses put up huge road blocks and I think a lot of guilds could do all of them with out dying. The question is do you have the focus to do all 15 with out dying. One slip up and its done. You can't try it again for another week. One lag spike and it could be over. That is some major pressure especially when you get to the final boss and you have to worry about void zones, ice tombs and mana bombs.

Grats to Myraxa for organizing a great run. Grats to everyone that got the achievement with me: Tirma, Sidonie, Victus, Draxa, Sevrenwinter, Osmand, Collbey, & Chamia. Great job guys.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Balanced Update

It has been almost two months since the expansion was released. In that time a lot has happened. All of that theoretical stuff we talked about before 3.0.2 is now in game and available to be tested. We also have a better idea of what the gear is like, how buffs work, and what our over all stat totals will are. So, some of the stuff I posted in the past isn't all that correct anymore, and I dread the day I get an e-mail saying:

"Graylo, Back in October you said that we should only put one point in Eclipse. Why do you have 3 in it you hypocrite"

I had high hopes before the expansion that I would be able to update all of my old versus posts quickly and be on the cutting edge of Moonkin Theorycrafting. Sadly I realized fairly quickly that was not my spot in the WoW community. I just don't have the time necessary to be on that cutting edge. Instead I will continue to tray and make new information available relatively quickly in a way that is easy to find and understand by the average raider.

For that reason, in this post I would like to go over some of the new conventional wisdom regarding how to raid a moonkin. I do plan on doing more detailed posts on some of this information, but I want to give you the general idea first. Most of this information is based upon information I have read at the Elitist Jerk's Druid forum. If your looking for cutting edge information or just really like math I highly recommend checking these forums out.

Back in October I did two posts on Eclipse. In those posts I said that that you would want to put at most 1 point into it. However, if you've looked at my armory anytime recently you would have seen that I have 3 points in Eclipse, and some of you may have been thinking: What gives?

Well the truth is that Blizzard buffed the talent into usefullness. When I wrote those posts Eclipse had a 10 second duration and a 40 second cooldown. In the current version of the game Eclipse has 15 second duration and a 30 second cooldown. That is a huge change. Most if not all high end raiding moonkin now use this talent, and put 3 points into it.

So how should you use it? First, get the addon Squawk and Awe. It does a couple of things but he most important feature is that it displays a bar that shows you the duration of your Eclipse buff and the cooldown.

Second, I recommend using the Precasting method. What I mean is that you want precast Wrath to buff Starfire. The Starfire buff is larger and is less mana intensive on average. With this in mind I have three rotations that I use.

1. Eclipse not up and not on cooldown: (MF, IS, W ) In this situation I try and keep my dots up and cast Wrath to proc Eclipse.

2. Eclipse is up: (SF spam, maybe MF) With the buff up you want to get as many SFs in as you can, but if your MF falls off early in the first couple seconds it is worth it to reapply.

3. Eclipse not up but is on cooldown: (MF, IS, SF) In this stage I stick with Starfire, but I go back to keeping my dots up.

Finally I want explain why I use Starfire over Wrath. As I have said before Wrath is a much improved spell in WotLK, but must raiding moonkin still favor Starfire to be their go to spell. The reason is that Starfire scales much better with haste then Wrath does, and it is much more mana efficent. On paper Wrath does have a DPS advantage, but in real life it shrinks quite a bit.

Nature's Grace:
This is a great talent and no one debates that. The question is does Nature's Grace affect the global cooldown?

If you remember back to the beta this was big news but then dropped off the face of the earth. Beta testers were saying that they saw no eveidence that NG was reducing the global cooldown, and it was widely assumed that it had been stealth removed from the game. Then the 3.0.2 patch notes said "Nature's Grace (Balance): Now also reduces the global cooldown of your Wrath spell by 50% while in effect."

This obviously brought the debate back to life, and after some testing and looking at WWS reports it appears that Nature's Grace does in fact reduce the global cooldown for Wrath. Their does appear to be a 1 second floor, so the GCD isn't reduced by 50% as indicated in the patch notes.

This does make Wrath a more attractive spell but it's impact will be felt more by casual players with a relatively low level of gear more then hardcore raiders. Since the GCD has a 1 second floor the affect will be reduces as your haste increases.

(Thanks to Erdluf for pointing out some of this information for me.)

Improved Faerie Fire:
I don't think there was a talent critized more in the beta then Improved Faerie Fire. It is much easier for a shadow priest to apply the 3% chance to hit with spells. Ferals, can easily apply the armor reduction without issue, and the personal 3% chance to crit didn't make up for the DPS lost by using a global cooldown on Faerie Fire. However, there was one question that no one could seem to answer.

If you look at the tooltip you will see that it says "increases the critical strike chance of your damage spells by 3% on targets afflicted by Faerie Fire." It does not say that you have to apply the Faerie Fire or that it even has to be applied by a moonkin. The theory was that you could get the 3% crit if a feral in your raid applied the buff, but none seemed to be able to prove it.

Well the EJ poster Dirm did came up with a smart way to test it. He reduced is talented crit rate to just under 9% by taking his gear off. Then he had a guildie were resistance gear to reduce crit chance by 9%. Theoretically the guildie was now un critable by Dirm. Dirm then had a feral druid apply FFF to his guildie and he started casting rank 1 Wrath, one of them crit.

I think this is pretty conclusive evidence that Improved Faerie Fire does increase your crit chance no matter who puts up Faerie Fire.

Now what does this mean for us. Realistically there is no reason for a raiding moonkin to not have Imp FF now. If you have a feral in raid then you have an extra 3% chance to crit. If you dont' have a feral in raid, you need to have FF up for all of the melee, because it is a better option then Curse of Recklessness or Sting.

Picking it up could be a little tricky. You basically have two options. Most high end raiders drop mana regen to pick it up. Personally I am not having any mana troubles in 25mans and can easily drop some to pick up Imp FF and I suggest that you look here first. If that's not an option because your having mana issues I suggest dropping Improved Insect Swarm.

Mana Regen:
I have a post planned to cover this but I want make a quick note about it now for you. Most high end raiders are finding that they don't need a lot of mana regen. In fact some have dropped all mana regen talents from their spec. I'm not suggesting that any one go out and mimic them, but if you thing you can drop some mana regen I want to make sure you can do it smartly. As a general rule this is how the mana regen talents stack up for a well geared raiding moonkin:

Omen of Clarity > Intensity > Dreamstate > Moonglow

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment or send me an email.