Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Find Moonkin Stat Valuations

Update: This post is out dated but the instructions at the bottom telling how to find your own stat valuations are still mostly correct. If you got here due to a link on my gear guide that is the section you want. If you got here by another method I suggest you look at my raiding guide for more accurate information.

The first draft of my ICC gear list is almost ready.With it will come the usual questions. How much do you value haste? How did you calculate the valuations? Why are your valuations different now then they were on your last list?

While some of the answers can get complicated, but most of the confusion regarding my changing valuations can be explained with two simple answers. 1. I make mistakes. 2. Things change.

In the past, when I estimated my stats for my simulator I did a real rough estimation. I wouldn't say the stats I used were wrong, but they were probably squewed in a way that changed the results some. This caused me to favor some stats a little more then I should have.

Though my mistakes do have an impact, the changing nature of WoW has a much bigger impact. At the very least stats change. As we gear up we get more Spell Power, Haste, and Crit. Each of these stats depend on the others and changing one will change the marginal value of the others. While all of the rating stats will genererally increase in Marginal Value as you gear up, they will not increase in value at the same rate. So, how we valued a stat during T7 content is very different then how we value the same stat in T10 content.

Over the last six months, we have had several things change. For obvious reasons this will change the way our stats interact. Therefore, I feel the need to restate the stat equation. I've looked at this using several tools, and for the most part they all agree.

Below Haste Soft Cap (400 haste rating):

Hit Rating > Spell Power > Haste Rating > Crit Rating
In unusual situations Haste may be greater then Spell Power, but that is probably due to irregular gearing choices.

Over Haste Soft Cap, but below Lunar Crit Cap:
Hit Rating > Spell Power > Crit Rating > Haste Rating
This is a change from what I've said before, but there is enough space between Crit and Haste that I'm confident Crit is better point for point.

Over Lunar Crit Cap:
Hit Rating > Spell Power > Crit Rating = Haste Rating
According to the simulators and spreadsheets Crit is still slightly better, but they are two close to really matter.

These general rules don't mean that Haste is worthless after the soft cap, or that Crit is worthless after the Lunar Crit cap. They are still very good stats, and better then both Int and Spirit. This is really a guide as to how you should gem and enchant your gear. It may also help when choosing between two very similar items.

Finding Stat values using WrathCalcs.

Some of you may be thinking why should I believe you now. Every time you say something you end up changing it a couple of months later.

To be completely honest I agree, but for slightly different reasons. Stat valuations are highly variable based upon the assumptions used to create them. I can't possible make the valuations for everyone so I use myself as an example. Luckily it is fairly easy for all of us to find out our own valuations.

The first place you can find it is using WrathCalcs. You can find the spread sheet here at the bottom of the Moonkin Think tank thread.

It is very easy to use. After you down load the spreadsheet, look up your toon on the armory. Then plug your armory stats into Column C of the spread sheet. After that make sure you have all of the appropriate talents, buffs, and debuffs selected in columns C, G, and K.

After the sheet is fully filled out the marginal values of your stats will be available in DPS for in column D. To convert them to my format you just have to divide each of the values by the Spell Power valuation.

Finding Stat values using SimulationCraft.

You can download SimulationCraft from here.

Click the Options tab at the top, and then click the Scaling tab below that. Then select the stats you would like SimulationCraft to evaluate. Just select the standard DPS stats with the addition of Int and Spirit. Selecting the other stats will just make the analysis take longer. You may also want to make sure all of the buffs and debuffs are selected in there respective tabs but they should already be selected by default.

To import your toon click the import tab. You can import from several websites but I suggest using the armory. The import tab works just like a Web Browser. Find your toon and then hit the import button in the bottom right hand corner.

Clicking the import button should automatically move you to the Simulate Tab. At this point just hit the Simulate button in the bottom right hand corner unless you want to make some changes to the toon you imported. The results of your analysis should pop out in about a minute and will be available about halfway down the page.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Drama Mamas and a Second Look at LFG

I'm a big fan of I particularly like the various advice columns, and today I would like to comment on this post from the Drama Mamas. The reader discribed himself as a power player, who tried to get the most out of his toons by using the best specs, rotations, and gear possible, and wanted to ask if he behaved inappropriately in a recent pug experianced he had using the new LFG tool.

The reader and two like minded friends queued up using the LFG too and were grouped with two random players for one of the new ICC 5man. One of the randoms was a DK who joined the group as DPS. The DK wore a mixture of tank and DPS gear and had an irregular spec. On the first boss the DK did about 1100 DPS and did worse on the second boss even though he got an upgrade from the first boss. The group wasn't having trouble clearing the content, the reader suggest to the DK that he may want to check with Elitist Jerks and other sources to look for ways to improve his DPS. After the last boss was killed, the DK cussed out the group and dropped group. The reader was asking the Drama Mamas if he was wrong to offer suggestions to improve the DK's DPS.

In responce to this, Drama Mama Robin, decided to rip the reader a new one. Basically her point was that different people value different things in this game, and it doesn't matter how much DPS each of are doing individually as long as you are clearing the content. Therefore the reader was being unreasonable and elitest by making his suggestions. Drama Mama Lisa was more tactful in her responce and offered some good suggestions, but had a similar opinion in the end.

If you can't tell from my summary, this post struck me a little wrong. I understand the readers frustrations to some extent, and was a little shocked by the response he got. In the end it forced me to really evaluate what I thought about the situation and some of my own experiences using the LFG tool.

Yes, He was unreasonable:

I think it is safe to say that I fall into the "power player" category that the reader describes. Due to my gear and my experience I regularly do double the DPS of anyone else in the party when I use the LFG tool. Oddly enough I've had the same experience on my warlock. In my most extreme experience I did almost 75% of all the damage for the entire instance on Graylo. For lack of a better term, I think it is safe to say that I've "carried" a couple of groups, and to be completely honest that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I agree with a lot of what Robin and Lisa said in their responses. First and foremost, if you're clearing the instance it doesn't really matter that someone is not pulling their weight compared to the others. Second, it is not up to me to dictate how someone else plays the game. I've played as a Moonkin for several years, and I had plenty of people tell me that Balance was not a viable spec. I didn't like being told how to spec, and doubt anyone else does either. Third, I learned a long time ago that a quick way to get cussed out was to offer unsolicited advice. When you do, you are basically telling the other player they suck, and few people will accept that with a smile. So, to some extent I do think the reader was being unreasonable.

While I have used the LFG tool as Graylo and with my warlock, a majority of my LFG experience comes from using the tool with my priest. He was poorly geared before the patch, and I wanted to gear him up as well as work on a couple of reputations. I think it is safe to say that my priest was "carried" a couple of times while I geared him up, but that doesn't mean I was useless or that the other players could act like jerks. There is one particular situation that sticks out in my mind.

The LFG tool put me in a random group for Heroic Nexus. I still had a couple of holes in my gear at this point, but I was able to do what I thought was decent DPS for a 5 man. The tank on the other hand was raid geared. He had clear ToGC10 and had experience with 25man raids. After the first boss he starts talking trash, and complains that he is second on the DPS list for trash and a couple of bosses. If this was a raid, I could understand his frustration, but we were in a 5man, and he over geared the instance by a mile. On top of that he doesn't have to worry about aggro so he can use his AoE abilities from the start. Of course he is beating me on DPS for some pulls. Shadow Priests are not built well for really short fights, and their AoE isn't the best.

In short, I don't think anyone should be belittled or criticized for having low DPS when compared to people who are over geared for the content. I would never step in to a 5man on Graylo, and tell the other players they are slackers because they can't keep up with me. If I pull aggro, that is my fault. As long as they are not doing anything incredibly stupid I would be a dick to make any comments that were not asked for.

No, He was not Unreasonable:

That said, I do think some lower geared players to need to have some level of courtesy. If you read the post I'm referencing you will notice that the reader says the DK was geared with a mixture of Tank and DPS gear. I'm not a hundred percent sure how the LFG tool identifies if you are ready to run a particular instance, but since he did not have a full set of DPS gear, I think it is safe to say his DPS gear was not good enough to be able to run the new instances. By entering the queue as DPS without a proper DPS set he is making it tougher on the rest of us. What if he wasn't grouped with people that could carry him. What if he was grouped with people appropriately geared for the instance. Because of his lack of quality they may not have been able to complete it.

By that same token, I think every player should make some effort to learn how to play their class, before they take on the tougher challenges in the game. I will use my priest an example again. His gear may have been bad, but I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing. That doesn't mean I know what the absolute best rotations and such, or that I am now an expert on Shadow Priest. I complete understand that reading a guide isn't enough. You have to practice some where, but if you don't know what to practice your just wasting time. Though I don't think the reader should have offered his advice, I do think the DK should take a little more effort to learn what he is doing. His next group might not be quite as capable as his last one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Frost Emblems: Idol vs Tier Set

As I look around the internet lately I've seen the same question asked multiple times. What should I buy first with my Emblems of Frost? It's not a surprising question, but I have been surprised by consistency of the answer and by the confidence with which it is given. Almost every time I've seen this question answered, the poster says to not buy anything else until you've completed your tier set.

The logic seems to be that, because our Tier set is so well itemized and the idol is a smaller upgrade that we can make due with the Idol of Lunar Fury for a few weeks while we pick up the emblems for our Tier set. This isn't bad logic, but I do disagree with it. In this post I hope to show you why you should considering picking up the idol as your first Frost Emblem purchase.

Time Value of Gear:

Most of my education has focused on Economics and Finance, and this situation seems to be similar to a financial concept called the time value of money. In short, the Time Value of Money shows that the present value of a future payment is relative to when will receive that payment (in financial terms it also depends on other things like interest rates). Assuming that the interest rates are the same and the payments are the same, the payment you receive first has a higher value then the payments you receive after that.

Granted in the real world the payments and interest rate will not be constant. It is quite possible for a future payment to be worth more in terms of present value then a payment made today, but hopefully you see my point. A smaller payment received now may be worth more then a future payment given the right terms and interest rate. I know this doesn't necessarily translate smoothly to gear in a video game, but I think you can see how gear received today can be worth more then gear received at a future date.

So the question is which will help our DPS more? Do we take the idol now and delay when we pick up a few of the tier pieces or do we pick up the tier pieces as soon as we can and wait on the Idol?

A Question of Timing:

I'm going to hold off on looking at it from a DPS point. The numbers will vary depending on the stats you star with, but I will stipulate that a single piece of Tier gear is probably a larger DPS increase then upgrading the idol. However, I do want to look at it from a perspective of timing.

I want to make a few of assumptions. First, lets assume we pick up the maximum number of Frost Emblems each week. Second I will assume that we pick up the two cheapest pieces first and then the 3 more expensive pieces. Third, I assume that you are picking up pieces as soon as you can even if it doesn't provide a set bonus. Fourth, we know that the first gate won't open for 4 weeks, but I will assume that the other gates will open after just 2 weeks.

The shoulder and glove pieces each cost 60 emblems. The head, chest, and legs each cost 95 emblems. The idol costs 30 emblems. To pick up 4 tier items and an idol, you need a total of 340 emblems of frost. To pick up just the Tier set you will need 310 emblems. So, how quickly can you get to 310 and 340 emblems.

You can pick up 6 emblems the first time you run the new ICC five man instances. If you run the random every day you can pick up another 14, and there are 5 emblems available from the weekly quest. From ICC you can pick up 2 emblems per boss on both 10 man and 25 man. During these first 4 weeks that means you can pick up 16 emblems from ICC per week. If you add all that up you see that you can get a total of 35 emblems per week for the first four weeks plus 6 additional one time only emblems. That is a total of emblems 146. When the first gate opens 3 new bosses will be released. With 7 bosses available you can get a total of 47 emblems per week. After 6 weeks it is possible to have a total of 240 emblems. when the second gate opens 2 additional bosses will be available. With this, the weekly max will increase 55 emblems per week. After 7 weeks you would have a total of 295 emblems. Not enough to complete the set. After the eight week a maximum of 350 would be available. With this you could complete the set and pick up the idol.

In short, it doesn't matter if you wait to pick up the idol or if you pick it up first. It will take you a minimum of 8 weeks to pick up four pieces of T10 gear. That is 8 weeks of missing a clear and irreplaceable DPS increase. I'm not saying picking up the idol first is a clear winner. Taking the idol first will delay the first for pieces by a week if you pick them ups ass soon as you have the badges available, but is that a huge DPS loss? I don't know. It's hard to argue if missing a smaller upgrade for 8+ weeks is a bigger deal then missing a 3 larger upgrades for one week each. However, the answer is not as clear cut to me as some people are suggesting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Lunar Crit Cap

We all know about the Hit Cap. Most of us are familiar with the the soft Haste Cap, though some people don't really understand it. Now we need to talk about a third cap, because you will be hearing more and more about it. It is the Lunar Crit Cap.

What is the Lunar Crit Cap?

In short, the Lunar Crit Cap is the level at which a combination of Crit Rating and Intelligence will make your Starfire Crit chance go above 100% with full raid buffs.

It has actually been around for a while. Several moonkin were able to reach it with a combination of 2T8 and high level gear our of ToGC. I've just chosen not to comment on it in the past because I thought it would be a temporary issue that very few people would have. However, with the changes to Eclipse in patch 3.3, the Lunar Crit Cap is alive and kicking. Lets take a quick look at some numbers.

We each have a base crit chance of 1.85%. On top of that we have a ton of bonuses we get from both self buffs and raid buffs.

BuffCrit Chance
Base Crit Chance1.85
Moonkin Aura5
Nature's Majesty4
Imp Insect Swarm3
Imp Faerie Fire3
Lunar Eclipse40
Imp Scorch5
Totem of Wrath3
Total from buffs64.85

As you can see, If you have full raid buffs you have a 64.85& chance to crit during Lunar Eclipse without including any Intelligence or Crit Rating into the equation. Some of you may be thinking that 35.15% crit chance from Crit Rating and Int is a lot, and it is, but it is probably closer then you think.

Looking at my own gear, I have close to 1200 Int unbuffed. I know that I am better geared then a lot of people, but I have only one piece of ICC gear. Everyone's gear is going to improve a lot over the next few weeks. With full raid buffs my base 1200 int will turn into 1620 Int ((1200+52+60)*1.1*1.1*1.02). If you divide that number by 166.66 you can see that I will get 9.72% crit chance from Int alone. Combine that with what I get from buffs and all of a sudden I have a 74.57 crit chance.

To pick up the last 25.43% from crit rating I would need 1167 points of crit rating. Once you take the 220 Crit rating I will get from [Idol of Lunar Eclipse] then you can see my Lunar Crit cap drops down to 947 crit rating.

Again, It may seem like I am a long way away from the cap since I only have 699 crit rating currently, but it's important to remember 2 things. First, we are only at the beginning of ICC. Being only 248 below the cap with very little gear from the highest level of content is very close. Second, as your gear improves the Crit rating cap will come down as you pick up more Int. If I pick up just 100 more Int then my Crit Cap comes down to 913 Crit Rating. With 200 more Int the cap is down to 880. If you get Focus Magic from a Mage the Cap is even lower.

How do I calculate my Crit Cap?

Since the Crit Cap depends on a combination of Int and Crit Rating, our individual caps will be different. Therefore you may be wondering how to calculate your own. Well, I know of two quick ways and both of them come from Hamlet on the Moonkin Think Tank post.

  • The Rough Estimate: This equation will give you a rough estimate 1575.5 - Int/3. Lets see how this equation apples to me. My armory has me at 1227 Int. Plugging that into the equation says my Lunar Crit Cap is 946.5 (1575.5-(1227/3)). As you can see that is really close to the number I calculated above.

  • WrathCalcs: If you plug your stats, talent build, and raid buffs into WrathCalcs it will calculate the cap for you at the bottom. You can find WrathCalcs at the Think tank linked above.

Why this Matters?

Both WrathCalcs and SimulationCraft are valuing Crit Rating more then Haste Rating if you have more then 400 Haste Rating. That doesn't mean Haste is useless, but it does mean that you will probably favor Crit a little more then you will favor haste while you gear up. Knowing your Lunar Crit Cap is important because it operates like the Haste Soft Cap. Crit rating won't be worthless after the cap, but it will drop in value. At that point, you will likely want to favor Haste a little more then Crit Rating.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Patch 3.3: First Impressions

Since Patch 3.3 has been out for only a couple of days, I know most of us are still taking it all in and digesting the information, but I wanted to take a minute and give my first impressions.

Icecrown Citadel (raid):

Last night I cleared the first 4 bosses in both the 10man and 25man version. In fact, my guild was one of only two guilds on my server to kill all 4 bosses on their first night of attempts. I know that doesn't mean much, but it's a small victory that makes us happy, and we can spend the rest of the week trying to finish up ToGC. Any, here are my impressions.

Lord Marrowgar: If Leotheras, Supremus, and Naj'entus had a baby, its name would be Lord Marrowgar. I think how you view this fight really depends on how long you've raided. Since I raided quite a bit in TBC I've seen something similar to all of his major mechanics before.

With that in mind, the fight was pretty boring to me. There was no sense of danger or challenge to the fight. The Whirlwind hit like bean back and would only do serious damage if you stood in it. Same for the fires. As for the bone spikes, I spent so much time on one I thought I was going to be rotisserie chicken, but again How many times have we seen this mechanic? All you have to do is create a simple targeting macro and the bone spikes are simple.

All that said, I can see this being a real pain on heroic mode. As a general rule I had hard time avoiding the Whirlwind and fires completely. The room is very small and there just isn't that much room to spread out in and still have range. His abilities may become much more troublesome when they hit harder.

Lady Deathwhisper: I found this fight more satisfying . Maybe it's because we wiped a couple of times, but it didn't feel like as big of a push over as Lord Marrowgar. As I said, we wiped a couple of times. That was mostly due to trying to find the right balance of boss DPS and Add DPS. I don't think it is a hugely difficult fight, I felt like the bosses mechanics were more dangerous. Playing poorly could kill you and cause your raid not to succeed.

Gunship Battle: It may be a victim of high expectations but I was disappointed and bored. It may also be a result of my role in the fight. I was on the ship defense team and the fight consisted of three things for me. 1. Don't get hit by a rocket. 2. DPS the adds. 3. Wait for more adds.

There was no variation in the fight or me, and I didn't feel like there was any real threat. At no point did I feel like we were in danger of being over run by adds. I think this fight could use some of the original Magtheradon mechanics. I think it would be a great idea to have some sort of lock out on how often you can use the cannons or your jet pack. That would at least force a more of a role rotation in the fight.

To make matters worse we were rewarded with no loot. The chest bugged out on us and we were not able to click it. Hopefully, we will be able to recover what was inside with a GM ticket.

Deathbringer Saurfang: In my opinion this is the first truly challenging fight in the instance. I felt the threat that the Boss and the Adds represented very early on and it made the fight more fun.

I also want to talk a little bit about the Typhoon strat presented by Tankspot. I'm sure many of you have read it, but I will explain it in short. You don't want anyone to be hit by the Blood Beasts, so you have a mookin get aggro using Hurricane and force the adds to run through slowing affects like Frost traps. When the adds get close you Typhoon them to knock them back and stun them. While this is going on the ranged single targets them down.

The problem here is that they are highly resistant to AoE attacks, and the resistance seems to be closer to 90% then the 75% that Tankspot reports. As a result I had a ton of trouble getting aggro and/or pulling aggro off of the healers. I now think the best way to manage this fight is with slows, like crippling poison. The adds have fairly low health and will go down quickly as long as they have some sort of slow affect.

Icecrown Citadel (5man):

I ran all three instance on Graylo, and they seemed pretty cool. Its a little hard to judge since I out gear the instance by a mile, but the fights seemed interesting and they looked pretty cool. Ont top of that, the gear is pretty sweet and you get a ton of Frost Emblems the first time you go through it. I can't wait to get the Mage and Priest in there to get some gear.

Looking for Group:

Like everyone I was looking forward to getting a new instance, but it was expected. The new Looking for Group tools is what has me most excited. As a general rule I love running instances. As a raider, it is why I pay the subscription fee each month. My trouble has always been that I hate looking for a group. Usually it took just as long to find a group as it did to do the instance. If you lose a tank or healer midrun, your up a creek with out a paddle. For these reasons, I don't run 5mans that often, and I never run them while leveling.

I've only tried the new LFG tool on Graylo, but so far I think it's awesome. I had some trouble on Tuesday, but I'm chalking that up to patch day craziness. Every time I tried it it found a group fairly quickly, the group was fairly competent, and results were achieved.

The funny thing is I think it might make be a better player. I'm used to having very good tanks at my gear level. Pulling aggro usually isn't as big of a consideration as it should be. Now that I am playing with tanks well below my gear level I am having to learn to pay better attention to my aggro.

I still have some questions about this tool. How well will it work in a couple of months when the interest in it has died down? I also want to see how it will work for my lower level alts, but as it stands right now, I am pleased.

Squawk and Awe:

Just in case you had not seen it before, Squawk and Awe has been updated. You can find it at here. The only issue I had with the new version was that the cooldown timer didn't start until after the buff had expired.

Monday, December 7, 2009

/facepalm: Patch Issues a Day Early

Update2: Adoriele, the author of Squawk and Awe, posted a comment below that I wanted to highlight.
Just wanted to give people a heads-up, there's a quick fix in the works for SAA. It's a kinda ugly hack, and I'm not sure about the performance difference in using it, so I'm waiting until I get confirmation that a.) it works, and b.) it doesn't lock up your computer before I release it. The fix was written by another party, as well, so I'll want to get his permission before I post it places (or let him do it).

After the fix, SAA will still work exactly as it has before - no split Eclipse bars, trinket bars still somewhat borked, depending on what trinkets you're using. All the fix does is change from triggering Eclipse bars off of the Combat Log to triggering off of the UNIT_AURA event.

And there was much rejoicing.

Even if this does work, I will probably still try and look for another option. I like Squawk and Awe, but we can't really expect Adoriele to maintain it if he doesn't have an account. It would be nice to have several options so we are not running around the night before a patch trying to figure somethign out.


Lissanna over at apparently did some testing on the PTR to see if any of the addons worked. You can find her post here.

In short, she has found only 3 addons that track the Eclipse buff successfully on the PTR, and only one addon that tracks the cooldown successfully on the PTR. At the moment the our best bet seems to be working with two Addons: ClassTimer and ClassTimer Eclipse.

I'll be honest. I am a little skeptical. I have never worked with either addon. Plus, neither addon has been updated recently. I hope it works. If any of you have experiance with either of these addons, or finds another one that is confirmed to work, please post it in the comments or send me an email.

Power Auras: I wanted to make a quick note on this addon. I haven't tested it, but according to Wisprunner you can track the different buffs by using Druid_Ability_Eclipse for Lunar and Druid_Ability_EclipseOrange for Solar. He has a long post about his addons here.

I don't know if this will work after the patch. I also don't think it will manage the Eclipse Cooldowns, but it may be a temporary solution.

Original Post:

Clean words cannot express the frustration I am feeling at this moment. All the reports say that Patch 3.3 is being released tomorrow. I really wanted to kill Heroic Anub before the patch was dropped. We were very close to getting the kill. With thirty minutes left in our raid I thought we had a chance. Then it happened.

Our virtual world came crashing down before our eyes. Some of us couldn't release from our bodies. The ones that could release could not zone in to ToGC. Our last 30 minutes flashed away before our eyes. I'm so frustrated I could punch babies.

Squawk and Awe:

In other news, don't expect Squawk and Awe to work for you after the patch, and don't expect it to be updated anytime soon. Apparently the change to Eclipse that broke WiseEclipse is also breaking Squawk and Awe. Plus the developer of Squawk and Awe currently does not have an account and is not planning to do the rewrite that would be necessary to make it work. So we need to look for other options.

I don't have any good alternatives at the moment, but there are a couple of things I'm looking at. The first is Power Auras. You can configure it to show you both buffs. It's handy for me because I already use Power Auras for multiple things, I don't think it can measure the cooldowns as well. The second option is Quartz: Proc Module. Its an expansion of Quartz: Eclipse Module. I don't know if it will work after the patch, but I wasn't real pleased with it after I tested it today in-game. The big problem I had with it was that the bars were tiny and I couldn't change them in any way. Therefore they were impossible to notice.

If anyone has a good solution please post it in the comments.

Fun w/ SimulationCraft: Eclipse and DoTs

I'm starting a new series I am calling "Fun with SimulationCraft." I have two goals for this series. The first is to answer some of the more common rotation and proc questions that are difficult to answer with simple math. The second goal is to make myself and hopefully you guys more familure with SimulationCraft. The better we understand the tool the better we understand the results and our DPS.

The Question: Eclipse - Nukes vs DoTs

As we all know Eclipse is a major part of Moonkin DPS. It is also very unpredictable, and impossible to fit into a nice rotation where all the buff's, cooldowns, and dot timers line up. It is inevitable that you will face a situation where your Eclipse has just procced, but your DoTs have only 5 seconds left on them.

What do you do in this situation? Do you spend a GCD and pressious Eclipse time on a spell that is unaffected by the buff, or do you continue to nuke and let your DoTs fall off?

It's a tough question, that I have changed my mind on a couple of times.

My Theory:

I've thought about this issue many times. A while ago I decided that the best course of action was to refresh DoTs if Eclipse had more then 4 or 5 seconds left on it, but skip the DoTs otherwise. My reasoning is fairly simple. When you ask a couple of questions.

What do you lose by casting a DoT when the Eclipse buff is up? - You lose a GCD that could have been used to cast a Nuke buffed by Eclipse.

What do you gain by casting a DoT when the Eclipse buff is up? - You gain the damage that the DoT will tick for until the end of the Eclipse buff.

When I asked myself these two questions I realized something. I'm not asking if I should cast a DoT. I'm asking when I should cast a DoT. The choice is do I cast it during Eclipse or right after Eclipse expires. I can extend this logic a littler further also. If I make this choice regarding the DoT, I'm making a similar choice about the Nuke. If I cast the DoT during Eclipse, I will be casting a Nuke right after Eclipse expires. If I skip the DoT during Eclipse, then I'm losing a Nuke after Eclipse expires because I need to refresh the DoT.

What I realized was that when I cast a DoT, I am not preventing a Nuke from being cast. However, I may be preventing a Nuke from being buffed by Eclipse. So, the question is which is more valuable: damage from increased DoT uptime or the addtional damage from an Eclipsed Nuke?

I won't detail the math but i will use a quick example to show you how I made my choice. On average my Wrath casts hit for 6377 damage without Eclipse. With Eclipse they hit for 9030 damage on average. There for I lose 2653 damage if a wrath cast is pushed out of the Eclipse buff by a DoT. My Insect Swarm ticks for 1280 damage on average. It would take roughly two ticks of IS to make up for the lost Eclipse damage. Since IS ticks every 2 seconds, if I had more then 2 seconds left on Eclipse then casting the DoT made more sense.

Obviously this is an over simplification of the issue. This is why I haven't published anything in the past regarding this question. Now SimulationCraft hs here to make me look like a genius or an idiot.

What SimulationCraft Says:

Once again I used my self as an example and I asked multiple questions. Here is the results from the first set.

Never Skip8267
Skip on Opposite8175
Skip Always8061

Never Skip means that I refresh the DoT when ever it is down. Even if Eclipse is up with only a few seconds left.
Skip on Opposite means you refresh the DoT only to take advantage of Improved Insect Swarm. Therefore, if Lunar Eclipse is up you would refresh Moonfire but not Insect Swarm.
Skip Always means you skip both DoTs if either Eclipse buff is up.

As you can see from the table above, the results are leaning towards refreshing your DoTs instead of skipping them, but we have another question to ask. As I said before I will skip the refresh if I have only a few seconds left on Eclipse. Is that the right choice?

Seconds RemainingDPS
1 sec8278
2 sec8277
3 sec8277
4 sec8279
5 sec8273
6 sec8264
7 sec8273
8 sec8252
9 sec8255
10 sec8236
11 sec8219
12 sec8186
13 sec8180
14 sec8142
15 sec8058

These results show that I can do slighly better DPS by skipping the DoTs whe I have 5 or few seconds left on Eclipse, but the DPS increase is very minor. Even if you start skipping your DoTs with 9 seconds left on Eclipse your only losing a tiny amount of DPS.


Well, the good news is I don't look like an idiot, but my method wasn't a huge success either. Skipping my DoTs with just a few seconds left on Eclipse did result in a slight DPS increase, but its not anything that will make or break our rotation.

The main conclusion I will draw from my tests is that the loss of DoT uptime is a bigger DPS loss then not having a nuke affected by Eclipse. If you skip your DoTs entirely while Eclipse is up it is roughly a 2.49% DPS loss.

Do It Yourself: If you would like to run this analysis for yourself. Here is how you do it.

Go download SimulationCraft from here.

SimulationCrafts GUI interface has gotten a lot better since I last posted on the tool. On the Import tab you can down load your toon from the Armory or WoWhead. Importing your profile will populate the Simulate tab with your script. The default setting is to always refresh DoTs.

To always skip DoTs replace the Moonfire and Insect Swarm lines with:

To skip DoTs when the Opposite buff is up change the lines to:

To skip DoTs when when there is only 4 seconds left on either Eclipse change the lines to:


Finally, I would like to say thanks to Dedmonwakeen and Starfox the Creater and Druid developer of SimulationCraft for walking me though some of the changes that needed to be made.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Patch Notes: Eclipse Buffed

Eclipse now increases damage done by Wrath by 40% (up from 30%) and the critical chance of Starfire by 40% (up from 30%)

First Impression:

When I first saw this change I was disappointed. Like many moonkin I don't want to see so much of our DPS to Eclipse. Given the excellent comments made by Murmurs on the forums, and the appearance that Ghostcrawler was receptive to those arguments, I thought they would go another route.

That said, I though the buff was adequate. Given the analysis I had done on 2T8 in the past I knew it was a significant buff right a way, but probably not over powered. I figured this would help us maintain the status quo.

Second Impression:

After I thought about it, I decided this change made a lot of sense from Blizzards point of view. First and foremost, it requires very little testing. All they are really doing is making the piece of 2T8 we lost permanent. We've basically been testing this change for the last 5 months since 3.2 came out. Since, this is supposed to be the last content patch before the expansion, you know Blizzard doesn't want to make any big or risky changes. This is probably the safest choice they could have made.

From my perspective, I still don't like that so much of our DPS is tied to Eclipse. However, it is comforting to have a fairly good idea of how this will impact Moonkin DPS.

My Analysis:

In my last post I said that the nerf to 2T8 and WiseEclipse would result in a 4.1% - 4.6% DPS loss if nothing else changed. I also said that if you could immediately upgrade to 4T9 the DPS loss would be in the 2.6% - 3.1% range.

I updated my simulator for the updated Eclipse and ran it with both 2T8 and 4T9. Once again I used my own stats as a starting point. If you are unable to upgrade to 4T9 right away then these three changes are still a net nerf of about 1.0%. I'm not really surprised by that. WiseEclipse was a pretty big DPS boost, and having just 2% additional crit chance is not going to make up for that.

However, if you're a progression raider that has been farming ToC and working on ToGC Trophies are probably widely available right now. If you are able to upgrade to 4T9 the day the patch drops then the combined changes will result in a net buff of about 1.24% according to my simulator.