Monday, March 22, 2010

Patch 3.3.3: What Now? A look at Glyphs and Rotations.

If you pay attention to the Moonkin related forum threads and websites you have probably noticed quite a bit of debate going on for the past couple of weeks. As you probably remember, with the release of patch 3.3.3, Starfall is getting a very significant buff. This change not only impacts our DPS, but it has also raised a lot of questions about which Glyphs to use, and which spells to cast. In this post I hope to answer some of the questions related to moonkin DPS in a post 3.3.3 world.


Glyph of Starfall - It may sound strange to some of you, but Glyph of Starfall is the only glyph sure to be use by most Moonkin raiders after 3.3.3. The reason is fairly simple. Before the changes Starfall the Glyph of Starfall wasn't fair behind the Glyph of Insect Swarm. In fact, they were close enough that quite a few moonkin advocated using the Glyph of Starfall, so that Insect Swarm would still provide the hit debuff on the boss despite the small DPS loss.

Since Starfall is getting such a huge buff, being able to cast Starfall 50% more often is an obvious a significant bonus as well. There may be a few situations where the Starfall cooldown doesn't line up well with fight mechanics thus making another Glyph a bigger DPS increase, but those situations will be the exception.

Glyph of Focus - This glyph is actually getting a bit of a nerf in patch 3.3.3. The increased damage to Starfall is getting reduced to 10% from 20%, but given the new power of Starfall it will still be buff when compared to pre-patch moonkin DPS. The big question with the Glyph of Focus is how significant is the range nerf when it is used?

That a really hard question to answer because it is quite subjective, but the range reduction is not as big of a penalty as some of you may think. The Glyph of Focus does reduce the range of the base Starfall from 30 yards to 15 yards, but most moonkin have Nature's Reach fully talented, and this still increases the range of Starfall by 6 yards. Therefore, by using the Glyph of Focus you are reducing the range of your Starfall from 36 yards to 21 yards rather then 18 yards as I and some other people expected.

That said, losing 15 yards on your range may be a big deal, and can be seen as both a pro and a con. As ranged DPS most of us are used to trying to stay at max range to allow room for Melee and healers. Finding the new range will take some adjustment and will be difficult to determine. However, the smaller range can also help you focus your Starfall DPS on desired targets.

Glyph of Insect Swarm - Once considered a standard Raiding glyph, the Glyph of Insect Swarm had started to fall out of favor with high end raiding moonkin even before the buff to Starfall. The reason, is the 3% hit debuff Insect Swarm provides when it is not glyphed. I am not 100% confident in the math, from what I understand it actually translates to about 6% for the tanks, and that can be a big help for some of the very hard hitting heroic bosses in ICC. It is possible for Hunters to provide this debuff also, but it is at a much more significant DPS loss then it is for moonkin.

If you don't need the hit debuff that Insect Swarm provides, then Glyph of Insect Swarm is still a very solid DPS buff and compares well to the other available options.

Glyph of Starfire & Glyph of Moonfire- These two glyphs are so closely tied together that I am going to handle them in the same comment. Both are standard moonkin raiding glyph from the early days of WotLK and center around high Moonfire uptime. The problem with that is that Moonfire has not scaled well with the higher levels of gear. So some moonkin are questioning if Moonfire should even be cast when you are not moving.

The fate of these two glyphs really depends on how often you cast Moonfire. If you are only casting Moonfire while on the move then these two glyphs obviously have significantly less value. Therefore, it is possible that one or both of them could be dropped from your rotation.

My Recommendation:

I've put several different glyph combinations through SimulationCraft. The glyph combination with the highest DPS was IS/Focus/Starfall, but there are several reasons why I am hesitant to use that combination. I have been sold on the value of the hit debuff provided by Insect Swarm therefore I am reluctant to glyph IS and lose the debuff. The Glyph of Focus is still solid glyph at 10%, but the range reduction bothers me a lot. Since most fights require some sort of "spread out" mechanic, reducing my range for a 10% buff on a spell use once a minute seems to be a bigger headache then it is worth.

Therefore, I am recommending a Starfire/Moonfire/Starfall glyph combination. It may not have the highest DPS potential, but it is not fair behind the other options. It has the added benefit of being very similar to our current glyph set up which means it has less of an impact our rotation.

The Rotation:

Along with the glyph debate, there has been a debate going on about which DoTs should be cast and when after patch 3.3.3. As I said before, the Moonkin DoTs do not scale well at the higher levels of gear since haste has very little impact on them and crit has almost none.

This has lead some moonkin to advocate a single DoT rotation when patch 3.3.3 is released. The common suggestion form this camp is that Moonfire should only be cast while moving, and that your casting time should be spent on Nukes or on IS if the hit debuff is needed.

I have tried to plugging in several different rotations into SimulationCraft where the amount you cast Moonfire is limited or dropped all together. The only time I found it was a DPS increase over the current standard was if you used a IS/Focus/Starfall glyph combination. Using the Moonfire/Starfire/Starfall glyph combination I suggested above, Moonfire was still a strong part of the rotation. Therefore, I don't recommend any big change to your rotation. However, if you do decide to drop or limit your DoT usage in the future, just remember that it is always important to cast DoTs while on the move if they are not already on the boss.


Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of speculation on what the impact of the Starfall buff will be. The fact that Glyph of Starfall becomes a standard raiding glyph is a bit of a no brainer, but there were other serious questions raised about the value of our other glyphs and about he value of your DoTs.

In the end, it is my belief that Glyph of Moonfire and Glyph of Starfire are still the best options for our other two Glyph slots. There are other options that may increase your DPS but they come at a price. Also, since Insect Swarm is valuable for the hit debuff it places on the target, and Moonfire is critical for Glyph of Moonfire and Glyph of Starfall, I do not recommend that either DoT be dropped from the standard Moonkin DPS rotation. That said, I highly recommend that you test out the various options on SimulationCraft on your own.


Threa said...

Great way to bring all of the discussion from the past few weeks into one simple and solid post, thank you.

Romoe said...

Any1 done the math on how the weigths on crit/haste will change with the starfall glyph?

Hakkon Oskold said...

wrong link in one of the glyphs the starfire linke goes to starfall

Harry Dinh said...

So sad, I'm looking closely at the patch note for any other boomkin buffs, but it turns out that only starfall, which can only be cast 1 per min. The buff is not as I expected.

For the glyph moonfire + starfire + starfall, I think it should be used since we entered ICC. IS only counts for around 7% of total moonkin dps, so IS glyph is < 2.5%. Compare to its debuff, this increase is insignificant. We are almost at bottom of the list anyway.

Do we expect any other buff before 4.0?

Anonymous said...

They should add the T9x2 bonus to Moonfire Glyph to keep it valuable.

Harry Dinh said...

They buff flameshock with haste and crit, but not moonfire. I don't think it is hard to implement it.

Anonymous said...

sorry that i didn't get it, but my i english isn't the best. :)
which rotation do you suggest?
keeping both dots up "all the time" ? or the rotation with keeping up only 1 dot during eclipse?



Paco said...

I personally am excited to see an increase in Starfall as I have been using Glyph of Focus for a while now. I find that being able to focus it a little more helps in a lot of cases where accidentally aggroing an extra mob would just be noobish. Also I throw out starfall as often as I can for the extra damage, as it is designed to do (hit and forget) As for IS and MF I agree w/ not using Glyph of IS b/c I am finding the 3% debuff to be very helpful in ICC. As for DOT uptime I cast them both while moving into posistion and keep up at least one depending on what eclipse has proc'd and will help the most (Improved Insect Swarm Talent)

Xstar said...

I too have wondered about the IS hit debuff and how much dmg as a percent it mitigates. I worked it out (napkin math) once while discussing the matter with a tank friend of mine but failed to save any of the work. what I remember basically is that the percent of incoming damage you save your tanks is dependent upon their avoidance. I haven't for the life of me been able to figure it out again as I am not a mathy person =(

Bryce said...

What about the fact that if specced properly, IS increases the damage done by your Wrath spell, and the crit chance increase of Starfire with MF up? Aren't those good enough a reason to keep using the dots in a raid situation? I'd be interested to see what happens to the numbers if you don't have those dots up.

Fenouil said...

The reason the 3% miss debuff translates into 6% less damage is because tanks have around 50% avoidance on their own. It's easier to see if we take it to extreme levels. If a tank has 98% avoidance, and we add 1% more miss, their avoidance goes up from 98% to 99%. But looking at it from the other way, they were getting hit 2% of the time, now they're getting hit 1% of the time, which HALVES the amount of damage they take.

With 50% avoidance, if a tank takes 100 swings that would do 100 damage each, a tank would take on average 5,000 damage. With 53% avoidance in the same scenario, a tank would take on average 4,700 damage. 4,700 is 94% of 5,000 so the extra 3% miss chance translates into 6% less damage.

Anonymous said...

As a well-geared moonkin amongst very well geared, good/high DPS classes, I'm finding myself with good dps, but still near the bottom overall. I recognize that ICC we don't scale as well, etc.., esp on a lot of the high movement fights... But my worry is that the changes in Elemental Oath for Shaman will basically kill our primary "just-enough extra reason to bring a 'kin along". Starfall isn't going to add that much dps to us, and isn't something we should even use every time it's up on some of the more important fights. (Phase 1 of Arthas for example). What are your thoughts?

/paranoid in feathers

Unknown said...

I wouldn't worry about those ele shamans, we still bring more to the raid than any other class/spec in the game. We bring haste, hit debuff, hit buff (IFF), Crit as well as MOTW, intervates for healers (cuz no moonkin goes oom!) and a B-rez.

What I do think is a good idea is having our MF crit, that would bring back the sexyness of even putting more and more dots up.

Grayllo, with your current gear and what not, IF you were going to go Glyph of Focus for a fight, which glyph would you sub out for it?

SF or MF?

I'm also wondering if this might make us move some points out of Improved MF and to OF for some fights that favor it.

Myllo of Durotan

Unknown said...


Ignore points about MF, obvously it's a teir level talent :(

Caeli said...

According to WrathCalc, refreshing insect swarm as lunar eclipse ends and moonfire as solar ends using starfall/moonfire/starfire glyph provide the higher dps.
It allows to benefit from iis and also to gain a little more dmg from the dot itself, no focus/is glyph

Blizz also said that they will implement a new casting mechanic for eclipse to make moonkins better at non patchwerk style fights, it can be considered as a buff

Conghaile said...

I used Team Robot for simulations and not SimCraft (SimCraft has a lot more history behind it, but I think the development for Team Robot has been solid as well), and got different results that would justify a one-DoT rotation. You can see what I did here:

on post #38. The reason I would prefer a one-DoT rotation over reapplying DoTs more often is that when you have to move, you have a greater chance of a DoT being dropped off, giving you something to cast. In a later post I messed around with optimizing Moonfire reapplications in the middle of Solar and Lunar Eclipses but found no timing that returned a benefit, only a break-even.

@btken You're right, IIS does help the value of IS to your rotation. That's why it becomes good to apply just before Solar Eclipse, since it boosts Starfire crit chance as you try to proc Eclipse and it increases Wrath damage over the longest continuous interval that you will be casting it. During Lunar Eclipse, however, higher-end gear likely puts you at a 100% crit anyway, and the value of IIS is moot.

Conghaile said...

Sorry to double post, but I wanted to clarify the rotations I tested and correct what I was saying.

The best of the rotations I initially tested was reapply Moonfire always outside of Solar Eclipse, only refresh Insect Swarm before Solar Eclipse starts. What I never tested was to reapply Moonfire only before Lunar, Insect Swarm only before Solar (the one-DoT rotation currently being thrown around). That rotation was not as good in Team Robot as applying Moonfire more liberally.

Dillybear said...

great post that layed out glyph choices and pros and cons for each thank you

Duskstorm said...

Does anyone know if the Draenai Heroic Presence racial got increased to 100 yards with the changes? If so, I'm going to change to 236 hit rating. I get 140 from my tier pieces, 50 from my dalaran ring, and another 50 from my offhand which is just perfect.

If the range is now 100 yards, there's absolutely no excuses unless you don't have any draenai in your particular party.

Devon said...

As a very well geared Moonkin raider, I've decided upon the one-dot, using Insect Swarm, for my rotation. After plugging in the numbers into various spreadsheets and applications, I've found this to be the best DPS.

In a guild amongst some of the best and highest DPS I've seen, I'm usually ranked 1-3 on any fight, except those such as Putricide (movement, the bane of our existence!). I'm also pulling top world rankings on quite a few of the fights within ICC 25m Normal.

If your gear supports it (4pcT10), then I would recommend dropping Moonfire from your rotation and glyphing for Starfall, Focus, and Insect Swarm. I have seen the best results as such. (I reapply IS with priority, even during either Eclipse.)

Bovismaximus said...

I have been using the combination you suggest here for a while and stepped into ICC25 last night for the first time after they buffed the effect.

I am extremely impressed with the DPS increase this provides. If timed correctly during fights with adds, starfall was accounting for upwards of 15% of my damage. I set a new record for Festergut as well topping the meters over every melee and caster with 11k DPS - I have NEVER hit those numbers before (granted I was chosen to stand in melee for the first time as well, but you get the picture).

I now prioritize this above all other spells - I will use it as soon as the CD is up unless there will be adds up in a few seconds (marrwgar's spikes, deathwhisper).

Very happy about this unexpected change. It really feels like Starfall is a 51 point talent now.

Unknown said...

While I'm not in a high end guild (10/12 normal 9 raiding hours a week) when the 3.3 changes were implemented the tanks in my guild weren't even aware that moonkin were glyphing out of the 3% hit debuff from IS. Needless to say they were happy for "free" mitigation. Moonkin buffs may be covered from other classes, but IS is unique and no other class has the same amount of utility from a single class (we also don't run with shadow priests, so dpsers hate it when I'm gone). A bit of amibguity for dots has also made raiding a bit more challenging and fun in the sense that I have some occasionally tough decisions to make on the fly. I hope the rest of you are enjoying it more as well.

Anonymous said...


I too am well gear'd and luv being in the top ranks on non-movement fights. And I haven't glyphed for 3.3.3 yet. I'm looking forward to trying your rotation.

I think I'm also going to re-spec to Balance for PVP and see how it works. I'm tired of being a tree lovin resto and healing people that put out half the dps we can.

Dandy said...

Due to some heavy work-load IRL, I only managed to log in today, for the first time 3.3.3 hit the live servers. I did a random heroic with some friends, and couldn't believe the damage I was putting out with Starfall alone :O
After the heroic, I did some dummy testing, and where previously I'd barely be able to manage 6K sustained (6,5K sustained if I got lucky valkyr procs from my Nibelung), now I was easily keeping my dps around the 7,5K-8K mark.
It feels really good, but also quite overpowered. Do you reckon they'll nerf it again in the near future?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is certainly a huge uptick in PVE dps. I already anticipate them nurfing it, but I hope they only nurf it for PVE because it isn't all that huge of a lift in PVP. If anything, it made PVP acceptable for us, but we were so under powered in PVP that it still doesn't get us equal. Let's hope they don't tinker with it until Cat comes out.

Unknown said...

Guys, I'm seriously about to just jump off a cliff right now lol. I've been messing with different glyphs, rotations and what not for the pat 5 hours and I'm still having a hard time deciding which is best!

What do YOU guys recommend? I've read through all these posts but I just cant make up my mind. We are 9/12 Heroic ICC 25 Man so keep in mind lots of spreading out etc is needed when determining glyphs. I just cant do this, Its angering me haha.

Please help!

My druid's name is Funks on Daggerspine

Thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

@ cory
I use IS, Sfire, and Sfall. Seems to work well.

Nightedahs said...

As you are doing hardmodes in ICC I would recommend using Starfall, Starfire and Moonfire. I would also keep IS in rotation because of the -3% hit debuff.
And I would strongly recommend in changing some of your items. You are way over the hitcap...there are better options on wrist and the weapon.

Nightedahs @Khazgoroth(EU)

Nightedahs said...

I forgot to mention our guild is on hard modes as well (8/12 down)

Nightedahs @Khaz'Goroth(EU)

Unknown said...

Well ya I know, but after some testing I found that my mh and oh is better then nibelung, what do u think? More crit, haste etc. Also, what bracers do you reccomend?


Nightedahs said...

anything without hit *g*
as I prefer leather the wrist of Dreamwalker are quite nice
and I bet that Nibelung -especially in the heroic version- beats out your your mh+oh combo by miles

take a look at my armory profile if you want
I'm quite satisfied with my items so far, just missing reigns of the unliving

Nightedahs @Khaz'Goroth(EU)

Kallume (Malygos US) said...

In the same boat as Nightedahs and Cory, 8/12 Heroic ICC down.

All depends on the fight for me, I found that using Starfall/Starfire/Moonfire Glyphs gave me the best output (aside from LK, which, for me, it's Starfall/Focus/Moonfire).

I have found that DPS tends to be low(er), but dmg output is high(er) on meters. Especially on fights like BQL.

So, I am not the only one that thinks that they have tried everything to increase their numbers and have been unsuccessful to a noticeable margin?

@Cory - Tuskarr's Vit > Icewalker
@Nightedahs - Agree that Heroic Nibelung is better than MH/OH combo; however, compared to H.Frozen Bonespike + H.Shadow Silk Spindle?

Nightedahs said...

To be honest I don't know and i never simulated that because I will never get that combo in my raid because that would cost tons of DKP I don't have.
Heroic Nibelung however is actually a free loot for minimum DKP an as we are now focusing on Deathwhisper heroic I will soon have it.
And as you can see in the armory I'm over the hit and crit softcap without the stats provided by Bonespine + Spine

Nightedahs @Khaz'Goroth(EU)

Nightedahs said...

Sry doublepost, but I have to correct myself.
Of course I meant haste and not hit :)
btw the valkyres do about 5% of my total damage and I doubt that MH+OH could top this

Nightedahs @Khaz'Goroth(EU)

Kallume said...

Where do I think that Nibelung Heroic is BiS, I currently extremely dislike the rng of eclipse as it is. To add more rng of Valk procs would cause my brain to implode (no, not explode).