Thursday, December 8, 2011

MoP: Celestial Alignment and other Talents

There is a new Mists of Pandaria talent calculator up with some fun stuff to discuss. Many of the changes are Mana cost changes and error corrections. For example, Moonkin Aura grants 5% haste again instead of crit. Nature's Grace is back up to 15% instead of the 1% listed before, but nobody is interested in this small stuff. On to the good stuff.

New Ability: Celestial Alignment
Celestial Alignment: Grants you the simultaneous damage benefit of both your Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse, increasing damage done by your Nature and Arcane spells by 25%. Activating this ability consumes all Lunar and Solar Energy and prevents gaining more during its duration. Lasts 15 sec.

Having an additional DPS cooldown will be very nice, but I would like to learn a little bit more about the ability before I get all giddy. The way the tooltip reads I've had a couple of thoughts about how this could work, but some of them seem a little strange.

My first question is how does the buff work? Does it just proc the existing Lunar and Solar Eclipse buffs or does it proc a new buff that gives our nature and arcane spells and additional all 25%? Having the buff use the existing Lunar and Solar buffs would be bad because it would make it easy to waste the buff by using it during eclipse. I think this option is unlikely, because it would be a clear trap for players, and Blizzard has said they don't want to create traps. It makes much more sense that the buff would stack with what ever other buffs we have at the moment including Lunar and Solar Eclipse.

My second question is how does the ability consume our Eclipse energy? Does it move you to neutral once you proc the ability or does it consume the energy at the end of the buff. If it consumes the energy at the start of the buff it's probably that it would shift you out of Eclipse, since we loose the Eclipse buff when we reach zero energy. This would create another trap where it is bad to use the cooldown at the wrong time.
Even if it consumed your Eclipse energy at the end of the buff, I'm not sure how I feel about the consuming mechanic in general. Since the buff both consumes your energy and prevents you from generating more energy. There are points within the eclipse cycle where it would be better to use Celestial Alignment then others. For example, it could be best to use the cooldown at the end of Eclipse so that you can extend the existing buff and have the spell consume as little energy as possible. This would ultimately give the better players a bit of a skill advantage that I know a lot of you would support, but I'm not as sure that would be a good thing.

Incarnation Change:
Balance: Chosen of Elune - Improved Moonkin Form that also halves Lunar and Solar Power generation while in an Eclipse, and doubles it while not in an Eclipse.
It's hard to know how significant this change is given how little we know about DPS in MoP. However, I do think this change is interesting given the creation of the Celestial Alignment cooldown discussed above. First, the two abilities clearly shouldn't be used together. Since, Celestial Alignment prevents you from generating energy, clearly a buff that changes how you generate energy would be a bad thing. This again creates a potential trap since one buff could possibly negate another in a way that is not obvious to more casual players.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mists of Pandaria Calculator Changes

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I checked out of the World of Warcraft for few days and didn't see that Blizzard added a Mists of Pandaria talent calculator with an updated list of ability changes until Monday. So I'm behind the curve, but I'm going to hope that my response is better late then never.

There was a lot of interesting stuff in the Mists of Pandaria information I want to talk about, but there is also some stuff in there that at this point I don't think is all that important (and I think Blizzard would agree). Since we are in a very early stage of development, I am more worried about the structure of the changes then the actual details. For example, changes to spell mechanics like Insect Swarm being turned into a pure debuff is interesting, but the fact that Moonkin form grants a 20% damage increase in MoP instead of the 10% we have on live is uninteresting for me.

The structure is important be cause it defines how our spec will play. The structure determines if it's too easy, too hard, and if it's fun. The details while important in the long run, don't matter a whole lot if the structure isn't right, and there will be plenty of time to address those issues when we know more about the structure and how all of our abilities will interact.

Insect Swarm:

Insect Swarm: The enemy target is swarmed with insects, increasing all damage taken from your Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge spells by 30%. Limit 1 target.

I have absolutely no problems with losing a DoT as long as the end result is a design with balanced and competitive DPS. However, I don't what Blizzard's goal is for this change, and I worry that it will turn out to be pointless or annoying for the player.

The big question for me is what's the duration of the new Insect Swarm? I can see this going a couple of ways.

Short Duration: If the new Insect Swarm has a short duration of 18 seconds, this is really just a nerfed version of the current DoT, and changes the moonkin rotation in a bad way. With a short duration, the new Insect Swarm doesn't reduce the complexity of the moonkin rotation at all and is an actual nerf to damage since won't benefit moonkin DPS at all while moving and has a single target limit. In short, a short duration is bad and annoying.

Long Duration: If the new Insect Swarm has a long duration or a mechanic that extends it automatically with a glyph of something, then what's the point of having the spell at all? Why not just buff Wrath, Starfire, and Starsurge by 30% and get rid of the spell completely? Since all moonkin nukes are single target abilities, the fact that IS is limited to a single target is meaning less. All it does is limit how quickly moonkin can start DPSing a new target since we will have to put IS on the target before we can start nuking. In short, I find this model of IS to be pointless.

New IS means One DoT?:

Not everyone is as carefree about the possibility of losing Insect Swarm as I am, and some players were worried. When a Grayfox (no relation) expressed concern about moonkin having only one DoT on the forums, Blizzard responded with:

I just wanted to drop into this thread and let you guys know that we currently plan for Moonkins to have two DoTs: Moonfire and Sunfire will be able to stack (both applied at the same time).

Now that's really interesting.

I'm assuming that Moonfire and Sunfire will still be a single button in MoP. As in we push one button to cast both spells, but which spell is cast depends on if you are in Solar Eclipse or not, but Moonfire and Sunfire wont overwrite each other anymore. If that is the case I love this change. And I think it helps moonkin in a couple of ways.

First, it lessens some of the impact of losing for Insect Swarm as a DoT. Traditionally DoTs have done more then just damage. We have had trinkets, set bonuses, and abilities that proc or stack based on how many and when ticks hit their targets and losing those IS ticks could affect how we value those gear choices and abilities. Assuming MF and SnF are a single button, this change won't make up for all the lost ticks from losing IS, but it will help.

The second big benefit is that I think it makes the rotation more obvious, and could really help make Glyph of Starfire more useful.
One of the current issues with Eclipse is that it forces to make some choices on the fly, which can lead to small errors that add up to significant DPS loss. For example, if you are about to transition out of Eclipse should you refresh your Moonfire DoT even it has 8 seconds left? Not refreshing the DoT can lead to lost uptime or having your DoT not buffed by Eclipse. However, refreshing the DoT unnecessarily means you lose damage because you could have spent that time casting another damaging spell like Starfire.

I think this change will reduce that confusion because it should become obvious that you should only cast MF/SnF while eclipse is up and even if it results in a lower uptime. Also, clipping should never be necessary with the Glyph of Starfire, because you an easily transition from one eclipse to the other in 27 seconds.

One final comment, if my original assumption that Moonfire and Sunfire would remain a single button is incorrect, then this is a horrible change. In that case, they are just replacing IS with SnF, which makes no sense and just increases the rotations complexity.

Symbiosis: The Three Paths

Symbiosis: Creates a symbiotic link which grants the Druid one ability belonging to the target's class, varying by the Druid's specialization. In exchange grants the target one Druid ability based on their class and combat role. Lasts one hour and persists through death.

There is obviously a whole lot of information we don't know about this spell yet, but I am very intrigued by the spell so far. It sounds really cool, but after thinking about it I'm not sure how it would work and could be a balancing nightmare for Blizzard. I'm not predicting failure, but the headache on this one could be so large that Symbiosis goes the way of the Dance Studio and it all depends on the path Blizzard takes with it. At the moment I see three paths.

Utility / Long Cooldown: I like the idea of trading Utility spells and long cooldowns between classes. For example, if Blizzard went the pure utility route if a moonkin linked with a Death Knight, the DK could gain Cyclone while the moonkin gained Death Grip, which could be a big help if your raid is lacking a particular ability needed to complete an encounter. The problem with that approach is that not all utility spells are significant that often, and by extension Symbiosis may be insignificant in most fights because it's not really necessary to trade abilities.

Long Cooldowns on the other hand would be significant in a lot of fights, but also might be overpowered. From a DPS perspective it could really work by trading Starfall for Elemental Mastery with a Shaman, but from a healing or tanking perspective it could be an issue. For example, lets say if a resto druid cast Symbiosis on a Holy Pally that the druid gains Aura Mastery and the pally gains Tranquility. Additional cooldowns could make some fights trivial, unless Blizzard really increased the incoming damage, which could lead to class stacking which isn't a good thing.

I think this is the most likely path but it could have some balancing issues.

Core Ability: My original thought was that Symbiosis would trade core abilities between players. For example, if a moonkin linked with another DPS we would both gain a new DPS spell, like the moonkin would get Corruption and the Warlock would get Moonfire if the link was with a Warlock. Obviously in that vision if the druid linked with a healer they would gain a healing spell and so on.

This sounded really cool at first, but the more thought about it this path didn't seem all that realistic. The basic problem is that those core spells are designed with a specific class in mind and the other buffs and abilities that the class has. For example, Starfire is a solid spell for a moonkin, but if you gave to a Warlock it would be weak without Eclipse. Ultimately I think this would be a balancing nightmare. The other issue I have with this path is that it could add significant complexity to our rotation. I don't want to have to work a new spell into my rotation and I really don't like the possibility of having that spell change depending on what class I link to if the fight requires it. In the end, I don't think this path is likely.

Passive Buff: We don't really think about passive buffs as "abilities," but it is possible that Symbiosis won't trade any active abilities. For example, by linking with a tank a moonkin might gain 5% damage reduction, or gain 5% Crit by linking with a Mage. This is probably the easiest path, because it shouldn't be difficult to balance, would provide an obvious benefit, and wouldn't change either class’s rotation. However, it's boring and would easily be math out. There would never be a discussion about which class or player to link with because we would just put it on the class that helps us the most much like players already do with Focus Magic and Dark Intent.

Final Thought: I think Symbiosis has a lot of potential but there are some pitfalls as well. It will be interesting to hear more details about it.


Starfall: Triggering Lunar Eclipse resets the cooldown of this spell.

I absolutely love this change. I recently had some discussions about where Starfall fit in our rotation and if we should cast it on cooldown or wait for Lunar Eclipse. In the end it was obvious to me that it's a problem without a good answer currently. Casting Starfall without Lunar Eclipse is a significant DPS loss, and not casting Starfall on cooldown can be a significant DPS loss. Sure there are ways to line Lunar Eclipse up with the Starfall cooldown using Glyph of Starsurge, but the benefit of GoSS is limited in Single garget encounters.

This change effectively ends those conversations and I love it. It's another situation where blizzard is taking the ambiguity out of the situation and making the rotation more obvious. In short, it turns Starfall back into a "cast on cooldown" spell.

Nature's Grace:

Eclipse: When triggered, both Lunar and Solar Eclipse also grant 15% haste for 15 seconds.

At first I thought they might have gotten rid of Nature's Grace, but turns out that they just baked it into Eclipse and improved it. Having the NG effect proc when Eclipse is triggered makes a lot of sense for several reasons.

First, having the buff proc based on a DoT cast doesn't make a lot of sense when the class has only one DoT (if my assumption above is correct). It would seem almost cruel to have the spell that benefits most form the haste buff not to be affected by it because it has to proc it. Second, since the cooldown on the current Nature's Grace is reset when Eclipse is triggered, the effect is procced shortly after you enter Eclipse already most of the time. Having Eclipse proc Nature's Grace is just taking out the middleman, and it prevents the possibility of overlapping Nature's Grace procs which is possible in the current system.

The Trend to Simplify

Many these changes don't seem that big when you look at them on their own, but when I look at them as a whole I see a very welcome trend. In my opinion, the moonkin rotation during cataclysm has been filled with ambiguity and on the fly choices that has lead to an overly complex rotation for an average player like me. We have questions like: Do I clip my DoT to maximize dot Damage or can I just power through to the next eclipse? Should I cast Starfall on cooldown or wait for Eclipse? How can I maximize the benefit of Nature's Grace?

A lot of these changes are very welcome in my opinion because they remove a lot of the ambiguity from our rotation. Starfall will be cast on cooldown most of the time because the cooldown will be reset when the spell is most significant most of the time. Assuming Moonfire and Sunfire are single button and the Glyph of Starfire doesn't change significantly means that we will only cast the DoTs once during Eclipse and shouldn't have to worry about clipping or overwriting an existing DoT.

If it is Blizzards goal to simplify the moonkin rotation a small amount, I fully support and appreciate their goal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Patch 4.3 Gear List

I've updated the gear list for the new patch. It's a little rough due the limited amount of time I had to create it. I do plan on going back and fixing it, but I wanted to have a draft out there for people raiding tonight.

The things that I need to fix are:

  1. Locations: I haven't added many of them for the new items yet, but that will be correct.
  2. Proc Valuations: There are a lot of good procs in this patch that I need to take a closer look at.
  3. Do I have everything: I built the list using WoWhead, but I'm worried that I missed something. For example the list doesn't include any random stat items.

As always, if you see an error in the list please point it out. I will try and fix it as soon as possible.

Finally, I know Blizzard released a lot of new info regarding Mists of Pandara just before the holiday. It hasn't gone unnoticed. I had planned to comment on it today, but didn't have time since I was rushing to get the list out. I hope to have one posted tomorrow or the day after.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Class Q&A and Blizzcon Follow Up

I already took a look at the big talent changes announced at Blizzcon, but that wasn't the only thing that happened there. Plus, Blizzard has been busy doing Q&A and other things to get word out on the new talent systems and such. In this post I want to try and round up round up some of those items I haven't commented on yet (and even a few I have).

Putting the Hybrid back in Druids:

In the Class Design & Balance Q&A there were several questions about, Hybridization for druids and the "Hybrid Tax," and I think Blizzard's response is summed up best in these quotes:

The overall philosophy of the Druid talent tree is to bring some hybridization back to the Druid class. The 4 Druid specs have become very focused on never using the forms that they do not specialize in. We would like to bring the whole class back together more. So, interesting functionality themed around the different combat roles has been introduced.

We don't intend for that added hybridization to be offset by any sort of DPS nerf. While DPSing, a druid's DPS will be entirely competitive with other DPS. We hope to see druids that do things like, "DPS in Cat Form most of the fight, but during one phase, when healing is super difficult, pop out of Cat, hit Heart of the Wild, Tranquility, and spam heals on the raid to help top everyone off, then go back to Cat and resume DPSing."
From a high level perspective I support this design goal. I like the idea of Druids being able to temporarily fill another role, and that's why I suggested it back in June of 2010. Theoretically it makes a lot of sense. From a raid composition stand point, you don't have to bring as many core healers if you were only bringing that many handle a few sort periods of high damage. Or, you could stack a few restos and have them pop their cooldown for a temporary burst of DPS.

That all sounds good in theory but I worry about how it will work in practice. For example, the version of Heart of the Wild previewed at Blizzcon said "Healing spells generate Lunar or Solar energy and will benefit from Lunar and Solar Eclipse." Unfortunately, that's a horrible idea. The concept of Eclipse works for moonkin, because DPS occurs over an extended period of time. As a moonkin, I know that I am going to be switching between Lunar and Solar multiple times in a given fight and good and bad luck should balance each other out. For a temporary buff like Heart of the Wild that falls apart.

How would Blizzard balance Heart of the Wild? Should they balance it around having Eclipse? If that is the case then Moonkin heals could easily be too weak to be of any significance when not in eclipse. What if they balance HotW around not having Eclipse? In this case, HotW could be way to strong. Obviously, there would be an advantage for holding Eclipse to use it if possible. This could be devastating to class balance in PvP. Balancing it round some point in the middle would just be picking up the disadvantages from both sides.

My other concern is that applying Eclipse to healing might be too foreign of a concept for players. By doing so, Blizzard is basically adding a second healing style to class that already has a healing spec. Moonkin that are already familiar with resto would be forced to learn a new style to take advantage of the ability. Moonkin, who do not typically heal are already learning something foreign, but Blizzard would be missing a big opportunity to introduce them Resto, but continuing with the Eclipse concept.

My suggestion to Blizzard is to keep it simple and to not get to creative. You're already asking someone to do something they are not necessarily familiar with. There's no need to complicate it further. The buff should be consistent and include a mana cost reduction so that players don't need to concern themselves Eclipse or mana over these short periods of time. The suggestion I made a year and a half ago was to allow moonkin to heal in moonkin form temporarily and buff the heals by some percentage. I think this would meet all the goals Blizzard has in mind.

Troubled Tier Six and Master Shapeshifter:

As I said in my last post, the tier 6 options at level 90 were some of my least favorite, and after looking around the internet it was clear to me that a lot of moonkin agreed with that sentiment. So, it's not surprising that the tier 6 talents were addressed in the Class Design & Balancing Q&A. Unfortunately their response only made my fears worse.

The level 90 Druid talents deliberately come in 3 different levels of work required. Heart of the Wild is perfect for an encounter where there is a period where increased healing is needed for a short time, and dps is not the need of the encounter. Something like the Chimaeron encounter where more healing is needed at certain times, and dps is less important. Master Shapeshifter targets the Druid who is willing to do a lot of work shifting back and forth or occasionally needs to heal or damage, such as Blood Queen Lanathel, where a Tranquility boosted by the talent would help your group a lot during her air phase. Disentanglement is there for the "lazy" Druid who doesn't want to do that work, but still gets some benefit from a well-timed shapeshift.
Though I am sure Blizzard doesn't intend for us to interpret the comment this way but here is the way a majority of players will apply this comment. "Good players will take Heart of the Wild or Master Shapeshifter depending on the fight. Bad players can take Disentanglement so they can at least have something." I'm honestly really surprised Blizzard would make a comment like this, because it's such an obvious trap.

The comment I particularly hate is when Blizzard says "Master Shapeshifter targets the Druid who is willing to do a lot of work shifting back and forth or occasionally needs to heal or damage." If Blizzard actually believes this it shows a shocking lack of understanding of the player base by Blizzard at least from the moonkin perspective.

As you know Master Shapeshifter as we know it allows a druid to buff his primary role by doing something out side of that role. The example provided by Blizzard was that our melee abilities could buff our spell power and vice versa. If this buff is significant then it becomes a required talent, because as Blizzard knows, there is no such thing as an optional DPS talent. That simple truth is the entire reason for the last two Talent System redesigns. If Master Shapeshifter provides a significant DPS buff then, no one would take Heart of the Wild or Disentanglement, because that would tell all of the other players and potential guilds that "Hey, I'm a bad player." And no, one wants to think that they are a bad player or to tell other players that they are bad.

To be fair, Master Shapeshifter does make a lot of sense for someone specced into Resto or Guardian spec. I could easily see a healer doing a little DPS when things are not busy to buff the heals for when they are. Tanks are in a similar situation when in between add phases and tank swaps. But for cats and moonkins this makes little sense and could over complicate two already very complicated rotations.


The Blizzcon version of Incarnation didn't mention how it would impact DPS in moonkin form, but Blizzard was nice enough to address this talent in the Class Design & Balance Q&A. The

Incarnation for Balance transforms the Druid in to the Chosen of Elune Form, which currently increases spell damage done and Solar and Lunar energy generated. That is, of course, subject to change.
This seems fairly straight forward and I'm fine with that. It's still impossible to say if we will use it or not yet since we don't know the math behind it or the MoP version of Force of Nature, but it's obviously a promising DPS buff.

That said, I've seen some comments indicating that some people are upset that it doesn't do more. If I am reading them correctly they would like it to be more unique like Tree of Life form or the Warlock Demon form where we would get new abilities or have our current ability's modified in ways other then pure damage. I can see that perspective but at the same time I don't think it's really necessary.

Bi-Polar Hurricane and Moonkin AoE

During the Blizzcon Class panel it was said that "In 5.0 Hurricane will have a new arcane function to make sure you can use it whenever you have to," according to MMO Champion. I interpret this to mean that Hurricane will behave in a way similar to Moonfire. As in it will be buffed by Solar when in Solar and buffed by Lunar when in Lunar. If that's true, I think it's a good change, but I don't think it will have a huge impact on Moonkin AoE unless there are other changes as well.

Current Moonkin AoE center's around Wild Mushroom because it's the strongest whether that's by design or not. We hold solar during AoE periods because all but one of the spells we use in an AoE situation are buffed by Solar Eclipse. Giving Hurricane an arcane function won't change this situation because we would still be encouraged to stay in Solar for WM and the DoTs.

So, if that comment was a small preview into a larger goal of revamping Moonkin AoE, I think Blizzard will find a lot of support among players. I and a lot of players I've talked to haven't been happy with Wild Mushroom in AoE situations because placing three mushrooms feels contrived and difficult during the run of play, in fights like Maloriak and Rhyolith. However, in fight's like Rag where we can place the mushrooms before the Elementals spawn, it works great. I think it would be nice for Moonkin AoE to follow a model of WM being a DPS opener, but Hurricane providing a bulk of the damage done. However, Hurricane would have to be buffed (or the other spells nerfed) to make this happen, and Blizzard would have to address how WM is affected by Eclipse or we will still hang out in Solar during AoE phases.

One possibility suggested to me would be to turn Wild Mushroom damage into fire damage for example so that it's not buffed by either Eclipse and can be balanced around a consistent damage output. I find this idea very appealing since it should make holding Solar Eclipse insignificant because only Insect Swarm would be buffed by Lunar Eclipse.

Good Riddance to Relics:

I know there are druids out there that are morning the loss of relics, but I couldn't be happier that they are getting the boot. While relics did provide a few interesting gear choices in TBC, in most of my years with this game they have been more of a headache then a help. For most of TBC there was only one option. In WotLK, the Tier 8 relic was worse then the Tier 7 relics. And when they were converted to stat sticks in Cataclysm they were boring and almost impossible to upgrade. I say good by and good riddance.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The New Talent System: A Moonkin's View

I must admit that when I heard there was a new talent revamp I was extremely sceptical that it would be worth while or have a good impact on the game. In fact, when I was reading through the opening comments on WoW Insider and MMO Champion I jotted down "Cookie Cutter Builds: Blizzard's Exercise of Futility" as the original title of this post, because I truly believe that it is impossible for Blizzard to prevent the cookie cutter builds. That said, after hearing more of the details of the new plan, I am a little less critical. Here's my take on the new talents tier by tier.

Two quick notes: First all comments are based on the limited information we have and assume that the talents go live as we currently see them. That is of course not true, but we have nothing else to go on. Second, the wonderful images below were taken from the MMO Champion website. If for some reason you don't know about MMO Champion, please check them out. They are hands down the best WoW news site out there.

Tier One: Mobility Tier

  • Feline Swiftness - It's not sexy, but it's a solid buff. This will probably be the most common choice of the three options.

  • Displacer Beast - At first glance it looks to primarily be a PvP/Leveling talent. However, it might have a role in PvE if it can remove Boss DoTs.

  • Tireless Pursuit - This one seems out of place given the other abilities we traditionally have. For example the speed boost is cool, but we already have that utility with Dash, Stampeding Roar and possibly Darkflight. In fact, I would probably replace this one with Stampeding Roar.

  • Tier Summary - I'm not that impressed with this tier, but it is the level 15 tier so I'm not sure how much could be expected.
Tier Two: Healing Tier

  • Nature's Swiftness - Making Cyclone and Roots instant cast could have some PvE and PvP benefits for Moonkin, but I doubt they are huge. Could also act as an "Oh Sh*t" button when macroed with a healing spell.

  • Renewal - This is a pure "Oh Sh*t" button. Assuming it maths out better then Nature's Swiftness, this is the talent I would choose for raiding.

  • Cenarion Ward - Some resto's have been asking for a shield type ability for a long time, and this is it. It looks like cool ability to my inexperienced eyes, but I don't see any purpose for a moonkin to pick it up.

  • Tier Summary - I think this tier is pretty well done. Healers have a definite choice between a shield and a cooldown. Non-healers have a solid choice in Renewal, and Nature's Swiftness might be useful in some situations.
Tier Three: Crowd Control Tier

  • Faerie Swarm - It's a Faerie Fire that you don't have to stack and that has a slow effect. Sounds great for bears but I see no use for it as a moonkin.

  • Mass Entanglement - A poor man's Frost Nova for Druids. I see some potential with this talent especially when used with other talents and abilities, but the 2 sec cast time has me a little turned off on it.

  • Typhoon - What's interesting about this one is that the damage portion of the spell seems to have been removed. That's not a huge deal, since the Typhoon is currently used more for the knockback then it is for damage, but it's interesting none the less.

  • Tier Summary - Another pretty well done tier. I think Typhoon will be the most common choice for moonkin since a knockback is generally more helpful then a mass root, but I can think of several situations where I would want to have Mass Entanglement instead.
Tier Four: Cooldown Tier

  • Wild Charge - This is an interesting option, because the effect is tied to your form and not your spec. Basically, you're picking up 4 abilities with this choice rather then just one. In Moonkin form it's a Disengage that generates energy. The caster form example could also be used as a movement cooldown if needed.

  • Incarnation - The tool tip doesn't list a moonkin example, but judging from the examples listed it looks like Moonkin finally will have the option to have a real DPS cooldown.

  • Force of Nature - Will summon three trents that may or may not behave the way it currently does for us. My guess is that this will be the same basic spell we've always had from a moonkin perspective, but maybe they will be casters for us instead of melee.

  • Tier Summary - We don't really know a lot about these options from the information given, but they are definitely some interesting options. Wild Charge seems to be a utility choice, and we will only pick it up if it provides something we need for a particular encounter or maybe for PvP. The choice between Incarnation and Force of Nature is likely to be a math problem. One of them will end up being stronger and that is the one we will pick..
Tier Five: Bear Tier

  • Demoralizing Roar - Nice utility, but is extremely situation and shifts me to Bear form.

  • Ursol's Vortex - This one has some potential, but again seems very situational. I can see where it might be helpful in PvP, but for PvE I think it's fairly limited.

  • Bear Hug - Again, it's interesting but very situational. I like that it does damage, but I don't like being taken out of the fight to use it. I also don't like being shifted to bear form.

  • Tier Summary - Of the six druid tiers previewed at Blizzcon this is my least favorite. There is just very little there for a moonkin to work with. All three abilities have their uses given the right situation, but my guess is that those situations will be fairly rare.
Tier Six: Shapeshifting Tier

  • Heart of the Wild - I get the concept. Create an ability that allows druids to be good at their other potential rolls, but it rubs me the wrong way. If I'm in a situation where I need to heal or tank we are likely screwed already, and this ability won't help. Additionally, as a moonkin, why would I ever want Agility and Expertise? If I'm going to DPS I'm going to do it as a Moonkin, not a cat.

  • Master Shapeshifter - Horrible! Just Horrible! So by shifting out of Moonkin Form to use a few cat or bear abilities I can get an average of a 20% buff for three spells. Minus what ever damage I would have done by staying in Moonkin form instead of shifting to Cat or Bear form. This wouldn't be so bad, if moonkin regularly had to switch into feral forms, but in my 5 years of playing this game I very rarely have had shift to use my melee abilities.

  • Disentanglement - Shapeshifting removes roots like it currently does but will also real you for 20% of your health. In short, it's a healing cooldown.

  • Tier Summary - I know I said that tier five was my least favorite tier, but tier six is making me seriously reconsider my words. Heart of the Wild and Master Shapeshifter are at best very situational and at worst completely useless. Disentanglement is good utility, but boring. For the top tier of the expansion I expect something better then this.
The Death of the Cookie Cutter?

Is this the death of Cookie Cutter builds? Will this, as Blizzard puts it, "give players interesting ways to customize their characters according to their preferred playstyle?"

In my opinion, it will not.

The problem Blizzard is up against is that there will almost always be a "best option," and players will always be able to identify that "best option" based upon the needs of the situation. In this post, I looked at all six tiers and in most of them I told you which would be the most common choice, and I could tell you the exceptions for most of those choices. The only time I can't is tier five, because all three choices are extremely situational and near useless from a moonkin perspective.

Final Thoughts:

Given my comments in the last section, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you though I hated this new system, but I don't. It won't eliminate the cookie cutter builds and some of the options are pretty bad. However, this new system has some advantages as well.

I really like the "theme" structure of the choices. I've always hated having to justify taking survivability talents over even the tiniest of DPS upgrades. DPS isn't the only raider quality that has value, but is the one that is focused on 99.99% of the time. I like having to make choices based upon something other then DPS.

The simplicity of the new system is also very nice. Having to make just six choices will make life a little easier and I'm glad that we won't have to go back to a trainer to change those choices.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Pre-Blizzcon Post

UPDATE: Clearly I have no clue as to what I'm taking about.

With Blizzcon starting tomorrow and the relatively few posts I've written recently I think it's a good idea to take a shot in the dark and address some of my expectations for Blizzcon. I'm actually quite surprised by the complete lack of information being leaked. As you probably remember, before the last Blizzcon we pretty much knew everything two weeks before Blizzcon was held. The Worgen and Goblin masks were in the datafiles pretty much confirming them as the new playable races. Cataclysm was trademarked and there were tons of lore leaks that gave us a good idea of what the trademark meant.

The big question now is if the lack if information is due to Blizzard protecting it's info really well or a lack of juicy info. In my opinion it's probably a bit of both. First of all, MMO Champion has been the primary source of leaks in the past, but it looks like Blizzard made a deal during the Cataclysm Alpha that turned off that specket of info. It's clear that MMO Champion has had early access to Alpha, Beta, and PTR releases, and my guess is that Blizzard gave them access to the information in return for not disclosing it early. So, my guess is that MMO Champion already has a lot of details of what's going to be announced this weekend, but is keeping their mouth shut as a part of the deal. That said, I doubt the next expansion will follow the traditional pattern of expansion updates and I wonder if there are really any big announcements to be made other then the existence of a new expansion.

Time to Eat Some Crow:

You probably remember that I predicted that the Mists of Pandaria trademark was red herring, but I am not confident in that prediction any more. With Blizzcon starting tomorrow, I don't know what else the new expansion could be. That said, I still think many of the assumptions made by players about what that title means are wrong.

First off, Pandaria and the Pandaren are completely undeveloped lore wise, and most of the lore that is out there is from the RPG books which Blzzard has said is not canon. I have a really hard time believing that Blizzard would base an entire expansion off of such and undeveloped part of the games story. It seems highly unlikely to me especially when Blizzard has expressed some regret at making the Draenei a play able race without much established lore.

So, if Mists of Pandaria isn't completely Panda focused, what kind of story can we expect. I think an Island focused expansion like the one outlined in a Know Your Lore post by Anne Stickney on WoW Insider, and I'm thinking of it as Cataclysm: Part Two. Lets remember that the original concept of Cataclysm was a bit bigger then what has been released. For example, Neptulon was originally intended to be a raid boss in Tier 12, but Blizzard scrapped it when they decided to shrink the tiers. Blizzard also has said they wanted to do something with Kul Tiras but couldn't get to it right away. Also, Blizzard did a lot of work to set up the Old Gods and the Naga with out either of them being a big part of Cataclysm story arc. Finally, due to the Blizzard timeline that was leaked a year ago, we know that Blizzard had next expansion (loosely) scheduled for 2nd quarter 2012.

In my mind, this all adds up to a clean up expansion that goes and fills in some of the holes left by Cataclysm and prepare the story for the the big Good vs Evil fight that is in Velen's Prophecy. My guess is that the new expansion's ending boss will be Queen Azshara with an Old God being an tier end boss. I'm expecting a one two punch much like we saw in WotLK with Yogg in Ulduar leading up to Lich King.

What I don't expect to see from this expansion is a new playable race or a new class. I know a lot of people got all excited at the idea of playable Pandarans but I don't see it happening. First, for game reasons I don't think they will ever make a race available to both classes. Blizzard is really big on player Silhouette in PvP, and having one race playable by both factions messes that up. Second, I don't think they would Pandaran to just one faction given how popular the race would likely be. In the end, I think having Pandaran as a playable race is likely to be a bigger headache then Blizzard is willing undertake.

I also think a new class is a bit unlikely since I don't see the advantage of having a new class. When the Death Knight was added in WotLK it made some sense. The game was a little light on Tanking Classes, and given the tanking shortage in general it made sense to have a tank that didn't have to start at level one. Plus, Death Knights fit in to the overall theme of the expansion extremely well. However, I think looking back the the process of adding a new class proved to be much more difficult then Blizzard expected. Death Knights had balance issues for most of the expansion, and I personally don't think they had a big impact on the pool of available tanks. For Blizzard to add a new class to the game again, I think they will have to see a very definite hole in the game for it to be worth the effort, and I don't think that whole currently exists.

Other Quick Thoughts:

  • What I would like to see from the next expansion is a more Alliance focused expansion. It may be my bias, but most of the lore for the past few expansions has been more Horde focused, and I think it's time to shift the story back to the Alliance a little. To expand on that, I hope they leave Thrall out of the Horde leadership and keep Garrosh as the faction leader. I also hope they continue with the evolution of Varian Wrynn started at the end of the new book Wolfsheart, and give the Alliance a senseble leader while the Horde has the hot headed idiot for a change.

  • I doubt there will be much if any Class specific info at Blizzcon, and even less info focused on Moonkin, but obviously I would like to hear something in that regard. Specifically I would like to hear their thoughts on the complexity of the Moonkin rotation. I personally have felt that it is a little over complicated for a while now and would like to see it simplified a little bit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blizzard has been teasing us with patch 4.3 information for weeks now, and this last weekend we finely got some class specific information. If you haven't seen it already Blizzard released the T13 set-bonuses for all classes and specs. Here are the new moonkin set-bonuses:

  • Balance, 2P -- Insect Swarm increases all damage done by your Starfire, Starsurge, and Wrath spells against that target by 3%.

  • Balance, 4P -- Starsurge generates 100% extra Lunar or Solar energy while Eclipse is not active
A Quick Look Back:

Before I give my impressions of the new set-bonuses, I want to take a look back at the T12 set-bonuses as a basis for comparison. Using WrathCalcs and SimulationCraft I took a quick look at the old set bonuses to see how they turned out.

With the 2T12 set-bonus, my estimate was horribly wrong because the Burning Trents didn't behave at all like our Force of Nature trents. As it turned out the Burning Trents just stood around throwing fireballs at the boss and increased our DPS by somewhere between 1.6% and 1.8%. That's not completely horrible, but I think set bonuses should be between 2% and 3% in general.

For the 4T12 set-bonus I'm getting conflicting results from SimulationCraft and WarthCalcs. The SimulationCraft results agree with my original estimate of a 2.1% DPS increase, but WrathCalcs is estimating the DPS increase between 3.3% and 3.5%. I tend to agree with the SimulationCraft numbers and not just because they match my original estimate. Eclipse energy and how it relates to our rotation results in a fairly fuzzy math equation. Because of procs like Shooting Stars and Euphoria we don't always know what type of impact extra energy will have and that makes it difficult to estimate what kind of impact a set bonus like 4T12 will have. In this type of situation, a simulation tool like SimulationCraft has an advantage over a formulation tool like WrathCalcs, because the simulation tool plays through the actual rotation with random events like a player would.

In short, the DPS increase from 2T12 turned out to be worth about around 1.7% and 4T12 DPS increase turned out to be around 2.1%.

2T13 - Insect Swarm Boosting Nukes

The 2T13 set-bonus is a simple, straight forward set bonus. Insect Swarm is a high DPET spell that we want to have up 100% of the time, and the buff includes all three of our nukes that we would use as filler. This makes estimating the impact of this set bonus fairly easy using SimulationCraft and game data.

I looked at several World of Logs parses from several different moonkin using only boss kills from Firelands as my data set. In that data the damage from our three Nukes represented about 50% of the moonkin's overall damage. If we assume that Insect Swarm is up 100% of the time, then this set bonus would result in a 1.4% to 1.5% DPS increase. In Patchwerk style fights that percentage goes up to about 1.8%, but there hasn't been a true Patchwerk style fight since Patchwerk.

It's also, important to note that Insect Swarm isn't going to be up 100% of the time. We can expect to lose a little bit of the buff, because some of the nukes will hit when Insect Swarm slips off the target. So, in reality my original estimate is a little optimistic. The actual DPS increase will probably be a little bit lower between 1.3% and 1.4%. With that in mind I think this set bonus is a little weak, but could easily be fixed by changing the buff to 4% or 5% instead of 3%.

4T13 - Double Energy for Starsurge

My first gut impression of this set-bonus is that I don't like it. I don't like basing my evaluation entirely on a gut reaction, but set-bonuses like this are incredibly hard to evaluate without a tool like SimulationCraft, and unfortunately it has not been updated yet to include the new tier set-bonuses. Here is my reasoning.

I don't have a problem with a set-bonus affecting how we generate energy. The 4T12 set-bonus showed that it can be done effectively with solid results. My concern is that because Starsurge as the driver of this set-bonus, that this set-bonus will just be a weak version of our current 4T12 set bonus and limit overall Moonkin DPS..

The problem with a set-bonus like this is that it's only effective when you are not in Eclipse. Because of Euphoria and the energy caps we are guaranteed to be in Eclipse less then 50% of the time and are only going to be able to take advantage of a set bonus like this for a short period of time during each Eclipse transition. For buffs like Euphoria and the 4T12 set-bonus this is a problem that can be managed, because a moonkin is guaranteed to cast several Starfires or Wraths during the time that Eclipse is down. As a result you can adjust the amount of additional energy generated and guarantee that the buff will have an impact. For Starsurge, this is not true.

As we all know Starsurge is a cooldown based spell. It is also a moonkin's highest DPS nuke, and has significantly higher Damage per Energy then Starfire during Eclipse. This all adds up to the fact that we want to cast Starsurge on cooldown, which may or may not fall with in the small portion of the Eclipse transition where extra energy from Starsurge would be effective. This means that the benefit of the 4T13 set-bonus will be a bit random and inconsistent. It will be possible for us to go through a transition without casting Starsurge while not in Eclipse. It will also be possible for us to go through a transition where we cast two Starsurges while Eclipse is down due to Shooting Stars. I can't guess how this will balance out, but I don't like the lack of consistency.

My 4T13 Thought

While thinking about this new set-bonus I thought of a question for Blizzard. This is the third time Blizzard has used this style of buff where additional energy is only generated when Eclipse is down. Why is Blizzard being so one sided? Why can't a spell consume less energy while in Eclipse as well?

After thinking about it a little while I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but here is my thought.

There are two benefits to Euphoria and 4T12 buff style. First, is that they increase Eclipse uptime by reducing the number of spells a moonkin needs to cast while Eclipse is down. The second benefit is that it increased Nature's Grace uptime by speeding up the transitions between Eclipse buffs.

My thought is that Blizzard could also increase Moonkin DPS, by reducing the amount of energy consumed while in Eclipse as well as generating more energy while Eclipse is down. For example, instead of having Starsurge generate double energy when Eclipse is down, why not have Starsurge consume only 7 energy while Eclipse is up and generate 23 energy while eclipse is down?

The down side to this suggestion is that it doesn't have the Nature's Grace benefit because Starsurges during Eclipse would cause the Eclipse transition to take longer. That said, I think that the numbers could be balanced to provide a DPS increase equivalent to the 4T13 set-bonus but is more consistent and still based off of Starsurge.

These types of buffs work because they increase the uptime of Eclipse and Nature's Grace by reducing the time it takes to transition between Eclipse buffs. When applied to common spells like Wrath and Starfire it works nicely because they are spells that are used in a consistent pattern.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Molten Elementals as a Moonkin

I am not a big fan of writing strategy guides for this blog. I think that nine times out of ten, a strategy guide from a "moonkin perspective" is going to be useless. First, of all the way my guild and I do a fight might not be relevant to the strategy you and your guild use. Second, most of the time moonkin don't have to do anything special that another range DPS don't do. As a result Moonkin strategies are basically DPS strategies.

That said, as I have been researching and working on Heroic Ragnaros lately, it has become obvious that killing the Molten Elementals in phase two is a critical part of the fight. These strategies may seem obvious to some or even a lot of you, but they weren't obvious to me right off the bat. With some research and some trial and error, I recognized my mistake and started using a strategy that gave me much better results. Here is that strategy.

My Guild's Basic Strategy:

My guild is using a strategy very similar to the one outlined by the L2R Heroic Ragnaros video. Entering phase two we line up on the left side of the boss. Just seconds before he casts Molten Seeds we move to the center of the room. When the Molten Seeds explode and spawn the Molten Elementals, we DPS for a few seconds and then run to the other side of the room doing as much DPS as we can while moving. On top, this basic strategy I have an additional roll of popping Stampeding Roar every other seed spawn to help the raid move out of the way. There's nothing really exceptional about this strat. In fact, it's pretty standard, but I wanted to lay it out as a frame of reference for understanding my actions.
From here I just want to go over some of the keys to Moonkin DPS in this phase and some of the mistakes I made, in trying to put out maximum DPS.

DPS Key: Solar Eclipse

This probably goes without saying, but Solar Eclipse is the key to moonkin DPS in this phase. You want to make sure you are in Solar going into the phase, and in my experience you don't want to leave it the entire time. To be honest I didn't try transitioning to lunar and back to Solar after each set of adds die, but I don't see how there can be enough time to do so.

I start out phase one going towards solar eclipse, and spend the rest of the pahse doing as much DPS as I can while avoiding damage, This has generally put me in a good spot for phase two. Generally I ended phase one just starting a solar eclipse or just a few casts short of solar. Those extra casts can easily be completed in the transition phase. Once in solar eclipse I only cast AoE, DoTs and Starfire. That said, you may want to cast a single Starsurge each cast of Molten Seeds depending on your glyph choice but I will go into that in a minute.

Glyphs: Wrath vs Starsurge

I'm sure there will be a little debate on this topic, so I'm not going to give a definite choice here. That said I favor the Glyph of Wrath over the Glyph of Starsurge. Here is why.

Ragnaros doesn't have a lot of situations with multiple targets that make Glyph of Starsurge and obvious choice. Phase one is single target, the transition phases end quickly, Phase three and four has multiple targets but the meteors don't take much damage until debuffed in phase four. The only argument I can see for Glyph of Starsurge is that it makes the Molten Elementals in phase two a little easier.

The Molten Seeds timer in phase two is exactly a minute. Since Starfall's cooldown is also a minute without the Glyph of Starsurge then Starfall should be up for every pack of Molten Elementals. However, in practical terms this isn't 100% true since you won't necessarily cast Starfall right has it comes off cooldown each time. Casting a single Starsurge each Molten Elemental spawn would reduce Starfall's cooldown to 55 seconds and shouldn't push you out of Solar Eclipse. This would guarantee that Starfall would be up for every spawning of the elementals.

That said I don't think it's necessary. The elementals don't die immediately. As long as you are casting Starfall relatively quickly it should be up for at least 3 or 4 spawns of the Molten Elementals. If you are going beyond 3 or 4 spawns it's probably a wipe anyway. Besides that Glyph of Wrath is just a better choice in a single target situation which is the case in most of the phases.

Glyph of Typhoon: I want to make a quick comment here. Nine times out of Ten you are not going to want to use the Glyph of Typhoon because you want to be able to knock back the adds during the Transition phases. That said, if you can get away with not needing to knock back during the transition phases then using the Glyph of Typhoon during this fight could help a tiny bit. One of the things Glyph of typhoon does is widen the radius of your Typhoon. This makes easier for your Typhoon to hit more targets and could be a small benefit. However, I'm sure in most cases your guild would rather you have the knockback if it's needed then a slightly better chance of hitting adds with your Typhoon.

Mistake #1: Don't Place Mushrooms Early

My first mistake was trying to place the mushrooms early, before Molten Seeds was cast. My thought was that I'm standing here waiting to pop Stampeding Roar and only able to cast Starfire. It seemed like a perfect time to set the mushrooms because I didn't have anything better to do. In reality it didn't work out.

The problem with setting the mushrooms early is that their explosive radius is very small, and you don't always know where the seeds are going to be placed. This was particularly true in the second and third spawning of the elementals. If you wait, you can see where the seeds are placed and then set your mushrooms accordingly. This way you are much more likely to hit most of the Elementals and do a lot more damage.

As far as placement goes, I try and put the mushrooms a little bit head of the closest seed. You can expect the Elementals to move a little bit before you pop the mushrooms, and most of the Elementals should move into the mushrooms radius in that time.

Mistake #2: Not Precasting Hurricane

I was so concerned with getting good placement on my mushrooms I didn't even think about precasting Hurricane. However, after it was pointed out, precasting Hurricane makes a lot of sense. The Molten Elementals spawn were the Seeds spawn, so placing the Hurricane is easy. Also, by precasting the spell you will start hitting the adds as soon as they spawn getting a little of DPS out that isn't delayed by reaction time. Obviously you shouldn't shouldn't channel your Hurricane until the end, but you should be able to get a couple ticks off before you need to pop your mushrooms and move. This will be a big help to your Elemental DPS.

Mistake #3: Moving Too Far

This depends a little on where your guild desides to group up and such, but your personal positioning can have a big impact on your DPS. There are two times I want you to think about positioning in this procoess, and both revolve around your mushrooms.

The first time is when you place your mushrooms. In my experience, the farther away from a target I am the harder it is to place the mushrooms. It may just be the way I have my UI configured but placing Mushrooms at max range can be difficult due to camera angles and such, and as a result can take longer with worse results then doing at close range. Since you only need to be six yards away from the seeds to not be killed by them, when we are told to move I only go halfway to the stack up point. This allows me to place my mushrooms quickly and accurately, and I still have time to get to the group of spot.

The second time to think about your positioning is when you want to detonate your mushrooms. Wild Mushrooms will do the bulk of your DPS in this phase and being out of range will ruin your DPS if you go to far when grouping up. I try and be as close as possible to the seeds while still being under the effect of what ever shield or other damage reducing cooldown we are using.

Other thoughts:

  • Jump Casting: While running to the third stack up point after the Molten Elementals have spawned there are only two things you can do: 1. Cast Starfal and 2. Cast Typhoon. Therefore, if you don't know how to already it's a good idea to practice Jump Casting Typhoon. If you jump while running your toon will continue to move in that direction no matter where he faces. So, it's possible to jump and turn your toon back towards the elementals to cast Typhoon without stopping.

  • Finish up with Hurricane: Again, this may seem obvious but if you get to your third stack up point and there are still several adds left I would finish up with Hurricane. It gets some quick damage out without you having to worry about Cooldowns or targeting the correct mob. All you have to do is place it in the general area of the adds that are left.

  • Refresh DoTs: As a moonkin it will be hard to do a lot of DPS on Ragnaros during this fight, because you are staying in Solar Eclipse and focusing on Adds so much. That said, keeping DoTs up on Ragnaros is extremely important especially if you have the Necrotic Focus trinket. Since you are staying Solar for the entire phase, having the Mastery it provides is really important for your add DPS. This shouldn't be too hard since you have to cast just one dot every 28 seconds to maintain the buff, but make sure you don't lose sight of it in the chaos the phase.
TL-DR: The Short Version of My Strategy

Before starting phase two make sure you are in Solar Eclipse. At the start of phase two go to the first group of spot and DO NOT pre-place your mushrooms. When the raid leader calls for it move halfway to the second group of spot. Place your mushrooms slightly ahead of the closest Seed and then move to the second group of spot. You have more then enough time to do this before the seeds explode. When at second group up spot start casting Hurricane on the Seeds, and then detonate your mushrooms soon after the seeds explode and start running to the third group of spot. While running cast Starfall and jump cast Typhoon when you are almost to the third group of spot. If several adds left, cast Hurricane in their general area to finish them up. Do not leave Solar Eclipse for the entire phase.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Legendary Mechanics

Since it was announced that the first legendary of Cataclysm would be a caster weapon people have been asking questions and speculating about it and wondering what the proc would be. When the tool tip became available during 4.2 questions we finally got to see the proc. "Equip: When you deal damage, you have a chance to gain the Wrath of Tarecgosa, duplicating the harmful spell." While this answered one question, it created a thousand others for obvious reasons. Now that we are a month and a half into patch 4.2 the Legendary Staves are starting to come out and we are starting to get some answers. Siiz of Premonition was the first to get one on August 10th, and luckily for us a moonkin Happyjojj was able to get one a day later and has been posting some of the results from his testing of the proc on the European forums. You can find Happyjojj's thread here and Siiz's post is here. Also, I want to say congratulations to Happyjojj and Siiz on completing the legendary and thank you for doing the testing and posting the results.

The Highlights:

  • The Basics - As the tooltip says, when you deal damage, the Wrath of Tarecgosa (WoT) proc has a chance to duplicate the harmful spell, but this means different things for Direct Damage spells and DoTs. According to Siiz, when WoT procs on a DD spell the duplicate acts like a completely independent spell and with its own damage calculation. It's possible for casted spell to proc but the duplicate to not and vice versa. DoTs on the other hand do not behave the same way. When WoT procs on a DoT tick it does not refresh the spell. It only duplicates the DoT tick and has the same damage as the original tick.

  • The Proc Chance - Happyjojj didn't address this directly but I did look up the log he did while testing on World of Logs. You can see the results in this CompareBot report.

    According to Siiz, duplicated DoT's are listed as Wrath of Tarecgosa rather then the spell that caused the proc. In an effort to calculate the moonkin proc rate I divided Happyjojj's Wrath of Tarecgosa hits by their total number of DoT tick. According to that math the proc rate is around 11.2% (38/340=0.11176) give or take a couple percent. It's important to note that this is a fairly small sample and the actual proc rate is probably a percent or two above or below this number. So, please don't go quoting the 11.2% number I quoted as a fact. We need to get more data to say what the proc rate is more definitively.

  • Duplicate Nuke Energy - When Wrath of Tarecgosa procs off of moonkin nukes the WoT procs will generate lunar or solar energy. For example, if you proc when casting a Starfire that generates 20 energy, the WoT proc will generate at least 20 energy also. It is unclear if the WoT proc can benefit from Euphoria, but Happyjojj has confirmed that the original and duplicate cost do not necessarily generate the same amount of energy.

    My Thought: This is huge! Getting duplicate casts is significant enough as it is, but generating energy with the duplicate casts makes this proc even more amazing. It basically makes the proc behave like a haste buff without the mana consumption. Moonkin that are able to get the staff will transition between Eclipses even quicker. This will allow for more Eclipse buffed DoTs and greater Nature's Grace uptime. I'm jealous.

  • Moonfire and Lunar Shower - When WoT procs on the Direct Damage portion of Moonfire, the duplicate Moonfire will not stack Lunar Shower or generate energy.

    My Thought: I know a lot of moonkin don't use Lunar Shower regularly anymore, but I'm happy that it works this way. Having the duplicates stack LS in movement heavy situations would be helpful, but I think that is the exception rather then the rule. Most movement is usually done in fairly short bursts and probably insignificant when compared to the possibility of having MF generating energy when you don't want it to due to WoT procs.

  • Wild Mushroom - Each mushroom that is placed is treated as an individual spell, but if a mush room is duplicated it is duplicated for all the targets hit by that mushroom. For example, if three mushrooms are placed and each mushroom can hit three targets, normally you would see a total of nine hits. If one of those mushrooms procs WoT then you would see a total of 12 hits.

    My Thought: I'm not surprised by this. I'm sure some people would rather that it duplicated all of the Mushrooms placed, but it probably doesn't matter mathematically. Yes the damage of an individual mushroom will be less then if all three were duplicated, but you are probably three times as likely to get a proc with each of the mushrooms treated as individual spells.

  • Starsurge and Shooting Stars - Duplicate Starsurge casts will consume a Shooting Stars proc that occurs while you are casting Starsurge, but will not put Starsurge on cooldown. To put it another way, in rare occasions your Starsurge casts with Shooting stars will not be instant casts.

    My Thought: This is the one negative I saw from Happyjojj's testing. It sucks but it should be rare enough that it isn't significant.

  • Hurricane - Damage from Hurricane behaves like a DoT when it comes to Wrath of Tarecgosa, and when it procs for a Hurricane tick it duplicates the damage for all targets hit by the tick.

    My Thought: Hurricane isn't used that often by moonkin anymore and probably isn't mathematically significant either way, but this is nice to know.
Thanks Again:

Once again, I just wanted to say a quick thanks to Happyjojj and Siiz for doing the testing and posting their results on the forums and in World of Logs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Russian Interview

A Russian Blogger contacted me a few months ago to do an interview. He's done several great interviews with other moonkin like Hamlet from EJ and Lappe from Paragon, and I am honored by the request.

Since, I assume most of you can't read Russian, I asked Avl if it would be ok for me to cross post the interview here. He graciously agreed. You can find the original version in Russian here. Also, please note that I answer all of these questions in late May early June. Some of the answers may seem a little strange and out of date given that 4.2 has since been released.

Hi, Graylo! Let’s start with a question about your nickname - it’s kinda unique. Can you tell us about the story behind it?

- It's not all that exciting. My middle name is Gray, and I just started adding syllables on the end of it until I found one I liked. All of my alts fit that same pattern. It's very creative as you can see.

What’s your WoW story, Graylo? What classes have you played?

- WoW is my first MMO. I got a free trial with one of Blizzards RTS games and decided to give it a shot. That was in December of 2006 just before the TBC patch was released. I was hooked almost immediately and have maintained my account ever since with out any big breaks. In that time, I've played ever class to some degree, but only the caster DPS classes to max level. Prior to the release of Cataclysm I had 5 level 80 characters (mage, warlock, Shadow Priest, Ele Shaman, and Druid of course). I have raided the warlock and shadow priest at various times as an alt, but never seriously. Most of my attention is focused on my Druid, but I have gotten my shaman to level 85 as well.

When was your famous moonkin born?

-Graylo is actually the first toon I created, and has always been my main toon. I chose a Druid because they were said to be easy to solo and very versatile. I didn't know anything about the game other then what I had read online, so a druid sounded like the safe choice. My first few months playing WoW were an absolute disaster. Two thirds of my talent points were spent in Balance, the other third was spent in resto, but I spent half the time DPSing in Cat form with a mixture of caster and melee gear. As I said, I was a walking disaster. Then at about level 50 I realized that if I respecced I could pick up moonkin form, and haven't looked back since.

What’s you favorite thing is WoW currently? What activity you like the most?

- I've always been a raider. My primary goal in this game is to kill all of the raid bosses before the next content patch and get all of the raid related achievements. I've tried other aspects of the game off and on, but none of them have really stuck with me.

Is there any WoW achievement you are proud of? Some PvE boss or arena rating actually?

-The achievement I'm most proud of is getting Glory of the Raider (25man) and Immortal before patched 3.1 was released. This meant that I got the Black Proto-Drake as a reward. The Immortal achievement was such a pain in the butt because, little stupid things could screw it up. When we finally got the achievement it was cathartic. We had been working on Immortal for months with several near misses. The tension we felt by the end of the instance was enormous and being able to let all that go at the end was awesome. It was one of the happiest moments I ever had in this game.

The other big moment was killing Lady Vashj in TBC. My guild at the time had gone through a lot of trials and progression related drama, and it was awesome to finally kill her. In reality, it wasn't all that impressive because we were the fifth or sixth guild on the server to do so and it was after Sunwell was released, but it felt like a breakthrough to us.

Is there any feature, ability or mechanic in the game you would like to change?

- There isn't really a specific mechanic that I would like to see changed, but I do think that moonkin are a little too complicated overall. Having three nukes and two DoTs by themselves would be fine, but they way they interact with Eclipse and some of our other abilities pushes it a little over the edge for me. I don't like all of the run of play choices that we have to make at the moment.

Should I save this Starsurge cooldown for Eclipse or cast it now? Should I wait to refresh this DoT or do it now? Should I clip this DoT or refresh it later? Should I spam MF while moving? Should I cast Starfall now or wait? Should I hold solar now or can I get back to it in time?

I'm not against having to make choices in the run of play. That is what separates the excellent players from the average, but it seems like Moonkin have a lot of choices at the moment. I would like to see some of those choices simplified.

If I had to pick one mechanic to change/remove, I would pick the 4T11 set bonus. Yes, it is very strong and yes it is going away for all practical purposes in patch 4.2, but I've found it to be a real pain in the neck. It's just too easy to waste in my opinion. We transition between Eclipse procs so quickly now that it's difficult not to waste part of it with Starfall. I will be glad when I don't have to worry about it any more.

Back to your moonkin, what thing amuses you the most of him?

- Obviously the dance is a lot of fun, but I find the various graphical errors over the years to be the most fun.

What do you mean by graphical errors? Will be happy to see one myself!

- The moonkin model can only stand, sit, and dance. As a result it's had issues where and there where it didn't interact well with something else in the game, like having Moonkin stand on mounts rather then riding on them. My favorite one comes from Ulduar. For a short period of time when a moonkin got on one of the choppers the sidecar folded up and it looked like the moonkin was being dragged behind the bike. I posted a picture of it on the blog a while back.

What specs your moonkin has? What are the reasons behind it?

-The spec I use changes depending on the needs of the fight we are focusing on and the needs of the raid, but this is what I consider to be fairly standard raid build. (link)

I consider the fourth tier of the balance tree to be my optional choices. I picked them up because they are the best DPS options available at that point or I like the utility they provide. I skip all of the mana talents, because I haven't had any serious mana issues since the start of the expansion. I do pick up Fungal Growth on some fights because the slowing utility can be helpful, but the graphic is annoying enough that I leave it off when I don't need it. I skip Blessing of the Grove because it is incredibly weak (0.05% increase per point) and I prefer the utility of other talents.

Some people disagree with me but I do not consider Perseverance to be an optional talent. In my experience, raid attempts rarely wipe due to a lack of DPS. Most of the time the wipe is caused by someone doing something stupid and dying or killing someone else. They are also due to not having enough experience with some mechanics of the fight. Damage reduction and survivability help with both of these issues. Therefore, I don't consider it to be an optional talent.

Given only 3 words, how would you call current state of moonkins in PvE?

- Complex, Wanted, Beaten up

If a blizzard developer asked you to add only one feature to your beloved spec, what it would be?

-I would like better cooldowns. I would love to have something like Arcane Power, Icy Veins, or Elemental Mastery. Those cooldowns are nice because they say, I need to do more damage right now, without the complication of having do deal with trents or stars hitting the wrong targets.

Time for some blog questions, Graylo! When have you started to write Gray Matter?

- I wrote my first post for the blog in September of 2007.

What were the reasons for you to start a moonkin blog?

- When I started my intent wasn't to write a "moonkin blog." The blog started out as more of a WoW diary then anything else. As I've said before, I didn't know anyone who played this game when I first started, but I had read about it quite a bit online and had looked at a couple of WoW blogs. As I was leveling Graylo, I had a lot of thoughts and issues I wanted to talk about, but I didn't have anyone to talk about them with. Since I had read a couple of the other blogs I got the idea to post my thoughts on this game on a blog. It took me probably six months to actually sit down and write that first post, but I've been a fairly regular poster ever since.

The blog became more moonkin focused when I got more serious about raiding. Moonkin was not a popular raid spec in TBC so there weren't a lot of Moonkin theorycrafters out there. Also, I didn't trust the few numbers being posted by people on the forums. So, I did the math myself to verify or refute the numbers being posted. With that math I was able to show things like why Wrath was a bad raiding spell and why Crit was the worst raiding stat. I didn't do the research for the blog, but I wanted to get more readers and no one else was posting this type of information. So, I started to post my research on blog to get more readers and I became known as a moonkin blogger.

Does your blog improve your playstyle and WoW statistics?

- Yes and no. I didn't do my spec research to have something to write in the blog. I did it so that I would know what was the best way to play and then realized it would be good info to post on the blog. With or without the blog I would still do research and read the various sites see how I could improve my play. However, the blog keeps me honest and attracts a lot of attention and suggestions. If I post something stupid on the blog it gets corrected pretty quickly because someone reads it and tells me I'm being stupid. It also, forces me to do the research a little more quickly rather then waiting for someone else to do it.

In short, I would probably come to the same conclusions and play choices without the blog, but I probably get to them a little more quickly because of the blog.

What drives you crazy about it?

- At time's I am a victim of my own success and I feel like the blog is more of an obligation then a hobby. A lot of good things have happened to me because I've written this blog and I don't regret any of it, but the pressure to be Graylo can be tough at times.

Hm, obligation? Pressure to be Graylo? Sounds like you have more to say, Graylo!

- If someone's looking for moonkin information now there are several good sources to find it. Hamlet's guide on EJ is great. Calculated's Guide on the Moonkin Repository's the best I've ever seen. WoW Insider is finally covering Moonkin well. There is Moonkin information all over the place now but this hasn't always been the case. As a result, I used to get a lot of e-mails, asking why I haven't talked about a particular topic or why my gear list hasn't been updated yet. The worst example happened in ToC when Blizzard used different names for the Alliance and Horde items. Adding the horde items in the list required a lot of extra work that I wanted to avoid. I thought people could figure it out, but a ton of people complained and I ended up adding them anyway. To some extent I think it's forgotten that the blog is a hobby and that I have a career and family outside of WoW. I'm not always able to respond to things right away, or even do the amount of theorycrafting I used to do, because I just don't have the time anymore.

And it's not just readers that put this pressure on me. I put it on myself a lot of times, because I like being "Graylo, the Moonkin Expert." I find it very frustrating to see others make comments and observations on EJ or TMR that I think I should have thought of as well or posted about first.

I love writing the blog, and I love all the things it has provided me over the years, but it's no longer a casual activity that I do when I have time or feel like it. In that way, it's become a bit of an obligation.

What thing you want to improve in your blog?

- There are a lot of things I would like to improve about the blog, but I'm too lazy to do most of them. I would love to switch it to a Wordpress format instead of Blogger, because I think it looks a lot cleaner. I wish I had an editor to find my mistakes that I miss. I wish it had more pictures.

Our readers liked your moonkin gear rating. What’s the story behind it? Was it a social demand from your friends/colleagues?

- I wrote my first gear guide purely to get readers. This was during TBC and there seemed to be a lot of questions about cloth vs. leather and crit vs. other stats. It was just a simple pre-kara guide to tell people where the good rep gear was and what were the good dungeons to run. In early WotLK, I stole the idea of using a more mathematical approach for creating the gear list from the feral blogger Kalon at ThinkTank.

I like to think of the gear list more as a reference guide then an actual gear guide or BIS list. BIS lists are impractical because you don't get all the gear at once, and most players don't have a hope of ever getting the BIS item in every slot. What I like about my gear list is that it shows all of the options and where you can get them. This way, if you know you are weak in a particular slot you can quickly see where your upgrades are. I also like that it shows which upgrades are significant and which others aren't that important.

Is there any secret benefits of having a moonkin blog? :)

- I've benefited greatly due to having the blog. I've gotten into guilds, because of my blog. I got into the Cataclysm Beta because of my blog. I've been offered free stuff from other game developers because of the blog. Most of all, it's very pleasing to know that I've created something that the players and creators of this game have found to be valuable. I'm very proud of the fact that I've had some impact on this game.

What advise can you give to a novice blogger?

- The best blogging advice I can give, is to write because you want to write. I've seen a lot of people start blogs because they want to be e-famous, be listened to, or make money. Most of those guys burn out quickly and are unsuccessful because blogging is a lot harder, and less rewarding then it looks. I wrote Gray Matter for over a year, before I got any serious traffic, and most of my success comes from a lack of competition when I started rather then being a great blog. A new blogger starting today would have a much tougher time then I did. So, if your primary reason for starting a blog is to be read then I would reconsider, because chances are you are just going to be frustrated and disappointed.

From a technical perspective, my suggestion would be to buy your domain name when you start. Domain names are not expensive and owning your own can make a lot of things easier down the road. Owning your own domain name means you can redesign or and move your blog/site without having to redirect your traffic. I wish I had bought my Domain name when I started.

Moonkin bloggers an elusive people, don't you agree? :)

- Moonkin Bloggers have become more elusive recently with people like Quith and Relevart getting out of the blogging game.

What can you tell our Russian readers about yourself?

- I'm a married 35 year old father of two small children. I work in the banking industry. All in all my life is fairly normal and boring. Outside of WoW I spend my free time reading, watching movies and tv. I also spend a lot of time watching and reading about soccer. Most of my casual wardrobe consists of soccer jerseys. I am quite pissed that Qatar stole the 2022 World Cup from us, but congratulations you Russia for getting the 2018. Choosing Russia made a lot of sense to me.

Woot! Married, two small children! Does it mean you play less now and spend more time with your family than before?

- Yes, and no. My son was born about 6 months after I started playing WoW, so family has always limited the amount of time I could play. In my four years of raiding the amount of time I spend raiding has been fairly constant, and since my kids go to bed before raid time they don't have any impact on my WoW time from that perspective. That said, they have limited more of my casual raid time, since we do more stuff on weekends, and they don't take as many naps as they used to.

Where do you live atm?

- I live outside Milwaukee Wisconsin in the US

What music you prefer to listen? During raid-time maybe?

- I can't listen to music or watch anything on TV while raiding. It's just to distracting for me. Outside of raid my musical interests very. Right now I'm listening to band like Emery, Thrice, Bullet's for my Valentine, but my interests change pretty quickly.

Some people think we, moonkins, are fat, clumsy and got large hair irl. Is it true?

- Unfortunately for me this is a little too true, but definitely not true across the board. Have you seen a picture of Murmurs/Tyler Caraway on WoW Insider? That is one skinny kid.

Is there a favorite moonkin meal you like to eat? :)

- Now that I'm not a Tauren anymore I have to say a Hamburger.

Time is money, friend! As a final word in this interview, what would you say or wish to our Russian audience?

- I just want to say thank you to all the readers. My blog would be anything without them and I appreciate all of their support.

Thanks a lot, Graylo, that was an awesome interview!

Thanks Avl

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blizzard Trademarks "Mists of Pandara"

Blizzard Trademarked the name "Mists of Pandara" recently according to multiple WoW news sites. With Blizzcon just a few months a way a lot of people are assuming that this is the next expansion. Since Blizzard registered "Cataclysm" as a trademark about this time two years ago that seems like a reasonable assumption. However, I want to go on the record and claim one thing.

I'm Calling Troll.

I acknowledge that I could very well be wrong, but "Mists of Pandara" doesn't smell right as a WoW expansion. First of all lets remember the history of the Pandaran. The race started as a personal art project of Blizzard's lead artist, that was eventually turned into an April Fools joke. The Pandaran were so popular that Blizzard has included them in minor ways into various games and the lore, but none of it was all that major. Since Blizzard knows people are looking at the trademarks to get a clue of what the next expansion will be, it wouldn't surprise me if they threw this one out there to yank our chain a little bit.

Second, let me list the expansions and lets see if we see a pattern.

The Burning Crusade - Established in Lore and a clear enemy in demons.
Wrath of the Lich King - Established in Lore and a clear enemy in undead.
Cataclysm - The name doesn't invoke any established Lore, but a Cataclysm is clearly something bad.

Now lets look at this new trademark.

Mists of Pandera - Pandas?

Lets face it, there isn't a lot of lore about the Pandaren, and most of what we do have comes from the RPG books which Blizzard has confirmed is not canon. Not only that who would we be fighting, and how are the Pandaren related to that. Also, the Pandaren Islands are supposed to be small far away islands, and I have to wonder if they would really be big enough to support an expansion.

I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be a small Facebook or pop cap game that Blizzard created for the fun of it, but I would be absolutely shocked if this is an expansion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Real Money AH in Diablo

It's pretty strange that I am writing a post about an announcement for Diablo. In truth, I have very little experience with the franchise. I played Diablo one for a little while after sold for a heavily discounted price. I never touched Diablo 2 and had/have no plans to try Diablo 3. This isn't a comment about the quality of the franchise; it's a matter of so many things to do and so little time. So I think you can see why it is strange for me to post about a Diablo announcement, but this one cuts very close to WoW.

In case you haven't seen it already, Blizzard has announced a new Auction House feature in Diablo 3 that will allow transactions both in game-gold and real-life currency. For the full details, please look at Blizzards site.

An Attempt at Fairness:

First and foremost, I need to qualify my comments on this subject. As stated above my experience with Diablo is very limited. While I can envision a lot of bad things if this type of feature was introduced in WoW, I can't say with any experience that the same bad things would happen in Diablo. In fact, Bashiok has made some decent arguments as to why having this type of AH in Diablo is different then having the same type of AH in WoW.

It should also be said that Diablo 3 is not WoW. Just because this is happening in Diablo doesn't mean this will be added to WoW as well. Blizzard has said in the past that this type of feature won't be implemented in WoW, and they have also said that real money transactions provide any game advantage. This could be a feature that is only intended for Diablo and will never interact with WoW. I recognize that players who have an opinion similar to mine could be overreacting, because there really is no intention of ever implementing this type of feature in WoW.

That said, it's incredibly hard not to see this as a step down a new road for Blizzard. If you had asked me yesterday if this type of feature would ever be considered I would have given you a complete and confident "NO." This step definitely increased the chances of this type of feature being added to WoW, especially when you consider other features like Race and Faction changes which Blizzard claimed at one time or another would never happen. That is why I think my concern for WoW is justified, when Blizzard adds a feature to another game that could possibly be added to WoW as well, even when the games are unrelated.

I really don't care if this feature is added to Diablo 3 or not, but I do have very strong opinions about if this type of feature should be added to WoW. And when I see posts like Mathew McCurley's on WoW Insider absolutely drooling over a real money AH I feel the need to post an opposing view of why this would be bad for WoW.

Dual Auction Houses are a Lie:

One of the big selling points Blizzard is trying to make is that there will be two Auction Houses that you can use depending on your preference: a Gold AH and a Currency AH. Bashiok has gone so far as to say "I have no doubt that the gold auction house will by-far outweigh the real money auction house in scope and amount of items available."

While I am sure that there will be in fact two Auction Houses, the idea that you can choose which one to use based on preference is an illusion. You can tell by answering one simple question. Which is better, fake money or real money? If you answer real money then you are like 99.9999% of the people who will play the game.

Anyone who thinks about this situation at all will realize that the Currency AH will drive the postings on both auction houses. Bashiok may be right that the Gold AH will be bigger, but all of the prices will be determined by the Currency AH.

For example, let say that the Boots of Uberness are listed for $5.00 on the Currency AH, and 1000g is selling for $1.25. How much gold are the Boots of Uberness worth? Clearly they are worth 4000g in this situation. You can list this item on either AH, but the price is clearly going to be determined by the Currency AH. I could list this item on the Gold AH for 10,000g but why would someone buy it there? They could just sell 4000g for $5.00 and buy it off the Currency AH.

So, as you can see, any suggestion that the Gold AH is an independent auction house is an illusion. This isn't to say that the prices between the two AHs will be in perfect lock-step. The fees charged by Blizzard and the less liquid nature of gold will cause some differences, but don't be surprised when they are fairly close most of the time. If WoW's AH has taught us anything, it has shown that there are a lot of very smart people who can work the system to make fake currency. Just think what will happen when people are motivated to make real currency.

Legitimizing a Shady Industry:

Another suggestion that seems to be popular is that is that this is a big blow to the shady business of Gold Selling. In his WoW Insider piece Mathew McCurley says "Blizzard could remove the profitability of gold farming by making everyone a gold farmer."

Yes, how could the gold farmers possibly be profitable when you can buy and sell gold and other things from anyone in game? Let me think. How could they survive?


This isn't a death blow to the gray market. This is just legitimizing it. Claiming this is any kind of weapon against the gray market is like a politician saying they won the war on drugs by legalizing them.

Some of you might then argue, that because all players are now allowed to participate in the market this will reduce the profitability and that gold farmer won't make enough money, and therefore leave the market. At first that point of view may sound logical, but it's missing a few key points. First, the gold sellers’ biggest problem currently is finding gold buyers. While legitimizing the market will increase the number of sellers, it will also increase the number of buyers, and may not change the profitability of the market at all. It may even increase the profitability of the market.

The other thing proponents of this argument are forgetting is that the gold sellers won't play fair. Gold Sellers are more then willing to bot and hack their way to create their product, and that's not going to change if Blizzard legitimizes their market. Botting will still be the most efficient way to gather trade goods. Since Blizzard tends to allow bots to operate for a few months and then ban them in waves even when the bot is obvious, the gold sellers are unlike to stop using bots. Hacking has a similar issue. It's obviously profitable for them now, and there's nothing about a Currency AH that would make hacking unprofitable on its own.

In short, anyone who thinks that a Currency AH is a silver bullet against the commercial gold sellers is just deluding themselves. It will definitely change their business model, but it's not going to prevent them from doing harmful things like Hacking. In fact, legitimizing the gold sellers could harm the casual player more then botting and hacking ever have. If the gold sellers are significantly more efficient with their gold farming than the average player, then that will push the price of gold extremely low and inflate gold prices on the AH, thus forcing players to play long hours to earn enough gold to buy an item or to buying gold.

The Social Hazard:

Finally, I want you to think about this situation if a Currency AH was introduced to WoW. Let’s say you are the GM of a moderately successful guild with 100,000g in the guild bank along with plenty of items. After a while you grow bored with the game or just want to go casual. What do you do?

Of course, there are a lot of GMs that would leave the guild bank intact and step down without issue. At the same time, I'm just as confident that there will be plenty of GMs that will take the money and run. Being the GM of a guild is hard work, and I assure you that fore some people it will be easy for them to justify taking the money by saying they earned over there time as GM in the Guild. I've heard that excuse several times in my 4.5 years of WoW without a Currency AH.

And guess what, you as members of the guild are powerless to stop them. Guild Masters have total control of their guild. They determine who has access to the guild bank and who can be in the guild. They could justify locking up the guild bank by saying they want to protect it from people who might take the items for themselves to sell them. Then the next thing you know, you log in one day with everyone kicked from the guild except the GM and his alts. I can't say how often this will happen, but I guarantee you it will, and you might be surprised what your friendly GM is capable of justifying when several hundred dollars of gold and stuff are on the line.


To be fair, I have very little experience with Diablo, and a real money AH may be perfect and helpful for that game. I also recognize that what Blizzard does with Diablo doesn't necessarily relate to WoW in any way. So, my concern for WoW at this announcement may be an overreaction. However, since they are willing to implement it for Diablo, it's reasonable to assume that they might conceder it for WoW as well. That is why I think it's important to lay out why I think a Currency AH is a bad idea for WoW.

While Blizzard can create and claim to have two separate AHs, it's impossible to have them operate independently. The Currency AH will set the prices for both AHs because gold will aways have a price. Some people are arguing that this is a damaging blow to the gray market businesses that deal in game items for real money, but it is no such thing. It just legitimizes them and makes their business easier in some respects. It also isn't going to prevent harmful activities like botting and hacking in any way shape or form. Finally, if this type of service was added in WoW it would create new hazards for players. Guild Masters and other players with access to community gold and items can easily take them and sell them for personal gain. And if that personal gain can have a real financial impacts expect that activity to become more common.