Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Great 4.2 Nerf

Just in case you haven't seen it, though I'm sure most of you have, Blizzard announced yesterday that the T11 normal mode raids will be nerfed significantly when 4.2 is released. Here's the quote:

With the upcoming content patch, 10- and 25-person Normal mode raid encounters will be receiving a comprehensive set of tuning adjustments to decrease their difficulty.

These changes will allow players, groups, and guilds who have yet to experience the content in Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, and Throne of the Four Winds an opportunity to do so.

With the addition of a new tier of armor and weapons, we want to make the previous tier more accessible in ways other than just a shift of currency type, so we are making item level 359 gear purchasable for Justice points in the upcoming content patch.
The general reaction to this change is about what I would expect after playing this game for four years. The casuals are happy, but some seem to be more excited to troll the "incoming QQ from raiders." A few "raiders" are happy to provide the whining and say all sorts of stupid stuff on the forums which I will get into later. However, I think most serious raiders are like me. We just don't care about the nerf.

My Perspective:

In all honesty, I don't understand why anyone really cares about this change. Seriously who does this help? If you take a look at WoW progress you can see almost 19,000 guilds have cleared Nefarian on normal mode. Even more have cleared Cho'gall and Al'Akir. If you haven't cleared the T11 normal mode bosses at this point of the expansion, you clearly aren't serious about raiding or progression. For the casual player this allows them to see some content that no one is going to care about otherwise.

If anything, this change helps the serious raiders out there more then any one else. Raiders tend to get locked into playing one character for very long periods of time. Raiders spend so much time learning, optimizing and gearing a particular toon that it's hard to switch to something else even after they've grown bored of their main toon. This change will make it easier for players to gear an alt or main switch if they so choose.

I am a sensitive to the argument that these nerfs will cheapen the rewards of titles and such. However, I think this argument is being over blown a little bit. The "Defender of a Shattered World" title will become more common, but was it really all that impressive to begin with?

I'm more concerned about Heroic titles and Meta achievements that signify the rare accomplishments in raiding. I still think these types of rewards should be removed in a timely manner, but that is irrelevant to the 4.2 nerfs since the 4.2 are being made to normal mode bosses only.

Legendary Concerns:

The silliest complaint I've heard about these nerfs is that they will some how make the Legendary staff easier to get and more abundant. Yes, you have to complete the T11 raids to be able to pick up the first quest leading to the legendary staff, but it's not like that was a significant barrier in the first place. There are already hundreds of thousands of players who meet that criteria already. The real barriers to the staff are the 25 Living Embers you will need to create the first step, and the 25 Seething Cinders needed to complete the second step. The Heart of the Flame needed to complete the legendary might also be a big issue if it only drops off of Heroic Ragnaros. The simple truth is, if you haven't completed T11 raids yet, you probably don't have a snowballs chance in the Firelands to complete the legendary staff anyway.

Some people may argue that this nerf sets a precedent that the Firelands raid will be nerfed at some point in the future. Thus making the staff easier to obtain when Tier 13 is released. I agree there is some merit to that argument, but I think history shows that to be an insignificant concern. Let’s use Ulduar as an example. The legendary mace [Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] was the BIS healer weapon right up until the release of Cataclysm. Yet, it wasn't a very common item to have even at the end of WotLK when Ulduar was easy to clear. The reality was that you still needed close to a full group to clear the instance, and most players weren't willing to run the instance for weeks on end just so that a healer could get the mace. I expect the same will be true in Cataclysm. There will be plenty of caster DPS that want to still run Firelands to try and get the Legendary, but only one player can work on it at a time. It will be difficult to get the necessary tanks, healers and other DPS to fill out the group. Thus the legendary staff will still be very rare.

Encounter Journal a Nerf?

I find it very strange that some people are upset that Blizzard has added the Encounter Journal to the standard UI. Complaints that it "gives too much information and will trivialize learning the fights" seem silly to me. Have these people actually looked at the Encounter Journal or paid any attention to how guild prepare for raids these days?

The fact of the matter is that Blizzard isn't providing anything new by adding the Encounter Journal. All of the information it contains has traditionally been provided by third party addons and websites. If this information trivializes learning the fights then it's been trivialized since TBC. Almost nobody goes into a raid encounter completely blind any more. The elite guilds have tested most of the encounters on the PTR and have a good idea of what to expect when the content goes live. The rest of us comb the internet for kill video's and strategies before we make any serious attempts. For the people that want to go in blind, they still can. You don't have to look at the Encounter Journal if you don't want to.

I don't see a good reason for anyone to be upset over the encounter journal. It's just a list of abilities and loot, with some lore thrown in. It doesn't tell you how to deal with those abilities and kill the boss. The Encounter Journal is just a quality of life change. It makes it easier to find fight information, should limit the amount of misinformation that is pass around while people learn the fight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fee to Play with Friends

In case you missed it Blizzard made a new announcement today that they are working on a new service that will allow players to group with friends on your Real ID friends list even if they are on another realm. There's just one catch. You'll have to pay extra for it. Here's the entire announcement:
With the continued popularity of the Dungeon Finder, many players have been asking for a way to group up with real-life friends who play on other realms to take on instances together. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about a new feature currently in development that will allow players to invite Real ID friends of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player regular or Heroic dungeon.

As this is a fairly complex service to develop, we don’t have a release date to share quite yet. It’s important to note that as with some of the other convenience- and connectivity-oriented features we offer, certain elements of the cross-realm Real ID party system will be premium-based, though only the player sending the invitations will need to have access to the premium service. We'll have more details to share with you as development progresses -- in the meantime, you may begin to see elements of the feature appear on the World of Warcraft PTR.

Those of you who've read by blog for a long time may remember that I'm not against Micro Transactions and Premium Services as a general rule, but I do think there is a line that shouldn't be crossed.
  • Micro Transactions: Being able to purchase pets and mounts doesn't bother me because they have no game impact.
  • Mobile Services: The Mobile Auction House and Guild Chat don't bother me because they extend the game to device beyond your computer and they are fairly small aspects of the game.
  • Premium Services: Fee's for server transfers and race changes also make sense to me because they are a bit of an extraordinary situation. Plus you want some disincentive to prevent people from using them frequently and fees are good at that.
My general rule is that as long as it doesn't have a big impact on a core function of the game or doesn't charge a fee for a core feature of the game I don't have a problem with it. This new service cuts dangerously close to that line in my opinion.

On one hand this really doesn't have any impact on how we play the game. If you don't buy the service nothing changes for you. Nothing is preventing us from starting a toon on a new server or transferring a toon to play with friends. It's also worth remembering that this is a bit of functionality that players have been requesting since Real ID and the LFD tool were created. Creating it costs money and without the fees it might have not been a priority for Blizzard to create it now.

On the other hand, it really feels like a fee to play with my friends. I've played this game for a very long time and have friends from almost every guild I've played with on several different servers. It is literally impossible for me to be on the same server as all of my friends because they are on multiple servers. The only other solution would be for me to level multiple toons on the different serves which I feels is both an unfair and impractical solution. The Real ID service was designed so that players could more easily stay in touch with their friends. It doesn't feel right to monetize it by charging people to be able to group with people on their friends list.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lunar Shower Details

Update - I added a section on the possibility of skipping the Lunar Shower Talent all together.

Yesterday, I posted about the data mined info showing that Moonfire/Sunfire would now generate energy if you were buffed with Lunar Shower, and guessed that it was a replacement of last weeks patch notes indicating all DoTs would generate energy. That has now been confirmed. Here is the official patch note.
  • Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance druids.
  • Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for Balance druids.
  • Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance druids.
  • Lunar Shower has been redesigned. When casting Moonfire, the druid gains Lunar Shower. Lunar Shower increases the direct damage done by Moonfire by 15/30/45%, and reduces the mana cost by 10/20/30%. This effect stacks up to 3 times and lasts 3 seconds. While under the effects of Lunar Shower, Moonfire generates 8 Solar Energy, and Sunfire generates 8 Lunar Energy. The amount of Lunar/Solar Energy gained does not change based on the number of points spent in the talent, or stacks of Lunar Shower. Those druids who wish to delay transition in or out of an Eclipse state should now cast the one of their two basic attacks which will not move the Eclipse bar (either Starfire or Wrath).

Since this is what I assumed was being implemented my comments yesterday about how this would affect our rotation still stands. Single target fights should see little impact. Even dual target fights won't see a lot of impact if you time the refreshes correctly. Mostly this takes away a tool for us to delay an eclipse transition using Lunar Shower and Moonfire/Sunfire. Oddly enough this should nerf the elite players but have a smaller impact on the more average players. That said there are two interesting parts to this patch note.

Delaying Eclipse: One of the main criticisms of the old patch notes was that it took away the ability for players to delay eclipse transitions by using Lunar Shower and Moonfire. I find it interesting Blizzard addressed this concern directly. They said:
Those druids who wish to delay transition in or out of an Eclipse state should now cast the one of their two basic attacks which will not move the Eclipse bar (either Starfire or Wrath).
Blizzard's basically telling us they hear the concern but tough. We will have to deal with it because that is the activity they didn't like.

I know some people won't like the answer, but you have to like the direct way they addressed the concern.

Movement Stacking: The other interesting thing I saw in the patch note is that there is no mention of Lunar Shower Stacking with movement like in the current tool tip. This is a suggestion Hamlet made to the developers and it sounds like they have taken them up on the idea. Instead it sounds like Lunar shower will stack with multiple applications of Moonfire.

If I'm not reading to much into the patch note this is a bit of a nerf to our movement DPS, because it will take longer to stack Lunar Shower. However, I doubt it's all that significant. Movement generally isn't that long anyway and not it's not a huge part of our DPS total.

Edit - Skipping the Lunar Shower Talent

Now that Lunar Shower is being redesigned many people are asking, can we skip Lunar Shower the Talent?

This is in no way conclusive or scientific, but I tried to do a little backwords math using a WoL parse for Imsupersdw of Method. He is obviously one of the elite moonkin players out there and has the overall number 2 ranking on heroic Maloriak. I used
this parse to back into some numbers.

To give it a best case senario I assumed that ever Moonfire and Sunfire cast was done with a full stack of Lunar Shower. If that was true then the Lunar Shower buff was responcible for 2.0% of is overall damage on the fight. However, the real impact is obviously less then that since there is impossible for him to have a full stack of Lunar shower for all of those casts. In fact, his Lunar Shower uptime was 45%. I did the same math for his Chimeron kill and found that Lunar Shower was worth at most 1% of his DPS, with a 25% uptime on Lunar Shower.

This says to me that the Lunar Shower buff doesn't have a big impact on DPS, since it's worth at most 2.0% on the optimal fight for one of the best moonkins in the world. It has to be worth significantly less on an average fight my an average player.

If Patch 4.2 went live today, I could see dropping Lunar Shower entirely since it would make our lives a little easier without a huge drop in DPS.

That said, I wouldn't expect this to go live as is. The forums have been very busy talking about the possibility of dropping Lunar Shower from the talent build and I'm sure Blizzard has seen it. The entire purpose of this change is to prevent us from staying in Eclipse and doing Multi DoD AoE and Moonfire spam. Blizzard won't want their efforts to be avoided. I expect we will see another change that will bake some DPS into Lunar Shower and make it a Mandetory Talent.

Other Changes:
The lunar shower change was the big thing but there are a couple of other little changes that you may be interested in.
  • Earth and Moon's duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Wild Mushroom: Detonate can now also trigger Earth and Moon, in addition to Starfire and Wrath.
My guess is this is being done to standardize the spell damage Debuff across classes. Warlocks and Death Knights could already spread their Earth and Moon like Debuffs in an AoE fashion. This just brings moonkin up to that level. I doubt it will have a big impact on the game but it could be a big boost for the 10man groups that rely on a moonkin to spread the spell damage debuff.
  • Fungal Growth spell visual effect has been updated to be less visually intrusive and more aesthetic.
  • Solar Beam has a new spell effect.
Good quality of life changes that will be welcomed by many.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Patch 4.2 Built 14040: More Eclipse Changes?

I maybe jumping the gun here a little bit, MMO Champion has posted some details about an upcoming build of the PTR. I want to make one thing clear. This is Data Minded information which is not official in anyway. It may be something as stupid as a tool tip fix (though I don't see how that is possible in this case). In short, Read With Caution!!

Lunar Shower Change:
Lunar Shower now has an additional effect: While you are under the effect of Lunar Shower, Moonfire generates 8 Solar Energy and Sunfire generates 8 Lunar Energy.

I find this change interesting, but it's only one piece of the puzzle and we are short on details. To be honest this raises a lot more questions then it answers.

Question #1: Is this in addition to the changes released last week? For example, will Moonfire generate 16 Solar Energy when Lunar Shower is active?
My Guess: I highly doubt it. Having Moonfire and Sunfire generate more energy then Wrath or Starsurge doesn't sound right. If this is in addition to last weeks change, I don't have a clue as to what the purpose of it is. The base level DoT energy would already discourage "Solar Cleave" type rotations and DoT AoE. This would just magnify the change. As a result, I'm assuming that this replaces the base level DoT Energy introduced last weak at least for Moonfire and Sunfire.

Question #2: If we assume this replaces the base DoT energy, does that mean Insect Swarm no longer generates energy?
My Guess: This is a complete guess, but I don't see a purpose to having Insect Swarm generate a energy at a base level but Moonfire and Sunfire to not. That said who knows. This is Data Minded info after all.

Question #3: What does this mean for Moonkin DPS?
I'm going to assume that this replaces the DoT energy introduced last week in it's entirity. Meaning that I think none of Balance DoTs will generate any energy unless we have lunar shower. If that is the case I like this change.

It's a small improvement over the previous version; it limits the impact on more normal styles of play. For example, on a Patchwerk style fight this should have absolutely no impact because there is never a reason to spam Moonfire or Sunfire and no extra energy will be generated. On a dual target fight like V&T skill players should be able to limit the impact by spacing out the DoT refreshes. I think Hamlet said it best on EJ when he said "it accomplishes the goal of removing endless Sunfire spam, but doesn't affect our ordinary single-target rotation. So in that sense, it avoids a lot of the side effects and complications of the prior version."

I still have concerns that it creates a bit of a trap when it comes to movement DPS, since there will be times when it's bad to spam Moonfire while in Eclipse, but there is probably no way around that.

Also, a lot of players will still dislike how this affects a Moonkins ability to control Eclipse with Moonfire. This is one of the big things that separated the elite moonkin from the pack. I think this is going to be the real impact of this change. It's going to nerf the Elite moonkin because they can't use one of their tricks anymore, but shouldn't have a big impact on your more average moonkin, and that may be part of Blizzards goal.

Seven Bosses and Eight Skulls:

One thing that I found a little confusing in MMO Champions information was the pictures they had of the Firelands Raid instance. One of the big debates over the last week is how Firelands will have only seven bosses, yet if you look at the maps you see eight skulls.

There are three maps. The first is of the Firelands and has five skulls on it. The last is of Sulfuron Keep and has two skulls. The middle map is of a place called The Anvil of Conflagration, and it has a skull in it as well. The way you get there appears to be by a portal from the Firelands raid. If you notice the portal design in the Anvil's map is the same as that of the portal in the upper left hand corner of the Firelands map.

It's possible that there is some overlap her but I doubt it. What is the eighth skull for? Is it a Heroic only level boss like Algalon and Sinestra? Is it a minor optional boss like the animal bosses in Karazhan?

Tier 12 Druid Set:

I talked about the set bonuses last week, and now we get our first look at the stats on the set pieces. MMO Champion doesn't have the pieces grouped into sets yet, but you can tell by the names which pieces are apart of the Balance tier.

I took a look at the stats to see if there were any itemization changes and there were none. The Tier 12 set stats are the exact same design as the stats we have on our Tier 11 set. The sockets are the same, the socket bonuses are the same, and the only thing that is different is the amount of stats.

If this goes live it should make upgrading gear a littler easier because you want have to deal with big changes in your hit level when replacing tier items, but I wonder if these items are complete yet. I wouldn't be surprised if these are upgraded place holders at this point.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tier 12 Set Bonuses

The information keeps flowing so here is my third post in three days. Today we are going to look at the Tier 12 Set Bonuses. Just want to remind everyone that this is data mined info and not directly from Blizzard.
Balance 2 Pieces - You have a chance to summon a Burning Treant to assist you in battle for 15 sec when you cast Wrath or Starfire.
At this time it's impossible to calculate how strong this set bonus is, but with the help of Wrathcalcs and some assumptions I think we can make a decent guess. In my analysis I made two assumptions.

First, I am assuming that a Burning Treant is similar to a Force of Nature treant in strength. Since the 2T12 set bonus comes with only one treant and lasts half as long as the FoC treants, I am assuming that the damage output from the 2T12 set bonus is a sixth of the damage out put from FoC.

Second, I am assuming that the proc chance of the set bonus is 20% (as indicated in the spell notes), and that none of the damage is wasted. The second part of that assumption isn't realistic of course, but I want to avoid making to many guesses at this point.

When I plugged these assumptions into Wrathcalcs (with the T11 set bonuses turned off) it increased the total DPS by 6.91%. That's not bad as far as set bonuses go generally, but it's a lot weaker then our current 4T11 set bonus that we would have to give up to use it.

Another concern with this set bonus is what level of control will we have over the Burning Treant. In the Tier 11 raids there are several fights were you don't want a pet beating on the wrong target. Let’s say we have this set bonus on Omnitron. What if a treant procs right before we have to switch targets? Will the treant run to our old target and start beating on the shield? This shouldn't be a concern for a majority of the fights, but it could cause headaches for a few of them.
Balance 4 Pieces - While not in an Eclipse state, your Wrath generates 3 additional Lunar Energy and your Starfire generates 5 additional Solar Energy.
My first reaction was negative. The Wrath side of the bonus seemed ok, but I thought I saw a problem with Starfire side. Here was my issue.

If you assume that you have to refresh a Moonfire and cast Starsurge on your way to Solar Eclipse then the 4T12 set bonus wouldn't save you a Starfire cast. Since you would gain only 23 energy from that DoT and Starsurge I thought we would have to cast a fourth Starfire anyway, but I made a mistake.

That mistake was assuming that we would start at zero energy, which realistically shouldn't ever happen. The more likely scenario is that you will end your Eclipse with 3 or more Solar energy depending on how many Moonfire's and Starsurges you cast during Eclipse. The only time I found the 4T12 set bonus to not be helpful was when three Starsurges were cast in the transition from Lunar to Solar Eclipse. In ever other scenario I looked at the extra energy you leave Eclipse with was enough to prevent you from having to cast an additional Starfire.

I did look at the Wrath side to see if it had any problems. All of the scenario's I ran on that side resulted in us having to cast one less Wrath. There may be a situation where that isn't the case but I doubt it is that common or realistic.

To look at strength I hacked Wrathcalcs once again to try and get an idea of what kind of DPS gain it would be. It estimated that the DPS increase of this set bonus would be about 2.1%. That is a little lower then I would like it to be, but it is significantly better then the DPS gain we are currently getting from the 2T11 set bonus. Therefore it's a good trade.

The only question I have regarding 4T12 bonus is if it's affected by Euphoria. I'm assuming that it is since the Euphoria tool tip says it doubles the energy provided by Wrath and Starfire. Since it doesn't give a specific energy amount I would assume that the set bonus energy is doubled as well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick Updates on 4.2

There are a couple of comments on yesterday's post that I want to address and I would like them to be more visible then your standard blog post comment. So they get their own post.

4.2 Wording Revised.

Teranin made a quick post to give us a heads up that the wording on the 4.2 balance patch notes changed. The are now listed as:
  • Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance Druids.
  • Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for Balance Druids.
  • Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for Balance Druids.
In all three notes the "for druids with Eclipse" was changed to "for Balance Druids." I don't know if this is Blizzard changing their mind on how it works or making the intended change more clear, but it raises some new questions.

Will DoTs move Eclipse backwards? - I doubt it. My guess is that the DoTs will behave like Starfire and Wrath in that Moonfire will move the bar towards Solar only after a Lunar Eclipse, and Sunfire will only move the bar towards Lunar after a Solar Eclipse.

Will DoTs get double energy from Euphoria? - Again, I doubt it, but I would like to see it happen. It would be a small boost to DPS, and I think it would make sense since the DoT energy design will probably be very similar to the Starfire/Wrath energy design.

Will it have an impact on our favored rotation? - There's the situation I wonder about. What if your are eight or less energy away from a Solar Eclipse? Which spell is better to cast: Insect Swarm or Starfire?

Insect Swarm will proc Eclipse sooner and does so without wasting much if any energy, but it's not being buffed by Eclipse and doesn't proc Nature's Grace. Casting Starfire will delay the Eclipse proc by a second and waste a lot of energy, but it has a lower DpET then Insect Swarm and will benefit from the Eclipse less.

My gut says that Starfire is still the better option, and either way I doubt it will have a big impact. I'm mainly curious to know if I need to try and unlearn a habit of delaying a DoT if I am one cast away from procking Eclipse.

To Harsh on Lunar Shower

Erdluf made this post in the comments:
The Damage per Energy of LS3 DD is almost exactly the same (2% less on the WrathCalcs I'm looking at) as the DpE of Wrath.

Obviously that isn't the entire story. Not all MF casts will have LS3. Most MF casts will also give you an extra (eclipsed) tick. In some cases one more MF will cost you a full Wrath, and in some cases one more MF will not cost any Wraths.

I'm guessing that unless you are "saving" Eclipse for a burst event (in which case you stick to WM and heals or your off-nuke), you'll still want to strongly consider MF during any movement.
I hadn't done the math and now it's biting me in the but a little. Using Lunar Shower during Eclipse might not be quite as bad as I thought. I'm not getting the same less then 2% difference that he indicated, but when I considered an extra DoT tick in addition to the DD damage the numbers Damage per Energy between MF Spam and Wrath were very similar. When I considered four or more MF casts MF had significantly more Damage per Energy. So, it's not as bad as my gut feeling, I still think it hurts some.

Yes, there's a possibility that a single MF cast wouldn't cause you to lose a Wrath, but, for LS to be worth while you have to cast multiple MFs. In which case you’re guaranteed to lose one Wrath, and likely two if you’re casting three MFs.

You also have to worry about pushing yourself out of Eclipse. Overwriting an Eclipsed DoT with a non-Eclipsed DoT is a big damage loss. Since we can't guarantee when movement will be required this will limit the usefulness of Lunar Shower.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eclipse Changes in 4.2

Now that Patch 4.1 is here everyone is looking to patch 4.2. With the patch expected to hit the PTR any day now Blizzard released a preliminary version of the Patch notes and it's not looking good for moonkin.

  • Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse.
  • Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for druids with Eclipse.
  • Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse

"for druids with Eclipse"?

When I first read the patch notes I assumed that Moonfire, Sunfire and Insect Swarm would generate Eclipse power all the time. Unfortunately, I don't think that is correct.

The patch notes are very specific. IS and SF will provide 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse. MF will provide 8 solar energy for druids with Eclipse. Those notes make a lot of sense. Of course MF wouldn't provide Lunar energy when a druid has Eclipse, because that would move the energy bar backwards. The IS and SF patch notes fall the same pattern.

The question is what happens when the druid is without Eclipse? At this point I have to assume that DoTs don't generate any power when you don't have Eclipse. As I said above the patch notes are very specific. If Blizzard intended to have DoTs generate power all of the time I would assume they would make a more general patch note like "Moonkin DoTs will now generate 8 Eclipse Power".

Plus, having DoTs generate power outside of Eclipse raises additional questions. For Wrath and Starfire it's simple. When you move from Lunar to Solar, Starfire generates power but Wrath doesn't and there is no reason you would want to Wrath in such a situation. For DoT's it's more complicated. The DPET of our DoTs is very high, so it could make sense to cast MF when transitioning from Lunar to Solar when you don't have Eclipse. Plus if DoT's did generate power, what kind of power would they generate? Would DoTs behave like Starsurge or the other Nukes? These problems can be solved, but it's not as simple as some may assume.

Single-Target DPS Impact:

We'll need to check out the PTR and do some simulations to know what the impact is for sure, but we can make some educated guesses right now. My bet is that this will be slight nerf for Single-Target DPS.

On the negative side, DoTs consuming power during Eclipse means you will generally get one less Eclipsed nuke per Eclipse transition. For example, at the moment we can get five Starfires and one Starsurge in during solar Eclipse. Adding in solar power from Moonfire means we will only be able to get four Starfires and one Starsurge without any Shooting Stars procs. The same is true Solar Eclipse, but having two DoTs only reduces the number of buffed Wrath's by one.

On the positive side, there are two things to consider. First, if DoTs generate power then we will be transitioning from one Eclipse to the other more quickly and procking Nature's Grace more often. That should be a slight buff. Second, Shooting Star procs lessen the negative impact a little. In my example above I said that we currently can get five Starfire's and one Starsurges during Lunar Eclipse. If we have a Shooting Star proc during Lunar Eclipse that changes to four Starfires and 2 Starsurges. The good news is if DoTs consume power in 4.2 a Shooting Star proc during Lunar Eclipse won't eat one of your Eclipsed Starfires, because we will still be able to get four Starfires and two Starsurges.

Overall, I think the negatives outweigh the positives, but from a single target perspective I doubt the nerf is huge. Though we can’t know for sure without testing.

Multi-Target DPS Impact:

Multi-Target DPS is where this change really starts to have an impact. On a fight like V&T where you have two viable targets casting additional DoTs takes a way additional Eclipsed nukes. As the number of targets increases the number of Eclipsed buff nukes decreases. This shouldn't in anyway change our rotation during Eclipse, because trading an Eclipsed nuke for an Eclipsed DoT is definitely a good trade, but I would much rather have both an Eclipsed Nuke and an Eclipsed DoT as we do now.

The biggest impact will be to our AoE rotation. If we need to do AoE DPS for an extended period of time then the DoTs will definitely lose their place in the rotation. As of right now there is no indication that Wild Mushroom, Hurricane or Typhoon will consume any Eclipse Power. The goal will still be to maintain Solar Eclipse, but the filler used between WM casts will be Hurricane and Typhoon instead of the DoTs.

If I had to guess this is Blizzard's reason for making the change. Moonkin AoE damage was very strong, and my guess is it didn't sit well with them that moonkin were avoiding the traditional AoE spells. If I'm correct, this change might serve two purposes. First it likely makes Hurricane a part of the moonkin AoE rotation again. And second, it nerfs moonkin AoE DPS which is admittedly very high. That said, there are other classes/specs that are quite high as well that I don't see being nerfed.

Death of Lunar Shower:

I'm going to chalk this one up to unintended consequences but this is going to significantly reduce the usefulness of Lunar Shower. If I have to move during Eclipse there is no way I'm going to cast Moonfire. Consuming my Eclipse power with just the direct damage portion of Moonfire, is obviously a bad choice. The better moonkin out there were also using Lunar Shower and MF spam to delay Eclipse and line it up with significant DPS boosts to get an overall higher level of DPS in the game.

Spamming MF while moving without Eclipse will still be a DPS boost, but it makes our situation a bit more difficult. It creates another choice we have to make in an already complex rotation. It also creates a bit of a DPS trap which Blizzard said they want to avoid in the run up to Cataclysm. Is a new player really supposed to figure out that spamming Moonfire on the move is good without Eclipse but bad with Eclipse?

Final Thoughts:

It's important to remember that this is a very early look at the 4.2 patch notes and that they are in no way complete. A lot will happen between now and when the patch is released. The question I have is will there be a buff for us in the future.

I still don't think moonkin are over powered in any way, and if anything I think we are a little underpowered after the change to Starsurge in patch 4.1. If there is anywhere Moonkin are overpowered it's in our Multi-target DPS and this change definitely takes care of that, but Moonkin weren't alone at the top. Yet, I don't see those other classes getting nerfed as well.

Overall, I'm just confused. I'm having a hard time figuring out what Blizzard's goal is for the Balance spec at the moment.

Other changes:

Here are a couple of other little changes that you might be interested in.

  • Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
  • Innervate now grants an ally target 5% of his or her maximum mana over 10 seconds, but still grants 20% of the druid's maximum mana over 10 seconds when self-cast.

I like the crowd control change. It should make Trash a little bit easier. We do lose our Entangling Roots damage as a result but that isn't a big deal at least for PvE.

The Innervate change is good for Feral, but bad for Moonkin for Restos. As you know innervate is currently based off of the casters Mana pool. As a result when a feral casts it it provides very little mana because Ferals don't have a large mana pool. So Ferals should be happy about this change.

For moonkin, we lose a big piece of utility. Moonkin were in a unique position in that we didn't have mana issues and could give away our innervate without issue. Now the utility of our innervate is reduced by 75%.

For resto's, this is a bit of a nerf as well. I don't know how much it is done any more, but I know that early on in the expansion Resto druids were trading their innervates to get a greater amount of mana returned. The druids would use the Glyph of Innervate and then cast their innervate on the other resto druid. This way they would get both the mana from the Glyph and the other druids Innervate. Now this practice will result in less mana then just casting innervate on yourself. This basically makes the Glyph of Innervate useless.
Innervate and CC