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Druid Guide, Part 5: Moonkin DPS [Outdated - BC]
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I am not Nabterayl but will be trying to write something on the level of what he/she did for the other druid specs. And thus will also shamelessly rip off some good parts from from Nab's first 4 guides. This is naturally open to suggestions and corrections, both in form and substance.
This section will cover magical dps (i.e. moonkin form) as completely as I can: theory, practice, talents and gear. This section is mostly my opinion. Obviously I think I’m right (otherwise it wouldn’t be my opinion) but remember that I am not the All-Knowing Moonkin God of DPS.
There won't be much with regards to the leveling experience as it's been mostly forgotten in the mists of time for me. I also won't be covering PvP as I am very rarely engaged in pvp (and when I do, it's with a PvE spec).
I will essentially address the PvE experience at lvl 70 and raiding.
Moonkin Theory: Lazerizing Faces Without Getting Noticed.
I'll simply refer you to Nabterayl's introduction in the
Druid Guide, Part 3: Cat DPS
as the theory is the same: to do as much damage as possible without pulling aggro.
The way aggro and threat works are explained in the
Druid Guide, Part 2: Bear Tanking
If you're less than 6 yards from the mob, you'll steal aggro from the tank at 110% of the tank's threat.
If you're further away, you'll steal aggro at 130% of the tank's threat.
This introduces an additional risk for ranged casters: they can sit securely at 115% of the tanks threat at a distance, and then steal threat by running in melee range (or having the mob charge them or someone near them).
It is critical to not get aggro: at best, DPS that pulls aggro wastes healer time and mana (and possibly messes up his own rotation). At worst, DPS that pulls aggro dies and causes others to die. And as we all know, you do 0 DPS when you’re dead.
Moonkin Theory: Efficient Lazerizing
Like all druid forms, moonkin form is relatively simple in that it doesn’t have a lot of buttons to choose from. However, we still want to do the best DPS that we can.
A moonkin's resource is
. Autoattacks and the like are negligible in terms of bringing the pain, which means that ALL of our damage requires some of that resource (unlike auto attacks for rogues or warriors). It also means that without mana we won't do any damage at all. Mana is a limited resource, but unlike energy there are a number of ways topartly refill our mana pool. On the other hand, the rate of natural refilling is much lower, so that the danger of running completely out of that resource does exist for casters.
To maximize the damage dealt, the objective of any caster should be to empty his or her mana pool right as the target dies. The caster should do this by using the right mix of high-damage and efficient spells so as not to run out of mana in the middle of the fight (strongly reduced efficiency) or to end up with leftover mana (less damage than could have been done).
That's the sole difficulty of caster dps: the circumstances of a fight allowing for mana regeneration are numerous and depend a lot on each person's gear, group composition, trade skills (leatherworking and alchemy, mainly) and luck of the fight (battle-rez, silence, movements, ...). As such, there is no definitive optimal rotations. There are however a limited number of spell rotations to chose from, and it is our job to adapt to the circumstances and flow of the encounter.
Let's look at the efficiency of our spells relative to our mana, or Damage Per Mana (DPM), considering all damage-increasing and mana cost reduction talents but leaving crit aside for now:
(SD = bonus spell damage after talents)
Moonfire: 1118 damage + 80.5% of SD, 450 mana: 2.48 + 0.18% of SD DPM
Wrath: 449 damage + 73.8% of SD, 232 mana: 1.93 + 0.32% of SD DPM
Starfire: 658 damage + 132% of SD, 337 mana: 1.95 + 0.39% of SD DPM
Insect Swarm: 792 damage + 76% of SD, 175 mana: 4.53 + 0.43% of SD DPM
This shows us that
our most mana efficient attacks are IS and SF
. Crit and raid debuffs won't change that as MF is too far behind IS, and SF profits more from crits than Wrath.
Now let's look at which of our spells provide us with the biggest damage potential. This is a bit more complex, as the result will be dependent upon a number of stats. Using the same hypotheses as before, this is what we get when considering Damage Per Cast Time (DPCT):
Starfire: 219 + 44% of SD DPCT
Wrath: 299 + 49.2% of SD DPCT
IS: 528 + 50.7% of SD DPCT
MF: 745 + 53.7% of SD DPCT
This shows us that our highest-damage attacks are both DOTs and then Wrath. But, this is only true for a moonkin in low-end gear, as taking crit chance, raid buffs and latency into account would change the order as follows: Starfire will overtake both Wrath and Insect Swarm, making Starfire and Moonfire our highest dps spells.
(Mathematical details on that can be found at the end of the guide.)
From the previous conclusions about mana and damage efficiency, we can already determine
the main rotations
that we are going to use, on the principle of casting one or several DOTs (efficiency + high DPCT) and fill the DOT time with one of our nukes:
IS, SF*4: highest mana efficiency
MF, IS, SF*3: higher dps with slightly lower mana efficiency
MF, IS, W*6: highest dps for a starting moonkin
MF, SF*4: highest dps for an advanced moonkin
A rotation is a specific sequence of spells that you'll repeat until the target dies. It is possible to change rotations in the middle of the fight in order to adapt your mana usage. Some fights also interrupt your rotations (silence, stuns, ...). In those cases, continue nuking if the DOT is still active, else restart with the DOTs first.
All those rotations take around 12s, since that's the duration of both our DOTs. The computed values for DOTs require that you let them run their full duration. If not, you'll lose on both damage ticks and mana expense, making them less efficient. However, Nature's Grace procs can shorten the duration of the rotation, so you'll have to pay attention when lucky with crits to not start clipping the end of your DOTs. There are some other rotations that can become more interesting according to situation; those outlined above are simply the most common ones you'll use for a long time.
Some spells have an additionnal effect that can make them more desirable than strict damage contribution would give, depending on circumstances:
Insect Swarm provides a -2% chances to hit debuff on the mob, which is great for the tank and healers on hard hitting bosses. Also, it can be cast while moving and does not require you to face the target, which is practical when having to move around.
Wrath is faster to cast which can be useful on mobs that die fast, movement fights or when you risk being interrupted. It also has spell pushback resistance with the Celestial Focus talent, making it even more interesting when you're getting attacked (PvP talent mainly).
Moonkin Theory: Mana management
As you can see from the previous section, choosing a rotation requires to be able to predict how your mana pool is going to fare during the fight, depending on which rotations you'd use. This comes through experience mainly, but it is usefull to understand the mecanics that govern mana recovery.
Mana can be regenerated through two ways: natural mana regen during the fight, or consumables that will instantly increase your mana pool but come with a cooldown.
Natural mana generation:
Natural mana regeneration is a periodic increase in mana regeneration (every 2s), which depends on spirit and intellect. It only works when you have not spent any mana in the last 5s. This is the famous "5 second rule":
For an instant spell, mana regeneration stops when the spell is cast.
For spell with cast time, mana regeneration stops when the spell finishes casting.
For a channeled spell, mana regeneration stops when you start channeling.
MP5 from gear or talents works in a similar way to natural mana regeneration, except that it is NOT affected by spell casting at all: it's always on.
In a fight where you'd have to run around a lot, you could often be out of the 5 second rule and thus gain lots of mana through natural regeneration, making mp5 less interesting.
In a tank and spank fight, you'll be casting for the whole duration of the fight, getting 0 mana from your natural regeneration, making mp5 more interresting.
Consumables and buffs
consumables: mana potions, demonic rune, dragonbreath, ...
group buffs: shaman mana totem, mana tide totem, shadow priest
raid buffs: judgment of wisdom
trade skill buffs: drums of restoration (group wide), alchemist stone (self only), Spellsurge enchant, ...
The objective isn't to provide an exhaustive list, but to show the variety of potential means to increase your mana, and the importance to know how and when to use which cooldown in order to maximize your efficiency. You'll also have to know how much each potion or innervate should give you in order to not waste part of the provided mana.
It is a duty to know how to use consummables to not be OOM and thus maximize damage output over long fights.
An important point to consider is that, while your mana drain from spell rotations remains constant, your mana regeneration should increase with your gear, allowing you to use higher damage rotations as you progress.
The exception to this is haste (from Nature's Grace or normal) which increases your rate of casting and thus the speed at which your mana decreases. From this it is clear that haste only benefits you when you have enough mana regeneration to last the whole fight. If not, you'll only end up OOM sooner, haste actually decreasing your potential dps.
Moonkin Practice: How to Kill Stuff
Killing stuff when farming or levelling isn't very complicated. Strategy does however depend on distances and number of mobs, so is only very very general (ie adapt it to your liking).
Start with SF from maximal distance as the fight only starts once the SF hits, cast a second SF (maybe a third if you got a Celestial Focus proc). If the mob is at less than 2-3 melee hits from dying, finish him with your weapon: your natural mana regeneration will start faster and you'll get mana through the Grace of Elune buff, without losing much life.
If the mob still has a bit of life left, Wrath him once or twice. If he's got more life left, DOT him, root him, increase range and start again.
Killing stuff in instances or raids is more interesting: you won't get hit and will be able to concentrate fully on bringing the pain.
Mobs that last less than 10s: Wrath away, else they'll die before you'll be able to cast anything.
Trash mobs that take more than 10s to kill: use your highest dps rotation, you shoudn't end up OOM unless the pack is huge. if it is huge, use a more efficient rotation.
Bosses: start with your most efficient rotation. It's better to cast the whole fight and end up with some mana left than to end up OOM early. Once you get confortable with the fight, you'll be know when to switch to a higher dps rotation.
Some general advice:
keep some leeway in terms of mana usage in order to be able to battle rez someone, do some emergency healing, or cast your innervate on someone else. While it's nice to be able to keep it for yourself, it's better to have an OOM dps rather than an OOM healer.
if you know the fight will be intensive, use your regeneration cooldowns (innervate, potions, ...) as early as you can: the earlier you use them, the earlier they'll be up again, allowing you to use them several times during one fight.
Stay at distance in order to benefit from the 130% threat ceiling
Don't take aggro. Our armor might enable us to survive some hits from trash mobs, but it's less efficient for the tank and healer in terms of rage generation and damage taken, as well as risky for the other dps/for the healers life.
Moonkins can tank stuff too, but this requires a specific template, lots of comprehension from your group, and to overgear the content somewhat. It can be fun but isn't efficient.
Sometimes, you will end up being OOM. It's bad and should be avoided at all costs (efficient rotations, spell downranking, mana regeneration consumables if necessary, mana potions, ...), but it'll happen. When in moonkin form, we have an ability that allows us to regenerate some mana on melee hits.
It scales on Attack Power, meaning a Feral Attack Power weapon will be much more efficient: around 80 mana per proc with a caster weapon, around 300 with the Wildfury Greatstaff.
The proc is based on a "proc per minute" rate, meaning the amount of mana gained will be the same wether your weapon is fast or slow.
To have maxed your weapon skill (else you'll only miss).
To go behind the boss to avoid blocks and parries : they mean less mana for you and more damage to the tank (if the boss parries your attack, his next attack on the tank will come quite faster, creating spike damage).
Being efficient is not only about gear and rotation, player reaction time is also a major factor. Considering a 0.2 second reaction time for casting the next spell, you'd lose around 1s every 12s rotation. That is an 8% dps drop right there, which is quite big. Mashing buttons to queue spells faster or simply fast reactions and anticipation are key to do good dps. Castbar addons like Quartz, allowing you to see estimated latency of your cast, do help somewhat with knowing when to start casting the next spell.
Moonkins are a single target dps class. We only have one AoE available, with a prohibitive mana cost (1k9) and a 1 minute cooldown. It is however a strong AoE that easily does more than 3k damage on each target (2k base damage + 128% of SD over 10s) with an added perk that also helps tanks and other AoE classes out, by decreasing the ennemies attack speed by 25%.
Since the spell is channeled and has a big cooldown, we must make each tick count. This basically requires us to go down in the centre of the melee and aoe from there, so that taking agro on a mob won't remove it from the AoE zone. That's where our increased armor and damage reduction/pushback interruption from Barkskin becomes usefull : we provide can provide a good cushion for the mage and warlock squishies.
It can be cast from a distance mainly when there is a paladin tank that is generating enough AoE threat to keep all mobs on him. Don't try this with another tank, as most warrior and druids AoE tanking abilities only target 3 ennemies.
One thing to remember about AoE spells is that there is a cap for how much damage can be done per tick. For example, if there are 30 mobs in the area of your spell, you would be over the cap and thus all ticks will be quite lower than the theoretical value. A prime example of this are the trash mob groups before Vexallus (Magister Terasse, boos 2). You'll damage them enough to get agro but not enough to kill them...
It is to be noted that some of the leaked WotLK changes might make us much more proficient at prolonged AoEing.
Moonkin Theory: Who do we group with ?
When building group for raids, the leader is looking at buffs, debuffs and aura synergies, meaning all those things a class has that can help other classes.
We profit from 4 classes mainly in terms of group composition:
Beast Master Hunter: 3% increased damage when their pet crits
Shamans: mana regeneration totem and Wrath of Air Totem
Elemental Shaman: Totem of Wrath: 3% crit and 3% hit
Shadow Priest: mana regeneration through dps
Retribution Paladin: +2% increased damage (but they should be in a melee group, while we should be in a caster group)
As far as raid debuffs go:
Warlock: Curse of Shadows (soon to be Curse of Elements): +10% arcane damage
Shadow Priest: 5% increased magical damage
Retribution Paladin: +3% crit
The question can also be reversed: who benefits from our presence ?
In our group, the buff we provide is simply +5% chance to crit. So the main classes that are interested in our moonkin aura are those that rely heavily on crit for their dps: destruction warlocks (demonology warlocks too, at a lesser degree), mages, elemental shamans.
The increase in crit for healing classes is less interesting: crit heals are unreliable, so unless something is already going wrong, all that additional healing from crits is going to be overhealing. However, the paladins mana regeneration increases with their crit chance. Also, Priests and Shamans have a talent to grant increased armor to a target on a critical heal.
While those benefits are nice, they should be considered less usefull than the increase of dps a moonkin would bring to an optimized caster group.
Regarding raid debuffs, we bring:
Insect Swarm: helps tank survivability a lot (same as +2% dodge on the tank).
Improved Faerie Fire (if talented): +3% chance to hit for all melee attacks (melees and hunters). This is primarily of interest to dual wielders (they have a large penalty to hit) and tanks (hit, while interesting, is neglected in early raids, due to higher priorities.
A full PvE moonkin build would look like this:
, with 5 talent points left to spend where you want. Note also that a certain number of talents in this build were taken only to bring you to the higher tier talents. They are not part of the core group talents and can be switched with any other talent in the same tree (this concerns 3 points in the balance tree and 10 in the restoration tree)
Here are the core moonkin DPS talents:
5/5 Starlight Wrath: casting the same spell for the same damage but faster means quite an increase in DPS (25% for Wrath, 14% for Starfire)
2/2 Focused Starlight: more crits = free dps
2/2 Improved Moonfire: while Moonfire might not be a part of your early boss rotation, it will get there once you have enough mana regeneration. Also usefull on trashes/solo content, and the fact that there's nothing better to spend them on. It is to note also that the higher Moonfire crit chance provides higher chance of Nature's Grace spell cast reduction for your other spells (Starfire in particular)
1/1 Insect Swarms: great debuff and the most efficient spell you'll have for quite some time.
2/2 Nature's Reach: further away from ennemies means further away from any aoe effect they might make use of
5/5 Vengeance: our aura buffs our crit rate, this talent makes the crits hit harder. Again, a free dps increase
1/1 Nature's Grace: 0.5s shorter cast time after a crit. This is mainly usefull to increase Starfire dps. It also accelerates Wrath casts, however the GCD is not reduced: you'll be able to fire the spell faster, but not to cast another spell faster.
3/3 Moonglow: mana efficiency is the big worry of moonkins, that can only be abated through optimal group configuration and high gear level. In the meantime, anything reducing the cost of your main nukes is a big boost to our dps.
3/3 Lunar Guidance: free spell damage is good. Typically a moonkin will gain between 100 and 150 bonus spell damage from this talent. That's equivalent to a whole level of gear.
5/5 Moonfury: 10% damage increase on our main nukes
2/2 Balance of Power: this talent is required for raiding, as it provides the most sought after stat for dps against boss mobs. (more details on +hit in the gear chapter)
1/1 Moonkin Form: the defining talent for moonkins: a sizable increase in damage through crits, added survivability and group utility, all in one
3/3 Dreamstate: another talent to increase mana regeneration, it will usually bring around 40 to 60 mp5. A must have, at least when starting.
5/5 Wrath of Cenarius: a 20% increase to dps for Starfire and a 10% increase to dps from Wrath. Both spells are actually increased by the same factor in terms of damage per cast time, it's once again a talent that directly increases your damage and as such a must have.
3/3 Intensity: 30% of your natural mana regeneration while casting represents something like an additional 70-100 mp5. Even better than Dreamstate.
The optionnal lower tier point allocations goes as follow:
3 points in balance, either in Control of Nature, Nature's Grasp or Brambles.
10 points in restoration: 5 points in either of the first tier talent and 5 points in either of the second tier talents.
None of the choices really matter regarding your role as a dps. iMotW is a small increase, Furor is only usefull when you do feral stuff, naturalism and nature's focus are for healing and natural shapeshifter for morphing often (which shouldn't happen).
As for the 5 last points, there are 3 possibilities:
improved faerie fire: gives a small dps increase to all physical dps that aren't already at the hit cap. Also provides additional hit to the tank, allowing him to increase his threat generation. This is a very good raid buff for 25 man raids, much less for 10 man raids. Useless if you tanks/dps are all hit-capped, unless they carry an additional gear set around to benefit of your debuff.
Force of Nature: moonkins have a love or hate relationship with this talent: if the trees are able to hit their target for their full duration, they'll represent 6k or more damage done in a single GCD cast, and without causing you any additional threat.
The problem is that they sorely lack stamina and we have no means to control them, making them somewhat situationnal.
Still a fun talent and one that can be put to good use.
Subtlety: moonkins sorely lack any sort of threat dump (compared to mages, warlocks, hunters and rogues), and can thus be limited in dps by the tanks threat ceiling. In those case, Subtlety is the only thing that will allow you to fully go out again.
While it is always nice for pugging or trash packs, Subtlety only really becomes a necessity when your tanks threat generation is unable to keep up with the dps, even with some headway, blessing of salvation and all. That would be around the end of T6 content if your tank is good.
Here's what your warious moonkin stats do for you:
intelligence: +spell crit, bigger mana pool and natural mana regeneration, as well as +spell damage and mp5 from talents
spirit: higher natural mana regeneration, and +10% of spirit to spell damage with the improved Divine Spirit buff from priests
mp5: constant mana regeneration
spell damage: your bread and butter, that which allows all your spells to hit hard.
spell crit: SF, W and MF hit harder, and Nature's Grace proc increases Starfire dps (and only Starfire dps)
spell hit: decreases the chance of all spells to miss.
Against raid bosses, the base chance to miss is 17%. Itemization cost make this stat the best dps increase until you reach the hit-cap, which is 152 hit rating (with Balance of Power)
spell haste: makes all you spell cast faster (even Wrath and instants, since it also decreases the GCD). An interesting damage increase stat at high levels of gear, the benefits of which increase with your other stats. However it does require a certain level of gear to start using it, both when comparing efficiency to straight damage and considering that you'd run OOM faster than without haste.
spell penetration: this decreases the resistance to all schools that a particular ennemy may have. Mostly useless in PvE as our main spells are arcane based and boss resistances are already negated by a warlocks Curse of Shadows.
There are several gear analysis tools that you can find on Internet:
Efejels excel spreadsheet
: it's home is on the Elitist Jerk forum, the same thread also contains lots of advanced discussions and theorycrafting for moonkins: choose gear, change gems, enchants and buffs, and see what rotation is best and how much dps you should be doing.
: nice GUI and the same modelling than the spreadsheet. Additionaly it ranks gear for a specific slot taking into account your current stats.
It is important to note that, while moonkins can wear leather, they can also wear cloth. The only difference between leather and cloth caster items is that leather items have more armor. This is only usefull when getting hit (ie PvP or solo farming) but has absolutely no bearing on your preformance in a raid environment.
The choice of gear should be made according to stats and bonuses, not armor type.
Still, it is better to make things clear regarding your needs and priority rules with any cloth wearer in your group/raid/guild, as it might lead to some drama otherwise.
The difficulty in gearing up doesn't come from increasing your damage though. It's in increasing it while sustaining enough mana regeneration to last the whole fight. A somewhat lesser explosive armor piece with some spirit or mp5 on it might increase your dps instead of lowering it. That's why those tools also try to model your mana usage throughout a certain fight duration: to know wether to focus more on damage increases or on mana regeneration increases.
Both tools will allow you to determine the relative benefit each of those stats have for you, as they are dependant on spell rotation and other stats. This is important because depending on your gear level and current stats, your focus for improving your performance will shift on to different stats. As a general rule however:
hit is the best damage increase stat point to point until you reach the cap of 152
. This doesn't mean that you should pass on 20 +dmg to get 1 +hit.
point for point, crit is never better than +hit (before cap), +dmg or +haste. As such, it is not a stat that you should actively pursue, it'll come with the rest of the gear. That being said, socket bonus can help in that regard: 7 +dmg and 4 +crit is generally better than 9 +dmg.
Insightful Earthstorm Diamond
(mana regeneration, ~15mp5) or
Chaotic Skyfire Diamond
(dps increase, your crits hit for 209% of normal damage)
Runed Living Ruby
Veiled Noble Topaz
Reckless Noble Topaz
(+5dmg, +4 haste) or
Potent Noble Topaz
(+5dmg, +4crit)(if you're not yet at a level to use haste)
It is also possible to use the pure yellow +hit or +haste gems. A pure crit gem however is a bad idea.
(+5 dmg, +6stam)
And naturally their epic counterparts are all also good choices.
Gemming for better mana regeneration can be done but should really be a last resort after having made use of mana regeneration consumables and the like.
Glyph of Power
if you don't have any threat problems (but has mostly no PvE use)
chest: +6 mp5 or +6 stats
wrists: +15 dmg
hands: +20 dmg or +15 hit
or +12 stam
fingers (if you are an enchanter): +12 dmg
weapon: +40 dmg (or
And naturally get your honored/exalted aldor/scryer shoulder inscription as well as a
Aldor vs Scryers:
Neither of the factions provides any gear that can't be replaced, and neither provides any recipes that you absolutely must have, unless your guild dictates it according to some Master Crafter Plan, and can't be persuaded after you copy and paste this section. The one thing they do provide that you can't replace or buy is inscriptions.
DPS inscriptions provide you with either 18 +dmg and 10 +crit or 12+dmg and 15 +crit.
From what I said earlier, it is clear that the aldor inscription which favors spell damage is better than the scryer one. The difference is only a ~3-4 spell damage equivalent though, so it's not critical either.
Moonkin Practice: Consumables
Consumables are a way to improve your performances, but at a cost since they mostly disappear when you die. This is why most players only use them for raiding, although some dedicated players might use them all the time. I will only list the usual consumables here. There are a ton of them, some profession orientated, some that are only found in specific instances or places. The most used consumables are elixirs or flasks, food, oils and potions.
they are divided in battle and guardian elixirs and are active for 1h. You can only have one of each category active at one time.
Elixir of Draenic Wisdom
(slightly increased mana regen and damage) or
Elixir of Major Mageblood
(pure mana regen) are the usual choices for moonkins.
they count as both battle and gardian elixirs, last 2 hours and
persist through death
. This makes them more interresting than elixirs for progression raids where you can expect to wipe a lot.
Flask of Blinding Light
is the way to go, but there's also the
Flask of Supreme Power
if you really need mana.
It's a weapon enhancement that sticks for 1h and persists through death.
Superior Wizar Oil
Superior Mana Oil
are the most commonly used. It is to be noted that the pre-BC top-end oils (brilliant oils) can be considered stronger for a number of specs, but aren't worth it because the materials to craft them are too expensive.
while pre-BC food wasn't that usefull, Outland did give them a giant boost : easy to gather and make and with good buffs, they are really worth the effort. Farm the meat yourselves and get a cook friend if you don't want ot be gouged at the AH. Fishes are somewhat more problematic. The 2 reference foods are
mostly you'll be using
Super Mana Potion
. If you really don't have any mana problems (through gear or group composition) and want to increase your dps even more, then you might want to start using
Moonkin Practice: Appart from dps, what else can we do ?
Being a moonkin is not only a about being a good dps. We are an hybrid class and thus also bring an amount of utility and versatility to groups and raids:
is good for yourself, but if a healer requires it (priest or druid mainly, paladin and shamans have less spirit regeneration), then they should take precedence in most cases. An OOM healer is generally a worse thing than an OOM dps.
all other druids also provide this extraordinary usefull tool that can be a major help in downing a boss. However, ferals that are tanking won't be able to use theirs, and healers won't necessarily have the time to look for the body and cast the rez if the situation is critical. Moonkins have the easiest time doing it (though it does impact their dps through the high mana cost and time lost searching for and getting in range of the body).
Decursing and Removing Poison:
any druid is capable of dispelling Curses and Poisons which can be very usefull in a lot of situations (BG, arena, raids, instances, ...). In order to do this well, it is important to be able to dispell efficiently and rapidly when required, ie either to configure your interface and key bindings, or to use an addon like decursive.
Decursing can be done in moonkin form, removing poison however takes you back to caster form
Balance druids with 5/5 Naturalist can do OK for off-healing or healing content they overgear somewhat. This is because a number of our talents from the balance tree have synergies with our healing role (Dreamstate, Lunar Guidance and Moonglow in particular). We will however lack mana efficiency and the instants that really help in critical situations. Still a balance druid even in dps gear can do some emergency healing which can turn the tide of an encounter.
there are a few raid scenarios in which balance druids can be asked to tank (Kiggler in Gruul's Lair for example). This role can be ours because of high threat generation, solid armor (for ennemies that do physical damage) and polymorph invulnerability. It is however quite rare and a need that can always be fulfilled by other classes.
In 5-man instances, it's quite easy for a balance druid to take on a mob (for example the first one to be focused on a big pack) thanks to his armor, allowing the tank to focus on grabbing aggro on the rest and building his threat up. It's not necessarily usefull though, so discuss this with your tank and healer before doing so. It also requires you to outdps the other players to keep aggro (or build at least some early threat during the pull and while the mob runs to you).
all our cc are currently limited, though in different ways.
Hibernate: works on beasts and dragonkins, lasts quite a long time. The first real use we have for this is usually in the Sunken Temple, which has a lots of mobs with high Nature resistance. This leads most moonkins to the idea that Hibernate's real duration is around a few seconds and completely useless. This is not so whith most of the other locations you'd be able to use it, so don't despair.
Entangling Roots: only works outside. An interresting CC in that it doesn't automatically break on damage (though quite often), it's disavdvantage is that it's mostly useless against casters.
Cyclone: limited range and only 6s. It is also affected by Diminishing Returns even in PvE. Still, it will stop most mobs in their tracks, interrupt casting or prevent the target from being healed.
While situationnal our CC can be very usefull in the right instances.
even if you don't have Improved Faerie Fire, Faerie Fire still is an armor debuff that does help all physical dps classes and should be on any boss. If there's any feral in your raid however, then leave it to them to keep the debuff up: it doesn't cost them mana, is extra threat for the bear, and is free of any cost for cats (1 GCD, which is not a problem while waiting for energy ticks).
Annex: other moonkin ressources
Official US Druid forum:
Balance One Stop Shop
Annex: additional math on dps efficiency of spells, with crits and raid debuffs
Here I will explain all hypotheses made and parameters taken into account to compute the formulas in this guide.
Base damage of spells is the average between highest and lowest damage for that rank.
Coefficients for spells are all fully-talented (Moonfury, Wrath of Cenarius, Improved moonfire) and Curse of Shadows when explicitely stated.
Cast time is with Starlight Wrath and the average effect of Nature's Grace (when crit chance is explicitely taken into account). Instants are considered as 1.5s casting time spells (due to GCD).
Spell damage is considered fully talented (Lunar Guidance) and buffed.
Nature and arcane spell damage are considered equal. In practice, there's one item that'd boost nature damage only and several that'd boost arcane only, so the normal situation would be arcane equal or higher than nature.
Hit chance is 100%.
Crit chance is with all talents (Improved MF, Focused Starlight). When comparing spells affected differently by talents, the stated crit % will not take those talents into account, though they'll be taken into account in the calculations (ie spells are compared with a certain gear/stats level, and then modified separately by talents).
Mana cost is with Moonglow.
Damage contributions from dot and direct damage for Moonfire are computed separately and then added together.
Haste was not taken into account in those computations as it is not a stat a moonkin should be looking for before having reached a certain level of gear and experience. Some general comments about haste can be found in this guide, and a detailed mathematical analysis of haste can be found on the Elitist Jerks moonkin thread (around pages 45-50 if i remember correctly).
Crit and raid debuffs will impact the damage potential of each spell:
CoS profits both Moonfire and SF but not Wrath for an additionnal 10%.
The corresponding Stormstrike debuff that improves nature damage (IS and Wrath) is much more limited, with 2 charges all nature users compete for and a 10s CD on application. That's why we will ignore it for those calculations.
Crit profits SF more than Wrath because of the Nature's Grace and Focused Starlight talents.
Insect Swarm does not get any benefit from CoS or +crit.
This results in SF overtaking Wrath quite rapidly, and eventually even SF overtaking IS.
With 20% crit (from gear, buffs, totems and moonkin form) and counting CoS on the target, damage per cast time becomes:
IS: 528 + 50.7% of SD DPCT
Wrath: 371 + 61% of SD DPCT
Starfire: 312 + 62.5% of SD DPCT
Moonfire: 907 + 63% of SD DPCT
Since the differences in base damage are big compared to the differences in scaling, it is also necessary to look at our spell damage before concluding: in this particular case, we would require ~2000 +spell damage for Starfire to catch up with IS and an even more unrealistic 4000 +spell damage for Starfire to catch up with Wrath.
An increase in crit chance however will greatly favor SF over IS (damage increase + cast time reduction vs no effect) and favor SF over Wrath (cast time reduction vs GCD wall).
To give you a better idea, here are several turning point between SF and IS depending on crit rate (crit numbers are without the additional 4% crit from Focused Starlight). If you have more than those numbers, then IS does less damage per cast time than both SF and MF. If you have less, keeping IS is still a damage increase.
1200 dmg for 27% crit
1275 dmg for 26% crit
1350 dmg for 25% crit
145 +dmg from personnal consumables (80+42+23) and 5% crit from moonkin form.
101 +dmg and 3% crit from an Elemental Shaman.
10 +dmg and 0.5% crit from Arcane Intellect.
~30 +dmg from Improved Divine Spirit.
~10 +dmg from Blessing of Kings (int and spi enhancements)
This would change the previous numbers to the following unbuffed numbers:
904 dmg for 18.5% crit
979 dmg for 17.5% crit
1054 dmg for 16.5% crit
The improved malediction warlock talent (13% increased damage from CoS) roughly lowers the spelldamage requirements by 200 spell damage.
Regarding Wrath however, taking into account only the game mechanics doesn't account for reality : the formulas have us require an enormous amount of crit and spelldamage (crit having a bigger impact towards SF) for SF to overtake Wrath, which doesn't fit with what one can observe in game.
This is caused by the latency, ie the delay added between spells by both network connection and human reaction time. This delay is a fixed time to add to each spell's casting time. As such it will naturally have a bigger effect on spells with a short casting time.
Despite Blizzard implementing some sort of queue system to nullify network latency somewhat, most players will still have a of 0.1-0.2s between 2 spells. There are addons that are able to precisely tell a player what the delay between two spells is.
0.05s can be reached through third party programs or G15 macros, 0.1s can be reached manually by breaking your keyboard (hitting keys like mad), but most good players would be around 0.2s (queuing spells asap with a castbar addon like Quartz) and average players will be far above.
Counting a 0.1s latency in, SF will already overtake Wrath with 1300 SD and 23% crit chance fully buffed (ie 1000 spell damage and 14% crit chance from gear).
Annex: more on spell rotations
There are some more things to say about spell rotations:
- If you have the 4T5 bonus, it can become an improvement to clip the end of your DOT instead of letting it run out and risk a Starfire that wouldn't get the 10% bonus. Also, if another moonkin provides the DOTs, you can concentrate on pure SF spam.
- In order to increase DOT uptime (some of the rotations we saw previously are longer than 12s), some rotations do use a shorter Wrath cast instead of a last Starfire.
Things to add:
- idols ?
- badge gear comments ? (not sure i want to go there)
This post was from a user who has deleted their account.
Wow, you most certainly put a LOT of work into this. Here's for sticky to you!
Awesome guide. Good work! :-)
The only thing i can think to add is that where you list what to do with the 5 spare points from the talent build - when your gear gets very very good (i.e. full t6 and every possible upgrade from both MH and BT), 5/5 Subtlety becomes completely essential.
Excellent. Nice addition to the library we have here, Cel. My only suggestions as far as formatting goes are:
More sub-groups and bolding for group distinction
Less single-sentence paragraphs
I only saw a few spelling/capitalization errors and I won't be a %^&* and point those out unless you ask me to :).
Do so, i've corrected a few myself on various rereads but certainly keep missing some. It'll improve the guide and we can always ask to have those comment posts removed/delete them ourselves once satisfied.
After this, I'm not sure you will have wanted me to do this. You asked, though. I guess you just won't ask next time if this is more than you wanted :).
All references are to the document as it is written now, not as it would be if you applied the changes.
§ will refer to sections delimited by the dashes and italic text.
¶ will refer to paragraphs within those sections.
¶_(n) n will refer to a group of sentences unbroken from the previous sentence(s) in the same paragraph.
(rewrite) will precede a recomposition of a sentence, paragraph or portion of a sentence.
I'm going to consider lists without ending double-breaks between paragraphs as part of the paragraphs that enclose them.
The original state of a portion will be written in the context of a few words surrounding it. I'll write it as it was and then directly to the right of a word that should be changed, I'll put (->____) where the space contains the correction. If there is an addition, it will be listed as (____) in the position it should be in its context.
§1 ¶1 - combine 3 sentences to one paragraph
§1 ¶2 - as completely as i(->I) can
§1 ¶3 - (rewrite)
There won't be much with regards to the leveling experience as it's been mostly forgotten in the mists of time for me :). I also won't be covering PvP as I am very rarely engaged in pvp (and when I do, it's with a PvE spec).
§1 ¶4 - space down one from above
I won't mention the rest of the uncapitalized i's
if you want unbroken lines instead of the dashes, this character is good for that: —
I would space before
after the section line breaks and make them a little bit wider
§2 ¶1 - link and text to nab guide as : \
Druid Guide, Part 3: Cat DPS\
space after colon
§2 ¶2 - agro(->aggro)
link is broken, use : \
Druid Guide, Part 2: Bear Tanking\
make the bullets sentences with capital first & period
___% from(->of) the tanks(->tank's) threat
§3 ¶1 - buttons to choose among(->from|between)
§3 ¶2 - remove break between "...damage at all." and "Mana is a limited..."
§3 ¶3 - (rewrite)
To maximize the damage dealt, the objective of any caster should be to empty his or her mana pool right as the target dies. The caster should do this by using the right mix of high-damage and efficient spells so as not to run out of mana in the middle of the fight (reduced efficiency) or to end up with leftover mana (less damage than could have been done).
double break after that paragraph
§3 ¶3(2) - cicumstances(->circumstances)
a lot on each persons(->person's) gear
leatherworkers(->Leatherworking) and alchemists(->Alchemy)(,) mainly
§3 ¶3(3) - remove break with previous sentence
§3 ¶4 - (rewrite)
Let's look at the efficiency of our spells relative to our mana, or Damage Per Mana (DPM), considering all damage-increasing and mana cost reduction talents leaving crit aside for now:
§3 ¶5 - result will be dependant(->dependent) from(->upon)
Using the same hypothesises(->hypotheses) as before, (rewrite) this is what we get when considering Damage Per Cast Time (DPCT):
Also, perhaps expound a bit on how you got those numbers. What are you dividing the total damage by? Are you considering IS/MF to be 0, 1 or 1.5 second casts?
§3 ¶5(2) - that our highest(-)damage attacks are both dots(->DOTs) and then wrath(->Wrath).
(rewrite) But, this is only true for a moonkin in low-end gear, as taking raid buffs and crit chance into account would change the order as follows:
(rewrite) (Mathematical details on that can be found at the end of the guide.)
With the addition of the callout for DPCT above, bullets to match the previous list as "Starfire: 216 + 44% of SD DPCT"
§3 ¶6 - several dots(->DOTs) (efficiency + high damage per cast time(->DPCT)) and fill the dot(->DOT) time
§3 ¶6(2) - (rewrite) let them run their full duration. If not, you'll lose
§3 ¶6(3) - remove break with previous sentence
(rewrite) according to situation; those outlined above are simply the most common ones you'll use for a long time.
§3 ¶7 - which can be usefull(->useful) on mobs
spell puchback(->pushback) resistance
I'm going to stop here in case you didn't really want me to do what I offered to do :). Let me know and I'll go on if you want.
Edited to take comments into account, thanks a lot (and you can go on). I tried to propagate most of the recurrent errors/changes.
I did keep battle-rez though (seems clearer to me than Rebirth), and the separation lines format (because i like it and because i don't really have much room to add characters in some of those posts that i made too close to the size limit).
I'll look about developing a bit more on what i used for the math later, added to the TODO list.
Edited to take comments into account, thanks a lot (and you can go on).
<3 Will do. I'll use the same conventions and pick up where I stopped. Sometime today at work. Or maybe later -- there's a lot of stuff left.
This post was from a user who has deleted their account.
The only spell you'd wish to downrank is SF. If you have mana problems, you're down to IS, SF*4 anyway and IS is cheap and efficient enough as it is.
Starfire downranking is indeed a possibiilty, dpm can be improved by using a lower rank (calculations to be done for whichever rank you'd best want to use). But i would consider it as a last resort, after having already made use of all other mana regeneration buffs (oil, food, elixir) and potions.
The reason why is that those other buffs allow you to keep up a certain dps by increasing your mana resource. On the other hand, downranking diminishes your total damage output over the fight duration (considering that small adjustments to your performance won't modify the length of the fight since there are 4-5 other dps to average things).
Downranking isn't the best tool, but is still better than going OOM.
Regarding myself, i haven't used downranking anywhere except on Prince and Nightbane fights at the beginning of Karazhan, and that was before both the Intensity and spirit regeneration changes (i was mostly in blues).
I'm not quite sure how much of a realistic situation it is now, ie what gear level/fight length would cause you to require it. Most of the new badge gear has lots of spirit on it anyway, which should allow you to solve that problem fast.
Added a consumable section and a few lines about latency/reaction time impact (in the "how to kill" section).
(advice to anyone posting guides : don't put more than 6500 caracters in a single post, from 7000 and more editing and adding stuff becomes somewhat more difficult :p)
This post was from a user who has deleted their account.
This post was from a user who has deleted their account.
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