Mechanic or Resource?

As, one might have noticed by now, I am a big enthusiast of discussing things. I adore to deeply reflect about what someone just said, think of the argument’s strengths and explain perceived flaws. I love to receive counter-arguments and further explanation on something I wasn’t quite able to grasp. Maybe it is because my scientist formation brainwashed me to dig this kinda thing, maybe I am just weird. 😉

Something that got my gaze lately was the two different ways people address to Eclipse, that little blue and yellow bar that moonkins stare like perverts. I believe any reader is already quite familiar with it, but just to emphasize, this bar allow us to proc Lunar and Solar Eclipses. During said procs, our damage is increased, a lot.

The most common term I see being used to describe Eclipse is “RESOURCE”. So far,
I disagree with this common usage. While Eclipse uses “energy” to move the pointer and attune you to the powers of An’she or Elune, I don’t think that this energy is in no way close to it’s Rogue homonymous.

Why? Well, because I believe a resource is something you SPEND. Rogues spend energy to use their skills. We do not spend Eclipse Energy on anything at all.

So, Fakegamedesigner, how do you see Eclipse?

To me, it is a MECHANIC. Pretty much like our Rogue friend’s Combo Points. Combo points are no cost to perform finishing moves, but they empower finishing moves.

But the line between Resources and Mechanics is not always that clear. OMG, Death Knights of course. Do they have 2 resources, since both runes and runic power act as costs to their skills? Or are runes simply a way to unlock their moves, hence being a mechanic?

What about Pallies with both Mana and Holy Power? In this particular case, I believe that it is indeed a dual Resource system.

Well… Mad Scientist white lab coat on, lets go back to Eclipse a bit.

People right now complain about how MoP moonkin rotation seems dull. You pretty much cast a DoT, one of your nukes, proc Eclipse, cast another (kinda, it is the same with different color and kind of damage) DoT and cast your other nuke till next Eclipse. Maybe add Starfall in both ends.

Dull.

As a mean give us more control over Eclipse and to make it a little more exciting, GC announced Astral Communion, a brand new spell that allows you to channel and gain up to 100 Eclipse Energy.

Arguably, it gives us more to think about during combat, and most importantly, might serve as a tool to control Dps burst. There is no cooldown currently, so we can start fights in Eclipse, and during fights if we botch at timing Eclipse right, we just stop nuking and channel Astral Communion for 5 sec tops until we reach Eclipse.

Seems cool. Might lead to weird minmaxing, but let the theorycrafters think about that.

What I see is a shinny, yummy, almost indecent Eclipse Energy power plant. So, what to do with this Eclipse Energy battery besides fixing a screwed timing?

TURN ECLIPSE ENERGY INTO A RESOURCE AS WELL.

Mwa-hahahahhaha!!!

Ok, back to normality *ahem*.

We still have other issues besides control over Eclipse procs. As an incredibly obvious example, the closest thing to a movement dps tool we ever got was Lunar Shower.

What I have growing inside my greenhouse outside the Lab are:

Yup, it is from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. If you remember this cartoon, dude, you are old.

You know what? If you remember the name of the bad guy growing on the vase you get a cookie.

Time is up. SAW BOSS!!!

Now back to my beloved evil creations.

 

Dps while moving:

 

Celestial Arch

Cost: 20 Eclipse Energy
You can cast Wrath and Starfire while moving for 5 sec.

——————————-

 

Survivability problems?

 

Cosmic Warden
Cost: 35 Eclipse Energy
Increase Moonkin Form damage reduction by 15% and prevents spell interruption.

—————————-

 

It would address two major problems, it would involve an interesting decision (Can I afford loosing that much Eclipse Energy?) and would give us more to do and to manage in our dull rotation.

If anything gets wrong, there is always our new Astral Communion to recharge us up!

Just a mechanic? Or both Mechanic and Resource?

Thoughts?

What would you do?

-Fakegamedesigner

Advertisements

Mush mush mush BOOM!

Hello folks. This will be a quick post.

Today GC posted on the Beta Forums that Wild Mushroom will not be affected by Eclipse, and that it is something supposed to be used like “plant them down and eventually the need will arise”.

This means that it won’t be “rotational”. We will use Hurricane/Astral Storm for AoEs and that is it.

Well, if WM will not belong to an AoE rotation, it sounds more like a burst cooldown. So I started to think about how this cooldown should work.

What I got is:

“Cooldown: one minute for each Mushroom detonated. Maximum of 6 mushrooms.”

Maybe I went crazy on the maximum number of mushrooms down. But this dynamic cooldown would allow us to use 1 mushroom every minute, if we need spot heals (remind me of Monks healing spheres) or to place, lets say, 3 down, blow them and wait 3 minutes to regain access to it.

Please populate the comments with your impressions!

– Fakegamedesigner

I like to move it move it! MOVE IT!

First of all, sorry about the follow up from my last entry. It is still on the oven. I’ve already worked the data, and yes, Druids are not versatile at all compared to pallies and monks. But I’ll give you proof in a week, tops.

Now for today’s entertainment I decided to give another try on the MoP Talents. As the name of this post suggests, my motivation was to experiment the relocation of our shapeshifting tier to somewhere else besides Tier 6.

While we feel like this to move it move it…

… Blizz is like that:

You know what? Blizz probably has a good reason to do so. Blizz probably was told, on that last huge survey, by many many players, that Druids wanted to change roles during combat.

How it got implemented, however, is the main issue. I agree with most of my Druid comrades that a final tier HAS to affect your main role. It would be terribly weird if it doesn’t. And to be quite honest, the way Blizz gave up and altered her original design intent was not elegant in my modest opinion. Looks like Blizz just cracked under pressure.

Blizzard hybridized the hybrid tier.

I mean, now Tier 6 is a mix between off-role and on-role performance.

… Seriously? To get HotW and forget it exists just because of the passive output boost?

As many of us Druids have suggested on the forums (for quite a while now) I have reverted back the shapeshift tier to just off-role performance and relocated it. This is how things look now:

Tier 1: Cat – Movement
Tier 2: Caster – Survivability
Tier 3: Bear – CC
Tier 4: Moonkin – Management
Tier 5: Shapeshifting – off role performance only
Tier 6: Get one cool thing from one of the old 3 specs and give it to all druids.

And, of course, the link to the talent grid so you can check the details and all the nice icons I took forever to choose. 🙂

(Thanks again Longwritter for building it!)

As usual, your constructive feedback is greatly appreciated!

– Fakegamedesigner

The Eclipsed Moonkin – What Blizz Won’t Deliver

Ok, this post is being written as an escape tool for my sore heart, after the latest Mists of Pandaria beta build. Right now, I can’t help myself but think that Blizz either don’t know what to do with Moonkins, or we just can’t grasp what this is so far.

Well, I’ll tell you what I want for my spec. Maybe on a future entry, I’ll tell what I want for our talent “tree” as well.

Well… release the kraken.

First off, we would need to revise how our spells work right now on Beta.

We have one might morphing (power ranged?) DoT, Moonfire/Sunfire. It recently had its base damage nerfed and the duration shortened. But this is not relevant. The relevant part for this post is what the DoTs do for us. 1st, they provide damage. Second, they allow us to fish Shooting Stars procs. Shooting Stars procs make our Starsurge, a spellstorm nuke, to become instant. This means additional damage and, most importantly, +20 Eclipse energy.

TL;DR: Our DoTs do damage and make our Eclipse energy gain be more random.

We also have 3 hard cast nukes: Wrath, Starfire and Starsurge. Right now they fill 2 roles: being our only sources of direct damage and building up Eclipse energy. At beta, Wrath provides 15 Lunar energy, while Starsurge and Starfire both provide 20 Solar energy.

TL;DR: These 3 spells fill both roles as main source of direct damage and Eclipse energy builders.

We have one baseline cooldown called Celestial Alignment, that instantly puts us on fake double eclipse state and sets our Eclipse energy to zero, plus preventing energy gain for a while. It is important to notice that this allows Moonfire and Sunfire to be applied at once.

TL;DR: Press Celestial Alignment at zero Eclipse energy or if you fail to time eclipse.

Last, but not least, we have AoEs. Well. Sorta. Kinda. Well…

Starfall has always being meant for filling 2 roles: AoE during Lunar and dps boost during single target situations.

Wild Mushrooms is a powerful AoE spell. However, since our mobile dps sucks so hard, many moonkins use movement situations to plant 3 Mushrooms on the go. This way, as soon as Solar is up, BOOM!

Hurricane/Astral Storm in Beta are supposed to be our reliable and powerful AoEs. They are actually one morphing spell like Moonfire/Sunfire, which means we always have an option appropriate to the Eclipse we have active.

Which make me think: damn, we have a TON of AoEs. One of them is Lunar-only (Starfall), one is Solar only (Mushrooms) and the third is a morphing spell, good for both Eclipses. It is fair to point that Shrooms are not sustained AoE dps, it is burst AoE dps. Let’s save this info for latter.

Now, what are our most common critics about Moonkin in Beta MoP?

1)      The rotation is boring.

2)      We have few tools to play with.

3)      We don’t have dps for movement heavy situations. Lunar Shower is not attractive.

4)      We have close to no burst dps, nor any executes.

Well… what would I do?

I would give Starfall a rework and a new function. I would also create a Solar counterpart for it, with the same function. At last, I would rework Shooting Stars passive spec skill.

Note: I’m suggesting this alteration while trying to keep in mind the impression that a good balance druid is the one that knows how to time and manage Eclipse wisely.

Let’s take a look:

————————————-

SPELLS:

Sunfire/Moonfire – DoTs, periodic crit can proc Shooting Stars for instant Starsurge.

Wrath – Provides 15 Lunar energy. The main function now is to charge Lunar Eclipse.

Starfire – Provides 20 Solar Energy. Main function now is to charge Solar Eclipse.

Starsurge – Provides 20 Solar or Lunar Energy. Make energy gains more random through Shooting Stars talent.

Solar Flare – NEW SPELL. Provides heavy single target nature damage while generating considerably less Lunar energy than Wrath (maybe 10 Lunar energy).

Starfall – REWORKED SPELL. Provides heavy channeled, single target arcane damage while generating considerably less Solar energy than Starfire (maybe 15 Solar energy).

Hurricane and Mushrooms – Only AoEs available (calm down). Wild Mushroom: Detonate generates 5 Lunar energy and Hurricane generates 10 Lunar energy.

————————————-

Passive Spec Skill:

Shooting Stars (An AMAZING suggestion provided by Falerin in Beta Classes Forum!)

You have a 20% chance when you deal critical periodic damage with your Moonfire or Sunfire to instantly reset the cooldown of your Starsurge and generate a stack of Shooting Star. Your next cast of Starsurge to be instant and consume a stack. Max 3 stacks.

————————————-

With just these changes in mind, we would already have a better scenario:

We would have our normal rotation, but upon entering Eclipse we would have the option to change to a second, more optimal, spell that provides less Eclipse energy (keeps us longer in Eclipse) and do a bit more damage, or to hush through it by not changing to the new spells. Our rotation is no longer boring! 😀 There are decisions to be made.

Plus, stacked Shooting Star procs would allow more control over Eclipse, since we could use repeated instant Starsurges to get the Eclipse bar moving faster.

Also, a flurry of instant Starsurges can be used both as dps on the move and as burst dps for emergencies.

We just gained more tools, more options and more control over Eclipse.

But what about our AoE? We lost Starfall and Arcane Storm! And why Solar Flare does just a bit more damage than Wrath, while the new Starfall does a lot more damage than Starfire?

Well, because in this design we are supposed to be in Lunar for single target dps situations and in Solar for AoE situations. This is what is perceived as an indicator of a good moonkin player: the ability to use the right Eclipse at the right time for the right scenario. This concept is vital for understanding the design I’m proposing.

Example: Yor’sahj. A Dark Globule (Black Slime) shows up and will be absorbed, because the raid leader commanded the Shadowed Globule (Purple Slime) to be burned down. You use Lunar to burn Purple Slime, bursting stacked Starsurges right after leaving Lunar to quickly reach Solar, and then unleash Solar AoE Hell at the adds summoned by Black Slime with Shrooms and Hurricane.

If anything goes terribly wrong or for unpredictable scenarios (adds showing up without warning, sudden burn phases), there is always Celestial Alignment.

I would like to stress that Starfall has always been used by Moonkins as both an AoE and a single-target damage enhancer. But since it got the splash damage removed, it doesn’t actually fulfill the AoE niche so well. Plus, we already have Hurricane and Mushrooms as 2 nice AoEs (even better, one for standing still and one that can be used on the move). I really think we can redirect Starfall for single targeting purposes without any harm done.

The only real concern I have is how will the 3 stacked Shooting Star procs behave in PvP. Too bursty? Honestly, I don’t think so. The most dangerous situation would obviously be 3 stacks being shot repeatedly at someone. But notice that to be able to make this, one would had to previously use of Moonfire/Sunfire to fish the stacks, and save for the burst purpose instead of casting mobility in a PvP scenario, which seems possible but not usual.

Plus, it would require 3 Starsurge crits in a row to one shot a player with no resilience, which is improbable (depending on Crit Chance) and unusual, since players in arenas and BGs tend to wear their resilience gear. 😉

Speaking of burst, what about an execute? Maybe it is an overkill to ask for it in this design, one could argue that Lunar single target dps is already spiky enough. But if totally desired, this is what I would suggest:

————————————-

Shooting Stars

You have a 20% chance when you deal critical periodic damage with your Moonfire or Sunfire to instantly reset the cooldown of your Starsurge and generate a stack of Shooting Star. Your next cast of Starsurge to be instant and consume a stack. Max 3 stacks. The chance for critical periodic damage to generate a stack is 50% on targets below 25% health.

————————————-

We would Starsurge moribund bastards to the ground with lots of Shooting Star procs! 😀

Thoughts?

What would you change in this experiment?

Any flaws to fix?

– Fakegamedesigner

Symbiosis!

Hey peeps! Long time no see!

I also got caught on the Symbiosis hype that is trending in WoW Forums and blogs. Hands on the steering wheel, foot on the gas, here we go!

At first, I think it is pretty clear to assume everyone knows Symbiosis will be a pain for everyone in raids. Raid leaders will have a nightmarish time if they decide to meddle in the distribution, druids will get poked one million times if they can provide anything too interesting for someone, and of course people will compete each other for the skill traded.

So, the first thing I addressed on this experiment in Symbiosis was to make it easily accepted. The way I did that was to make Symbiosis buff a class skill instead of trading them. If it enhances something that every spec uses, and something they ALREADY use in a regular basis, there is no drama. They will be happy to be made a bit stronger, and don’t have to worry about something new on their bars.

Second, getting a semi-useless utility SUCKS. Common, getting Mirror Image at level 87, while mages get it on lvl 47? Really?

“Oh, but you get 10 skills, not just one.”

10 times zero equals zero, in my opinion. Ok, maybe I’m overreacting, since Moonkins really got the short end of the stick when it comes to Symbiosis. But I believe we can make sure we get spells that are more druidish, that really feel they are the product of a symbiotic relationship between the 2 classes.

Sadly, I had not enough time to fully fill the skill chart. It opens, however, a nice opportunity for us to exercise creativity! What would you do? You already know the rules:

1)      The other class gets on of its spells/skills enhanced. Notice that the Symbiosis is determined by class instead of spec, so choose spells/skills that all specs uses.

2)      The Druid gets a skill that is related with the skill the other class got enhanced. As an example, in the symbiotic relationship between DKs and Druids, they get their Ghoul traded by a Corrupted Treant, that is stronget and can heal the DK. Meanwhile, we gain the skill to summon an “Army of Fungus”. It imitates Army of the Dead, but it uses the fungoid humanoids like the ones we find inside Underbog, and they have skills that fit your role (an Army of Fungus of a Resto Druid would randomly cast weak heals like crazy, as an example).

3) Each skill gained by the druid should feel as powerful as the other lvl 87 skills that other classes gain.

Please notice that there is no strong obligation: Raise Dead is about dealing with a ghoul, Army of the Dead is about having many. But it is all about ghouls anyways, so it fits. Plus, fungus and decaying things fit well together, so (at least for me) the results of Symbiosis feel… well… natural.

Here it goes!

Class

Spell

Effect

Death Knight Gets

Corrupted Treant

Ghoul is replaced by Corrupted Treant, which is stronger than regular ghoul and heals the Death Knight.

Druid Gets

Army of Fungus

Summons shit ton of Underbog Lurker-like mobs.

Hunter Gets

Ancient Companion

Pet gets Ancient form that makes it stronger.

Druid Gets

Tame Spirits

Druids can tame Spirits, Elementals and similar (tamed elemental or spirit vanishes if killed or if the Symbiosis ends).

Mage Gets

Byway

Replaces Blink. If the Mage takes a Byway through the Dream, his mana is fully replenished.

Druid Gets

Teleport: Emerald Dream

The druid briefly (2 sec) enters the Emerald Dream, instantly recovering 30% life and mana (pretty much like Heroic Will).

Monk Gets

Living Statues

Instead of stones statues, you summon Ancient Animal Spirits that have stronger effects and can be moved to new locations.

Druid Gets

Feng Shui

The Druid can place Trees that alter the flow of energy in battle. Bamboo Tree drastically reduces threat of nearby allies (Guardian). Peach Tree removes all diseases, curses, venoms and magical effects when clicked (Resto). Sakura Tree doubles movement speed when clicked (Feral). Chrysanthemum blossoms increase effects of potions, brews and teas on nearby allies (Balance).

Paladin Gets

?

?

Druid Gets

?

?

Priest Gets

Soar

Replaces Levitate. Targets of Soar can cast while moving. Also if cast on himself, the Priest can move freely through the air.

Druid Gets

?

?

Rogues Gets

Insect Toxins

Your poisons works on your ranged skills.

Druid Gets

Venomous

Your periodic effects also have Neurotoxins (slower nerve response – bigger cooldowns), Necrotoxins (kills tissue – bigger periodic damage), Hemotoxins (numbness – reduces damage taken) and Mycotoxins (catalyst – increases spell damage taken), deppending on spec.

Shaman Gets

?

?

Druid Gets

?

?

Warlock Gets

Nightmare Knowledge

Your Healthstones also provide 10% mana.

Druid Gets

Fel Seeds

The druid can conjure Fel Seeds that change the % of health and Mana, Rage, Energy, Focus, Runic Power, etc on use.

Warrior Gets

Roaring

Your shouts and howls lasts 30% longer.

Druid Gets

Furious Roar

Increases the druid’s attacking and casting speed by 20% for 10 sec.

So, what do you think? I would love to hear feedback from this attempt, suggestions for the blank spots and for alterations, and brand new ideas for the spell!

If it was up to you, what would you do?

-FakeGameDesigner

Stand Tall, Basidiomycota!

Hello folks!

All the discussion that’s been brought to Beta Class forums by Lissanna made me wish my hands were on the steering wheel once again! But this time I’ll not be talking about Moonkins. This time, it’s all about heals!

It seems fitting to me that I’ll be discussing a Restoration spell that came from something that is fundamentally Balance: Wild Mushrooms. As you know, in Mists of Pandaria Resto Druids will get a healing version of Wild Mushrooms: Detonate, called Wild Mushrooms: Bloom. It has been suggested in WoW forums for a while, and Blizzard liked the idea (which is amazing btw).

However, the way WM works can be awkward for Resto Druids. As a moonkin, we can pre-cast 3 mushrooms before fights without any downside. We can also place 3 of them right before DBM warns us of a big pack of adds showing up during a boss fight, once again without hurting too much our job. When we are forced to move during combat, we can plant mushrooms on the go, compensating the time running around to our great benefit.

Resto Druids already have to look out for many things. First of all, there is Lifebloom on the tank. But one cannot think of Lifebloom without thinking of our Mastery: Harmony, that is dependent on direct heals. If I’m not mistaken, we have to refresh our Mastery with a direct heal once every 10 sec. In a mid-fight scenario, we will be casting a direct heal to keep Harmony up, at least one Rejuv, a Wild Growth when it fits, Swiftmend on cooldown and the rest depends on the situation at hand. Now, if we are talking about an AoE situation, where Wild Mushrooms: Bloom would shine, we need to add another 5 actions on the player’s part: click shrooms, place, place, place, bloom.

Do you think all that fits in 10 sec? It doesn’t, I dare say. Even if it does, it will be tight, awkward, won’t flow naturally.

Come on, healing job is stressful enough already.

So, what would I do?

MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

Let’s go crazy:

First of all, Resto version of Wild Mushroom is a single, and huge, shroom. Big like the ones that this Hungarfen boss casts in Coilfang Reservoir. Maybe even bigger.

Imagine a big mushroom, with it’s cap at least as big and the Efflorescence effect. Once the Resto Druid casts it, the raid/group seeks shelter under it. But why? To fight in the shadow? Nope.

I would make this one giant mushroom clickable, pretty much like a Lightwell. If anyone clicks it, spores gently fall from the cap, placing a weak HoT on all targets below. Yeah, people literally shake it, and the spores shower. Notice that it is KEY that this HoT is weak, because the mushroom itself can still be detonated.

Calm down. Let’s see the big picture:

1) This single big healing shroom is easily seen by the raid, unlike the current version on Beta servers.
2) It takes only 2 actions to place.
3) From the moment it is placed, it is already in effect, with some minimal effort from other players.
4) When the time is right, the caster can still detonate it for a burst AoE heal.

The fact it is easy to place and that it somehow works as soon as it’s placed would make “mush room”, I mean, much room (damn, this pun was awful) for all other spells and stuff we have to keep working in “harmony” (someone make me stop!). That combined with how easy it would be to spot it would be sweet in my opinion.

I can imagine someone arguing that the cap of a shroom this big could hide too much. Well, personally I feel much more sure about if I’m inside a huge holy dome of healing than some bluish glow on the floor. Specially considering that it might have 5, 10 or even 25 people trying to stand over it.

Someone could also argue that Lightwell is a rather controversial spell, since it depends on the raid to click on it. Well, notice that this “clumsy” way to trigger the spores is intentional. In the big picture, we are getting a faster and much stronger mushroom, with an additional healing component. The healing spores are a bonus, something to put your 2 actions taken in use right away. Having to click the shroom is a minimal price to pay. Also, one player clicks it, but the healing spores affect everyone under the shroom cap.

I am not that bad after all. But not that good as well. If I was on Santa Claus mode, I would allow this weak HoT component from the spores to trigger Swiftmend… 😉

Stand tall, Basidiomycota! Bring us your healing spores, your healing bloom and the celerity that any healing scenario needs!

– Fakegamedesign

The Madness Begins! My Moonkin Overhaul

Let’s begin with the obvious, remembering a couple of things from my first post:

  • I am a big WoW enthusiast;
  • I love Moonkins over any other Druid spec;
  • The main motif of this blog is “If you were holding the steering wheel, how would you change the rules of your favorite game?”

It is quite easy to come to the conclusion that I would start messing up with the spec I play 99% of the time. From the experience I’m having on MoP Beta, I had the opportunity to think about how the spec evolved through time. It is not that long, so I think we can discuss the 3 eras shortly.

At first, we were held hostages to RNG. If you managed to crit with our 2 main nukes, we could proc the Eclipse buff. It sucked, because most of the time we could not count on it to program our spiky damage when it was needed the most.

Latter, an Eclipse Bar was introduced. With this bar, we could decide which Eclipse to pursue first, and we could slowly drag ourselves towards it, by casting spells from the opposite type (to reach Solar Eclipse, cast Starfire and vice-versa).

Now, on Mists of Pandaria Beta, the Eclipse Bar remains the same. Well, not being changed means that any good potential won’t be further explored, nor will the flaws be addressed. As an example, it was quite clear how Moonkins were shorthanded in PvP situations, when our sluggish nukes would take too long to get us on the end of the Eclipse Bar, dooming us to failure on such a fast paced environment as Arenas.

A second characteristic to be remembered about our Eclipse mechanic is how it affects our spells. As you probably know, during an Eclipse all our spells of the appropriate type receive a 25% damage buff until the bar reaches zero again. It means that Eclipse have a strong synergy with our already strong DoTs: Moonfire and its solar twin, Sunfire. This means that, in the live servers, we have to risk having seizures by keeping a close watch and deciding on the fly when to clip/refresh our DoTs. If you’ve played a Moonkin before, you know my pain.

Even worse, comes in the Solar Cleave. During Solar Eclipse, we have the opportunity to keep 2 buffed DoTs up: Insect Swarm (which is now removed from Beta servers – YAY!) and Sunfire. By spreading these DoTs on several enemies, we could reach considerable amounts of Dps. Here lies the problem: we got balanced around this fact.

Long story short: we SUCK at single target Dps, while we ROCK at AoE.

Well… What would you do, as a raid leader, if a Moonkin asked for a spot? Would you allow him in, because out of 8 fights, there are 3 where killing adds is really important? Nah… Believe me, I know.

Sadly enough, Mists of Pandaria recognized that, and the Devs first designed a solution to the problem: to rework Insect Swarm to work like Hunter’s Mark. Insect Swarm would no longer deal damage (half kills Solar Cleave) and would considerably buff the damage of our nukes. The problem, again, is balance. If we were to be competitive on the target with Insect Swarm, we would SUCK at everything else. It would represent one more global cooldown burned while changing targets. Forgetting to reapply Insect Swarm would destroy your Dps. The community roared at this possibility, and the spell is now defunct on the Beta Servers.

This makes me wonder: if they have designed our mechanics around having Insect Swarm up, upon removing the spell, some adjustments would be necessary. Or even a partial/total rework of the model. Nothing has hit Beta servers on this matter so far.

Another seemingly fix presented to us on Beta servers is the fact that our nukes, under Eclipse, refresh their appropriate DoT (i.e. Wrath refreshes Sunfire during Solar Eclipse). The nice part: we “no longer” have to worry about when to refresh our DoTs. Our nukes will take care of them. Kinda.

Now adding up the points made:

  1. We don’t have an adjustment to our gameplay model after the removal of Insect Swarm;
  2. Our DoTs are no longer our concern – let the nukes babysit them;
  3. The bar still moves sluggishly from the Sun to the Moon.

About this last issue, it is interesting to notice that Blizz added Celestial Alignment, a cooldown that gives us a fake double eclipse for a short period. In my modest opinion, I think it’s alarming how comfortable Blizz, and the player base, feels about the speed we move the Eclipse meter. The flaw on this mechanic is so obvious that, when Blizz wants to please us, we get a way to speed Solar and Lunar energy gains!

“Oh cool! Incarnate doubles my eclipse energy gains!”

“Sweet! This armor piece provides me more eclipse energy!”

We are dependant on reaching Eclipse to be on pair with other classes. Right now, we are BELOW them in Dps while not in eclipse, and in pair when we finally manage to move the meter to the little Sun or Moon. The pace in which each nuke move the Eclipse meter is also a failure in my opinion: Wrath gives us 13 out of 100 energy, Starsurge provides 15, Starfire provides 20. This is food to Theorycrafters, always avid to math out when should we cast Starsurge instead of one of the other 2 nukes. Do you guys know how confusing this is, if we think of the reasoning behing the new talent system overhaul?

The new talent system was designed to kill theorycrafting, because theorycrafting leads to cookie cutter specs. By comparison, adding this uneven energy gain directs us to pray and hope for the right amount and timing of Starsurge procs to reach the optimal, calculated, rotation. It is quite a paradox on the Mists of Pandaria game design philosophy, as far as I understand it.

Well, what would I do? Let us begin the crazy talk, shall we?

  1. Even Wrath and Starfire Eclipse energy gains. Let the proc on Starsurge make the number of casts more unpredictable. If needed, make the casting time similar as well.
  2. Kill or fully redesign our DoTs. They’ve done nothing but making our feathers turn prematurely white and nerf us to the ground due to Solar Cleave. If Blizz wants something with good synergy with the Eclipse swing, I’ll give you something below.
  3. If Blizz wants the “this is your main target, kill it first” model it attempted with Insect Swarm, do it without messing with Dps output – it leads inexorably to imbalance. Put down 2 Insect Swarm-like spells, and make them in such a way they turn the life of their targets a living hell.

Utility, you say? Not quite, but almost. Let me try an example:

(Don’t pay attention to values, durations, etc.)

———————-

Solar Beam

Reworked. Targets within the area will get (blind/silenced/knocked down/etc) if hit by Wrath. Lasts 20 sec.

Faerie Fire (don’t hate me)

Reworked. In addition to its current effects, Faerie Fire consumes Rage, Energy, Focus, Runic Power and Mana every time the target is hit by Starfire. Lasts 20 sec.

———————-

This is the point where you ask: what is the point? It won’t make me do more Dps during boss fights.

It will do. Devs won’t be afraid of you DoTing one bazillion adds and going crazy on crits. But it would still remain priceless against adds in boss fights. Your nukes will not be balanced around your DoTs. This is heaven.

What about the nukes? Here comes reaching Solar and Lunar Eclipse.

I would still be conservative about making Eclipse to buff our nukes. By doing so, we fall in the trap of sucking outside of Eclipse, and also on the dead-end of only receiving “get more Eclipse energy” kinda reward from talents, glyphs, tier bonuses, etc. I would like better something along the lines of:

———————-

Eclipse (Solar): your Wrath spell apply Sunfire effect on its target. Sunfire deals X% of Wrath maximum damage over 5 secs. This effect stacks. Mastery increases X by Y.

Eclipse (Lunar): your Starfire spell apply Moonfire effect on its target. Moonfire deals X% of Starfire maximum damage over 5 secs. This effect stacks. Mastery increases X by Y.

———————-

There are our DoTs again! If we are not to worry about it, why make us apply it once at the beginning of Eclipse? Notice that this Moonfire and Sunfire can crit and proc Starsurge.

So we would have a “rotation” like this:

Faerie Fire, screw the target with Starfire. Reach Solar Eclipse. Solar Beam for the annoyance, Wrath with stacks of Sunfire. All the way back, but this time, Starfire will get stacks of Moonfire as well.

We only have one quick escalation time: the first Eclipse cycle. From this point forward, it is a steady Dps rotation, with some increased output on the main target through passive DoTs we don’t have to watch or worry. Starsurge and Celestial Alignment (if we decide to keep it) would bring up versatility and fun, either by being a bit random or by the control it provides.

On quick scenarios like arenas, we have potent nukes that are not balanced under the shadow of the Solar Cleave colossus. We won’t have sluggish casts like the current Starfire. We would have utility backed in by Solar Beam and Faerie Fire that would enhance our survivability.

Of course this model probably has numerous faults. This is of course normal. But I hope that the way I feel deep inside my Moonkin innards that drove me while writing remain clear:

We cannot be balanced around multi-dotting.

We need strong nukes.

We need an agile Eclipse bar.

We don’t need to babysit DoTs like crazy.

We got to have more to look forward besides “provides more Eclipse energy”.

What would you do?

-FakeGameDesigner

P.S.: I might (and probably will) edit it latter looking for typos and adding images to the wall of text.