The Eclipsed Moonkin Part 2 – What Blizz Haven’t Pursued

 

Sometimes just listing the problems is a good way to stay in focus. Mostly when they are many and you’ve thought about the whole scenario for too long.

Considering historical data and the current state of the art about moonkins in both Live and MoP Beta, how do things look? What are the major issues?

 

1) Single target and AoE rotations are boring;

2) We have no viable means of doing dps while moving;

3) Eclipse contributes with too much of our damage;

4) Solar and Lunar eclipses are the same.

 

Just out of comparison, I’ll list the 4 points I come up with in “The Eclipsed Moonkin” Part 1:

–          The rotation is boring;

–          We have few tools to play with;

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

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

It is nice to notice that now at least there are more tools to play with. Those come from both spec spells like CA and AC, but also from talents (Incarnation, FoN, WC, etc).

Sadly the others pretty much remain the same, despite of the different wording. Lets take a more detailed look on things:

 

1) Single target and AoE rotations are boring.

Cast AC til Eclipse before the pull. DoT, Starfall then keep Nuking. Starsurge procs on cooldown.

CA is available, you are at zero eclipse energy? Cast it. After that keep Nuking until next Eclipse.

Repeat. This is everything we have to deal with.

AC pre-fight, DoTs, Starfall and Nukes are mechanical. After a while, your fingers will do it for you without your brain even noticing. Ss procs are warned by big built-in Power Auras animation. Funny thing is, watch Ss to get out of cooldown by NOT procc’ing Shooting Stars is what requires more attention.

Damn.

There is some tiny decisions about using CA on zero Energy, however. Will you need the “burst” in a few minutes? Then save it. Won’t need the “burst”? Do it.

Not what I consider entertaining. To be very honest, I’ve literally slept during fights on Beta.

 

2) We have no viable means of doing dps while moving.

Well, we do. Lunar Shower. This is a treacherous, vicious mechanic to use. It will lead you to mistakenly overwrite an Eclipsed DoT with a weaker, uneclipsed one. Also, just clipping your DoTs is already a dps loss per se.

 

3) Eclipse contributes with too much of our damage.

With that in mind, it is easy to notice that:

In PvE, being out of eclipse for a particular boss phase or action is horrible. This is why they had to give us Celestial Alignment: add water, heat for 3 mins and you get instant fake double-eclipse.

In PvP, Celestial Alignment puts a nice patch over the problem. The thing is, once this shiny new toy is locked under the 3 minute cooldown, you have to rely again on your slow casts to fill that blue/orange energy bar under your portrait. Yeah, in PvP. Dream about it.

In PvE we might have more time to maneuver the Eclipse bar back to one of the ends between burn phases. But it obviously isn’t the case for PvP. Also, if you fail to maneuver this transatlantic in PvE, and CA is on cooldown, your dps goes to the bottom like a rock.

It is also important to notice that we don’t have something separated to serve as our burst tool. Our burst is reaching eclipse, which is something we regularly do, many times, during a fight. In Cata, during burns, an Arcane Mage stops the regular, conservative rotation and burn all the mana. So he can be balanced about just behaving like that for burn situations.

We have to be balanced around having this burst potential happening all the time, from time to time, in an “unstoppable” rhythm (unless we cast the “wrong” spell to stop it). I’m not good at theorycrafting or general class balance, but I can see this being a balance issue.

 

4) Solar and Lunar eclipses are the same.

Ok, this might sound subjective, superfluous, etc. But if Eclipses are the same, we could scratch out one half of it and just go from zero Eclipse energy to Lunar and back. Why do we need the Sun? To cast spells that do the same thing, but have a different color? The best thing I can say is:

“Eclipses should be different. I feel it in my guts. Not by accident, like what happens in Solar Cleave. By design.”

I am happy to see that many, many druids also feel the same way right now in MoP Beta forums. As I think of it, maybe we just got too used to having Solar so much better than Lunar that this perceived need of Eclipse differentiation just got stuck within our mindset.

I don’t care. Make them different. 🙂 Amazing things come into being by accident. This might be one good example. But do it right. Make Solar be meaningful for something, and Lunar being badass for something else. Or maybe make them both awesome for the same thing, but in completely different ways.

With the philosophy that is being used in the Talents design, I honestly can’t understand how can Blizz pass an opportunity to present us a meaningful choice like that.

 

Well, this post is already long enough.

Did I forgot anything?

What is your opinion about moonkin current state?

 

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

 

– 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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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