Saturday, July 19, 2008

WotLK Thoughts: Moonkin PoV

Moonkin have been the bastard stepchildren in the caster universe for quite some time. A majority of players have no idea what they bring to raids outside of a +5% crit buff and 9 times out of 10 will take another caster over a Balance Druid. When WotLK is released, will the boosts to the Balance tree be enough to move our feathered friend out of the shadows and in to the spotlight?

Before I get in to the changes, let me address what has the bane of Moonkin since we've trained in Moonfire - Gear, Threat, AoE and Crowd control.


I leveled Balance on Jandrae from 10 to about 47 and respecced Feral from 47 to 50, hated it and respecced back to Balance until 70 and beyond. The lack of caster leather in WoW is no secret. Outside of the belt from SFK, every ounce of caster leather I wore up until about 50 was cloth. Once you hit Outlands, gear doesn't become an issue since they tossed some Moonkin love our way with plenty of caster leather quest rewards, epic craftables and a boat-load of Badge of Justice gear BUT you could still find a piece of cloth for every piece of leather that was better. Hopefully in WotLK Blizzard takes notice and includes leather (and mail for the Shaman) that is par with the cloth gear our caster counterparts receive.


We're not called Boomkin for nothing nor do we get a huge armor boost in Moonkin form for bragging rights. Starfire hurts. Srsly. If your group doesn't have a Paladin for Blessing of Salvation or a Shaman that wants to blow his air totem for Tranquil Air you're in deep kodo poo. What makes that pile of poo larger is if you don't have Subtlety enchanted on your cloak or talent points in Subtlety in the Resto tree. Any Moonkin worth his feathers will take Intensity's mana regen boost over a threat reduction talent any day of the week. Thankfully, with WotLK, Natures Reach will provide a 30% reduction in threat to all Balance spells, on top of increasing their range, eliminating the threat reduction aspect for DPS spells through Subtlety. Ty Blizzard.

AoE spells

LOLicane. Thats all I have to say. Before Moonkin form was introduced, the 31 point talent for Balance Druids was this laughable AoE that, at the time, had a 10 minute cooldown. As if the damage wasn't bad enough, right? IMO the highlight of Hurricane is it's ability to reduce the attack speed of whatever it's hitting by 25%, not so much the lackluster damage. The cooldown has since been reduced down to 1 minute which is OK but it's not really long enough to take down an entire AoE group. The cooldown to Hurricane will be completely removed in WotLK in addition to the new spells Typhoon and Starfall.

Typhoon - Deals X amount of damage to enemies and knocks them back 5 yards.

There really isn't anymore info and no one is really sure how the spell will work. My guess is that it will be a slow moving frontal-cone-ish spell and will mostly likely have low damage due to it's ability to knock back mobs/players. Information on Starfall seemed to dissapear as soon as the original beta notes leaked but from what I remember it's a channeled AoE spell that targets a radius around the Druid dealing X amount of damage plus an additional X amount of damage to mobs close to the mobs effected. In short, it deals more damage if the mobs are close to each other. It's an AoE + splash damage but it's channeled like Tranquility.

With the cooldown being removed from Hurricane and the addition of one (possibly two) new AoE spell, we should finally be able to hang out with the Mages and Warlocks. Maybe not in terms of overall damage but at least keeping the AoE going. Another ^5 to Blizzard for this one.

Crowd Control

Outside of ZF, ZA and a few pre-BC raids, we never get to use Entangling Roots in a group PVE situation. That is until WotLK! Entangling Roots will now work indoors and will finally be a viable form of CC for Druids. Want better news? Diminishing returns have been removed from Cyclone in PVE so it can now be constantly spammed on mobs without seeing the dreaded "IMMUNE" sign. All this just in time to never have to do the 3rd boss in heroic Magister's Terrace ever again.

As if all this wasn't enough, check out these new toys for Druids that will hopefully make us more wanted in groups.

Revive - A non-combat rez spell. Works just like a Priest, Pally or Shaman rez. We still get to keep Rebirth as well for those "oh shit!" moments =D.

Brambles - In addition to it's old effect, Brambles now increases the damage done by your Treants. Also, any damage done by your Treants or Thorns will have a 5%/10%/15% chance to daze the target. Sexyness. I love my Treants.

Force of Nature - The Treant summon talent has had it's cooldown reduced from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.

Improved Faerie Fire (Feral) - This former Balance talent is being moved over to the Feral tree to replace the current Feral Faerie Fire ability. No longer will Moonkin have to waste 3 talent points but we also won't have to blow our global cooldowns to keep it up. +3% hit for everyone is nice considering Feral Druids keep this on their target anyway. Nice boost IMO.

Moonkin Form - This is my favorite future change and solidifies my choice for who I will be leveling first and raiding with in WotLK. Increased AP and mana regen on melee swings have been removed and replaced with a 2% mana regen for every spell crit. The original boosts, outside of the +armor and +spell crit, were useless. Giving you back 2% of your mana pool for every critical spell cast is not. I love you, Blizzard!

Improved Moonkin Form - All party members effected by Moonkin Aura will gain 20% spell haste for 8 seconds after successful spell crits. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.

Natures Grace - In addition to reducing the cast time of your next spell by .5 seconds every time you crit, spell crits will also reduce the global cooldown on your next Wrath spell by 50%. This + PVP = Nature Cannon. Love it.

Omen of Clarity - No longer a buff but a passive spell. OoC now has a 6% chance to proc clearcasting from all attacks and spell casts (damage or healing) instead of just melee abilities. This ability cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds. Huzzah for clearcasting!

Good stuff, no? Blood Pact, Pally auras and Shammy totems now effect the entire raid instead of just their raid group. If they let Moonkin Aura (LotP for our Feral kin) do the same, that'll be a lot of happy casters. Is that a raid spot I smell?

A lot of this information was found through various WoW blogs such as Gray Matter (my personal favorite Moonkin blog) & YAWN (Yet Another Warlock Nerf).

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