Weekly Roundup: Betaaaaaaaa!

warlords-of-draenor-1280x800After working the past 13 days with only one day off, I can only apologise for not only missing out on writing posts altogether, but I just didn’t have time for writing a weekly roundup for last week. Turns out that when you work like that your life turns into work, eat, sleep – I did have time for other things but no real headway to make anything worthwhile for a weekly roundup last week. This week however, Blizzard turned a swift alpha into beta, with first invites aimed toward veteran players! Turns out I’m veteran enough for them, and downloaded the beta client and hopped straight on in the evening!

… And it seems that Blizzard thought many players were veteran players. The first few days of the beta was nearly unplayable, not because of bugs or whatever, just because of the sheer amount of people trying to access the same things at the same time – from US, EU and Asia regions as well. Also, with both factions in the same starting area to begin with, I can’t help but think that this experience will echo at the start of Warlords release (unless Blizz are trying to stress test that starting experience to try and make it as smooth as possible).

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The main problem I can foresee happening though is that because we have no new races or classes, pretty much everyone that buys Warlords will be doing that same 45min-1hr starting experience. In TBC we were split between Hellfire Peninsula, Azuremyst Isle and Eversong Forest; in Lich King, we split up between the Scarlet Enclave, Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra; for Cataclysm we had the biggest choice of Gilneas, Kezan, Vashj’ir or Hyjal; and Mists brought us the smallest choice so far Jade Forest and the Wandering Isle… And those who were at launch in MoP, at least on Alliance side, know how great the helicopters were at the start of Jade Forest with players hovering around in a small figure of 8, constantly getting in the way of each other trying to blow up ships, or just constantly circling around the Horde base waiting for the helicopter UI to give you your action buttons. Fun times.

Now in Warlords, the current plan is to not only have no new classes or races to split people off into, but to also bring BOTH Horde and Alliance to Tanaan Jungle for the first hour of the expansion. Admittedly after that first hour we’re then funneled into Shadowmoon Valley and Frostfire Ridge, but even still it’s a lot of strain on the servers especially with the new lag batching function coming in Warlords. When I was testing, it was around midnight local time but on US servers, so I have no idea how that interacts with how busy the servers were while I was on there in comparison to how it’ll be on expansion launch. Overall it wasn’t too bad when I was testing it, and now too much time has gone by to try and test it out again, but the quests were mainly either shared tap or fast enough spawning mobs to keep flow steady. Oh yes, and there was the latest quest of immaturity, where you get to draw a picture with gunpowder and set it on fire.

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The servers, however, were not stable in the slightest up until last night. I got lucky with setting up my garrison, as I believe there was an issue similar to the Wandering Isle setting the scroll on fire, or several instances in Gilneas where only one person can complete a quest at a time. When you have a couple hundred standing in front of you all complaining that they can’t place down a banner on the floor. It only took me three attempts so I was either lucky, or people are far too entitled on the beta.

I’ve only had the opportunity to try out my Moonkin so far on the beta and only in questing content, but the changes aren’t actually taking that much getting used to. In longer fights, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be hitting Starfall out of habit too often, or taking Shooting Stars procs to mean that my Starsurge is instant cast… although one of the 91-99 perks is going to be instant Starsurge regardless of Shooting Stars at the moment, it’s mainly for 6.0 pre-patch it’ll be jarring.

Garrisons seem pretty fun so far, though I do want a sort of Zen Pilgrimage for the garrison, or to be able to send out a carrier pigeon or whatever to be able to send people on missions when I’m out in the world. At the moment, I only have access to half-hour long missions, and it’s kinda annoying to have to trek back every half hour to send people out on more missions. I know I don’t have to and those first missions are kinda terrible outside of purely levelling your followers, but when that popup comes up, I still feel like I should go back and go for more missions. For testing purposes. I swear.

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I’ll try and get other classes and specs tested over the course of the beta, especially when I finish SMV and have gone through a few dungeons on the moonkin, but I know that for my lesser played alts I depend on more my UI on live than I do muscle-memory my keybindings. I also love the fact they’ve given us access to pretty much every mount in the game, to test how flyers work in Draenor I guess (proto drakes have awesome running-jump animations by the way, seeming as if they try to fly, then realise they can’t), so running around on the Spectral Tigers have been dreamlike – I’ve also decided that I will no longer try to farm for Mimi’s Head, as unique and awesome as it looks, I can’t be dealing with the sounds that come from it.

 

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Balance spec has been removed…

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Given the massive information drop we received on Friday with the latest alpha notes for Warlords of Draenor, I’m surprised Blizzard didn’t preface the Moonkin changes as:

  • The Balance specialisation has been removed from Druids.
  • A new specialisation, Moonk, has been added for Druids, focusing on spell casting to deal damage.
  • The Moonk specialisation has been renamed Balance to avoid confusion.

Especially as that’s what they’ve done with some of the healing spells… The changes that are being proposed to us completely changes how Balance Druids will play from 6.0 onwards. I’m still trying to get my own head around it, but this is easily the biggest progression of the eclipse energy and overall feel of the Moonkin role we’ve seen to date since the start of Wrath.

For those that missed it, or haven’t clicked the link at the top of the thread, here’s the rundown of what’s changing for us in 6.0. Do note that it’s alpha, and with such radical changes I’m pretty sure some of this will change by the time it hits beta, let alone live servers:

  • Balance Energy is a bar that automatically cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day. The closer to one end that the bar is, the more damage that side’s spells do.
  • Balance Druids now have four rotational spells.
    • Starfire: Lunar direct damage spell
      • Cast when the Lunar side is stronger
    • Wrath: Solar direct damage spell
      • Cast when the Solar side is stronger
    • Moonfire: Lunar periodic damage spell. While closer to Solar, this button is replaced with Sunfire, a Solar periodic damage spell.
      • Maintain both effects where possible
    • Starsurge: Direct damage spell that benefits from whichever side is stronger. Has up to 3 charges, and buffs the damage of the next few Wrath or Starfire.
      • Cast when able to follow up with a few strong Wrath or Starfire.


That’s the basics of the new Moonkin rotation. There’s room for improvement beyond that, learning to optimally maintain both periodic damage effects with the strongest Eclipse effect, timing Starsurges to optimize the benefit of its buff, make use of Starfall and Hurricane for area damage, and taking advantage of the strengths of each side (such as Moonfire and Sunfire having significant differences now). Here are the full details of the changes.

  • Balance Energy system has been redesigned. Balance Energy is a bar that cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day, with a 30 second cycle time (from Lunar to Solar and back to Lunar).
    • Balance Energy is no longer generated through spells, talents, or other effects anymore.
  • Eclipse has been redesigned.
    • Eclipse inspires the Druid with the power of the moon and the sun, causing the damage of Lunar and Solar spells to be increased by up to 30% based on how close Balance Energy levels are to the appropriate side.
      • Example: With 0 Balance Energy, the damage bonus is evenly split between Lunar and Solar, and the Druid receives a 15% increase to damage for both spell types. With 80 Solar Energy, the Druid receives a 27% damage increase to Solar spells and a 3% damage increase to Lunar spells.
    • Mastery: Total Eclipse now increases the maximum damage bonus of Eclipse by 12% (increasing with Mastery).
  • Starfire now has a 3 second cast time (up from 2.7 seconds).
  • Moonfire now has a 16 second base duration (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Starfire and Starsurge critical strikes.
  • Sunfire now has a 16 second duration (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Wrath and Starsurge critical strikes. Additionally, Sunfire is no longer its own spell. Sunfire replaces Moonfire on the action bar whenever Balance Energy is on the Solar side. Enemies may still suffer from both Moonfire and Sunfire’s periodic damage components simultaneously.
  • Lunar Shower has been redesigned and renamed Astral Showers.
    • Astral Showers calls upon greater Lunar and Solar energy to permanently empower the Druid’s Moonfire and Sunfire spells.
      • Moonfire initial damage is increased by 100%, and the duration of its periodic damage effect is increased by 100%.
      • Sunfire initial damage is increased by 100%, and its periodic damage effect is now applied to all enemies within 5 yards of the target.
  • Starsurge now has 3 charges and a 30 second recharge time (instead of a 15 second cooldown). Starsurge now also grants Lunar or Solar Empowerment.
    • Lunar Empowerment causes the next 2 Starfire to deal 30% more damage.
    • Solar Empowerment causes the next 3 Wrath to deal 30% more damage.
  • Starfall now shares charges with Starsurge, and has no cooldown of its own. It also now hits all nearby enemies (up from 2 nearby enemies).
  • Shooting Stars now adds 1 full charge of Starsurge and Starfall when it triggers, and now has a 2.5% chance to trigger on Moonfire and Sunfire periodic damage. This chance is doubled on critical strikes.
  • Hurricane range has been increased to 35 yards (up from 30 yards).
  • Astral Storm has been removed.
  • Wild Mushroom (Balance) now begins snaring enemies immediately when summoned, lasts 20 seconds, and can no longer be detonated to deal damage.
  • Celestial Alignment has been redesigned.
    • Celestial Alignment causes the Druid to enter Celestial Alignment, a state where Balance Energy cycle is paused, and all Lunar and Solar spells benefit from the maximum Eclipse bonus. Lasts 15 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • Astral Communion now increases the rate that Balance Energy cycles by 300% while channeled.
  • Euphoria has been removed.
  • Insect Swarm has been redesigned and renamed Stellar Flare.
    • Stellar Flare is a powerful spell benefitting from both Lunar and Solar Eclipse, dealing the most damage when they are equal. Burns the target for Spellstorm damage and cause additional damage over 15 seconds. The ability has a cast time of 1.5 seconds.
  • Soul of the Forest (Balance) has been redesigned.
    • Soul of the Forest (Balance) now increases the damage bonus from Lunar and Solar Empowerment by an additional 30%.
  • Equinox has been replaced with a new talent, Balance of Power.
  • Sunfall has been replaced with a new talent, Euphoria.
    • Euphoria grants the Druid a deeper connection to the stars, causing Balance Energy to cycle 50% faster. Additionally, Starsurge also grants 20% Haste for 6 seconds.
  • Several Glyphs and Draenor Perks will be redesigned in a future build, and so are currently TBD.
    • Glyph of Omens
    • Glyph of Sudden Eclipse
    • Empowered Starfall
    • Enhanced Mushrooms
    • Enhanced Starsurge
    • Enhanced Storms

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So the main change for us seems to be that our pendulum of power in our eclipse mechanic has changed to be something that cycles through time-based (every 30 seconds, 15 if talented) as opposed to based on how many Wraths, Starfires or Starsurges we cast. Out of combat, it will continue to cycle until we’re at the middle of our eclipse bar, so there’s no more starting fights at a particular spot on the eclipse line for pre-pull, but at least we’ll have 15% Nature/Arcane damage buff, as opposed to 27%/3%.

I do wonder what the end numbers will be like for the DPET (Damage per Execution Time) for Wrath and Starfire, as we may see either one still being used past the midpoint, say at 10%/20% (arcane/nature) eclipse we still use Starfire, purely because the DPET for Starfire is that much stronger than Wrath’s, for example. It would go against Blizzard’s plans to try and not get addons like WeakAuras to tell us what to cast when, but with this design unless they balance it well enough not just against each other in the eclipse bar, but to also balance Moonkins against other classes we’re going to be seeing the top Druids depend on addons much like how many people depended on addons like AffDots in MoP for max numbers.

Besides, the closer we are to an edge, the more damage we do with that school of magic, so with procs and that, we will likely want the buildup of power too, instead of just the max power at the start  of the fight. Plus, at first glance this seems to help us a ton at lower gear levels – hopefully we shouldn’t be deadweights in challenge modes or proving grounds because we can’t cycle our eclipses fast enough.

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The next huge change is to Starsurge itself… One that I’m sad to see as I’ve grown accustomed to my machine gun in SoO, but overall probably for the best for Moonks in the long run. At the moment, we’ve had to have ourselves nerfed each tier to avoid just spamming Starsurge all the time which ended up getting our chicken nuggets chopped off at low gear levels. Now, our Starsurge has 3 maximum charges that recharge over 30 seconds… That’s one per eclipse cycle! Shooting Stars still exists, but the proc chance has been nerfed down to 5% chance on Moonfire/Sunfire crits, but also a 2.5% chance on non-crits. It now adds a charge of Starsurge to be used, though I’m not sure if it still turns it instant cast. When you cast it, it will also increase the  damage of the next 2 Starfires or next 3 Wraths (depending on what eclipse you’re in) by 30%.

In addition to Starsurge’s charges, we also see Starfall have charges too – the kicker is that these charges are linked with Starsurge. Now we’ll be casting Starfall in AoE situations (likely where all stars will be used, so on 2+ targets AT LEAST, depending on DPET and theorycrafting when the numbers are there), and likely only in Lunar as well.

astral-swarmIn terms of AoE, we’ve lost Astral Storm, and the AoE damage on mushrooms have now gone as well  – including what we had in previous builds where Hurricane damage increased the power of shrooms too. Instead, our Hurricane is our main AoE damage source for Solar, as well as the new Sunfire. When in Solar eclipse, Moonfire turns into Sunfire, and the new Astral Showers (replacing Lunar Shower) allows the Sunfire DOT to affect all nearby targets within 5yds. Spam it on everyone and fill in the gaps with Hurricane until you hit Lunar for Starfall, and we could actually have competent AoE once more.

Celestial Alignment gets updated too with a minor change: It still does the same as it does now in allowing you to do full damage for 15 seconds on a 3min cooldown, again that full damage being affected by how much mastery you’ve got. The minor tweak however is that you don’t get reset to 0 energy afterwards – it freezes the spot you’re in and you can continue where you left off afterwards. I can imagine the best DPS benefit from this is to cast it a few seconds before max Lunar, so you get to benefit from strong Lunar damage afterwards, especially with Incarnation. Though with the increase in cast time on Starfire and the loss of Nature’s Grace it all depends on the DPET.

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All of our level 100 talents have had overhauls as a result of our fundamental spec changes too – I wouldn’t be surprised to see more changes in our tier 4 talents outside of Soul of the Forest. But for the 100’s, we see Insect Swarm turn into Stellar Flare (I’m hoping for the name to be changed, not only do we not need another SF acronym to confuse with Starfall and Starfire, it sounds terrible). The main reasons for it being changed seems to be to include the spellstorm component to stop it being used solely in nature eclipse, and we also lose the eclipse energy regen from IS too, as we’re now on the time-based pendulum.

Equinox had to be replaced, of course, as the old version of it meant that we stayed in eclipse until we procced a new one. Admittedly, it would be an interesting talent to be able to stay at max Arcane damage for 15secs, then stay at max Nature damage for 15secs, but alongside the overall changes to eclipse, I think it’s best that a talent modifying it in such a way is best left until later expansions, perhaps. Balance of Power that replaces it seems kind of bland, but it’s the passive effect for those not wanting extra buttons, and with Moonfire and Sunfire no longer being increased in duration by Wrath/Starfire crits, it seems a little odd to have this talent in at 100. I haven’t heard Celestalon mention anything about DOT snapshotting still affecting eclipses (we were the exception where it still mattered in 6.0), so it’ll be interesting to take this talent for those fights with extended AoE period longer than 16secs to tab up multiple Sunfires then maintain them with Wraths.

With having no non-eclipse state, Euphoria has been removed, as has been mentioned in the notes above, and a new Euphoria makes an appearance at level 100 in our talents. The same feel for the spell has been kept, in increasing our eclipse cycles, but this seems very powerful to increase it by 100%. It means we get 15 second full eclipse cycles – 7.5 seconds from 100 solar to 100 lunar. With Starfire on a base 3sec cast time, I can see why Starsurge gives us 20% haste on cast: Starsurge at near-max solar means that we might get a Starfire at mid-eclipse, max-lunar and mid-eclipse again.

I’m pretty happy that Soul of the Forest keeps itself as a passive ability, but essentially turning it into a mastery bucket seems like a boring way to change it. I wouldn’t mind seeing another update to it, and I’m almost expecting one as it seems like a bandaid fix to the old talent being nerfed from the new eclipse changes.

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Overall, I’m quite happy with the changes presented to us. Blizzard have said that Moonkins have a steep starting curve that flattens out fairly quickly, and they hope that these changes will bring more people into the role for the first time. While I may not entirely agree with that statement, I don’t have the stats Blizzard does and that discussion is neither here nor there. The new changes looks to be setting Moonkins of all skill levels back to stage 1 again, and of course the higher caliber Druids such as Lappe, Zoomkins or Hotted are still going to pull ahead of the race (assuming they stick with Balance in 6.0), but hopefully the changes might bring more Druids into the caster role, especially without having to worry about that annoying Nature’s Grace mechanic any more.

Are we going to see Moonkins at the top of DPS meters in the next expansion? Probably not, but we’ll certainly be strong contenders on certain fights – and it seems with changes to other classes we might actually be one of the more mobile casters, despite losing instant Starsurge casts. We won’t beat Hunters for mobility, but on Patchwerk fights Blizz are designing them to be worse off anyway. All I can really round this post out with is that I hope that beta opens up soon and that I can grab myself an invite to test these new changes out. While I won’t be a Mythic progression raider in Warlords, it’s still exciting times!

 

Druids in Warlords of Draenor

warlords-of-draenor-1280x800Hey, where’s the time gone? I swear BlizzCon was not that long ago! Ah well, time has passed and I’ve been distracted by trying to do as many things non-WoW-related as possible. It’s probably the time of year, but once again I’m finding myself not in WoW and either playing other games or watching YouTube while chatting to people on Skype. Regardless, we have had a LOT of information coming out of BlizzCon about the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor! There was also content related to Blizzard’s other IPs, as well as the announcement of their new MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, but we’re talking about WoW today (as is usual) – more specifically about Moonkins, as I’m sure everyone’s already read everything there is to know about the upcoming expansion from various news sites and other blogs on the internet.

Regardless, I’ve been getting a slight itch to play again, and overall I’d say my initial impressions of WoD now that all the hype of BlizzCon has truly died down, is an odd mixture between excitement and indifference. On the one hand, the first Blizzard game I ever played was Warcraft II – I’ve never played Orcs and Humans but I’ve read enough of the storyline to work out what’s gone on, so to go back to my Blizzard roots and experience heroes such as Ner’zhul (in orc form), Gul’dan, Blackhand and so on is quite an interesting story that I’d love to be immersed in. I can also appreciate that while we’re not getting new classes or races, something that has been an expansion-defining feature in the past, the amount of work that’s being put into the old character models will certainly feel like we have new races (QQ at the lack of Moonkin model updates though – Glyph of Stars it is if I want to have a pretty moment). I don’t really know what I feel indifferent about, and I’m certainly going to enjoy lazing around letting my garrison do my work for me. I guess it’s because that while I did watch the majority of the WoW panels with my virtual ticket, it felt like I didn’t really know what to expect other than the basic package. I’m sure I’ll know more about my feeling for the expansion once beta rolls out and we get more datamining of what to expect.

New Talents

Everyone’s getting new talents at level 100 to play around with! Druid, unsurprisingly, aren’t getting any talents that are simple and work the same across all 4 specs – we’re far too diverse for that in our final tier of talents for WoD! It’s good to have the diversity, but essentially Druids are getting potentially up to 12 new abilities to learn and think about switching in on an encounter-by-encounter basis, if they use all four specs. Here’s what the initial plan for Moonkins are below – don’t forget that between the time of BlizzCon and beta anything can happen and we may not see these talents make beta, let alone live:

Touch of EluneQuite an underwhelming talent for us Moonkins – we essentially get to press an extra button every 20-30secs. Good for spread out adds and can become a predictable solid DPS boost.

For ferals, we’re looking at something to help with our ranged capabilities… Something useful for fights like Atramedes where it’s impossible to get into melee range for certain fights, or a more recent example could be Dark Shaman where there might be points where going into melee is suicidal, and you can still offer DPS. No idea how it’ll match up with Heart of the Wild or if it becomes another debuff to keep track of, we’ll have to see where the numbers crunch.

Guardian of Elune for bears looks to be absolutely major for them. I have to admit I don’t know Guardians at all since the active mitigation model came in, and with the item squish numbers aren’t going to be final, but in most cases, an absorb will be much more beneficial than a heal – especially when Savage Defense just won’t hold up in any case. No idea how this will affect the Frenzied Regeneration glyph – I imagine that if glyphed Guardian of Elune just changes into the extra healing received version, or it might just overwrite the glyph. Time will tell!

For the healing branch of Druids, it would appear that we’re getting the legendary meta as a level 100 talent. If that doesn’t speak volumes for how an item augmentation positively affects a spec in a non-gamebreaking way, I don’t know what is. It’s a fantastic talent for Resto that I can’t wait to try out!

Will of Malfurion (mid)Next up, we have Will of Malfurion, and Balance Druids have… Another button to push – one that makes us immobile too, nonetheless! It’s an AoE talent that we have been asking for, admittedly, in being able to “burst” AoE when the enemy’s on the move, and this talent allows us to do just that, on demand too instead of being a rotational ability like Star/Sunfall. The main downside of it is that we’ll still have to re-apply the Moonfire and Sunfire dots (although the wording doesn’t say it explicitly, I imagine this is the Balance version of Genesis and our dots will fall off 400% faster too), leading to more time outside of Nature’s Grace, our main DPS buff. Another downside is that we would be missing out on so many Shooting Stars procs during that time that our eclipse bar just won’t be moving for the dots’ duration. The talent has its uses for that burst multi-target damage, but once again it’s at the cost of our single target either before or after Zenith, so it may be more beneficial to let the real AoE-ers AoE and you can focus on killing priority targets.

Ferals get a big stick here for their AoE sustained damage, adding another bleed into the mix of quickly whittling away packs of mobs. Other than that, it’s not entirely exciting, but it’s a massive AoE boost.

Guardians get more tankier, placing a lot more emphasis on agility for those physical fights. Though with enchants and gems becoming less of a bonus to gear (until that warforged piece gives the bonus of a socket) and with the homogenisation of gear in Warlords, it might just end up being a passive damage reductions for a boss’s white swings and certain abilities. It’ll certainly be much easier to armor cap on a Guardian in WoD, and they may end up passing rings/necklaces/etc that have the bonus armor on them to their fellow tanks!

Germination for Restoration seems to me like Blizzard liked the idea that we went for a huge leap in haste to gain an extra tick on our Rejuvenation when Genesis came into play, so this talent seems to be complimenting that to allow us to go back to having more mastery or spirit on our gear again, while just trying to get enough haste for Wild Growth additional ticks, or something. I don’t know how the dot snapshotting and Pandemic will work for healers, but this talent certainly caters for a particular playstyle of Restoration.
Might of Malorne (right)Might of Malorne is the final talent waiting for us at level 100, and having no extra button to press for any of the specs makes me a happy Druid (when I want to be lazy)! Some parts of MoM mechanically change the way the spec is played. Balance gets to be in eclipse at all times, which I initially cheered at – it gives our mastery a use 100% of the time instead of ~75% of the time and should, depending on scaling, work well with intellect to make mastery a much more attractive stat (though not more so than how lovely crit is). As mentioned earlier, haste has somewhat devalued for us with the lack of dot snapshots and with us getting Pandemic to increase dot length, but it’s something for the number crunchers to decide when we actually get to test it! One major downside is we lose the benefit of Euphoria and it takes much longer to cycle through eclipses as a result, leading to less uptime of Nature’s Grace.

Feral not only doesn’t have an extra button to press, but with this talent, they can actually take a button OFF their bars! This is a fantastic change again for Ferals that will likely be the go-to talent for any fight they don’t need to AoE on while having good uptime on the boss, and in PvP it looks like a major contender MoM and ToE, depending on how Moonfire balances out for Ferals. Plus, it frees up a potential glyph slot for those Ferals using the 0CP Savage Roar glyph.

Enrage becoming a fairly major cooldown is a great rounding off for the bears in this tier – we have a change to our active mitigation to become an absorb instead of a heal; passive armor bonus from WoF for those physical-intensive fights; and this, a 50% damage reduction for the next incoming attack, be it magical or physical on a 1min cooldown, as well as the standard rage given to use on active mitigation straight after. Warlords has been kind to the bear for their talents, I can only hope that it helps with their overall viability in any case for raiding.

Restoration gains an interesting mechanic for Swiftmend, that allows us to instantly nuke heal anyone who has an active Rejuv or Regrowth heal over time on them. This talent is interesting for many reasons – one being that the Regrowth and Efflorescence glyphs are now not as mandatory in my eyes, with the option to place multiple healing circles on the ground in quick succession, and it allows us to heal powerful damage that even Genesis won’t be able to cover. This also is quite a good tank/burst healing talent, in that we can have our standard Lifebloom and Rejuv rolling on a target, then be able to Regrowth > Genesis > Swiftmend > Swiftmend and still have the option of letting Lifebloom tick out, have Nature’s Swiftness still available for Healing Touch, or go for another Rejuv+Genesis combo. It’s interesting to see Blizzard bake the old Swiftmend glyph into the ability, then give us the option an expansion later to have its original effect on steroids.

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Ability Boosts 91-100

It was also mentioned at BlizzCon that the devs feel that we’re getting too many buttons on our bars – and it’s true, we are! Especially with new expansions, we’re bound to get new abilities either in the levelling process or via a new talent, and for now it seems that we’ll only be getting the latter this time around. Don’t worry though, in the 10 levels while you won’t be getting any new buttons to work out where to place on your bars, you’ll be getting bonuses to spells you already have, further specialising you into your role for your class. Blizzard have mentioned that different bonuses you get while levelling could include things like:

  • A Fire Mage might earn a +50% damage boost to Pyroblast, +30% boost to Scorch, or 35% boost to Fireball.
  • Holy Priests could get their chakra cooldowns halved to 15secs.
  • Shadow Priests could bank 2 shadow orbs to begin fights with.
  • Assassination Rogues might be able to drop a skill on their bars, by making Slice and Dice passive.

As you might be able to tell from these examples, Blizzard aren’t looking to increase our spellbooks any more than is required. With the rising popularity of League of Legends, it’s clear that people don’t particularly want a vast array of abilities to use in every situation, in order to counter X or Y mechanic. While Blizzard does cater to casual/solo play on occasion, they’ve got to understand that this is still a game that’s played with other people, and we’ve got to be able to compliment each other in our uniqueness. We’ve got to have our strengths alongside our weaknesses, so instead of creating new abilities that might just end up being fluff to counter what another class can do so that we can determine our spots in raiding or PvP.

Having said that, I do have a miniature wishlist for Moonkins to gain on their journey to level 100:

  • Starsurge/Shooting Stars to work off an Arcane Missiles-style stacking system. One of my pet peeves is that our greatest capability to be able to move in encounters is also our biggest damage increase. If Shooting Stars is allowed to stack twice, allowing two instant Starsurge casts, then my quality of life in raids would increase tenfold.

With the loss to damage reduction, it’s harder for me to justify being able to stand in bad a tick longer than I should to get a spell off. The only other spec as immobile as us is Shadowpriests, but at least they don’t have to worry about eclipse cycles and Nature’s Grace uptime. Or have their most powerful cooldowns based on needing to stay still for 30secs. Yes, I’m grumpy. No, I won’t shut up about how immobile we are. Plus, having Shooting Stars proc again within GCDs is always painful to see, because of how your dots fall on targets. Starsurge damage may need to be reduced overall to compensate, but I’m fine with that if it means I can actually move out of poo.

  • Mushroom damage to increase and deal spellstorm damage.

Call me nostalgic, but I loved mushrooms as a style of AoE, and when Blizzard gutted their damage in Mists because they wanted us to use Hurricane/Astral Storm in their stead – at the moment they’re only really being used in periods of high movement and on pre-pull for procs.

We can then have three (or more) different styles of AoE with increased damage, and don’t have to worry about Solar camping with the spellstorm damage: Burst, small range damage with the mushrooms; Sustained, small range damage with Hurricane; Sustained, spread damage with multi-dotting and Starsurge cleaving; or using Zenith if we’re specced into it.

Other than those two changes, I’m actually pretty happy with Moonkins mechanically – we have our weaknesses in Nature’s Grace and its links to us needing to be moving our eclipse bar as often as we can. This is Blizzard’s opportunity to give people quality of life changes, such as not requiring to worry about Slice and Dice for Assassination in the example above. I can totally see them giving us bonuses for just +damage on rotational spells, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything mechanically changing until we start seeing the beta roll out. Even then, things may change until Warlords hits.

While I can’t promise that this is me back to blogging regularly 3 times a week again, I probably won’t have another 6 week stint of no updates either. I’ll try to be semi-regular with my updates, but I don’t want to burn out again on blogging, as it’s something I do enjoy. See you next time guys!