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Hamlet

Balance Raiding in Cataclysm

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This is based on all nature and arcane spells moving the energy slider:

From the Druid preview:

"Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely Starfire and Wrath) to maintain the balance."

and

"Wild Mushroom ...its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. ....No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast. "

It seems to me that with the new Moonfire talents and Wild Mushroom, we can still move the energy bar in both directions while moving. (albeit at a slower pace?)

This could be their answer to low eclipse uptime due to moving.

And on that note, if all nature and arcane spells do more the eclipse bar, casting insect swarm and moonfire would not be a casting interruption (stopping energy generation because you're not casting wrath/starfire), but an interesting mechanic for us to play with:

While working your way up to proc Solar Eclipse, you should only cast moonfire and vice versa for Lunar Eclipse.

And with the removal of Improved Insect Swarm this is entirely possible, because we would only want to cast arcane spells to reach Solar Eclipse, and when we get there, we only want to cast Wrath because of the damage increase. No room for Insect Swarm in there, unless Solar Eclipse ends and we're aiming for Lunar Eclipse.

With our current playstyle of casting 1 dot for upcoming eclipse and leaving the other ready to be cast while moving (and vice versa for other eclipse), that won't be possible in Cataclysm because it would move the slider back. But they solved that problem by giving us Wild Mushroom, so that we can cast both arcane and nature spells (that do decent instant damage) while moving.

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What talents? There's no Moonfury any more, Wrath of Cenarius is a Moonfire talent, and all other damage buffs are to general spell damage (E&M, Master Shapeshifter). The only major talent I can see that doesn't affect Starsurge is Vengeance, and that may just be an oversight at this point. If you check the wowtal.com talent calculator (the MMOC one) it has a Blizzard icon at the bottom right stating that the first pass is 95% complete for Balance, so there may still be tweaks to be made (and this is only the first pass anyway).

I was referring to Starlight Wrath and Vengeance. It means that SS would need to have quite a bit higher base damage/coefficient than Wrath in order to keep up. Obviously it might be changed, but just saying (my guess is that they'll add it to Vengeance but not SW). Either way, it would probably be more in line with their desired PvE use of the spell to increase the amount of energy it generates.

---

I for one am rather happy about the loss of IIS. That alone knocked about 1/3 or more off of the size of the spreadsheet :P . Now just waiting for NG to be officially replaced with something else . . .

I was currently assuming that DoT's don't move the meter. If they do, that's an interesting theorycraft problem--you might not want to leave them out anyway since they'll do so much damage in Cataclysm.

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I was currently assuming that DoT's don't move the meter. If they do, that's an interesting theorycraft problem--you might not want to leave them out anyway since they'll do so much damage in Cataclysm.

In this case, there might be a point where you'd want to cancel one DoT: you're trying to proc Solar by doing Arcane Damage with Starfire, and the Insect Swarm is dealing Nature damage which counters it (although not by a high coeficient).

If this is the case then it will be very interesting to find out how much time we have between the end of the Lunar Eclipse and the proccing of the Solar, to time IS so that it ends before it starts working against us.

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Considering the wording blizzard used, it's more likely that the act of casting say insect swarm on a target generates energy, instead of the individual dot ticks.

And on that topic, while dots will now benefit from crit and haste, there's no reason to assume that they will do so much damage, it's entirely possible they changed this just to let them scale better.

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Considering the wording blizzard used, it's more likely that the act of casting say insect swarm on a target generates energy, instead of the individual dot ticks.

And on that topic, while dots will now benefit from crit and haste, there's no reason to assume that they will do so much damage, it's entirely possible they changed this just to let them scale better.

Well, I meant in contrast to the WLK situation where the DPET of DoT's started to fall below that of nukes. DoT's should remain strong enough that they're worth keeping up for DPS reasons at all times. Also, the number of Moonfire-related talents seems to imply that it will be quite a strong spell (or else there's no reason at all to take them).

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Well, I meant in contrast to the WLK situation where the DPET of DoT's started to fall below that of nukes. DoT's should remain strong enough that they're worth keeping up for DPS reasons at all times. Also, the number of Moonfire-related talents seems to imply that it will be quite a strong spell (or else there's no reason at all to take them).

If it's true that there is a modifier based on where the slider is, then its possible that Moonfire could hit like a truck (especially on the move). Also, given that the Moonfire related talents deal directly with the DD portion of the spell, we're not going to be glyphing it anymore (I just opened wrathcalcs and saw that still selected as a glyph, haven't checked calculations yet).

Again, assuming that the report that there is both a proc and a sliding damage modifier is true, it seems likely that we will want to cast the buffed DoT near the end of the Eclipse meter (due to their snapshot application) and then use Starsurge to push us into Eclipse for the proc and spell switch (since Starsurge will hit its hardest right at the end of the meter).

EDIT: I forgot to mention that even if the benefits to Moonfire damage are minor, we'll still pick those points up for lack of better options. I'm not really feeling the whole "optional talent" thing here. It looks pretty close to "fill your tree and then spill over"

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The Moonfire talents don't imply that we'd drop Glyph of Moonfire; the bonuses are additive (unless they change the way those stacking rules work).

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It seems slightly counter-intuitive that we would decrease the only part of moonfire that our talents would be buffing. Especially when we should be able to select IS and Focus as the other two glyphs (hoping that IS will be a much stronger DoT now that it will scale with both haste and crit).

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It seems slightly counter-intuitive that we would decrease the only part of moonfire that our talents would be buffing. Especially when we should be able to select IS and Focus as the other two glyphs (hoping that IS will be a much stronger DoT now that it will scale with both haste and crit).

Counterintuitive, but may be perfectly sensible if the bonuses are additive.

e: Probably shouldn't go too far off on Glyphs though--I don't think we know anything about them.

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I for one am rather happy about the loss of IIS. That alone knocked about 1/3 or more off of the size of the spreadsheet :P . Now just waiting for NG to be officially replaced with something else . . .

I was currently assuming that DoT's don't move the meter. If they do, that's an interesting theorycraft problem--you might not want to leave them out anyway since they'll do so much damage in Cataclysm.

I liked how IIS made you use the DoTs to ramp the nukes in different ways. True it may have been soley to boost their importance and now that they scale with haste and crit that is no longer necessary. However it made the interplay between the two schools more interesting, and that was good - I really don't want the nature half to be a mirror of the arcane bit, I am hoping they do something more.

Wrath is currently been changed to 2.5secs cast at base, before talents. IF this is the case, is there any point in changing nature's grace now I ask? Also I desperately hope wrath gains an additional feature with this increased cast time, if it stays, just to distinguish it from starfire in more than just 1 sec time cast in nature magic instead.

And DoT's, AoE, in fact all other damage spells do not move the meter currently, the reason they don't is that doing so will likely force you to stop casting certain spells when in one half of the bar. This is not the intention, you already have very few spells to begin with, eclipse was introduced to make juggling between wrath and starfire interesting, other spells apart from the 3 nukes moving the slider will work against this. Imagine spamming wraths to get your slider to a full lunar eclipse, but your moonfire ticks keep sending it the opposite direction. You may just decide not to cast moonfire at all. If it doesn't slow your swing predictably, you'd be annoyed, and even if it did, you wouldn't like the small dps you lose from it.

What they did was let the higher your lunar power is, the higher your arcane spell damages deal, so as you're spamming wrath to push closer to a full eclipse, casting moonfires, starfall will be doing more damage, and so will Starsurge which will do arcane damage along the lunar half because that does more damage, and will push your eclipse bar further up

Considering the wording blizzard used, it's more likely that the act of casting say insect swarm on a target generates energy, instead of the individual dot ticks.
A few things changed from the announcement, once the details were worked out, they didn't like other spells moving the slider, so it became only wrath/starfire/starsurge, however other spells are affected in damage by the position you are on the slider. More damage scaling for arcane further up the lunar side, and more damage for nature scaling as you gain more solar power.

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You're stating these things as fact, but according to our last correspondence you said it was in your opinion how things should work. It seems to me that you see Eclipse as a buff whose effect is determined by slider position. Everyone else seems to be under the impression that you gain the Eclipse buff when you reach 100 Solar/Lunar Energy. So... which is it? Is this how you think Eclipse should work or how you know the ability to be working?

If you can't answer that question due to some contractual (or forum rule) related obligation, you don't have to, but from your speech it appears as though you know quite a bit about the internal changes of this ability.

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You're stating these things as fact, but according to our last correspondence you said it was in your opinion how things should work. It seems to me that you see Eclipse as a buff whose effect is determined by slider position. Everyone else seems to be under the impression that you gain the Eclipse buff when you reach 100 Solar/Lunar Energy. So... which is it? Is this how you think Eclipse should work or how you know the ability to be working?

If you can't answer that question due to some contractual (or forum rule) related obligation, you don't have to, but from your speech it appears as though you know quite a bit about the internal changes of this ability.

As far as I know, it is both, not an either/or. You gain a buff when you hit the end of the slider to your main nuke only. However the slider position affects the damage of all spells in the nature or arcane schools. The bar position scales the damage. This is how starsurge decides whether to cause nature or arcane damage.

For e.g. at 75 lunar power your arcane spells will do more damage than they did at 60 lunar power. That's all your arcane spells, starfire, moonfire, starfall. If you cast starsurge here it will do arcane damage, and will do more damage at 75 Lunar power than at 60 lunar power. Starfire moves slider with solar power. Moonfire/starfall won't move the slider though they'll do more damage. Only wrath will gain you more lunar power, and Starsurge too after picking up Lunar Guidance, which will do arcane damage unlike wrath therefore fully benefitting you from the bar position and instead will add lunar power. When you get 100 lunar power, you gain the eclipse buff, gaining additional damage to your Starfire nukes only at this point. Increasing your mastery from taking balance spells, equipping leather and getting set pieces with mastery bonuses will scale how much damage that will be under the eclipse buff.

Imo mastery should also scale the damage increase to your arcane spells as you move up slider, it may do though already, I am not able to test that currently. The main reason I hope it does is that it makes sense too and if it didn't then balance druid mastery only benefits you for the eclipse up time, rather than all the time like other mastery stats do.

The details haven't been finalized, but this is how it currently works, but things may change as it is fine tuned.

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i think balancemoon is referring to the druid preview, but i don't think the position of the slider will scales the dmg anymore, as Arawethion pointed out, its pretty useless. unless you have something as a proc like eclipse.

but do we know anything about the eclipse? they said they want to reduce the rng, but with the old eclipse its just the same. perhaps eclipse becomes a buff ala "your next 10 wraths will do 30% more dmg, last 30 sec" and 5 SF on the other end. so moving doesn't make you lose much of the buff.

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Ok, I was looking at the talents and I am greatly concerned about the spirit -> hit talent in a raid setting. For comparative sake, my base spirit with Improved Mark is 162. Mark gives another 52, toss in spirit and kings and thats probably another 100. Id be sitting at 310 spirit naked.

That would put us way over raid hit cap with literally no gear on. Has Blizzard addressed the fact that if spirit is going to so heavily convert into hit rating on gear that we will literally have to have crit/haste on every single piece of loot we obtain in cataclysm?

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Ok, I was looking at the talents and I am greatly concerned about the spirit -> hit talent in a raid setting. For comparative sake, my base spirit with Improved Mark is 162. Mark gives another 52, toss in spirit and kings and thats probably another 100. Id be sitting at 310 spirit naked.

That would put us way over raid hit cap with literally no gear on. Has Blizzard addressed the fact that if spirit is going to so heavily convert into hit rating on gear that we will literally have to have crit/haste on every single piece of loot we obtain in cataclysm?

1) All constants are going to change anyway.

2) Mark of the Wild will no longer increase Spirit.

3) The Divine Spirit buff family no longer exists.

4) The Misery debuff family no longer exists.

5) The hit rating conversion will be lower at level 85.

6) We will be able to Reforge away 40% of the Spirit on any item.

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It is an interesting point though that we do have an initial amount of Spirit, therefore we require less spirit through gear due to the 100% conversion. I mean, if the hit cap is 500, and we have 250 base Spirit, we'd only need 250 hit instead of 500 hit like other classes. It's definitely a bonus for us: we get free hit from our base stats.

The real question is whether Spirit is considered a "Primary Stat" in Cataclysm anymore... I know it's a healer-only sort of stat, but that doesn't really say anything.

Ghostcrawler: You can’t use primary stats like agility, strength and intellect, but you can use all of the secondary stats like hit, crit, haste, parry, dodge, things like that.

As a side note though, the only slots we would have to really worry about Spirit being on are Wrists and Belts. Everything else will have a DPS-comparable item, none of which will require Spirit (rings, neck, etc). I doubt they'll put spirit on our Tier pieces... but I wouldn't put it past them either.

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Spirit as a secondary stat was confirmed today. And we probably could have inferred anyway from its being omitted from MotW.

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It is an interesting point though that we do have an initial amount of Spirit, therefore we require less spirit through gear due to the 100% conversion. I mean, if the hit cap is 500, and we have 250 base Spirit, we'd only need 250 hit instead of 500 hit like other classes. It's definitely a bonus for us: we get free hit from our base stats.

I thougth about that also, and was a little surprised that BoP still had a full 4% when the trees came out. However I don't think it is that big of an issue.

First, having the 225-250 base spirit would give us a lower hit cap relative to other classes, but it wouldn't be all that different then were we are currently. At level 60 a full 17% hit cap was 136 hit rating, at 70 it was 215, and at 80 it is 446. As you can see the way that the hit cap is increasing is not linier. At minimum the 85 17% hit cap will probalby be close to 1000. When you consider the amount of gear inflation we had in WotLK, I would expect it to be betwee 1300 and 1400. So lets assume that it is 1350. If that is the 17% cap then you need 79.41 Hit rating to get a 1% hit chance. With BoP our cap is reduced to 1033. If I assume that base spirit at level 85 is 250 then moonkin will need 783 hit rating to cap. That is roughly 9.86% hit chance we need to get from gear and is pretty much the situation we are in right now.

The second thing to remember is that Blizzard has said that the hit cap will scale with the content in Cataclysm. So, it will be more difficult to hit cap.

If this goes live, I would probably complain if I was a Mage or a Warlock, but I don't think it throws moonkin way out of balance.

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Regarding StarSurge and the implication that it decides which energy to reward based on an increasing scale of damage as we near the Lunar or Solar extremes.

The way that way Lunar Guidance reads implies that it increases which ever energy has more rather then what type of damage it does. No matter which damage type it ends up doing it will always move the slider towards the nearest extreme.

I get the feeling that we will nuke our way towards one extreme and use StarSurge to push us into the appropriate eclipse.

If the slider does indeed increase the damage done by their respective damage types I suspect we will see MF+Starfall at the Arcane end and IS+Mushroom at the nature end.

__

In regards to Spirit -> Hit conversion. I think we will still find gear that is Int/Haste/Crit and we will stack Spirit as we currently stack Hit now. We will just pick up gear with different stats in the remaining spots as per usual gearing methods.

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With the current released talent build it is possible to get Heart of the Wild in the feral tree for a 20% boost to Int. I'm not sure if it is an entirely viable talent build but it is a large boost. If it is not changed in someway before release we might see some pretty badly wasted talent points in the feral tree to gain this talent. Taken along side Furor that would be a 32% boost to Int.

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I am very skeptical that any +% stat talents are going to remain no matter what the class is. These modifiers were more or less used to prop up the main stats of the various classes. However, with Cataclysm there is a major shift to focus in on those stats instead. Why prop up something that should already be fairly important? You're always going to want more agi, str, or int. There's no need to really make them more appealing.

In the end, they really only amount to a static buff to your damage, which is something they're trying to get rid of more or less. As I said, I would be very surprised if these talents survived the overhaul. Maybe a talent like Furor and Master Shapeshifter, because those are form-dependent and make them slightly more dynamic. Also, with Moonkin Form being completely stripped down, those two talents are the only only personal buffs you get for being in Moonkin Form, but that is also something I'd be surprised if not changed.

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Under a system where there is both the eclipse buff and a positional damage bonus from the eclipse meter the penalty for interruptions is going to be heavily dependant on where in the rotation it occurs and how long it lasts. There really wouldn't be any kind of extra penalty for an interruption that occured right after eclipse procced or while charging the meter up with no eclipse (beyond what any caster would experience for being forced to use instants or stop dps for a period). On the other hand, if you were halfway through your eclipse and got a long interruption you'd be pretty well screwed, needing to start more or less from scratch and losing your eclipse buff to boot.

I don't see how there couldn't ultimately be a cooldown or forced alternation on eclipse if there is both a damage boost during the buff and from the meter (which would mean all the worst predictions about getting extra screwed by interruptions are correct). What would discourage the behavior that some people originally predicted in which you just hovered near one end of the meter?

Assumptions:

The effect of the meter is linear so the net effect of charging the meter up is half of the effect at full power.

There's no memory or momentum effect as I'd hoped attached to moving the meter (I think we would have atleast got it hinted at from someone in alpha at this point).

The meter buff and the eclipse buff are additive if they're able to overlap (buffs on self have had a tendency to be in the past, even if they're from somewhat different sources, it simplifies the math and wouldn't change it dramatically if it's incorrect).

Under those conditions we'd be comparing 50% eclipse uptime and 50% full meter buff uptime to unknown eclipse uptime and 25% effective full meter buff uptime. Right out of the gate it's obvious that it has to be greater than 50%. I was too lazy to pull out a piece of paper and check my head math, but it seems to me like you need to have an eclipse uptime of atleast 50% + 25%*(full meter buff/eclipse buff) before swinging even starts to pull ahead. That's real eclipse uptime, subtracting out any time you spend interrupted or casting other spells.

Hovering would also leverage starsurge better, allowing it to be cast on cooldown with the meter buff near maximum. It would also level out the chaotic nature of the buffs to different spells, simplifying spell decisions quite a bit. Of course, as the necessary eclipse uptime goes up, the penalty for a long interruption occuring when you are near the middle of the meter goes up pretty dramatically as well because maintaining a high uptime leaves less room for any kind of errors. If wrath/starfire or nature/arcane in general have different DPET that provides a further boost to hovering that I didn't account for due to hovering near the better side.

If the optimal behavior is hovering I think we can expect a series of hamfisted fixes until we end up swinging back and forth. Not fun.

P.S. It helps me to think of the eclipse interruption problem in terms of balance druids starting with low dps abilities then using high dps abilities while all other specs start with their highest dps abilites then move to lower dps ones (for many that sums up their entire decision making process). Any interruption of any class tends to move them towards starting over again. Not that this is any new info, just a convenient way to look at it.

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Ok, I was looking at the talents and I am greatly concerned about the spirit -> hit talent in a raid setting. For comparative sake, my base spirit with Improved Mark is 162. Mark gives another 52, toss in spirit and kings and thats probably another 100. Id be sitting at 310 spirit naked.

Take a look at a rating conversion table in public discussion subforum. If it is true, your 310 spi will give you 2% hit at 85.

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Eclipse makes a lot more sense when you actually try it out.

From a balance druid perspective, I'm really loving Skull bash having a charge element, really craved this feature for the offensive caster, it makes my feral forms a bit more useful, always a plus in my eyes since synergy is so frustratingly low especially since cataclysm, 3rd expansion running and no incentive to spec into the feral tree and pick up feral charge which is a useful caster tool.

Self healing capability is looking really poor for balance druids atm, I'm seeing warlocks, rogues (which i also use), ferals, warriors, ret/prot palas and DKs all having superior self healing capability than balance druids. Relatively it is a concern, because despite the higher control a balance druid will no doubt have in cataclysm - regen is looking overly costly and slow in comparison. It needs an easy health recovery mechanism if nothing more is going to be done about the builds healing capacity. Maybe shapeshifting to moonkin refreshes hots or owlkin frenzy trigger allows an instant cast beneficial effect similar to predatory strikes in the feral tree, that would do nicely.

Moonkin form is the biggest disappointment of cataclysm for balance druids, it seems more pointless now, especially if you're like me who doesn't like sitting in that form... I sincerely hope that before beta is done, they do something interesting with it, personally I'd like to see dynamic shifting mechanism, periods of time when u do more damage if you're in moonkin form and others when you do more damage if you're in caster form, so you have to use both forms to maximize your damage, like maybe a lunar eclipse moonkin form does more damage and in a solar caster form does, but the 6% crit and 6% haste is available regardless of form. They could spice it up even more by given a 45 sec empower mode with a 5 min cooldown where casting in moonkin form can do some awesome things with starfall, moonfire and starfire, and maybe give some perks to casting some spells in caster form, like maybe 1 hurricane ever 1min can be cast without channelling in caster form. Just something more interesting than this, For what it is worth, Moonkin form like it is now is less valuable than shadow form, and really druids are the ones that have the shapeshifting thing to their class, i expect ToL to be more meaningful than metamorphosis and I expect Moonkin form to be more meaningful and dynamic/fun than shadow form -- because shapeshifting is the druid thing, it's our unique aspect of casting, like totems are to shaman or pets to warlocks, personally I rolled a balance druid to have a caster with shapeshifting involved, and at tm, shadow priests have more going on with that mechanic, this just doesn't feel right.

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Add this GC Beta forum post to the OP: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta - (English) Forums -> Moonkin Major Concerns (12065 & 12122) .

Comments: In short, nothing said about Eclipse or NG in this post makes any sense. (Usual caveat: GC posts are generally intended to mollify clueless WoW General denizens as opposed to providing good information to serious players, but I was kind of hoping the alpha forums would be different).

Eclipse only being able to alternate: why? This adds nothing. If the system works at all coherently, you will never have an incentive to proc the same Eclipse twice in a row, because you'll be well over halfway to the opposite Eclipse when the current one ends. Only in the case of a heavy casting interruption could this technique be useful, and I see no reason to disallow it then. They're stamping out one of the small bits of serious player choice that the current system would have allowed.

Adding a mechanic to make Eclipse more random: I can only assume this was written on opposite day. Really? You redesigned the entire system to be based on a visible bar rather than on a random proc, and how you somehow think it's a bad thing that it's not random enough? I'm at a loss.

NG as a haste buff that multiples your current haste rating: again, why? This changes basically nothing except to make haste rating a bit stronger. It no way affects anything else of significance (such as haste caps).

Movement: He confirms that WoC is intended to be used while moving. So far, he's not said anything abjectly wrong, only obvious. Then he goes on to say that Eclipse will buff Moonfire, which is not something I've ever heard about happening on alpha or beta.

Talent comments: usual buzzword filler.

Ok, think I got that out of my system. Even in the excitement of beta, I really need to be firm in my resolve to not read official WoW forums.

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