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Moonkin Beginner Guide (obsolete; use the TTT article now (in my sig))


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#1 Hamlet

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:03 AM

This thread is a summary of the information needed to achieve basic competence at Moonkin raid DPS. Its primary goal is to keep all of the "why am I only doing 3k DPS" posts off of the other threads. If you have such a question, and it's not covered in this thread already, ask it here.* If you have a comment on theorycraft, put in one of the other threads, which will hopefully be less clogged. I'm not going to engage too much in minor quibbling about the details of my descriptions here; the goal is to give a simple set of instructions to people who need them.

This isn't updated much anymore, in lieu of the TTT article here:
http://elitistjerks....oonkin_pve_dps/


Talents and Glyphs

TLDR version: if you need a spec right now and don't want to read, go with this:
http://talent.mmo-ch...00&version=9901

Talents
The core of the spec will include the following talents:
http://talent.mmo-ch...00&version=9901

Firstly, you need to put 2 points into either Moonglow (mediocre mana talent) or Improved Moonfire (very weak DPS talent). If mana is ever a concern, go with Moonglow, otherwise, IMF. IMF becomes a good DPS talent once you have the 2T9 bonus.

This leaves 5 points. Fill them in the following order:
Intensity: put points in as necessary to alleviate any mana concerns.
Gale Winds: take this if you have any interest in speccing for AoE DPS; this is an enormous boost.
Typhoon: take this if you like having another instant spell to press, basically. Sometimes it's handy.
Improved Insect Swarm: Best remaining single-target DPS talent.
Brambles: Adds a small amount of raid DPS through Treants and Thorns.

Glyphs

Major Glyphs: the best three for single-target DPS are Insect Swarm, Moonfire, and Starfire.

Some people like to use Glyph of Starfall, as it stlll gives some single-target DPS contribution, and it's a very strong AoE spell to have available more often. If you want to use it, replace Moonfire (if you have 2T9, replace Insect Swarm instead).

Note that Glyph of Insect Swarm removes the 3% miss debuff, which may make it worthwhile for your raid to have you unglyph it at some fights.

Minor Glyphs: none of these add any DPS, so it's entirely up to personal taste. Typhoon is the only one that affects combat mechanics, but it's still up to you whether you prefer it or not.


Gear

Stats

Stat priority runs in the following order:
Hit rating (to cap) > Haste rating (to soft cap) > Spellpower > Crit rating > Haste rating > Intellect > Spirit.

Hit cap is 263 (237 for Alliance with a Draenei in their group). Otherwise, raid composition is not an issue, as we provide the spell hit debuff ourselves. Against a sub-83 target, talents are sufficient to reach cap, so hit on gear does not add anything. The current tooltip for Balance of Power is erroneous; it still provides 4% to hit and the hit cap is unchanged from 3.1.

The soft haste cap is the point at which your GCD hits the 1 second minimum with Nature's Grace up. With Improved Moonkin Form, Celestial Focus, and Wrath of Air Totem, this occurs at 401 haste rating. Missing WoA, it's 585.

As far as the remaining stats, spellpower, haste, and crit will always be preferred if you can find items with all 3. Spellpower is the strongest. Spirit and Int give small DPS contributions.

Exact stat comparisons of course depend on your current stats/talents, but a typical set of values might look like:
Spellpower: 1.4
Haste rating: 0.9 [1.5 if not soft-capped]
Crit rating: 1.1
Intellect: 0.6
Spirit: 0.5

Gems

In general, gem Runed in all sockets (or Veiled/Rigid to make the hit cap), save two for Purified wherever you can get the best socket bonuses to meet your meta requirement. In your meta socket (only use hats with meta sockets), use Chaotic. You can potentially use a Reckless/Potent or a Purified if a piece has a strong socket bonus.

If you're looking to increase your HP for certain raid encounters, Glowing gems are good way to do so without a large DPS loss (either by replacing Purified gems, or Runed gems in pieces with good socket bonuses).

Set Bonuses

The T7 4-piece and T8 2-piece bonuses are very strong. Use one of them if you can, regardless of what stat upgrades you may be able to get from other pieces. The T7 2-piece is typically worth maintaining until you have strong Ulduar-level gear replacements.

The T8 4-piece fix is now live. It hasn't been modeled in great detail yet, but early estimates show that it's likely worth using, especially in fights with multiple targets or movement.

The T9 2-piece is very strong and you should aim to get it quickly. The T9 4-piece is mediocre and worth little to no upgrade over a 2T8/2T9 setup.

Idols

Buy Idol of Lunar Fury for Emblems of Triumph. Otherwise buy Idol of the Shooting Star for 25 Emblems of Valor.

Consumables

Use Flask of the Frost Wyrm and a spellpower food (such as a Feast).
The best DPS potion is Potion of Speed (during an Eclipse), if you don't need to use a Runic Mana during the fight. Wild Magic is nearly as good.

Enchants
Excluding profession bonuses.
Head: 30 spellpower/20 crit (Kirin Tor revered)
Shoulders: 24 spellpower/15 crit (Sons of Hodir exalted)
Back - 23 haste
Chest - 10 stats. 8 stats is cheaper option at a tiny DPS loss
Wrists - 30 spellpower
Gloves - 28 spellpower
Leggings - 50 spellpower/20 spirit. 50 spellpower/30 stamina is another option if you want more HP.
Boots - Run speed/15 stam. Run speed/9 stam is a cheaper option until you need the HP.
Weapon - 63 spellpower to a 1H, or 81 spellpower to a staff.

Professions

Tailoring gives a slightly stronger DPS benefit than other professions with its cloak enchant. Beyond that, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Inscription, Jewelcrafting, and Leatherworking all provide a roughly equal gain of 46 spellpower. Engineering and Skinning are weakest, both giving less benefit than 46 spellpower. Mining and Herbalism provide no DPS gain.

Spell Rotations

The Eclipse Rotation

You will generally operate in a four-step cycle.
1) Pre-Lunar. Cast Wrath until the Eclipse buff appears (have some mod that will make it very obvious when you gain the buff).
2) Lunar Eclipse. When you see the buff, finish casting your current Wrath and then cast Starfire for the duration of Eclipse.
3) Pre-Solar. When Eclipse fades, continue casting Starfire. Note that a Starfire only gains the benefit if it is fully completed while the Eclipse buff is up, so if you only have time for a partial cast, your Eclipse is effectively over (and you'll typically refresh some DoTs here, see below). Cast Starfire until the Eclipse buff appears.
4) Solar Eclipse. Cast Wrath for the duration. Continue casting when it ends (with DoT refreshes as before) to loop back around into step 1.

One subtle quirk you may want to pay attention to: Wrath procs Nature's Grace when the cast completes, but procs Eclipse when it actually hits the target. This enables a sort of clairvoyance regarding Lunar Eclipses--if you see Nature's Grace refresh when you cast a Wrath, you know that that cast is a crit, and therefore that it has a 60% chance of proccing an Eclipse when it reaches the target. I haven't yet researched in detail how best to take advantage of this, but if you have instants to cast, that's a good time for them, and if you feel like experimenting, you can also try switching to Starfire as soon as you see the Nature's Grace.

DoTs

Against a single target, refresh MF and IS whenever they drop. MF should have higher priority for refresh, but the difference is tiny. During a Wrath-heavy part of the cycle, it may be best to refresh MF last (after IS or other instants) to minimize the chance that it will drop before you cast SF again.

There's currently a slight open question about whether it's worth waiting until Eclipse ends if a DoT expires in the final few seconds Eclipse. This is hard to model and the DPS difference is very small, so consider it a matter of personal taste for the moment.

Other spells

Starfall: use this on cooldown against a single target (if there are others mobs in range, remember to make sure it's safe to cast). The best time to use it is theoretically during the pre-Solar phase, as this is when you benefit most from the added Nature's Grace uptime, but it's probably best to simply use it when convenience dictates. In AoE situations, try to use it as often as possible on multiple clustered targets.

Force of Nature: use this as many times as possible in a given fight. If you know when Bloodlust/Heroism is coming, try to cast this immediately beforehand (but not if this requires waiting so long that you can't use it as many times during the encounter). As you learn each fight, pay attention to things that kill the Treants and time your cast to avoid them if possible.

Faerie Fire: Unless your raid has both a Shadow Priest and a Feral Druid, keep this on every mob. Even if it does have both, it doesn't particularly hurt to cast this at the pull if you think there's a chance either of the other classes' buffs will ever drop.


Mods & Tools
Squawk and Awe: A convienent way of tracking your DoT's and Eclipse timers, and assorted other class-specific procs.

WrathCalcs. Moonkin spreadsheet. Will give you the exact value of stats/talents/glyphs in your current setup, and lets you experiment with different rotations. Made by Adoriele here. I've since been using it for my own theorycrafting, reflected in the version posted here:
http://elitistjerks....mlet_090917.xls

#2 Whitemane

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:56 AM

Boots - You should mention Icewalker?

#3 dukes

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:09 PM

Boots - You should mention Icewalker?


Run speed is such a large dps increase that you should always be using it (and the stam helps a lot for not dying, an important thing to do for anyone).

#4 Whitemane

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 01:52 PM

Run speed is such a large dps increase that you should always be using it (and the stam helps a lot for not dying, an important thing to do for anyone).


Does that only go for oomkins? I've never heard anyone even mention run speed enchants for hunters. Also picking druid profiles from the moonkin raiding thread, it seems a lot still favor Icewalker.

#5 Humbaba

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 02:59 PM

It goes for any class that doesn't have a talented speed increase. For a time you could get away without it since unholy DKs were providing a raidwide speed aura.

Hamlet, you might consider a line mentioning that the current haste rating is applied at the start of a spell cast and the current spellpower rating and current buffs are applied at the end of a cast. So starting a Starfire cast with 1s left on the Eclipse buff does not gain you the extra crit from the buff since the spell cast ends after the buff expires.

#6 Hamlet

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 05:52 PM

Run speed is such a large dps increase that you should always be using it (and the stam helps a lot for not dying, an important thing to do for anyone).


This. I've always been of the view that everyone should have a speed enchant for raiding. This is no different in Ulduar, where most of the fights (and all of the hard fights) require a great deal of movement. Run speed is a no-brainer for improving survivability, healing intake, and DPS time.


Hamlet, you might consider a line mentioning that the current haste rating is applied at the start of a spell cast and the current spellpower rating and current buffs are applied at the end of a cast. So starting a Starfire cast with 1s left on the Eclipse buff does not gain you the extra crit from the buff since the spell cast ends after the buff expires.


I'll add something to the Eclipse note.

#7 bridy187

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 05:58 PM

How accurate are those stat comparison numbers? Does crit become more valuable than that under any circumstance?

I took some uldular gear cause it was higher on SP, but replaced crit with haste and now i am thinking i need to back track :(

And I don't want to continue with the boot enchant topic forever, but how does the run speed increase compare vs. the need for hit from icewalker? In other words, should I gem for the hit I need from icewalker and go with tuskars vitality instead of icewalker?

#8 ithecho84

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:18 PM

I was reading some information about how the eclipse proccing rotation was reversed. I guess this is not true. Was there ever a point where this was true or some sort of gear threshold where it was? I'm talking about casting Starfire to proc eclipse then wrathing, because of the nature's grace changes.

#9 Adoriele

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:19 PM

How accurate are those stat comparison numbers? Does crit become more valuable than that under any circumstance?

I took some uldular gear cause it was higher on SP, but replaced crit with haste and now i am thinking i need to back track :(

And I don't want to continue with the boot enchant topic forever, but how does the run speed increase compare vs. the need for hit from icewalker? In other words, should I gem for the hit I need from icewalker and go with tuskars vitality instead of icewalker?


While Run Speed my be useless on something like Patch, or may be of low DPS value, it is unique. You can't talent for it, you can't (okay, you can, but you give up a lot more) gem for it, etc. It can and will save your life, on top of providing more time-on-target. It's a utility enchant, much like Typhoon is a utility spell. As such, you're going to find that the value of it will vary from person to person. We can't tell you that it will necessarily be better for you, especially if you always move perfectly out of void zones and the like. But yes, considering how easy it is to replace the hit from Icewalker, it's a very valid choice.

#10 nzoq

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:41 PM

I currently use Icewalker, but this thread reminded me that run speed is VERY helpful in some fights -- Kologarn, Vezax, and Yogg come to mind. I think I'll swap that out next time I'm on, because no amount of +spellpower will get you out of eye lasers, into shadow crash, or over to your brain link buddy sooner.

If you're debating whether you need the +hit from icewalker vs. run speed, you're doing something horribly wrong with your gems or your trinkets. Fix that! Get to 263 by changing your Runed into Veiled (or even Rigid) until you get gear that gets you the Hit you need. Being a little under is okay (we don't have raid-critical spells that have to land), but your best DPS increase will come from +hit, even if you "waste" a point or two going to 264 or 265.

I recommend the Unburdened Rebirth glyph as a minor. I don't look at it as a cost savings or a bag slot savings -- it's more to save from the "I forgot my nuts and couldn't brez the healer" moments. Glyph of Typhoon is nice to swap in when fighting Yogg phase 1.

#11 OuMaiGode

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:43 PM

Well, depends a bit, for me, I rather have crit, but I don't want to let haste behind either, haste is a great boost to dps no doubt, but if you don't have crit, the chances to proc eclipse are lower, and your dps will certainly decrease.

If you have T8-2, you can now focus on haste, of course, do not let your crit decrease much, as you will need it to proc the eclipse.

In my opinion, a nice crit, (depending on your set) is around 25% if you have either T8-2 or T7-4. If you don't any of those bonuses, 30% would be a better choice.

I have t8-2 and I'm aiming for a bit of haste, but I will let the crit go down, (Yes... more haste, more cast more chance to crit) but still, I am not sure if it worth or not. Gotta make some tests.

#12 Hamlet

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 08:26 PM

We can't tell you that it will necessarily be better for you, especially if you always move perfectly out of void zones and the like. But yes, considering how easy it is to replace the hit from Icewalker, it's a very valid choice.


Everything you said is true, but I think the best sell for Runspeed is that even if you move perfectly and don't need it to survive, 8% less time moving is basically always more of a DPS gain than the single-digit gain from +12 crit rating. We could dig up that old Enhancement post that tried to model this, but current fights involve so much movement time that I think it's an easy call.

I was reading some information about how the eclipse proccing rotation was reversed. I guess this is not true. Was there ever a point where this was true or some sort of gear threshold where it was? I'm talking about casting Starfire to proc eclipse then wrathing, because of the nature's grace changes.


It wasn't Nature's Grace, it was the straight buff to the Solar Eclipse (Wrath bonus) in 3.1 and the addition of the 2T8 set bonus that made it competitive. Both Eclipses are somewhat similar in value now, but there isn't any particular evidence that Solar scales more strongly. My latest tinkering with WrathCalcs shows Lunar slightly ahead even at higher levels of spellpower/crit.

More importantly, a Solar Eclipse relies heavily on tight chaincasting of Wrath at near-GCD cast times, making highly sensitive to both latency and timing. I wouldn't recommend it to people generally unless the DPS difference were quite significant.

Well, depends a bit, for me, I rather have crit, but I don't want to let haste behind either, haste is a great boost to dps no doubt, but if you don't have crit, the chances to proc eclipse are lower, and your dps will certainly decrease.

If you have T8-2, you can now focus on haste, of course, do not let your crit decrease much, as you will need it to proc the eclipse.

In my opinion, a nice crit, (depending on your set) is around 25% if you have either T8-2 or T7-4. If you don't any of those bonuses, 30% would be a better choice.

I have t8-2 and I'm aiming for a bit of haste, but I will let the crit go down, (Yes... more haste, more cast more chance to crit) but still, I am not sure if it worth or not. Gotta make some tests.


This is the sort of post that doesn't really belong here--purely anecdotal commentary on your subjective impression of various stats. The effect of crit rating on Eclipse proc time is tiny, and there's no reason that you should arbitrarily start favoring crit because you "feel" like it's too low.

#13 Selini

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:43 AM

I'm curious as to why you didn't list wild magic up with potion of speed. I'll assume at a decent enough haste level that starfire during heroism already at a decent cast rate, would you not rate the 200 crit rating 200 sp higher at that point that wild magic gives?

I haven't delved into if there's any maths on the consumables just yet so feel free to disregard this post if there is some maths on it :)

#14 Hamlet

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:23 AM

I'm curious as to why you didn't list wild magic up with potion of speed. I'll assume at a decent enough haste level that starfire during heroism already at a decent cast rate, would you not rate the 200 crit rating 200 sp higher at that point that wild magic gives?

I haven't delved into if there's any maths on the consumables just yet so feel free to disregard this post if there is some maths on it :)


I did quick and dirty check that 500 haste is generally better than 200sp/200crit, and then inferred that haste is probably even better during Eclipse since it multiplies so well. They're probably pretty close.

#15 Knoway

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:00 AM

Hit cap is 263 for Horde; 237 for Alliance (and raid composition is not an issue, as we provide the necessary debuff ourselves). Against a sub-83 target, buffs and debuffs are sufficient to reach cap, so hit on gear does not add anything.


This isn't entirely accurate, as you do need a draenei in your group to be capped at 237.

#16 Whitemane

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:48 AM

This isn't entirely accurate, as you do need a draenei in your group to be capped at 237.


I should think all 25 man raids have one draenei, or more, in them. Shamans after all can only be draenei alliance side.

#17 zoidfarb

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:18 AM

I did quick and dirty check that 500 haste is generally better than 200sp/200crit, and then inferred that haste is probably even better during Eclipse since it multiplies so well. They're probably pretty close.


What about using a potion of wild magic before the fight actually starts? I usually do that and then use a speed potion whenever eclipse is up.

#18 Radixx

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:22 AM

At the moment the Draenei buff only works for their group (not raid), so it's not good to assume you'll always be in a group with one. (I personally have an offhand switch for it, in case my Draenei dies mid-fight.)

#19 Poromu

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:04 AM

It's a nice write-up.

I would include Icewalker as an option though, yes move speed is much more effective than the 12hit/crit in movement fights. Naxx/Sarth3d/Maly has little movement and Icewalker surely outdoes 8% movespeed on these fights. This is a beginner's guide afterall.

#20 Korhaug

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:47 PM

I did quick and dirty check that 500 haste is generally better than 200sp/200crit, and then inferred that haste is probably even better during Eclipse since it multiplies so well. They're probably pretty close.


They're pretty close in the general case, but it should be decided by what eclipse you use. If you're using lunar eclipse Speed is better because inside the eclipse haste is even better and crit is worse. If you're using solar eclipse Wild Magic is better because inside eclipse sp/crit are stronger and haste is wasted (you're at 1sec casts already).

Zoidfarb - you can use a potion of wild magic before the fight starts, but the added benefit on most fights is marginal. This is only really worth it on short dps races where you go all-out right away (e.g. Hodir).

Nice job Arawethion.




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