Thursday, November 3, 2011

[Big] Boomkin PVE Guide / Balance Druid (3.3.5)

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Ultimate Boomkin PVE Guide



NOTE: This guide is entirely made by "Clovis", our "columnist" from "The Owlkin Frenzy" blog. I take no credit whatsoever for this guide ...yet (I AM going to at least try to improve it).

Please go check out Clovis' blog and his authentic guides:

About 95% below is made by Clovis:



Hi guys, and welcome to my Moonkin PvE guide.

I've been wanting to write this guide for a while. I hope it'll help new and experienced Moonkins alike. I will be writing this guide in the same format as my Moonkin PvP guide.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Introduction
  2. Strengths & weaknesses
  3. Talent build
    -- Glyphs
  4. Itemization
    -- Stat priorities
    -- Enchants
    -- Gems
  5. Professions
  6. Rotation
  7. Best-in-slot list
  8. Conclusion

1 - Introduction

For those who don't know me, I think it's important to establish that I am actually qualified to write a Moonkin PvE guide. What would be the use of reading a guide written by some new Battle Bird who's still figuring out his rotation and pulling 5k DPS in ICC?

That said, it's difficult to establish my credibility in PvE. It's not like PvP where one can simply show his arena rating and let it speak for itself. I've been playing WoW for about 2 years now, and have always been a Moonkin (I double-spec Moonkin). In our guild ICC25s, I am now usually pulling over 13k DPS on all fights, and with the right buffs I can sometimes reach 17k. This is excellent DPS for a Moonkin (I'll also point out I have no donation gear).

I am the Guild Master of Mutual Hatred on Frostwolf, and we kill The Lich King in 25-man mode each week. Here is my armory link, if you care to look:
Clov | Molten Armory

Please keep in mind that this guide will not explain simple things like "What is Starfire?" I assume that you have at least half a brain or that you know how to read tooltips.


2 - Strengths & weaknesses

Moonkins have never been known for their exceptional DPS. It's not terribly low, but in a group where everybody has about equal gear and skill, you will likely find yourself in about the 10th DPS position.

Here are our main strengths and weaknesses:

Weaknesses:
  • Eclipse & movement (details below)

Strengths:
  • Huge arsenal of raid buffs
  • Powerful burst AoE

Eclipse is our main weakness because it is also our main damage buff. In a raid setting, and depending on your gear, Eclipse uptime may be anywhere between 60% and 80% (I am using World of Logs to check this). The problem with Eclipse is that it is so powerful: whenever we are not buffed by it, our DPS drops. We need Eclipse for our DPS to be on par with the other classes, but not only will we often be unable to use it because of movement, we will actually lose the buff during movement as well, forcing us to spend more time attempting to proc it. We also have nothing to do while moving except to refresh DoTs.

At times, you may even find yourself spamming Wrath for an entire 10 seconds, unable to proc Eclipse simply out of sheer bad luck. This is a huge DPS loss. RNG influences our damage more than it does most DPSers.

On the other hand, we provide great raid buffs. Here's a list, and yes, it's big:

Tell that to any raid you're trying to join, because they'd be crazy not to bring you!

We also have amazing (i.e. the best) burst AoE damage. Starfall + Hurricane is ridiculous burst thanks to Nature's Grace.


3 - Talent build




The nice thing about PvE guides, as opposed to PvP guides, is that there is really no room for opinion. There is one top DPS spec. It's not subject to playstyle, your playstyle has to be a certain way if you want to maximize your DPS in raids (but of course, only the cool Moonkins jump when they cast instants).

Here is the ideal #1 DPS build. I will discuss the more controversial talents below. I highly recommend that you work on a build of your own based on what you raid and your preferences.


Moonkin PvE build: 58/0/13

Alternate builds:


Mana talents:
We have a lot of mana talents. This is a list in order of efficiency, from highest to lowest:

As you get better gear, your intellect goes up and your spirit goes down, and Dreamstate becomes more powerful than Intensity. However, at that point you should be far from having mana problems. Because we receive 2% of our total mana back each time we crit while in Moonkin Form (and we crit a lot), so our mana efficiency is excellent. We never need Innervate for ourselves.

You should never spec into mana talents unless you have pre-Ulduar-level gear. If mana is an issue, take points out of Imp. Insect Swarmand put them into Intensity.

Also, do not neglect Omen of Clarity. It's a great mana talent for only 1 point and it procs our T10 2p bonus.

Genesis:
Don't waste points there. There is absolutely no reason to go 5/5 into this for "more DPS." Buffing our DoTs by 5% is a terrible choice, because they are only 10-15% of our total damage. Even in a best-case scenario, Genesis is only a 0.15% DPS increase per point. I currently have Genesis 1/5, but only because I need to spend a point somewhere to get to the next tier of talents, and the only alternative is Moonglow, which is an unnecessary mana talent.

Nature's Focus:
Nature's Focus is not often needed, but there are exceptions. The reason for this is that most of the time, you won't have any pushback unless you are standing somewhere you shouldn't.

Abilities like Bone Storm will cause constant pushback, but you can simply cast Barkskin and avoid most of it.

The exceptions are fights like Festergut and Blood Queen Lana'Thel, during which there is so much pushback that all of your Wrath casts will be delayed by 1s even with Concentration AuraPain and Suffering also causes a lot of pushback. I'd recommend putting at least two points in Nature's Focus if you raid ICC frequently.

Nature's Reach:
Many people will disregard this talent because it is assumed that tanks never have threat problems in high-tier gear, and a 6-yard range increase does not seem like a clear DPS gain. However, more range is more DPS. Most fights require you to move or to switch targets (Bone Spikes, LDW adds, Volatile Oozes, etc). The DPS gained from longer range is far greater than if you dropped this talent and went into Genesis instead (the only other alternative).

Furthermore, less threat means you can burst bosses earlier or switch to newly-spawned adds with less risk of pulling aggro, which could otherwise cause a raid wipe, so this talent is definitively worth it.


Owlkin Frenzy:
Owlkin Frenzy seems like it would be a great talent for fights during which there is a lot of AoE damage, but it is actually a really terrible PvE talent. Almost none of the boss AoE damage will not trigger Owlkin Frenzy, and the proc chance is too low to make it worth even with those bosses that having abilities that do trigger it.

Typhoon:
Typhoon is typically not necessary as it is a DPS loss to cast it between Hurricanes while AoEing. However, the pushback is extremely useful against Blood Beasts, Vile Spirits, or Blood Worms (currently it also interrupts Decimate). I personally sacrificed 1 points from Imp. Insect Swarm to pick it up.

Gale Winds:
Many people will not pick up this talent. Why Gale Winds? It doesn't contribute to single-target DPS, after all.

First, I can actually make use of the spell frequently in ICC. I use Typhoon on SaurfangDreamwalker, and Lich King, and Hurricane is a major part of my DPS on Dreamwalker. Second, the only DPS alternative is Genesis. Are you going to sacrifice 30% Hurricane damage for +0.30% DPS on single-target?

I also like Gale Winds' increase on Cyclone's range. This is highly useful on Lady Deathwhisper 25-man, for which Moonkins are the best choice to Cyclone mind-controlled players. The only reason for which I could imagine not picking up Gale Winds is to make a pushback-resistance build while keeping low-DPS talents like Imp. MotW or Furor.


Glyphs

The top 3 DPS glyphs for Balance Druids are:

The Glyph of Insect Swarm used to be stronger than the Glyph of Starfall before Starfall was buffed in patch 3.3.3. However, Starfall's damage is now ridiculously high and it is a must to pick up the glyph for it.

Furthermore, keep in mind that Starfall isn't just useful for its damage. It also constantly procs Clearcasting and Nature's Grace, as well as mana-return from crits.


4 - Itemization

Gearing your Moonkin properly will sometimes be extremely frustrating. Let me give you an example why: in ICC25, there is not a single leather drop that is made for Moonkins. All caster leather drops have spirit, and though we convert spirit into spellpower, it is still not as useful as haste or crit. This will often make you compete with cloth-wearers for gear, who will subsequently hate you until you remind them of your amazing auras and /dance.

Stat priority

These are the list of your stats from most important to least important.
  • Hit rating (to cap)
  • Spellpower
  • Haste rating (to soft cap)
  • Critical strike rating
  • Haste rating
  • Spirit
  • Intellect

Hit rating:
Hit rating, like for every DPS class, is the #1 damage stat until capped. It takes 26.23 hit rating to achieve 1% spell hit chance, and you have a base 17% chance to miss a ?? raid boss (+3 levels) with spells.

Balance of Power and Imp. Faerie Fire reduce your chance to miss to 10%. This means that the Moonkin hit rating cap is 10 * 26.23 = 263. With a Draenei in your group (and within your range), it drops to 237. However, this isn't likely to happen all the time. Get 263 hit rating and then focus on other stats.

Spellpower:
Spellpower is the bread and butter of all DPS caster classes, and will always be better than your other stats (unless not hit capped). Moonkins love spellpower far more than any of the other stats listed below - get lots of it.

Haste rating:
Haste is great and not-so-great at the same time. We don't scale very well with haste, because at 585 haste (401 w/ the Wrath of Air Totem), Wrath will have a 1.00s cast time with Nature's Grace (which, as your gear gets better, has a very high uptime).

Any amount of haste that brings down Wrath's cast time below 1.00s is wasted, because the global cooldown cannot go below 1 second. This also means that we only benefit from Heroism/Bloodlust during a Lunar Eclipse. Starfire will always benefit from haste, however.

Critical strike rating:
Crit rating becomes more valuable than haste after you are past the soft haste cap. That said, even the soft crit cap is fairly low, which is why spellpower easily surpasses all of our other stats. You reach your soft crit cap when Starfire has a 100% chance to crit during a Lunar Eclipse. To calculate this cap, first add all of your buffs/talents that increases Starfire's crit chance.

That gives a total of 54.80%. This means you will reach your soft crit cap when you have 45.20% crit chance while buffed and in Moonkin Form. Other abilities such as Focus Magic or Improved Scorch may reduce it even further.

Once you are over the soft crit and haste caps, critical strike rating and haste rating have nearly the same value.

Spirit:
Spirit is not a terrible stat, but the other stats already mentioned easily outshine it. Imp. Moonkin Form converts 30% of our spirit into spellpower - however, this does not mean you should gear for it.

Take this example: would you rather have 100 spirit, or 100 crit rating? You can safely ignore the regeneration from spirit. You should choose the crit rating, because 100 of it will give you more damage than 30 spellpower.

Intellect:
Some players believe intellect is the supreme Moonkin stat, because it increases our mana pool, our regen (2% of total mana back from crits), our critical strike chance, our spellpower (12% of intel converted into spellpower), and scales with Furor (+10% intel).

However, point-for-point, intellect is very weak. It buffs our stats, but only very slightly. 1 point of intellect only increases your crit chance by 0.006%, for example. It is never better to gem intellect over another stat.


Enchants

Here's the list. It's pretty straightfoward: spellpower wherever you can have it.

If you're wondering about Tuskarr's Vitality: the appeal of this enchant is the run speed increase. The faster speed means getting from Point A to Point B more quickly, which means more time to DPS, or more time to avoid getting killed by something.


Gems

Gemming is also very straightfoward:

About blue sockets: a Purified Dreadstone is only better than a Runed Cardinal Ruby if the socket bonus is +9 spellpower. This is because 10 spirit will be converted into 3 spellpower, giving you 12 + 9 + 3 = 24 spellpower.

However, you need at least 2 blue gems to activate your meta gem, so you should put 2 Purified Dreadstones in your two blue sockets that grant the highest spellpower bonuses. Put Runed Cardinal Rubies in the rest, unless you still have blue sockets with +9 spellpower bonuses (highly unlikely).


5 - Professions

Qieth from Qieth's Quips (epic retail PvE Moonkin) has made a great post about professions on his blog, so I will simply post a link to it:
Qieth's Quips: PvE professions


6 - Rotation

The Balance Druid rotation changes slightly as your gear improves. At low levels of gear, you should always try to keep both Moonfire and Insect Swarm up on your target. As you get closer to BiS gear, keeping a full DoT uptime might actually hurt your DPS. This is because neither Moonfire or Insect Swarm scale very well, and you will want to spend as much time as possible benefiting from Eclipse.

That said, the general idea is this:
  • Keep Faerie Fire up
  • Keep at least one DoT up (Insect Swarm for Solar Eclipse, Moonfire for Lunar Eclipse)
  • Cast Starfall and Force of Nature on cooldown (ideally try to cast while forced to move to avoid DPS downtime, and don't cast FoN while in an Eclipse)
  • Spam Wrath until Lunar Eclipse
  • Spam Starfire until Solar Eclipse

I recorded a quick video showing the Moonkin rotation, which you can find here:
[WoW] 3.3.5 Moonkin rotation

And here's another DPS video that I recorded randomly. My DPS is higher in this one:
[WoW] Moonkin trinket test (RotU + PotNL)

Now of course, there are several ways to tweak this in a raid scenario. Lots of questions appear, tied with Eclipse:

Q: Eclipse just proc-ed and Starfall is off cooldown, do I cast Starfall or Wrath/Starfire instead?
A: Cast Starfall, then Wrath/Starfire. The reason is that if you delay Starfall regularly over the course of a fight, you'll end up losing major DPS because it had less uptime than it should have. This is bad for several reasons: less damage (especially if you had to move), no Nature's Grace procs (if you have low crit, you want to cast Starfall before a Solar Eclipse), and no Omen of Doom procs from the T10 2p bonus.

Q: Eclipse just proc-ed and my DoTs are about to fall off, do I refresh them or Wrath/Starfire instead?
A: If it's a Solar Eclipse, put up Insect Swarm. If it's a Lunar Eclipse, put up Moonfire. If there are still a few seconds left on them, don't bother and go straight to Wrath/Starfire.

Q: I'm moving. What do I do?
A: Refresh DoTs, cast Starfall and Force of Nature if they're up, and make sure to jump a lot while you're moving (because it makes you look pro).

Additional tips:
  • If you have haste items you can use during a fight, use them during a Lunar Eclipse. Do not ever waste them on Wrath.
  • Use Barkskin when you are expecting pushback (like during Bone Storm).
  • Jump a lot when you're moving.


7 - Best-in-slot list

Because so many people have asked, here is a Moonkin BiS list for 3.3.5 on Molten. This only includes gear available ingame (no donation gear).


8 - Conclusion

Moonkins are awesome! We have decent DPS, great raid buffs, and we're fun to play. We're fluffy and feathery! Go Moonkins!

Just remember to keep jumping and you'll be topping the raid's dps in no time!



Comments are welcome and encouraged. I'd love to have some Moonkin discussion. Let me know if I've made a mistake somewhere and I'll correct it. Cheers 

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2 comments :

  1. Brilliant dude, it's very useful especially for raid situations... I agree with you: moonkins rock!!!

    ReplyDelete