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Oct. 5th, 2009 | 12:53 pm



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Moonkin Beginner Guide, updated for 3.2

Sep. 18th, 2009 | 12:39 pm

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. Squeezing out the last few percent DPS is a topic for the TTT article when it gets done.

*Note however that such questions are only even appropriate here if you've read at least the OP and have real questions. Abject hand-holding requests, especially if your Armory shows you' haven't even tried to make any progress yourself, will be infracted and not answered.

Talents and Glyphs
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.

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.

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


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.

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


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.


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.

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.


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. The most developed Moonkin theorycrafting tool. 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.com/attachments/...let_090917.xls

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