Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guest Post: The Job of a Raiding Moonkin

Macbook is a raiding moonkin on the server Stormscale US. You can read about his journey as a moonkin over at his blog, Moonkin.

If you're reading this, you must be a little interested on being a PvE moonkin. That's fair, though, because the latest patch with new talents and the WoTLK expansion have made moonkins a very viable source of raid buffs, single-target DPS, and AoEing.

Most people underestimate the difficulty of raiding as a Moonkin. They say, all Moonkins have to do is push 3 buttons, what else? I've never heard a statement more false than that one.

For starters, the main job of a moonkin is to provide its buff to the entire raid. Since the patch, your Aura of 5% crit now affects the entire raid group, and if you specced in Improved Moonkin Aura (which I believe every raiding Moonkin should), you're also throwing an extra 3% spell haste to your raid, which may not sound like much, but is actually huge. Your Insect Swarm will decrease the chance of the enemy to hit the tank by 3%, and your Earth & Moon talent will basically increase the DPS of the casters in the raid by 13%. As you can see, many of your talents really help the raid out, and you should have most or all them even if they don't directly increase your DPS.

Since the patch, I've seen a lot more moonkins floating around my server, probably because resto gear with a balance talent spec is almost as good as just having balance gear. Even with all the increase in Moonkins on my server, and even going up against Moonkins in better gear than me, I am still putting out more DPS. Why? I know my role, and I am specced appropriately for it.

99% of raid leaders have moonkins for single-target DPS, not AoE. If your guild is any good, you're not having problems downing trash, its the bosses that are hindering you. Still, I see moonkins who spec points in improved AoE spell damage, which doesn't affect your single-target DPS. I see moonkins with weird casting rotations that are not mana-efficient, meaning they have to pop their innervate on themselves, instead of giving it to a healer.

The key word in balance druid is, well, balance. You need to find the middle ground between having high DPS (aka Boomkin/Doomkin), and still helping the raid out substantially. For example, dotting Moonfire on a boss doesn't really help the raid out, and isn't really mana efficient. My casting rotation involves simply keeping Insect Swarm up, and spamming Starfire, and then rinsing and repeating. Its simple, yet very high-dps and very mana efficient. I never run out of mana even on 5-10 minute fights -- if I get low, I pop a Mana potion on myself and save the innervate for a healer.

You should always make sure to have enough mana to battle rez someone as soon as its needed, and obviously always carry the appropriate reagents. In fact, if you get the Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth, you never even have to worry about carrying the seeds for your BR, which cleared up 2 slots in my bags.

Anyways, this was a pretty large overview, but in the grand spectrum of being a raiding moonkin. I usually manage to stay within the top 3 of the damage meters in my 25-man raids, even while using up tons of mana on Battle Rezzing and Innervating healers. Make sure you build your talent tree on something that you are comfortable with, but always make sure to realize your primary roles. In most cases, AoE should come secondary, so points in AoE talents or buffing existing ones are essentially wasted, in my opinion.

Thanks for the opportunity to post here, and hope you enjoyed it!


Macbook blogs about being a moonkin, and he keeps a Moonkin blog.


Phil Jackson said...

Not to sound like a jerk or anything, but the article doesn't really tell you much new information. I leveled balance in BC and I could figure that out simply by looking at the talent tree. But as I looked at his site, it does show some more detailed work.

Tigorasou said...

Hmm some interesting thing in this post. I have to admit that I am not a raider and new to the moonkin spec, but I had kind of a WTF? moment when you said you don't use moonfire in your rotation. I understand the point where moonfire is expensive, which I get it really is, but don't you think that with talents like Imp IS, and the Glyph of Moonfire, it makes it a little more worth it? This is kinda of my raiding plan for 80 I know it is probably not optimal and more hodgepodge than anything else hehe :3 But this is what seemed best to me. So lemme know what you think, I'm interested to see if this would be a competitive style. :3

Hana said...

This advice sounds rather dated given the new Glyph of Starfire. Even with the stealth nerf, getting an extra 9 seconds of periodic damage per Moonfire cast due to repeated Starfire spamming (which we'll be doing anyway) is nothing to sneeze at. I can't think of a raiding moonkin who won't be using Moonfire due to that glyph.

After Phil's post I checked out Mac's blog and he does use Moonfire in various rotations, and including with that glyph, which makes this post look even weirder.

Pies said...

The idea with Moonfire is to use both the glyphs of Moonfire (lowers the initial damage by 90% and boosts the periodic damage by 75%) and Starfire (each Starfire extends the duration of Moonfire by 3 seconds). This way you only have to refresh Moonfire every now and then, and it provides a very decent boost to your damage.

Macbook said...

Hey guys --

Thanks for the comments :)

The post was a little dated, I sent it to Bellweather before I actually even began using the Moonfire/Starfire Glyph combination, and since those Glyphs have been out, I keep Moonfire up on bosses unless its a mana-intensive fight.

She was just swamped at the time I sent the post, and I guess I didn't think of updating it! Maybe I'll rewrite the post with newer information, since I guess I forgot what I had initially written!

My Moonfires are ticking around 700+ per DoT, so yes, its a huge DPS increase and definitely nothing to scoff at, and it fits in perfectly with a SF spamming rotation.

Thanks for the feedback :)


Anonymous said...

I'm a raiding Boomkin on Alexstraza, and have been through all the major raids. With the new set-up of group buffs on everyone, 25 man raids no longer poses a mana drain. Goes balls to the walls and show your friends why mages are only good for food now. However, boomers still need to be efficient in the 10 mans (Naxx). One way to eliviate this is to stock up on the new gear with high spirit. Spirit now adds to a Boomkins bonus damage, and it keeps our mana flowing forever. I'm at 600 spirit right now and rarely drink after boss fights. On trash I average over 4000 dps and boss fights around 2200 dps, even while giving healers innervate and BRing dead guildies. Top 3 dps? Bah! I'm number one with nobody even close.

Best DPS rotation = ISS, MF, FF, Wrath. repeat Skip Starfire unless you have alot of haste. Otherwise you're just slowing yourself down. On trash, hurricane your life away.

Hope this helps.

Macbook said...

@ Anonymous -- What's your spec? I'm not having any mana issues on 10 mans, and I just dinged 80 2 days ago.

2200 DPS wouldn't let me top the charts with the groups I run with, I was top 5 on my Naxx 25-man, pushing 2500+. I would have DPSed more, but Decursing without having any sort of addon to help really takes away your DPS.

I'm not sure I agree with stacking spirit; I usually don't give a care in the world how much spirit I have, but I don't have mana issues on 10-mans so far. Glyph of Innervate helps; because I usually never Innervate myself, but I still get some nice mana regen from it.

I also vehemently disagree with no use of Starfire; IMO, you can do a lot more damage with it.