Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cataclysm Alpha - Initial Thoughts

In case you aren't aware of it, we have our first look at more cataclysm moonkin changes here.

While it's hardly comprehensive there's also a lot of information there.  Some interesting things:
  1. Solar Beam - this was discussed in a blue post but it's always nice to get more details.  Looks like a nice PvP boost.
  2. Nature's Splendor - the calculator doesn't show it for the first rank but this is apparently now a 3-rank talent that adds 3 seconds (33%/66%/100% chance of applying).  With the new way haste is going to work with dots I'm guessing they can just add three seconds to something like Insect Swarm and not have it be an issue.
  3. Insect Swarm - on that note, it's gone.  No longer a talent.  Since it's referenced elsewhere the implication is it's now baseline (restos rejoice?).
  4. Starsurge - this looks like the "Nature's Torrent" that was referenced before here, from what I can tell.  With the new Lunar Guidance this should become a significant way to swing the Eclipse meter.
  5. Balance of Power - this is where we get our base 4% hit and the the spirit->hit conversion.  No real surprises.
  6. Moonkin Form and Improved Moonkin Form - I am really not sure what to think of this change.  It looks like Moonkin Form literally only provides armor now, while the improved version gives 6% raid crit - a combined change that's confusing on several levels.  First, why increase the buff to 6%?  The implication I had for cata was that powerful buffs are being reduced (and they are, see Earth and Moon!) not increased.  Second, where is the "selfish" benefit for a moonkin taking Improved Moonkin Form?  While it's kind of interesting as an optional talent (especially since then you could theoretically dps in caster form...), I don't really want to either 1) respec every time the elemental shaman can't make the raid, or 2) spend a GCD to shift into moonkin when the elemental shaman dies, and the rest of the time waste three talent points.  This seems like a promising change but one that still needs some polishing.
  7. Wrath of Cenarius - I find this very odd.  The talent reads (at rank 1):  "While moving, the direct damage of your Moonfire spell is increased by 5% and it's mana cost is reduced by 10% for 3 seconds.  This effect can stack up to 3 times and lasts 3 seconds, but is refreshed as long as you are in movement."  So depending on how this scales at a max of three ranks you could be looking at moonfire spam in PvP that costs 90% less and does 45% more damage.  Along with some other changes here I'm going to predict the Moonfire Glyph is going away and the direct damage of Moonfire will be much more significant.
  8. Eclipse - now a three-point talent that increases the amount of Solar/Lunary energy your spells create.  Nothing exciting, but probably still a core talent.
  9. Earth and Moon - really interesting change here, apparently all "Curse of Elements" type effects are going to be 8% instead of 13%.  This fits and was expected - it's a similar change to how sunder is being nerfed.
  10. Fungal Growth - 70% AOE snare when your treants die or wild mushroom pops.  Interesting PvP implications and has some potential PvE uses.
  11. Naturalist was moved down - Naturalist as a tier 3 talent is an easy way to force ferals into speccing "deeper" into restoration (most ferals already use that many points, but this effectively forces you to pick up master shapeshifter), which makes sense - they need somewhere to go with the extra five talent points.  Since Moonkins are in the same boat, expect some sort of change either in restoration or tier 1 feral to give us some additional spec options.
There are a lot of talents I expect to see change (Nature's Grace, Owlkin Frenzy, Furor, etc) that currently haven't, but this is a very early build - lots of classes have less changes then this.  It'll be interesting to see where they go from here.


  1. First off: WTF. Nature's Grace is still present and unchanged?

    Secondly: Lunar Justice. Because we need another easily identifiable spell to indicate "Hey, there's a druid (likely moonkin or resto) fighting over there. Let's go get em!"

    Blessing of the Grove is another talent encouraging the use of Moonfire. I'm starting to feel like they want us to "run and gun" Moonfire. With impMoonfire, BotG and WoC, Moonfire looks to be our primary DoT and a significant contributor to dps. I don't really see IS being in the same boat. Welcome to having a DoT we never really want to cast anymore.

    Celestial Focus does nothing for Wrath pushback, which is interesting only because it was our primary PvP spell.

    Fungal Growth seems cool. Knockback to kill treants will become important in PvP.

    Earth and Moon may have been reduced, but it is still a ridiculously loaded talent with 6% increase to spell damage.

    I am really disliking the moonkin form changes. There must be some mistake here because they turned it into EXACTLY what they told us was wrong with Tree of Life. If the crit buff is covered by another class, why in the WORLD would we ever waste all the points on it? Maybe in a 10 man where there will be no shaman to compensate, but that seems a little unfair to the damage potential of the 10 man Balance Druid.

    I think I need to write my own post on this, cause I'm really not a happy camper.

  2. Keep in mind that there are still like zero changes to the feral tree, and that there are places where things are obviously incorrect. You need to give it more time before you get unhappy about it, since it's basically data mined potential info, rather than things that are finalized in any way. The trees weren't ready to be released yet. They aren't done.

  3. Yep, I'm not really ready to be unhappy or happy about it yet - changes are obviously incomplete.

    On the other hand it is more info and I don't see any reason not to analyze it, as long as we keep in mind it's incomplete (Nature's Grace, for example).

  4. Even if Insect Swarm does become baseline, it's interesting to see the removal of Improved Insect Swarm (which was really the DoTs-Make-Your-Nukes-Better talent). I felt this talent added the incentive needed to make us want to cast DoTs to begin with, especially towards the end of ICC where it became the norm to only have 1 DoT running to boost the current Eclipse effect. Perhaps with DoTs being affected by crit and haste in Cataclysm they felt it was no longer needed.

    The stripping of benefits from Moonkin form is another interesting choice. I echo Randomsmo's sentiment, if there are no self-benefits from picking up Moonkin form (no mana on crit, no 30% spirit as spellpower) it seems like why bother... Assuming the party buff system is parallel to it's current form an Elemental Shaman would make DPSing in caster form viable for all purposes but the 10% Intellect boost from Furor. I imagine Blizzard will not draw back that much on Moonkin form...

    The PvP related changes definitely look interesting, I'm not thrilled with the 1 minute cooldown on the sunbeam but finally having a disorient/silence along with the equivalent of a wide area hunter-trap-like snare in the mushroom talent will at least open up the possibility of bursting down a healer when skillfully coordinated.

    On the flipside who saw Fury of Stormage over in the resto tree? I would love something like the reverse of that over on the Balance side, ie chance to proc instant heal while DPSing - unfortunately it looks like not much new in the way of things to keep a Moonkin alive outside of Moonkin form to prevent swift death when breaking form to cast such a heal. Oh well.

    Overall PvP changes look interesting, I hope they'll be enough, concerned with what looks like not much new for survivability. PvE changes are somewhat mystifying, and with still too little detail on the new Eclipse system and Nature's Grace still present, it remains to be seen if the scaling issues will be fixed at the core or just bandaged over.

    -Thedrun, US Stormrage

  5. All of you are looking at the changes to Moonkin form in the wrong way. First of all, removing the spirit>spellpower benefit was necessary because spirit will be used for hit, so benefiting both would be unfair. Second, Moonkin form provides 5% crit to party and raid, and improved provides 6% haste to party and raid... So not speccing into that would be a huge mistake...

    Regarding Maestro's comment about celestial focus not doing anything for wrath, it never did... so there is no problem there.

    Also, spending "All those points" on the simple crit buff that is covered by shammies is only 1 point... and its not like you were going to spend it on something else anyway seeing as the first time i filled out my talent tree i kept brambles and genesis, which I do not use atm.

    when it boils down to it, I find the changes extremely interesting and I am in no way disappointed with the changes to Moonkin form because as it is, I have absolutely no mana issues with essentially no talent points spent in mana regeneration.