Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Casting mechanics & PvP itemization

Annnnd.. here comes another comparison post. Sorry. Can't help it. I'll be comparing some aspects of my Moonkin to my SPriest.

My Priest has been level 80 for a while now and I've been playing him as both Discipline and Shadow. As Shadow, there are some things that have come to my attention that I simply do not understand.

Casting mechanics
Any Moonkin knows that it's quasi-impossible to properly cast spells at a melee that is turning around you. Wrath, Starfire, and Moonfire cannot be cast at a target behind us. Insect Swarm, on the other hand, can. Heals can as well, whether cast or instant.

On the Priest, however, it's a different story. Vampiric Touch can still be cast at targets behind me despite having a cast time. Same goes with Imp. Devouring Plague, despite that it has exactly the same casting mechanic as Moonfire (instant damage + DoT damage). So let's see.. what can't I cast to a target behind me on a Priest? Mind Blast, and Mind Flay. That said, Mind Flay is channeled and will turn automatically with the target, so it isn't much of an issue.

As minor as these things may seem, they are actually quite important. Why are Moonkins getting penalized?

PvP itemization
Moonkin PvP itemization is pretty terrible:

Gear selection
On my Moonkin, I try to get as much haste as possible. Unfortunately, that doesn't add up to be a lot of haste, largely because there are no haste items to pick up. The entire set has crit, and all leather offset items make you choose between crit, spirit, and attack power. That means that the only haste items I can buy are the cloak and the necklace.

On the other hand, my Priest has plenty of haste items to pick up (and any other cloth-wearer). Though the set is still all crit, every single offset item gives you the choice between haste, crit, and spirit. That means I can pick up haste bracers, boots, and belt - something I cannot do on my Moonkin.

Again, why should Moonkins be so penalized? Does wearing leather mean we should have limited gearing options? All cloth-wearers are either healers or spell-damage dealers. All leather-wearers are either healers, spell-damage dealers, or melee-damage dealers. Shouldn't Blizzard be adding an itemization choice instead of replacing one?

Socket bonuses
Another thing I've noticed are the PvP socket bonuses. On my Druid, one is resilience, one is spellpower, and the others are spirit. Wait.. what? Spirit? Yep, spirit. Total, I receive +6 resilience, +7 spellpower, and +16 spirit.

On my Priest, however, the PvP bonuses look much better. One resilience, two spellpower, and two stamina, for a total of +8 resilience, +12 spellpower, +15 stamina.

Why are the bonuses even different? Why is my Moonkin getting spirit while my Priest is getting spellpower and stamina? Even when the bonuses give the same stat, the value of the stat is higher on the Priest. The Moonkin's chest piece is the one that gives resilience: +6. The Priest's helm is the one that gives it: +8. Why?

Set/glove bonuses
Finally, the set and glove bonuses are also poorly designed. The Moonkin bonus gives Wrath a chance to proc Wrath of Elune - which reduces your next Starfire's cast time by 1.5 seconds. Although this can be a very powerful proc, provided it can even be used, it makes Balance Druids the only spec in the game with a chance-based PvP set bonus. Combine this with the fact that we are also the only spec in the game without a silence or stun, and how our main damage buff (the one that puts our damage on par with the other players) is totally dependent on chance, there isn't much left to .. well .. I've talked enough about this stuff already.

Everyone else has a solid, secure bonus that isn't left up to chance - usually related to reducing the cooldown of an important ability or increasing the damage of another. Priests, for example, get -2s off of their Weakened Soul debuff, allowing the use of Power Word: Shield every 13s instead of 15s.

The Balance glove bonus is not too bad - it reduces the base cast time of Cyclone by 0.1s. Unfortunately, it does not reduce the cast time after haste but before it - slightly decreasing the benefit of haste for the spell (this means that depending on your haste, Cyclone true cast time will only be reduced by 0.08-0.09s). This bonus is situational, because 0.1s is a very short period of time. Furthermore, it affects a spell that has a cast time - one of Moonkin's many vulnerabilities. Whether Cyclone has a 1.5s or 1.4s base cast time does not truly matter, because I will be counterspelled at 0.5s anyways.

On the other hand, Priests get a much nicer bonus - Psychic Scream's cooldown is reduced by 3s. For Shadow Priests, this mean the cooldown is down from 30 seconds to 23, thanks to their Improved Psychic Scream talent.

All in all..
Is there any good reason to confine Moonkins to PvP crit gear and bad PvP bonuses - while on the other hand letting Priests suffer from neither of these things, and have overpowered casting mechanics?

Sometimes I want to join the Moonkin bandwagon and tell Blizzard that they are purposely keeping us underpowered - that they don't like Moonkins. Of course, that is a silly notion (I hope), but some of our issues are so obvious that it is hard to understand why they'd let us be so terrible for so long. And we're even worse in Cataclysm now (just go read around the Druid forums and you can see for yourself).


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