Friday, June 24, 2011

[3.3.5] Moonkin PvP [un]-talents

I often struggle to talk about Moonkin PvP without introducting at least some sort of complaint about its state. I suppose that being of French blood, I am an inherent QQer. In fact, I tend to QQ and rage in guild chat about the overpowered-ness of one class or another, while stubbornly defending the Balance Druid underpowered-ness. And despite I do not usually enjoy complaining and that I'm aware of the annoyance I may bring upon my guildmates, it is hard for me to look back at these times and think, "I was unjustified."

For example: Starfall spellpower coefficients were finally fixed on Molten-WoW - after I had been regularly asking for it for months - and it now greatly contributes to my PvP damage. Molten-WoW players, used to negligible damage, began to complain that Starfall is overpowered - and in fact, some of them believe that the current damage is bugged and are expecting a "fix." Against these people, I have been vigorously defending my stance that Starfall is NOT overpowered (I also feared that too much QQ from the community would cause the developers to revert the coefficients back to their bugged state).

How could it be overpowered? Just read the tooltip. If I mount or shift into Bear Form, Cat Form, Travel Form, Aquatic Form, or Swift Flight Form, the Starfall buff is cancelled entirely. If I am CCed, Starfall damage will be suppressed until the CC is over - but the timer will still count down for the duration. Any stun, fear, disorient, horror, or root effect will suppress Starfall - is it really overpowered that my only true DPS cooldown is so easily countered? And of course, it is limited by range and LoS just like every other spell out there, and it's not like I can keep you from using a defensive cooldown while it's up.

But this is actually deviating from the reason I wanted to write today. PvP balance in World of Warcraft can be difficult to achieve. Blizzard has to worry about 30 different specs within 10 different classes, who also need to perform a certain way in PvE. On top of that, it may be difficult to buff or nerf one spec without affecting another spec of that same class (in fact, Balance Druids often suffer from collateral damage of Restoration nerfs). Furthermore, balance shifts depending on the context - duels, world PvP, 2v2, 3v3, 5v5 arena, and battlegrounds will all make you experience PvP in a different way even while playing the same spec.

Irking Druid talents
My issue with Blizzard, however, is that there are some major discrepancies in the 3.3.5 Druid talent trees that could have been easily changed / fixed for the purpose of Moonkin PvP viability, without causing any negative / positive secondary effects on PvP / PvE for any of the Druid specs. Also, some things just don't make any sense. If you look at the Balance tree, you'll find that there are almost no utility / ease-of-life talents. Everything is a damage boost to compensate for poor baseline damage (because we are Druids).

Here are the Druid talents that really irk me:
  • Improved Barkskin. 160% increased armor while in caster Form or Travel Form, 10% extra mitigation from Barkskin, and 35% increased resistance to dispels. I do not understand why this talent is so deep in the Restoration tree. Barkskin is a Balance spell that does not even appear once in the Balance tree. Moonkins would greatly benefit from this talent if they could pick it up. Instead, we have to deal with giving all melees a 30% armor penetration buff at the time that it is the least beneficial to us and the most beneficial to them - when healing / Travel Form is required.

    Moonkins need to drop Moonkin Form all the time and it makes no sense to me that we should be so fragile outside of it. If a melee manages to catch us in a stun while not in Moonkin Form - which is very easy to do - they almost automatically win. Nobody else can be caught "pants down" in such a blatant manner.

    That said, I do understand the importance of this talent for Restoration Druids, as well. It is particularly useful in 2v2 arena where most Resto Druids do not pick up Tree of Life Form and instead pick up Insect Swarm in the Balance tree. Imp. Barkskin allows them to keep much-needed survivability against melees, and even if they do have the ToL talent, they can still shift out without much consequence to their survivability, to avoid being Banished or to Travel Form.

    It would be optimal if this talent was placed in the 2nd or 3rd tiers of the Balance tree, so that both Restoration and Balance Druids would pick it up. Feral Druids would not as they need talents in the Restoration tree and would not be able to spare the points.

  • Owlkin Frenzy. 15% chance to gain 10% damage, pushback immunity, and a tiny mp5 buff. Why? That's the last thing I want when I'm getting hit. Simply changing this talent to give Moonkins a damage reduction buff would go a long way toward their viability, and it would resemble several other talents that already exist in other trees (like Natural Perfection or Focused Will). This talent simply does not make sense to me. Blizzard doesn't seem to have evolved from this point of view in Cataclysm, either - our new PvP 4p bonus gives us Eclipse energy when other players crit on us. -.-

  • Eclipse. It is utterly broken for arena. It is our biggest damage boost and is required to be on par with other classes' DPS - yet we are in Eclipse maybe ~5% of the time in arena, and usually cannot even use most of the buff. However, fixing Eclipse would require a total overhaul. I had wished that Cataclysm would change it for the better - and although it was improved for PvE, it is now probably worse in PvP. I cannot understand why Blizzard continues to make us depend on Eclipse for damage while denying us any easy opportunity to proc it in PvP. Other classes have simple, on-use damage buffs to unleash their DPS at the time of their choosing. Moonkins cannot do this because of Eclipse.

  • Typhoon. Typhoon can be very fun and useful, but it is clunky and unreliable to use in serious PvP. It provides our only form of interrupt (short of Bashing in Bear Form, but good luck interrupting something immediately with that), yet has a travel time and will not interrupt instantly. Furthermore, the knockback is tiny, and it is nearly impossible to use it properly to peel off a melee turning circles around you. Finally, the damage is terrible, despite that the spell itself is very mana-costly (2.6k damage in full PvE gear for 875 mana).

  • Both Feral Druids and Restoration Druids can get an instant-cast Cyclone thanks to talents. Yet Cyclone is a Balance spell and Balance Druids do not benefit from this advantage. Why not? We already lack a stun or silence or any form of instant crowd-control - why not give us an instant Cyclone like the other Druids have? We do not even have a healcut. The least Blizzard could do is give us some sort of instant CC, even if it does make our target immune to damage.

  • Finally - and I have mentioned this before, and it is not related to talents - I still do not understand why haste is unavailable as a stat on PvP leather, and why leather caster socket bonuses are different (i.e. worse) than cloth socket bonuses. These are things that should be normalized, and demonstrates either inattention or stupidity on Blizzard's part. By default, caster Druids will have 204 less haste rating than cloth-wearers. We will have 204 more crit rating, but who wants that? Thanks to resilience, haste is by far the superior PvP stat - not to mention that clothies still have the choice that Druids do not. This is just pure nonsense.

Changing Improved Barkskin, Owkin Frenzy, Typhoon, and buffing Cyclone for Moonkins would have absolutely no effect on PvE, nor on Restoration or Feral PvP. The only outcome would be to buff Moonkins in PvP. So either Blizzard thinks they do not need buffs - which is silly, as they have needed buffs ever since Vanilla - or they do not care or pay enough attention.


  1. Very good post. It's written on...June 24, but nonetheless I will comment.

    As a PvP Moonkin I understand you completely. I started asking myself why Owlkin Frenzy doesn't give damage reduction as soon as I started getting hit like a pinata in BGs. And don't even get me started on why we don't have a good CC spell (except cycone and roots, which can be easily avoide). You covered that matter thoroughly.

    We can QQ more but nothing will change. WOTLK is over, even Cata is almost over and nothing has changed. BUT there is still hope for MOP. If you have looked at Balance talents you can see some interesting abilities...and some retarded, which won't help us at all. Which brings me to the point that Blizzard still have not changed their way of thinking towards Moonkins. It seems Balance will always be the spec that Resto druids play when they're bored being OP with their HOTs.

    Have a nice day!

    zunar(on molten forums) AKA Beargryllz (on Warsong realm)

  2. kinda late with this post but i play balance druid my self both pvp and pve.

    and i hear allot of qq's from nother classes saying balance is OP just pop starfall and you win and starfall is the i win button, but only an idiot don't know how to dodge starfall or when you are a shaman but then it comes down to who burst first and hardest, besides that shamans got a shield but boomkins don't.

    and about talents there is a talent in feral tree that reduce damage taken by 30% so yet i nearly see any feral take that and what does moonkin get just 15% also shamans have a 30% + shield.

    i really like the idea of improved barkskin in the bala tree or atleast that we can reach it we only get a nice daze when we get hit when barkskin is on and even that has a small proc change.

    also i don't understand the moonkin improved form and socket bonus we get a small buff and i mean really small for 30% of our total spirit as spell damage but there is no spirit on our pvp gear only that of a bonus so that makes the talent kinda uselles, also most of our regen / burst comes off crit change but blizz made resil what reduce the change to be critted wonderful -_-.

    if you ask me the moonkin idea is good but blizz really must rethink really hard which kind of talents they should give us and and try to listen more to real bala ppl and not fake feral or resto druids with there no skill pvp.

    (keep my hopes up for MOP)