Monday, February 22, 2010

[Druid] Is Moonkin DPS Really That Bad?

I was reading Foofy's and her post was just the latest in the rumblings I've heard. Moonkin are falling behind in ICC. Moonkin are too tied to Eclipse. Moonkin suffer too much when RNG is bad to them.

But oddly enough I haven't been that concerned. I mean, sure, there was a twinge of worry when I noticed one night that I was bottom overall dps for my guild's ICC 10, but I had a couple crappy item level 200 trinkets at the time and was still using my neck from Malygos. Now that they've been replaced I'm comfortable in the middle of the pack, sometimes second. (For the life of me I don't think I'll ever beat our hunter unless he's on disco ball duty for Princes, or something similar to that.) Of course the buff from the last minor patch helped too.

My lack of concern might be because I've always been moonkin. Vanilla WoW didn't stop me from being a moonkin. In TBC I raided as a moonkin, and don't think I didn't hear some grumbling from a pure dps class about being beaten by a hybrid. If all else being equal I'm a little behind due to mechanics, well, it wouldn't be the first time.

I don't normally go to VoAs on my moonkin. I know I probably should, but I don't PvP with her so I tend to be ambivalent about participating in WG. When the battle begins I show up on my paladin, so I tend to go to any subsequent VoAs… on my paladin.

But about a week ago I saw an advertisement in trade for VoA 25 while I was on my druid. I knew the new boss had come out, so I figured, what the heck, and whispered the raid leader to add me.

I found out that my guild's hunter was also in the raid, and the raid had several members of various 25-man raiding guilds; guilds whose progression we knew. It looked like a competent group, which is more than I can say of my VoA raids early in the patch when Koralon came out. And indeed the group was competent. We one-shot Toravon.

What I was very pleased with, though, was our performance. The raid leader for some reason liked to post the top 5 damage dealers of each boss fight (and no, he was not leading the meters) and consistently in the top 5 were the two of us. For Kolaron and Emalon we were even the top 2. Particularly of interest to us was out-damaging similar ranged dps from the 25-man guilds, players with names we knew and who we knew were on their raiding toons.

It was a fun outing, my guildies and I like to "represent" when we pug VoA, to show that just because we're 10-man doesn't mean we can't kick ass, and it's nice to use VoA as a gauge for what we should be doing vs. what we are doing since we can compare with people from other guilds. And I seem to remember thinking that night that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my dps. I was behind Cursedhoof, our hunter, but I'm nearly always behind him anyway (he's a godly good hunter), and I was holding my own with 25-man raiders.

Granted, there is not much moving in VoA. There is some, when those ice orbs spawn behind me I have to turn around. I have to get out of cinders in Koralon. But is there really that much more in ICC? Okay, maybe bad RNG in Rotface can have me constantly running around, but the Marrowgar shuffle is much the same as VoA. Even the Putricide fight wasn't as bad as I'd been led to believe. Our first kill I was slighty behind, but close to neck-and-neck with the mage, the warlock, and the hunter, all pure dps classes, and I even had to break dps at one point to battle rez our rogue.

Murmurs, in his new column, agrees that moonkin dps isn't in that bad a state. Maybe all else being equal that mage/warlock/hunter over there is still going to kick my butt, but it's still possible to be competitive.

Moonkin do seem somewhat rarer than they were at the start of WotLK though. While I haven't run into the horrible moonkin with armor pen gemmings that Foofy saw, it's rather odd that when I think about it, it's rare for me to see a 25-man ICC raiding moonkin on my server whose name I don't know. And I don't know a whole lot of them.

When my 10-man guild was still pretty new, one of my mage friends wanted me to come to his 25-man guild, which had recently lost their moonkin to another guild. He knew I could play since we had been in my old 25-man guild together, and had every confidence in my competency. And, like most mages, he loved my crit aura. (Sometimes it's almost creepy how dewy-eyed mages get around moonkin.) His guild was recruiting all kinds of casters to fill up a raid deficit regardless, but out of the four or five casters they got from their recruiting binge, none were a moonkin and he said they were hurting hard for a good one.

Maybe it's just that moonkin are harder to play now?

I don't really think the difficulty has changed from Naxx. Sure we twist our Eclipses now, but if anything I actually find that easier than banging my head against the keyboard because I got the "wrong" Eclipse because I was a half second too late at recognizing the internal cooldown was over. And is there really any more movement in ICC than there was in Ulduar?

There's always been a case for moving out of the fire (Mimiron, Kologarn), moving to a safe spot (Hodir), being tasked with special assignments (killing Ignis adds), and running all over the place depending on what the situation calls for (phase 2 Yogg), and no one complained about moonkin dps back then.

Probably the hardest thing for me since starting ICC has been integrating Typhoon into my arsenal. I'm getting better at spewing it out when my dots are up and I gotta move anyway, but it's still a work in progress, and ultimately it's just a matter of practice. I don't think lack of Typhoon skills alone is enough reason for moonkin to fall behind, and I'm not sure that they are.

I was looking at one of those heroic kills on MMO-Champion, one of those world firsts, and one thing I noticed is that one of them had a moonkin. If a top guild in the world has a moonkin, when they more than anyone are looking for reasons to bring the best dps and squeeze every ounce out of their players, then we can't be in that bad a shape.

Maybe it's just that the allure has worn off. Moonkin were flavor of the month at the start of WotLK, because they hadn't been nearly as raid viable, and now people have had their fill and moved on, leaving either the moonkin-for-lifers or the newbie moonkin who are still very much in their learning phase. According to Zardoz's datamining at the end of last month 25.4% of the druid population has a balance spec. Allowing for dual-speccing, since some of those are probably restos with dps off-sets, the main population is probably smaller.

I think our numbers are still higher than during TBC, but I don't see quite the number of fluffies in Dalaran. I'm skeptical about chalking it up to dps, since long time moonkin played when our dps was significantly worse in comparision to other classes than it is now. I just don't know what to attribute it to.


Anonymous said...

I've heard the rumblings, too, but honestly I don't buy it. I just started to play my moonkin/resto druid as my raiding character (Makes me a newbie such as you describe!) and I wouldn't have dropped my mage if I felt it would hurt our strictly tens guild.

As it stands, yes my DPS is lower than it was as a mage, but much of that can be attributed to gear differences and at least one crappy ilevel 200 trinket, as well as simply getting accustomed to the playstyle. But moonkin bring such incredible utility - the crit buff, Earth and Moon, spell haste - that otherwise our raid would be lacking. So I view it as a class that's boosting everyone else too, iin a way that being an arcane mage just wasn't. My DPS since switching characters to a lesser-geared one I'm not used to playing has been decent, and I expect it will only get better as I personally get better at playing and upgrade a few key pieces. Meantime, I can be resto for fights where we need a third healer. In not-so-short, being a druid = awesome. But clearly you already knew! ;)

Hana said...

Hehe... yeah, I love being a druid. :) Being a moonkin is just part of it.

And moonkin really bring a lot of buffs to the table! I don't think there's another spec that can do quite so much.

Laurie said...

My fav toon is my Moonkin, I have raided with her quite a bit. But lately her dps is always at the bottom of the dps range.. I have tried so many spec variations and none seem really clear to be a real winner. I am getting discouraged and when i whisp to get in on raids... people are actually hesitant for a boomkin... I am not sure what to do because she has never been this far behind before.

Hana said...

There are a few things you might be able to do about the low dps. Some moonkin use Typhoon as a dps-booster when they have to move.

If I know I'm going to have to move a lot, I'll refresh dots early.

Some moonkin also use a run speed enchant of some kind instead of Icewalker to make sure that when they do have to move, they spend as little time as possible doing it.

You can also try to save abilities like Starfall if you know a movement phase is coming up soon.

It's probably harder for moonkin to be competitive, but it's not impossible. Keep trying!