Tuesday, December 2, 2008

[Druid] Speccing for 10-Man Naxx

I came back from the Thanksgiving holiday to a surprise. My guild was starting Naxx. I thought we'd still have a couple more days after I got back, but no, we were going. I logged on right after they started the instance, but partway through a dps had to go so I was asked to fill in.

I totally was not expecting that we'd be running yet so I wasn't prepared. I still had my leveling glyphs, my last two talent points had yet to be allocated, and I barely had time to grab any reagents before flying my butt out to the instance. Talk about being caught with your feathers down.

I'd spent less than an hour of playtime at 80 and here I was flying to my first raid. But now that I've begun my first 10-man I know exactly where my deficiencies are and I can choose my spec accordingly.

So here's what my spec currently looks like:

As you can see I'm very heavy on the mana regeneration and mana cost reduction talents with Moonglow, Dreamstate, Intensity, and Omen of Clarity. My guild doesn't have the numbers yet for 25-mans, and our erstwhile ret pallies have respeced back their prot and holy tree to carry the raid. We don't have any shadow priests either. It is possible that our hunter will go survival if mana becomes an across the board issue, but he's also our #1 dps so for now I'm assuming that I will have no outside help with my mana regeneration. All four of those talents are critical to prevent me from running out of mana during a long fight.

Addititionally I put two points into Eclipse. I know I said earlier that I didn't like the talent, but after doing a lot of reading at Elitist Jerks and playing with the model in Rawr, I came to the conclusion that there was really no way around it. I would need to take it to increase my dps. And after playing with it for a couple levels now, I've decided that it's not as bad as I initially thought it would be.

It's more than just a buff icon in the upper right of the screen. A mini-eclipse graphic also appears directly over the druid's head, which helps a lot with visibility, and the color changes depending on which version of Eclipse of triggered (the same goes for the buff in the upper right). That said though... in the heat of battle it's still possible to miss the graphic and there will be times when it will not be possible to take full advantage of the buff.

Why only two points?

The general consensus at Elitist Jerks is that it should be one or two points depending on the individual moonkin's crit rate. Three points is still a dps increase, but doesn't pack much bang for the buck, because the third point only pays to make Eclipse a guaranteed proc that will occur 100% of the time the moonkin crits. However Eclipse can proc no more than once every 30 seconds to begin with, so if the moonkin crits more often than once every 30 seconds then those other crits are wasted (as far as proccing Eclipse goes). Only investing two points provides some breathing room so there's less wasted potential and allows the moonkin to buy other talents with a better return. For me, in my newly 80 gear, two points provides the best dps increase.

After taking Eclipse, I now have two points left to spend, so I'm looking at:

Gale Winds - I'm not sure how necessary AoE will be yet in any given encounter, but it could be helpful with trash and possibly specific boss fights. The guys at EJ pointed out that the less time the raid spends on trash the more time the raid will have for the actual boss guy, but I'm not totally sold on that concept yet, since the boss is always what makes the raid give up for the night.

Typhoon - I was not impressed by this earlier, but it's another form of AoE that might be useful under conditions where there are a lot of mobs coming from a particular direction that will not need to be properly tanked. Someone at EJ whose opinion I highly respect seems to think this has its uses, so it's a maybe for me.

Nature's Splendor - Adds extra ticks to the Insect Swarm and Moonfire dots. It's a slight dps increase, since the cooldowns saved by not casting those spells as often can used for throwing out more StarFires or Wraths. It's really only worth it though if both Insect Swarm and Moonfire are being used as part of the moonkin's primary spell rotation.

Celestial Focus - I had this talent once upon a time before it had spell haste added to it. The stun was fantastic for solo-ing, but I couldn't justify it in a raid build. Now with the percentage spell haste it's potentially tasty.

Prior to entering Naxx I was leaning towards putting both points into Celestial Focus, but after my first couple of bosses my mana predicament became painfully obvious to me. I was running dry at the end of the fight, and in the last few seconds I would end up with nothing to give, even after potting and Innervating myself. That's a horrible feeling.

Haste makes you spend mana faster than you would otherwise, so in a mana starved situation it does nothing to benefit the caster. You'll do the same damage as you other otherwise. It's just you'll do it faster and then sit around on your duff waiting for your mana to regen enough for a few more casts (and as a moonkin I have quite a formidable duff).

So now I'm leaning towards Nature's Splendor because I use Insect Swarm and Moonfire in both my boss and trash spell rotations (IS/M/Starfire and IS/M/Wrath respectively), I have [Glyph of Insect Swarm] already, and I'm talented for Improved Insect Swarm.

For my last point I'll probably go into Gale Winds for the improved AoE. It'll make trash go faster and help with heroics since we're doing a lot of those right now.


Ayeba said...

Nature's Splendor is a really cheap talent for what it does, and almost a no-brainer. Celestial Focus is also an extremely good raiding talent with the haste built in, beside the occasional stun when clearing trash. In fact, so good that you might consider sacrificing other talents for it. If you never find yourself running out of mana, consider dropping points from Intensity or Dreamstate.

Further, Imp Faerie Fire is a good talent. Less so if you have a shadowpriest in your raidforce, as it doesn't stack with Misery. If you don't, definately worth it.

I'd also make space for Typhoon just for the fun factor. Finally, Gale Winds is a superb talent if you find yourself AoEing anything much.

The balance tree *is* kind of bloated. So much goodies...

Hana said...

Yeah, I've since picked up Nature's Splendor. In theory I like Celestial Focus, but I can't justify it at the moment because I'm going OOM.

The plan is to drop Dreamstate once I stop going OOM and then pick up Celestial Focus, but I just can't at the moment.

I originally thought about going with Imp Faerie Fire, but after doing some reading at EJ it sounds like the time taken to reapply the debuff actually results in a drop in dps. Granted, it will help the raid, but my guild is not hardcore enough that we will plan or gear for having me around every single fight for that debuff.

Also, our lone shadow priest recently came back to the game and is leveling his way to 80. Once he's raid ready then IFF becomes moot.

Though balance is bloated, I find I like it. It's just enough bloat without feeling too unwieldly. It's nice that right now there are talents that I need just to get by, but those talents can be graduated from to more juicy talents as my gear gets better!