Noobkin to Boomkin: Pre-Cataclysm

>>>This guide has been updated for level 85! Please see Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm!<<<

 

This guide is now outdated. Please refer to Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm for information pertaining to level 85 raiding.

Patch 4.0.1 is the topic across almost every blog this month, and for good reason–this patch is going to dramatically change our specs, stats, glyphs, gems, and rotations.

Note: Sometimes you just want the basics. “What can I do to walk into this raid tonight prepared on my boomkin alt?” or “I don’t really know the class well yet, what can I do to survive until I have more experience?” That’s what I’m all about here. If you’re looking for the straight facts–what spec, what enchants, what gems–you’ll find that information in the blue text.

Speccing 4.0.1


A Workable Spec:

Balance Tree
Nature’s Grace: 3/3
Starlight Wrath: 3/3
Nature’s Majesty: 2/2
Genesis: 3/3
Moonglow: 3/3
Balance of Power: 2/2
Euphoria: 2/2

Moonkin Form: 1/1
Typhoon: 1/1
Shooting Stars: 2/2
Solar Beam: 1/1
Dreamstate: 1/2
Force of Nature: 1/1
Sunfire: 1/1
Earth & Moon: 1/1
Lunar Shower: 3/3
Starfall: 1/1

Resto Tree
Blessing of the Grove: 2/2
Heart of the Wild: 3/3

I called this a workable spec because there’s plenty of things that can be changed to what you think is best suited for you and your raid. For instance, the new Dreamstate isn’t a strong talent. I chose to put a point in there because I think it will do more for me than Owlkin Frenzy would; I might end up moving it if I feel like it’s a total waste. Other Moonkin will skip Solar Beam or Typhoon in favor of other talents.

If you use the spec above, you should be fine to walk into a raid and dps. If you want to tailor your spec more specifically, start with core talents and tweak as you wish. These are the talents I think are must-haves:

Balance
–Nature’s Grace
–Starlight Wrath
–Nature’s Majesty
–Genesis
–Balance of Power
–Euphoria

–Moonkin Form
–Shooting Stars
–Force of Nature
–Sunfire
–Earth & Moon
–Lunar Shower
–Starfall
Resto
–Blessing of the Grove
–Heart of the Wild

Glyphs 4.0.1


There are two big changes to the glyph system: 1) we have a new glyph tier, meaning we will have 9 glyph slots instead of 6, and 2) you can train all the glyphs once and never have to train them again (although you will have to purchase Vanishing Powder to switch them out). I plan to acquire all of the currently available glyphs this week so that I can train them all when the patch drops.

Before we start, I highly recommend you check out the a great list of all the druid glyphs on the beta over at Restokin.com.

Having 9 slots opens up the playing field quite a bit on glyphs, but we don’t have too many new glyphs to play with; we’re mostly working with old glyphs that have been reworked. Here are the glyphs I’m starting out with when 4.0.1 hits:

Prime
Glyph of Insect Swarm: Increases the damage of IS by 30%
Glyph of Wrath: Wrath does an extra 10% damage to targets with IS
Glyph of Moonfire: Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 20%.

I originally had Starfire instead of Moonfire, but when I read that the dps value of Moonfire was clearer, I tried it out myself. After 6 total trials, 3 for each glyph and the glyphs being the only variables, Glyph of Moonfire ended up being a 701 increase in dps. Even if there were factors I didn’t consider (it’s not like I’m very scientific here, after all), that’s an increase too great to brush aside. Consistently through all 3 trials, Moonfire was a dps gain. I can say from my experience that these are definitely the glyphs you want for bosses.

Major
Glyph of Starfall: Reduces the CD on Starfall by 30 seconds.
Glyph of Innervate: When casting Innervate on another friendly target, the druid will receive 50% of Innervate’s effect.
Glyph of Rebirth: Target is rezzed with 100% health.

Starfall, though nerfed, will still benefit from the glyph considerably. Innervate is a fairly solid glyph, and by level 85 will be extremely useful. The Glyph of Rebirth is a personal choice, mostly because the other choices just don’t jump out at me.

Minor
Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth: Rebirth no longer requires a reagent
Glyph of Mark of the Wild: Reduces the mana cost of MotW by 50%
And choose one of the following–
Glyph of Aquatic Form: Increases swim speed by 50% in Aquatic Form
Glyph of Dash: Reduces Dash’s CD by 20 seconds

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth is a no brainer. There’s not a single minor glyph more useful than it is. Glyph of MotW is useful, but it’s not a dealbreaker not to have it. If you really want both Glyph of Aquatic Form and Glyph of Dash for some reason, you could lose Glyph of MotW.

Glyph of Typhoon works the same in the PTR as it does now. If you’re using Typhoon in any AoE/trash type of situation, you should have it glyphed. Do not make your tank chase his mobs.

Rotation 4.0.1


If you’ve been playing moonkin for a while, this is going to be like a tweak. The same basic rotation with which you’re already familiar with some additions and priority changes. If you haven’t been playing moonkin forever, don’t despair, you’ll pick it up pretty easily with practice.

For my long-standing boomkin, let’s do a review of what we’re used to: FF > IS > MF > Wrath until Lunar Eclipse > SF until Solar Eclipse, refresh DoTs as they fall but not while you have time to get an Eclipsed cast off, Starfall on CD where appropriate.

The main changes you’re going to see are 1) Faerie Fire isn’t a necessity for boomkin dps anymore. There’s no hit improvement, there’s no crit improvement–it’s literally only an armor debuff. Unless you’re the only dps druid in the raid and you’ve been asked to keep it up, this no longer needs to be a part of your rotation (it also stacks to 3 now), 2) For the most part, you’ll be refreshing DoTs every time they fall off, as your Eclipse will no longer run out of time, and 3) We’re adding Starsurge into the equation.

This is what I tested today on the PTR:

MF > IS > Wrath > Starsurge > Wrath until Lunar Eclipse > Starfire until Solar Eclipse, refresh DoTs when they fall off, Starsurge on CD and when Shooting Stars procs, Starfall on CD where appropriate.

FoN (treant) management hasn’t changed. If you can get it off more than once during a fight, pop it at the beginning. If you can’t, wait for heroism.

This rotation worked solidly for me. There’s been discussion in a couple of places about timing DoTs to match up with their corresponding Eclipse bonuses, but nothing definitive from that angle yet and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a big dealbreaker for dps.

Itemization 4.0.1

First things first: the time of cloth-wearing boomkin is officially over. With this patch, we’ll get a 5% bonus for wearing leather in every armor-specific slot. Plan to pick up leather from here on out.

Stats

The stats are changing in a pretty big way, but it’s not that difficult to adjust. Here’s a brief rundown of stats:

Hit is still your highest priority until you get it capped. Although we lose the hit bonus from both Improved Faerie Fire and Balance of Power, we gain a Spirit to Hit conversion mechanic, so Spirit is now equal to Hit. With the amount of Spirit and Hit on my gear, I was hit capped on the PTR. The hit cap is 17% or 446 rating and they’ve changed the character statistic screen to show your chance of missing against bosses, so you’ll be able to tell at a glance if you’re hit capped or not.

Intellect is the new Spellpower. With the exception of some weapons which still contain a Spellpower statistic, most of the things that were Spellpower before are going to be Intellect now. Intellect also still provides the mana and crit it did before, so obviously Intellect is going to be your new priority.

Haste is beautiful again, without complications. Wrath’s cast time has been increased and the soft cap is gone. This will be what you shoot for after you’re hit capped and is your second priority under Intellect.

Crit doesn’t have nearly the impact that it has for us until now. Take it as it comes, but don’t prioritize it over haste.

Mastery is meh for moonkin. It’s just not that big a boost right now, and there isn’t any gear with Mastery Rating in the game yet anyway. Don’t worry about this stat for now.

Gems

Keeping in mind the stats above, our new gem of choice is Brilliant Cardinal Ruby, and we’ll still be using the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond for our meta. You’ll be using two Purified Dreadstones to meet the meta requirement, preferably somewhere where they’ll meet a socket bonus.

If you have a bonus that you want to meet, (+9 spell power with 2 red or yellow gem sockets, for example), the yellow gem you’re going to want is Reckless Ametrine. There is no need to ever gem for crit.

If you’re below hit, gem your blue sockets with Purified Dreadstone, as the Spirit will provide your hit.

Enchants

If your moonkin is enchanted for 3.3.5, you could roll into the patch as you already are and be fine. Alternatively, you could change your head and shoulder enchants to the “healer” version, giving you Intellect and Spirit instead of  Spellpower and Crit. I honestly think the healer version is going to be a bit better, but it appears to be a fine line between them. I’d say it’s at your discretion.

Head: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries or Arcanum of Blissful Mending
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm or Greater Inscription of the Crag
Back: Greater Speed
Chest: Powerful Stats
Wrist: Superior Spellpower
Hands: Exceptional Spellpower
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread
Feet: Tuskarr’s Vitality (Icewalker is even weaker now; your hit will come from Spirit)
One-handed Weapon: Mighty Spellpower
Staff: Greater Spellpower

If you’re an enchanter, don’t forget to put spellpower on your rings!

Quick Note on AddOns:

I think we all have to find the mods that work best for us, but among them I would recommend a DoT and/or CD Timer (Quartz, NeedtoKnow, Squawk & Awe, etc.). Also, while the new Eclipse UI is certainly functional, I found Balance Power Tracker to be a great asset.

That completes Noobkin to Boomkin: Pre-Cataclysm!

If you’re interested in more information about Moonkin in Patch 4.0.1, check out these links:

Shifting Perspectives: The 4.0.1 Balance Rotation
Gray Matter: Moonkin Guide to Patch 4.0.1
Qieth’s Quips: Moonkin Guide 4.0
Elitist Jerks: Balance in 4.0–Draft & Discussion
Moonkin Repository: Cataclysm Beta Discussion

As always, the disclaimer here is that I am NOT a theorycrafter. I am a mainspec Moonkin and an experienced researcher. I build my guides around things that I research from the awesome theorycrafters out there and things that I learn through my own experience. In this way, I can give you a down-and-dirty, basic guide to playing a Moonkin. If you want math, check out some of the druid links on my Blogroll.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Noobkin to Boomkin: Pre-Cataclysm

  1. Its funny about the spell Typhoon – the times when I’ve really needed it, I needed it to have the pushback included. As a straight dps spell I don’t rate it overly much, but as a controlling and strat changing tool, I think its great. Saurfang in ICC is the classic example, but there have been countless times where I’ve Typhoon’d mobs away from a healer in a 5 man which helps save the pull.

    I’ll be looking for a way to keep in it my balance spec.

    • battlechicken

      Yeah, I have a long-standing love of Typhoon, and when I finally got the chance to make it truly useful (Saurfang as well), it made me giddy. I also use it on the run sometimes; like when I’m running back and forth for Valks/Defiles, and I definitely intend to keep it in my spec.

      Also, for leveling in Cataclysm, it is INDISPENSABLE. I used it constantly to try to keep those hard-hitting melee mobs at range while I was leveling in the beta, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it by December!

      As for using Typhoon as AoE? Meh. It’s okay, I guess; I know a lot of people like it for that. It really doesn’t make a bit of difference in how quickly the trash goes down, so I’d rather just spam Hurricane.

  2. omni

    The math required here is fun :3

    Nature’s Grace 3/3 gives 15% haste after casting MF or IS…
    —– 1 min CD, refreshed by X/Y Eclipse.

    Genesis 3/3 increases duration of MF and IS by 6s
    —– so already a a DOT clip is required to proc the 15% haste after it has faded and an Eclipse has procced.

    At this point where do we squeeze out more DPS, from refreshing IS or MF or can we see out the Eclipse proc and refresh when it has expired (probably not)? With glyph to IS, this could be a potential candidate.

    (Jeez, i haven’t even made it into tier 3 of balance yet…)

    Balance of power adding variable hit rating, this is potentially a good thing depending on the amount of Spirit on Cataclysm gear. It could solve a lot of hit issues. Then again, it may not.

    Looks like the talent from Euphoria will cover a lot of “MP5″ or self-replenishment and the lowering costs from Moonglow seem acceptable :)

    No Moonkin form? Isn’t that the only source of a greater haste (5% as opposed to Swift Ret’s lesser haste contribution (I need to check this, could be wrong). Is there another class to provide this? Even still, 10% increased damage, what am I missing here?

    Solar Beam seems like a situational ability and PVP related, I don’t know where the value is for raiding but certainly for dungeon levelling/battlegrounds/arena. Alas, getting to Starfall you seem to have optional talent points to spend (2 points).

    Earth and Moon tooltip suggests debuff to increase spell damage, is this personal or raid damage?

    Fungal Growth also screams pvp or dungeon levelling but as mentioned above, 2 points are needed outside of mandatory talents to get to Starfall. At this point these are the choices:

    Dreamstate extra point
    Owlkin Frenzy
    Typhoon (mediocre DPS, for control and PB without glyph has situational needs)
    —– typhoon point needed for Gale Winds talent (situational/levelling)
    Solar Beam (mostly pvp talent / levelling)
    Fungal Growth (pvp/levelling)

    To reach Starfall, I put a point in Gale Winds and Owlkin Frenzy. I wouldn’t be glyphing Typhoon for the PB utility :)

    You “Must Have” list is spot on 100%. The optionals are crazy though. I’ve been playing on Beta for a while now and swapping points around like a crazy person :p

    Considerations for extra points: Furor in Feral tree, 2/2 Natural Shapeshifter to get MAster Shapeshifter (4% dmg). All in all, a lot of math needed. I’m going to start plugging in numbers toa spreadsheet as things start to level out on Beta as wel las do this on PTR. I just found out that I’ll be playing Boomkin in Cataclysm :) I used to be a Resto/Feral (Tank) but then changed to Shadow Priest! It’s quite the change.

    Thanks for the information, you’re one of the best resources I found with some good opinions.

  3. battlechicken

    I’m going to try to go point-by-point, I might have to come back after I pick my daughter up. lol.

    1. If I understand what you’re asking, I am very happy to say you’ll be able to do both! You’ll be keeping up DoTs AND Eclipsing, because Eclipse power is no longer timed. (I know, /cheer with me). It’s based on points (I’ll get to this more when I update with rotation soon), so you’ll proc Lunar Eclipse, for instance, and you’ll cast 2 Starfires and realize Moonfire has fallen off. Your Eclipse will stay where it is while you refresh your Moonfire and then you just pick up where you left off.

    2. Restokin said in a recent post that when she hit the PTR, the amount of spirit on her gear made her immediately over hit cap. It will really depend on how much of our gear has spirit at the switch. I have a feeling a few moonkin will find themselves equipping resto gear both to meet the leather buff and to make sure they’re hit capped. Redhawk recently did a post advising a gear check before the PTR that’s got a few informative tidbits: http://redhawksgaze.blogspot.com/2010/10/hey-moonkins-check-your-gear-so-you.html.

    3. Moonglow and Euphoria will be absolutely essential, and they’re not even enough. Boomkin all over the PTR and beta are squawking very loudly about our mana issues, and with good reason. Welcome back to the land of the Oomkin.

    4. Not listing Moonkin form was a really big duh moment. It’s on the link, but somehow I managed to leave it off the list. I guess I’m so used to it being there it didn’t phase me. Fixed!

    5. Solar Beam, Owlkin Frenzy, Gale Winds–a lot of these talents are situational, but to get to the bottom of the tree you have to have some of them. I like Solar Beam because I’ve always wanted to be able to interrupt (send me into Frostmourne now!), but some will opt for the other talents.

    6. Earth and Moon will work the same way it does now–it’s a debuff on the boss that increases all spell damage the target takes, so it will still be important to get it up on the boss quickly.

    7. Fungal Growth is another situational talent, and since we can’t even get Wild Mushrooms until December, I think it’s pretty meh. With Mushrooms, you can at least pinpoint the location of the slow.

    The reason I didn’t pick up Natural Shapeshifter/Master Shapeshifter is because this is a level 80 spec (we’ll have the new specs for about 2 months before the actual expansion comes out), and I think BotG and HotW are a better way to spend the points we have. My level 85 build will have a lot of these things in common, but will obviously include more talents and may change some.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I love feedback. :-)

  4. Pingback: 4.0.1 Survival (Class) Guides | Jaded Alt

  5. Wakkawillwoo

    iv never heard of a brillent cardanal ruby?they arent JC made ,how do i get them?

    • battlechicken

      They’re brand new, and they won’t exist until after the 4.0.1 patch tomorrow. All Runed Cardinal Rubies will turn into Brilliant Cardinal Rubies after the patch. :-)

      This guide doesn’t take effect until tomorrow, but I put it up early to give people time to prepare. Hope that helps!

  6. Pingback: Druid Resource list for 4.0.1 | Restokin

  7. Tangy

    Thanks so much for putting this guide together!! It is super useful, and easy to understand; especially for an eternal noob like me :)

  8. Wakkawillwoo

    should i be reforging my crit stats for mastery?

    • battlechicken

      I wouldn’t; no. I think it was Qieth that said this: “crit affects all your spells, mastery only affects 60%.” Mastery’s not such a big deal for us right now, honestly.

  9. ladyerinia

    great guide! thank you!

  10. Jubol

    I think the requirements for Chaotic Skyflare have changed since this was written. I just trashed a lot of gems trying to activate it before realizing the requirement used to be 2 blue gems, but is now more blue than red.

    • battlechicken

      You and me too! I was dismayed when I found out about the change, I’m glad they’re going to keep it the way we’re used to.

  11. Pingback: 4.0.1 Survival (Class) Guides « Jaded Alt

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