Tag Archives: balance

And Then I Healed: Observations of an Offspec Healer

Way back when Patch 3.1 dropped introducing dual spec (tell me you hadn’t totally forgotten that there was a time without dual spec!), I said that I was looking forward to being able to switch between Balance and Resto easily, and I flipped back and forth frequently throughout the expansion. Though I almost always dps’ed in our 25-mans during Wrath, I often healed 10-mans, ran heroics as resto, and cut my real PvP teeth in that spec.

Enter Cataclysm, and the whole idea of healing made me a little nauseas. I heard what all the healers were saying, and I knew there was going to be an adjustment. With that in mind, I just shuffled Resto out of the way for a while. The re-introduction to healing came slowly, starting with the last boss in a heroic run and progressing to Baradin Hold and then to filling in for our 25-man raids, mostly on non-progression bosses.

With our 25-man raid now broken into two groups of 10, hybrids once again earn their stripes by being able to fill multiple roles as needed; and boy, did I ever earn my hybrid stripes last night! Here are three of the things I realized last night while doing a fairly poor job of healing through Atramedes.

1) There’s something to be said for being thrust from your comfort zone. For years I knew nothing but healing in raids. When I switched to dps, it was almost like learning a whole new game: new things to understand and pay attention to and new people to impress. I wasn’t a great dpser for a while, and last night, I wasn’t a good healer. This was our second time seeing this boss, and I had previously dpsed with a different composition. Not only were we learning the fight with this new setup, I was 100% off-balance (ha! Unintentional, but I’m leaving it). The struggle to do everything I needed to do as well as I possibly could was a humbling reminder to stay on top of my game. Feeling complacent? Don’t be afraid to try a new spec or roll a character to fill a different role. I’m amazed by the things I learn by forcing myself into a completely different perspective.

2) Healers can’t always catch you when you…fail. I know from experience how easy it is to tell yourself: “It’s not that much damage; I can take it and the healers will heal me. It’s the healer’s job!” Sort of. It’s the healer’s job to keep you healed up through unavoidable damage. Of course we all make mistakes sometimes, and healers are awesome at covering our butts. But you should never assume that a healer can save you if you stand in something dangerous or do something that will put you in jeopardy. Thankfully, our group is awesome at both correcting mistakes and being honest and gracious about having made them, and no one was being intentionally negligent. Still, my hands were full enough with healing everyone through Sonic Breath and Searing Flame, and when raiders occasionally dropped the proverbial ball, there weren’t always enough hands open to catch it. The number one rule of raiding has always been: stay alive. You are just as responsible for your health as your healer is.

In this scenario, the couple is Atramedes and the thirsty dude is an AWESOME raider!

3) Healing is less predictable than dps. I should disclaimer this with: or at least it is when you’re not used to healing. I realized last night that I have a pretty firm grip on boss fights when I’m balance. After a few attempts, I know what to expect. I’m usually completely comfortable with my rotation and my normal way of doing things, so following my pattern of dps while dodging such-and-such that’s on a timer is pretty easy. I can glance at my NeedtoKnow bars and decide what my next step is at my convenience. Moonfire about to fall off? Starsurge coming off cooldown? About to hit an Eclipse? With a split second look, the little Tetris pieces in my head fall into place, and my next several steps are laid out for me, especially if you combine that familiarity with fight experience and DBM timers.

Not so with healing! I can make some reasonable predictions: The raid’s going to take a hit after Sonic Breath; the mage pinging gongs during Searing Flame is going to need a HoT. But just as often I’m not expecting random raider A to suddenly drop to 10% of his health, or random raider B to suddenly be out of range. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for druids (or at least this druid) to keep HoTs up on at least the people who were expected to take damage, and sometimes this meant a whole group or practically the whole raid. I couldn’t possibly do that now, at least in my current gear, and expect my mana to last through the fight, so I feel like I’m reactive healing a lot more than the preemptive healing I was accustomed to. I have a much deeper respect for my healers after last night than I have lately. Thank you, healers; we love you!

We did kill him despite my shortcomings last night, and I found it refreshing to do something different. I guess the TL;DR of this would be: 1) Try something new, 2) Keep yourself alive, and 3) Appreciate your healers!

Raid well, my friends. :-)

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Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm

This post was re-written for patch 4.3 on 2/13/2012. 

Important Note: Noobkin to Boomkin is a quickstart resource for moonkin raiding compiled from my favorite sites and theorycrafters. You’ll find links to all of these sites at the bottom of this page. If you really want to be a competitive moonkin raider, you need to read them.

Speccing

If you want a straight spec to get started with, this will serve you decently:

Functional Raiding Spec:

Balance

Nature’s Grace – 3/3
Starlight Wrath – 3/3
Nature’s Majesty – 2/2
Genesis – 3/3
Balance of Power – 2/2
Euphoria – 2/2
Moonkin Form – 1/1
Typhoon – 1/1
Shooting Stars – 2/2
Owlkin Frenzy – 2/3
Gale Winds – 2/2
Solar Beam – 1/1
Dreamstate – 2/2
Force of Nature – 1/1
Sunfire – 1/1
Earth and Moon – 1/1
Fungal Growth – 2/2
Starfall – 1/1

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter – 2/2
Heart of the Wild – 3/3
Perseverance – 3/3
Master Shapeshifter – 1/1

Some talents are going to be situational, and some are going to cater to your playstyle more than others. If you would like to get the barebones spec and customize it, these are the most highly recommended talents:

Balance

Nature’s Grace
Starlight Wrath
Nature’s Majesty
Genesis
Balance of Power
Euphoria
Moonkin form
Typhoon
Shooting Stars
Dreamstate
Force of Nature
Sunfire
Earth and Moon
Starfall

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter
Heart of the Wild
Master Shapeshifter

When following our normal single-target rotation, mana shouldn’t be much of an issue. If you find yourself having mana problems, though, hop over to the Feral tree and pick up Furor.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Glyph of Moonfire

Glyph of Insect Swarm

Glyph of Wrath

Glyph of Starsurge is useful but  situational. Read up on it before you decide to choose it over Wrath.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Rebirth

Glyph of Starfall

There are only two mandatory ones, so you’re going to pick one of the following. Personally, I think you should choose from either Glyph of Focus or Glyph of Solar Beam to start out with.

Glyph of Thorns has a specific use, so if you’re interested you’ll need to read about it first. You probably won’t be innervating other people often since you’ll prefer to innervate yourself for Dreamstate, so Glyph of Innervate isn’t that appealing.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth

The minor glyphs are completely a matter of preference, but Unburdened Rebirth is the most useful. After that, choose two of the following: Glyph of Typhoon, Glyph of Dash, Glyph of Mark of the Wild.

Rotation

I can’t stress enough that if you want to be truly competitive, you need to read, read, read and learn to maximize Eclipse. It is the single largest source of our DPS. Love it or hate it, we have to use it. Understanding Eclipse, managing it, and playing to it is priority 1.

That said, this will get you started.

Quick Start Single-Target Rotation

1. Open with Insect Swarm and Moonfire
2. Cast Starsurge
3. Cast Starfire until Solar Eclipse
4. Cast Wrath until Lunar Eclipse

If you’re just learning how to moonkin, focus on re-applying Insect Swarm and Moonfire/Sunfire when they fall off the target.

Cast Starsurge every time it comes off cooldown or when Shooting Stars procs, which removes its cooldown and makes it instant cast.

Use Starfall and Force of Nature when their cooldowns end.

Note on Force of Nature: Treants are buffed by Heroism/Bloodlust, but if you can get them out two or more times during the fight, don’t wait for it.

If you’re ready to start playing with Eclipse, here’s what changes:

–DoT Management

Instead of re-applying DoTs just every time they fall off, you should try to re-apply while you’re in an Eclipse state. You need a timer for this, there’s no getting around it. See Add-Ons at the bottom for suggestions.

If your DoTs are going to fall off during an Eclipse, perfect. Re-apply them. If they are going to fall off between Eclipses, you’ll need to re-apply just before you leave the Eclipse you’re currently in, even if they have time left on them.

This will require you having a familiarity with how long it takes you to get from one Eclipse to the next so that you’re not re-applying unnecessarily. You can calculate cast times, but your best bet is to go out there and practice with it until you can reasonably predict it 90% of the time.

–Starsurge & Starfall Planning

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) wait for an Eclipse to cast Starsurge. However, if you’re just a cast away from entering an Eclipse when Shooting Stars procs or Starsurge comes off cooldown, go ahead and cast Wrath/Starfire, hit the Eclipse, and then cast Starsurge.

Similarly with Starfall, if you can get Starfall casts to fall in line with Lunar Eclipse, do, but don’t hold off casting it for a long time just to get it into the Eclipse.

Multi-Dotting

If you have more than one boss, or multiple mobs during a boss fight, apply Moonfire/Sunfire and Insect Swarm to all of them, preferably Eclipsed. A perfect example is the Blackhorn fight in Dragon Soul, where you can follow your normal rotation while you fight the dragons but also keep DoTs on the melee and sappers.

Pretty much if it moves and you’re allowed to DoT it, do.

AoE Rotation

 Our best AoE Rotation is a combination of AoE and multi-dotting.

1. Start in Solar Eclipse (or get to it as quickly as possible).
2. Wild Mushrooms
3. Sunfire…everything.
4. Repeat 2 & 3 until all you see are corpses.

Note: You can cast single-target and maintain Solar Eclipse by casting Starfire. Because Starfire only moves the bar towards Solar, it will allow you to sit there indefinitely. You don’t want to do this for too long, though; as casting Starfire on a single target during the wrong Eclipse is a dps loss.

Stat Priority

Intellect > Spirit/Hit to 17% > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Very simply, Intellect is our best stat. I see these as three categories: Intellect is in a class by itself. It’s the best. Spirit/Hit is also in a class by itself, because its value is necessary until you hit the cap, and then it’s useless.

Haste, Mastery, and Crit are your secondary stats, and Haste always comes above the other two, with Mastery coming in above Crit after that.

Gems, Enchants, & Reforging

I prefer to use WrathCalcs (Rawr is also useful) to determine how to gem, enchant, and reforge before I lay down a bunch of gold or mats, but these can be used as general guidelines.

Note: Remember to check your professions and make sure that you don’t have a better gem option (JC’s) or enchanting option (Enchanters, Leatherworkers, etc.) for your items.

Gems

Note: Don’t forget to put an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle on your belt before gemming.

Meta: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Red: Brilliant Inferno Ruby (or Queen’s Garnet, if you have it)

Yellow: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If socket bonus is +20, Reckless Ember Topaz (or Lava Coral)

Blue: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If the socket bonus is +20 or greater, Purified Demonseye.

Prismatic: Brilliant Inferno

Reforging

WrathCalcs/Rawr is seriously helpful in getting this exactly where you want it, but here are some guidelines:

  • If you need hit, reforge Crit to Spirit/Hit first. If you still need hit, reforge some Mastery to Spirit/Hit until you reach the hit cap.
  • If you’re above the hit cap, reforge Spirit/Hit to Haste. If the piece already has Haste, reforge Spirit/Hit to Mastery. If the piece has Haste and Mastery—well, honestly, move on to a different piece.
  • If your hit is balanced, you can tweak with this: if a piece has Crit but not Haste, reforge Crit to Haste. If a piece has Crit and Haste, reforge Crit to Mastery.

Enchants

Head: Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Chest: Peerless Stats
Back: Greater Intellect
Bracers: Mighty Intellect
Gloves: Haste
Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Boots: Lavawalker
Offhand: SuperiorIntellect

Don’t forget that if you’re an Enchanter, you can enchant your rings.

Add-Ons

Add-ons are a matter of personal preference, but to make the most of your moonkin, you need some version of the following:

  • A DoT timer
  • A way to monitor Eclipse

Right now, I use NeedtoKnow to manage DoTs and cooldowns and Balance Power Tracker to monitor Eclipse, but poke around for what works best for you. Squawk and Awe, DoTimer, SexyCooldown, and Power Auras are all useful options.

Resources

As I said in the beginning, this is a collection of information designed to be quick start reference, not an end-all guide to raiding as a moonkin. If you want to learn advanced rotations, min/maxing, playstyles, and boss-specific strats, you need to check out these sites:

Elitist Jerks > Druids > [Balance] Cataclysm 4.3
WoW Insider: Shifting Perspectives
Gray Matter
The Moonkin Repository

For itemizing, consider using one of these:

Rawr
WrathCalcs

Good luck and great dancing to you all. :-)

 

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Hello, My Name is Ambermist

And I am a moonkin.

It’s something I’ve been dealing with for about four months now, when one of our guild officers requested that I shed my well-established Tree of Life and try the feathery side of a druid’s split personality.  Being one of the many druids who opted to level Northrend balance, this seemed an exciting new frontier.

Now I’m addicted.  I’m addicted to crits and treants and the new moonfire graphic.  I’m addicted to the floating eclipse above my head lovingly referred to as the Death Star.  I’m addicted to standing in front of the heroic target dummy with my tongue hanging half out of my mouth looking for that little bit of dps improvement.  I do look forward to dual spec only to give me more opportunities in heroics (I admit I will moonlight as a healer every now and then), but there will be no going back if I can help it.  I am boomkin for life.

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