First off I will say that yes, when raid buffed, balance druid DPS is definitely on the high side.
Right now there are threads of considerable length popping up comprised of DPS players (and to their credit some druids) who are up in arms over a perceived weaker spec doing more damage than they are. Spearheading these charges are usually pure DPS classes, generally mages, in the wake of Blizzard’s announcement that mage and warlock damage are too high and require adjustment. Murmurs and Lissanna have taken up the fight to educate the masses and bring enlightenment to those that have gotten far too worked up. I will give those two a lot of credit as that battle is entirely uphill. During the release of a pre-expansion patch, the classes are all scaled around the new max level and the abilities that we are destined to have at that max level. It often creates a fairly large disparity at the previous max level but you can’t dwell upon that. I remember just before wrath of the lich king how crazy things were in 3.0. My moonkin set was, at the time, worse relative to my restoration set than it is currently and I was #1 or in the top 3 in damage done on the Illidan fight post patch. I distinctly remember some casters in the guild getting really emotional at the time and threatening to quit until the expansion because that just wasn’t fair.
From what I’ve read, Moonkin at level 85 are relatively balanced compared to other casters if not a little behind. That being said any kneejerk reaction to their DPS now will only server to hurt them severely later on down the road. In order to understand just what the issue is let’s look at the problems as I’ve come to understand them:
Scaling: Moonkin now scale extremely well with haste (and crit but that isn’t new). Our DoT’s are very powerful and extra ticks over their duration provide a massive boon. The ability to fully benefit from haste on Wrath and DoT’s is going to provide a major jump to our DPS, not even counting the fact that we can actually take advantage of our full DPS potential during Heroism/bloodlust. Inflated haste rates also lead to a higher than intended number of Shooting Stars procs.
Nature’s Grace: This talent was always extremely problematic in its old form because we were scaled around using it even though it limited our scaling severely. The new incarnation provides 15% haste at the beginning of each Eclipse period. What this does is create a self feeding cycle of haste. The higher our haste percent from gear, the faster we reach the Eclipse phase and the higher the uptime is on this 15% buff.
Bug?: Lissanna is suggesting that Eclipse is bugged to be a much higher percent damage boost than intended. If you look at the 8.00 mastery that everyone starts off with representing the base amount they start off with it equates to 12% damage increase. Currently we are receiving some external 25% damage boost in addition to that which is throwing numbers way off.
Multi-dotting/Park’N’Fire: There are mechanics in certain ICC fights that are going to cater well to the moonkin’s DPS playstyle at this point in time. Moonkin have always been VERY good at the park and shoot mechanic given the eclipse mechanic. In fights where there is little to no interruption in eclipse transition you will see inflation. Many balance druids are also gaming the system and putting their DoT’s (which are arguably too good) on as many mobs as possible to inflate their DPS. We are seeing logs of bosses such as Blood Princes and Rotface where Moonkin are adding 4-6K DPS just from multidotting alone.
At level 85 our haste and crit percentages will go way way way down. As such you are going to see weaker DoT’s, longer gaps between Eclipse and Nature’s Grace, and less Shooting Stars procs. This will all lead to a more reasonable damage output. While I don’t normally defend other casters like Mages or Warlocks, I must say that they are in the exact same boat. As far as I can tell their damage is perfectly reasonable at 85 as well and their current DPS is strictly a product of massively over inflated crit and haste levels. As long as any nerf made now is ONLY TEMPORARY then it may not be a bad thing I suppose.
Before people get themselves worked up let us work on a calm and logical approach to resolving the issue. Blizzard has a rough track record of keeping Moonkin as competitive as they’d like to be with the sensitive Eclipse mechanic and if we are scaling well and competing at 85 with the current setup I’d rather not rock the boat too much. This is not me trying to say my class isn’t OP at 80 because the numbers seem to indicate we ARE too good (along with other casters). This isn’t us lying, being biased, or kidding ourselves as some posters are trying to say. This is about us trying to defend the viability of our class down the road which is what it all boils down to.
Please people, see the forest through the trees!