Lunchtime Musings – 4.2 Druid nerfs

Some preliminary changes for the 4.2 patch have been announced and so far they aren’t really shaping up that well for us non-feral druids. While I want to talk primarily about the moonkin “nerf” I will touch on the innervate change as well.

Restoration –

Innervate when used on players other than the casting druid will restore 5% of the target’s maximum mana. When used on the casting druid it will still restore 20% maximum mana.

Glyph of Innervate has been adjusted to provide the same effect as it does currently, 10% of your maximum mana when used on another player. The wording had to be changed as I believe the current version of the glyph simply says you gain 50% of the amount given to the other player.

With this change, there are a few really important things to take note of.

-First off the 5% is of the targets maximum mana so you could not boost the innervate’s strength by timing it with glove/enchant/trinket procs. Those will only work when used on you.

-With the glyph the result is actually a net loss to healer core mana when you as a healing druid hand it out to other players

-This change severely weakens the effectiveness of balance druids handing out their innervate

-This change improves (albeit only a little) the effect of a feral innervate

My belief is that this change was intended to combat three things: 1.) two restoration druids swapping innervates for 50% increased effect 2.) balance druids becoming very potent mana batteries for healers 3.) healing druids being instructed that they have to hand out their innervate and who to hand it off to (vanilla raiding syndrome). When talking about the change someone said to me, clearly in an attempt to find the silver lining “Well 5% is still something, if you have full mana and they are empty it could help”. If that happens honestly you’re doing it wrong. If you want to make handing out an innervate a thoughtful decision (one that can only be done if the druid is playing well and managing their own mana) then keep the ability potent. I’m not super happy about this change and I’m curious to see if it sticks.

Balance –

This is the change I wanted to talk more about because while it may have the desired effect on one aspect of our balance rotation it guts some of the subtleties of the rotation and causes conflict in others.

  • Insect Swarm now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse.
  • Moonfire now generates 8 Solar Power for druids with Eclipse.
  • Sunfire now generates 8 Lunar Energy for druids with Eclipse

Right away it is unclear what they mean by this change. Is this eclipse power generated only during eclipse or at all times? I’m going to assume for the moment since they took the time to word it a certain way, that the energy generated is only when eclipse is active.  (If they simply mean that druids with the Eclipse ability granted by being specced into Balance gain this energy, then that is something different though not significantly so)

The most glaring effect of this change is to our AoE rotation. Moonkin do a generous amount of AoE damage through holding solar eclipse when possible, multi-dotting, and spamming Sunfire where applicable. We also will sometimes artificially hold an eclipse for a few seconds longer when trying to line up abilities (often times refreshing dots as part of the filler time or possibly casting the opposite nuke). This change makes these strategies fairly null and void. There are also multiple boss fights where it is simply advantageous to roll DoT’s on one or two additional adds while nuking the primary target. Having these DoT’s eat up precious eclipse power is costly and not entirely ideal.

Hurricane and Wild Mushrooms are still viable ways to utilize your solar eclipse boost however and may become the required mainstay for large scale AoE scenarios. I wouldn’t be surprised to find us using those two as well as typhoon while sitting in Solar Eclipse. Hurricane is a nasty mana hog and that is something we are going to have to deal with in a painful fashion. I understand that other classes have very expensive AoE abilities, but many dps builds out there do higher raw AoE damage than balance druids currently with similarly low mana expenditure. The 3x wild mushroom hurricane AoE game-plan will render us OoM extremely fast.

As far as single target DPS goes our rotation will be fundamentally unchanged. Your spell priorities are the same and you will continue to traverse the eclipse bar back and forth much like you normally do, albeit slightly faster. You will have approximately one less nuke for each eclipse phase. Theorycrafting has shown this to be a DPS loss, but the numbers out of the simulations show the drop to be roughly 2%.

One of my biggest gripes is that it adds a significant pit trap into our rotation. In many fights we are forced to move quite a bit and knowing how to DPS on the fly is very important. Lunar Shower is currently one of our biggest assets giving us potent on the move damage potential. I understand that it can be abused to some extent when combined with sitting in one of our eclipse phases (solar more than likely). This change means that while eclipse is up and you are forced to move (and more than likely continue dealing damage) you could very easily blow through all of your eclipse power on the up front Sunfire/Moonfire damage. This is obviously not very desirable especially if the DoT’s stop giving you power once you exit eclipse. Lunar Shower will continue to be very powerful when forced to DPS on the move when eclipse is not active, forcing the player to make the decision when moving as to whether or not they want to empty their eclipse on the run or avoid casting until the movement ends. I’m not sure I like this added level of frustration to our rotation that is already full of subtle strategy.

We’ll see I suppose. Can’t say I am a fan though. With the recent heavy nerfs to the balance passive bonuses as well as starsurge I’m curious what their ultimate intent is with this change. Is our AoE damage that amazing compared to other specs out there…I don’t really think so. Are they made that people are using eclipse in a manner that it was not intended for? Maybe. It’s something to think about for now I suppose.

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