Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raiding 101: Moonkin (part 1)

The primary focus of this post is to prepare new Moonkin to the entry level 10-man raiding experiance of Karazhan. Part 2 will focus more on higher level 25-man content once I get to experiance it first hand.

So you've hit 70 and are ready to climb the raiding ladder, eh? Here are 6 pieces of advice that will help prepare you for your Kara experiance.

1 - "Don't be afraid to wear cloth!" & other gear to look out for.

Most of the epic leather gear for Moonkin comes from badge rewards rather than drops in Kara. Outside of the Bracers of the White Stag from Attumen, there are NO other leather drops for you side from off-spec pieces. There are trinkets, weapons, rings, capes and necks to look out for but you'll be collecting badges to get your leather gear in the long run.

Starting off in pre-Kara gear, don't be afraid to wear a lot of cloth. You'll get a lot more spell hit, spell damage and base stats from cloth than most leather gear you'll find out there at this point in the game. Pay attention to cloth pieces that focus on +Int, +Spell Damage and +Spell Hit and snatch them up. A few pieces of the Warlock's Oblivion set has a few good spell hit pieces and the Robe of the Crimson Order (+30 spell hit) usually goes for cheap on the AH.

If you are a Tribal LW, feel free to craft the 3-piece Windhawk Armor set as it should last you quite awhile.

When it comes to gemming gear, it's time to step away from the Potent Flame Spessarites and putting some +spell hit gems in. If you have epics that you think you'll have for a bit, feel free to splurge on the blue quality Veiled Noble Topaz. If the set bonus isn't appealing, feel free to avoid it by packing in Veiled Nobles instead of wasting the slot. Most slot bonuses are blue sockets. For that, I'd just recommend the +stam/+spell damage gems but ONLY if the socket bonus works for you.

When it comes down to accessories, there are a few options for everything except trinkets. If you are Scryer, I would farm rep until Revered for the Scryer's Bloodgem trinket. There is a ton of spell hit on it as well as a push-to-use +spell damage bonus. Hopefully you took the Vengeance of the Illidari trinket from the "Overlord!" quest in Hellfire because it's still valueable at this point in the game. If you're ok with spending money, the Storms deck is pretty nice for Moonkin with it's stacking +spell crit buff but crit isn't your top priority. The Nexus Horn from Skyriss in Arcatraz is really nice with a decent crit rating as is Xi'ri's Gift which is available with revered reputation with Sha'tar.

For everything else just try to get as much +spell hit and +spell damage as possible.

2 - Spell Hit is your best friend.

I can't stress this enough. Yes Moonkin and Elemental Shaman thrive on spell crit.. in PVP. PVE is a different ball game. Later on down the line once you've maxed out your spell hit THEN you can focus on crit, but for now +spell hit is your priority until you have a 16% chance to hit.

Take talents in to consideration. You get +4% chance to hit from the Balance of Power talent and if you spend the 3 points in Improved Faerie Fire thats an additional +3% as long as you keep it up.

Take your group in to consideration. If you run in a set group each and every week you might be lucky. If you have an Elemental Shaman with Totem of Wrath, thats another +3%. That Shaman is also a Draenei which gives off a +1% spell hit aura as part of their racials. With the two above mentioned talents and an Elemental Shaman thats +11% spell hit WITHOUT taking gear in to consideration. This means you only have to gear for +5% spell hit and the rest of your gear and gems can focus on +spell damage and +spell crit. Woot!

The simple rule of thumb is "you can't crit what you can't hit."

3 - Spell rotations.

Spell rotations are very important but differ from trash mobs to raid bosses. The purpose of a spell rotation is to maximize your DPS but certain situations require you to keep an eye on your mana pool. Long fights (i.e. Netherspite, Nightbane, Illhoof) are not our strong points.

The most effective spell rotation for raid bosses is-

Insect Swarm -> Moonfire -> Starfire x3, repeat.

If you have push-to-use spell damage trinkets, you want to use them BEFORE you put up your two DoTs. If you took Improved Faerie Fire you'll want to start with that and refresh it when it falls. If you took Force of Nature, it's best to blow it early so it doesn't disrupt your cast rotations but be smart about it. Don't drop them during heavy mob-AoE encounters (thankfully there aren't a lot of those in Kara) or you'll just be wasting your mana.

For trash pulls, it's probably best just to spam Starfire and use Wrath when thier health drops low enough.

It's best to avoid using Wrath if at all possible. It's way to mana intensive for the amount of damage it puts out. I usually save it until the end when the mob is about to die and I know I don't have 3 seconds to get off another Starfire.

4 - Consumables.

You will go through mana.. a lot. Bring tons of mana pots. Also, during boss fights, use them early on so the cooldown is available when you need it the most - in the end. If you're in a new Kara group and you think you'll be wiping a lot, I advise using flasks over pots and elixirs for spell damage buffs since they persist through death. Flask of Blinding Light is what you want to aim for. The mats can be pricey if you don't have an herbalist but 50g (the average price) is worth 2 hours of a spell damage boost.

Bring a few charges or Wizard and Mana oil. I'd say both because, for some of the fights, mana regeneration is more important than extra spell damage. Nightbane is a good example. He has no enrage timer and a few aggro dumps so there is never a need to go balls to the walls with him. Shade of Aran has no aggro table and needs to drop as fast as possible - this is a good time for Wizard Oil.

I recommend bringing stamina and spell damage buff foods. You'll mostly use the spell damage foods unless you feel that survivability is a must. If you notice yourself dying often or the fight is not a dps race (i.e. Nightbane) I'd go for stamina over damage. Food buffs are very easy to farm for and there is never an excuse to NOT have them on you.

5 - Addons.

Most addons are common sense. Get some sort of Deadly Boss Mods and a Threat meter. For Moonkin, I'd recommend grabbing a DoT timer as well to help you keep track of your Insect Swarm and Moonfire ticks and trinket cooldowns. The rest is just person preference.

6 - Common mistakes. Oops.

Unless you have points in the Resto talent Subtlety, you're going to have to keep a close eye on your aggro. If a Pally is present, request Blessing of Salvation over anything. If a 2nd Pally is available, Blessing of Wisdom is the next best thing, follow by Blessing of Kings.

Give the tank time to gain threat. You aren't a noob and this isn't new information but don't start off with something that can crit (i.e. Starfire, Wrath, Moonfire). Start slow and then lay in to them or just wait a few seconds before spamming Starfire.

Do not Cyclone targets that are not marked for CC unless they're going for a healer. Resto and Balance Druids are notorious for overusing Cyclone. Don't be that guy. Unless the raid leader asks you to back-up someones CC that died, refrain from using Cyclone at all.

Check with other Druids in your party and see if any of them have Improved Mark of the Wild and/or let them know if you do. Those Druids should be buffing the group. Also let the group know if you took the Brambles talent so you can rebuff Thorns on the tank.

Get in the habits of using push-to-use trinkets every cooldown, even on trash. This is an increase in your DPS. You are a DPS class. Make sense?

Hope this helps make Kara a little easier. Once I do more 25-man raids I'll see how different it is and, I'm sure, will post about it.

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