Our intent was not to nerf Balance druid dps with this change. Our intent was to make a macro or addon that was quickly becoming mandatory at competitive levels not mandatory. It would be one thing if cancelling Eclipse auras was a fun or interesting choice, but since everything was so automated, the only thing I can really imagine anyone getting upset about was the dps loss, which we plan on offsetting. (emphasis mine)
Ghostcrawler is basically confirming the reasoning behind the change. WiseEclipse was to automated and was becoming a mandatory addon if a moonkin wanted to have competitive DPS. Blizzard has repeatedly said that this is something they don't like.
The good news here is that Blizzard realizes it is a DPS loss and plans to offset that loss. The question now is just how much are they going to buff us and how are they going to do it.
I ran a couple of analysis's using WrathCalcs and my own simulator. I used myself as the example. For me, if 3.3 dropped tomorrow, it would be a 4.1% - 4.6% nerf, because I use both 2T8 and WiseEclipse currently. However, most of us should be able to upgrade to 4T9 fairly easily if your in a guild farming ToC. When I considered 4T9 and the increased stats instead of 2T8, the nerf was smaller. Assuming you can upgrade to 4T9 (245 ilvl) as soon as 3.3 is released I calculate these changes to be about a 2.6% - 3.1% nerf. Hopefully the buff will be somewhere in this range.
The next big question is how Blizzard will buff us. As soon as GC said they plan on offsetting the nerf the forums came alive with creative new ways to buff our DPS. Some offering new spells or completely changing Eclipse, Nature's Grace or some other mechanic.
I highly doubt it will be anything fun or exciting. Remember this is the last content patch before an expansion and it is unlikely that blizzard wants to do anything major. With this in mind the simplest solution will be to change one of our static buffs. My best guess is that they will increase the personal buff on Earth and Moon to 6% instead of 3%, but they also may change Master Shapeshifter to increase Moonkin DPS by 6% or 8% instead of 4%. Another suggestion I heard was to change Improved Insect Swarm. That is definitely possible, but I hope they don't go that route. It could work, but I would like the clearer and simpler buff that would come form Earth and Moon.
On the topic of Eclipse, we still consider it to be a major linchpin of the Balance talent tree and we have no intention of getting rid of it. Swapping from Wrath to Starfire is something we want to encourage and in a greater sense, fits the theme of the spec (finding a balance) really well. We're more sympathetic to the argument that it might provide too much of a dps increase relative to other talents, but at the same time given what I said above, we aren't really trying to promote an Eclipse-less Balance spec.
I think this is a fair assessment of where Eclipse is today. Murmurs also made some great comments on Eclipse that you can find here.
The fact of the matter is Eclipse isn't going anywhere. Like many of you and really anyone that plays a moonkin, I have been very frustrated with Eclipse at times. Plus, I had no problem with the SF/MF rotation we used in TBC, but those days are gone for good. Wishing that we could go back to those days is like wishing you could go back to the 1940s and live like Leave it to Beaver with no crime or any major issues.
People who want to get rid of Eclipse completely, tend to be idealizing their rotation. They always want to have Eclipse when they need it most. If they get it, then that is the way it should work. If they don't get it, then it's a failure. No one will ever be happy with this point of view.
I agree with Murmurs. The problem with Eclipse is that it is to strong. Eclipse is the victim of trial and error. It is clear that WotLK has been a bit of an experimentation period for Moonkin DPS. From the start of the beta, Blizzard has seemed to struggle with how to make the Moonkin rotation more dynamic and how to make Moonkin DPS competitive. In the end, Blizzard has continually tried to kill two birds with one stone, and an overpowered Eclipse is the result. Since, Ghostcrawler seems receptive to this issue, don't be surprised to see a big Eclipse nerf in the new expansion.
Back when I started playing WoW, there was a lot of theorycrafting for how players could overcome or even minimize the impact of random numbers on their gameplay, which totally makes sense. Over the years though that has sort of morphed into: all RNG is bad, and any mechanic that has an RNG element is also bad. We don't think Balance is saddled with an over dependence on RNG more so than other specs, and if you feel that way, you might want to talk to some Fire mage friends. :) Adapting to changing environments is one of the major ways players have to demonstrate mastery of the game.RNG is a part of the game that won't go away. I know, accept, and argee with that. Many of the people that complain about Eclipse RNG don't really understand. I see a lot of comments where people question why Wrath only has a 60% chance to proc Eclipse off of a crit when Starfire has 100%. They seem to forget that Wrath has half the cast time and that five Starfires in a row that don't crit are the same as 10 Wraths in a row that don't proc Eclipse. The two buffs actually have a very similar proc rate. The only differences that Wrath can be more frustrating because some of those 10 casts can crit without a proc.
While I don't think Moonkin are overly burdened by RNG, I think the nature of our RNG makes us a little more sensitive to fight mechanics then other classes. Let me use a Destro Lock for example. Almost all of their RNG has a very short duration, and is primarily limited to critical strikes. Even fire mages have a relatively short RNG duration. It may take a while for Hot Streak to proc but as long as you can hit the mob once in 10s you benefit from it, and it's not limited by movement.
The problem with Eclipse is that most fights are heavily phased and it takes a full15 seconds of motionless DPS to fully benefit from good RNG. I'm sure Eclipse could be balanced around this, but it makes our DPS more swingy. Oddly enough the way to fix this issue may be to weaken Eclipse, while buffing us in other areas. Once again, this wouldn't be such a big issue if Eclipse wasn't such a huge part of Moonkin DPS. Therefore, these RNG swings might be a little easier to swallow if Eclipse is nerfed in 4.0.