Friday, July 30, 2010

Tuning Begins: Cata Build 12644

Blizzard pushed out a new beta build last night with several Balance changes in it. There haven't been any blue posts that I've seen, but MMO-Champion has detailed the changes in the game files. Judging from the changes and the few reactions I've already read, you are probably not going to be all that happy.Here are the changes.

  • Starsurge now also generates 10 Lunar or Solar energy.
  • Wrath of Cenarius is now named Lunar Shower.
  • Lunar Guidance now generates an additional 2/4/6 Lunar or Solar Energy. (Down from 5/10/15)
  • Moonkin Form now increases spell haste by 5%. (Old - Spell crit)
  • Genesis now increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spell damage and healing effects and by Swiftmend by 2/4/6%. (Up from 1/2/3%)
  • Nature's Grace now has a 100% proc rate for all ranks. increasing your spell casting speed by 5/10/15% for 3 sec.
  • Heart of the Wild now Increases your Intellect by 2/4/6%. (Down from 4/8/12%) In addition, while in Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 3/7/10% (Up from 2/4/6%) and while in Cat Form your attack power is increased by 3/7/10%. (Down from 2/4/6%)

  • Not Listed: Earth and Moon is now Costs only 1 Talent Point.
General Thoughts:

First things first. DON'T PANIC.

I'm sure that some people will look at these changes and get upset. There are a couple of big nerfs, that are unlikely to be balanced by the seemingly minor buffs. No one likes nerfs but it is important to keep things in perspective. It's hard to say what all these changes will mean until we see the entire picture.

I have faith that Blizzard won't leave us out in the weeds. WotLK has been a great time for Moonkin in terms of relevance and attention from the developers. We didn't always get what we wanted, but no one can argue that we have been ignored like you could during Vanilla and TBC. We were constantly adjusted through out WotLK, and I am confident that if we have DPS issues in Cata, that Blizzard will give us a similar treatment.

The Specifics:

There isn't much we can say about these changes without doing math, but I don't think we are ready to do math yet. Here are some of my thoughts on the changes made.

Starsurge & Lunar Guidance: Together they are a slight buff by increasing the amount of energy we will receive from Starsurge from 15 to 16. This really isn't anything to get excited over. If we had options you may be able to make a case for skipping Lunar Guidance since a majority of the energy is now backed into Starsurge, but it is pretty clear to me that we won't have options and Lunar Guidance will be picked up either way.

Moonkin Form - Haste over Crit: I think some people will be upset by this, but it is a slightly positive change to me. In a raid this is a neutral change. We will still have both the Haste buff and the Crit buff. We just won't provide both. This is an improvement for levelers. Crit doesn't help as much when dealing with low health mobs because there is some amount of over kill. Haste will always make something die faster.

All that said I am fairly disappointed with Moonkin form at the moment. At the moment it only provides the 5% caster haste buff and a 20% increase in armor to the player. Most raids should have a caster shaman or shadow priest that will provide the 5% caster haste by default. A Shadow Priest will pick up Imp Shadowform and stay in it for the 15% damage increase and damage mitigation. Shaman don't really have many other totem options. Therefore the fact that as a moonkin I can provide the 5% caster haste buff will be irrelevant most of the time.

That is not say I won't pick up Moonkin form. I probably still would even if we had other options. However, why would I raid in Moonkin form. Why give up access to my heals for a 20% increase in armor? That just doesn't make sense. Probably what I would do is stay in caster for and switch to Moonkin form when necessary if this version goes live.

Genesis: It's a slight buff over the current live version, but no one should really be excited except for restos maybe. Genesis has been weak because DoTs have been a relatively minor part of our damage output. The only way to make Genesis significant would be to increase the buff significantly or increase our base DoT damage significantly. I don't see either of those things happening.

Nature's Grace: I find this a little amusing. We've heard for a long time that Nature's Grace was going to be redone. The [TBR] tag has finally been removed from the talent but very little changed. All they did was reduce the Haste buff from 20% to 15%.

Heart of the Wild: I'm not surprised the int increase was reduced from 12% to 6%. The 12% version was just a 3 point copy of the current live version. Giving a big Int boost to a feral isn't a big deal, because they have no int on their gear. Giving the same increase to a moonkin or resto would probably be a mistake.

The main question I have is how this will relate to Furor. It seems strange to have two talents that increase int by 6% even if they are in different trees. Since resto wasn't modified in this build, I wouldn't be surprised if Furor was gone in the next build.

My Expectations:

Up to this point Blizzard has been making a lot of structural changes to the Balance spec. They've been working on Eclipse and moving talents around. They were building the frame work for the spec. These type of changes tend to happen earlier in a games development.

The changes made in build 12644 are a bit different. They are mostly tuning changes to the existing talents in the Balance the Tree. This type of changes usually occur closer to the end of development.

In my opinion, this indicates a shift in Blizzard's focus regarding the Balance tree. I would bet that the balance tree that goes live will be very similar the current beta tree at least in structure. I wouldn't expect any big revamps from here on out.

That doesn't mean there won't be structure changes. The Balance tree is a little light when you compare it to the talent trees of other classes and specs. The maximum number of points you can currently spend in the beta Balance tree is 37. Two warlock trees have the same number, but there are no trees with fewer options. Tier 3 of the Balance tree has only 5 slots for talent points. Most of the talent trees have 7-8 slots. Tier 5 of the Balance tree has only 4 slots for talent points.

This indicates to me that there is room within the tree to add a talent or two, and I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard does. Otherwise there is very little choice in the tree. Without new or expanded talents, we would be able to skip 6 talents at most in the Balance tree.


It seems to me that Blizzard has completed most of its structural design for Moonkin and is now shifting it's focus to tuning the spec. The fact that several of the changes made in this talent build are fairly significant nerfs will upset some people. However I urge everyone to keep this in perspective. We are still in the early stages of tuning and as long as our DPS is competitive we shouldn't be to critical about how we get there.

From this point on I am not expecting any big structural changes to the Moonkin Spec. I think there is a possibility of one or two talents being added, but I doubt there will be a big overhaul as some people want. Most of the changes from this point on are likely to be small changes to the numbers of in existing talents.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twitter Chat and Cata Builds

I guess it is just my luck that Blizzard would do a Twitter Chat and release two beta builds on the week that I'm on vacation. Sorry that I'm a little late.

Twitter Chat: Eclipse

Q. Moonkin: What are your plans for Eclipse, and why dos it infect so many of our talents? What are your plans for make Moonkin fun?
A. The model we are trying now lets Solar and Lunar Eclipse last for about 45 seconds, and each spell of the appropriate type that you cast moves the bar back closer to the middle again. The buff is canceled by reaching the middle. This should let Moonkin "hold" the buff for short periods of time when they need to move or get out of the fire.
This is an interesting change. It will go a long way to fixing the big issues with the current Eclipse. It doesn't give us charges in a way that we traditionally think of them, but it is basically a charge system since we should be able to get the bar back to neutral long before the 45 seconds is up.

What I find interesting about this mechanic is how it will affect our rotation and stat valuation. Moonkin have a lot of talents that are to help us move along the Eclipse bar. Lunar Guidance causes Starsurge generate "energy." The Euphoria talent gives us extra "energy" when we crit. Therefore Starsurge and Critical hits during Eclipse will effectively shorten the Eclipse buff and have a limiting affect on the value of eclipse. I think this is a clear indication that you won't want to cast Starsurge during Eclipse, since I don't remember an comment suggesting it will be buffed by Eclipse.

Crits during Eclipse is a more interesting dilemma. They will shorten the Eclipse buff, but this doesn't mean you won't want to crit during Eclipse. The extra "energy" from a crit is proportionally smaller then the extra damage you would gain. Criting is still good, but not as good as it was before. Unless there are additional changes I don't see how Crit Rating won't be our least desirable secondary stat (yes, I know we don't know anything about mastery yet).

Since we already know Haste Rating is going to be an excellent stat for us, and Crit Rating is being limited, I wonder if Blizzard will do something to prop of Crit Rating a little bit. I think it would be interesting if Blizzard gave us a way to make our crits do 225% - 250%.

Twitter Chat: Moonfire

Q. Is Mo0nfire designed to be a damage-over-time spell with an instant cast nuke, or the other way around?
A. Both. We want the instant nuke to be more meaningful in Cataclysm, especially on the move.
I find this to be an interesting answer. First, it means that the Glyph of Moonfire is probably gone, since it limits the nuke portion of Moonfire quite a bit. Second, I would like to see how they plan to make both the direct damage and DoT significant. I think it's going to be a delicate balance to make both portions significant without making them over powered.

Cata Build 12604:

When build 12539 was released I was quite disappointed that very few changes were made to the druid trees. The good news is that a second cata build was released a few days later with a whole lot of druid changes.

Overview: At several points in the last talent tree it felt like I was choosing between several bad talents just to advance up the tree. In the new trees they have fixed some of those issues, but they have done it in a cheap way. It seems like they took the easy way out and brought back a lot of old talents rather then doing something interesting and new as they have been talking about since Blizzcon. As a result the tree still feels quite raw to me.

Passive Talents: One of the stated goals of Cataclysm is to get rid of a lot of the passive talents, and build 12604 was the return of a lot of them for moonkin at least. Nature's Majesty is back with the passive 4% crit buff. Master Shapeshifter is back in the Resto tree with the 2% damage buff. Worst of all Earth and Moon is back in tier 5 with the raid buff and the passive personal buff. These talents are better options then what we had in the previous builds, but they feel like a cop out, when one of the stated goals is to get rid of these type of talents.

Lunar Justice and Planetary Alignment: Both of these talents are gone. That isn't a huge deal since neither talent was all that good to begin with. Planetary Alignment while valuable was quite boring. Lunar Justice was pretty much useless. While I am not sad to see either of them go, I which they had redesigned them to make them interesting rather then just replace them with old passive talents.

Where is the Choice? I'm starting to sound like a broken record on this point, but it is a stated goal of Blizzard to provide more meaningful choices in the Cataclysm expansion. If this is still a goal then Blizzard is still failing. I created a couple of possible raiding builds for a level 85 moonkin, and all of the choices center around what I want to do in the resto tree. I am forced to pick up situational talents I may not want like Typhoon, Solar Beam, and Fungal Growth. The Balance three only has 38 points in it in the first place, and most of the later tiers have only 5 points in them. The only way you can skip a talent in tiers 3-7 is if you use extra points in tiers 1 and 2.

I've said it several times already, but I am seen very little choice in these new talent trees. In my opinion then need to make tier 2 a little more interesting so that we can skip talents like some of the more PvP focused talents if we want to. I think they also need to expand tier 3 to 8 points with a new talent to allow us to skip more talents higher in the tree.

My Current Spec: After seeing Heart of the Wild the raid build I would currently choose became clearer to me. Obviously, we don't have enough numbers to do any real analysis, but this build seems to be the best to me.

As someone pointed out in the comments you could go for Genesis over Moonglow. Since we don't have a ton of information, which you choose really has to do with what assumptions you make regarding mana. I could go either way, but I think mana is going to be a bigger issue. However, I wouldn't max it out at this point. I would leave Owlkin Frenzy and which every talent I don't choose completely blank. That leaves 10 points to be spent in the Feral and Resto trees.

Once again, we have very limited info, but I can't see passing up either Heart of the Wild or Furor. Since they are a percentage increase to Int they will scale well as well as increase our damage and mana. From there it's a question of do you want Master Shapeshifter or Blessing of the Grove and Perseverance. I have a hard time spending four points to pick up a 2% DPS increase in Master Shapeshifter, but it is probably a bigger DPS increase then BotG. The question is how big of a difference is it? I am still a big fan of Perseverance and the damage reduction it provides. If the damage difference isn't much I would probably make the switch.

(Edited My Current Spec section for info I missed)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cata Build 12479: The New Talent Trees

When the Talent and Mastery overhaul was announced last week, most of the responses I read were quite positive despite the lack of details. Blizzard pushed out a new Cata build last night and we now have a first look at the new talent trees (link). Now that we have some details and the real discussions can start. Here are my thoughts.

This is a First Draft:

If you're like me you when straight to the MMO-Champion talent calculator and missed some of the blue posts from Blizzard. If so then you might have missed an important comment.
While this is a first pass on all of the talent trees, death knight, druid, paladin, warlock, Arcane mage, and Assassination rogue trees are not as far along as other specializations.(src)

Not only is this a first draft for everyone, but the druid trees are a little bit more behind the curve then other classes and specs. If you feel yourself getting mad and unable to provide feedback in a constructive manner, try and remember this. I actually look at it as an advantage. We get to make our comments at an earlier stage of development then some other classes have been able to.

Moonkin Form vs Starsurge:

Two things popped out at when I first looked at the talent tree no MMO-Champion. There was no Moonkin Form in the tree and Starsurge was both in the tree and stated to be our level 10 ability. This confused me quite a bit (so much so I sent an email Lissanna asking her if she had a chance to look at it in the beta). Then I saw this blue post from Ghostcrawler.
We are experimenting between Moonkin Form and Starsurge being the level 10 bonus (the other will be the first active ability in the talent tree).(src)

I'm not sure where I come down on this debate. Neither one is an obvious choice to me.

Moonkin Form
Pros: There is no ability that defines the Balance tree more then Moonkin Form. It is also a very passive ability that is unlikely to confuse new players. Therefore, it makes some sense to provide it at very early level.
Cons: There is something Iconic about Moonkin form, and on a gut level I feel like players should have to work for it. I also wonder if giving new druids 5% crit and possibly 5% haste at level 10 is to powerful.

Pros: As I said last week, the knockdown could be very helpful for new moonkin. Plus, it gets the player used to a piece of the Eclipse mechanic at an early level.
Cons: Giving a new player 3 nukes by level 20 seems like a bit much.

Since which ever ability is not chosen for the level 10 ability will be the first talented ability in the balance tree its not like players will have to wait a long time to get either of them. If I had to choose, I would probably give Starsurge to the level 10 balance druid, since it is a little more useful.

Talent Tree Changes:

Assuming MMO-Champion got the trees right, here is a list of talents that got deleted since the last Beta build.

Nature's Majesty, Imp Moonfire, Celestial Focus, Nature's Reach, Nature's Splendor, Brambles, Vengeance, Dreamstate, Moonkin Form, Imp Moonkin Form, Typhoon, Earth and Moon, and Master Shapeshifter.

Many of these I expected to get removed. For some, like Imp Moonfire, Dreamstate, and Nature's Splendor I am a little surprised that they got removed, but not hugely. It was very surprising not to see Moonkin form at first until I read the Ghostcrawler comment above. That leaves me 3 talents I am very surprised to see gone.

Imp Moonkin Form: Even if Moonkin form becomes our level 10 ability I would still expect a talent to improve upon it at a higher level. Is it being incorporated into the baseline Moonkin form? Will we still provide the 5% caster haste buff?

Typhoon: This wouldn't surprise me if there was any indication Typhoon was becoming our level 10 ability, but there is not. Judging from comments made in the past, Blizzard obviously likes the Spell. Therefore, this makes me wonder if it is going baseline like Insect Swarm or if it was omitted from the table on accident.

Brambles: I've never been a big fan of this talent, but I am shocked to see it gone. It is relatively worthless for PvE, but I was under the impression that it was helpful for PvP. Given Blizzard's push for choice this seems like a very odd talent to cut. My guess is that it was omitted accidentally, but you never know.

My General Impressions:

It's a good thing that this is only the first pass on the new 31 point talent trees, because it feels very hollow and unfinished. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to fill out our trees and make them substantial.

Tier 2 Sucks: Tier 1 of the balance tree is pretty good because it provides real choices in the form of Nature's Grace and Starlight Wrath. Tier 2 feels like a deserted wasteland. I assume Moonglow will be necessary because Mana will be more important in Cataclysm, but I still think Lunar Justice sucks for everyone but the guy that is leveling.

I think there is something missing from the tier. Blizzard said that they wanted the first few tiers to have 8 slots for talent points and tier 2 has only 6. I also think it is a little strange that both talents in the tier are mana talents. I fully expect another talent to be added to this tier. Either a new talent or maybe bring back an old one like Brambles.

The Tree Still Lacks Options: Here is the base talent build that I was able to create in minutes that I am sure would be the standard if these trees went live. It takes every talent of any significance to a PvE moonkin and still leaves to talent points to spend in either Genesis, Lunar Justice, Owlkin Frenzy, Natural Shapeshifter, or Improved Rejuvination.

I think there is a contradiction in Blizzard's stated goals and their intended design of the new talent trees. The theme that Blizzard has been repeating since Blizzcon is choice, choice, and more choice, yet I am seeing none of it. In fact, Blizzard seems to be designing things to prevent choice. Take this comment that Ghostcrawler made last week:
Earlier levels have about 8 points on them (typically a 2, 2, 3) and deeper levels have about 5 points on them (typically a 1, 2, 3).(src)

If you need to spend 5 more talent points to advance to the next tier, how do you have any choice if you only have 5 slots for talent points in the current tier?

Yes, you could put the points in lower tiers, but it's not like those tiers are dramatically better.

Take tier's 4 and 5 for example. Euphoria, Force of Nature, and Lunar Guidance are all core talents, but I consider Solar Beam, Gale Winds, and Owlkin Frenzy to be very optional. Gale Winds has some obvious advantages in PvE but AoE isn't important for a majority of the fights. Solar Beam will also have some uses in PvE to silence adds, but that is a fairly rare need, and we all know how useless Owlkin Frenzy is in a PvE setting.

However, we are forced to put a point in Solar Beam or Gale Winds to advance up the tree to tier 5. Then we have to spend two points between Solar Beam, Owlkin Frenzy, or Gale Winds to advance to tier 6.

I am failing to see where I am making choices. At this point it feels like all Blizzard is doing a lot of hand waving. They say we are changing everything from Eclipse to talent trees, but all the changes appear to be purely cosmetic to me so far. I don't see anything that changes my choices or the way a moonkin will be played.

I realize we are still fairly early in the process, but at this point I've had enough sizzle. I'm ready for the steak.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Talent and Mastery Overhaul

When ever I talk about Beta information I try to always remind people that it is just Beta info, and that a lot can change between the post and when the expansion goes live. Change is inevitable and there were big changes anounced to day regarding Talents, Masteries, and how people will receive and spend talent points.

In short:
When players reach level 10, they are presented with basic information on the three specializations within their class and are asked to choose one. Then they spend their talent point. The other trees darken and are unavailable until 31 points are spent in the chosen tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they've chosen. As they gain levels, they'll alternate between receiving a talent point and gaining new skills. They'll have a 31-point tree to work down, with each talent being more integral and exciting than they have been in the past. Once they spend their 31'st point in the final talent (at level 70), the other trees open up and become available to allocate points into from then on. As characters move into the level 78+ areas in Cataclysm, they'll begin seeing items with a new stat, Mastery. Once they learn the Mastery skill from their class trainer they'll receive bonuses from the stat based on the tree they've specialized in.
I you can read the entire post from Zarhym here. I also suggest you check out this thread in which Ghostcrawler has been very active.

My First Reaction: Very Positive

If you've gone back and read some of my early blog posts you will know that I am Moonkin by default rather then choice. To this day, all druids start the leveling process as Balance, because your DPS choices for the first 10 levels is to cast spells or whack mobs with a stick, literally. So, when I got to level 10 and was faced with the choice of how to spend that first talent point, the choice was obvious to me.

The Resto talents seem dumb because it's the healing tree. I know there are people who level as resto, but most of them are either masochists or level as a part of a group. Plus none of the early talents seemed all that useful

Feral seemed even dumber. All of the feral talents only benefit you if you are in Bear or Cat form, and you don't even get Bear form until you complete a quest chain or cat form until you reach level 20. Put that on top of the fact that I just spend 10 levels using spells, choosing feral would have been like choosing a whole new toon. I won't even go into how freaken frustrating it has been to level as feral from 10 to 20.

The obvious choice when I hit level 10 was Balance. At the time I didn't know about the negative stigma that was attached to the spec, but I'd just spend the last 10 levels using spells and here is a talent that makes my spells cast faster. From then on my choice was to go for the better DPS talent, or go for the crappy early feral and resto talents. Obviously I choose Balance (most of the time), and the rest is history.

My Point: When I got to level 10 I didn't have a real choice, because feral and resto weren't real options. My hope is that this change provides that option at level 10 when the choice really matters, and hopefully ferals will get cat form at level 10 instead of level 20. That is why I like this change.

My Critique:

While I am a fan of this change, it is not scoring a 10 with me just yet. One of the themes of Cataclysm has been to provide players with more "meaningful" choices in their talent trees, and that is he heading under which they are promoting this change. How you spend that first talent point is a big choice, but I don't see how this change makes the 40 choices after that first one more interesting. Hamlet (the writer of the EJ Moonkin guide), said it best on the Moonkin Repository:
They're selling this as an opportunity to make spec choices more personal/interesting (which is always such a talking point). That benefit is illusory though--there aren't going to be magically more interesting talent choices, unless they design interesting talents (which they could have done under either system). The only effect for top-level players is a bit of cleanup, which is always nice.
Has Hamlet said, this is all an illusion. It doesn't matter how many talent points you have, if the talents don't change then the choices don't change. It's not like Brambles or Owlkin Frenzy will become more interesting because Vengeance is now a passive ability. Unless, Blizzard provides some new talent choices soon, I stand by the post I made a month ago and say that Moonkin will still lack "meaningful" choices even under the new system.

Moonkin Speculation:

Not that this really matters to most of us as level 80 Moonkin, but one of my first thoughts after reading this announcement was what would this mean for those level 10 balance druids out there.

I'll admit that my first thought was that Balance Druids would get Moonkin form at level 10, because that is the signature ability of the balance tree. However I quickly realized that it is probably a bad choice. It would be a little to much, to soon, in my opinion.

Then I looked at the talent tree to see what other signature abilities might be good for a level 10. Force of Nature and Starfall pop out as possibilities, but I think they are very unlikely choices. I don't see a good reason for giving a level 10 a long cooldown, and the lack of control we have over Starfall could make a new players life very difficult. Solar Beam also seems unlikely, because an interrupt would have very limited utility for a level 10.

That left me with two choices: Typhoon and Starsurge.

Pros: I think an instant cast spell that provides a knockback and a daze would be great for a level 10 player. With the 20 second cooldown it isn't over powered but should be available for most pulls.
Cons: As a conal AoE spell, it could easily hit unintended targets. This could be particularly troubling for new players.

Pros: It is a high damage ability with a knockdown. It will also play an important part in Eclipse so it may be a good choice to get players used to the spell early.
Cons: Its a nuke. The level 10 will already have Wrath and will get Starfire a level 20. If I wanted to confuse a new player, I would give him 3 nukes by the time he hits level 20.

At this point I don't have a good guess as to what is the likely choice.

The Strange Quote:

In the original announcement Zarhym said:
The Mastery bonus that was unique to each tree will now be derived from the Mastery stat, found on high-level items, and Mastery will be a passive skill learned from class trainers around level 75.
To me, this sounds like moonkin will train Eclipse at level 75 because Eclipse is our third Mastery. I don't have a problem with that. Currently moonkin can't get until level 50. Considering moonkin can't train Starfire until level 20 and since Eclipse is of limited use to leveling as a timed buff, it seemed natural to me to make players wait for it.

Then we get this quote from Ghostcrawler:
We'll probably give them the "balance bar" for picking Balance at level 10, then at level 78 you get the ability to affect the bonus damage from the bar by increasing your mastery stat.
Now I'm confused, and only have a list of questions.

What will moonkin be training at 75 then?
Will Starfire be the "signature" ability that Balance druids get at level 10?
If so, does that mean other druids won't have access to Starfire?
If not, what is the point of Eclipse at level 10 if you don't have Starfire until level 20?
What is the point of having Eclipse at level 10 as a timed buff when a good portion of the buff will be lost due to finding new targets?

It will be interesting to see how this looks when we get more details.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

RealID and the WoW Forums

In case you missed it Blizzard announced today that they will be making several changes to the official forums when they upgrade the forums for the release of Cataclysm. Some of the changes are fairly standard for modern forums like being able to rate posts and grouping replies to particular posts together, but that is not what makes this news worth. There is one bomb dropped by Blizzard that has everyone all in a panic. To quote Blizzard, "anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name."

Myth #1 - This will significantly limit Trolling:
The forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before.
Lets face it. There is so much trash on the official forums that it is difficult to find the the good posts. I do appreciate the effort to clean up the forums, but I have no clue as to why Blizzard thinks it will work.

Ask yourself a quick question. What is the difference between posting under your avatar or under your real name? Are you really giving up any anything by giving up the anonymity of posting under your avatar?

I don't think you are. Anonymity isn't the reason why people can post almost anything they want on the internet. What gives us the freedom to post what ever we want is the lack of consequences. From that perspective, for most people it won't matter if they post under the name TyphoonTurkey or Tim Johnson, because it is highly unlikely that anything extra would happen to Tim Johnson that wouldn't happen to TyphoonTurkey if he got in to a flame war. His mom is still unlikely to find the post and ground him. His wife is still unlikely to get mad it him. It's not like he is more likely to get fired from his job as a result of posting. Heck, they are still unlikely to get in trouble with their guilds because you don't have to attach your toon name to your RealID.

The fact of the matter is that this will have little impact on trolling, because real consequences still will not exist for the trolls.

Myth #2 - The WoW forums are bad because of Trolls:

The official forums aren't cluttered because of trolls. There cluttered because of the shear quantity of the people who post and because some people can't do a little research before posting a stupid question like "What's the Moonkin Hit Cap?"

Think about it. RealID is not going to make anyone read a sticky. RealID is not going to give anyone spec or gear tips. RealID is not going to prevent people from starting a new topic when there are already 3 active.

There are so many people who play this game and want to express their opinion that the forums are bound to have a high quantity posts even if you eliminated all of the trolls. In which case it will still be very difficult to identify the quality posts without the post rating system. However, you don't need RealID for a post rating system to function.

The Real Impact:

None of this to say that this change will have no impact. It will have an impact. Just not the intended one.

It's important to remember that we live in an age where information is fairly easy to obtain if you have a little to start with. Knowing two pieces of a puzzle will help you find the third. Having the third will help you find the fourth and fifth pieces, and so on.

Now think about what you know about your guildies. These are people who we play with and talk to for potentially hours every week. In this type of environment we are going to let small bits of information about ourselves out. What city or state do we live in. What type of job we have. What our general age is. Do we have a family.

These are all very general bits of information, and by themselves are fairly harmless, but what if you know someone's name? Then they become ways to filter the abundance of information available on the internet. All of a sudden, observant guildies or other acquaintances are able to locate us if we want to participate in the forums.

This isn't to say there is going to be an outbreak of Stalkers when this goes live. I have heard several stories of resourceful players using the available information to locate other players, and showing up on their door steps uninvited, but I am sure these are the extreme exceptions rather then the norm. I also believe that most of the people who go to this extreme are fairly harmless Zaboos, and you can't blame Blizzard for the actions of it's players. However, it would be irresponsible to ignore the possibility of tragic results (1,2). The risk must be evaluated against the reward, and as I said above I highly doubt Blizzard will achieve the results they desire. Therefore the reward is not worth the risk in my opinion.

Blizzards Reply:

I know that Blizzard is not stupid. I'm sure that they have thought of most of these issues ahead of time, and that is why I am not surprised by their canned response.
The forums have always been an optional extra -- something you can choose to participate in if you wish to. (src)
Second Class Citizens: Of course, participating in the forums is optional, but should that mean our opinions are less important if we choose not to compromise our privacy? That is one of the (likely) unintended meanings of their statement above.

I think most of us would agree that the WoW forum is probably the best place to express an opinion if you want it to be read, and it is the only place to discuss the game if you want to have any chance at a discussion with a Blizzard employee. Yes, there are other ways to provide feedback to Blizzard. I'm lucky in that I have a well read blog that I know at the very least has been on Blizzard's radar in the past. I am also sure that Blizzard does fall other sites like the Elitist Jerks and MMO Champion. However, I think it is also safe to assume that they do not follow these other sources of information as well as they follow their own site. It's also safe to assume that they don't post or comment on any of these sites as Blizzard employees. Therefore, the players who choose to maintain their privacy will be locked out of part of the discussion and are less likely to have their voices heard.

Technical Issues: What about technical issues? I had a problem about 2 years ago where my computer kept locking up every 15minutes to an hour while I was playing WoW. I looked for answers in several different places on the internet, but the WoW forums was easily the most helpful and where I ultimately found the answer. This change means I can't do that kind of research if I want to protect my privacy. Sure I can call Blizzard for technical support, but that isn't really a good use of resources and it's not like I can post error reports over the phone.

The Strange Part: That isn't the strange part about this response though. If you go back to the original block quote I posted above you will see that the main reason for the change is so that Blizzard can "promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before." They are basically saying "we want to create a community, but if you don't like how we are doing it then don't be a part of it." To me this seems very contradictory. I can understand wanting to exclude the trolls, flamers, and the generally unhelpful, but with this they will also be excluding very helpful posters as well.


I completely agree that the WoW forums are cluttered with junk. It is very difficult to fine the good posts while sorting through all of the useless junk. Therefore I applaud the intent to clean up the forums. However, what they've proposed will do little to change the current situation of the forums.

Most people think the anonymity of the internet is what allows people to act like idiots, when in reality it is the lack of consequences. Forcing us to post under our real names isn't going to add consequences all of a sudden, especially when we are not forced to tie our real names to a specific toon. Therefore our real names aren't all that different from the level one alts that currently exist. You still don't know what guild I'm in, and you still can't do anything to me unless you want to find out where I live and come stab me.

I also disagree with the premise that Trolls are what is making the WoW forum suck. The fact of the matter is that this game has over 11 million players. Even if only 10% of those people post that is a lot of posts. A majority of the people who post are not trolls, but uninformed people who do not read the stickies or other threads and clutter the forums with new threads and useless posts. When you have 11million people playing the game that is inevitable.

Ultimately Blizzard needs to evaluate the risk of posting our real names versus the reward of doing so. While stalkings and violence as a result of this change will probably be extremely rare, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is a very real risk. Since I don't see how the change will result the intended reward of better forums, it is clear to me that the risk in this case is clearly not worth the reward since the reward does not exist.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Moonkin Raiding Gear: Ruby Sanctum

With the addition of the Ruby Sanctum this is probably the final list I will create until the expansion is released. Not a lot has changed from the ICC list. Please read over the sections below before looking at the lists. The comments I make here should answer a lot of the questions you may have.

Special Thanks:
Once again Cowtarus on Stormscale-US helped me out in producing this list. He did all of the data entry for the ICC gear saving me a lot of time and sanity. So if you appreciate the existence of this list please send him thanks as well. I know I appreciate it.

A few comments:
  1. This list is a tool, not a blue print for how to gear. I’ve never intended these lists to be the definitive guide on how to gear a raiding moonkin. I don’t want to see any comments anywhere that say “item X is the best because it’s ranked number one on Graylo’s list.”

  2. The use of this list requires some thought. It is a general ranking intended to give you an idea on how items relate to each other.

    Please realize that these values are estimates based upon my gear level. Two items with a similar value, can be assumed to be relatively equal. Also, realize that if you are at a different gear level then me, you may value the stats differently. I highly suggest you look at this post to determine how you value stats and weigh your options accordingly.

  3. It is up to you to manage your Hit, Haste, and Crit caps. Do not take every number one item on the list.

  4. PvP gear is by definition not good PvE gear for moonkin. So no, I will not put PvP item X on the list. By the same token, I will not include any item that has a mana regen component because it is Healing gear. So no, I will not include Purified Lunar Dust on the list.

    None of this is to say you can't or shouldn't use these items in your own set depending on your situation. However, I refuse to compile the list for every potential situation. If you want to know where item X would fall, figure it out yourself. I've given you the stat weights below.

  5. These rankings are purely based upon DPS. Yes, Stamina and mana regen have value, but there is no way to directly translate them into DPS. By the same token Intelligence and Spirit have both mana and DPS benefits, but only the DPS is considered.

  6. Procs are particularly hard to quantify. Trinkets and other items that have procs or on use abilities are estimated in the list. However, it is likely that some of them are wrong given that we know very little about some of the procs. I will update them if I can, but I make no guarentees.

  7. Names: The list will only include the Alliance names for the ToC gear. I apologize if anyone has a huge problem with that, but you’re going to have to deal with it. I will not be producing a separate Horde list. At this point in time you should already know what gear you want out of ToC and ToGC. If you don’t, the old lists should be ok for helping you find the available gear.

  1. To rank these items I used the following weights Hit Rating - 2.5245, Spell Power - 1, Haste Rating - 0.7849, Crit Rating - 0.6922. These are the weights that WrathCalcs spit out for Graylo. It assumes you are over both the haste cap and the crit cap, and a gear level around a full set of 264 ilevel.

  2. I assume that all socket bonus will be met using Eqic quality gems. This is how I socket each gem: Meta = [Chaotic Skyflare Diamond], Red = [Runed Cardinal Ruby], Yellow = [Reckless Ametrine], Blue = [Purified Dreadstone]. Yes, ignoring socket bonus will improve some of the items. However, the shifts would be small and it's easier manage this way.
A Comment on Going Off Set:
We all know that the primary reason for using our Tier Sets in the past has been for the set bonuses. They have always been good enough for us to ignore poor itemization. However, you only need 4 peices to complete the set. So, in the past we have always been able to pick a slot that is poorly itemized and find a better itemized not tier piece to up grade our gear but still have the Tier bonuses.

I don't think this situation holds for ICC. It depended on some of our gear to be poorly itemized, but the entire T10 gear set is very well itemized. Finding an upgrade out side of the tier set is much more difficult this time around. Most people say that they want to drop one of the hit pieces for something without hit, but even then you're causing yourself to lose DPS stats some where else. In the end, I'm infavor of using all 5 tier pieces, because the gain for going off set in tier 10 is very small if it exists at all. That is just my opinion though.

Ranking Legend:
Black - DPS stat ranking
Red - DPS stat ranking minus Hit rating


Leather of Stitched Scourge Parts (H) Festergut - 25H423.5423.5
Kilt of Untreated Wounds (H) Festergut - 10H422.7422.7
Leggings of Woven Death Crafting419.3419.3
Plaguebringer's Stained Pants (H) Festergut - 25H659.1396.6
Legwraps of the Awakening Anubarak 25 - H396396
Leggings of the Refracted Mind (H) Valithria - 10H388388
Sanctified Lasherweave Trousers (H) 95 EoF + Conq Mark + H650.2382.6
Kilt of Untreated Wounds Festergut - 10377.6377.6
Legwraps of Unleashed Nature Crafting373.7373.7
Leggings of Unrelenting Blood (H) Saurfang - 10H372.3372.3
Lightweave Leggings Crafting370.9370.9
Leather of Stitched Scourge Parts Festergut - 25358.8358.8
Leggings of the Soothing Touch Jaraxxus 25 - H357.3357.3
Leggings of the Refracted Mind Valithria - 10348.3348.3
Legwraps of the Awakening Anubarak 25346.7346.7
Plaguebringer's Stained Pants Festergut - 25591343.6
Sanctified Lasherweave Trousers 95 EoF + Conq Mark 575342.8
Leggings of Unrelenting Blood Saurfang - 10331.5331.5
Leggings of the Deepening Void Anubarak 25 - H559.5322.2
Leggings of the Demonic Messenger Jaraxxus 10 - H308.1308.1
Lasherweave Trousers 95 EoF509307.1
Leggings of the Soothing Touch Jaraxxus 25305.6305.6
Leggings of the Deepening Void Anubarak 25488.6281.6
Malfurion's Trousers of Triumph - H 1 RotGV536.3278.8
Leggings of the Demonic Messenger Jaraxxus 10258258
Malfurion's Trousers of Triumph 75 EoT + 1 ToC477249.8
Malfurion's Trousers of Conquest 50 EoT426.1224.2

There will be some debate on what is best from this slot. As I said before I prefer the Tier pieces. If you are able to get the Heroic legs and are a Night Elf then this gives you a really easy way to get hit capped. Even if you can only get the 264 ilevel set, Night Elfs can easily hit cap with a couple of Vieled gems. Others will say that the Crafted legs are best, because they are very well itemized. However, they do not have a heroic equivalent, and it forces you to pick up the hit else where.


Sanctified Lasherweave Cover (H) 95 EoF + Conq Mark + H581.8581.8
Sanctified Lasherweave Cover 95 EoF + Conq Mark 530.9530.9
Corp'rethar Ceremonial Crown (H) Gunship - 25H528.2528.2
Helm of the Elder Moon (H) Rotface - 25H528.2528.2
Cowl of Malefic Repose (H) Queen Lanathel - 10H524.8524.8
Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl (H) Saurfang - 10H490.5490.5
Lasherweave Cover 95 EoF485.9485.9
Helm of the Elder Moon Rotface - 25483.7483.7
Corp'rethar Ceremonial Crown Gunship - 25483.7483.7
Sister Svalna's Spangenhelm (H) Valithria - 10H482.4482.4
Cowl of Malefic Repose Queen Lanathel - 10479.7479.7
Stormrage Crown Onyxia25479.2479.2
Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl Saurfang - 10449.6449.6
Sister Svalna's Spangenhelm Valithria - 10446.8446.8
Stormrage Antlers Onyxia10441441
Helm of Abundant Growth 75 EoT433.4433.4
Malfurion's Cover of Triumph - H 1 RotGV669.5432.2
Stormrage Cover Onyxia25427.5427.5
Helm of Clouded Sight 75 EoT423.7423.7
Helm of the Snowy Grotto Twin Valkyrs 10 - H423.1423.1
Hood of Fiery Aftermath 75 EoT594.4407.6
Malfurion's Cover of Triumph 75 EoT + 1 ToC605.9398.9
Stormrage Hood Onyxia10395.2395.2
Helm of the Snowy Grotto Twin Valkyrs 10390.9390.9
Malfurion's Cover of Conquest 50 EoT551.5369.8

The tier helms are a clear choice again. I don't think anyone will debate that.


Sanctified Lasherweave Mantle (H) 60 EoF + Conq Mark + H344.1344.1
Shoulders of Frost-Tipped Thorns (H) Blood Princess - 25H317.7317.7
Sanctified Lasherweave Mantle 60 EoF + Conq Mark 307.2307.2
Shoulders of Mercy Killing (H) Deathwhisper - 25H482.3295.5
Shoulderpads of the Searing Kiss (H) Queen Lanathel - 10H278.2278.2
Shoulders of Frost-Tipped Thorns Blood Princess - 25275.6275.6
Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads Trash - 25275.2275.2
Lasherweave Mantle 60 EoF273.6273.6
Bloodstained Surgeon's Shoulderguards (H) Festergut - 10H266.9266.9
Shoulders of Ruinous Senility (H) Putricide - 10H465.6263.7
Shoulderpads of the Glacial Wilds Northrend Beasts 10 - H258.2258.2
Malfurion's Mantle of Triumph - H 1 RotGV254.5254.5
Shoulders of Mercy Killing Deathwhisper - 25432.2250.4
Shoulderpads of the Searing Kiss Queen Lanathel - 10246.2246.2
Shoulders of Ruinous Senility Putricide - 10378.3239.5
Bloodstained Surgeon's Shoulderguards Festergut - 10237.7237.7
Shoulderpads of the Glacial Wilds Northrend Beasts 10229.2229.2
Pauldrons of Revered Mortality 45 EoT227.7227.7
Shoulders of the Fateful Accord 45 EoT226.8226.8
Malfurion's Mantle of Triumph 45 EoT + 1 ToC226.8226.8
Mantle of Catastrophic Emanation 45 EoT373.4204.2
Malfurion's Mantle of Conquest 30 EoT203.1203.1

Pretty much the same thing I said for the head slot.


Sanctified Lasherweave Vestment (H) 95 EoF + Conq Mark + H465.8465.8
Robes of Azure Downfall (H) Sindragosa - 10H425.9425.9
Sanguine Silk Robes (H) Blood Princes - 25H424.5424.5
Meteor Chaser's Raiment 95 EoF419.3419.3
Sanctified Lasherweave Vestment 95 EoF + Conq Mark 415415
Deathwhisper Chestpiece (H) Deathwhisper - 25H394.6394.6
Bloodsoul Raiment (H) Blood Princes - 10H394.4394.4
Robe of the Waking Nightmare (H) Valithria - 25H638.4391
Vestments of Spruce and Fir 95 EoF389.4389.4
Malfurion's Vestments of Triumph - H 1 RotGV389.4389.4
Ermine Coronation Robes 95 EoF379.4379.4
Chestguard of the Failed Experiment (H) Rotface - 10H375.9375.9
Sanguine Silk Robes Blood Princes - 25372.1372.1
Robes of Azure Downfall Sindragosa - 10371.7371.7
Deathwhisper Chestpiece Deathwhisper - 25363.6363.6
Flowing Vestments of Ascent Northrend Beasts 25 - H361.8361.8
Vestments of the Shattered Fellowship Faction Champs 25 - H358.2358.2
Merlin's Robe Pattern from 25man354354
Lasherweave Vestment 95 EoF351.2351.2
Robe of the Waking Nightmare Valithria - 25563.2351.1
Malfurion's Vestments of Triumph 75 EoT + 1 ToC346.7346.7
Bloodsoul Raiment Blood Princes - 10344.5344.5
Chestguard of the Failed Experiment Rotface - 10339.7339.7
Skyweaver Robes Twin Valkyrs 25 - H553.6336.5
Flowing Vestments of Ascent Northrend Beasts 25317.7317.7
Lunar Eclipse Chestguard Pattern from 25man316.5316.5
Royal Moonshroud Robe Pattern from 25man313.7313.7
Vestments of the Shattered Fellowship Faction Champs 25313.2313.2
Malfurion's Vestments of Conquest 50 EoT309.7309.7
Skyweaver Robes Twin Valkyrs 25493.1286.1
Vestments of the Sleepless Anubarak 10 - H513.3270.9
Vestments of the Sleepless Anubarak 10448.2231.1

The tier set’s itemization wins again.


Changeling Gloves (H) Halion 10H333.6333.6
Handguards of Winter's Respite (H) Marrowgar - 25H317.7317.7
San'layn Ritualist Gloves (H) Blood Princes - 25H317.3317.3
Gloves of False Gestures 60 EoF309.6309.6
Gloves of the Great Horned Owl 60 EoF299.5299.5
Changeling Gloves Halion 10297.3297.3
Gunship Captain's Mittens (H) Gunship - 25H482.3295.5
Gloves of the Lifeless Touch Anubarak 25 - H293.5293.5
Gloves of Broken Fingers (H) Rotface - 10H283.3283.3
Sanctified Lasherweave Gloves (H) 60 EoF + Conq Mark + H486.8279.8
San'layn Ritualist Gloves Blood Princes - 25279.1279.1
Handguards of Winter's Respite Marrowgar - 25275.6275.6
Gloves of Ambivalence 60 EoF275.2275.2
Icicle Shapers (H) Sindragosa - 10H271.7271.7
Malfurion's Gloves of Triumph - H 1 RotGV267.5267.5
Sister's Handshrouds (H) Deathwhisper - 10H456.2254.2
Gloves of the Lifeless Touch Anubarak 25252.3252.3
Sanctified Lasherweave Gloves 60 EoF + Conq Mark 432.4250.6
Gloves of Broken Fingers Rotface - 10250.6250.6
Gunship Captain's Mittens Gunship - 25432.2250.4
Icicle Shapers Sindragosa - 10246.3246.3
Malfurion's Gloves of Triumph 45 EoT + 1 ToC239239
Gloves of Looming Shadow Twin Valkyrs 10 - H364.3235.6
Sister's Handshrouds Deathwhisper - 10406.2226.9
Lasherweave Gloves 60 EoF383.2224.2
Malfurion's Gloves of Conquest 30 EoT214.7214.7
Gloves of Looming Shadow Twin Valkyrs 10324.7213.7

The Changeling Gloves from 10man Halion are very nice. I haven't explored to possibility fully but there may be a way to improve your overall stats by going off-tier in this slot and picking up the Hit you lose from another item. However, if that is possible, I think the gain will be small. Due to ilevel, the Changeling Gloves aren't a huge improvement over the tier Gloves. In my opinion they are not worth the effort of rearranging your hit.


Bracers of Fiery Night (H) Halion 25H280.1280.1
Phaseshifter's Bracers (H) Halion 25H276.2276.2
Bracers of Fiery Night Halion 25249249
Phaseshifter's Bracers Halion 25245.1245.1
Bracers of Eternal Dreaming (H) Valithria - 25H224.7224.7
Death Surgeon's Sleeves (H) Rotface - 25H224.7224.7
The Lady's Brittle Bracers (H) Deathwhisper - 25H346.6215.3
Ether-Soaked Bracers (H) Rotface - 10H301.5205.6
Bracers of Eternal Dreaming Valithria - 25200200
Death Surgeon's Sleeves Rotface - 25200200
Wrists of Septic Shock (H) Festergut - 10H199.1199.1
Bracers of the Autumn Willow Jaraxxus 25 - H197.5197.5
Bracers of Dark Blessings (H) Deathwhisper - 10H196.4196.4
Armbands of the Ashen Saint Anubarak 25 - H193.9193.9
The Lady's Brittle Bracers Deathwhisper - 25306.9193.3
Bejeweled Wizard's Bracers Pattern from 25man190.9190.9
Bindings of Dark Essence Twin Valkyrs 25 - H288.8180.2
Bracers of Dark Blessings Deathwhisper - 10174.8174.8
Moonshadow Armguards Pattern from 25man173173
Wrists of Septic Shock Festergut - 10170.2170.2
Felspark Bindings Jaraxxus 10 - H252.1168.8
Royal Moonshroud Bracers Pattern from 25man168.5168.5
Armbands of the Ashen Saint Anubarak 25167.3167.3
Bracers of the Autumn Willow Jaraxxus 25167.3167.3
Ether-Soaked Bracers Rotface - 10266.2165.3
Bindings of Dark Essence Twin Valkyrs 25247.3151.4
Felspark Bindings Jaraxxus 10227.7136.8

There weren't any good bracers in ICC, because they all had either Spirit or Hit Rating. The Ruby Sanctum has a couple of very nice Bracers though. Technically Bracers of Fiery Night are BiS since they favor Haste and have a Red socket. However, the Phaseshifter's Bracers are what you should shoot for. It's not worth fighting the Cloth vs Leather battle over such a minor difference, and it's also important to remember that the leather bracers will likely be better in Cataclysm while you level. This is not a fight worth fighting.


Crushing Coldwraith Belt (H) Marrowgar - 25H346.7346.7
Professor's Bloodied Smock (H) Putricide - 25H324.9324.9
Belt of Petrified Ivy 60 EoF312.7312.7
Lingering Illness (H) Festergut - 25H310.9310.9
Crushing Coldwraith Belt Marrowgar - 25309.7309.7
Cauterized Cord (H) Putricide - 10H309309
Circle of Ossus 60 EoF287287
Misbegotten Belt (H) Halion 10H434.2285.3
Professor's Bloodied Smock Putricide - 25284.5284.5
Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner (H) Marrowgar - 10H281.6281.6
Lingering Illness Festergut - 25278.3278.3
Cauterized Cord Putricide - 10275.6275.6
Cord of Pale Thorns Twin Valkyrs 25 - H269.5269.5
Cord of Dark Suffering (H) Gunship - 10H265.7265.7
Cord of the Tenebrous Mist Northrend Beasts 25 - H265265
Belt of Omission 60 EoF419.6258
Misbegotten Belt Halion 10382.3256
Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner Marrowgar - 10250.8250.8
Cord of Biting Cold Faction Champs 25 - H389.3242.9
Cord of Dark Suffering Gunship - 10241.2241.2
Cord of Pale Thorns Twin Valkyrs 25232.2232.2
Cord of the Tenebrous Mist Northrend Beasts 25227.7227.7
Belt of the Winter Solstice Jaraxxus 10 - H225.8225.8
Icehowl Cinch Northrend Beasts 10 - H378.8224.8
Cinch of the Undying Anubarak 10 - H224.1224.1
Cord of Biting Cold Faction Champs 25344.4215.6
Cinch of the Undying Anubarak 10200.1200.1
Belt of the Winter Solstice Jaraxxus 10199.8199.8
Icehowl Cinch Northrend Beasts 10334.1190.2

The 10man version of Halion drops a cloth Hit belt, but I think you are unlikely to want it. Crushing Cold Wraith Belt will likely remain BiS until the Expansion because there is not a leather option at the same ilevel. Belt of Petrified Ivy if best if you are not doing ICC hard modes.


Plague Scientist's Boots (H) Festergut - 25H346.7346.7
Boots of Unnatural Growth (H) Gunship - 25H316.5316.5
Plague Scientist's Boots Festergut - 25309.7309.7
Boots of the Frozen Seed (H) Deathwhisper - 10H307.5307.5
Boots of Unnatural Growth Gunship - 25284.7284.7
Blessed Cenarion Boots Crafting284.7284.7
Boots of the Mourning Widow Faction Champs 25 - H281.3281.3
Sandals of Consecration Crafting275.2275.2
Boots of the Frozen Seed Deathwhisper - 10273.9273.9
Pale Corpse Boots (H) Blood Princes - 10H271.4271.4
Boots of the Unrelenting Storm Northrend Beasts 25 - H266.5266.5
Icecrown Spire Sandals (H) Saurfang - 10H395.3259
Deathfrost Boots Crafting419.6258
Footpads of the Icy Floe Anubarak 25 - H403.5252
Pale Corpse Boots Blood Princes - 10239.9239.9
Icecrown Spire Sandals Saurfang - 10348231.9
Boots of the Unrelenting Storm Northrend Beasts 25229.6229.6
Boots of the Mourning Widow Faction Champs 25227.7227.7
Sandals of the Silver Magus Faction Champs 10 - H346.3227.7
Boots of the Grieving Soul Twin Valkyrs 10 - H226.9226.9
Footpads of the Icy Floe Anubarak 25360.4211.5
Sandals of the Silver Magus Faction Champs 10294.4193.4
Boots of the Grieving Soul Twin Valkyrs 10192.9192.9

The Plague Scientist's Boots are the best boots available, but Boots of Unnatural Growth and Boots of the Frozen Seed are ver nice as well. You will ultimately want the cloth boots, but keep an eye out for the leather ones because they are likely easier to get.


Cloak of Burning Dusk (H) Halion 25H280.1280.1
Frostbinder's Shredded Cape (H) Valithria - 25H258.9258.9
Jaina's Radiance Tribute Chest 25 - H251.1251.1
Cloak of Burning Dusk Halion 25249249
Frostbinder's Shredded Cape Valithria - 25230.6230.6
Greatcloak of the Turned Champion (H) Saurfang - 25H230.3230.3
Bolvar's Devotion Tribute Chest 25 - H228228
Drape of Bitter Incantation Tribute Chest 10 - H221.8221.8
Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky 50 EoF204.5204.5
Shawl of Fervent Crusader Tribute Chest 10 - H201.6201.6
Greatcloak of the Turned Champion Saurfang - 25199.7199.7
Shawl of the Refreshing Winds Northrend Beasts 25 - H198.4198.4
Lich Wrappings (H) Valithria - 10H318.2186.9
Cloak of Displacement Faction Champs 25 - H309.2185.5
Lich Wrappings Valithria - 10285.8172.2
Flowing Sapphiron Drape Onyxia25171.8171.8
Shawl of the Refreshing Winds Northrend Beasts 25167.3167.3
Cloak of Displacement Faction Champs 25276.7150.5
Fluttering Sapphiron Drape Onyxia10150.4150.4

The Cloak of Burning Dusk out of Ruby Sanctum is excellent and BiS if you can complete the Hard Mode. The Frostbinder's Shredded Cape is also very nice from ICC.


Blood Queen's Crimson Choker (H) Queen Lanathel - 25H256.8256.8
Bone Sentinel's Amulet (H) Marrowgar - 25H230.3230.3
Soulcleave Pendant (H) Saurfang - 10H229.7229.7
Blood Queen's Crimson Choker Queen Lanathel - 25229.4229.4
Amulet of the Silent Eulogy (H) Gunship - 25H369.6218.1
Wail of the Val'kyr Twin Valkyrs 25 - H214214
Soulcleave Pendant Saurfang - 10205.1205.1
Bone Sentinel's Amulet Marrowgar - 25204.8204.8
Amulet of the Silent Eulogy Gunship - 25326.7195.4
Pendant of Split Veins (H) Putricide - 10H316.2185
Wail of the Val'kyr Twin Valkyrs 25181.2181.2
Pendant of Split Veins Putricide - 10273.7160.1
Darkbane Pendant Twin Valkyrs 10 - H261.2155.1
Darkbane Pendant Twin Valkyrs 10228.2137.3

The Heroic Blood Queen's Crimson Choker is clearly the best option. The normal version is basically tied for #2, and it's even BoE so you may be able to find it on your Auction House but I wouldn't expect it. These are clearly the best necks for a lot of classes, and there will be a fight for it. If you’re running the 10mans, the Soulcleave Pendant is very nice, or you may want to consider picking up one of the multiple spirit necks if you can do so cheaply.


Charred Twilight Scale (H) Halion 25H359.4359.4
Dislodged Foreign Object (H) Rotface - 25H355.4355.4
Phylactery of the Nameless Lich (H) Sindragosa - 25H349.1349.1
Reign of the Unliving Anubarak 25 - H331331
Charred Twilight Scale Halion 25318.9318.9
Dislodged Foreign Object Rotface - 25314.7314.7
Phylactery of the Nameless Lich Sindragosa - 25310.2310.2
Muradin's Spyglass (H) Gunship - 10H305.2305.2
Reign of the Unliving Anubarak 25295295
Muradin's Spyglass Gunship - 10270.7270.7
Flare of the Heavens General Vezax25 H224.7224.7
Illustration of the Dragon Soul Sartharion25 200200
Eye of the Broodmother Razorscale10 185.2185.2
Scales of Fates Thorim25 181.5181.5
Pandora's Plea Mimiron25 175.4175.4
Solace of the Defeated Jaraxxus 25 - H168168
Abyssal Rune Eadric's Cache165.9165.9
Sundial of the Exiled 40 EoH 165.5165.5
Nevermelting Ice Crystal Tyrannus - H 5man152.5152.5
Shiny Shard of the Flame # Onyxia25150150
Shiny Shard of the Scale # Onyxia25150150
Solace of the Defeated Jaraxxus 25150150
Talisman of Resurgence 50 EoT149.1149.1
Talisman of Volatile Power Faction Champs 10 - H136.7136.7
Purified Shard of the Flame # Onyxia10134134
Purified Shard of the Scale # Onyxia10134134
Talisman of Volatile Power Faction Champs 10120.5120.5
Maghia's Misguided Quill 60 EoF503.7120
Elemental Focus Stone Auriaya10 359.687
Living Flame Razorscale25 354.184
Shard of the Crystal Heart 50 EoT388.365.1

Trinkets are very hard to value. There are still a few unknowns with the Charred Twilight Scale, but based upon past experiance we can make some good guesses. I've assumed a 45 sec Internal Cooldown and a 10% proc rate, which if probably the base value for this trinket. As you can see it if fairly equivalent to DFO and PotNL if my assumptions are correct. That makes me a little disappointed given it's ilevel I expected it to be better, but what can you do.

# The value of the Onyxia trinkets is the value of the set divided by 2. If you do not have the set, these trinkets are virtually worthless in terms of DPS. On top of that I don't have any hard numbers on the damage proc. I assumed the DoT has a 25% uptime.


Ring of Rapid Ascent (H) Gunship - 25H254.4254.4
Memory of Malygos (H) Sindragosa - 25H234.7234.7
Ashen Band of Endless Destruction Ashen Verdict Exalted362.8234.1
Cerise Coiled Ring (H) Blood Princes - 10H230.4230.4
Ring of Maddening Whispers (H) Deathwhisper - 25H229.2229.2
Ring of Rapid Ascent Gunship - 25226.2226.2
Valanar's Other Signet Ring (H) Blood princes - 25H332.6221.5
Loop of the Endless Labyrinth (H) Marrowgar - 25H342.1210.8
Ashen Band of Unmatched Destruction Ashen Verdict Revered336.2210
Memory of Malygos Sindragosa - 25209.3209.3
Cerise Coiled Ring Blood Princes - 10200.1200.1
Band of Deplorable Violence Anubarak 25 - H194.3194.3
Ring of Maddening Whispers Deathwhisper - 25194.2194.2
Runed Signet of the Kirin Tor 10,750 Gold193.8193.8
Loop of the Endless Labyrinth Marrowgar - 25302.4188.8
Valanar's Other Signet Ring Blood princes - 25302.7186.6
Ashen Band of Greater Destruction Ashen Verdict Honored301.2175
Band of the Invoker 35 EoT167.3167.3
Band of Deplorable Violence Anubarak 25163.4163.4
Ashen Band of Destruction Ashen Verdict Friendly280.8162.1
Polished Dragonslayer's Signet Onyxia Head159.3159.3
Firestorm Ring Jaraxxus 10 - H294.8153.5
Firestorm Ring Jaraxxus 10249.1122.9

I feel like half of this choice was made for us with the introduction of the Rep rings. It sucks to some extent because I hate having to pick up Hit or Mp5, but it is also clear that these rings are pretty awesome. They have a gem socket, an awesome proc, and they are relatively easy to get.

For the second ring it’s pretty clear that the Ring of Rapid Ascent is the best choice. It’s the only ring without Spirit or Hit rating on it.

Off Hand:

Shadow Silk Spindle (H) Blood Princes - 25H249.3249.3
Sundial of Eternal Dusk (H) Sindragosa - 25H225.2225.2
Shadow Silk Spindle Blood Princes - 25221.1221.1
Sundial of Eternal Dusk Sindragosa - 25199.7199.7
Chalice of Searing Light Twin Valkyrs 25 - H183.6183.6
Scourgelord's Baton (H) Deathwhisper - 10H346.7182.6
Chalice of Benedictus Twin Valkyrs 10 - H274.5166
Symbol of Transgression Jaraxxus 25 - H308.3164.4
Chalice of Searing Light Twin Valkyrs 25162.7162.7
Scourgelord's Baton Deathwhisper - 10293.8149.9
Chalice of Benedictus Twin Valkyrs 10241147.6
Symbol of Transgression Jaraxxus 25272.1145.8
Antediluvian Cornerstone Grimoire Onyxia25115.8115.8
Antique Cornerstone Grimoire Onyxia1099.399.3

A MH/OH combo is clearly a better choice if you have access to Arthas weapons. Therefore, going after the Shadow Silk Spindle should be a priority. However, a case can be made for Nibelung, and you may be dening a great offhand to another raider without upgrading yourself much. Be careful how you make this choice.

Main Hand:

Royal Scepter of Terenas II (H) Lich King - 25H1058.41058.4
Frozen Bonespike (H) Marrowgar -25941.9941.9
Tel'thas, Dagger of the Blood King (H) Lich King - 10H936.3936.3
Royal Scepter of Terenas II (H) Lich King - 25912.3912.3
Frozen Bonespike Marrowgar -25827.4827.4
Bleak Coldarra Carver (H) Sindragosa - 10H998.4824.2
Tel'thas, Dagger of the Blood King Lich King - 10812.2812.2
Misery's End Anubarak 25 - H808.6808.6
Blade of Terasque Northrend Beasts 25 - H910.8782
Hammer of Purified Flame 5man Quests763.3763.3
Heartcrusher Tribute Chest 10 - H738.5738.5
Blade of the Silver Disciple Faction Champs 10 - H736.7736.7
Misery's End Anubarak 25715.8715.8
Bleak Coldarra Carver Sindragosa - 10866.9712.9
Blade of Terasque Northrend Beasts 25802.4688.8
Blade of the Silver Disciple Faction Champs 10655.2655.2

The Arthas weapons are awesome, but that fight is not a push over. Expect a lot of competition. The Frozen Bonespike is the only good MH option that doesn't drop off of Arthas if you are ignoring the staff options.

Two Handed Weapon:

Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas (H) Lich King - 25H1206.11206.1
Nibelung (H) Deathwhisper - 25H1153.31153.3
Halion, Staff of Forgotten Love (H) Lich King - 10H1153.31153.3
Dying Light (H) Queen Lanathel - 25H1136.61136.6
Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas (H) Lich King - 251096.41096.4
Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff (H) Saurfang - 10H1024.91024.9
Nibelung Deathwhisper - 251013.41013.4
Halion, Staff of Forgotten Love Lich King - 101006.51006.5
Dying Light Queen Lanathel - 25997.7997.7
Abracadaver (H) Festergut - 10H1274.4994.1
Sister Svalna's Aether Staff (H) Valithria - 10H1342.3963.6
Clemency Tribute Chest 25 - H939.8939.8
Enlightenment Twin Valkyrs 10 - H916.1916.1
Cold Convergence Anubarak 10 - H898.2898.2
Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff Saurfang - 10866.2866.2
Abracadaver Festergut - 101090.5835.5
Enlightenment Twin Valkyrs 10806.2806.2
Sister Svalna's Aether Staff Valithria - 101137.3794
Cold Convergence Anubarak 10785.5785.5

Obviously the Arthas staff is great, but it is difficult to get. We all know that most of the staff debate will center around Nibelung.

Let me put this up front. I am pro-Nibelung, but it is really hard to accurately model. The Val'kyr put out significant damage, but there will always be a little debate about their survivability. I haven't had a big problem with them dying. Their healing mechanic will even keep them up during BQL, but they are stupid. They will stand in fires and die. Therefore, eventhough the simulations say it is an upgrade for me, I have a hard time trusting them entirely.

That said, here is why I like Nibelung. Due to our scaling issues, Moonkin is just about the only spec that Nibelung is good for. Simulations say that it is it is at least equal to MH/OH combos of a similar item level. This means that we can get a decent weapon that no one else will want for very cheap. It's not ideal in the long run, but the other options will be significantly more difficult to obtain.

At this point you should only be thinking about two idols. The [Idol of Lunar Eclipse] is the best and it is purchasable with Emblems of Frost. However, you may be saving your Emblems for your Tier Set or another item. In such a case you should at least have the [Idol of Lunar Fury]. It is purchase able with Emblems of Triumph. Since it is incredibly easy to farm EoTs at the moment, using anything less then the Idol of Lunar Fury is pretty stupid.

Once again, as you can see there are a lot of links and values in this post. It is quite possible that some of them are incorrect. If you find an incorrect link or a valuation just doesn't look right, please let me know so that I can correct it.