Lunar Guidance, Spells and Talents
Phaelia: This week, I bring you another fabulous guest post from Graylo of the Balance blog, Gray Matter. While some of the talents discussed here are more typically found in a Balance-oriented build, the analysis of their value is also relevant to a Restoration Druid and will no doubt come in handy with the release of dual-specs.
If you played a Balance Druid in vanilla WoW, you are very familiar with the term “Oomkin.” Our mana issues were so pervasive that this term survived through most of the Burning Crusade, even after most of our mana issues were fixed. In Wrath of the Lich King, our “Oomkin” days are far behind us, and anyone that uses the term is either uninformed or joking.
However, I still regularly receive question asking: How much mana regen do I need? Which talents are best? Can I give up Talent X to get more DPS talents? With that in mind I wanted to provide this little guide for Moonkin mana regen.
This talent reduces the mana cost of your primary DPS spells. Due to how it works it does not scale well relative to the other talents available. It does improve with haste, because more casting means you will be saving more mana, but the affect is small. This talent is best for people with an entry level of gear (i.e. Leveling gear, preraiding gear), but it quickly gets out classed by Dreamstate and Intensity as your Spirit and Intelligence levels increase. Moonglow is also best in fights with near constant DPS casting.
Note: You will see most Moonkin with at least one point in this talent because it is needed to get to the higher tiers of the Balance tree.
This talent increases your MP5 by 10% of your Intellect. Dreamstate scales very well with gear since almost all Moonkin gear will have Intellect on it, and we have other talents like Furor that increase our Intellect level. This talent continues to regenerate mana until your mana is full and shines in choppy fights that don’t allow for constant casting.
This talent allows 30% of your out of combat mana regen to continue while in combat. Intensity also scales very well with gear since your out of combat mana regen is based upon Spirit and Intellect. This talent shines in fights where there is near constant casting and few breaks where you will exit the 5-Second Rule.
Omen of Clarity
With this talent each of your spells has a chance to reduce the mana cost of your next spell by 100%. I haven’t been able to find a definitive description of how this talent works, but most sources agree on a few points. The proc rate is normalized based upon the casting speed of spells. Therefore it doesn’t favor faster spells like Wrath. The proc rate seems to be about 2 procs per minute.
Like Moonglow, this talent doesn’t scale well relative to the other talents, since the mana of each spell does not change. Some people suggest that you switch to a high mana spell when it does proc to maximize the benefit, but I recommend against it because you will loose DPS looking for the proc.
Omen of Clarity is best in fights where there is near constant casting because it can proc off of any ability (including making bandages). What makes this talent really nice though is that it costs just 1 talent point.
I don’t really think about this as a mana regen talent, but it should be listed. While in Moonkin Form a Druid has a chance to return 2% of total mana when they crit with a single target spell. Amazingly, I tended to get a majority of my mana regen from this talent even when I had all four of the other regen talents. The effect is huge, especially when you have crit -nhancing buffs like Improved Scorch.
From here on out I am going to ignore Moonkin Form because I assume that you have it. If there is such a thing as a Balance Druid without it then they are probably beyond help.
How much regen do I need?
This depend a lot on your group make up, but as a general rule you will need more regen as your group gets smaller and the fights get longer.
In 25-mans, I have absolutely no mana issues, and I have seen some high-end raiding Moonkin drop all of their mana regen talents without issue. In 10-mans, I have issues on the longer fights like Sarth-2D because my group doesn’t have a Mage, Shadow Priest or Ret Pally. In 5-mans I don’t have any issues because the fights are too short, but my experience may not be relevant to you. My gear level makes up for my low mana regen.
If your playstyle focuses on 5-mans and you don’t have a lot of gear, then you’re probably going to want as much regen as you can get. If you raid 10-man’s regularly, it’s going to depend on your group composition. If you regularly raid 25-mans, you probably have most of the buffs covered and can sacrifice some mana regen for some DPS talents. However, the best way to tell if you need more regen is if you’re consistently running out of mana on boss fights.
Ok, I need some regen, but which talents do I choose?
If you’ve looked around the various moonkin forums then you have probably seen this equation.
This equation was written with well-geared raiders in mind, but it is a pretty good guideline and fairly vague. Let’s see if I can put some numbers to it to explain it better.
Omen of Clarity
Numerically, this is a hard ability to nail down. It’s very random, you may get it but not use it, and it’s hard to determine which spell consumes it. To calculate its value I looked at several old WWS reports. Look at a couple of high-casting fights like Patchwerk and Razuvious, the proc rate does indeed seem to be about 2 times per minute but highly variable.
Next I tried to figure out what is the average mana cost of the spells I cast during a boss fight. Looking at the WWS report from the raid where I got the Undying achievement, I summed my total spell casts for a Naxx clear. (I know this is a 10-man instead of a 25-man. However, I don’t think my casting habits change much if at all from 10-mans to 25-mans.) I won’t give you the boring details but I cast a total of 1,326 during boss fights at an average mana cost of 458 per spell with one point in Moonglow.
Now, even though Omen of Clarity procs twice per minute on average, not all of those procs will be used and it is highly variable. So, to try and get a minimum value let’s assume that you only use Omen of Clarity one and a half times per minute.
We can get an MP5 equivalent by dividing the mana saved per minute by 12. Therefore the equivalent MP5 is equal to:
(458 * 1.5) / 12 = 57.40 MP5 equivalent (assuming one point in Moonglow)
This may not seem like much, but since it costs only one talent point, it is far ahead of what you would get by investing that point in Dreamstate or Intensity. Just for reference, if you invest a full 3 points into Moonglow, Omen of Clarity would be worth 54.10 MP5 equivalent under these conditions.
This talent was much easier to quantify, but it is very easy to present misleading information. If you look around the web, you may find a person or two that will indicate one point in Moonglow is equivalent to 45 – 50 MP5. Their numbers may be theoretically accurate, but here not practical because they are evaluating the talent under ideal circumstances. For Moonglow to reach those levels of mana savings, you have to be constantly casting with no breaks and no latency. In real life that isn’t going to happen.
So to accurately quantify the value of Moonglow, I will have to look at WWS reports again.
Looking at just the boss fights in my latest Naxx run I cast Starfire 488 times, Wrath 525 times, Moonfire 113 times, and Starfall ~10 times. All 15 boss fights took a total of 46 minutes and 6 seconds (2766 total seconds). For each spell cast I saved the following amount of mana:
Starfire: (3496 * 0.16) * 0.03 = 16.78
Wrath: (3496 * 0.11) * 0.03 = 11.54
Moonfire: (3496 * 0.24) * 0.03 = 25.17
Starfall: (3496 * 0.35) * 0.03 = 36.71
So, to get MP5 equivalent for the raid, you take the total mana saved and divide it by the time spent in combat times five.
MP5 Equivalent = (((488 * 16.78) + (525 * 11.54) + (113 + 25.17) + (10 * 36.71)) / 2766) * 5
MP5 Equivalent = ((8,189.03 + 6056.82 + 2844.35 + 367.08) / 2766) * 5
MP5 Equivalent = (17457.28 / 2766) * 5
MP5 Equivalent = 6.31 * 5 = 31.56 MP5
These numbers will vary from person to person and night to night, but I doubt it will vary much. In fact, I think my estimation of Moonglow’s value is a little high because I used Wrath a little too much.
This one is really easy to quantify. All you need is your total Intellect fully raid-buffed. To calculate it, look at your armory and get your unbuffed Int. Then add 60 for Arcane Intellect and 51 for Improved Mark of the Wild. Then multiply that value by 1.1 for Blessing of Kings, and by 1.1 again for Furor. For me the equation works out like this:
Total Intellect = (889 + 60 + 51) * 1.1 * 1.1 = 1210 Intellect
When you have your fully raid-buffed Intellect, you multiply that value by 0.04 to find the value of the first point, and 0.03 to find the value of the second and third point. So, for me Dreamstate is worth:
Dreamstate Point 1 = 1210 * 0.04 = 48.4 MP5
DreamstatePoint 2 & 3 = 1210 * 0.03 = 36.3 MP5
This one is a little more complicated to calculate. First, we need to find our out of combat mana regen. To do that we use this formula at level 80:
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + sqrt(Int) * Spirit * 0.005575 )
I’ve already showed you how to find your raid-buffed total Intellect. Finding your raid buffed Spirit is very similar. Look at your armory and get your unbuffed Spirit. Then add 80 for Divine Spirit and 51 for Improved Mark of the Wild. Then multiply that value by 1.1 for Blessing of Kings. For me the equation works out like this:
Total Spirit = (371 + 80 + 51) * 1.1 = 552 Spirit
So my out of combat mana regen is:
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + sqrt(1210) * 552 * 0.005575)
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + 34.79 * 552 * 0.005575)
MP5 = 5 * (0.001 + 34.79 * 552 * 0.005575) = 535 MP5
Therefore, to get the value of each talent point, we just multiply this by 10%. So for me, each point I put in Intensity is worth:
Intensity(1pt) = 535 * 0.10 = 53.5 MP5
The TL:DR Version
As a general rule you can currently use this priority when evaluating mana regen talents:
Please remember though that Omen of Clarity and Moonglow are very static since they are based primarily upon the spell’s mana cost. This means that they favor relatively low levels of gear, but will be outpaced by Intensity and Dreamstate as your gear improves.
That said, Omen of Clarity is still the best mana regen talent currently because it only costs one talent point. I do not expect this to persist until the end of Wrath of the Lich King because Intensity and Dreamstate will improve significantly in Tier 8 and Tier 9.