Updated Thu, Oct 07, 2010 by Cyrak
Okay, playing a Moonkin in Cataclysm is going to be a bit different than usual. It's not much more complicated and the general idea behind the Eclipse mechanic hasn't changed but the UI underwent a big upgrade and Eclipses are now a lot more predictable than before.
Here's how you play it: in the top left area of the screen underneath your player unitframe there's an 'Eclipse gauge'. Using Wrath will push you towards a Lunar Eclipse where your Starfire gains a bonus and likewise using Starfire will push the gauge toward a Solar Eclipse where you gain a benefit for using Wrath.
Once you've triggered an Eclipse of a certain type you're not going to be able to activate that type of Eclipse again until you've cycled all the way through the bar and triggered the other one. So if you gain the Lunar Eclipse effect if you want to get it again you'll need to first get a Solar Eclipse.
The Eclipse bar will show you a numberic value out of 100 if you drag your mouse over it and will give you an idea of how close you are to getting an Eclipse -- there's also a tiny arrow on the bar that shows your progress. Once you trigger the Eclipse one of Blizzard's nifty new "Aura" graphics will pop up looking like either a sun over your right hand shoulder or a moon over your left. When you see that you'll know it's time to start pushing the bar in the other direction!
Here's a brief video of me messing around on the Beta. It should give everyone a decent idea of how the new Moonkin system works. As you'll see it's not complicated at all. In addition to watching the bar in the top left and the special aura graphics, keep your eyes on the action bar -- when Eclipse triggers the spell that you're going to want to use will light up with a glowing yellow border.
Solar Beam – You summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target’s location, interrupting the enemy target and silencing all enemy targets under the beam within 5 yards while it is active. Solar beam lasts 10 sec.
Pulverize – Deals 120% weapon damage plus additional 485 damage for each of your Lacerate applications on the target, and increases your melee critical strike chance by 3% for every Lacerate application consumed for 10 sec.
Tree of Life – Shapeshift into the tree of life, increasing healing done by 15% and armor by 120%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarily enhanced while shapeshifted. Lasts 30 sec, 3 min cooldown.
Starlight Wrath – Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire Spells by 0.2 sec per point. (3 points)
Euphoria – While not in an Eclipse state, you have a 12% chance per point to double the Solar or Lunar energy generated by your Wrath of Starfire when they deal Damage. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 6%/12% of your total mana. (2 points)
Lunar Shower – When you cast Moonfire, you gain Lunar Shower. Lunar Shower increases the damage done by your Moonfire by 2% per point and reduces the mana cost by 10% per point. This effect is refreshed and amplified when you move, stacking up to 3 times. Effect lasts for 3 sec. (3 points)
Fungal Growth – When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 35% per point. Lasts 10 sec. (2 points)
Fury Swipes – When you auto-attack while in Cat form or Bear form, you have a 5% chance to cause a Fury Swipe dealing 200% weapon damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 sec. (3 points)
Endless Carnage – Increases the duration of your Rake, Savage Roar, and Pulverize by 4 sec per point. (2 points)
Primal Madness – Tiger’s Fury and Berserk also increase your current and maximum energy by 10 per point during their durations and your Enrage and Berserk abilities instantly generate 6 rage per point. (2 points)
Blood in the Water – Formerly known as "Nom Nom Nom," which was a far better name in this writer's opinion. When you Ferocious Bite a target at or below 25% health you have a 50% chance per point to instantly refresh the duration of your Rip on the target. (2 points)
Blessing of the Grove – Increases the healing done by your Rejuvenation by 2% per point, the direct damage of your Moonfire by 3% per point. (2 points)
Efflorescence – When you heal with your Swiftmend spell you also sprout a bed of healing flora underneath the target, healing all nearby friendly units within 8 yards for 20% per talent point of the amount healed by your Swiftmend over 7 sec. (3 points)
Perseverance – Reduces all spell damage taken by 2% per point. (3 points)
Fury of Stormrage – Reduces the mana cost of your Wrath spell by 50% per point, and when you deal damage with your Wrath spell you have a 6% chance per point to cause your next Starfire to be instant cast within 8 sec. (2 points)
Druids have always been bar-none the most complex class in WoW to balance. There is no other class that can play all four roles that the game offers; Tanking, Healing, Ranged DPS and Melee DPS. As such, Druids are a nightmare to balance.
Balance Druids got the most attention in Cataclysm, which is likely deserved as they have been deemed sub-par for years now. With their new solar energy system they will have some interesting new mechanics to watch and have been compensated with talents to back them up. Solar Beam is the Moonkin’s new killer move. A 10 second silence that affects an area on the ground and is cast instantly, this move could be paired with a 10 second Entangling Root spell for devastating effect on a caster (particularly a healer) leaving them unable to act for a full 10 seconds. On this ability alone, Balance Druids may make a PvP comeback in a big way. The rest of the tree remained fairly intact with a few new abilities to bump damage or help out with solar energy management. The new ‘exploding mushrooms’ spell will be a big part of the class, and giving it a powerful snare component talented will give the Balance Druid the snare that they have been clamoring for for the better part of 3 years.
Feral Druids have been one of the stronger hybrid specs for the majority of WoTLK, and as such didn’t really need a lot of love. Aside from getting a baseline interrupt for cat form, there wasn’t much in the way of needed utility for the spec. Pulverize is a cute ability that plays on the same DoT consumption for damage and a buff that Envenom currently employs. All in all, there’s no reason to believe that Feral DPS won’t be top tier unless they are badly hurt by the removal of Armor Penetration. Druid tanks will remain in high demand in Cataclysm due to their obscene hitpoint scaling and high armor and although they didn’t receive much in the way of new abilities, they really didn’t need them.
The changes made to Restoration are curious and somewhat disappointing, particularly for Druids that PvP. Off the top due to the changes to Gift of the Earthmother and Celestial Focus, Resto Druids will be losing 13% haste right out of the gate. HoTs that used to be castable on the Global Cooldown now feel sluggish, and direct heal cast time is likewise. There were several talents implemented that seem to push Druids in the direction of tank healing by giving benefits (such as refreshing Lifebloom or lowering the cooldown on Swiftmend) for casting direct heals. This playstyle, however, doesn’t really fit with the heal over time kings of raid healing. In an effort to remedy these problems Efflorescence has been changed for the better, and now that it works off Swiftmend it's getting a ton of use.
Improved Barkskin was also removed from the Restoration tree which paired with the change to tree form which made it a long cooldown will leave Resto Druids with very little in the way of defenses from physical damage. The tree feels like a significant downgrade from its current state, but we’re still in beta so don’t fret too much!