Boomkins and You - Playing a Caster Druid in World of Warcraft
A guide on how to talent, glyph, gear and play your Moonkin druid in World of Warcraft. Learn the ins and out of Eclipse and Moonfire and the fun you can have playing this interesting and unique take on caster dps.
Just What the Heck is a Boomkin?
Well, it's a space chicken, with laser beams. It's a Moonkin, with the armor of a tank and the ability to use the sky and solar power at your command. A ranged DPS class that brings a boatload of buffs to any raid or group and has a nice array of both DOT's and direct damage. You won't be able to cast your healing spells while in Moonkin form, but you can still decurse and remove poisons, both valuable dungeon crawling tools. Moonkins were often referred to as "OOMkins" for their propensity to be out-of-mana at any given time, but changes in WoW have made it so it's rather easy to keep the mana pool high at all times.
Battle Chicken Buffs
Like many "casters" in most MMORPGs, Moonkins are a ranged damage-dealing class. However, these birds from beyond bring a 5% raid-wide critical bonus to all spells - That includes heals, and you're whole raid is going to love you for this buff. Not only that, a Moonkin brings some great buffs that are hard to find anywhere else.
Improved Faerie Fire will cost you three talent points, but it will increase the chance to hit of everyone else attacking the target you cast it on by a nice 3% - This is an expected raid buff, and will allow the other people in your group to spend less time itemizing just to attain the hit cap.
Insect Swarm is a great DoT that won't cost you any talent points but it will make the boss miss his swings on your tank by an additional 3%, which is always helpful. Alternatively, you can glyph this talent for more damage but you'll lose the miss chance - The only reason you would do this is if there were more than one Moonkin in your raid, consistently.
You'll also be providing a very nice 3% spell haste buff to your raid/group with your Improved Moonkin Form talent.
While they're not exactly buffs, you also carry with you some amazing druid abilities that are great in any kind of group situation - Innervate and "Battle Res".
Innervate will allow you to give a substantial amount of mana to any member of your group, including yourself, every three minutes. In a raid situation, your mana pool will be fine with your mana regenerating abilities, so try and save it for a healer.
Battle Res is an amazing ability and will actually let you bring up a dead party member while engaged in combat, and can save a group/raid from a wipe.
Caster DPS With a "Twist"
The standard issue Moonkin focuses on a lot of the same attributes other casters favor - especially spell power. They are unique, however, in that haste only really helps one spell used in their rotation: The very long-to-cast Starfire. The rest of your DPS spells are instant or very quick to cast (Moonfire, Insect Swarm, and Wrath). Moonkins need plenty of critical strike rating to keep their mana up and their Eclipse cycle going, so it's definitely an important stat to look for on gear. You'll need hit rating too, of course, but thanks to Improved Faerie Fire and Balance of Power, you can get away with a lot less than other casters.
So, how do you "make it happen" as a Moonkin? Well, theres this talent called Eclipse... Basically you're going to want to cast Wrath until you "proc" a Starfire buff, then cast Starfire until you "proc" a Wrath buff, and keep going back and forth until the boss or your group is dead. You're going to want to try and sneak in your DOT's during breaks in your rotation to keep them running, as they provide other benefits interacting with your Idol and set bonuses to boost your DPS "sky high".
The problem with this is that these rotations take a while to get going, and if you don't get "lucky" with your crits your dps can really suffer. Fights with high mobility are in general a problem for casters, but it really hurts a Moonkin to finally land his Eclipse buff and then have to run and waste it. Moonkins are very dependent on getting their Eclipse cycle going to be able to dish out comparable DPS.
As far as AOE goes for trash and heroics and such, there's a few talents you can use to boost your output here - namely, Gale Winds and Typhoon. Grab those and just spam Hurricane on every pack until dead or you're OOM (Hurricane is one of the few spells that can actually make a Moonkin run out of mana in a hurry).
Need some help with a cookie cutter talent build? Try this one. It leaves you a few points to play with that you'll place in either mana regen, single target damage, or AOE, depending on your tastes and situations.
Gearing Up For the Big Time
With the inclusion of the LFD system, as soon as you hit 80 you should be attempting Lich King Heroic dungeons for triumph badges to gear out very quickly - Here's some pieces of loot you'll want to pick up before you attempt any Trial of the Champion or Icecrown raids.
You'd be advised to pick up an entire Tier 9 Moonkin set - which will run you a grand total of 210 badges. That may seem like a lot, but this will bump you into the raiding world really fast and offers some incredible set bonuses you don't want to miss. While you're in those heroics earning your badges you'll also be picking up Frost Badge once per day, and you'd be well advised to spend your first 50 on Volde's Cloak of the Night Sky, a truly amazing purchase for the price. Once you start getting into the ICC 5 mans, be on the lookout especially for a Braid of Salt and Fire, Nevermelting Ice Crystal, Prelates Snowshoes, Surgeon's Needle, and a Shriveled Heart. Yes, some of it is cloth but sadly the ICC 5 man's weren't itemized for poor caster druids. On the plus side, you'll be able to take those items and easily get into a TOC10, Heroic TOC10, or even an ICC10 and gear up quickly where there likely won't be other Moonkins to roll on gear.
Other Things to Consider
Glyph choices are very limited and fairly good for Moonkins - You'll want Glyph of Starfire (Which will refresh your moonfire) and Glyph of Moonfire (Which will greatly reduce the initial damage, but increase the damage over time component by 75%).
The third choice is up to you - Many Moonkins select Insect Swarm, which increases its damage but removes the miss-chance component of the spell. If you're intent of keeping the misses going though, consider Starfall - it will reduce it's range (which is, in many situations a good thing so you don't aggro more trash) and increase its damage.
Remember even though you're a Moonkin, you're still a druid, and although the feral aspects are out of the question to bring in without talents, all the spellpower you have stacked up makes for some great healing should you lose a healer in the middle of a heated fight in The Forge of Souls or The Pit of Saron
If you're a druid, or thinking about becoming a druid, give this offbeat spec a try - You won't be disappointed!
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