Moonfire is probably the best graphical spell in the game. At least, that's what I think. Although, it isn't quite as fun now as it was with the old graphic back in Black Temple, spamming Moonfire to blind all of the melee on Supremus, the annoying glare factor still holds some weight. My love for pissing off melee and tanks staring at boss crotch all raid aside, Moonfire has been our staple DoT since WoW was released. The base-line effects of the spell are not as overtly powerful as with Insect Swarm, but Moonfire has quite a lot of talents and Glyphs going for it. On the talent side, Moonfire benefits from Nature's Splendor, Improved Moonfire, and Moonfury. Glyph wise, there is the Glyph of Moonfire and the Glyph of Starfire.
While all of these are very good things, there is some conflict between them all. Damage modifying talents do not normally stack multiplicativily with each other, instead they are all additive. There are some caveats to this; global modifiers such as Master Shapeshifter and modifiers from debuffs on a mob are all multiplicative. Moonfire, sadly, suffers from the curse of additive multipliers. Instead of Improved Moonfire, Moonfury, and the Glyph of Moonfire all increasing damage by their respective amounts, all of those modifiers are added together in one lump sum which reduces their effectiveness.
Moonfire also somewhat suffers from its split damage component, with the spell power scaling being broken up between the direct damage and the DoT. Without Glyphs or Nature's Splendor, this isn't so much of an issue since both aspects of the spell are strong in their own right, however with the Glyph of Moonfire all but destroying the initial damage portion of Moonfire and the Glyph of Starfire plus Nature's Splendor increasing the duration to 27 seconds (15 seconds base-line, 3 seconds from Nature's Splendor, and 9 seconds from Glyph of Starfire,) this does cause a few complications in scaling.
Looking at Moonfire, we will use the same gearing and buff set up from before. We'll also start with looking at the 'starter' gear as per usual.
(200 + (4076 * .13)) * (1.85) * (1.03) * (1.04) * (1.13) * (1.03) = 1,683 per tick. At 5 ticks, which is the damage without being extended by Starfire, the total damage is 8,415. At 8 ticks, which is the damage after being extended, the total damage is 13,464.
The DoT portion of Moonfire, even Glyphed, does not scale as well as Insect Swarm does. Although it ticks for more than Insect Swarm, it has less ticks per cast. While a fully extended Moonfire is going to be worth more DPS than any of our other abilities, not just in terms of the damage it deals, but also because of the refresh time, you don't want to keep it up constantly. Moonfire should generally only be refreshed when you know that you can reach three full extensions via Starfire casts. Due to that, you would not refresh Moonfire during a Solar Eclipse, or at least, only at the very end of one.
There are no two ways around it, our DoTs are not exactly our strongest suit. That being said, we haven't yet reached a point wherein they are completely dropped from our rotations, and it is entirely likely that we will not be able to reach that point in this expansion at all. We have run into issues where it is currently not always worth it to refresh our DoTs during an Eclipse proc, and that is an issue, but not entirely unexpected given how grossly overpowered Eclipse is.
While there is currently an on-going debate as to whether or not we should be using the Glyph of Insect Swarm or the Glyph of Starfall, there should not be a question on if we should be using our DoTs or not. That using our DoTs is not a major DPS difference between not using them is an issue that needs to be addressed during Cataclysm, but we must learn, as we always do, to make due with what we have. Both Insect Swarm and Moonfire need to be rebalanced. Solutions such as having them crit are very good options to persue, and honestly it is the change I would make as we need more non-spell power scaling within our rotations. Getting these changes before the next expansion, however, is a complete unknown. Blizzard has currently invested in other methods to increase our DPS by, compounding that with two critting DoTs might push us higher than they want us to be. I wouldn't use the term overpowered, as that certainly wouldn't happen, but Blizzard does have a target level of DPS they want us to reach and certain changes may push us beyond that level. Would it be a terrible thing? Not really, but I'm a touch biased.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of truth, beauty, and insight concerning the druid class. Sometimes it finds the latter, or something good enough for government work. Whether you're a Bear, Cat, Moonkin, Tree, or stuck in caster form, we've got the skinny on druid changes in patch 3.3, a look at the disappearance of the bear tank, and thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).