When the moonkin was first introduced, people thought nothing of it other than a big iron bird, that shot magical beams of light out of the sky, pummeling its victims into oblivion, and effectively logging their enemies out of the game, banning their accounts with all the moonkin's might. Do you remember that? Of course not, cause it never happened. The Moonkin's were a simple feathery bird, nicknamed the OOMkin, that threw out a few attacks, than ran around the area, /danced and watched as it became overly useless around its friends due to its lack of mana and ability to continue attacks.
Although, at endgame in vanilla WoW, it was a formidable opponent, yet still downsized. When The Burning Crusade hit, the class was looked over, tuned up, and changed around. Many people loved the changes, and as a whole, the class took a hit. Its raid effectiveness was damaged to some and buffed for others. The fact that people could use most of the main abilities that were needed in raids, like Abolish Poison, was a slight hindrance in some situations, but not too much to complain severely about. The plus crit and damage that is applied to most of the raid that was introduced in the 2.4 Fury of the Sunwell patch, was a huge help for those who wanted to raid and be useful as well. But, some people were not happy with some of those changes. They still complained about not being completely useful in most situations of PvE and nearly useless in PvP. What this melted down to is not enough sustained DPS in raids, and not enough burst or max damage in PvP, unless you were feral.
So, in light of the occasion, most druids decided to make the switch to feral or restoration. While in feral spec, they were able to farm, pick dps spots in random 5 man groups or daily heroics, do some pretty good pvp, and when the time came, they could dps in the raid that they wanted to go into, if allowed by the leader. As restoration, they could go into pvp, whether it be arenas or battlegrounds and heal many, they could heal some questing friends or guildies, heal their 5 man groups or daily heroics, and most of the time, they would be a shoe in for their scheduled raids, as many have come to realize, a druid healer, is one of the best around. But, when they switched to that “Spec of Taboo”, that arcane / nature combo, it quickly became Nuke or Nothing. If things were not destroyed in the time it got to the Moonkin, it was almost doomed without the proper gear. But with it...it was glorified.
So thus, the Boomkin was born. With the major changes to the class in patch 2.4, it brought many different changes, including the epic flight form changes and many revisions to the balance tree, bringing the Moonkin to dangerous threat levels all across the boards. They could now cast a number of spells at level 70 with the proper gear which made them a force to be reckoned with in the arena's, battlegrounds and in raids. They were great with crowd control, great with burst damage and great with sustained DPS, and were awesome with their “ganking” power. For awhile, with their constant cyclone with no diminishing effects, and the ability to put other druids into quiet mode with hibernation, made them tough to beat in pvp, and mostly in the arena. But still, the nerf came when Wrath of the Lich King was released.
With the slower cast times, improved levels of spells, and limited range on spells, it makes some casting druids completely respec back into feral, simply for leveling up to 80. Or, if the druid was audacious enough, they would stay as restoration and either solo mobs and just heal through damage as their dots ticked away, or heal through instances after instance which could become quite tedious fast. As a collective community, there is a huge outcry that the druid class is horribly underpowered as a whole, and that some serious buffing is needed. I, for one, do not play a druid, so I cannot attest to these claims but from what I have seen, a druid, with a light off-healer, is a near unstoppable opponent in pvp. I have fallen victim to a druid many times on my mage and on a rogue, they simply apply barkskin and laugh as I try to break through their defenses while their teammates stop me in my tracks.
Though within a Naxxramas raid, things can be hectic for all casters, especially during the Heigan fight, but for druids, whose main burst of damage rely on their procs, it can be especially difficult. See, the new eclipse buff they have been given, allows for a buff towards their damage, but allows you a limit of almost one attack given you are under the casting debuff, and with another 11 seconds of Eclipse left, well, its times to dance. After the dance, you must apply another wrath of moonfire, and hope for another Eclipse proc that you can make use of before its dancing time again. While some say that it is uncalled for, to have casters, even while under a full effect of Nature's Grace, a talent which gives spells a 100% chance to apply a 0.5 reduction in cast time, is still out spectrum as spells simply take too long a time to cast.
Most druids I have talked to during the PTR have something to complain about there also. They noticed that they no longer have as much armor in their “Tanking” forms, and some less damage mitigation. Some say that this patch, 3.1, with the release of Ulduar, is a patch for Death Knights to rejoice about, while other classes look on with envy. Could this patch, with no real improvements for druid tanks or moonkin's have anything to offer for the rest of us? Or is it a simple misunderstanding and people are just jumping to conclusions? I for one, hope that when my druid reaches 80, I will have as much as I have seen people have in the past.
What do you think? Reply in a comment or drop me an email at my registered email in my profile with the subject “Questions & Comments”, and ill be sure to answer your questions in my next article. Until then, Enjoy your stay in the World of Warcraft.