How should it function?
Instead of postulating on how Solar Beam is functioning right now, since I honestly cannot figure it out, I'd rather speak on how it should function. To start, there are two completely separate aspects of Solar Beam: the interrupt and the silence.
The interrupt only occurs if you cast Solar beam directly on someone while they are casting, much like Counterspell or Wind Shear. I think, for now, it is working such that the base interrupt time is 5 seconds and that the glyph is extending that to 10 seconds. I believe that the base interrupt time should be 10 seconds whether you have the glyph or not. For comparison, Counterspell interrupts for 8 seconds with a cooldown of 24 seconds; Wind Shear interrupts for 2 seconds with a 6-second cooldown. Given that, a 10-second interrupt that has a 60-second cooldown seems entirely balanced. Even if it isn't 10 seconds, it should at least last the same 8 seconds that Counterspell does. Remember, both Counterspell and Wind Shear are off the GCD, while Solar Beam is on the GCD; that's highly important for interrupting purposes.
The silence is what happens to anything that enters the beam or is within the beam initially but not interrupted. So long as the target is under the beam, it ise silenced, with the beam lasting 10 seconds as a baseline. This is the portion of the spell that the glyph is supposed to work with, extending the beam's duration to 15 seconds. For all intents and purposes, this portion of the spell is perfect and balanced, as it requires controlling the target to keep them within the beam.
The question then comes up about a lingering effect to account for lag. There are two sides to this issue. On one side, players who are standing still and then move out of the beam already account for lag when exiting the beam; thus, there doesn't need to be a lingering effect for them to contend with as well. However, when used against an already mobile target, Solar Beam itself tends to lag and thus can have no impact at all; this means that the lingering effect is needed in order for Solar Beam to simply work.
I don't quite think there is really a balance between the two situations. I always favor erring on the side of caution. Thus, I would say that Solar Beam shouldn't have any form of lingering effect, because of the way in which it unfairly impacts non-mobile targets trapped in Solar Beam. That being said, it isn't always possible to choose to not use Solar Beam against a mobile target, given how easy it is to dispel Entangling Roots. Given that, I can understand the case for having a lingering silence on Solar Beam for a short while. Honestly, I do not know which side would be more balanced. Perhaps better PvP data at 85 will provide an answer.
DoTs, haste and Nature's Grace
I have noticed recently that there seems to be a lot of confusion on how DoTs have been changed since 4.0. You see, a long while back in beta, haste effects did not apply to DoTs automatically. This meant that if your haste changed, you had to recast a DoT in order for it to see any benefit. For balance druids, this meant that the DoT used to proc Nature's Grace would not benefit from the buff. This is no longer true.
Let me repeat that: DoTs do not have to be recast in order to benefit from haste buffs. All DoTs automatically update themselves to any and all haste changes. The DoT that is used to proc Nature's Grace does benefit from Nature's Grace. If you get Bloodlust, use Berserking, or have a haste trinket, you do not have to recast your DoTs in order for them to benefit from the new haste buff. In fact, due to this mechanic, you should always reapply your DoTs before you use any haste-increasing effect.
The above is also true for critical strike chance; all DoTs will automatically update themselves to your current critical strike chance without needing to be refreshed. However, it is not true for spellpower and other damage-increasing buffs. A DoT will not automatically update itself from any change in raw damage -- for example, a DoT cast during Eclipse will continue to deal the same level of damage even after Eclipse has fallen off. Therefore, you should do the opposite for spellpower-increasing trinkets as you would for crit/haste-increasing trinkets; always use the trinket before refreshing your DoTs, if possible.
Tier 11 four-piece bonus
Tier 11 may seem a long way off for most people, but there is something regarding our newest tier set that I want to bring up before it becomes a major issue. For those of you who may not know, our tier 11 four-piece bonus increases our critical strike chance by 99 percent for 8 seconds after entering Eclipse, with each successful critical strike reducing the bonus by 33 percent. There is some good and some bad about the bonus.
First, it does increase the critical strike chance of our DoT ticks, and DoT ticks do not consume charges. That being said, critical strike does automatically update itself for DoTs, and therefore, the effect will decrease for your DoTs just the same as it will for your other spells.
There are a few other things to consider as well. Although Moonfire DoT ticks will not consume charges, the direct damage portion of Moonfire will consume a charge. This means that if you start an Eclipse with a Moonfire/Sunfire, it will be a crit and it will reduce the buff effect by 33 percent. Starfall operates in the same way; it benefits from the effect, and each critical strike from Starfall will lower your critical strike chance by 33 percent.
Because of all of this, once you get your four-piece bonus, the rotation priority changes slightly. You will want to make sure that Moonfire is up before entering into Eclipse. Having Insect Swarm up as well is always a plus, but it is better to wait and refresh Insect Swarm once you get Eclipse (especially if you are going into Solar) in order to proc Nature's Grace as well. After you get into Eclipse, you want to only cast Starfire, Wrath, or Starsurge, depending on the Eclipse buff that you have. You do not want to cast Starfall until after the buff has ended -- or if you cannot cast another nuke before the buff ends.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta get out here; it's like I'm being tied to the hood of a yellow rental trunk being packed in with fertilizer and fuel oil, pushed over a cliff by a suicidal Mickey Mouse.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of druidic truth, beauty and insight. Whether you're a bear, cat, moonkin, tree or stuck in caster form, we've got the skinny, from a look at the disappearance of the bear tank to thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).