edit 9 Aug 2009: updated with some links for 3.2 as this seems to be a popular post found via search engines and the least I can do is point you on to better theorycrafters than me.
Right first big disclaimer I’m not a theorycrafter, this post is more about me working out what I need using work done by real theorycrafters to figure out what I’m going to do.
Usually Elitist Jerks Theorycrafting Think Tank is a good place to start, but they have no WOTLK consolidated info for balance druids yet so its a case of reading through forum posts and the information in them can be contradictory, though not as contradictory as the WOW druid forums. The Moonkin Beginner Guide thread is being kept updated and includes 3.2 info
What I’ve garnered.
That’s not really any change from TBC but its worth restating because not everyone seems to have grasped it yet.
EJ give a slightly different weighting: Hit rating (to cap) > Haste rating (to soft cap) > Spellpower > Crit rating > Haste rating > Intellect > Spirit.
So my anti-haste bias may be showing
Hit needs maxing, okay that was a no-brainer no change from TBC except its now 17% not 16%. Balance of Power gives you 4% the rest you need from gear. A rating of 342 (Or 263 if you specced imp:ff and intend to keep it up) is needed for bosses. You can ‘get away’ with the lower number if you can guarantee a live s:priest in all your raids. Personally I’d rather max it out though when gear gets good enough I may look at having a hit weapon for when we’re missing an s:priest and a crit for when we have one (why weapon because they can be swapped mid fight if we’ve a fragile s:priest). As Alliance I will also benefit if there’s a Draenai caster floating around so I can possibly slack off at 16%.
Spellpower. Another no brainer. Just don’t forget that both int and spirit can increase the spellpower of an item. Most items of similar ilevels have similar stats but do double check those rings & trinkets with big green spellpower numbers before swapping them out for one with slighly lower spellpower but carrying spirit or int. Sometimes its not the upgrade you expect.
Haste. Engage brains here. Haste will increase your casting time, it will also burn your mana. Looking for numbers 785 haste rating should reduce the GCD to 1.0 sec. It can’t go lower than that so consider that the ‘cap’. With points in both celestial focus and imp Moonkin form you’ll have 6% haste already (which won’t show on your character sheet).So 585* (I think) will get you there. Update Aug 09: with the changes to eclipse in 2.3 there’s effectively a soft cap of 400 for haste
Reaching the cap is not 100% a good thing. You still have to allow for mana regen to be able to keep up with those faster casts.
Crit. Yes we’re critkins but no that doesn’t mean crit is the best stat to stack however nice those big numbers are. To be clear stacking means gemming or enchanting for crit over other hit/sp/haste, it doesn’t mean ignoring crit on gear.
I’m aiming for between 15 & 20% in caster. This was the tipping point in TBC, I may need to revise that figure upwards for WotLK.
Now for the basics
INT still our basic stat gives mana, crit, spellpower & mana regen. Comes naturally with gear so no need to stack
STA life saver stat, more useful for PvP than most PvE encounters but sooner or later you’ll hit a fight where there’s a minimum stamina requirement, my preference is to pick up PvP gear for these encounters but sometimes it means regemming to get past the requirement
SPR While I still haven’t got my head around all the changes they made to spirit regen even after reading resto4lifes post on the subject I know its better than it used to be . Not to mention the 15% 30% that gets converted into spellpower with imp Moonkin. Given a choice between an item with mp5 and a spirit (all other stats being equal) I’m more likely to pick up spirit.
STR & AGI You can effectively ignore these stats
ARMOUR For PvE you can pretty much ignore this stat. You’re not supposed to get hit by meleeing mobs we can wear cloth or leather and I’ll take either if its an upgrade, though I do try & check that there isn’t a comparable leather piece likely to drop – and no leather pieces that lack crit or hit do not count as comparable for caster dps.
Nothing exactly earth shattering or cutting edge here, consider this a post born out of frustration from reading the EU WoW forums where we seem to have had an influx of FOTMkins who think crit is what we should stack above & beyond everything else because it creates big numbers on your screen *rolls eyes*