Post by Ojie
Yes, gear matters. Your dps will show a difference when you go from a 489 ilvl to a 496 ilvl. But there's a lot of other factors as well. Here are some examples:
1. Short cooldowns being used inappropriately to maximize your dps, but not to maximize your raid's success. For instance, you could pop a 2 minute dps cooldown 4 times during this fight to maximize your dps, or you can use it 2-3 times on the important burn phases to help your raid.
2. The length of the fight affects your dps. If your raid took 6 minutes to kill this boss, that means you had Heroism for ~11% of the fight. If my raid did that same raid in 4 minutes, I had Heroism for ~17% of the fight. This changes a bit for cooldowns you'll probably use multiple times. On a two minute cooldown that lasts 20 seconds, you'd do more dps in a patchwerk fight that lasted 2min20sec than one that lasted 2min.
3. Your responsibilities in the raid. On some fights, there are things for dps to do that don't involve killing the boss as fast as possible. If you are asked to control an add or battle rez, or switch targets at unfortunate times, it's probably gonna hurt your dps.
4. Finally, people like being on top of lists. And people who can't get to the top of the list like knowing the people who are at the top of the list. Ever wonder if maybe those guys doing 20k more dps than you on the same fight might have their entire raid doing everything possible to help them do so?
As far as dps goes, I wouldn't really worry about it. Raiding is a team effort.
I'm afraid I don't know a lot about balance druids to answer your question about the starsurge proc, but as a Shadow Priest, I know quite a bit about haste thresholds and break points.
Doing a quick google for Balance Haste Thresholds, I found the numbers I think you're going by and I think I know where you made your mistake. This is the site I found: http://theincbear.com/math/resto-haste-breakpoints
It shows Moonfire as 9 ticks between 228 and 5273 haste rating and 10 ticks when you pass that mark. That's in line with how you said you thought you should get an extra tick going from 5000 to 5400. But upon closer inspection, those numbers are for when you're raid buffed with a Nature's Grace proc. Judging by how you said you were getting 8 ticks at 5000 haste, it seems to me you were probably missing some buffs. Unbuffed, you'll need 6637 rating to get a 9th tick. Just remember that haste rating is just a means to an end. Your haste thresholds are reached by increasing your Haste%, not just your haste rating. The 9th tick of moonfire is achieved at 21.3961% haste no matter what buffs you have.