Bajheera has been busy.
His Royal Swollness has been playing many classes in the Legion alpha, checking out artifact quests, class halls, and overall gameplay. When I saw his playthrough of the Fury Warrior it didn’t surprise me, since his main is a Warrior (as are several alts). But when I saw him testing the gameplay on a Windwalker Monk, it certainly got my attention. In fact, watching the playthrough may help sway the decision from my Twitter poll results.
So here it is – the Artifact Quests, Class Hall, and some sweet gameplay from the Windwalker Monk in Legion!
There were two specific perks to boosting Rokk, my Windwaker Monk, to 90. One was to fast-track through the leveling process so he’d be ready to go for Warlords of Draenor. The other was to max out his professions. At the time, Rokk had Skinning. But he dropped that and picked up Tailoring and Engineering once he’d cleared the level 60 profession hump. Both professions provided combat perks, and the Tailoring was nice for farming extra cloth mats (as well as making bags).
Patch 6.0 kicked all that in the manbasket. There were no more combat perks to be gained through professions. Sweet bags aside, were my selection of professions providing any real benefit? I had other characters with Engineering, and gathering extra cloth wasn’t really that much of a reason to keep Tailoring.
In various profession interviews I’d listened to, it was suggested that in WoD it would be helpful to have a crafting profession that would let you craft your own gear. Between that, and that fact that the transmog set for Rokk involved a chest piece that was a bind on pickup item from Leatherworking, I decided to make the switch. I dropped both Engineering and Tailoring, and picked up Leatherworking and Skinning.
Leveling the new professions hasn’t been that bad. Rokk is farming his own mats, but even if he wasn’t he could still level his Skinning right there in Pandaria, since a recent patch allowed characters to level their gathering professions in MoP right from skill level 1. You’d simply pick up fragments and scraps rather than whole items.
Leatherworking hasn’t been too painful either. It helps to have a goal (like a sweet transmog piece) to work towards. Once he reaches that skill level, he could complete Leatherworking in WoD since they plan on allowing skillups for professions through the garrisons. Patch 6.0.3 also fixed a bug that specifically affected Rokk. The bug would not allow a Windwalker Monk to craft more than one item, even when hitting the Create All button.
Even with WoD only being two weeks away, it isn’t too late to start working on building professions for the next expansion. It’s not like there’s anything else going on between now and then.
The patch notes over at Sentry Totem read like an obituary for many classes. However, WoW’s newest class got by with not too many painful edits. This is what it had to say about the Monk Class.
The brand-new class for Mists of Pandaria, Monks, turned out to be a ton of fun. Brewmasters stayed fairly solid all expansion long. Windwalkers needed a few tweaks here and there, especially to their Mastery, and still have a few shortcomings that we hope to improve, but overall worked quite well. Mistweavers had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, veering between weak and strong over the course of the expansion. Most of our changes to Monks will focus on Mistweavers, to try to get them just right.
See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Monks, the pruning focused on niche abilities. One removal of note is that of Healing Sphere. The active ability to place a Healing Sphere was particularly awkward to use, but overpowered if used perfectly. So we removed it, and replaced it with Healing Surge for Windwalkers and Brewmasters.
– Avert Harm has been removed.
– Clash has been removed.
– Dematerialize has been removed.
– Power Guard has been removed.
– Sparring has been removed.
– Spinning Fire Blossom has been removed.
– Stance of the Sturdy Ox now replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger for Brewmaster Monks.
– Stance of the Spirited Crane now replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger for Mistweaver Monks.
– Swift Reflexes has been removed.
– Zen Meditation is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks.
– Healing Sphere has been removed. Abilities that can summon Healing Spheres, Mastery: Gift of the Serpent (Mistweavers), Gift of the Ox (Brewmasters), and Afterlife (Windwalkers) can still summon Healing Spheres.
– Surging Mist is now available to all Monk specializations. It costs 30 Energy in Ox or Tiger Stance, and continues to cost mana in Serpent Stance and Crane Stance. However, it only generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Monk ability consolidation is fairly straightforward. It includes merging of some passive abilities, and removing unneeded abilities that didn’t create the gameplay depth they had been intended to.
– Teachings of the Monastery has been removed. Its effects modifying Spinning Crane Kick has been incorporated into Stance of the Wise Serpent.
– Brewmaster Training has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
– Desperate Measures has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
– Combo Breaker has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
– Combat Conditioning has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
– Fortifying Brew now lasts 15 seconds (down from 20 seconds).
– Power Strikes now triggers every 15 seconds (up from every 20 seconds), and also triggers from Surging Mist (for Mistweavers only), but no longer triggers from Crackling Jade Lightning.
– Resuscitate’s mana cost has been reduced by 80%.
– Spinning Crane Kick now always generates 1 Chi, and no longer reduces movement speed.
– Paralysis now always lasts 60 seconds against creatures, regardless of facing.
– Disable is now available only to Windwalker Monks.
– Uplift now follows standard area-of-effect capping rules, diminishing in effectiveness beyond 6 targets.
– Zen Meditation is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks, and no longer redirects harmful spells cast against party and raid members.
– Zen Sphere no longer has a target limit.
About midway through the expansion, it became clear that mana was not valuable for Mistweavers. We tried some adjustments to solve that, but it proved too large of a change to make at the time. We chose to just live with that problem for the time being, and tune them around not really caring much about Spirit or mana (once they reached epic gear).
Now that we have the time to tweak things for Mistweavers to acquire new gear, we’re making changes to get them in the right spot. Initially, we experimented with giving Mistwavers a 1-second global cooldown (GCD) akin to that of the Rogue to give them a faster combat feel. However, it’s proven difficult to balance. Haste is attractive to healers because it lowers not just cast time but GCD as well. Therefore, Monks valued Haste much less than other healers. We explored a few options, but ultimately landed on changing the core GCD for Mistweavers from 1 second to the standard 1.5 seconds, which you will be able to reduce with Haste. This will feel jarring at first, but we’re confident that it’s for the best, long-term.
– All abilities available to Mistweavers now have a 1.5-second global cooldown (up from 1 second).
– Stance of the Fierce Tiger now reduces the global cooldown of the Mistweaver Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.
– Stance of the Sturdy Ox now reduces the global cooldown of the Mistweaver Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.
– Focus and Harmony is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks, causing Haste to reduce the global cooldown, and causes Attack Power to be equal to 100% of Spell Power.
– Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer provides this Spell Power to Attack Power conversion.
– Crackling Jade Lightning’s throughput has been increased by 100%, but it no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks. Additionally, it is free in Stance of the Wise Serpent.
– Chi Brew now grants 1 charge of Mana Tea (down from 2 charges).
– Ascension now increases maximum Mana by 20% (up from 15%).
– Detonate Chi is a new spell available to Mistweaver Monks, instantly detonating all Healing Spheres, and causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere with a 15-second cooldown.
– Healing Spheres now heal an ally within 12 yards (up from 6 yards) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal healing, when they expire.
– Gift of the Serpent chance to trigger has increased significantly for various Mistweaver spells, conferring a larger percentage of the maximum value.
– Renewing Mist now jumps to the most injured target in range.
– Soothing Mist’s healing has been increased by 100%, its GCD has been reduced to 0.5 seconds, but no longer heals immediately, and no longer generates Chi.
– Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Haste from items by 50%.
– Summon Jade Serpent Statue now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds).
– Thunder Focus Tea no longer costs Chi, causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (instead of causing the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mists on all targets). Its effect on Surging Mist remains unchanged.
Jade Mist is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks, causing them to gain 5% more of the Multistrike stat from all sources, and also causes Renewing Mist and Rising Sun Kick to have a chance equal to Multistrike chance to not go on cooldown when used. This effect cannot trigger on the next Renewing Mist or Rising Sun Kick.
Another issue with Mistweavers is that of Eminence, which has never really played out how we had hoped. The intent with Eminence was to create an alternate play style to fulfill the fantasy of healing through dealing damage, since we knew a lot of players had that fantasy, and a new class was the perfect opportunity to satisfy that.
Having two play styles in one spec (Eminence, and traditional Mistweaving, healing primarily through casting heals) proved challenging to balance, because we don’t want players to take the best parts of both and stack them into an unintended superior spec. The most notorious of these cases was “Jab-Jab-Uplift”. In order to solve this problem, we’re giving Mistweavers two stances. Stance of the Wise Serpent will continue to be the stance from which to do traditional Mistweaving. The new Stance of the Spirited Crane will be the stance to use for Eminence. You can swap stances at will, with only the cost of a GCD and any current Chi that you’ve accrued. The intention is that Crane Stance allows Mistweavers to trade healing for damage; it should fall somewhere in the middle between being a full healer, and being a full damage dealer.
Stance of the Spirited Crane is a new ability for Mistweaver Monks, which replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger, and provides the following effects.
– The Monk gains Eminence, causing all damage dealt to also heal nearby allies.
– Eminence now causes a nearby target to be healed for 50% of all damage caused by the Monk and includes auto attacks.
– Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer provides this benefit.
– Crackling Jade Lightning channels 150% faster, generates 1 Chi each time it deals damage, but costs 300% more mana.
– Blackout Kicks grants Crane’s Zeal, increasing Critical Strike chance by 20% for 20 seconds.
– Blackout Kick causes Eminence to heal 5 allies instead of 1, but heals for only 20% of damage dealt instead of 35%.
– The Monk gains a stack of Vital Mists for every Chi consumed. Vital Mists reduces the cast time and Mana cost of the next Surging Mist by 20% per stack up to a maximum of 5 stacks.
– Muscle Memory has been removed.
– Serpent’s Zeal has been removed.
– Vital Mists has been removed.
– Rising Sun Kick is now available to Mistweaver and Windwalker Monks. However, it does not cause Mortal Wounds for Mistweavers.
– Stance of the Fierce Tiger now causes Rising Sun Kick to cause Mortal Wounds, instead of it causing Mortal Wounds naturally.
The following abilities now require Stance of the Wise Serpent for Mistweavers:
– Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, Uplift
The following abilities now require Stance of the Spirited Crane for Mistweavers:
– Blackout Kick, Jab, Rising Sun Kick, Tiger Palm
– Healing Spheres
Healing Spheres have been improved. You’ll no longer waste them when running over multiples at once when you only need a little healing. We significantly improved the Mistweavers’ Healing Spheres effect when they expire. We also made Afterlife’s Healing Spheres consistent with the rest of the class.
– When a player runs through multiple Healing Spheres at once, only as many as needed to heal the player to full health will be consumed (instead of all of them if the player is injured at all).
– Healing Spheres summoned by Mastery: Gift of the Serpent (Mistweaver) now heal an injured ally within 12 yards (up from 6 yards) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal effect when they expire, and scales with Spell Power instead of Attack Power.
– Healing Spheres summoned by Afterlife (Windwalkers) now heals for the same amount as other Healing Spheres (instead of healing for 15% of maximum health).
– Healing Spheres generated from Gift of the Ox now heals the Monk if they are within 6 yards of the sphere when it expires.
Shared Ability Changes
There were several changes that affected multiple Monk specializations. We’d like to see Monks using Transcendence more often, so its usability has been improved (some baseline, and some in a Draenor Perk). For Touch of Death, we like that it’s a unique execute being usable only once, but found it impractical to use on bosses and have improved its usability. For Tiger Strikes, we buffed it to grant Multistrike ability which it was similar to already, and extended it to work with all Monk specializations. To better balance the damage of Brewmaster versus Windwalker where both share many of the same abilities, we removed the damage increase provided by Tiger Stance, and increased the damage of melee abilities to compensate.
– Chi Brew now has a 60 second recharge time (up from 45 seconds).
– Stance of the Fierce Tiger now also includes the benefits of Combo Breaker and Combat Conditioning, and is replaced by another stance for Brewmaster and Mistweaver Monks.
– Brewmaster: Stance of the Sturdy Ox replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
– Mistweaver: Stance of the Spirited Crane replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
– Tiger Strikes is now available to all Monk specializations, and has a chance to trigger on successful auto attacks and their Multistrikes. It has a 10% chance to trigger while using a two-handed weapon, and a 5% chance to trigger while dual wielding.
– When triggered, Tiger Strikes now grants a 25% increase to Multistrike for 8 seconds instead of a 50% increase to attack speed and double attacks for 4 attacks.
– Touch of Death is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks, and is usable on targets that have 10% or less health remaining, or have less current health than your maximum health. The rules against players remain unchanged.
– Transcendence: Transfer no longer has an energy or mana cost.
For Energy-based gameplay to function well, the primary limitation on ability usage should be Energy, not time. That breaks down when a rotation becomes limited by available GCDs, rather than by Energy. Windwalkers were hitting this “GCD-cap” too easily, causing scaling problems as they geared up, and removing rotational choices. To solve this problem, we’ve made a few tweaks that will slow down their rotation slightly; but still allow Windwalkers who enjoy the GCD-capped playstyle to have options available to focus on Haste and Energy regeneration. Individually, these may sound like significant nerfs, but Windwalker damage has been adjusted to compensate for these changes. The goal is to address the issue with GCD- capping while not reducing DPS.
– Combo Breaker now has an 8% chance to trigger, per effect, per Jab (down from 12%).
– Jab now costs 45 Energy while in Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
There are a couple of additional changes for Windwalkers. Storm, Earth, and Fire, got buffed to make it smoother to use. We also buffed Fists of Fury because we felt that the ability wasn’t giving a strong enough damage boost given its restrictions and impact on the Monk’s rotation.
– Fists of Fury now deals 100% increased damage, and always deal full damage to the primary target; additional targets are still affected by the damage split.
– Storm, Earth, and Fire no longer has an energy cost, and is off global cooldown.
For Brewmasters, Gift of the Ox has been modified to allow it to scale defensively with the new Multistrike stat. The Black Ox Statue has been modified to aid Monks in establishing threat on new enemies instead of shielding allies. We also removed the Misfire effect, as it did not live up to its original idea, and was unnecessary.
– Black Ox Statue no longer casts Guard on allies and now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds). – – Black Ox Statue now passively attracts the attention of all enemies within 30 yards, causing a minor amount of threat each second.
– Dizzying Haze now has no Energy cost, but no longer causes the target’s melee attacks to sometimes misfire.
– Elusive Brew now increases dodge chance by 45% (up from 30%).
– Gift of the Ox now has a chance to trigger only from auto attack Multistrikes, instead of from all auto attacks. It has a 100% chance to trigger while using a two-handed weapon, and a 62.5% chance to trigger while dual wielding.
– Stance of the Sturdy Ox now increases Stamina by 25% (up from 20%), reduces magic damage taken by 10% (down from all damage taken by 25%), and grants a 50% increase to Armor, but no longer increases Energy regeneration.
– Shuffle now increases Stagger and Parry by 10% (down from 20%).
I’ve really enjoyed playing my Monk. Rokk is almost level 60, and I’m struggling to decide whether I will boost him to 90 or play him through the content. The profession bump would be nice, as would being able to try out his end-game abilities before patch 6.0 comes along and changes everything. Patch 6.0 is supposed to drop a month before Blizzcon, which puts it around the October 13th date. I’ll be AFK for two weeks in September (or at least, unable to play WoW) so I’d have two weeks or so before 6.0 comes.
Whatever. I’m still enjoying myself. The martial arts aspect of it is a whole lot of fun. I’ve always dug the martial arts in games – from Dungeons and Dragons, to Street Fighter.
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Martial Arts movies, too. The evolution of the martial arts superstar can be traced back from the Tony Jaa’s and Jet Li’s of the 2000’s, to Jean Claude Van Damme in the 90’s, and Ninjas in the 80’s. But one man started it all back in the 70’s, and his name was Bruce Lee.
The man was amazing.
Take many of the Monk’s abilities in World of Warcraft, and watch Bruce Lee pull them off in real life. Hell, he did things in real life that should be coded into WoW. People like making Chuck Norris jokes in Barrens chat. Notice how nobody ever makes Bruce Lee jokes?
That’s because Bruce Lee is no joke. The man should be WoW’s next Hero Class.
The Monk’s Level 100 talent should be “Look out, it’s Bruce Lee!” What would it do? It’s Bruce Lee. What do you think it would do?
Monks. I remember when I first started playing the Monk class like it was yesterday. (You should, it was only like a couple of weeks ago — Editor) My monk is still nowhere near end game, and has barely unlocked any abilities that could be considered monkish. Which is probably why I’m not breaking a sweat about Preach’s review on the Windwalker Monk in Warlords of Draenor. That might change once I get him to level 30 though. Oh the anticipation of impending doom!