Well, might as well say something definitively; between the changes in WoW’s mechanics making it more alt-unfriendly and my lack of personal time (increasing work requirements + recurring family issues), I’ve barely touched my monk, and don’t feel qualified to write about it for the time being. If I have a chance, I’ll try to pick him back up again in 5.3, but it’ll likely be 5.4 before I have a chance to really give him another good go. Apologies, and definitely check out MMO-Champion’s forums for up-to-date info.
Sadly, I got nothing. As I mentioned over on TFD, I’ve been pushed for the last month with increasing work responsibilities and an unplanned household move, which has pushed WoW time to the wayside. The little time I get, I usually end up on my druid main, so my poor monk’s been chilling in the Shrine of Seven Stars for a month or so. :(
Once 5.2 hits, I’ll set to updating all the guides; the damage buffs for mistweavers look extremely interesting, as does the new windwalker cleave, so that’ll probably catch my attention for a while.
Holidays are over! Let’s get back into some hot monk action.
Ring of Peace
Everybody’s talking about the new monk talent, Ring of Peace, that’s replacing Deadly Reach in the talent tree. Yes, that is what you’re reading; an AoE silence and disarm effect. What’s more, it’s currently freely targetable; you can cast it on yourself, an ally, or an enemy, and it moves with them. It’s not actually a “ring,” either, like a mage’s Ring of Frost; there’s no safe zone with this puppy.
Monks needed PvP buffs; they got one. Holy crap, is this powerful. Let’s see: 1) An 8 second silence, which would be the longest silence effect in the game if it went live. (Solar Beam is also 8 seconds, but you can move out of that.) 2) An 8 second RANGED disarm, which effectively neuters all melee classes. 3) A shortish cooldown. Yeah, this thing’s OP. Normally, I’d say it’d be in line for a nerf, but seeing the current abysmal state of monks in PvP, they may overcorrect for a while. (Hi, Nimble Brew!)
For PvE, though, it’s not a clear-cut talent choice. It’s probably the talent of choice for mistweavers looking for trash/add cooldowns, but WW/BM will have to decide if they’d rather have the 5 second damage removal or the 8 second damage reduction. Personally, I love the knockdown effect, so I’m sticking with Leg Sweep; we’ll see how the talent progresses through PTR, though. Right now, it’s bugged to affect boss mobs, which makes for some interesting scenarios.
Windwalker mastery change
In case you missed it, WW’s will no longer have the silly Combo Breaker mastery that totally screwed up stat scaling. Combo Breaker is sticking around as a passive 12% chance that’s granted at level 15 (which also makes leveling WW less tedious) and they’ve implemented a new mastery, Bottled Fury, which improves the effectiveness of Tigereye Brew. Combine this with the other changes to TeB (doubled rate of charge gain) and TeB turns from ‘meh’ to ‘whoa’. TeB was capped at a 2% increase per stack before (20% damage increase at max stacks, cue the fanfare) but a full mastery reforge could push that up to a 6% increase per stack. That’s…pretty significant.
More to come on stat weights and such later.
Storm, Earth, and Fire
Not yet implemented. Guess we have to start taking Ring of Peace for granted?
No news to talk about this week, so let’s get to the links!
- As promised, I wrote up a longer column exploring the math behind Ascension, which is here. TLDR: Good for windwalkers, but will run into massive scaling issues as people gear up (especially next tier); average for brewmasters, mediocre for mistweavers. That said, there’s lots of criticism about the mediocre for mistweavers part; I suspect lots of people are not using their Chi heals as often as they should.
- I never realized this, but apparently the cooldown for Power Strikes starts when you get the buff, not when you consume it. This means you have 20 seconds from getting the buff to consume it before you start cutting into the efficiency of the talent, not immediately. This is cool.
- I updated my brewmaster guide for 5.1; mostly focused on reworking the stat weights, since the thinking has evolved significantly there. Still need to get to windwalkers, mistweavers, and the general pages.
- I liked this post by Kisho over on MMOC where he talks about scrutinizing your debuffs on World of Logs to see the uptimes on your stagger debuffs. Good coaching tip.
- This post by Xarmon recommends a different playstyle for a mastery/stamina build (heavy focus on Shuffle uptime, PB constantly) and the bosses that need it (H WotE/Empress/Sha). Lots of good discussion immediately following about whether it’s worth it to do mastery/stamina at all. That may be the topic for my monk column next week (stat weights in general).
- Unfortunately, the MMOC thread on mistweavers has degenerated into a flaming war about whether it’s viable to not stack spirit as MW; very little good discussion there or on EJ this week. My TLDR thoughts: By not stacking spirit, you risk a lot to gain a little. Sure, it’s a throughput gain, but you have to be very vigilant of your mana use to ensure you don’t become useless. (There’s some fun games you can play with Mana Tea and Jade Spirit, I’d imagine.)
- A nice post from Crevan over on EJ where he uses Simcraft to explore the DPS gain of various combinations of set+offset gear for windwalkers. End result: The set bonuses are terrible, so you’re generally best off not worrying about them too much and just using the best pieces (meaning haste/crit) you can get.
- The general consensus seems to be emerging that you want to shoot for about 4k haste (with ascension) or 5-6k haste (with power strikes) then go for crit instead. This tracks with my observations that higher levels of haste sim well but are difficult to play optimally.
As an aside, I’m still looking for other sources of intelligent monk discussion; please leave a comment or send an email if you’ve got a blog or something, and I’ll add it in.
I’ve struggled with writing lately. It’s not the typical writer’s block of having nothing that I want to write about; it’s more the feeling that anything I write isn’t good enough to publish. Basically, I have to get my groove back(TM). As such, I’m going to take a page from a few other blogs and try to stick to a designated posting schedule: henceforth, Monk Mondays! I’ll recap the last week’s news and posts, and see what develops from that. For this first week, I’ll be reaching back a bit, so apologies if I cover anything that’s old hat at this point.
So, yeah, there was a big patch and stuff. :) I wrote a brief post summarizing my initial thoughts on Patch 5.1, and then expanded it to include some of the follow-on hotfixes for an article at WoW Insider. TLDR: Mistweavers got nerfed bigtime, enough so that there’s already been a blue post about possibly re-buffing them to bring them back up (though that may be a PvP thing). I agree with Dayani (though I can’t find the thread now) that mistweaver mechanics were, to some extent, designed around them having higher throughput than other healers (due to them being less able to target heals). Unfortunately, now that mistweavers got whacked, they’re in a similar position to resto druids. For the vast majority of players, that’s fine, but for those pushing heroic content, the inability of MW’s to effectively raid heal will likely get them exchanged for a priest or shaman.
For everybody else, there wasn’t much. Windwalkers got a ton of bugfixes, which in turn is impacting theorycraft (also Ascension, below). Lots of discussion about haste vs crit at the moment. Brewmasters were pretty much unaffected, though there was a Keg Smash hotfix some time ago that limited it to 5 targets. You can thank Ta’yak for that one. Err, Mel’jarak. Dammit, Blizz, why is the boss with Blademaster adds the Wind Lord and the boss who does tornadoes the Blade Lord? Isn’t that a little backwards?
I’d like to take a closer look at the new Ascension theorycraft. The current consensus is that it’s recommended for windwalkers, but not for the other specs. In my brief trial run with it, it felt inferior to Power Strikes for windwalkers; that said, the majority of my playtime right now is killing things that die quickly, which naturally hurts a passive talent.
I plan to update the spec guides for 5.1 (both here and on the forums) as I get time and I can pull myself away from playing Borderlands 2. :) Once I finish them up, I’ll post again here. In the meantime, if anyone has seen any good 5.1 patch roundup analysis, please drop the link in the comments, and I’ll cite it when I can.
Anybody done Brawler’s Guild on a monk yet?
(x-posted on TFD and WoM)
One of the perks of an enforced hiatus to any activity is the ability to gain some perspective. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve logged in or done any writing. I expected to feel compelled to come back; oddly, though, I’ve felt almost relieved at the lack of pressure. Why has WoW (which, y’know, is supposed to be fun) become funless for me?
Well, no matter how I slice it, I keep coming back to the same point: it’s a multiplayer game. (Duh.) While the game offers tons of singleplayer endgame content (and I include things like random 5-mans/LFR as singleplayer, because you’re not really interacting with anyone there at any serious level), let’s face it; most of those experiences are nothing more than time grinds to obtain stuff. Sure, it’s stronger stuff, or prettier stuff, which is nice, but that doesn’t change the fact that the gameplay itself to get there is mostly an exercise in tedium. Repeating content is fun once or twice, but that’s it.
The worst part: it didn’t have to be this way. Unfortunately, in the name of “fairness,” Blizzard has elected to balance single-player progression solely on time invested, and not player skill. Gone are the group quests, soloable by a good, determined player. Gone are the large gold rewards earned from running dungeons solo (yes, AoE looting compensates slightly, but only just). Etc. The only difficult challenge I’ve had this expansion has been rare elites, and their non-scaling nature means the difficulty curve for those drops off quickly as well. I’m holding out hope for Brawler’s Guild, but unless they do a complete 180 on their current stance, I won’t be seeing that content for some time.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m perfectly okay with Blizzard taking this stance, and agree completely that it’s my erratic schedule that’s at fault, not Blizzard, for why I’m not “playing like I’m supposed to.” I’d love to do a few challenge modes, for example, but I’m still not at the point where I can agree to set aside 1-2 uninterrupted hours to learn and do one. And no, this isn’t an “I quit” post in disguise. I still enjoy racing the clock in scenarios, outDPSing people who outgear me in LFR, and, quixotically, farming. I also think I’m going to take another stab at battlegrounds (now that I have a good connection and a good PC to play on) and probably mess around with pet battles. The things I don’t enjoy, though, such as powerleveling professions on alts, VP capping every week, or random 5-mans; I’m going to stop feeling like I “have” to do them…because I don’t. Seriously. Dailies? Dailies can kiss my human/elven ass. The Shado-Pan can hate me, and I’ll go on hating them right back. (P.S. your monastery sucks too.)
In writing terms: I’ll still be kicking around, writing about what interests me, and I’ll still write the occasional guide post from time to time. My dreams of being the pre-eminent analyst for druids and monks, though, died next to a hospital bed about six weeks ago, and I’m surprisingly okay with that. I’m just going to keep on keeping on, probably making things up as I go.
Then again, I’ve been doing that for the past two years and it seems to be working.
(xposted on TFD and WoM)
The good news: my wife has recovered enough to go home. The bad news: there’s still a lot of adjustment we have to do. I didn’t really think it through, but I actually had more free time in the hospital to play/write because the nurses took care of her personal care. Now that she’s home, I’m having to help her with everything (including adjusting to life as an ostomate), so I haven’t touched a keyboard (until now) since we got home a week ago.
I’m still keeping up with goings-on via RSS on my phone…just don’t expect me to say anything meaningful for a while. Hope you guys are having fun in WoW!
Finally had a chance to go back through and update all the guide posts. Here’s the changes.
- Now recommending Chi Wave over Zen Sphere for self-healing purposes.
- Noted that Avert Harm is more useful in combination with Zen Meditation.
- Added some more discussion about glyphs.
- Completely redid the stat weight section to emphasize that there are many different ways to reforge, depending on your preferred outcome.
- Clarified the differences and useful situations for Chi Wave/Chi Burst/Zen Sphere. Switched recommendation from RJW to Xuen.
- Recommended CJL a bit more.
- Reworked the rotations to empathize Enveloping Mist more and Surging Mist less.
- Typo fixes.
- Added the missing professions section. (Oops.)
- Talked about DW being slightly stronger than 2H.
- Added information about AoE rotations; Single-target for 1/2 targets, ST with a SCK subbed for Jab for 3/4, RSK/SCK spam with 5+.
I wrote a column for WoW Insider digging deeper into monk talent choice; you can find it here. (I’m updating the guides, slowly; I’ll have a roundup post in a few days with all the changes.) For the most part, I’m pretty impressed with the talent choices that are out there, though some could definitely use improvement. Specifically, I’d like to see:
- Tiger’s Lust lose the chi cost or become a baseline ability (or both)
- Zen Sphere get some kind of AoE component when sustained (or make the detonation cheaper)
- Ascension be buffed to increase the chi pool by 2
- Deadly Reach range buff increased to 30 yards
- Healing Elixirs scale with the number of stacks consumed
- Chi Torpedo become a Tier 1 talent; replace it with something Ox-themed to keep the Tiger/Ox/Serpent theme.
Oh, and Leg Sweep probably needs a nerf, that thing is awesome. Anyway, what do you guys think about the current talents?
(xposted on TFD and WoM)
Warning: Real life trauma ahead. This is not a happy post.
So, in my last post, I mentioned my wife was in the hospital. Well, things got worse.
Originally (last Monday), she was in for a routine intestinal hernia repair. No big deal, everything was great; hell, I brought my laptop in to her room, tethered it to my phone, and got the Realm First mining achievement Tuesday, plus a bunch of monk time. She was feeling great, so they discharged her and we came home.
Well, either during the surgery or sometime following (I’d say around Friday), she suffered an intestinal perforation. Unfortunately, I attributed her lethargy and fever to post-surgical blahs, and didn’t catch on that something else was going on until Tuesday of this week, when she spiked a 102+ fever. I brought her in to the ER, thinking she just needed some antibiotics or something; she was immediately admitted and sent off to emergency surgery. The intestinal perforation had caused contents to leak into the bloodstream, which caused her body to go into sepsis (infection of the blood) and then septic shock.
It’s now five days later. Things were very close for a few days; she’s had three surgeries since Tuesday to find the perforation, repair it, and attempt to fully clean the abdominal cavity of the infection. At this point, she’ll be okay, but she’s likely to be in the ICU for multiple weeks and the hospital for longer. She was airlifted to the Army medical center in San Antonio, so I’ll be living out of the San Antonio Fisher House for a while. I’d like to get back to playing and writing about WoW, so you’ll start seeing some more material here in a few days. (It’s either that, or sit here, stare at the wall, and mentally kick myself for not getting her to the hospital sooner.)
I’ve got about 200 emails/messages to get through, so if you’ve asked me a question, I will get to you, just give me some time. I’m finding it difficult to string higher-level thoughts together at the moment.