Aug 192012
 

Hey druid fans, as many of you know, I’m also writing WoW Insider’s monk content, so I’m composing  guides for both classes. As it happens, I finished up the windwalker guide first, so go check it out and let me know what you think! I’ve excerpted the beginning below.


Introduction

Windwalker monks are a melee DPS class that was newly added to the game for the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Any race, except Worgen and Goblin, can be a monk. (All my pictures are pandaren because, well, that’s all the art at the moment.) Like all monks, they have two resources that must be managed; energy and chi.

Energy regenerates at a constant rate (10/sec), and is used to power several abilities. Windwalkers have a 100-point energy pool. Energy regeneration does scale with haste, and can also be temporarily buffed by Energizing Brew.

In contrast, chi is a static 4-point pool, similar to a paladin’s holy power, that decays when out of combat. To build chi, a windwalker monk will typically use a “chi builder,”  such as Jab, which hits for very little but generates chi. The windwalker monk’s hardest-hitting abilities, or “chi consumers,” use that chi to generate the bulk of the windwalker’s damage. The key difference between chi and other secondary resource systems (such as holy power or combo points) is that all chi consuming abilities have a fixed cost and damage, compared to the others where damage/effect scales based on the amount of secondary resource currently banked.

What does that mean? Well, it opens up your flexibility quite a bit. Rogues, for example, pretty much never use a finisher unless they’re at maximum combo points, because of the way it scales. In contrast, windwalkers have the flexibility to alternate chi builders and consumers for steady damage, or use multiple builders to store chi, and then multiple consumers for extra damage during a burst period.

Every fight against non-trivial enemies will require careful management of both resources. The two primary mistakes you want to avoid are chi dumping and energy capping. Chi dumping is using a chi builder when you are already at full chi (thereby wasting time and energy) whereas energy capping is allowing your energy meter to fill to 100, which causes your energy regeneration to stop. As you get used to the spec, you’ll learn how to weave chi builders and chi consumers together to keep a constant flow going.


Primary Abilities

These are the abilities you’re going to use most often, so know them, love them, hotkey them.

Ability Icon Discussion
Jab 40 energy, no CD. Basic attack. Increases chi by 1 baseline, increased to 2 via Stance of the Fierce Tiger. Can proc a free Tiger Palm/Blackout Kick via the Windwalker’s Mastery, Combo Breaker. Primary chi builder for single-target.
Rising Sun Kick 2 chi, 8s CD. Heavy damage to current target and causes all targets within 8 yds to take 10% additional damage (from the Monk) for 15 sec. Use this on cooldown.
Fists of Fury 3 chi, 25s CD. Unlike the other instant abilities, this is a 4 sec channel that hits 5 times for significant damage. It also stuns enemies during the channel. Downsides: expensive, it’s channeled (can be interrupted, no autoattack during the channel) and it splits damage among targets hit, which makes it not very good for AoE unless the stun works.
Blackout Kick 2 chi, no CD. Hits for good damage, and adds a DoT for 20% of the damage if attacking from behind, or a self-heal for 20% if attacking from the front (Combat Conditioning). Occasionally usable for free due to Combo Breaker.
Tiger Palm 1 chi, no CD. Moderate damage; adds a 10% armor debuff for your damage to the target. The debuff stacks 3x, so 30% armor reduction. (10% armor reduction = 3-4% more damage, roughly.) Occasionally usable for free due to Combo Breaker.
Spinning Crane Kick 40 energy, no CD, generates 1 chi if it hits three or more enemies. Channeled 3 sec AoE that hits 4 times. Primary chi builder for AoE.
Energizing Brew 60s CD. A energy regen cooldown, very similar to a feral druid’s Tiger’s Fury except slower. Like TF, you’ll want to use this as soon as it comes off cooldown and the extra energy isn’t wasted.
Tigereye Brew  This is your “click me for more damage” button. It doesn’t have an actual cooldown, but you’ll want to use it at 10 stacks to maximize the effect, so roughly every 75s-90s, or more if you have to stop attacking a lot.
Zen Sphere Your Level 30 talent. At the moment, things are fluctuating as to whether this (or the other L30 talents) will be used in the rotation, or just for self-healing purposes. More on this in the Talent section.
Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger Your Level 90 talent. The other options appear to be more AoE focused, so we’ll rely on Xuen for the time being.

That’s it! Master those 10, and you’ll be 95% of the way there for single-target DPS situations.

Reminder: Hit this page for the full guide.

 Posted by at 8:22 pm
Jul 202012
 
TwistedLive_150

 

So, the Twisted Nether Blogcast has this thing where they interview WoW bloggers, and it’s my turn. :) Come hear me wax lyrical, or at least grumble a bit, this Sunday at 11pm ET.

Maybe I’ll actually write a blog post between now and then and be considered a blogger still! Yay! (I blame Blizzard for not making more interesting druid changes. Seriously. It has nothing to do with the coincidental Steam sale that I most definitely have not bought ten games from.)

 Posted by at 2:56 pm
Jun 262012
 

So, I was going to cover the new posts in the Class Balance Analysis Thread (henceforth abbreviated as the CBAT, because bats are awesome, even those who were mediocre in school) but I’ve had quite a bit to do at work and other people have written it up better already. Link post? Link post.

  • Go see Sunfyre for info on the revamp to the balance rotation (stronger, more frequent Starsurge and a maintenance buff to keep up) Graylo will probably also have something bloggish to say about it soon, I’d wager.
  • Arielle over at TIB had two Guardian roundup posts (one/two) Really liking the part about how Rebirth’s CD might be reset on a wipe, and bearcats were “not” OP. Um, right. I disagree with GC here. I’m cool with “world firsts have to resort to unusual strategies” but bearcatting wasn’t unusual, it was fairly customary to my knowledge.
  • Reygahnci throws out some numbers as to why Incarnation really is that terrible currently, and why Wild Charge really is that OP.
  • Oh, right, and I summed up what I saw as the current issues for balance and feral (in the beta) on WoW Insider.

 

 Posted by at 11:10 pm
Apr 242012
 

I spent a few hours playing the TERA open beta over the weekend, and here’s some quick thoughts. (I’ll start doing these every so often, especially when there’s no druid news to talk about.)

Gameplay

The gameplay is quite good. Initially, things are confusing as heck (you start at lvl 20, play a short tutorial, then go to lvl 1…none of which is really explained at all) but the whole action-combat style works well. Very similar to a multiplayer version of Kingdom of Amalur, though like KoA, it really works better for melee classes than ranged classes. Having to move + dodge frequently because you’re right up on enemies = fun; stand and nuke = not as fun.

Questing isn’t any better or worse than any normal MMO…nothing to see here, really, and the storyline is also quite forgettable. Leveling is quite fast, and you do want to level quickly, as the AI of the early mobs is simply terrible (thankfully, they get smarter.) I didn’t try any of the crafting or PvP, so I can’t speak to that, but all the buttons were there.

Remember how I said leveling was fast? Several people were already at level cap, and complaining about how there was nothing to do. (If you preorder the game, one character per server will not be deleted when the open beta closes. Interesting incentive.)

Interface

The UI is good for a MMO game. All the elements can be moved around the screen by default, though I couldn’t immediately see a way to minimize/close them. This annoyed me, as one of the UI elements was showing how my spells were mapped to my controller, even though I was playing with mouse/keyboard. There’s a rudimentary combat log, but no mod support, so good luck with doing any kind of comprehensive analysis. (Yes, WoW has spoiled me on this. The question about whether that’s a good or bad thing is a whole nother’ debate.)

Look and Feel

The big controversial point: it’s pure anime styling. The men all look like Marcus Fenix or Ezio Auditore, while the women are all in stripper gear. There’s even a “race” that looks like pre-pubescent females, complete with available bunny ears and panty shots. Combine this with the marketing campaign (which features a MMA fighter beating up people who play other MMO’s until they switch to Tera) and you can see EXACTLY which demographic this is targeted at. That all said, the world design (monsters, weather, backgrounds) is the best I’ve seen in any game to date, so that’s something.

Overall

Two thoughts. 1) If I was 18 again, I’d probably be all over this game. Now that I’m 28 with a wife and son, this kind of thing just feels tawdry. 2) I don’t know what their goals are, but the target demo + the lack of endgame (which appears to be all PvP) tells me this thing is going to be big for a month or two, then flame out as everyone moves on to the next big thing. Again, a lot like KoA where about 15-20 hours in, you were like “Welp, I’ve seen everything this game has to offer.”

 Posted by at 9:00 am  Tagged with:
Apr 212012
 

I’ve been frustrated with the lack of updates for druids recently, so I decided to roll up some Monks on beta, see if they were worth assuming ‘main alt’ status come Mists release date. Well, I’ve enjoyed them enough that I’ve decided to rip off my own blog layout and start up a new Monk blog called…World of Monkcraft! (I know, I know, great name, right?) I’ve been writing up some Monk spec guides: Windwalker is up, and I’m currently working on Mistweaver. Feel free to pop over and comment/troll/berate as you see fit; the design is terrible, as is my usual standard.

Also, not to worry, I’m still committed to Feral: the thread on the beta forums I started is going on five pages of mostly drama-free constructive criticism, so input’s still flowing in. Just no new builds means no new stuff to talk about. :(

 Posted by at 10:21 pm
Apr 072012
 

FAQ:

  • Melee hit/exp cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 2550 (7.5%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 2040 (6%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses. The PvP hit/exp cap is 3%, or 1020.
  • Dual wield hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 9180(27%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 8500. (25%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
  • Spell hit cap for level 90 Mists of Pandaria characters is 5100 (15%) for raid/level 93 bosses, 4080 (12%) for 5-man heroic/level 92 bosses.
  • Racials: Draenei get a free 1% hit for all weapons. Certain races get a free 1% expertise for certain weapons.
  • The whole odd Expertise/Expertise Rating thing is gone, it works just like Hit now.
  • Pets fully inherit your hit/exp ratings and combine them to get their ratings. This means if you have 15% hit and 0% exp (warlocks), a melee pet will still be hit/exp capped.

EDIT: Since this is apparently a popular search result page, I’ve gone back and updated this table with the correct numbers for Level 90; in early beta, all the combat ratings were higher, but were reduced by about 15% across the board.

Remember, these stats are before diminishing returns: See Theck if you want more DR math than your head can handle. The general TLDR idea fir tanks is stack avoidance stats for best overall survivability but more RNG; stack offensive stats for more control over your active mitigation but slightly more total damage taken.

85 (1% Gain) 90 (1% Gain) Stat
265.08 885 Dodge
265.08 885 Parry
88.36 295 Block
102.45 340 Hit/Spell Hit
102.45 340 Expertise
128.06 425 Haste
179.28 600 Crit
179.28 600 Mastery (but varies for some specs)
322.58 1259.52 Agility needed for 1% crit
648.91 2533.66 Intellect needed for 1% crit
243.58 951.15 Agility needed for 1% dodge (druids/monks), Strength needed for 1% parry (paladin/warrior/DK)
95.22 310 PvP Resilience
N/A 265 PvP Power (note: PvPP is half as effective for heals, so 530 for +1% healing done)
  • Boss armor at 93: 24835

If I’m incorrect/missing something, let me know.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Mar 182012
 

Briefly, here’s what I’m predicting we’ll see come out of the press event. (Note: Yeah, I contribute for WoW Insider, who had two people there, but they haven’t told me anything. Despite attempted bribery via baked goods.)

  • A big focus on the Pandaren starting zone and the new 85-90 zones. Lots of videos showing off updated animations, high-res screenshots to really sell the Asian theme, etc. A bunch of stuff about the new dungeons and the dungeon revamps as well. The male pandaren model already got lots of attention during Blizzcon, so you’ll see it, but more emphasis will be placed on the new female model.
  • Lots of info about new grouping features. Challenge modes will be highly talked up as the “new heroics.” Lots of attention as to what you can get here. (Quietly,  the previous normal/heroic difficulties now have nothing to do with difficulty. Normal mode is what you do on-level; heroic mode is what you do at 85, but they’re both 4.3 5-man difficulty.) Also, much more about scenarios, which are designed to be even easier and shorter versions of group content. (Dear reader, if you think things are already too easy…well, I agree, but you and I are not the target audience here.)
  • More on pet battles. My first reaction to hearing about pet battles was, of course, “PokeWoW yay” but I could see it being mildly interesting. I’m probably overly down on the ides; I’m sure there’s some good strategy to be had in Pokemon, somewhere, I’ve just never been able to stick with one of the games long enough to see it. (Now, a Pokemon/MTG hybrid, where you get a “deck” of pets from which X number is randomly drawn for the battle,  would be something.)  I’m assuming there will be some form of quickmatch/queue type system.
  • New battlegrounds and raids. Goes without saying.
  • No major mechanics news. Nothing about raid size changes, dailies, very little about class changes (unless it can be spun in an unabashedly positive light). Basically, if it’s controversial at all, you won’t see it here. This is a hype event and they don’t want anything detracting from that.

We’ll see; remember, all the goodies will go live at 12AM PDT. If you want the straight data dump, I’m pretty sure Wowhead will cover you; WoWI will probably have more bite-size pieces along with analysis. I’m not really paying attention; still messing around with the SWTOR free weekend. I’ll throw up my thoughts on that after all the press news settles.

 

 

 Posted by at 4:34 pm  Tagged with: