Monday, December 14, 2015

Breaking Down Windwalker

Much like Retribution (the dps class of the other tank/melee/healer hybrid,) Windwalkers will be the only Monk spec to retain their secondary resource, Chi. Monks are going to have to take a step back, no longer the new kid on the block with Demon Hunters arriving. It looks as if Windwalkers are trying to fulfill to a greater extent the kind of fighting-game combat style. Mostly it seems that abilities are becoming more pro-active and less based on maintaining buffs and debuffs.

Also of note, it seems that Monks will be sheathing their weapons a bit differently this time. While Staves (for Monks only) will be slung over the shoulder, rather than just kind of upside-down the way they have been in the past, it also looks like Fist Weapons will always be out - important given that Windwalkers will have a Fist Weapon artifact (well, a pair.)

As always, this is Alpha, so don't be shocked if this undergoes some revision and iteration later down the line.

Tiger Palm has become the new Jab, costing 50 Energy, generating 1 Chi.

Blackout Kick now only costs 1 Chi, but has a 3-second cooldown, dealing moderate physical damage. It also does an additional 20% of its damage over time if you hit from behind, or heals you for 20% if you strike from the front of the target.

Combo Breaker is a passive that gives Tiger Palm an 8% chance to make your next Blackout Kick free.

Rising Sun Kick stills costs 2 Chi, has an 8 second cooldown, and does a large amount of physical damage, as well as reducing the healing received by the target for 10 seconds.

Flying Serpent Kick sends you forward at high speed for 2 seconds, and you can activate it again to stomp down, dealing damage and snaring all enemies within 8 yards and slowing them by 70% for 4 seconds, with a 25 second cooldown.

Touch of Death is now on a 2-minute cooldown. After 8 seconds, the target will take damage equal to the Monk's maximum health (though less against players.)

Touch of Karma redirects all damage you take to the target as Nature damage for 6 seconds, capped at 50% of your max health.

Fists of Fury costs 3 Chi and has a 20 second cooldown, channeled over 4 seconds and dealing high damage to all targets in front of you (though less against secondary targets, which I assume means that it deals full damage only to an enemy you have targeted.) You can move while channeling this attack.

Spinning Crane Kick costs 1 Chi and deals damage to enemies within 8 yards over 1.5 seconds.

Tigereye Brew now has 2 charges, with a 1.5 minute recharge. It increases damage by 30% for 15 seconds.

Storm, Earth, and Fire is now toggled on or off. You split into three spirits. You control the Storm spirit while the other two automatically find other targets to attack. Each spirit deals 50% of your normal damage, with the Earth and Fire spirits mirroring your abilities.

Mastery: Combo Strikes increases the damage of every ability that does not follow the same ability.

The Mastery here certainly complicates things. It seems relatively forgiving if you don't manage to always do something different with each attack, but it certainly incentivizes you to try to do so. Most of these abilities are familiar, but their interactions might be a bit different.

Tiger Palm only generating 1 Chi might seem to make it hard to pull off this "never use the same ability twice in a row" thing, but that Combo Breaker passive might be the key to it.

At the moment, it looks like the Mastery won't be an enormous bonus, so it might be more important to do Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick than always getting the bonus (and give their costs, it's likely that these attacks will always benefit from the Mastery.) But if it's super-important to get that bonus, you might have to wait for the procs to line up. Essentially you'd have one proc allow you to do Rising Sun Kick (so that you could do TP, BOK, TP, RSK) and you'd need two procs in a row to let you do Fists of Fury (TP, BOK, TP, BOK, TP, FOF.)

Still, I suspect that the bonus won't be big enough to justify that kind of gameplay, so it's more likely that we're looking at a priority list like this (before talents and artifact tratis - which might give you more options to keep that Mastery bonus active.)

1. Blackout Kick if it's free.
2. Fists of Fury
3. Rising Sun Kick, unless you can get the Chi for Fists of Fury without breaking the Mastery bonus.
4. Blackout Kick, unless unless you can get the Chi for Rising Sun Kick without breaking the Mastery bonus.
5. Tiger Palm

First off, I should mention that I'm somewhat less confident about this rotation than I've been about most others in these "Breaking Down" articles. Spinning Crane Kick is certainly part of the AoE rotation, but now that it costs Chi, you'll need to make sure you can get up to Fists of Fury levels of Chi to use it on cooldown.

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