Windwalker Monk Feedback
A little about my experience with the class: I mained windwalker monk from the beginning of MoP to the end of Legion. I’ve tried something new in BfA after being unenthused about the changes for BfA, but I’d love to return to monk as it’s my favourite spec in the game. I’m an AOTC raider that dabbles in Mythic content.
In my opinion the class is at a point where it is well designed and engaging, but seems to always come up short when compared to Demon Hunter and Rogue, resulting in an unpopular spec. I personally don’t let comparisons like that dictate my choices, but a lot of players do, and I think we can all agree that the game would be better for everyone if Windwalker was on par.
In the past this has been satisfied by giving WW crazy AoE potential, and currently I think the strategy is that by giving leg sweep baseline, we’re the “stun” class. If Blizzard wants stunning to be WW’s niche, I think we have to go a lot farther than leg sweep, possibly giving stun back to FoF for example, and I’m not sure Blizzard wants to do that.
Overall, windwalker needs something. I don’t pretend to have the magical answer, but my feeling is that the answer could lie in enhancing SEF. This unique and iconic ability has so much potential to be modified through talents to serve different purposes. Previous versions of the ability could be accessible through talents, and if you allowed the clones to Leg sweep or interrupt, for example, you start to have a class with something unique to offer. More on SEF later though.
General Feedback on Alpha
Weapons: I love the return of 2H weapons. This is truly huge for me. Please do not revert this change!
Xuen: Again, love to see that Xuen will be baseline. This has always been a wonderful flavour ability that makes monk feel cool, even if it’s s simple concept. It always felt bad not taking Xuen as a talent. The fact that he’s baseline also now opens up the opportunity to enhance him through talents.
Touch of Death: I’m a little less enthusiastic about this change, as I really enjoy the gale burst mechanic, but it’s also something I don’t have really strong feelings about if most people like the reversion to the old version
Dance of Chi-Ji: I’m very happy this is becoming a talent. It’s fun ability and fits well on an AoE talent row. The only down side is that it’s pitted against Hit Combo, which I personally would like to see either baked into the class or removed from the game. I’ve never enjoyed choosing this talent in any of its iterations, but it’s always felt required. This, in my opinion, is the telltale sign of a talent that is damaging to the class.
Fortifying Brew: Glad to see its return as I strongly feel Monks are lacking in defensive abilities. This only issue with this ability is it’s interaction with Touch of Karma, which I will discuss below.
Overall: While I’m happy about the above changes, I’m a little underwhelmed with what I’m seeing. It seems that windwalker is always one of the last specs to get attention, which often results in it getting far less attention than other specs. I would love to see Blizzard use windwalker as a starting point instead of an afterthought.
Fist of the White Tiger: I think this ability needs to change and it needs to be baseline. It needs to change in that it has always felt like an inferior version of Strike of the Windlord from Legion. This ability should be the Legion version and different in name only, It should have the frontal cone, the shorter cool down, the 2 Chi generation, everything. SotW felt so so good in this spec, and it should be part of it permanently. This is also why it should be baseline. One of the reasons I didn’t want to play WW in BfA is because I dreaded the scenario where FotWT was not the optimal choice. I don’t want to play without that button in my rotation. It just seems to negatively affect the pace of the spec, which is particularly important for windwalker to be fun.
Good Karma: I think this talent needs to be reconsidered, along with Touch of Karma itself. ToK has always been problematic in that it is a defensive ability that we feel compelled to use offensively. That has been lessened in BfA, but the problem still exists, and now that Fortifying Brew is back it will be amplified. This is another key reason I chose not to play windwalker in BfA. I had simply had enough of the Karma damage game. The good news is that the fix is easy in my opinion. Instead of ToK doing damage to the target, just remove the damage output and make the base ability heal the monk. In short, bake in Good Karma and get rid of the damage. All that being said, there is one place where the damage from ToK works extremely well, and that is in PVP. With that in mind, there could be a PVP Talent called perhaps “Bad Karma” that brings back the damage output aspect in PVP situations.
Hit Combo: As I said earlier, it’s just gotta go. It’s not fun and it’s almost always required, and it basically means we don’t get to play with the other toys on the row.
Whirling Dragon Punch: The ability has been wonderful and fun since it came to the game (bugs aside). It should be baseline. It fits really well into the rotation, to the point that it’s not fun to take something else.
Serenity: I’ve never been crazy about this ability, largely because I have to lose SEF. I would much rather see it not affect SEF, and allow for all three clones to benefit from it. If that sounds OP then it should be balanced against other talents on the row with similar output. I don’t think its ever a good idea to make a talented ability weaker because other talents are also weak. The should all be awesome.
SEF: I put this in the talent section because I think that there is a huge missed opportunity in using talents to modify this ability. Spiritual Focus is a good start at this, but there is so much more that could be done. Some examples:
- A talent that gives an additional clone
- A talent that allows SEF to be used in it’s MoP/WoD form where you can control having 1 or 2 clones and assign their targets. (this would be so great)
- A talent that allows for clones to proc for a short period of time, regardless of SEF. Sort of like the Fury of Xuen Azerite trait, but with clones instead of Xuen
I’m sure other folks can think of other awesome things, but I guess my point is that SEF has the potential to be what makes windwalkers unique. And whether you agree with me about he SEF or not, I think my other notes are things that should be urgently addressed, as I will be feeling less and less inclined to return to my windwalker in Shadowlands if I see that the class is not getting the attention it needs and deserves.
Those are my thoughts for now. Thank you for your hard work on this expansion.