Explain it like I’m five please. I know in Shadowlands SEF was supposedly better, but it’s always hard for me to justify my mind taking serenity
ST and SMALL cleave damage
Bigger FoF and RSK
Better Synergy with 10.2 Tier set
Different rotation prio RSK/FoF
Better AoE damage
More uses in a dungeon
Uses regular rotation
“… for 12 sec. … you deal 15% increased damage and healing*, and all Chi consumers are free and cool down 100% more quickly.”
The reason Serenity is good is the same reason we don’t care about Haste except in giga high percentages: Windwalker has a really nasty burst window. It buffs our burst window and that’s all we need it to do because our burst is 6 seconds.
I’m at roughly 30% Crit, 26% Vers, 27% Mastery, 7.5% haste. On a Bloodlust pull due to Skyreach/touch and Invoker’s Delight I hit essentially 80% crit, 85% haste (Haste buffs are multiplicative or additive based on the buff), if hit combo is stacked, 33% mastery.
For a spec based around a 6 second burst window, the ability to ignore our RSK limiting resource (Chi) and be able to spam FoF, RSK, and have a half CD SotWL and the ability to fish for resets with BoK (12% chance to reset, guaranteed 1s CDR) means you can get 3-4 RSKs in that 6 seconds which is extremely important as they are near guaranteed to crit.
This burst window is strong enough that it is near 0 dps difference compared to SEF in AoE. The FLS AoE build doesn’t care that much what you take between the two as they are near equivalent. SEF is nice for trash, Ser is nice for bosses.
With the T31 set, Ser is still good because T31 does not meaningfully change how we play Serenity and is does not change how we play outside of Serenity. In Serenity windows if you have Blackout Reinforcement, fill with BoK as normal, otherwise fill with SCK for BRI.
In SL SEF was good because Bonedust Brew and SCK was turbo broken when combined with the Calculated Strikes and BDB conduits. SEF gained so much value from being able to quickly get Mark of the Crane stacks (Shadowboxing Treads didn’t exist) and Calc Strikes. We would ignore our mastery LOSING upwards of 30% damage because the conduits provided triple what was lost. Coincidentally this interaction is currently why everyone believes that WW is supposed to be an AoE god spec despite not having the ability to do this in over a year and a half after nerfs in SL Fated season killed that degenerate way of playing.
* Serenity actually does increase our healing done by 15% which is impressive when you realize that SEF is still bugged (big surprise) and is supposed to reduce our healing** by 58% but does not.***
** Serenity only mimics your damaging abilities and doesn’t reduce healing. Because of that Expel Harm’s damage doesn’t get copied or reduced because its heal isn’t copied or reduced.
*** If SEF gets fixed and correctly reduces our healing, I’m sorry. Thankfully it’s a SEF bug or it’s a wrong wording so it’ll never be fixed.
The big difference is that Serenity lets you cast more hard hitting abilities, so even though SEF has two charges and a bigger damage buff, Serenity can put out enough burst, and lines up with Xuen and other CDs, that it comes out on top.