Before Battle.net took a sour turn last night, there was a new build for the Legion Beta deployed. Only small changes were made, but rather significant ones, particularly regarding the new Fistweaving incarnation for Mistweavers. The final trait of the Sheilun artifact was also notably buffed. Oh, and I have Beta access finally!
Teachings of the Monastery now causes your next Blackout Kick to strike an additional time, stacking up to 3 times. Previously, increased damage on Blackout Kick and Rising Sun Kick by 30%.
The new incarnation of fistweaving seems to have made its entrance to the Legion Alpha. Two new talents, entirely based around melee dpsing, have been introduced to the talent tree. After Blizzard’s removal of Crane stance, does this reversal mean Mistweavers are regaining some of its old flavor, or will we see an entirely new gameplay?
Let’s start at the beginning. I never saw the birth of the Monk class, since I hadn’t come back to WoW until at the end of 5.3, something I sorely regret. I wish I could have experienced how the Monk class was at the very beginning – the notorious Jab-Jab-Uplift sequence seemed like a hell of a fun (not to mention broken). But I did experience the late-game of Mistweavers in Mists of Pandaria, when fistweaving was definitely a fun addition to an already quirky class.
Since fistweaving wasn’t locked to a stance, Mistweavers transitioned more fluidly between healing and dps, without much of a pause in between. There was even a build called Lightningweaving, which was entirely built upon Crackling Jade Lightning as a Chi builder (though it required heck of a lot of spirit to compensate). But these were also the days when Mistweavers didn’t have much of a fan club since healing overall was entirely dominated by Disc priests (yes, even worse than now). If a raid absolutely had to have a second healer, it would likely go to the tree-huggers or the water-throwers.
The Monk Blog for Legion changes has arrived and dropped a bomb on all of us Mistweavers. Many changes are ahead of us – but remember, the blog only shows the basic rotation; we haven’t seen the talents (and there will be many many new ones), which are the ones that will bring depth and complexity to our spec. With that in mind, we have only seen a glimpse of what Mistweaving will be like in Legion. Not to mention, there will be a roller-coaster ride of changes in the Beta, and you can be a part of shaping the new Mistweaver by giving feedback.
In this post I will give my initial thoughts on the new changes. I will put heavy focus on Mistweavers (naturally), but I’ll also mention Windwalker and Brewmaster changes at the end. Apologies for the length of the post, but there is so much to discuss! And I blame Blizzard, they welcomed feedback so warmly I just had to go all out.
Summary of changes, collected from the Monk blog and Developer tweets:
What we have lost:
Chi – “Mistweavers will now use Mana, not Chi, as a resource, since it reduced choices and restricted gameplay in many situations.”
Crane Stance / Eminence – “We’re also focusing Mistweavers solely on healing, rather than supporting a type of mixed attack-healing gameplay that felt awkward and ultimately didn’t live up to our goals for the spec—it was unintuitive, and chiefly useful as a mana management tool.”
Melee Spells – “Mistweavers will now be treated like other ranged specs for the purpose of encounter ability targeting.”
“Mistweaver will still have melee abilities for dealing damage, they’re just not dual-purposed into providing smart heals.”‘
“During an encounter where you can’t be in melee, Crackling Jade Lightning makes a good fallback.”
Will make a blog post on this subject.
Uplift – replaced with the two new spells Vivify and Essence Font.
Your Effuse, Enveloping Mist, and Vivify also trigger Soothing Mist.
After casting these spells, you continue to channel healing mists into the target, healing them for a minor amount every 0.5 sec, until you take any other action.
Need efficient healing? Cast any heal and let Soothing Mist continue to provide free healing as long as you feel comfortable!
Need high-throughput healing? Cast any heal and move onto the next target in need of healing, without spending time on Soothing Mist.
For Mistweavers, it’s OK to have open global cooldowns between heals—Soothing Mist fills these gaps.
“Soothing Mist has a channel bar, but no duration. We’re considering multiple options for how interrupts affect it.”
“Currently, we’re trying it beeing uninterruptible. We may also try having it interruptible, but on the Physical school.”
5% Mana, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
You surround the target with healing mists, restoring a huge amount of health over 20 sec.
If Renewing Mist causes any overhealing, it will travel to the most injured ally within 20 yds.
When Renewing Mist heals, it has a 4% chance to increase the healing of your next Vivify by 50%.
“Our goal with Mistweaver Monks is to accentuate the existing characteristics that define them, and resolve some core gameplay issues. In simple terms, this means we’ve redesigned their abilities so that you can directly use the spells you want rather than having to set up an excessive amount of other abilities first.The most prominent example of this was Renewing Mist, which served primarily as a setup for Uplift; we’ve reworked Renewing Mist to stand on its own…”
6.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
Wrap the target in healing mists, healing them for a huge amount over 6 sec, and increasing healing received from your spells by 30%.
Mana Tea – “Mana Tea is no longer present in its current form, but there is a new variant of it in talents.”
Statue – “There is a talent that brings back the Statue for players who miss it.”
Effuse (Single Heal)
1.8% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A fast and efficient spell, healing the target for a minor amount.
“Effuse is a fast and cheap way to start Soothing on a target. It’s the Monk’s answer to spells like the Priest’s “Heal.”
Essence Font (AoE Heal)
8.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Channeled
Unleash a rapid twirl of healing bolts at up to 6 allies within 25 yds, every 1 sec for 3 sec.
Each bolt heals the target for a moderate amount, plus an additional moderate amount over 8 sec.
“The channel on Essence Font is there to help balance its large amount of total healing. At 3 seconds, it’s still quite flexible.”
Vivify (Cleave Heal)
5.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Cause a surge of invigorating mists around the target, healing them and their 2 nearest injured allies for a moderate amount.
40 yd range, Instant, 20 sec recharge, 2 charges
Instantly dash to an ally, and heal them for a large amount.
Mastery (NEW): Gust of Mists
Your targeted heals also cause a gust of healing mists, instantly healing the target for a minor amount (increasing with Mastery from gear).
“It’s fairly different from other healer masteries: it’s a flat amount, not a percentage.”’
Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane (Talent)
“We love Chi-Ji too! Keep an eye out for a new talent: “Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane.”
In the episode of Monk Meditation that I participated in, we touched on the subject of what we want to see in Legion regarding Mistweavers. This is such an interesting topic that I’d like to expand a little on it. I recommend reading this post with a good cup of tea and some time on your hands because brevity is not my strong suit when it comes to all things Mistweaver. But hopefully it will give you some new insight!
Let’s start with what we know.
The Current Mistweaver Fantasy
There are a few things that have always been a part of the Mistweaver fantasy, the very core of the spec. First of all, Mistweavers mainly use shrouds of mists to heal their allies and redirect chi flows. In their toolkit they have tea to regain mana, and brews to bolster their defenses. In addition, Mistweavers have the ability to go full martial art combatant, while healing their allies with the completely logical and pertinent Eminence ability.
Mechanic-wise, Mistweavers have generally been designed for spread rather than spot healing when it comes to AoE (compare to Shaman’s Chain Heal, which hits fewer targets but with greater strength). Eminence works the same way – a million flitting and small heals that spreads randomly over the whole raid. Since we have been niched for spread, we’ve always had an element of RNG. Renewing Mist can be partly controlled, with the first application. But to avoid having to spend 15 GCDs on blanketing the raid with Renewing Mist, part of it works as a smart heal and spreads automatically to targets on low health. Neither Uplift nor Eminence are hard-hitters; they are spells that heals a little but across the whole raid. As such, Mistweavers prefer encounters where the damage hits everyone, and often.
That is a brief summary of how Mistweaver works now. But what do we know of the future?
Legion Announcements (so far)
Excerpts from MMO and Developer Interviews.
There will be a heavy focus on class identity in Legion. Every class should feel different.
The team has learned some lessons from how Fistweaving works now and will talk about what they are doing to solve the problems with it in the future.
Sheilun, Staff of the Mists – Mistweaver Monks will go to Pandaria to seek out the staff of Emperor Shaohao. The variants have Pandaren influences such as the Red Crane, Jade Serpent, or Sha.
After reaching the 610 ilvl benchmark, the heroic dungeons finally open up. From a healer perspective, these are very challenging. In my opinion it’s a very fun sort of challenge, the kind that test your abilities to the limits. I haven’t gotten around to trying all the dungeons, but those I’ve tried have been difficult to heal, and fun! The tanking role seems the easiest and the DPS role have had to relearn to use their CCs and interrupts more, an ability that had become obsolete in endgame MoP. But I’ve never used Paralysis as much as I do now.
The last boss in the dungeons seems to be the hardest ones (usually). We’ve actually had to stop several times, and think out a sound strategy to manage the boss mechanics. I’ve scouted the internet after some good dungeon guides, and I found Dayani’s on Wowhead (you can check them out here). But I’ve felt that I always needed something a little more specific to Mistweaver healing in heroic, so for the future I’ll be working on some encounter guides. The goal is that they cover everything you need to think of when healing as a Mistweaver, both in Serpent stance and Crane stance. It will take a while to write them though, so be patient.
I’ve also experienced that some bosses are just simpler to do completely in Crane stance. Like Roltall in Bloodmaul Slag Mines. As a melee it is much easier to counter the mechanics, but the damage pattern also put higher demands on Crane stance healing. Because of this I’ve added an “Advanced Crane stance healing” section to the Strategy guide, where I explain different ways to maximise your healing in Crane stance. Take a look!
I have noticed that there is a severe lack of WeakAura trackers for Crane stance on the internet. So I thought, why won’t I try to create some then? How hard can it be?
Well, it wasn’t easy but it could be done. WeakAuras can be quite complicated but once you get the gist, it’s easy to produce several trackers in a row. I have updated my addon section with these, but I’ll paste them here as well!
WeakAuras for Stance of the Spirited Crane
Also known as fistweaving!
WeakAura string for Tiger Strikes here.
WeakAura string for Vital Mists here.
WeakAura string for Crane’s Zeal here.
WeakAura string for Tiger Power here.
WeakAura string for Rising Sun Kick Debuff here.
If you’re wondering what the hell these little buggers are, head over to the strategy section to do your Crane stance studies.
Note that the Tiger Strikes is a buff you get from auto attacks (far left). The Rising Sun Kick symbol (far right) refers to the debuff the spell of the same name applies on enemies. It is is programmed to be activated when your target has the debuff (otherwise it’s shiny and grey).
Also note that these trackers are only visible in Crane stance! When you enter Serpent stance these will magically vanish only to reappear again when you re-enter Crane stance. Handy right?