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.
Then Warlords of Draenor came and introduced an entirely new stance: Crane stance for Mistweavers. The concept was the same as fistweaving was, yet taken to a whole new level. Unique to its class, Crane stance had a promising beginning. I, for one, was dying to try out the new stance, not to mention that my inner OCD was purring contently over the missing celestial to our class. Needless to say, things didn’t pan out as expected. No one saw the need for a hybrid healer/dps (though the concept had some definite uses in theory), and the stance was clumsily handled, while only used to break our mana bars.
But, and I think this is very important to point out, Mistweavers definitely saw a good expansion in Draenor. Healing had become much better since the hectic yoyo format that existed in MoP. Instead of having our health bars bounce up and down like crazy, we actually had to work to get those bars up to max. Not only that, Mistweavers finally became competitive in the healing arena; maybe not up to par with Discs or Paladins, but a good addition to the team, as any of the throughput healers.
Then Legion was announced and turned everything on its head. Without a whisper of a warning, Blizzard took our spec and replaced it with something new. Mind you, while Mistweavers in Legion is entirely different, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good different. We had some definite weak points in our toolkit that crippled Mistweavers in different scenarios. Most of those weak points have been addressed with the new toolkit.
But the new Mistweaver definitely deviated from the old format. Gone was both fistweaving and Crane stance – we were becoming a full-blooded caster class, it seemed. We still had some melee abilities left though, namely our dps abilities plus an odd talent here and there. Blizzard never explained (and still hasn’t) how it would all work together. Being a caster class with melee abilities or a melee class without melee immunity both seemed like crazy options.
Last week, a new alpha build came that seems to give us signs that we approaching the melee format again, but with a whole new twist to it. Here are the two new talents:
Your Rising Sun Kick resets the cooldown of Thunder Focus Tea.
Spirit of the Crane
Your Tiger Palm additionally causes your next Blackout Kick or Rising Sun Kick to restore 1% mana.
It is not a Crane stance, it is not even healing by dpsing, but it is a melee rotation weaved in to the core set. What’s more, it appears in our talent tree, making it entirely optional. Now, do mind that this is alpha and the developers are testing out so many different abilities and talents; it’s not sure that this will see the launch of Legion. But they are definitely flirting with the concept, which is refreshing to see.
I think the developers might definitely be on to something here: part that it is optional, which encourages different sets of builds and rotation. Part that it honors the melee-fans of the Mistweaver spec, without snubbing the hard-core ranged ones. And lastly, finding different bonuses for dpsing without attempting to mix healing and dps, as it is incredibly difficult to balance.
Now, of course, the strength of these talents will be entirely based on how much of an opportunity we will have to melee. I would guess that will vary from encounter to encounter, as long as we have some assurance that we can stand in melee without killing the raid. But it is exciting to see that we will have the possibility to do something productive with our dpsing, and not just to cuddle the boss!
There are still a few questions marks remaining (melee immunity, anyone?) but I think we are trending back to melee without rehashing old concepts such as hybrid dps/healer. It’s a new fresh look on the melee Mistweaver, that will hopefully bring more depth and flavor to the class. I am eager to see how the development of Mistweavers will progress!