So after the disappointing PTR changes to t19 and t20 earlier this week, which you can find all my thoughts on in my last post, and I recommend you reading and lending your experiences and opinions to the PTR post: My Essay to Blizzard; I decided to hop on the PTR to get a feel for how things are. I won’t speak to the DPS, because I’m sure I wasn’t doing the rotations perfectly, just how things feel.
6 Piece (t19 2pc/t20 4pc)
First thing I looked at was how the nerf to t19 and t20 made things feel. The difference isn’t huge, things still flow reasonably well. The main difference is during Serenity, obviously. You can no longer go Rising Sun Kick > Fists of Fury > Rising Sun Kick. You can still get two Rising Sun Kick into the Pressure Point buff, but doing so twice inside of Serenity makes it close, and you may have to choose between getting the free Fists of Fury at the end of Serenity and getting a 4th Rising Sun Kick inside Pressure Point, but outside of Serenity.
All together, there wasn’t much difference in feel between Live and PTR, things just felt a little slower, with more fillers. One of the bigger things that stuck out was that I almost never felt the need to use Energizing Elixir, while still not feeling like I wasn’t waiting around waiting for resources like you would be on Live. In order to force myself to use EE, I had to work in a lot more Blackout Kick and even some Spinning Crane Kick. Granted, I admit that I suck at using Energizing Elixir very well, but this did feel like it was more difficult to find a time that I needed the Chi.
T20 4pc + Helm/Chest
I wanted to test this next, but apparently I dont have any t20 cloak so… that didn’t happen.
T21 4 piece
I didn’t worry about testing the 2pc by itself, since its just a damage bonus and changes nothing about the rotation. This was, as expected, pretty damn weird. Because of the RNG element, during testing I went more than a minute without a Blackout Kick! proc several times, and then had some back to back at times. This was WEIRD!!
When there were no procs, the rotation wasn’t too bad, relatively smooth, back to the way it used to be in EN and ToV, so it felt very familiar. However, when there were procs, I had no idea what to do with myself. Blackout Kick has been our filler and Chi dump for… maybe forever. So now the ability we’ve always used to dump resources is the one giving us the most resources at times. At times you could Tiger Palm then Blackout Kick and gain 1 Chi. Now, suddenly, and without warning, you could gain 3 Chi.
It is a total change in mindset. I suddenly found myself trying to play at as little Chi as possible, rather than pooling my resources like most energy classes do. The fear of wasting a proc was ever present. I found the legendary boots to be a hassle since they give you more Chi to spend on more Blackout Kicks, which I already felt like I was doing a lot of. This made it much more difficult to maintain Hit Combo since you couldn’t just use Blackout Kick again, and often when you use Tiger Palm, oftentimes other abilities are on CD.
Maybe it is/was making me plan ahead more than I had before, truly analyzing my current resources and having to account for the possibility of having two more Chi than I anticipate when using Tiger Palm to prevent energy capping. However, I felt more afraid of the proc more than enjoying it as a boost. I would notice I had three Chi and feel the urge to press Tiger Palm, either to prevent capping or just to generate more Chi as I would have in the past, and feel the fear set in, hoping that I wouldn’t get the proc at that time and overcap my Chi.
Ascension was a GODSEND! It gave me that extra cushion to not have to worry about capping as much. I never felt any delay in my abilities due to lacking resources and didn’t press Energizing Elixir more than a few times, if at all. However, the mathematical gap between Ascension and Energizing Elixir is a Grand Canyon of resource generation, so no matter how much Ascension helps to assuage the issues of the 4pc bonus, its almost certainly better to just use Energizing Elixir and dump the extra Chi into Spinning Crane Kick than to never generate all those extra resources.
T21 4pc and Helm/Chest Legendaries
Let me put this out there first. I did not enjoy the Serenity playstyle with The Emperor’s Capacitor in Nighthold. Having another channeled ability did not feel fun to me, and I resisted using it for as long as I could. Now, when I tested playing with The Wind Blows, I enjoyed the hell out of it. More Strike of the Windlord felt good with the big numbers and slightly slower playstyle with less Blackout Kick. I came into testing this specific combination with a strong belief that I would reeeeally not like it….
And I was surprised. I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. It wasn’t as jarring as I expected. It felt smooth and paced and the lower CD on Strike of the Windlord felt nice, and getting the buffed Blackout Kick proc after using Strike of the Windlord felt good with Serenity, despite the fact that Blackout Kick was already free, so half the proc wasn’t used. Coming out of Serenity with more Chi than I went into it with was also pretty weird. But overall it wasn’t that bad…
I had a string of a few Blackout Kick procs in a short time, struggling to get rid of all the Chi, then suddenly The Emperor’s Capacitor stacks were at 18, then 19, then 20, CD abilities were coming up at the same time, with Serenity coming up soon. I had no idea what to do. Do I use Crackling Jade Lightning to get rid of the stacks, but cap my resources and delay CD abilities and Serenity? Do I ignore The Emperor’s Capacitor stacks till after the other abilities are used?
I found myself unable to even consider using Energizing Elixir, and felt I probably could have just been throwing around Spinning Crane Kick whenever I was at 3 or more Chi, just so that I could stay ahead of all the resources. Chi Wave? Forget about it, there’s no time, and I pretty much forgot it exists, yet felt that I needed to keep it available so that I could use it between Blackout Kick or Spinning Crane Kick to just rid myself of all the extra resources.
It really wasn’t as awful as I expected, but I felt like I had no idea what to do most of the time. In order for it to be more manageable I had to just about ignore important talents or abilities, like Chi Wave and Energizing Elixir, even though I know there’s no way ignoring them, or using an alternative to Energizing Elixir will be better. I just feel that there’s a lot of “well I guess I have to do this now” despite the fact that it will go against what would be considered the right choice in any other situation.
Is it doable? Yes… Is it awful? Not as much as I had built it up in my mind…. Is it anything like current Windwalker? Lol no… Will some people have major issues with performing it correctly? Absolutely.
I didn’t spend much time with the trinkets since none of them have anything really as mechanically interesting as we have in Tomb. However, Forgefiend’s Fabricator was pretty cool to see, little tiny mines all over the place, watching them explode one at a time or all at once was awesome.
Other than that, the Pantheon trinkets are confusing as hell, so I’ll leave that to someone else to explain.
Honestly, things weren’t as bad as I had built up in my mind. The t21 bonuses will have a best way to play, that’s just different from now, so once we figure that out, it will just take getting used to the new things, as we always have to when a new tier is released. Its certainly survivable, just gonna be pretty weird.