So with my recent posts about the PTR; My Essay to Blizzard and PTR Impressions, there have been some ideas tossed around on how to make the t21 less… disruptive. One idea that was posted in the PTR Forum post I made, was from Samuraijake;
Tier 21 4pc – “When Blackout Kick! is consumed the cooldown of Risking Sun Kick is reset and cost no chi”
Since originally the t21 2pc was a community suggestion, this one interested me, so I wanted to explore it more. The main issue with the current iteration of the t21 4pc is that it causes us to have more resources than we have time to spend them without doing something suboptimal, like using Spinning Crane Kick in single target, letting abilities with CD sit on CD for awhile, or using subpar talents like Ascension simply because you can’t use all the resources from Energizing Elixir. Because this is the main problem, most of my testing of various combinations is based around wait time and not DPS. DPS can be tuned separately.
With the flexibility that will come from not needing to use 6 pieces of tier anymore, we have all the legendaries back at our disposal. This inevitably means that the legendary chest, The Emperor’s Capacitor, becomes our best choice for single target once again. This legendary also causes the least amount of downtime compared to other legendaries, due to channeling Crackling Jade Lightning for several seconds throughout the fight. To exacerbate the lack of downtime issue, I tested with Drinking Horn Cover and Serenity as they both fill time and reduce downtime. Because it would be overkill, I used Eye of the Tiger instead of Chi Wave, which is a decision most people are using now.
Baseline: Current Gear
To give a good baseline for how much downtime is, with my character in my spreadsheet, there is 2.41% downtime, or 7.23 seconds over 300 where there is nothing to do but wait. This is with using the t20 4pc and t19 2pc (Post 7.3.2 nerfs), Drinking Horn Cover, Katsuo’s Eclipse, and Serenity. This combination is what most people talk about being the pinnacle of “smooth” and “fluidity” as a Windwalker. Prior to the 7.3.2. nerfs, this combination gives 0.95% wait time or 2.84s every 300. That’s pretty much 0, and why most people are very happy with the current tier.
The Problem: Current t21
When looking at my character using The Emperor’s Capacitor, Drinking Horn Cover, Serenity, and current, unaltered, t21 2p/4p, the downtime skyrockets to -6.99% or -20.96 seconds every 300. This means that there nearly 21 seconds more things to do, than time to do it in, without making some kind of sacrifices to get rid of the excess. This is how the situation is with, what will likely be, the “optimal” set up. The only way this isn’t “optimal” is if the loss of damage due to excess is big enough that another set up, with less excess can pull even or pass it. For all intents and purposes, this is the “baseline” of what we’re looking to fix. This is what makes the current t21 feel as disruptive as it does.
Solution 1: t19 2pc Baseline
This is, without a doubt, something that has been clamored for the most. Every day, a handful of people come in and say “They should just make t19 2pc baseline” like its some kind of completely new idea that no one has ever had before. The truth is, this is one of the least likely solutions that will happen, regardless of if it does/doesn’t fix the problem. The reason this won’t happen is because we’re still in the expansion where that tier bonus was created. People would be able to go back and get the 2pc with the new baseline and have a 4 or 5s CD Rising Sun Kick? Yeah, OK, thats not gonna happen. So Blizzard would have to further nerf or disable the tier bonus, causing more issues for anyone who still has it. Its a cascade effect that just is more hassle than its worth.
All that being said, it was the first thing I wanted to look at, since its commonly seen as a silver bullet to this problem. When using my character in a sheet with 7s CD on RSK baseline, the wait time goes down to -1.48% or -4.44s over 300. 4.44s of too much stuff to do is certainly better than 21s, but still doesn’t totally solve the problem. Its a start though.
Solution 2: Rising Sun Kick reset and free
As the original idea that started off all this testing, this was what I looked at next. The way I worked this into my spreadsheet was with maximum efficiency, so each Blackout Kick! gave you a free Rising Sun Kick immediately after, for no cost. Realisitcally, due to GCD, you’d be getting 8s off of the Rising Sun Kick cooldown, so thats how I worked it into the sheet. So with my character with these conditions, the wait time was at 1.87%, or 5.6 seconds over 300. This is right between the current “6 piece” before and after the 7.3.2 nerfs, and probably exactly where people would like it. A little bit of breathing room, but still a very full rotation.
Solution 3: Rising Sun Kick reset but not free
Because making Blackout Kick! give you essentially the same thing but for Rising Sun Kick (which they’d obviously call Rising Sun Kick!) may sound relatively uninteresting, I took a look at the same idea, but with Rising Sun Kick not being free. Because it won’t be practical to always have the extra 2 Chi for Rising Sun Kick when its suddenly up, my sheet assumes you get 7s off the CD when you have the Chi to use it. My character with these conditions lead to 4.85% wait time, or 14.55s over 300. This is more my style, as I personally like a little bit more downtime in my rotation.
Solution 4: Full Shuffle
Building off of the idea of Rising Sun Kick getting reset, I wanted to take a look at if they decided to really shuffle things around. For this I looked at if the current 4p was moved to 2p, and the Rising Sun Kick reset mechanic became the 4p. This would have the benefits of making Blackout Kick! more useful and giving us more Chi for AOE situations and more Rising Sun Kick to spend this extra Chi in single target. Unfortunately, doing this gives you enough Chi that your wait time falls into the negatives again; -3.87% to be precise or 11.6s over 300, which defeats the purpose of this testing. However, if you add the t19 2pc into baseline here, the wait time comes out of the negatives to 1.65%, which is reasonable.
So looking at all these choices, Solution 2 seems to work the best to mimic the downtime of the current rotation. Solution 3 is my preference as it slows things down a bit more, but not everyone wants that. Obviously, adding t19 2pc to the baseline of either of those solutions would increase the downtime even more, as would changing the legendaries or talents around, further “solving” the problem of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. As I said above, any of these changes can be tuned around, and a spec can be fantastic with horrible tier bonuses, and horrible with fantastic bonuses depending on the rest of the spec’s tuning. Hopefully, the t21 bonuses will see some changes to alleviate the situation, only time will tell.