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Introduction

Over the past two weeks I spent some time going through the available dungeons in order to get some experience with how Windwalker is currently playing on the Alpha/Beta. I recorded all my dungeons and posted them on my Youtube channel HERE, as well as ran logs through WarcraftLogs HERE, and will continue to do so as I test more things throughout the next few months.

Before I get into how everything went; Addons are enabled on the Beta right now and some have been updated enough to have (mostly) stable version. Here are the addons and profiles that I am using on Beta:

 

Caveats

We’re many weeks from any class balancing. Current focus of Beta is on balancing within a spec and making sure everything works and feels the way it should. All specs are scaled down to the same level and ilvl when entering dungeons.

I also don’t play many dungeons on Live, and don’t have anywhere near as much experiences with M+ as most people, so my perspective is not looking at how these dungeons will function in M+, but how Windwalker plays in the variety of scenarios that dungeons present. I also couldn’t test Serenity as its still not working correctly.

This is almost entirely personal opinion

Class development post: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20763126236#1

 

Dungeons

THE MOTHERLODE!!!

This was the first dungeon I had the opportunity to do. This was done with the “original” Alpha talents that I felt, at the time, were the easiest and most enjoyable to play with. This was also done with no addons, very few UI improvements. Needless to say, my play was far from “ideal” without all the visual cues that I have been using for years.

For the first dungeon, things felt pretty good. Even with Energizing Elixir being much easier to use than on Live, I elected to use Power Strikes as I’ve always preferred its more gradual influx of resources rather than tossing them all in at once. I also liked how it had an effect on every single trash pack due to a quarter of the cooldown as Energizing Elixir. Even with the “less optimal” talent choice, resources in and out felt very smooth. There were rarely times that I felt I was waiting more than a few seconds for resources to come back up. The biggest issue with using Energizing Elixir is that since it is on the GCD, it doesn’t feel as smooth as it could if it was off the GCD.

AOE, especially, felt very smooth, with the amount of resources coming in from Tiger Palm, being equal to those going out with SCK, so I didn’t feel like I had too much or too little. In addition, the occasional extra Chi from Power Strikes made it easy to work in other abilities like Blackout Kick or Fists of Fury when needed. Although the longer cooldown of Chi Burst felt awkward after so many months of just using Chi Wave all the time, the fact that you could use it to get Chi in AOE situations was REEEEEAAAALLLY nice. You can even cast Chi Burst and cast an ability immediately after, using the Chi from that ability and still generating Chi up to cap if there are enough targets. This means that Chi Burst can generate a maximum of 8 Chi if you use Fists of Fury right after. THATS A LOT!!!

Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger is the real all-star in the dungeon, accounting for over 10% of my total damage even in single target. I was certainly not using him to his maximum benefit as I really only used him occasionally on High Botanist Tel’arn. This was before he was nerfed, but he’s still very strong, probably a bit too strong.

During the few single target encounters things still felt very smooth. The cooldown reduction to Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick that comes from Blackout Kick made the rotation feel smooth, without being very spammy. In general there is less downtime in Beta than there is on Live once you take away the GCDs that are filled by Tier and Legendary bonuses.

I did, however, play the spec how I feel it should play, and not how it currently “should” be played based on balance between the abilities. Blackout Kick is, in my opinion, doing too much damage, so in order to play “optimally” on the Beta, you would very rarely cast Rising Sun Kick except for excess Chi due to it providing less damage per Chi.

This dungeon was relatively confusing for me as I don’t know the lore behind it. Without knowing the lore, and with some of the dungeon text not being full implemented, I didn’t really understand who was doing what or why we were in there. It seemed, without know the real lore, that this dungeon would be more aimed at Alliance players coming to disrupt the Horde’s flow of Azerite. As a Horde player, it wasn’t inherently obvious to me why I was attacking these Goblins or stopping them from doing what, in the last cutscene I saw in Legion, they were told to do in service to the Horde.

 

Atal’Dazar 1

This dungeon I attempted to go with as many of the “passive” talents as I could… I don’t recommend it. Atal’Dazar had a lot of AOE pulls one after the other, and with these talent choices, I didn’t have anywhere near enough resources or tools to make the most out of that.

I expected this to go poorly as passive talents are often tuned to be weaker than their active counterparts. The biggest culprits in how rough this dungeon run turned out to be were Eye of the Tiger, and Ascension. The lack of resources was evident pretty much right away, and didn’t get better as I got more and more “used” to working with fewer resources, there just wasn’t enough resources to work with, by a large margin.

This wasn’t a good time.

Other than the issues I had with the playstyle, this was a nice dungeon that became even nicer once I had completed the quests that lead up to it. The bosses made sense and were recognizable from the quests. One thing I will say about this dungeon is, DO NOT try to spring through the fire jets. Windwalkers are mobile, but no one is that mobile. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.

 

The Underrot

Compared to the previous run, this one went much better. These talents resulted in a better feeling playstyle and more natural flow. This was after Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger received a small nerf, although if you look at the whole log, which included both dungeons, he still accounted for 5.6% of my overall damage.

Changing to Fist of the White Tiger still felt smooth as you had some control over when you got the extra resources, but it was more gradual and frequent than Energizing Elixir. The main issue(s) with this talent are that right now it seems to incur a 1.5s GCD rather than the normal 1.0s GCD, and that using it doesn’t apply any Mark of the Crane to the targets that you hit with it, which can be a little disruptive as you’re tabbing around to build up stacks.

There’s not much more I can say about how this dungeon went, because it was largely the same as THE MOTHERLODE!!!

Thematically this dungeon reminded me very much of the Underbog from Burning Crusade, which I’m assuming is the point. It was somewhat less straightforward in what path the group should take, or my tank was just lost, or both. Without the dungeon maps working like they are supposed to, we were just kinda running around without a plan.

 

Temple of Sethra’liss 1

For this dungeon, I was finally able to at least get my ElvUI profile up and working, which made things much easier as I was much more comfortable and able to focus on the dungeon and performing better.

This talent set-up is the setup that I went with for most of the time that I was playing because it is the setup that felt the smoothest and best to play with. It provided the smoothest gain and spending of resources and good damage. The only change that could be made to this setup would be changing to Energizing Elixir, which I didn’t test in a dungeon because I felt that Fist of the White Tiger plays the best. This is almost entirely up to personal preference. Although Energizing Elixir does provide more resources than Fist of the White Tiger, when running through dungeons where trash is 95% of the time, I felt that Fist of the White Tiger provided a more than sufficient amount of resources on nearly every pull rather than every other. When it comes to a longer fight, like in raids, Energizing Elixir should feel much easier to use, although Fist of the White Tiger makes a very nice opener.

This dungeon may have been my favorite out of all of them as it had a nice pace to it, with varying bosses and rooms. It even had a very interesting part toward the end where you need to get these orbs to a giant dragon skull. This part reminded me a little bit like the torch room in Blackrock Depths, with a little bit of pushing the payload from Overwatch.

 

Atal’Dazar 2

Not much can be said about this dungeon as it was my second time in here, and using my standard talent setup. This dungeon has a TON of AOE and moves relatively quickly, so doing this dungeon with my standard talent setup rather than the “full passive” set up I used previously felt LOADS better.

In terms of my preference for playing the spec this talent setup is just about my ideal, whereas I can’t imagine anything could feel worse than the “full passive” set up. I normally say the more downtime, the better, but its clear there’s a difference between useful downtime and time where you’re just doing nothing at all. If you compare the APM (Abilities/Attacks Per Minute) from the first Atal’Dazar, and the second, they were roughly the same, but the FEEL was enormously different.

With this much better playstyle, it was much easier for me to enjoy the dungeon itself, and it seemed like one that would have many different strategies for how to min/max it for M+. I REPEAT… DO NOT try to sprint through the fire jets.

 

Temple of Sethra’liss 2

For this dungeon, I decided to go with Diffuse Magic rather than Celerity as I felt the lack of defensive abilities when choosing the mobility talents available in either row. I also went with Hit Combo rather than Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger as I wanted to try a more consistent playstyle rather than using Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger for huge burst on some packs, but not all. I was also testing out my WeakAuras, so Hit Combo helped test that aspect of my WeakAuras.

Having my WeakAuras working made a ton of difference in making things feel familiar and natural. The damage difference between Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger and Hit Combo was VERY evident on boss fights where I didn’t have Xuen doing a TON of damage.

 

Overall Impressions

The Good

Like I’ve said somewhat frequently; I really enjoy playing Windwalker on Beta. Although I didn’t do as much experimentation with talents and playstyles as I had initially planned to do when I set out to prepare for this article, that’s because I felt so comfortable and powerful with the setup I used most of the dungeons. The amount and pace of resources going in with the amount and pace of them going out felt very smooth. There weren’t many situations where I felt I had too many or too few resources when using this setup. Fist of the White Tiger fits nicely into the rotation, makes the opener feel very smooth, and  provides just that extra little bit of resources when needed in order to use other abilities during AOE. It could be tuned up a little bit to match the output of Energizing Elixir more so that they’re closer in maximum.

Tiger Palm generating two Chi and SCK using two Chi feels really nice in AOE situations. In addition, because there are no more artifact traits and the damage bonus from Cyclone strikes has been reduced to 10%, it will be much more straightforward about when you drop other abilities in place of SCK. I won’t need to maintain a huge chart, there will just be a general rule for people to follow.

Beyond the silly DPS that Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger is capable of in both single target and AOE, the shining star for Windwalkers right now is absolutely Blackout Kick. Putting aside that with current tuning its stronger, per chi, than Rising Sun Kick, and stronger, per second, than Fists of Fury; the fact that it reduces the cooldown of those abilities means that they are up faster and you’re not spending as much time spamming Blackout Kick and Tiger Palm, waiting for something better. Playing it the “optimal” way following what would currently be the priority of mainly getting as many Blackout Kick as you can doesn’t feel very good and will hopefully be adjusted so its not “optimal”. Playing it the way I assume it is meant to be played feels real good.

 

The Bad

The biggest thing I can complain about is that I am still not used to abilities being on the GCD. After years of pressing a second ability as soon as I press SEF, having to wait felt very weird. This also lead me to frequently spamming the button more than I would if there were another button my finger had to get to right afterwards. Because of this, I occasionally ran into the situation of focusing them on my target rather than them being able to bounce around.

Having Energizing Elixir made it much more difficult to use than had it not been. Although it is easier to use than it is on Live, putting it back on the GCD forces you into a situation where you still MUST waste some of the resources gained, as you continue to generate energy while on the GCD. In an ideal situation, you’d start with 0 or 1 Chi, use Energizing Elixir, followed by an immediate Tiger Palm so that you minimize the energy wasted, while getting the most out of the cooldown. With it on the GCD, you still waste one second of energy regen, no matter what you do.

Fist of the White Tiger not applying Mark of the Crane to the target also felt wonky as it, functionally, takes the place of where a Tiger Palm would be. So you’re spending the energy and getting the Chi, but not the stack of Mark of the Crane. When you’re in the flow of tab-targeting, this is disruptive.

I’m putting RJW here as, although I didn’t test it in dungeons, and when I had tested it previously, it was “HOLY FORKING SHIZZ” awful; when using it in dungeons, with smaller pulls where resources are not as tight as you have time to regen between pulls, and being able to turn it on and off, it wouldn’t feel as bad and actually brings pretty decent damage for a toggle-able ability.

 

The Ugly

Ascension… boy howdy this talent just provides pretty much nothing compared to its alternatives. The template character on Beta even has higher haste than most people, and thus gets more out of Ascension, and that talent still felt useless.

Serenity was still not working, so I couldn’t test that at all.

Although Chi Burst is an enormously fantastic ability to have in dungeons, the fact that you can’t cast it on the move feels drastically out of place when literally every other damaging ability can. (No legendary chest on Beta)

 


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