This past week, we had the opportunity to test 6 more bosses in the first raid Uldir. With the previous raid testing of Zek’voz, that brings us to having tested 7 of the 8 bosses in Uldir, with just G’huun left to go. I was grateful again to <Clique> EU-Draenor for letting me come along. They were a great group to run with and didn’t flame me too much when I made dumb mistakes, or my daughter decided to bang my keyboard, sending my character flying off into the bad stuff. I was also fortunate to get some input from other Windwalkers who tested the bosses as well and were gracious enough to send me their logs, VoDs, and opinions; Kuyama on US-Crushridge and Tradu on EU-Auchindoun.
As a reminder, try not to read too much into where Windwalker’s fall compared to other specs on the DPS meters. We’re not yet at the point in the expansion beta process where specs have been balanced against one another. Beta is still about making sure everything works and that specs are balanced inside themselves and working the way that Blizzard intends.
Babylonius – I raid in Occasional Excellence on US-Turalyon, finishing Antorus/Legion US 61 overall and #2 US for 2 night guilds, #7 World. I’ve been playing since Burning Crusade, and mained Windwalker since a few weeks before Throne of Thunder in Mists of Pandaria. Stream, Twitter, YouTube.
Kuyama – I play a monk named Kuyama on US-Crushridge in the guild Humble, we were US 86th in ABT. I stream most days on twitch.tv/jfunkgaming and try to answer any questions and help teach people about Monk, been mainly focusing on Beta Monk recently. I consider myself a WW main but end up tanking for my guild as well, I’ve been playing Monk since MoP.
Tradu – I raid in Whatever on Auchindoun-EU as Enhancement (Monkashuffle) on live, used to main WW from MoP launch until Legion beta. Stream: twitch.tv/thetradu
Mickey – “You can just say I’m in the discord or something”
Eliro – Windwalker player in <Clique> EU-Draenor, occasionally stream at https://www.twitch.tv/eliro_cb
Beyond that, this fight seems like it will either be very exciting and engaging, or very boring. You can send people over in bursts, to get through each part of the fight faster, but with more risk, or you can send them over one at a time, which is what my group decided to do, which is relatively boring for anyone left on the opposite side of the boss. It will be interesting to see whether people prefer to be the last to go through, for maximum boss uptime, or go through first in order to AOE the slimes that spawn.
General: Seems like a fight that’ll easily get frustrating, because you have to migrate the raid from room to room, and eventually it’ll be more damage efficient to move the boss into the next one(likely before the previous room is empty), forcing anybody who still has to pass through to just AFK. Until that point, the people who are in the next room will likely get bored, because you have more and more people to kill roughly the same number of adds. So either the adds are super tough for the first few people, or it becomes a snoozefest once you have most of the raid over. Was also quite hard to coordinate without any indication of which room people were in.
General: We just ended up having one tank effectively solo tanking. Seems like a decent fight, although the add health was maybe a bit high.
The second phase was also very chaotic as all targets seemed to have WAY too much health for us to control them. However, there’s plenty of cleave and targets to hit and burn down, making it a good fight for the kit that Windwalker gets to play with.
General: We honestly didn’t have much of an idea of how to do the fight. We spent most of the test trying to figure out if and how to get the Imminent Ruin to hit the boss while mind controlled, so can’t say much about the rest of the fight. We got to the add phase once, didn’t seem like anything special (basically Kin’garoth but the adds are active from the start of the phase)
General: Good fight, not a fan of every fight having adds, but they fit with the mechanics and theme of the boss.
The elevator phase felt very new and interesting and really gave a new meaning to “Elevator Boss”. It reminded me like so many elevator levels in other games where baddies are jumping at you as you go up/down the elevator. This phase was also very good for Windwalker with plenty of adds constantly spawning. It worked well for both Rushing Jade Wind and Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger depending on when/how you need to maximize damage for your raid. This was another fight where Ring of Peace could be useful in preventing the adds from getting to their targets.
How frequently Ring of Peace was useful really felt amazing to me as its an ability I’ve grown to really love, even in PvE.
The biggest surprise of all this week’s testing was how much I enjoyed the combination of Power Strikes and Fist of the White Tiger. I don’t typically like a faster playstyle, so I was concerned how I’d feel about the extra resources. However, once we did some math and found that Power Strikes is actually stronger than Whirling Dragon Punch in single target, I simply had to give it a try. The CDR mechanic of Blackout Kick continues to be the all-star of the Windwalker spec, seemingly smoothing anything that feels chunky.
The flexibility that Windwalkers have through our talents feels very enjoyable as we are unlikely to be locked into one talent set up for a whole raid tier.
If I had to pick some nits, the 1.5s GCD of Fist of the White Tiger definitely was just disruptive enough to be a problem. The odd, limbo-like, place that Rushing Jade Wind is in, was highlighted most on Zul where it managed to both seem perfect for the AOE, while feeling like it took away from my AOE capabilities. Its likely that we just need to figure out how best to use this talent through some theorycrafting, because the feelycraft is conflicting.
Lastly, the GCD change continues to pop up as a thorn in the side of many specs, and Windwalker is not immune to that. It slows down openers and delays reactive cooldown usage. When adds are going to spawn, you have to decide between wasting some of the CD time or resources, or wasting uptime on those adds by using the CDs after they spawn. Its not an enjoyable thought process of “do I want to lose damage by doing X or by doing Y?”
Overally, I continue to feel that if you enjoyed Windwalker in Legion, you will enjoy it in Battle for Azeroth as its mostly an improved version of itself.
I didn’t really expect to enjoy Power Strikes as much as I did during this testing. On ST encounters the extra Chi every 15 seconds is fantastic and the neat interaction that I found where it wouldn’t consume the proc if you were to overcap the chi from it. On any AoE situations though Whirling Dragon Punch came through strong.
Fist of the White Tiger feels good(and I’d imagine Power Strikes is similar), because it gives you a button that immediately takes you from 0 Chi to being able to cast Fists of Fury, similar to how Tiger Palm takes you from 0 Chi straight to Rising Sun Kick/Spinning Crane Kick. It does seem a bit strange to have 2 talents that do essentially the same thing in the form of Fist of the White Tiger and Power Strikes, where Fist of the White Tiger feels like the natural evolution and replacement of Power Strikes, because it gives more control over when you get the extra Chi by making it a separate ability.
AoE feels a lot simpler than on live, thanks to Spinning Crane Kick and Tiger Palm being perfectly synced in terms of Chi generation and spending.
The change to Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger‘s duration and CD is nice and should make him work better in raid scenarios, as they tend to line up with 2 minute cooldowns more often than 3 minute ones.
Chi Burst generating resources is an interesting change, because it finally differentiates it from Chi Wave beyond just AoE vs ST. Having to stand still for Chi Burst, even if only briefly, still feels a bit out of place on a super mobile class.
Mobility is top tier, as always, and depending on your needs you can trade mobility for defensives through talents, which is extremely powerful.
Getting Leg Sweep baseline and being able to pick Ring of Peace in addition also seems extremely powerful, especially in M+. Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Energizing Elixir, Storm, Earth, and Fire and Serenity on the GCD feels extremely awkward, especially EE and Storm, Earth, and Fire/Serenity.
Overall, it seems like people who liked Legion Windwalker will probably like BfA Windwalker as well, because for the most part it takes the Legion iteration and improves on it(with the exception of the GCD change)
Chi Burst is nuts in terms of Chi generation, like many have said using it on AoE is amazing, and even on ST it just gives you a little boost which is useful.
Having Celerity/TL/FSK/Trans is even more mobility than we have on live, which is also kind of crazy. There’s almost no point (in open world or raid) where I’m out of options to move.
Fist of the White Tiger is probably the hardest one to evaluate. I’ve basically used it like I used EE on live, which is “Fists of Fury is ready, give me chi.” However the energy cost does force me to delay it for a second sometimes, and more noticeably, leaves me a bit energy starved right after if (especially if I didn’t spend it on Fists of Fury and thus have the few seconds of channeling for energy to regen). Part of this is probably Fist of the White Tiger itself, and part is probably just the sting of losing Inner Peace to help energy pool. Also the 1.5 GCD on it (though a bug) is super awkward feeling
Ring of Peace is Ring of Peace, not a ton to say, but seeing potential raid use already is nice. Side note: in open world, when running away from stuff, having Ring of Peace and LG together is also crazy, especially combined with mobility options
Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger is a little boring because it’s basically “press this on CD,” but there’s not an option I love for that tier. I haven’t tested Rushing Jade Wind enough to say that I like it or hate it, and Hit Combo is the same but worse. (If I could put SotWL somewhere it’d be here)
Whirling Dragon Punch is the same as live, maybe you have to plan it differently from the Blackout Kick CDR on Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury, but besides that, no change
As far as overall stuff, one thing (more in open world) I definitely notice is the lack of self healing. No healing elixirs, which is my go-to on live, plus no trans heal, AND no Good Karma, definitely hurts. Even though Vivify is stronger than Effuse was, since I mentioned energy starving issues with Fist of the White Tiger, using the energy for a heal feels kind of bad (and you run out quick). HE was nice as a free heal. If I could make any single minor change to the spec it would be giving back Good Karma.
Also, Storm, Earth, and Fire windows are definitely different, both due to no Strike/CJL with chest, and the Blackout Kick CDR. I feel like I should be trying to get as many Blackout Kick in a possible, as I noticed if I start with Rising Sun Kick, then weave as many Blackout Kicks as possible, I can get 3 Rising Sun Kick in, just barely.
I definitely get why people say they don’t miss SotWL, but I think it definitely is missed both to fill out what fits in Storm, Earth, and Fire, and also in open world/on priority adds as a quick nuke. It’s not necessary, but I feel the hole of losing it for sure
On the level 45 row, Fist of the White Tiger was the only nice talent to play with in my opinion, EE just feels very clunky to use especially during the opener and even more so when you lust – Ascension just brings next to nothing to the table, it only really helps slightly if you wanna take Rushing Jade Wind and it removes some tiny amount of strain on your resources but still not enough with the haste we had to allow for a normal rotation + 100% Rushing Jade Wind uptime. That being said I mostly stuck to Fist of the White Tiger because the rotation with it on ST just feels amazing compared to the other 2 so I didn’t really test them as much as I could’ve.
I’d like to thank Kuyama, Tradu, Mickey, and Eliro for helping to provide other perspectives and experiences to this article. Having such a supportive and helpful community is what makes Windwalker so strong, even when our in-game numbers don’t reflect that. Another big thanks to <Clique> EU-Draenor for letting me come along.
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Thank you guys for the testing and analysis! Looks like WW will still be fun, basically all I need to know 😀