Well, now we’ve come to the moment you’ve all been waiting for, and I’ve been dreading; Talents. This is an area that Windwalkers have seen a decent amount of changes in. I will do my best to explain each tier, what is best, and why. Because I am a PvP noob, I’ll leave the War Mode PvP talents to someone else.
Fair warning that as with the previous two articles; what follows is entirely based on today’s information and may not be correct even tomorrow, or whenever the next Beta build goes through. This has never been more true than at then at the end of this article.
Tier 1 (level 15)
Although this tier is largely the same, the fact that Chi Burst provides 1 Chi per target damaged makes it the undisputed king of this talent row. This talent row is super straight forward; without any changes, Chi Burst is the best for single target and AOE.
To explain further, right now Eye of the Tiger does roughly 28% AP over 8 seconds, or 3.5% AP per second. Chi Wave does a maximum of 4 bounces, each of roughly 14% AP every 15 seconds, for a maximum of 3.7% AP per second. Chi Burst deals roughly 65.5% AP per target, every 30 seconds, for a maximum of 2.18% AP per target, per second. However, it also provides 1 Chi per target hit. As I mentioned in this post, the best way to look at “extra” Chi is to turn it into Blackout Kicks, as those do not have a cooldown so they are our “dump” spell. Each Blackout Kick is 77% AP, before factoring in the cooldown reduction on Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick. This adds, at least, another 2.57% AP per second to Chi Burst‘s maximum, for a total of 4.75% AP per second. As you can see, that’s more than 25% more DPS than Chi Wave can provide, even in single target. In multiple targets? Forgetaboutit.
Tier 2 (level 30)
This is still a tier of personal preference, there hasn’t really been much change to this tier, just choose whatever way you prefer your movement boost.
Tier 3 (level 45)
I went into much more depth of it in this post, but to summarize; Ascension stands no chance, FotWT is good for nice smooth damage and, in my opinion “feels” the best, but Energizing Elixir reigns supreme in all situations due to a much more easily reachable maximum.
Tier 4 (level 60)
Good Karma is the only one that directly affects DPS, so that will be the default choice unless you specifically need the functionality of the other two.
Tier 5 (level 75)
Mostly the same as in Legion, with one small tweak: Diffuse Magic for big magic damage, Dampen Harm for big physical damage, and Inner Strength for sustained or small damage.
Tier 6 (level 90)
This tier is much more difficult, potentially more difficult than the next tier. Hit Combo is almost certainly not going to be a possibility now that its been nerfed and the other options buffed. Rushing Jade Wind provides a pretty large amount of consistent AOE damage, and will definitely be the go-to for running old content. Xuen provides a HUGE amount of damage in single target and low target cleave. To figure this out, I have to stretch my brain past its potential, but here goes:
I’ll use the “constants” from the previous theorycrafting article as a basis for these numbers, as well as 0 haste as a baseline. In a 2 minute span, you’ll:
- Generate 1200 energy from base regen, which equates to 48 Chi
- Cast Tiger Palm 24 times – 816% AP
- Cast Rising Sun Kick 12 times – 2,952% AP
- Cast Fists of Fury 5 times – 2,355% AP
- Have 9 Chi left over for Blackout Kick – 1,314% AP
- Use Energizing Elixir twice, which based on the previous article, equates to a total of 1,398% AP
- Subtotal – 8,835% AP
- Factor in that all the above damage is Physical, and thus beholden to the 29.98% armor penalty…
- Total – 6,186% AP over two minutes
- Yes, I’m ignoring the CDR from Blackout Kick, my brain hurts enough. I’m also ignoring buffs. Deal with it.
So now we have to look at how each talent affects that total:
- Hit Combo provides “basically” a static 6% increase to damage. So if we increase the total by 6% we get 6,557% AP, or an additional 371% AP over two minutes
- Rushing Jade Wind is the most complicated one as it takes away from the total before it adds to it. Rushing Jade Wind does 9.2% AP every 0.8s or 11.5% AP per second, which means that it adds a total of 1,380% AP to the total over 2 minutes. However, it also takes away 4 energy per second, or 480 energy over the 2 minutes. If “extra” energy goes into Blackout Kick, then taking away energy should take away Blackout Kick. 480 energy equates to 9.6 Tiger Palm and 19.2 Blackout Kick, or 2,191.3% AP, for a net loss of 811% AP, so obviously not desirable in single target. However, if Rushing Jade Wind hits 2 targets, then you’ll deal more damage than is lost. Factor in that you’d be dropping Rising Sun Kick and Blackout Kick for Spinning Crane Kick at higher targets and stacks and it just gets more complicated, but suffice it to say that Rushing Jade Wind isn’t going to be used in single target.
- Xuen is more straightforward, he is up for 20 seconds during the 2 minutes. His formulas are confusing AF, but from my understanding; his Tiger Lightning does 28% AP per second, and his melees do another 28.6% AP per second, modified by Armor Reduction. So Xuen does a total of 48% AP per second, or 960% AP over the 20 seconds that he’s up. His Tiger Lightning scales up to 3 targets, but his melees do not, this keeps him relevant at 1-3 targets, but he starts to fall off after that.
I hope that this makes sense, and even more, I hope that my math resembles something correct. As I said above, Hit Combo doesn’t really stand a chance, unless having Xuen every 2 minutes isn’t frequently enough. Rushing Jade Wind will be the go-to in AOE situations, and Xuen in single target and low target cleave.
Tier 7 (level 100)
Its hard to pick which tier of talents was more complicated to figure out, this one or Tier 6, but here we go. Another note… DO NOT be surprised if my math is faulty, slightly off, or totally batshit crazy; this is meant to be an introduction, not the end-all-be-all; Dammit Jim I’m a speech therapist, not a mathematician.
To really understand this tier, you have to understand what you’re comparing. Its not the WDP vs Serenity that its long been described as, its Shorter CD on SEF (Spiritual Focus) vs WDP AND SEF vs Serenity. This makes it a little bit more complicated….
I’m going to use a baseline of 300 seconds as that’s frequently the fight duration that sims look at, if we take the above information based on 2 minutes, it equates to 15,465% AP over 5 minutes. As a baseline, SEF has a 90 second cooldown, so in 300 seconds, you’d get 3.3 uses plus the 2 you start with for a total of 5.3. This equates to a 74.2 seconds uptime (14 seconds each to account for the GCD), 24.7% uptime, 8.645% damage increase, or 1,337% AP over 5 minutes.
- Spiritual Focus is pretty easy to figure out. If Spiritual Focus reduces the CD on SEF to 70 seconds, then you’d get 4.28 uses, plus the 2 that you’d start the fight with, for a total of 6.28. It has an up time of 14 seconds after the GCD, that’s an uptime of 87.92 seconds, or 29.3%. Since it provides 35% more DPS when its up (45% x 3), that equates to 10.255% more damage, or 1,586% AP over 5 minutes.
- WDP is also pretty straightforward. You take the 1,337% AP from SEF and add in the fact that in 300s you’ll get 12.5 uses of WDP, which equates to another 3,109% AP, bringing the grand total to 4,446% AP over 5 minutes.
- Serenity is where we take things up another level, and if I didn’t screw the math up above (which is unlikely), then here’s where I’m sure I will….
First, we need to figure out an “optimal” way to use Serenity. Since Serenity lasts 12 seconds, but one of them is the GCD, that leaves us with 11 seconds to play with. Since you’d still very likely want to end Serenity with a Fists of Fury, for the free cast, you’d get 1/4 of its worth at the end of Serenity. This leaves 10 GCD. Here’s where it really gets complicated…
If you have less than 37.8% Mastery, you’d gain more damage ignoring the Mastery bonus inside Serenity and just spam Blackout Kick between Rising Sun Kick. If your Rising Sun Kick has a cooldown of 10 seconds, it has a cooldown of 5 seconds inside Serenity. Every time you use Blackout Kick between that, 1 second comes off the CD of Rising Sun Kick. This means that you’d basically go Rising Sun Kick (5s CD) > Blackout Kick (4s CD reduced to 3) > Blackout Kick (2s CD reduced to 1) > (0s CD) Rising Sun Kick > repeat. This only fills 3 GCDs, so it could be repeated 3 times, with the 10th GCD being a Rising Sun Kick, and the 11th a Fists of Fury cast. Because this leads to an extra cast of Rising Sun Kick, it pretty much guarantees that you’d want to do this regardless of your Mastery, as the extra cast will likely make up for any lost otherwise.
So now that we have the “optimal” use of Serenity, how much does that actually gain us. Well without Serenity, during that 12 seconds, we would have cast Rising Sun Kick 1.2 times, and (on average) Fists of Fury 0.5 times, equating to 531% AP from those two abilities. Inside Serenity you cast Rising Sun Kick 4 times, and Fists of Fury 0.25 times for a total of 1101.75% AP modified by Serenity‘s 20%, for a total of 1322.1% AP from those two abilities. If Serenity can be used 4.3 times during that 5 minutes, that equals a total of 5,685.03% AP over 5 minutes without taking any of the Blackout Kicks, energy regen, or the fact that since the spells inside Serenity are free, you have even MORE resources to use, or that you will cap energy during Serenity and the ensuing Fists of Fury cast, so you don’t gain quite as many resources as you would otherwise. As you can see… complicated. And, again, don’t be surprised if there’s no discernible logic to this with this. It was tough for me so BACKOFF!
So to recap:
- Spiritual Focus provides 1,586% AP over 5 minutes
- WDP provides 4,446% AP over 5 minutes
- Serenity provides 5,685.03% AP over 5 minutes
So, by this testing, Serenity would be the best talent in this tier for single target. However, there is always the possibility that, like Antorus, the flexibility provided by having a slightly longer buff and second charge may push WDP back on top regardless of what the hard numbers say.
Well I hope that this all makes sense, although I’m assuming it doesn’t.
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From what I have heard elsewhere, in BfA, more of the damage from melee classes will be coming from auto attacks. Which means the damage boost from hit combo will also be amplifying a sizable portion of ‘white’ damage. I have not played on beta and my understanding is based on second hand info from numerous sources, but you may find that hit combo is more competitive than you previously thought.
That may also mean that going into BfA haste well suck less for WW than it has in the past.
TL;DR – BfA is higher percentage auto attack damage…..haste rating and hit combo might be better than expected.
You’re correct that more damage is coming auto attacks, and that I’m probably underestimating HC, but not by much.
Haste will “suck less”, I covered that the stats part of this series
If they are nerfing Hit Combo, I would prefer to see 3 stacks of 2% or 4 stacks of 1.5% over the 6 stacks of 1% as I am constantly screwing up and double hitting BoK 1-2 times per boss fight.
Then you just have to get better, not much more to it.
How does good karma affect dps, as you stated?
It increases the size of the shield you get from touch of karma, thus increasing the maximum amount you can deal back to the target
How is Energizing elixir better? What it basically gives is 2 Tiger Balms for free and 1 chi, so that’s 5 free Chi every minute, but also costs 3 globals to make use during which it does almost zero damage. Granted, it reduces the CD of other abilities by 2 secs, but also further complicates button mashing.
Fist of the Caucasian Tiger (to be politically correct) does some damage and provides 6 chi every minute for the cost of 80 energy and no wasted globals, since the ability itself does damage that perhaps isn’t Windlord, but at least it’s paying for its “global cost”. You can also easily time it for use *outside* of the serenity window, or inside the SEF window if using WDP, while for EE we have to track it along serenity and SEF and tie it in perfectly or waste energy and/or damage.
disclaimer: no tiger balms were used while writing this reply.
He is definitely correct if you compare optimal use of EE and FotWT.
EE = 2 Chi + 70 Energy(2,8Chi) => 4,8 Chi/Minute => 912,14% AP/Minute, if CDR dmg is included.
FotWT = 1,4Chi per use, because you use it over tiger palm and save 2*10 Energy while gaining 2*1 extra Chi.
=> 2,8 Chi/Minute => 726,5% AP/Minute, if CDR dmg is included and tiger palm dmg subtracted
The only point that is debatable is which skill is easier to use perfectly.
From personal experience I’d say FotWT, because it is easier to manage to have a maximum of 2 Chi and minimum of 40 Energy every 30 seconds, than exactly 1Chi and a maximum of 20 energy.
Usually you either waste some seconds to set up this situation or waste 0,8-1 Chi, leading to nearly the same dmg loss.
If you do the calculation with a value of 4 Chi the result is 760,12%AP/Minute which is around 4,63% higher compared to FotWT.
Adding a small haste value to the calculation (5-10%) should result into a draw for single target, while EE will be still ahead on multitarget encounters.
(see his calculation here: http://www.peakofserenity.com/2018/05/10/windwalker-bfa-theorycrafting-3-questions/#comment-2727)
EDIT: your calculation also considers a 100% facetime with boss, which isn’t true in 99% of cases. In that regard, energy is far less valuable than Chi, because chi doesn’t fall off, while energy regenerates by itself. Nobody can guarantee we’ll have facetime with boss every minute, on the minute, to make full use of max energy. With FotW, energy will recuperate naturally during the encounter to mitigate at least some of its energy cost.
I can see EE being used for AoE encounters, but for Single-target, I’m of the opinion FoTW is king, as it provides on-demand burst damage and Chi.
Sorry, but I have a questions.
Maybe I don’t get it right, but is it possible that you forgot to subtract the regular damage you would have dealt in the 12 seconds while not using Serenity from your Serenity damage value? Otherwise you would be idle for 12 seconds. Same with loss the of “higher” percentage of bonus damage while using SEF.
OK. If we simplify the calculation (excluding SEF-bonus, energy gain from Serenity, chi generator damage and current energy) and simply use 531%AP (value you calculated for RSK & FoF damgage used without Serenity) and subtract it from 1322,1%AP, it would leave us at 791,1%AP per Serenity use.
=> 791,1%AP*4,3 = 3401,73% AP over 5 minutes.
New Talent comparison:
Spiritual Focus provides 1,586% AP over 5 minutes
Whirling Dragon Punch provides 4,446% AP over 5 minutes
Serenity provides 3401,73% AP over 5 minutes
By this modified calculation, WDP would be the best talent in this tier for single target and AoE.