A few weeks ago, Wowhead asked me to write an article with my thoughts of what I’d like to see for the Windwalker in the Dragonflight talent tree. I
totally didn’t go overboard and write over 3100 words on the topic put together my thoughts on the topic. As far as I know, my ideas were pretty well received, and considering how long I’ve been around, I should have an idea of what people want. So, since its likely that Monks will be toward the end of the order for releasing new talent trees, I thought I’d take a few hours today and ignore the actual work I have to do craft myself a Windwalker talent tree that I’d like to see in Dragonflight. I had copious help from my stream, with much of what I did being talked to death over 6 hours, and loads of ideas that I couldn’t take credit for.
First thing that I think is important is to lay out what my goals are for the talent tree. For anyone that’s been following the last few months, I have continued my tradition of not playing Windwalker for the last tier for the second expansion in a row. I played Demon Hunter in Nyalotha because it was easy and Windwalker was very very weak, and I am currently playing Feral Druid because I did not enjoy the way that Windwalker was strong as this expansion has gone on. I talked about it in an article a few months ago; OPINION: Windwalker is a Toxic Spec.
So my main goal for the Windwalker talent tree is that it will demonstrate a commitment to single target damage, rather than simply doubling down on AOE damage as the design has been for most of Shadowlands. Its no secret that Windwalker is incredibly strong in AOE and incredibly weak in single target. I believe this is more a result of design decisions rather than ability tuning, so I want to focus on a talent tree that is designed around both single target and AOE damage.
Because it would be too big of an ask to use actual numbers to balance the talent tree, I’m going to stick to the design and keep the numbers as vague or made up as possible. I am also not going to attempt to work on the Class tree, as that’s just more work than I’d like to do right now. I will, however, discuss the things that I think will be in it as I’d obviously be leaving them out of the Windwalker tree.
The next step that I need to do is to look at the talent trees that are currently in place for inspiration. My first instinct was to use the Feral Druid talent tree. I know there’s some complaints about this tree for being simpler than many, but what jumps out to me about it is that its clear the left side is AOE focused and the right side is ST focused, which is what I’m going for. I was recommended to look at the Elemental and Enhance talent trees, which have a lot more paths to allow for more choices. Because I think its more aesthetically pleasing, I’ll be sticking with the Elemental tree’s design but making it a little bit more symmetrical, because I’m OCD like that.
- Fists of Fury – As is
- Ascension – As is
- Touch of Karma – Doesn’t redirect damage
- Power Strikes – As is
- Feathers of a Hundred Flocks – Spinning Crane Kick radius by ##.
- Celestial Lasso – Spinning Crane Kick now reduces the movement speed of all targets hit by ## for 15 sec.
- Whirling Dragon Punch – Performs a devastating whirling upward strike dealing ## damage to all nearby enemies.
- Strike of the Windlord – Strike with both fists at all enemies in front of you, dealing ## damage and reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.
- Mortal Wounds – As is.
- Disable – Reduces the target’s movement speed by ## for 15 sec.
- Dance of Chi-Ji – Spinning Crane Kick critical strikes have a chance to make the next Spinning Crane Kick free.
- Flowing Strikes – Whirling Dragon Punch or Strike of the Windlord trigger automatically, for ##% of maximum damage, when both Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick are on cooldown.
- Glory of the Dawn – Rising Sun Kick has a chance, equal to your Critical Strike change, to trigger a second time, dealing ## damage.
- Shadowboxing Treads – As is.
- Storm, Earth, and Fire – As is, minus tagging targets for MotC
- Hit Scheme – As is.
- Serenity – Increase duration to 15 sec and damage increased higher than 20%.
- Teachings of the Monastery – As is.
Crack Bird– Using a Dance of Chi-Ji proc coats all targets struck for 10 sec in Chi-Ji’s crackspecial powder. Spinning Crane Kick refund 1 Chi when striking enemies coated in Chi-Ji’s crackspecial powder
- Drinking Horn Cover – As is.
- Spiritual Focus – As is.
- Caught by the Dropkicks – Enemies interrupted by your Spear Hand Strikes take ##% increased damage for 6 sec.
- Inner Peace – Serenity now has two charges but lasts 10 sec.
- Weapons of Order – During Serenity, Blackout Kick reduces the cooldown of affected abilities by an additional 1 sec and increases the duration of Serenity by ##.
- OLD TOD – Touch of Death can be used on targets regardless of health %, but triggers its damage after 8 secs.
- Fatal Flying Guillotine – Touch of Death strikes up to 4 additional targets for 10% of your maximum health.
- Hidden Master’s Forbidden Touch – Touch of Death can be used on a second target within 5 sec before its cooldown is triggered.
- Thunderfist – Targets hit with Fists of Fury increase the damage of the next Rising Sun Kick by ##.
- Meridian Strikes – As is, maybe minus the additional damage.
- Gale Burst – During the 8 sec duration of Touch of Death, 10% of all other damage you deal to the target will be added to the final damage dealt.
- Rushing Jade Wind – Summons a whirling tornado around you, reducing energy regen by ## and dealing ## damage to all targets.
- Jade Ignition – As is.
- Xuen’s Bond – As is.
- Fury of Xuen – Critical strikes provide a stacking charge to summon a Xuen when you hit X stacks.
- Hit Combo – Each successive attack that triggers Combo Strikes in a row grants ##% increased damage, stacking up to ## for 15s. One stack is used when Combo Strikes is not triggered, to give Mastery bonus to that attack.
- Heartstopper Technique – Each successive attack that hits a single target and triggers Combo Strikes adds a stack of Pressure Points, to that target for 15 secs, to a maximum of 100 stacks. Critical Strikes adds one additional stack of Pressure Points. Pressure Points explode for ## damage per stack when that target is below 30% health, reaches 100 stacks, or stacks fall off. (Thanks Feodin)
- Open Palm Strikes – As is.
- Sha-line Strike – Casting Fists of Fury puts releases a line of dark Sha-energy. Casting Fists of Fury while standing on a line of Sha-energy causes Fists of Fury to deal an additional ## shadow damage.
- Spinning Crane Kick Damage Buff – Damage of Spinning Crane Kick is increased by ##%.
- Mark of the Crane – As is.
- Technique of the Rushing Tiger – Add BoK to the trigger, remove the dash, so its simply increased range.
- Xuen’s Battlegear 1 – Rising Sun Kick critical strikes reduce the cooldown of Fists of Fury by ## sec.
- Lightning Storm – Crackling Jade Lightning‘s channel speed is increased by 10/20%, range increased by 10/20% and can be cast while moving. (Thanks Wordup)
- Transfer the Power – As is.
- Rising Sun Kick Damage Buff – Damage of Rising Sun Kick is increased by ##%.
- Calculated Strikes – Storm, Earth, and Fire spirits will jump to any targets, currently in combat, and tag them with Mark of the Crane, increasing its damage done by ## per stack.
- Coordinated Offensive – Pressing Storm, Earth, and Fire again will fixate the clones onto the same target, dealing ## more damage. Pressing Storm, Earth, and Fire again will return them to attacking other targets.
- Keefer’s Skyreach – Add BoK to the trigger, remove the dash, so its simply increased range and critical change debuff.
- Xuen’s Battlegear 2 – When a Fists of Fury ends, the critical strike chance of Rising Sun Kick is increased by ##% for ## sec.
- Last Emperor’s Capacitor – As is.
- Invoker’s Delight – As is, sure why not.
- Empowered Tiger Lightning – Buff the damage bonus higher to match Invoker’s Delight.
There are some pretty clear issues with the talent tree above, mainly being the ability to pick Storm, Earth, and Fire AND Serenity at the same time, which would likely be the clear choice just to stack them together. I went over a few dozen options in my head and on my stream and none of them seemed very good to me as I want the 6th row choice nodes to be able to augment how each of those abilities function.
The best solution I could come up with, other than the one I went with, was for the central node on the 5th row to be a choice node between Storm, Earth, and Fire and Serenity. That makes a lot of sense except then the choice nodes in row 6 cause a problem since you could technically pick Serenity and then have access to talents that modify Storm, Earth, and Fire, or visa versa.
Another solution is to put them farther down in the tree, such as the 9th row, so that the opportunity cost to get both is high, or even prohibitive. My problem with that is the time it takes before you get one of them, which would be after level 30. In an ideal world, there’s a placeholder ability, like TEB, that then gets turned into Storm, Earth, and Fire or Serenity, but I really don’t like the idea of having three potentially different cooldowns, even if you could only have one at a time.
Class Tree Ideas
There were a lot of things that I could have put in here but fit better as a class talent. A few great things would be boosting the power of Windwalking, like March of the Legion or making Tiger’s Lust a raid-wide movement ability like Stampeding Roar or Rolling Tigers. Things like Chi Wave vs Chi Burst, Celerity vs Chi Torpedo, and Diffuse Magic vs Dampen Harm would also clearly go into the class tree.
One idea that I was thankfully reminded about, was moving FSK into the class tree and making it a “Flying Celestial Kick” or something like that, where each spec gets something added to it, like Windwalkers getting damage, Brewmasters getting a big threat increase when they land on a target, or Mistweavers healing targets they go through, maybe even launching Chi Waves like Flowing Chi Rolls.
There’s too many ideas to toss in here, but there’s plenty of ideas for a class tree, and maybe one day I’ll get with the other writers and we’ll put it together.
This shit is tough, exactly as tough as I expected to be. I spent over five hours doing this and there’s still a ton of problems. However, it was a fun thought experiment, and one that I’m sure will be talked about and ripped apart until we get the actual Monk trees for Dragonflight, at which point we’ll be able to rip theirs up.
I hope you enjoyed it, even though there are problems. If you like the content that I, and the others at PeakofSerenity provide, then please support us through Patreon, PayPal, or buying Peak Merchandise. If you have any questions you can ask in Discord. I also stream most of my guide writing (which I did for this article) and playing through Twitch, post guides on Youtube, and occasionally Tweet.
This is so good! I watched it on stream and it got me really excited to think about playing my monk in DragonFlight!
First of all there are some great ideas on this tree.
I would love if there is an ability called “Cresent moon kick” the description could read: “after successfully attacking with 15 consecutive damaging abilites utilizing your mastery, rising sun kicks cooldown is reset and rising sun kick changes to Cresent moon kick. (It could have a dope animation kinda like blackout kick cleaving across instead of a backflip, and they can use cool colors for the spell effect like almost the color of weapons of order. That blueish white color like moonlite) Cresent moon kick will do 100% of rising sun kicks damage to the first target and 50% of its damage to up to 3 other nearby enimies.
Also another passive that would be cool could be “chi-ji’s flames” where every 10th spinning crane kick will ignite with red flames and cause all targets hit to burn for XX damage over 5 seconds.
Finally I would want fists of fury to be completely reworked, as I think the way it is now dose not feel right at all. Your a fast moving fast attacking, acrobatic fighter and then out of nowhere you basically stand still and channel a long ability that looks like the damage should tick like 10x faster. I would change it to something more like the ability that balance druids have “new moon”. Where it has 3 stacks, each one increasing in power until it resets. The first “stack” would be a simple punch that will do singe target damage, nothing too fancy, the second will be a powerful punch that you thrust through your target, causing a cone of AOE damage behind your target, kind of like survival hunter bombs. And the last stack will be an axe kick, (you hold the button down to almost “charge it” and there is a sweet spot where if you release then, it will do more damage) where your chatecter will lift up his/her leg straight into the air and once released, you slam your heel into the ground causing a line of damage shooting out from under your foot. Picture sundering from enhancement shaman talents.
I have a bunch of other ideas for this class as it has so much potential.
If you somehow see this post, let me know what you think! Thanks.
I think a lot of your ideas are good, they’re just mostly over complicated.
I also disagree with your feeling on FoF. You can move while channeling and it ticks multiple times per second. It could use to be a little faster, but then it’s closer to DH’s Eye Beam and they can’t move during, so it’s clear they don’t want people to do both.
Hey hey, I was wondering if there was a way to find the vod of your stream? They don’t seem to be saved and I was curious to see the thinking process and collaboration behind this mock-up.
Thank you for your hard work as always, I can’t wait to be disappointed when Blizzard puts in 20% of the effort you put into this with the community. Much love from the NL.
I am not sure, I don’t know why the VoD didn’t get saved
The problem this is only pve aspect of the game. Next time try to combinate pve and pvp aspect for windwalker talent tree wishlist and maiby blizhz accept this.
There are still PvP talents in Dragonflight.
Awesome work, thanks. I am very excited to see the ‘real’ trees soon. In row 8 I’m pretty sure that Rushing Jade wind will be in the class tree.
Overall I am curious what options the class tree has in store for us. The potential for hybrid specs is huge with this new system. I’d love some off-healing for WW.
Awesome tree, can only hope blizz can make something anywhere near this.
My only issue is having to choose between disable and mortal wounds for pvp kinda sucks. Maybe the mortal wounds part of RSK can be in one of the other RSK buff talents (Glory of the Dawn, Improved RSK).
Also think that having both ToD gale burst and Empowered Tiger Lightning might lead to some insane damage when they feed off of each other. Then you would have to tune both so they both kinda suck unless you have both or tune everything else down to compensate for that massive spike, which isn’t very cool. I think a cool idea for a Xuen Improvement talent would be something similar to Bonedust Brew but instead of throwing it, Xuen buffs you so that all your moves have a chance to proc x% additional damage as nature/shadow/whatever.
I think there are some major issues with this tree. The biggest is just the number of core spells not in this tree. Looking back at Elemental shaman their base kit is just 2 spells, Lightning bolt and flame shock. Everything else is in their talent tree. For this windwalker tree though it looks like you are assuming TP, RSK, BoK, Spinning Crane kick, CJL, FSK, Expel harm, Invoke Xuen, and ToD are all baseline. That’s 9 spells and there is no way Monk will get all of that baseline. I would expect only 2 or 3 baseling and then another 3 or 2 in the class tree so around 5 of those spells in total. The rest have to be part of the windwalker tree. I will admit that I am having a very hard time figuring out which ones would be accessible to all 3 specs, especially because there shouldn’t be any talents in the spec tree that relate to optional abilites in the class tree since a player might not get them. It also could be even less then 5 non-spec tree spells and more will be in all 3 spec trees like shaman’s ascendance and primodial wave. I honestly expect Xuen and maybe ToD to be like that.
On the topic of Tod that is the other standout issue I have with this tree. 5 talents relating to ToD is ridiculous even if we assume it is baseline, (I highly doubt it will be baseline since most classes didn’t get any cooldown baseline). There is no reason to have that many, especially when 4 of them are on the same row.
There are a bunch of other more minor things. I was surpised given your history on SEF that you put it in and didn’t change it all. I think this is a great chance to not have a DPS decrease button. I miss Fist of the white tiger. I think having Ascension as a mandatory talent is weird because it means monks default have 120 engery instead of the expected 100 of every other energy class. Disable and Mortal wounds being mutually exclusive feels bad for pvp.
TP, BoK, SCK, CJL, EH, and ToD are all currently baseline for all monks so are expected to be in the class tree and easily accessible or fully baseline. Looking at all classes we are the only class that learns a big offensive cooldown in exile’s reach(ToD) and so it would make sense no other classes have these baseline. Wouldn’t be surprised to see RSK on the class tree and then in the Brewmaster tree keg smash would replace it. Would also not be crazy to think all the celestials would also be on the class tree further down(e.g. the windwalker path has xuen, mistweaver has chi-ji and so on).
ToD being customizable is cool, being able to change it based on the fight needs is a neat idea. Pure single target no reason to get the 2nd use or multiple targets but in m+ it would be sick, that’s the kind of thing you want these talent trees to do.
SEF does suck but only due to bugs, if blizz can fix them it’s a cool ability. Fist of the white tiger should be a choice node with ascension. We also had 110/120(can’t remember) energy for the whole of legion from our artifact weapon so it’s not that weird.
ToD being customizable is fine, the way it is done here though is the problem. Imagine if you picked all 5 ToD talents. It turns into a very confusing spell that doesn’t kill targets with less health, puts an 8 sec dot on up to 5 targets that can be used a second time on another 5 targets, where 10% of damage dealt to each specific target is added to that target, and has a cooldown reduction from combo strike. That is just way too much text and completely overloads the spell. You might say that no one would ever pick all 5, but if that’s the case then the tree is still flawed because it offers an objectively bad choice. It should either use choice talents to enforce the idea that not all should be taken at the same time or just not all be ToD and have the aoe ones changed to modify a different spell or just add a new aoe focused spell, maybe add BdB there.
To me WoO feels like an improved version of serenity. It’s an intersting cd as it heavily alters your playsytle and get to spam a lot more. My biggest problem with serenity is that you cap energy and you also dont interact with chi. Imo we should let serenity go(or rename WoO to serenity because the name is cool). One thing that could be changed is to reduce WoO-s duration because the currenty one is a bit too long. It could be stronger and have the duration increase talent that makes is a longer dmg window.
Also I think we have too many cd-s. 3-4 with galeburst even coming back. I’d put sef and serenity(WoO) into a choice node or sth. This way we have a lot less setup and can start our dmg a lot earlier. I’d also like if there was an option to not play with sef. It feels so bad on single target while also having numerous bugs. It’s nice on multi target so the option if fine for there.
Teaching of the monastery is a bit weird. It works on mw because you don’t have ww mastery and also you dont have energy to worry about so you can just cast 3 in the row. This is not achievable as ww unless you break mastery which I don’t think you want to do on regular cases(it could be fine with a combo breaker like ability). Also I never liked that you can’t reliably reset rsk with it so you can’t plan arround it. The reset is also less relevant for ww because the bok cdr would already reduce the cooldown by a lot. Maybe this node could be the bok cdr node aswell, since that mechanic screems like a talent and there’s no way it’s baseline.
In this current state there’s no reason to ever take lighting storm without capacitor. But you way want to take capacitor without the moving stuff. Swapping them would make those a lot better. Also channeling the lighting for that long only for it to deal dmg is weird. The thing I like with monk is most of your abilities work together. Also a long channel feels weird because you’d cap energy. The thing that would work imo is the cost would only be decreased by 50% at max But every x tick would generate a Chi(you’d generate 5 through the channel). The other idea is to make it apply a dmg taken increase to the target(this could be what lighting storm does) so you could be rewarded for channeling it longer and also seeing ramping up numbers looks cool af.
I really feel like Hurricane Strike should make a comeback as a choice node with Whirling Dragon Punch, or replace it entirely since SoTW is (very hopefully) making a comeback.
Sha-line Strike is an interesting spin-off from Faeline Stomp, not sure if putting mobility limitations on WW’s will feel good though.
I really hope Invokers Delight (as it currently is, the haste feels good though), and Xuen in general disappear – myself and a lot of others have voiced concern over WW’s damage cooldowns being baked into pets rather than themselves (considering thematically we’re essentially super saiyans, we should be powering ourselves up).
And with the above in mind, I agree with SEF being a choice node with a reworked Serenity (that doesn’t have the toxic cooldown clipping component) How nice would it be to just have a straight up steroid cooldown like Avenging Wrath? without having to worry about our skill/choices crippling ourselves, even Tiger-Eye Brew needed to be ramped up.
Chi-Burst being reworked into a more impactful hadouken would be lovely (explodes on contact and does more damage in a small aoe?)
I’m loving you championing SoTW’s return and more ToD talents, as they are both amazing abilities that feel great. Considering Ret Paladins are having their mobility via Divine Steed buffed by 333% though talents, I think it would be great if we could get our 0.5 seconds back on Flying Serpent Kick through a talent also (at the very least). As this nerf I feel was unfounded in the first place, especially now that all melee’s mobility has massively creeped, with WW left behind (no longer a niche, just in-line).
BTW We can’t have disable and mortal wounds as a choice node as this severely cripples WW in PVP.
Keep fighting the good fight, and please use your influence to break us free from pets, bake more damage into FoF, bring back SoTW and Hurricane Strike.
Choosing between already co-exisiting abilities (e.g. removing one of them for another) is bad
It makes sense to well distribute our tree to have a strong aoe route, a strong single target route, and a strong cleave route between the two with nodes that compliments both of them, so nothing gets explicitly stripped away(e.g. xuen/fof nodes for cleave, RSK/CJL?/serenity for single target, SEF/marks/SCK for aoe
Meridian strikes and gale burst is enough for TOD nodes,
Xuen would feel better as a node, with central routes into its current respective abilities/conduits
Ultimately it’s hard/near impossible to satisfy everyone, everyone has their own ideas and opinions on class improvements/prior abilities/current abilities
Here are some more ideas if you decide to create another iteration https://imgur.com/a/ty0lhv9
1- The main appeal of Dance of Chi-ji IMO is mixing up your single-target rotation. Getting an extra SCK FROM SCK seems counterintuitive considering that and Combo Strikes.
2- On Flowing Strikes, man what a hilarious bug that was. And it had the fastest fix in the West!
3- Between Dance of Chi-ji, Glory of the Dawn, Fury of Xuen, Heartstopper Technique, and Xuen’s Battlegear, Crit is looking VERY juicy in your design. But isn’t it Haste that really needs extra help?
4- Between Shadowboxing Treads, Hit Scheme, Weapons of Order, and Technique of the Rushing Tiger (particularly), you probably create scenarios where spamming mostly BoK is optimal. Shadow priests are concerned about that happening with Mind Flay right now, actually: where a filler spell is so stacked that it supercedes cooldowns.
5- I’m surprised you don’t mention being able to move during Whirling Dragon Punch. (Also it’s definitely animated as a kick, right?)
6- Touch of Death on high HP enemies but with an 8-second delay is VERY cool! Makes it actually usable in raids and oozes classic Monk flavor.
7- Hit Combo and Heartstopper Technique look CLEAN! Just losing one stack of Hit Combo and getting Mastery anyway probably sets up some intentional combo-break scenarios like SCK spam for AoE burst, or BoK spam for Hit Scheme stacking. The three separate triggers for Heartstopper prevent it from being annoying/wasted like so many similar effects have been in the past.
8- Man, I don’t understand why people like Mark of the Crane….
9- I would play the hell out of Lightning Storm + Last Emperor’s Capacitor! “Lightning Storm” doesn’t really seem like a fitting name though; how about “Drifting Conduit”?
10- I’d also love to see some iteration on Windwalking. Chi Wave/Chi Burst probably still pitiful without supporting talents, though anything is possible through tuning, and I never liked those spells anyway. On your Flying Serpent Kick idea, maybe it could be combined with Clash so when Brewmaster lands, it pulls all enemies in a 10 yard radius to him.
Thanks for giving us a conversation piece during our typical long wait for the back end of testing phases where Monk inevitably lies.
I’m really hoping we get the second Xuen as a talent, that was one of my favorite things in BFA.
Also, I’d like to see a talent for the class tree that either allows us to have a second Celestial cd, so WW can have a tank in solo content and a healing cd, Chi-ji since it works with our abilities, in raid actually giving us some utility. Or a talent that makes the celestials permanent for reduced damage/healing, but that might be too hard to balance properly.
Sorry but please no, Monks are no pet classes, they’re martial artists. We need to move as far away from summoning pets as possible. Try a Hunter or Warlock if you want AI to tank mobs for you, it’s not what a Monk should be thematically.
Too many touch of death nodes + choice which remove current class aspects
I’d hope for more continuity between AOE/CLEAVE/Single target, and by that i mean explicity SCK VS FOF/xuen VS RSK with complementation
OMG dude. I love this. Especially the “Pressure point” idea.
The theory job is already done here Blizzard, just copy and paste and put all this in the game pls!
Babylonius never disappoints. thanks for representing the monk players for so long <3
We’d see half the windwalker playerbase quit if this was copied and pasted in, no offense to Babylonius
I’m a simple man. I just want to play Serenity and I do not want to cancel FoF.
As small as it is, I’d like to have Windwalker Paralysis not cost energy, just as a little QoL.
The peak of Monks was WoD Gameplay with controlable clones (with the new UI that would be huge) / chi explosion AND the ToT mastery.
This is what would drive me back to the class …