Recently, the questions about how Windwalker are going to be in Battle for Azeroth are reaching a fever pitch, and its only going to get worse as we get closer and closer to August 14th (13th in the West). This question is nearly always answered with “we don’t know yet”, “numbers tuning isn’t done”, and other comments like that. Those comments are almost certainly correct, there hasn’t been much evidence that Blizzard is at the point where they’ve started tuning specs against one another.
With, at the time of this writing, only slightly more than 2 months to go until release day, its only a matter of time before we start seeing numbers changing all over the place. Since we’ve seen very little changes for Windwalker the past few weeks, I thought I’d venture to answer some of these question as they’d be answered today, without any further changes. It should go without saying, but it wont, 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 will be a, sort of, “rough draft” of a Battle for Azeroth guide… very rough.
So lets get this straight… pretty much everyone on the Beta has been playing Windwalker incorrectly. This isn’t any fault of our own, we’re playing it the way that makes the most sense to us from a playstyle and logical perspective. However, if you’ve read some of the recent articles about frequent questions, you have have read me say that Blackout Kick does too much damage. I’ll explain why, pulling the constants from one of my previous articles….
- Windwalker Aura (http://bfa.wowhead.com/spell=137025/windwalker-monk) – Modifies nearly all abilities by -20% (Effect #1); maybe another -21% (Effect #4, not sure if thats in addition to #1 or two sides of the same coin); plus extra modifiers to specific abilities relevant to these discussions; +26% to Rising Sun Kick, Blackout Kick, Tiger Palm (Effect #5); +140% to Spinning Crane Kick (Effect #8); and +50% to Blackout Kick (Effect #9).
- Armor Reduction, Mastery, Vers, Crit, Hit Combo, and Windwalker Aura effects #1 and #4 are constant through all abilities discussed, so no need to include them in the math.
- Tiger Palm – 27% base AP * +26% = 34% AP
- Blackout Kick – 77% base AP * +50% (Effect #9) x* +26% (Effect #5) = 145.53% AP
- Rising Sun Kick – 115% base AP * +26% (Effect #5) * +70% (RSK Rank 2) = 246.33% AP
- Whirling Dragon Punch – 248.7% base AP per target, no additional modifiers
- Fists of Fury – 5 hits of 94.185% base AP = 470.925% base AP, no additional modifiers
- Spinning Crane Kick – 40% base AP * +140% = 96% AP per target
- Mark of the Crane – +10% damage to Spinning Crane Kick per stack
- Fist of the White Tiger – 87.75% + 87.75% * 0.5 (offhand penalty) = 131.25% AP no additional modifiers
So now, if you haven’t already, check out my article about how priorities are created. To summarize, the main way that Windwalkers prioritize abilities is by Damage per Chi, because, until recently, we did not have enough resources (chi) to fill all our time, so resources are the limiting factor. This means we want to get the most damage that we can with those resources. Currently, if you rank our abilities by Damage per Chi in a single target situation, it looks like this:
- Whirling Dragon Punch – 248.7% base AP per target for free
- Fists of Fury – 156.975% base AP per Chi
- Blackout Kick – 145.53% AP per Chi
- Rising Sun Kick – 123.165% AP per Chi
- Spinning Crane Kick – 52.8% per target per Chi
As you can tell, that looks a little bit different from where things currently are. Whirling Dragon Punch can move around, as based on the current priority, you wouldn’t use Rising Sun Kick any time since Blackout Kick does more damage per chi, has no cooldown, and reduces the cooldown of Fists of Fury which is stronger. However, because Whirling Dragon Punch is stronger than Blackout Kick, you’d want to use Whirling Dragon Punch as close to on cooldown as possible. This means that to determine its true priority, you need to take the damage of Whirling Dragon Punch and Rising Sun Kick and add it together, and divide it by the 2 Chi cost of Rising Sun Kick, which equates to 185.9325% AP, keeping it securely on the top. This means that you’d only use Rising Sun Kick in order to use Whirling Dragon Punch, or if you have an excess of Chi to dump.
This neither looks, nor feels, the way that most people expect Windwalker to play. If Blackout Kick were to have the 50% modifier removed, it would fall back below Rising Sun Kick and into, in most people’s opinions, its rightful place in the priority.
As I mentioned in my previous theorycrafting article, the use of Spinning Crane Kick in AOE is much more straight forward in Battle for Azeroth. With the cost reduction down to 2 Chi, and the benefit of Mark of the Crane reduced from 40% to 10%, there is a much more definitive line that we’d use each ability, and it looks like this:
- Spinning Crane Kick (3+ Targets and 13+ Stacks)
- Whirling Dragon Punch
- Spinning Crane Kick (7 Targets)
- Fists of Fury
- Spinning Crane Kick (3 Targets)
- Blackout Kick
- Spinning Crane Kick (2 Targets)
- Rising Sun Kick
- Spinning Crane Kick (1 Target)
Obviously the point where Spinning Crane Kick beats out Fists of Fury is a little bit more complicated, but its MILES less complicated than things are currently in Legion. Its technically; 3 Targets and 10 Stacks, 4 Targets and 9 Stacks, 5/6 Targets and 8 Stacks, 7-13 Targets and 7 stacks, or 14+ Targets and 6+ stacks, but 7 targets is a good guideline for 99% of situations. This is SOOO much more straightforward than Legion that its almost laughable.
Of course, currently on Beta, you seem to get Mark of the Crane stacks, up to 5, even in single target, and it seems to cap at 5 even in AOE regardless of the amount of targets. I’m currently assuming this is a bug, but if its not, it will be an interesting change that simplifies our Multi-Target priority even more.
In my opinion, the Multi-Target priority is MUCH better, with much less math required to figure out whats best, which means much less room for error and confusion. The Single Target priority mostly makes sense, with the exception of Blackout Kick being above Rising Sun Kick. Overall the priorities are nice and straightforward, with a little room for the best players to squeeze out more due to Blackout Kick‘s cooldown reduction mechanic.
Other questions like talents and stat priority, will be information for another day and another article. I used Whirling Dragon Punch in this article not necessarily because its the “best”, but because its the most straightforward of the major talents and easiest to visualize.