Well my first raid week is in the bag and I felt pretty strongly that I should write up my thoughts on how it went and my feelings about Windwalker in raid. Snarkylonius is absolutely helping me write this, so excuse any language or aggression, but he’s a necessary evil to write this, unfortunately. I’ll try to differentiate between who’s writing any section. I also wanted to do this backwards than normal, because the number of things to talk is a little lopsided.
These are entirely my opinions, as always, and really dependent on barely one full night of raiding. I have the tendency to be curmudgeonly, and Snarkylonius more so. You don’t have to agree with them, so if you don’t then just accept that you’re wrong and keep it to yourself.
(Snarkylonius) Lets get this straight, right off the bat, if you are someone out there who advocated for more buttons, more button presses, or the like… go fuck yourself. I don’t know if you have some kind of weird alien fingers, use some kind of stimulant or performance-enhancing drugs, or I’m just getting old and arthritic but Windwalker has way too many fucking buttons. I felt Windwalker had too many before, and now we’ve added Expel Harm to use every 15-seconds and Fortifying Brew as a “defensive”.
I’m not advocating for going down to the “classic” Beast Mastery or Havoc rotations of pressing the same 4 buttons and doing a ton of damage, but fuck me if Windwalker doesn’t feel like it has a dozen abilities to press rotationally; Tiger Palm, Expel Harm, Rising Sun Kick, Blackout Kick, Whirling Dragon Punch, Spinning Crane Kick, Fists of Fury, Chi Wave/Chi Burst, and Fist of the White Tiger/Energizing Elixir, and that’s not counting the actual damage CDs: Touch of Death, Storm, Earth, and Fire, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Touch of Karma (and Fortifying Brew), or the fact that we often have to use Flying Serpent Kick to keep our Mastery going.
The fact that Windwalker now has 9 rotational buttons is just insane to me. Because of all these different buttons, none of them feel impactful, you just feel like you’re pressing them and not seeing the effect of what you’re pressing, it all just blends together into mush. Windwalker has always been a spec about flow, but this is more like the flow of some non-Newtonian fluid; it seems to flow the way its supposed to, but any resistance and it has no flow at all. Everything was just equally unimpressive and blegh.
So I had really good hopes for this ability, I loved it in Warlords and before. However, this current version just feels like it sucks a bit of my soul out every time I have to press it. I love it for being another ability to use to keep Mastery, Hit Combo, and Chi generation going when I’m out of range of the boss, but I hate it for just about everything else.
It did an absolute whopping 63 raw HPS last night with 69% (nice) of that being overheal because you just press it on CD without caring about the heal. The old version was used when you were below 8% health because only then did it do enough damage to trump TP, but since Tiger Palm is a light tickle, who gives a fuck how much damage Expel Harm does when it generates more than 50% more Chi for the same energy cost. But hey, lets not scoff at the 1.2 DPS over 79 casts that it did over the whole night. There’s no way I was using it on CD, but I don’t think its going to be a dramatic difference even if I was.
So… it doesn’t deal enough damage to merit pressing the button, the damage it does comes from the Chi it provides, which is boring since its just another Blackout Kick every now and again. There are times where it gives you that 3rd Chi for Fists of Fury or that 2nd Chi for Rising Sun Kick, but I found the times that happened were massively outweighed by the times that I didn’t use it because I was full on Chi or I used it and barely noticed a dip in my energy trying to stay away from the cap.
Some of my lesser complaints are that it currently has a 0.5s GCD which just feels out of place and contributes to how disruptive using it felt to me. It doesn’t cost enough energy to really feel like your energy bar goes down when you use it. It also promotes needing to use it before a pull just for the Chi, which is annoying but something I can get used to.
After playing with it a 2nd night it wasn’t as bad, but I consciously paid much less attention to it. Having to basically ignore your most efficient Chi generator so you don’t have playing the spec is not a great feeling.
This may surprise you, but Windwalker is one buggy mess. Rather than list them all, just read this; https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/feedback-monk-class-changes/490702/985
Easiest way is to just list these out rather than explain them in their own sections.
- Fortifying Brew – I know its mostly my problem, and it will get better with time, but I barely forgot that this ability existed, and when I did it was normally right after I popped Touch of Karma and missed out on the damage bonus of using both.
- No Corruption – I’m very happy its gone, but I got super used to the damage reduction from Versatile. I had a MUCH harder time staying alive last night than I expected to because I was obviously very comfortable with all the Versatility.
- Touch of Death – This ability doesn’t feel worth the button press, simple as that. Last night it rarely did more than 1% of my damage for a boss fight. Its fun to press to kill things quickly, but with a 3 minute cooldown you don’t get that fun anywhere near enough. Getting 3 Chi at 60 isn’t going to save this ability from just feeling poopy.
- Opener – The opener is close enough to easily fall back into old habits, but far enough away that I notice I’m not doing it the right way.
- GCD Changes – Just like it took time to get used to things being on the GCD, it will take time getting used to things being off the GCD.
- There is almost no connection between abilities, no reason to stack cooldowns, or reason to even really care about how or when you press anything that’s not Storm, Earth, and Fire.
- Overall my damage just felt poor when compared to others. I know I wasn’t playing the spec as good as it should be played right now, but I didn’t feel any better about my damage and having to put up with all the other shit that I didn’t like.
So this section was going to be full of praise for how happy I am that the Whirling Dragon Punch bug came back to Live, because I wrote a whole article about how great it was and how much fun it made the spec, plus adding damage that is both interactive and yet uncomplicated and passive…. it was… until the
Fire Nation developers attacked. If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to then read the article I just linked you pleb, I’m not going to TLDR my own stuff.
This is just the newest edition of the “Fun Detected, Fun Destroyed” meme that too frequently becomes too true for Windwalkers. Sure, Windwalkers have a laundry list of bugs and unkept (so far) promises, but thank god they fixed Windwalker getting free damage that put it on par with other specs and gave it interactivity between its abilities. I get it, this bug was already fixed on Beta and PTR then somehow weaseled its way back into Live when 9.0 came out, I understand why it got fixed. What I can’t fucking fathom is why it was fixed so quickly and so efficiently while we languish in the shadow of a dozen other bugs that are bigger, more horrible, and make the spec less fun to play. Its really hard not to buy into the memes and the “sky is falling” chicken littles out there who say things like, “Blizzard is actively trying to remove Windwalker from the game”, or “If more people played then they’d have to fix more bugs, so why make more work for themselves?”
Its honestly very hard to feel like someone out there has a vendetta against Windwalkers and the conscious decision is to do the opposite of what is best for the spec.
- Want to bring back Expel Harm? Hell yeah!! Want to see it do about 1/4 of what it used to do? Wait what???
- Heard you loved the tier set bonus in Tomb!!! Here’s the fully neutered version….
- You guys love that Whirling Dragon Punch triggers some damage when Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury go on CD? Well lets get that fixed right up for you…
- Windwalker has a unique mechanic that rewards you for doing a major part of the fight on Grong that puts you slightly ahead of other classes?? Better stop that right now
The Actual Good
Dear lord not playing with Hit Combo is great. I know its not particularly ideal to play without it on single target, but it just feels so damn liberating to not have to worry about. I don’t have anything else to say about it. Playing with Dance of Chi-Ji is whatever, playing without Hit Combo is glorious.
Overall not as much fun as I had hoped. I’ll be honest, I enjoyed playing Windwalker for approximately 15-minutes out of a 3-hour raid, and those 15 minutes were playing Carapace with the Whirling Dragon Punch bug and just enjoying do so much damage and trying to play the fun minigame of keeping my Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury on CD without missing a chance to hold for a second so that when one did go on CD and I got the free Whirling Dragon Punch damage, it would hit multiple targets. I’m definitely going to just try not using Expel Harm and see if I hate my life a little less or I can ease my way into it. I enjoyed it more on N’zoth where there were a bit more things to make playing with Expel Harm more bearable, but I sense thats the exception, not the rule for me. I have no plans to swap away from Windwalker, but good lord if it doesn’t seem more appealing every time I have to write a stupid fucking article like this.
I know my opinions won’t be shared by everyone, but I remind you that its my website so I can do what I want; get your own website and put your own opinions on there.