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We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Monk. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Monk in World of Warcraft.
Monks were introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and their story is woven directly into the expansion’s rich and vibrant lore. Monks bring a unique martial arts style to any fight, and harness an exotic form of magical energy that’s unfamiliar to those who practice other arcane arts. They seek spiritual balance in life and in combat, and as dangerous as Monks can be on the battlefield, they’re rarely looking to pick a fight without just cause. They view the world through a different lens, finding power through serenity and inner peace—then expressing it through artful combat techniques and powers that mend life. Perhaps most surprisingly, Monks are also adept at producing powerful brews they consume to aid them in battle.
In Legion, we’re focusing on making sure Monk abilities and gameplay better match the class’s vivid backstory. We’re also looking at abilities that already lend themselves well to the Monk’s character, but whose mechanics are in need of polish.
The brewmaster is a quirky character, though dangerous when underestimated. Brewmasters may seem to struggle with balance as they chug their concoctions in the middle of a fight, but this unpredictable behavior is far from foolhardiness. Most opponents barely have time to process the erratic nature of the brewmaster’s fighting tactics before they find themselves laid low—possibly the result of a keg smash to the head. When an opponent actually manages to land an attack, it’s often unclear how much the brewmaster feels it . . . if at all.
The gameplay for Brewmasters hasn’t quite fit their archetypes to this point. Rather than being the tricky martial artists, staggering around with an evasiveness that frustrates their opponent while being a little squishy when taking an unmitigated blow, Brewmasters have been more focused around large absorption shields and clutch self-healing. Our new design approach is to get more gameplay depth out of their strong, thematic abilities. Instead of Chi as a resource, which had little depth for Brewmasters, we’re switching to charges on Brew abilities that other abilities still interact with.
Here’s a basic look at the core defensive and offensive combat abilities for Brewmaster Monks:
- Ironskin Brew
- Instant, 20 sec recharge, 3 charges
- Increases your Stagger amount by an additional 60% for 6 sec.
- Shares charges with Purifying Brew.
- Purifying Brew
- Instant, 20 sec recharge, 3 charges
- Instantly purifies all of your staggered damage.
- Shares charges with Ironskin Brew.
- Gift of the Ox
- When you take damage, you have a chance to summon a Healing Sphere visible only to you. Moving through this Healing Sphere will heal you for 25% of your maximum health.
- This chance is increased the lower health you are.
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler
- Each time you are hit by a melee attack, you gain 20% (with Mastery from typical gear) Dodge, until your next successful Dodge. This can stack.
- Also increases your attack power by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
- Ironskin Brew
- Keg Smash
- 40 Energy, 15 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown
- Smash a keg of brew on the target, dealing strong damage to all enemies within 8 yds and reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
- Reduces the remaining cooldown on your Brews by 4 sec.
- Tiger Palm
- 25 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
- Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing minor damage.
- Reduces the remaining cooldown on your Brews by 1 sec.
- Blackout Strike
- Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
- Thwack the enemy with your weapon, dealing moderate Physical damage.
- Shares cooldown with Breath of Fire.
- Breath of Fire
- Instant, 3 sec cooldown
- Targets in front of the caster take minor Fire damage. If affected by Keg Smash, they will also burn for minor Fire damage over 8 sec.
- Shares cooldown with Blackout Strike.
- Keg Smash
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Brewmaster-specific talents:
- Elusive Dance
- Purifying Brew also grants up to 15% Dodge for 6 sec, based on the level of Stagger damage purified.
Mistweavers are unique among those who heal. The energies they channel are mysterious, oftentimes misunderstood by commoners—who rarely travel beyond the borders of their homelands—as some form of folk medicine. But those who weave the mists wield the power of life’s essence, using a mixture of preventative and restorative spells to mend their allies’ wounds. The inner tranquility that guides mistweavers allows them to sustain their healing for long periods of time, and gives them the strength to care for multiple injured allies.
Our goal with Mistweaver Monks is to accentuate the existing characteristics that define them, and resolve some core gameplay issues. In simple terms, this means we’ve redesigned their abilities so that you can directly use the spells you want rather than having to set up an excessive amount of other abilities first.
The most prominent example of this was Renewing Mist, which served primarily as a setup for Uplift; we’ve reworked Renewing Mist to stand on its own, and replaced Uplift with a couple of new spells: Vivify and Essence Font. In addition, a new passive Soothing Mist mechanic gives Mistweavers a unique healing style with variable efficiency, over which you have more direct control.
We’re also focusing Mistweavers solely on healing, rather than supporting a type of mixed attack-healing gameplay that felt awkward and ultimately didn’t live up to our goals for the spec—it was unintuitive, and chiefly useful as a mana management tool. Lastly, Mistweavers will now use Mana, not Chi, as a resource, since it reduced choices and restricted gameplay in many situations.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat healing abilities for Mistweaver Monks:
- Mastery: Gust of Mists
- Your targeted heals also cause a gust of healing mists, instantly healing the target for a minor amount (increasing with Mastery from gear).
- Soothing Mist
- Your Effuse, Enveloping Mist, and Vivify also trigger Soothing Mist.
- After casting these spells, you continue to channel healing mists into the target, healing them for a minor amount every 0.5 sec, until you take any other action.
- Developer Comments
- Need efficient healing? Cast any heal and let Soothing Mist continue to provide free healing as long as you feel comfortable!
- Need high-throughput healing? Cast any heal and move onto the next target in need of healing, without spending time on Soothing Mist.
- For Mistweavers, it’s OK to have open global cooldowns between heals—Soothing Mist fills these gaps.
- 1.8% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- A fast and efficient spell, healing the target for a minor amount.
- Enveloping Mist
- 6.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
- Wrap the target in healing mists, healing them for a huge amount over 6 sec, and increasing healing received from your spells by 30%.
- Renewing Mist
- 3.5% Mana, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
- You surround the target with healing mists, restoring a huge amount of health over 20 sec.
- If Renewing Mist causes any overhealing, it will travel to the most injured ally within 20 yds.
- When Renewing Mist heals, it has a 4% chance to increase the healing of your next Vivify by 50%.
- Essence Font
- 8.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Channeled
- Unleash a rapid twirl of healing bolts at up to 6 allies within 25 yds, every 1 sec for 3 sec.
- Each bolt heals the target for a moderate amount, plus an additional moderate amount over 8 sec.
- 5.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- Cause a surge of invigorating mists around the target, healing them and their 2 nearest injured allies for a moderate amount.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Mistweaver-specific talents:
- 40 yd range, Instant, 20 sec recharge, 2 charges
- Instantly dash to an ally, and heal them for a large amount.
Among monks, none have mastered the martial arts as the windwalkers have, and few across Azeroth can fight with their grace. Windwalkers possess unparalleled physical finesse, and are capable of overwhelming their enemies with a dizzying flurry of punches and kicks. Their skill comes primarily from a lifetime of intense training and discipline, but the power they exhibit is shrouded in more mysticism than meets the untrained eye. The combination of their peak physical conditioning, state of inner calm, and leveraging of mystical chi makes windwalker monks a true force to be reckoned with.
Similar to Brewmasters, here we focused on getting more depth out of less complexity. Windwalkers’ new Mastery, Combo Strikes, encourages mixing a variety of abilities, which provides a constant gameplay hook that influences every ability they use and draws inspiration from classic fighting games. In addition, we’ve polished Storm, Earth, and Fire to remove some cumbersome mechanics. Windwalkers still use a combination of Energy and Chi, along with a heavy dose of short cooldowns.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Windwalker Monks:
- Mastery: Combo Strikes
- Your abilities deal 25% (with Mastery from typical gear) more damage when they are not a repeat of the previous ability.
- Tiger Palm
- 50 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
- Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing minor damage and generating 2 Chi.
- Tiger Palm has an 8% chance to make your next Blackout Kick cost no Chi.
- Blackout Kick
- 1 Chi, Melee Range, Instant
- Kick with a blast of Chi energy, dealing moderate Physical damage.
- Rising Sun Kick
- 2 Chi, Melee Range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown
- You kick upwards, dealing strong damage, and reducing the effectiveness of healing on the target for 10 sec.
- Fists of Fury
- 3 Chi, Melee Range, Channeled, 20 sec cooldown
- Pummel all targets in front of you, dealing massive damage over 4 sec. Deals reduced damage to secondary targets.
- Can be channeled while moving.
- Spinning Crane Kick
- Has gained some new functionality
- 3 Chi, Channeled
- Damage increase by 50% for each unique target you've struck in the last 15 sec with Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, or Rising Sun Kick.
- Storm, Earth, and Fire
- Now lasts 15 sec with a 90 sec cooldown.
- Each spirit can now attack the same target as the monk.
- Targets hit by spirits count toward increasing Spinning Crane Kick damage.
- Developer Comment: Spirits will automatically seek out nearby enemies to attack while you attack your target.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Windwalker-specific talents:
- Hit Combo
- Each successive attack that triggers Combo Strikes in a row grants 1% increased damage, stacking up to 10 times.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Monk class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our series later today with a look at Druids.
Return to the overview for the full class preview series.